SEO is insanely effective.
And it doesn’t matter whether your goal for it is to generate more leads or boost industry authority, it works.
But there’s a catch:
Retaining good rankings requires amending your SEO strategy continuously.
After all, Google evolves. Every month, the search engine improves its algorithm to deliver the best possible information to its users.
And if you don’t want to risk those changes affecting your search visibility, you have to keep up.
So, in this post, we decided to show you the three factors you should immediately include in your SEO strategy.
You’ll learn what you should be doing right now to ensure MSP website retains and gains even higher rankings.
But let’s get something out of the way first.
Why Your SEO Strategy Must Continue to Evolve
Many factors convince IT companies to invest in SEO.
For one, many MSP businesses realize the amazing results the channel can deliver. After all, 93% of all online experiences begin in the search engine. And 71% of B2B buyers start their research in Google (source).
Based on this data alone, you could assume that the majority of your potential leads will start looking for you by googling for information.
What’s more, the channel delivers tangible results. According to the data from Smart Bug Media, the organic search is capable of delivering nearly 15% visitor to lead conversion rate.
To put it into a broader context, that’s 10x more than the results you get from outbound strategies like direct media or paid advertising.
But for many, SEO is also synonymous with little effort.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Most IT marketers I’ve met understand the amount of work required to achieve good rankings.
But only a few realized that this work never stops. And that’s even if you reach the top of Google’s first page.
Changes to the Google algorithm, competition improving Google rankings constantly threaten your search visibility.
The only way to secure your rankings, traffic, and the leads organic search delivers is by updating your strategy regularly.
Here are three factors that will help you fortify your strategy right now.
Strategy #1. Adding more semantic terms and phrases
Google has a tremendous task to fulfill:
To match whatever scraps of information a person provides with millions of pages to deliver the most relevant search results.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a specific query, a question or truly just a random collection of facts we remember about the topic, we expect the search engine to provide the information we seek.
And most of the time, it does.
However, to achieve such a level of relevancy, Google must be able to understand both the search query and content on a page better.
And here’s where updating the page to include more semantic terms and phrases can help.
Semantic phrases help define the context of a page. Think of them as additional words that specify the topic and the context of your content. For example, the term “IT” on its own, could refer to more than your profession.
It’s also the title of a famous Stephen King’s novel. And of two movies based on it. It’s Italy’s top-level domain. Internet chatters use it as an abbreviation for “I think,” and so on.
Without semantically-related words in the copy, Google will, most likely, find it difficult to understand to which of the definitions above your page refers.
You can see that confusion here. Notice that Google displays pages related to different meanings of the term together.
However, finding terms like “computer,” “server,” or “MSP” makes the topic of the page clear. As a result, the search engine will know for which search queries to display your page.
Using the example above, it, most likely, wouldn’t display it for requests for information about the book.
But, given the complexity of today’s search queries, Google needs as much help as possible.
In fact, to rank your page for the most relevant phrases, it needs to find specific phrases in your copy. These are terms that:
- Provide even further context to the page’s topic
- Refer to the topic of the page but aren’t a variation of its keyword
- Other pages ranking for the target keyword have used them too.
For example, here’s a list of recommended semantic keywords for the term, “server maintenance.”
Notice that not all of them refer to the keyword. At the same time, terms like “Network failures,” “management services,” or “potential security risks” help Google define the topic better. And in turn, display this page for the most relevant searches, increasing the chances of it attracting qualified traffic.
How to discover semantic keywords to use? Many tools help identify phrases to include in the copy. We use the SEMrush’s SEO Writing Assistant. You can see it at work in the screenshot above.
How to use those semantic keywords? Include them in the content naturally. Add sentences or update existing ones that include those terms.
Strategy #2. Creating Topic Clusters to Dominate Entire Topics
How we search for information has changed.
In the past, most searchers used similar terms or keywords to find relevant information.
Today, with voice search and the Google’s increased ability to decipher even the most complex queries, we’ve learned to describe what we’re looking for differently.
We ask the search engine questions.
We also describe our problems. Instead of focusing on specific keywords, we use long queries that define what we’re looking for.
In fact, as many as 64% of searches today consist of four or more words.
(BTW, that’s also why incorporating semantic terms is so important. It increases the chances of Google displaying your site for those long and descriptive queries.)
From an SEO perspective, this suggests that, rather than focusing on keywords, businesses should focus on topics.
By doing so, they increase the chances of their content appearing for any queries their target audience might use to find this information.
And that’s the focus on this next strategy – creating content that can dominate an entire topic.
How, by creating what SEOs refer to as topic clusters.
Topic clusters let you organize your existing content to tell Google what topic it relates to, and which page is the most relevant content about it.
In practice, this looks more or less like this:
At the center of a topic cluster is a pillar page. Its content covers all aspects of a topic, although not in detail.
It’s the pages around it, the cluster content, that dive deeper into each specific aspect.
How to create a topic cluster? Although the process is complex, at its core, it involves 5 steps:
- Identify a topic that could drive more traffic to your site,
- Collect all existing pages or blog posts you wrote about it already,
- Create the pillar page, a long-form content that serves as an overview of all those additional content assets.
- Link those pages from their relevant sections on the pillar page.
- Link all those assets to the pillar page.
Check out this page to learn more about the process.
Strategy #3. Boost mobile page speed
As of this month, Google will start using the mobile page speed as a ranking signal.
In other words, the speed at which your page loads for mobile users will determine your rankings. And that includes both mobile and desktop search results.
The search engine claims that this change will affect only a limited number of sites. However, it’s safe to say that over time, Google will fine tune this part of its algorithm to increase the expectations for the ideal page speed further.
And so, as the final thing, use tools like the Mobile Speed Tester from Google to establish your current mobile speed. The tool will analyze how your site would load for a user on a 3G mobile connection.
And then, offer recommendations for improving the page speed further.
To keep up with Google, your SEO strategy must evolve. Only in this way, you can deliver content and the search experience to guarantee retaining or even, improving your rankings.