If you’re a managed services provider, you know the importance of search engine results to drive traffic to your website. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can enhance your MSP website SEO to help Google and other search engines rank your pages higher.
1. What Is the Best Approach for Keywords for My MSP Website SEO?
Simple keywords are no longer the best approach to target the customers you most want to attract. By building long-tail keywords into your content, you’re more likely to show up in customer searches for the specific product, service or message you want to convey.
For MSPs, that means not focusing on “cloud services” but “cloud services in [location]” or “cloud services for small businesses.” That specificity means a better investment of your SEO paid search budget.
To be effective, your long-tail keyword strategy should be informed by the following:
A clear understanding of your buyer personas — including what terms they’re entering into Google Search and at what stage they are in the buying process
Using Google Analytics to know what keywords are already working to drive traffic and using those keywords in your long-tail phrases
Researching what long-tail keywords are driving traffic by using Google’s auto-suggest feature or sites like Ubersuggest or SEMrush.
2. What Do Changes to Google’s Algorithm Mean for MSP Website SEO?
There’s one constant when it comes to Google’s search algorithm: It’s going to change. Keeping up to date on Google’s algorithm changes may seem daunting, but understanding the changes allows you to adjust your website content to optimize those changes.
The Google search algorithm changes 500-600 times per year. The challenge is that Google is not always very detailed about what the updates mean. In March 2019, for example, it announced a “core update” but said that if your search results didn’t change, there’s no need to “fix” anything. However, sites like Search Engine Land analyze these changes. The March update, according to the site, may have been targeting health and medical sites.
3. Does Speed Matter to Google?
Yes. Improving your site’s loading speed can make a difference. Web users are an impatient lot and if it takes several seconds for your website to load, you’re likely to lose viewers. Here are a few steps to take to improve page speed:
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to analyze your website content and get suggestions for improvements via Opportunities and Diagnostics reports
Compress all your images
Use browser caching, which saves key elements of your website on visitors’ devices, so that key elements do not need to be reloaded
4. What Basic Page Elements Are Important?
There are key page elements, often referred to as on-page SEO, that plays an essential role in MSP website SEO. Making sure these elements are in place, accurate, the right length and detailed help Google to rank your pages higher. They include:
Be sure to incorporate your long-tail keywords into these elements on your highest ranked pages. This signals to search engines that content is aligned with those keyword searches.
5. What Content Should I Include?
Your site needs a content strategy to deliver valuable information, news, opinions and resources for viewers. It’s vital for your content to be relevant to readers and answers their most pressing questions. By providing the material that serves a readers’ pressing needs, you establish your MSP as an authoritative thought leader.
Content today can come in many forms. Having blog content that is readable and easily digestible gives your readers the ability to gain desired knowledge and check out your site for more information, particularly the services you provide that relate to the content you offer.
Content comes in many forms in addition to blogs. Infographics, e-books, white papers and videos are a great way to pull in readers. Some key content tips:
Create content for searchers, not search engines
Provide more valuable insights on the topic and bring your unique perspective to it
Use visuals and colors that enhance, not distract the readers’ experience
Cite authoritative sources (but not your competitors)
Use real-life examples of your clients (though generally, you should not use names)
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page established the following mission statement when the company was founded: “Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Those last few words — accessible and useful — should be at the heart of your content strategy.
6. How Should I Use Backlinks?
External links are an essential factor in where your page will rank. You want backlinks that are linked often by other sites to demonstrate their value — and your value — to search engines. Invest in tools that evaluate how authoritative the sites are that link to yours. Getting the right links means building your authoritative brand via social media and relationships with key partners and influencers.
Internal backlinks are also relevant. Consider clustering your content around a pillar or hub article or post that is a comprehensive look at a topic. Next, you can add additional posts on subtopics related to the pillar that creates a content cluster. You then can create internal links between the pillar and related posts.
7. Speaking of Social, How Does that Influence MSP Website SEO?
If you’re creating great content to improve your MSP website SEO results, it makes sense to use that content in as many ways as possible. There are great third-party tools that automatically schedule social media posts on multiple platforms. It’s also important that your blogs and other content include buttons that allow readers to share your content on social platforms. Sharers help spread your voice, content and value via their social networks, amplifying your message.
8. How Do I Establish Social Authority with My Website?
There are two critical steps to take here: The first is to make sure you have an SSL certificate that moves your site from an HTTP: to HTTPS: prefix. Google has started to flag sites without the SSL certificate as “Not Secure,” which can lower your search results and drive viewers away.
The second is to create social proof of the value of your services. Rankings and reviews matter to Google. For example, Google looks at not only how many reviews your site has but also how recently those reviews were left. Besides, the more stars your website has, the better your pages will rank.
Those needs mean you need a strategy for securing reviews and ratings from your best customers. There are many solutions available to automate the collection of reviews and use them on portions of your website. By having authentic reviews and using them, you’ll demonstrate the value of your products and services.
9. How Can Our Site By ‘Featured’ in Google Search Results?
Several years ago, Google introduced “search snippets,” which are highlighted small boxes featuring content that answers a searcher’s question. Search snippets appear at the top of Google search results and again on the search results page. It’s a great way to generate more clicks for your MSP website.
Here’s an approach to getting featured in the snippets:
Do keyword research on sites like AnswerThePublic.com to understand what questions your buyer personas are asking. Pick one to answer
Enter the question into Google and see what kind of content is used in the search snippet. Google features three types of content — lists, tables and paragraphs.
Put the question and answer as close as possible to the top of your content
Use the H2 header for your question and write the answer directly beneath, limiting it to between 24 and 48 words
Publish the content and monitor its results to ensure it is in the top 10 of search results for the target question
Your site needs to be mobile friendly, as Google prioritizes mobile as a ranking factor. Your website design and content should use a mobile-first strategy. Why? In 2018, Google announced that it was switching to mobile-first indexing, instead of its previous practice of using the desktop version of a site.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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