Digital marketing is dynamic and ever-changing. For MSPs to acquire more organic leads through online channels, you need to keep on top of the latest tactics, trends, and tricks of the trade.
One area of digital marketing that is always evolving but never changing in importance is SEO.
Search engine optimisation is the process of increasing the quality of organic website traffic with a number of different techniques, such as improving content with relevant keywords and up-to-date information for customers, cross-linking between pages and building up backlinks, and adding specific HTML to adhere to search engine requirements.
Strong SEO allows you to understand how potential clients are searching for and finding your company’s services, as well as your competitors, ultimately helping you increase your online ranking and visibility.
The hard truth is SEO for many Managed Service Providers in 2019 is a hit or miss. MSPs often struggle to understand its value or otherwise favour improving other areas of the sales process.
However, the fact of the matter is in order to attract the right leads through our digital avenues, we need to have our websites ranking and visibility in search engines – and optimised with the right keywords, information and content so that the ideal customer we’re targeting can find us.
LeftLeads speaks to many customers without a properly fine-tuned website and who are missing out on valuable opportunities – and sometimes it comes down to lacking the essentials. In our experience with clients, the most common mistakes or missing elements often include:
- Business website is not localised: Ensuring your website properly takes advantage of local SEO opportunities seems common sense, but many MSPs fail to capitalise or get as a result, lack visibility in local search results and consistent traffic. 28% of local searches lead 50% of users to visit stores within a day, and over 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase – are you taking advantage of this?
- No monthly optimisation: Digital marketing, including setting up your business website, is not a set and forget task. To attract constant, quality traffic and the right kind of customer, your team must continuously build quality links, keep up-to-date on the newest keyword opportunities relevant to your customers, and fine-tune the user experience.
- Website is not mobile-optimised: With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, people are searching for and purchasing services on their mobile devices more than ever before, yet many businesses still fail to make their websites mobile-friendly, both across SEO best practices and design considerations. Yet approximately 61% of mobile users will contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site – a major advantage.
The last thing you want is to fall behind while your competitors get top-ranking in search results. However, we do recognise SEO is a difficult thing to get right, especially as most MSPs lack the in-house knowledge and expertise necessary to get started with and maintain their SEO.
#1- Create a relevant primary and long-tail keyword list for your business
The first step before jumping into any sort of website optimisation is to research, identify and evaluate the high-volume keywords that you want your website to rank for, most relevant to your customers search queries, and which align with your business’s key service offerings.
It’s easy to create a new web page for our products and services and forget about the most relevant keywords customers would use to search for these. Having a keywords list to reference will help your business keep on top of both high-volume and long-tail (niche or developing) keywords that will improve your conversion rate.
Long-tail keywords in particular are important to target with the same amount of dedication, given it’s more difficult to rank for broader keywords such as “MSP IT Services” – but you could dominate the less competitive “Melbourne MSP Partner” with both high-quality content and well-optimised services pages.
#2 – Run consistent SEO audits to discover new opportunities
Does your MSP currently have content marketing and content production capabilities?
If the answer is yes, great! However, just like how your MSP services constantly evolve and require fine-tuning, so does our website pages and their content.
New keywords may come to fruition, metadata (image title tags, alt tags, and search engine descriptions) may not be filled and maybe you have a couple of backlinks leading to old pages that were taken down but not re-directed – all of these potential scenarios may be the reason you aren’t attracting enough visitors. This is solved with consistent, well-managed SEO audits.
Using advanced tools like SEMRush or working with your SEO partner to audit your existing website content will not only allow you to update older entries with new information, but discover new opportunities in the market to increase visibility and stay-on-top of the latest developments.
#3 – Update title tags and other HTML elements with a fine-tooth comb
It’s easy to place our biggest focus on the quality of the page content of our website. After all, that’s the information we want our ideal customers to find in search engine results, read and lead them towards the contact page.
However, the same level of detail is required across the HTML elements of our website – most important of all the title tags. These are the elements that define the name of every page on your domain, and appear in search engine results. Often times MSPs confuse title tags with the H1 of a page, and miss opportunities to include more information for search engines as a result.
Every single page must have accurate title tags that reflect the content on the page, and include keywords relevant to your MSP services that will attract the right type of visitor. For example, it’s creating a contact us page for your company, your SEO title tag should include the name of your company, your core managed services offerings and the location of your business. Search engines will then be able to accurately understand the content of the page, and potential customers will also be able to understand your page is what they’re looking for. With a clear and concise title tag in search results, they will be less likely to scroll past your page for answers.
#4 – Use alt tags on all images on your website
Alt tags, also referred to as alt attribute and alt description, is another HTML attribute that your team should always take advantage of and pay attention too when optimising your site elements.
Alt tags are essentially a text-based alternative for search engines to read when crawling your website. It gives crawlers context and descriptions to index each image accurately, and ensure the value and relevance of the image alongside the content it’s used with is ranked appropriately.
By adding relevant keywords embedded in the images on your website, you can improve your search engine rankings in a big way – and also make your image accessible for searchers, for example, who may be visually impared and will read this text inside – tiny details that count.
#5 – Don’t overlook your Google My Business listing
One of the biggest mistakes MSPs make in regards to easy SEO wins that pay off in the long-term is ignoring the existence of their Google My Business page. This free listing service helps businesses drive customer engagement with local customers across both normal Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and Google Maps.
Essentially, Google My Business allows your marketing department to control what content and details is displayed in the search results when someone searches your business name and relevant keywords your website is currently top ranking for. You can even check to see how many times your profile has been viewed through their Business Profile on Google Maps – another source of helpful analytics to measure the success of your ongoing SEO efforts.
Ensure your Google My Business page includes not just essentials such as address, email and phone number, but also includes long-tail keywords in your My Business description, operating hours, relevant photos and upcoming events your business is hosting for max visibility. Make it easy as possible for your company to found in a local search, and a listing that reflects your site.
#6 – Ensure your website is using HTTPS
It’s 2019 and if your website is still using the unsecure HTTP, you’re probably suffering in search engine result rankings unnecessarily.
For the past five years, Google has used HTTPS status of websites as a rankings boost. Put the effort into securing an SSL certificate for your website to ensure your SEO standing is not being negatively affected with a relatively simple (and necessary) implementation that takes very little time to set up with your web host. A more secure site will always be ranked more favourably.
MSPs and SEO: Next steps to improving SEO
While search engine optimisation has become more accessible and easier to understand in many aspects, it’s understandable many organisations, including MSPs, may have trouble in the area given it’s outside of their skillset and day-to-day focus.
This is where external partners and expert consultancies such as LeftLeads can help.
Our internal SEO consultants conduct daily tasks and closely collaborate with both our agency partners and your business to ensure your website is fine-tuned and getting the leads it deserves, offering website audits, local and global SEO and monthly optimisation to help kickstart your ranking.
Want to learn more about the fixes listed in this blog, and how LeftLeads team can help? Don’t be afraid to reach out here.