Are you concerned your local market isn’t getting enough exposure to your MSP business?
Do you see your local competitors at the top of Google’s search results and wonder why your company ranks so low on the page?
You’ve likely already set up your “Google My Business” profile, but SEO is complicated and often intimidating to someone without professional experience. Lucky for you, a few simple changes to your site can have a dramatic impact on your ranking in search results.
That’s the goal of today’s piece: I’ve put together 3 of the most important local ranking factors to help you improve your IT company’s position in local search results.
Feeling inspired? Well let’s get started.
Use Local Keywords Throughout Your Site
You probably know keywords factor heavily into ranking in search results, but understanding which keywords to use and where to use them often feels like a bit of a mystery.
Keywords have the largest impact on your ranking according to the Moz, so it’s important you have a strategy in place.
I’ll explain both pieces of that dilemma below, but in short: you need to think like your target customer. What keywords would someone in need of a local MSP use in their Google search?
Emily Weisberg, Content Marketing Manager at ThriveHive, a guided marketing solution, wrote a brilliant piece on how to find keywords for local SEO. In the post, Emily talks about how Google’s search results have changed to favor local businesses:
“Google now employs a more local-oriented approach, favoring businesses with local directory listings in close proximity to the person searching. Google can see the approximate location of your computer and they are increasingly tailoring the results to your geographical location. If you are logged into a Google account, they are also tailoring the results of your search to you personally.”
For local IT companies, that means choosing a mix of highly competitive keywords and local terms.
Transbeam, a New York-based MSP, does a great job of this on their site.
Notice the consistent use of “New York” and “NYC” across the content on their landing page in conjunction with the phrase “managed service provider.” As a result, here’s what search results for transbeam look like in Google:
Prime placement in the right-hand location window and ranked in the top five results of the first page. That’s placement that’s sure to drive a lot more traffic to their business.
Where to Enter Keywords on Your Site
Finding the right local keywords is one thing. Knowing where to enter them is completely different. Here are all the places you want to be sure you’ve included your local keywords:
- Landing Page Title Tag (check out this previous post for examples)
- H1 Tag
- Page URL
- Page Content
Looking at the source code for transbeam, you can see how often they included the location-specific keywords:
All in all, inputting local keywords into the source code for your site remains one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your ranking in search results.
Ask for More Online Reviews
The importance of generating online reviews for your MSP has come up before on this blog, but is worth noting again as it relates to boosting your local ranking.
IT businesses often focus exclusively on marketing efforts to drive traffic to the site, ignoring completely the organic traffic that can come from positive customer reviews and a pristine reputation.
With 90% of buyers claiming to be influenced by reviews, soliciting feedback from your happiest customers should be a huge part of your SEO strategy.
Humayun Khan, Product Design Lead at Roadmunk, a data visualization platform, wrote on Shopify’s blog about the relationship between online reviews and search engines. His insight helps explain why online reviews impact your site’s ranking:
“Local search engines love online reviews for one primary reason, consumers love online reviews. They’re in the business of providing people on-the-go or at home with the most accurate information to help them predict and make decisions around their future purchases. The faster they can do that, the more consumers will turn to them time and time again.”
Here’s an example of the impact reviews have on search results. I ran a search for managed service providers in Scottsdale, Arizona and the top ranking option has 7 perfect reviews on Google.
Notice how Visionary does a great job of engaging with the customers courteous enough to leave reviews for them:
That’s a smart strategy considering churn drops dramatically when your business engages with customers through social channels (reviews included).
“How Do I Ask for Reviews?”
If you’re wondering the right way to go about gathering reviews from clients, here are a few strategies to consider:
- Pick up the phone and call current customers. A quick phone call to your closest, most happy and successful clients asking for a review gives a personal touch to your request. It’s much harder for someone to reject a proposal when speaking with you directly versus over an email.
- Make sure you’re active on channels where reviews happen. It’s not just Google; building out a presence on Yelp, Angie’s List, Trustpilot and other review sites by creating a profile and engaging with users can show customers that reviews are a critical part of your business.
- Add a link to review on your landing page. Make it easy for your customers by putting a link to review directly on the homepage of your website.
Build Out Your Citations with Local Directories
A previous post detailed the basics on setting up your “Google My Business” profile, but local companies often fail to ensure their profile is optimized for the local market.
The simplest way to do this is through a consistent NAP – name, address, phone – on your GMB profile and across all other platforms.
“When determining how you rank in local results, Google scans the web for mentions of your business name, address, phone number, website URL, and several other data points…Your local search rankings are heavily influenced by whether or not Google finds your business information on the web and from their data suppliers, and whether that information is consistent and matches that provided on your Google+ page and website.”
Ensuring your NAP is consistent across your website and various profiles will have a huge impact on your search engine rank.
GobiIT sets a great example for optimizing their NAP. You can see their information in the footer of their website:
And matching information in their GMB profile:
The end result is better search ranking and higher visibility to potential customers.
These three factors have the biggest impact on your local ranking. Luckily, they are also pretty simple to influence with very little work from you.
Put these strategies into play and in no time, your IT business will be outshining the competition in all the local search rankings.