I Don’t Feel SEO is Working for My MSP
There is no denying that SEO can seem to be a little... nebulous at times. However, there are many ways to measure if SEO is working for your MSP: your analytics, search position, and of course conversions. Despite these tangible measurements, many MSPs don’t feel their SEO is working. Before you call it quits, here are some questions to answer before you give up on your SEO.
Have You Updated Your SEO for the Modern Age?
When developing their SEO strategy, many MSPs continue to fall back to the old tactics of yesterday. That is, focusing solely on or rather hoping for that silver bullet of a keyword that opens the flood gate of traffic and leads. However, that was nearly two decades ago, and the search engines, most notably Google, have abandoned the practice of using keywords as a primary ranking tool. In fact, when talking about the keywords meta tag, Google doesn’t look at it at all. It’s irrelevant to SEO. Period.
Why is this? Early marketers used black hat tactics such as keyword spamming to manipulate search results. Google stopped placing value on individual keywords and instead focused on their attention to content as part of an overarching narrative.
When considering updating your SEO for the modern age, your business needs to consider how your potential customers receive information. Long gone are the days of using a single source of information to get your message out. In other words, your website and your on-page SEO are important, but other factors outside of your website play a huge role as well.
Moreover, today’s consumers are in control of where and how they are marketed to, and unless you meet them where they are, you are limiting your ability to market your services. As such it is critical that you understand the difference between inbound and outbound marketing and why you should invest resources into inbound marketing.
Here are some areas outside of your website that play a role in your SEO:
- Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
- Local peer groups that have an online presence (on Facebook, forums, Reddit, etc.).
- Your local chambers of commerce websites.
- Business directory listings like Yellow Pages, Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, and more.
- Local news sites that could use your MSP as a resource for technical explanations and interviews, as well as covering events.
- Your ongoing marketing efforts (any traffic you drive to your website helps Google determine the authority of your site).
On top of all this, it’s also about providing great content that is valuable and helpful to your audience, and providing a positive overall experience while someone is visiting your website.
Have You Given Your SEO Enough Content To Drive Traffic?
Content is king. As we mentioned earlier, SEO has grown beyond its single keyword-centric origins. If you want your MSP to rank higher than your competitors, you must give Google a reason to rank you higher. Best practices recommend that you do this by providing information that potential customers are looking for by answering questions or problems through content, such as blogs.
Google values user experience above all else and the best method to provide an excellent experience is to answer questions or soothe their pain points. Your blog is an effective tool to provide answers to questions potential customers are looking for. One thing to consider is that the services an MSP provides are not driven by impulse purchases. Potential customers will research what may be the cause of their technology woes.
If you provide answers to their questions, you increase the likelihood that when they need a more permanent solution, they will remember you as a source of information and have enough confidence to reach out to you and give you an opportunity to help them, making them a qualified lead.
Have You Given Your SEO Enough Support?
When we ask if you have given your SEO enough support to be successful, what do we mean? Something to consider is that SEO is more than having a website and waiting for the phone to ring. SEO is a marketing tactic, and as such, it needs to be provided with the resources to be successful.
When developing your SEO strategy, best practices recommend that you invest resources into getting your message out. As we mentioned earlier, communicative tools such as social media, blogs, acquiring backlinks, and of course, analyzing the data are integral to pushing your SEO forward, and these take time to gain traction. Here’s a brief primer of how, what, and why these tactics can improve your SEO.
Social Media: Social media remains one of the most effective communication tools today. Marketing is fundamentally about communicating your brand and why your MSP is the right one for the job. Despite any excuses why “social media doesn’t work”, if you’re not using social media, your SEO will not reach as wide an audience as it could, and ultimately you’re missing leads and leaving money on the table.
Develop High-Value Backlinks: Backlinks are treated as votes of confidence from other businesses. When a high-quality website links to yours, some of their authority (the value they have acquired) is transferred to you. This signals to search engines that your business is worth paying attention to, which in turn can increase your website’s position in a search. The more highly regarded the website that links to you, the more likely you will be considered a reliable and trustworthy source of information. For example, .edu websites are well regarded and you should make an effort to acquire .edu backlinks. Other sources of high-value backlinks can come from press releases that get picked up by local news, links from your partners, and other local peer groups and online entities.
Use Your Analytics: Your analytics can help direct your SEO by providing information about how visitors use your website. By tracking which service pages or blogs are visited, how long people stay (or how quickly they leave), and which search terms are used, you can develop an SEO strategy that increases SEO effectiveness by answering user intent.
An example of using your analytics to direct your SEO would be seeing a pattern of visitors going to your cybersecurity services page, then visiting your blogs. Logically your next step would be to create more blog content discussing cybersecurity, create social media posts to drive traffic to your cybersecurity offerings, and link all of it to a cybersecurity-focused landing page to collect their contact information (in exchange for a cybersecurity-themed deliverable, of course).
Amazing Marketing Ammunition: Describing your services isn’t enough to stand out from your competitors. Let’s take backup for example. Most MSPs offer some sort of disaster recovery solution. In fact, most MSPs offer pretty much the same disaster recovery solution. There might be some technical differences, but your clients don’t care about that. To them, it’s a separate line item on their invoice that they (hopefully) never need to rely on.
So, how can we make your backup solution look amazing? Case studies. If you’ve helped a local business survive a disaster, and were able to keep them afloat while they struggled to get back on their feet, you should build that into a case study that other prospects can review. Highlight it everywhere on your website, and promote it everywhere and as often as you can. Suddenly you are taking a seemingly uninteresting service and putting real-world value to it while proving yourself at the same time. Rinse and repeat this with every single service and every single industry you want to work with, again and again.
Have You Given SEO Enough Time to be Successful?
Finally, have you given your SEO enough time to do its job? Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for MSPs to start an SEO or content marketing plan and stop it after a couple of weeks or months proclaiming that they do not see results. The problem is many MSPs don’t have a marketing objective in mind except that they rank on page one of a search result for Managed IT.
One major drawback with this belief is that most of your potential leads have no idea what managed IT is, let alone that they need it. What they do know is that their computers feel slow or they get too much spam. The goal of your SEO is to let them know that you're the MSP who can solve their problems.
SEO is a long-term marketing tactic and it takes time for search engines to determine where to rank your MSP website in comparison to your competitors. It can take between three to six months, perhaps longer depending on your competitors’ efforts to maintain their position before you see tangible results. Moreover, there are many factors that can influence your position and why your MSP competitors may rank higher than you.
Additionally, SEO (like all forms of marketing) requires consistency. Making an occasional Facebook post, a retweet, or a blog isn’t going to change the needle. Traditionally known as the “Rule of Seven”, it is the truism that it takes at least seven “touches” or impressions before your message is able to reach a potential lead. In today’s 24/7, always-on environment, you can imagine how much it takes for your SEO to leave an impression. A lot more than one month of effort, that’s for sure.
Now is the Time to Invest in a Marketing Plan
If you’ve been holding back your marketing plans due to the uncertainty of the past year, now’s the time to develop a marketing strategy to drive traffic and generate the leads your business needs to grow. If you’re not sure how to develop a marketing plan, we can help.
We understand what works for this unique industry because we’re an MSP ourselves. Call 888-546-4384 today to schedule an appointment to discuss your marketing needs.