Without a doubt, one of the long term investments in your marketing strategy should be SEO.
We've written about ranking top in the search for terms like IT Support many times. There are many quick wins when it comes to marketing, and SEO should probably be one of the last things you consider when building up your marketing strategy.
However, there are some SEO quick wins that you can leverage against the local competition to gain a competitive advantage almost immediately.
Best of all, this work won't take you any time, and it's cheap to outsource.
You probably already know about "the map pack" and that when you type terms such as IT Support in my area, usually 2-5 competitors come up in this space.
Many will have you believe that the best way to rank in the map pack is by getting lots of positive reviews. As you can cleary see in the above search reviews will only get you so far. The real power comes from citations - where your business is mentioned on other websites.
Business listings like Yelp, Yell.com and even our own IT directory is one of the most effective ways to rank top.
Citations are easy to come by. There are two steps you need to take and outsource:
Step 1: Find out where your local competitors are getting their citations - you can do this by typing their business phone numbers into Google with quotes.
Or use a service like whitespark.ca, which will monitor the keywords you want to rank for and the local competitor's citations. Every week you'll get a report on any new sources that appear so you can quickly act and get listed on the same directories.
Step 2: Outsource the citation building to a virtual assistant. Once you've got a list of all the websites, your competitors have a listing, create a big spreadsheet with the website address, username and password and URL to your citation when it's published.
Instruct the VA to start building the citations and record the login details for each web directory. This will be very useful in future if you ever change your telephone number, address or need to update anything on the listing.
You can access VA's for this service on Fiverr. Search for citations to reveal many providers.
By far, the most influential ranking factor are backlinks to your website from trusted websites.
A backlink is simply a link to your website from another website - what you need to know is not all backlinks are made equal. You need to acquire natural quality backlinks.
If you pay for a cheap backlink building service, your website will suffer, and your ranking can go down depending on the quality of the links.
We experienced this problem recently when we used a press release service to publish an article out to many news syndication services - our ranking declined for some key terms simply due to the low quality of the news website the article appeared on.
How do you go about getting quality backlinks?
Start with your existing customer base, local network groups and associations. Ask them for a link or even suggest a guest article on their website to help promote their services and at the same time mention your website.
I would also suggest a high-quality backlink service. There's many out there, and we cover just some of the best we've used in our MSP SEO training course.
On-Page Technical Optimization
There are a few ranking factors on your website that can make all the difference.
Having an effective internal link structure (how your website pages link to each other)
To give you an example of this, if you have a page on your website all about Office365 support, then you should be linking to that page any time you mention Office365 in your blog or use one of the high-quality articles we produce every month for our members right here at IT Rockstars.
The more relevant the internal backlink to a page you have, the higher it will appear in the search.
Clickable Titles (Page titles that are more clickable in the search results)
Just like all those highly clickable Youtube thumbnails (example below) you should be doing the same thing with your page titles.
Let's stick with the Office 365 example. Let's say I've got a services page and a subpage where we talk about Office365 support.
Most would title the page "Office365 Support"; however, that page title is very bland, and we want the user to click the page if it comes up in the search results.
Instead, a far more clickable title would read something like: "Here's why we've got the best Office365 support in London."
Replacing London with your location - that title is far more clickable and will result in higher traffic from Google search.
Page Speed Optimization
Finally, we come to the easy bit- page speed optimization - this is something that you should outsource. It's simply making sure your website is running as fast as it can.
There are many page speed experts out there on Upwork that can help with this task - the best place to get started is by running a page speed score just to see how slow your website actually is.
Based on the results, you can task someone on Upwork to fix the critical errors that are slowing down your site. The cost is minimal, and fixes can usually be done in under a few days worth of work.
Finally, I almost forgot to mention we're in the process of launching a brand new course here at IT Rockstars - it's all about MSP SEO. You can purchase the course as a one-off or become a member for instant access.
The MSP SEO Course
Learn all the SEO tactics you need to outrank the local competition.