7 Ways to Get Your MSP to Rank for Multiple Locations
You’re a successful Managed Service Provider serving multiple cities, or even multiple states... yet when you do a Google search for IT companies in those locations, your business doesn’t come up as a result. Instead, the results are populated with local businesses which feature the location in their titles or meta-descriptions.
Should you just add those cities to your titles and meta-descriptions too, or is there a better way for your MSP to rank?
Yes, there IS a better way to rank. Let’s talk about it. But first, you need to understand how Google is often determining ranking.
Most Searches Are Local
The first thing to understand about how Google provides search results is that Google prioritizes results based on location. When you perform a search, Google knows your location and provides a result based on where you are unless you specify a different location (or hide your location) when you conduct the search.
So for example, if you’re looking for pizza, Google will give you results from where you currently are. This makes sense; why would you want pizza from New Jersey when you’re in Brooklyn? Google focuses on ‘user intent’ and is assuming that when you’re searching for a business or service, you want a result that is close to you. In this case “list of pizza parlors” translates into “list of pizza parlors near me.”
User intent also applies to your MSP when a potential customer searches for “computer repair or backup and recovery solutions.” Google will assume they also mean near me and provide a localized result.
It’s worth noting: This doesn’t work for all searches. For example, at the time of writing this, broad terms like “cybersecurity” don’t trigger Google to think you are looking for a local business. Instead, Google provides definitions of cybersecurity, recent headlines, and a few of the major players in the world of cybersecurity (like Cisco and Kaspersky). Nothing you do on your local site is going to get Google to rank you above Cisco and Wikipedia until Google starts seeing a shifting trend of users looking up the term “cybersecurity” and showing the intent that they want a local business.
Let’s assume that you show up in the search results for your local city, but you’re an MSP servicing multiple locations and wish to rank for those locations as well. Unfortunately, you may find that you’re not able to due to Google’s preference for ‘local’ businesses acting as a barrier. If you’re unsure of how to break through, here’s seven ways an MSP can rank for multiple locations.
1. Manage Your Metadata
Metadata (page titles, description tags, Htags and other information) are useful to ‘tell’ search engines what the content on a webpage says and its context. A well developed metadata strategy can be invaluable to drive traffic to your site by encouraging searchers to click through to it. It is understandable that an MSP interested in ranking in multiple locations would be tempted to add all the locations in their metadata. However, before you do this, keep in mind if this goes against best practices for SEO:
Best practices advise page titles be around 65 characters. If your titles are longer, Google will truncate it to 53 characters. Here’s an example of a page title which is compliant:
Managed IT and Computer Support | Acme Inc | Connecticut
Let's imagine Acme really wants to show they serve MSPs the tri-state area,so they add all three states.
Marketing Managed IT and Computer Support | Acme Inc | Connecticut | New York | New Jersey
While this looks good in theory, in practice the results won’t. This is because Google will truncate the title to around 53 characters:
Managed IT and Computer Support | Acme Inc | Connecti…
As you can see, this option defeats the purpose of using your page title to call attention to your service areas.
Google also has guidelines as to how many characters you can use on meta-descriptions, in this case it’s about 160. Here’s an example of a meta-description:
JoomConnect offers marketing services for IT companies. A marketing agency for MSPs, by MSPs. Get more traffic, leads, and growth. Call 888-546-4384 today.
As with your page titles, a similar result would occur if you were to attempt to add all your service areas into your meta-descriptions. Here’s an example:
JoomConnect offers marketing services for IT companies. A marketing agency for MSPs, by MSPs. Get more traffic, leads, and growth. Serving Connecticut, NY, NJ. Call 888-546-4384 today.
At 181 characters, Google will truncate this too, however it may randomly do so:
JoomConnect offers marketing services for IT companies. A marketing agency for MSPs, by MSPs ...traffic, leads, and growth. Serving Connecticut, New York, New…
Like with your page titles, adding too much content can, instead of making your services more attractive, have the opposite effect.
How Do We Work Around These Limitations?
A single page on your website doesn’t need to cover your full gamut of services. In the same way, a single page on your website doesn’t need to cover the full range of the locations you serve and the types of clients you work with. Creating additional pages with new content about your work in other areas or for other industries will be a big help. We’ll discuss this in the next step.
It’s also worth noting that, depending on what random SEO tool you run on your website, they might have different “best practices” for character lengths. You might also find that longer blog titles tend to push the titles of your blog posts out past the character limit. It’s not the end of the world; Google’s stance on it is to focus on the user experience. If it makes more sense to have a longer, more explanatory blog title, then do it.
2. Create Content Specific For Each Location
As we have learned, overstuffing your page titles or meta-description isn’t going to be your saving grace. If you want your MSP to rank for all the locations you serve, there is no shortcut; you must create unique content specifically optimized for those locations. In this case, optimized means using the location naturally in the body content, and either H1 or H2 tags to let search engines understand your intent and supply enough unique content to provide the searcher a reason to believe you’re authentic.
Unique content means just that - unique. Copied content that just swaps out one city for another but doesn’t make any substantial changes isn’t unique, it’s duplicated. Google’s AI is too smart for that and you will not increase your rank for long if you use this tactic. In order to rank for multiple locations, you must create unique content specific for each location, or you won’t be recognized as authentic.
Finally, as tempting as it is, don’t keyword spam the location you wish to rank for by just sticking the location in every sentence - or worse - sticking all your locations in every sentence. Take a moment to learn more about how to effectively use keywords in our blog.
3. Create Individual Pages For Each Location
While we see the importance of creating custom content for each location, what do we do with it once it’s created? How do we present it so that search engines and visitors to your website are aware you serve these locations?
We need to place this custom content on its own pages which are optimized for each location. This must go beyond making a generic, catch-all ‘areas we serve’ page with just a list of locations (although you should do that as well). We need pages with valuable content, providing searchers with the knowledge that you’re an MSP who serves their area.
An example of this could be a bio page of your team, focusing on individual team members who service the neighborhoods you wish to feature. These pages would have location-specific content such as client testimonials, reviews, links to location-specific case studies, and to local events. For a more robust experience, adding photos, videos, and social media featuring those locations increases the authority of the page and its ranking.
4. How a Localized Page Should Look
On the top header of your website, you have your main menu navigation. There should be an option called “Areas We Serve.”
The “Areas We Serve” menu item will hold the individual region content. You could also create subpages under, each with case studies, contact info, and more.
Let’s assume Acme was branching out into the Albany area:
Page title: Managed IT and Computer Support for Albany Businesses | Acme Inc
Description: Acme Inc offers managed IT services, computer support, and IT security consulting for businesses in Albany, NY. Call (607) 433-2200 today.
H1 Tag: We are the Capital District’s IT Experts
H2 Tag: Acme is More than Albany NY’s Leading Computer Professionals; We Help Businesses THRIVE.
Body: Serving the capital region and Upstate NY since 1997, Acme Inc. has experience ushering technology growth with businesses of all sizes. We provide computer support services, IT consulting, business communications solutions, and IT security services. We can help your organization gain control over your frustrating IT and help you utilize technology to become more efficient and profitable - all while meeting any industry security compliances required of your business.
Bio: Meet Charles Schmendeman, IT Account Manager, Albany NY
I was raised just 20 minutes outside of Albany and got my Bachelors in Information Technology at Siena College. I have a personal vested interest in helping local Albany businesses thrive in an ever-changing technological landscape. I really hope my team can work with your organization and solve your IT problems! When I’m not helping Upstate NY businesses get control over their technology, I enjoy hiking and tinkering with my 1964 Plymouth Barracuda.
Case Study - This Albany Manufacturing Company Saved $84,000 on Required IT Upgrades by Moving to the Cloud. Find Out How!
Download our case study to learn how one of the oldest, most recognized manufacturers in the Port of Albany was able to fully upgrade their entire aging IT infrastructure to modernize and streamline their business, while saving thousands of dollars by moving to an entirely hosted environment. It started with a call to Acme Inc…[Download]
5. Link-Build On Each Location Page
The importance of backlinks: As we mentioned earlier, your team’s bio pages can be a great way to feature content to specific locations. If, for example, your team member’s page were to contain content discussing local events, organizations, or places of note on their page, there is a chance those organizations located in those areas would link to that page. If so, these high quality localized websites would transfer some of their authority to your location page, increasing opportunities for those pages to rank for those locations in search results. One marketing tactic an MSP can use to attract backlinks is creating link bait.
Don’t forget to add internal links to your local pages! This allows visitors and the search engines to make ‘links’ to the local pages and the services/solutions offered.
6. Encourage Testimonials And Reviews
One of the strongest marketing tools available to your MSP are testimonials and reviews. The social proof of reviews and testimonials can help establish your business’ bonafides to potential customers, particularly if you’re not physically in their location. When you place testimonials and reviews on your local pages, you increase the value of those pages in the eyes of Google and potential customers.
7. Use Structured Data
Structured data is a means of formatting your website’s code so that search engines get more insight into its content and can use that insight to show results in different, more detailed contexts - creating what are known as rich results. It adds value to your website by providing search engines with more information about what the website and pages are about.
Content and context matter; structured data allows Google to make the connection to the two. Most importantly, there’s a chance Google will provide your page as a rich or featured snippet. A featured snippet result can greatly increase your click-through rate.
While there is no guarantee that Google will generate your search results as a rich or featured snippet as shown below, you wouldn’t even have the possibility without structured data.
Are your MSP’s marketing efforts under-performing? JoomConnect has what you need for your MSP’s sustained marketing success... from building an audience, to driving traffic, to conversion. To schedule an appointment, call 888-546-4384 today or go here to schedule a demo.