Let’s face it: we’re living in a digital age, which means that your website has become a 24x7x365 selling tool. Whenever a user or business is experiencing a particular problem, they turn to search engines like Google and click on the most relevant result. As an IT service provider, you’re in the business of solving problems, so how can you ensure that your website appears on that first page?
The traffic you capture via organic search is free, and having a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is an extremely effective way to drive qualified traffic to your website. To do this successfully, however, IT service providers need to understand the most important elements of SEO and implement the best tactics. In this post, we’ll dive into the five proven ways you can strengthen your website and SEO strategy, increase your rankings and optimize your online presence. Let’s get started!
1. Familiarize Yourself with Helpful Tools
Most of you don’t have the time or resources to manage a website or SEO strategy all on your own. This is a conversation I had with a lot of MSP partners while at the Grow Your Business Hub during Navigate 2017. If you’re intimidated by SEO or feeling a little stretched thin, there are some tools out there that can help you manage this without it being a burden.
First off, you should take SEO into consideration when choosing your CMS (content management system) or WordPress template. Not all of these are created equal, so look for the one what works best for your business. You’ll often find that with an easy-to-navigate CMS, managing SEO can be quite simple.
Additionally, I highly recommend checking out Moz, a suite of SEO tools designed to help you improve your search rankings and drive more traffic to your site. With features such as Keyword Explorer, you’ll be able to discover and prioritize the best keywords for your site.
2. Develop a Keyword Strategy
Speaking of keywords, it’s essential that you build a strategy around the ones you’d like to target. Essentially, these are the words and phrases—like “managed IT services”—in your web content that make it possible for users to find your website via search engines. A keyword optimized website is one that speaks the same language as its potential visitors based on SEO keywords to help connect searchers to your website.
Keywords are key to increasing your rankings as well. When building out a strategy, most MSPs will focus on using industry terms and buzzwords that don’t necessarily drive SEO. Instead, it’s important to think of the specific words and phrases that end-users are typing into the search bar. This way, your website will appear as an answer to their problems or questions, helping you win over that traffic from your competition.
3. Take Advantage of Homepage Real Estate
You can then take these keywords and showcase them on your website, and the homepage is a prime place to do this. Your homepage should properly communicate to visitors who you are, what you offer, and why people should partner with you.
Many MSPs have the mindset that the more information you have on the homepage, the better. However, this will actually have a negative impact on your engagement rates. When you have too much text on a page, it creates an overload of information and can lead to visitors leaving our website overwhelmed and confused. Instead, take advantage of the valuable real estate your homepage has to offer by simplifying wordy headlines or paragraphs for clear, concise descriptions of the value of your business.
4. Get Meta
Not only are the on-page elements crucial to a good SEO strategy, but also the fields that lie behind the page itself. I’m talking about meta descriptions, header tags, alt text, and more. Let’s dive into these elements a bit and see where there is opportunity to optimize for better SEO.
According to Moz, meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise summaries of webpages. They commonly appear underneath the blue clickable links in a search engine results page.
Meta descriptions are extremely important in getting users to click on your website from a search. These short paragraphs, typically no more than 160 characters, provide an opportunity for you to "advertise" your content to searchers. Additionally, meta descriptions are a great place to employ the keywords that your webpage is targeting.
Header tags are an important SEO factor because search engines will recognize the copy in your header tags as more important than the rest. This starts with your h1 and works its way down in importance to the h2, h3 and so on.
To optimize these, the h1 tag should contain your target keywords, ones that closely relate to the page title and are relevant to your on-page content. The h2 tag is a subheading and should contain similar keywords to your h1 tag. While header tags provide a good opportunity to target key words and phrases, keep in mind that you should not over-stuff them with keywords—Google will actually penalize you for this!
Alt text (alternative text), also known as “alt descriptions,” are used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. You might recognize them as the text that will appear in place of an image that cannot load.
Not only can using alt text make for a better user experience, it also has great SEO benefits. Alt text offers better image descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index and understand an image properly. This also provides you with another opportunity to include your target keywords on a page!
5. Analyze and Reanalyze
Finally, SEO and website optimization shouldn’t be something you do just once. As the industry and needs of your target clients evolve, so too should your web strategy.
Make it a regular exercise to examine the entirety of your website. Use this time to correct any spelling errors, fix any broken links, and implement the above strategies—such as adding keyword optimized meta descriptions and h1 tags.
Ultimately, the goal of having an SEO strategy is to drive the right people to your website. To do so, search engines use complex algorithms that consider the factors we just touched upon, among many others. Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure that the “equation” is correct by following these five steps so you can strengthen your web presence!
By Courtney Swift
By Scott Wittstock