The Featured Snippet Conundrum
While content is king, there are other factors that can affect your SEO, primarily of which are featured snippets. The value of featured snippets isn’t in doubt, but in order to take full advantage of them, you need to understand how they work.
The Featured Snippet Conundrum
As we discussed previously, featured snippets are among the most effective SEO tactics to drive traffic to your website and help your MSP gain visibility. Featured snippets are valuable because they hold the topmost position your MSP can rank for in a search result. SEO's primary goal is to help your website rank higher than your competitors’ because the higher your website ranks, the more likely a potential lead will click on a link or visit your website.
Yet ironically, featured snippets usually don't result in a click; instead, they provide the searcher with a quick and easy way to learn more about the subject they are interested in. As part of a zero-click strategy, featured snippets indicate that you're providing valuable information and are a trusted resource. Featured snippets are Google's way of vouching for you and, as such, are coveted as for SEO.
A little-known fact is that a featured snippet can come from anywhere in the search position, not just the top-performing sites. This means that a lower-ranking competitor may have a featured snippet because they provided the best answer to a question. Despite this advantage, the lack of following best SEO practices, including marketing their MSP, results in their being relegated to page two of a search result. However, in practice, it is more likely that a high-ranking MSP website will have a featured snippet because chances are, higher ranking websites are creating more valuable content and following best SEO practices.
This means that if you're still focusing on individual keywords and not long-tailed keywords and phrases, your SEO isn't going to be as effective, and it's time to reconsider how you're using your keywords. In other words, stop worrying about a 'magic' keyword to drive traffic to your site, traffic is driven by providing useful information. For example, instead of sticking "IT Support" in every menu item, write a blog about how local businesses can determine if they are getting ripped off by their existing IT by breaking down their budget and looking at the amount of downtime and frustration they have to deal with.
Finally, 34 percent of desktop users don't even click on a webpage because the featured snippet has answered their question. Understand this is by design. Google is focused on user experience, not necessarily driving traffic to your site. When traffic is driven to your site, it is a side-effect of providing the best response to a person's question. Google decides that your answer is the best fit and directs the user to your website first.
How to Provide the Best Answer
When determining what the best answer is, it is essential to consider user intent. Understanding user intent is what it sounds like, understanding what answer the user was looking for when they asked their question. While it can seem like a simple process, in reality, it can be a little challenging, particularly based on which industry you serve, the services you’re providing, and even your location.
As you’re no doubt aware, MSPs aren’t at the top of Google’s trending list, which means your potential leads are going to be somewhat restricted. Moreover, businesses in need of managed IT may not even know that managed IT is what they are looking for. All they know is that they have a problem with spam, are afraid of ransomware, or can’t get decent Wi-Fi coverage in their office. Those are the pain points they are interested in solving, and may never include the term “MSP” in their search query.
Sticking “MSP” everywhere as a keyword—and deciding your SEO isn’t working because when you search for MSP you’re not turning up—isn’t the most effective method to determine your online presence. Your potential leads don’t even know what an MSP is. It’s time to stop thinking as an MSP and starting thinking as a manager who wants the spam to stop.
The best way to figure out what potential customers are searching for is to put yourself in their shoes via a persona.
Adding a persona to your MSP marketing strategy is an invaluable opportunity to understand your customer better. Developing client personas can help you understand what potential leads might be interested in learning more about or which problem they need a solution for. In fact, as a small to medium-sized business yourself, you have a unique perspective on technology issues facing other SMBs. As such, it shouldn’t be too difficult to put yourself in their shoes and develop content designed to answer their questions.
This is particularly true in your reaction during the pandemic, which in many ways created a shared experience for the business community. Regardless of industry, location, or size, most businesses faced similar issues.
Part of your marketing strategy should be to provide solutions to any concerns companies may have and are still facing. For example, while a remote workforce isn’t as robust a factor driving traffic to your website as it was six months ago, many businesses are now deciding whether to make what may have initially been a temporary measure more permanent. When thinking about content generation, you should consider which issues they would be seeking the answers to so that you can solve their problems.
We can help you manage your SEO practices, along with any other MSP marketing needs you may have. Find out more about what we offer by calling 888-546-4384.