SEO Strategies for Service-Based Businesses

When a business entity intends to establish its business on a global platform with the ability to speak to prospective customers everywhere in the world, then, it becomes very imperative for them to adopt a good marketing strategy. To begin with, businesses that are set up to provide various services, such as a tutorial forum or a business that repairs computers, often require having potential customers tell them exactly what they need, especially by providing contact details. This is known as lead generation. SEO has the capabilities to increase the quantity of leads that are looking for your service, as well as the quality of leads. Something as simple as tweaking the sales copy may increase the amount of leads to a certain service, and the visitors who check the site out may also be more inclined to give the contact information after being exposed to the improvements to the site’s SEO. There are various other ways that SEO service can optimize lead generation for service-based sites. A visitor from a search engine may actually create a revenue stream with that single click. This is due to the visitor being in actual need of the service and the likelihood that they will be guided to providing contact information. Some may argue that click-through advertisement is a form of lead generation. This is indeed partially true. In some cases, the visitor who clicked the ad will directly be led to a sale. However, it’s more common that the service being provided still requires information regarding exactly what the customer needs.

Importance of SEO for Service-Based Businesses

Service-based companies have a variety of options where the means of SEO will benefit them, but a universal way it will help is by saving cost compared to outbound sales calls and direct mail. Implementing PPC ads may have the same function in increasing leads and sales, but it is proven that organic search results are far more effective. This method will continue to generate traffic to your website long after you’ve stopped your SEO efforts. An example of effectiveness can be seen by comparing the cost of a PPC ad, which may be a dollar per click, compared to a dollar spent on a Starbucks worker typing in an article for your website. The article is long-term and has the potential to bring far more traffic provided it’s using the right keywords and optimization measures. This simple and efficient use of cost can benefit any business, whether it is a large corporation or an independent start-up trying to get off the ground.

Search engine optimization is incredibly important for service-based businesses. The process of SEO involves accumulating information about your prospects’ online behavior so you can cater to them by using and showing the right keywords. Higher search engine ranking drives more visitors to your business website, which can result in capturing more leads and a return on investment. Consider a search for a specific service for your business. SEO works as a way to prove your credibility to a potential client. As the longer you’ve had your website and the more visitors it receives, it will result in more revenue for your business. This is because a well-optimized website will generate more traffic, which can be converted to potential customers and eventually, a sale. Essentially, implementing keywords to obtain higher rankings really does result in a faster way of letting clients know your business offering a whole. Even simple findings from an “alt tag attribute” to an “anchor text” can play a significant role in leading potential clients to your website when done correctly using SEO. A recent study in 2013 conducted by the Marketing Sherpa reported that organic search engine results – not pay-per-click ads – are the number one driver of visitors to content sites and in the B2B sector, generate more than 70% of all potential leads. This suggests that the majority of successful business revenue stems directly from search engine results, proving how crucial SEO really is.

Benefits of Optimizing SEO for Lead Generation

Optimizing a website for search engines is one of the most effective ways to generate more business and revenue. Targeting the right keywords can drastically increase traffic to a website. This is imperative because more traffic means more revenue. Organic search results are most often the primary source of website traffic. When your site ranks higher, you will receive more impressions and click-throughs. A report by Optify shows that “websites ranked number one received an average click-through rate (CTR) of 36.4 percent; number two had a CTR of 12.5; and number three had a CTR of 9.5 percent.” This is extremely telling of how much traffic can increase the higher your rank is. Lead generation through calls, emails, and contact forms all help increase revenue and grow your business. If a person visiting your website can’t find a way to contact you, it is unlikely you will generate that lead. An example of how SEO can benefit your lead generation occurs when considering a small service-based business. An auto repair shop most likely has competition from surrounding repair shops. By using local SEO, this business can target keywords for their specific area. This, in turn, helps the shop to get more local traffic as opposed to general traffic. This will also help the business stand out above its local competition. During a different scenario, a newly built moving company that is trying to establish itself within the market. By targeting specific keywords regarding the services the company offers, they can start to generate traffic for consumers looking for that particular service. This will allow the company to grow slowly but surely, while targeting keywords generating leads will be effortless. A consumer looking for a particular service will be more likely to hire that company if they offer exactly what they have been looking for.

Keyword Research and Optimization

Identifying relevant keywords for service-based businesses You’re stuck in Google. You’re marketing your company and you’re sitting there staring at the page. You feel lost. You don’t understand the first thing about how to use keywords to your advantage. It’s a common problem with a lot of businesses that are just starting to market online. They look up information on keywords and are bombarded with different methods, techniques, and schools of thought on the subject, so I’ll break it down for you real simple. Keywords are simple variations or tenses of words used to determine what people are searching for. What you want to do is optimize your website to use the keywords that are most relevant to your business. This will ensure the traffic you get is targeted and turns into sales. The more broad and competitive a keyword is (e.g. “car”), the more traffic you will get, but the more targeted and specific a keyword is (e.g. “imported luxury car”) means that the traffic you will receive will be of higher quality, since people searching for specific keywords tend to know what they want. How do you find out what the most relevant keywords are? There are free tools available such as Google Keyword Tool that allow you to see the global and local search volume of keywords relevant to your business. A higher search volume means the keyword is used more often, however, it also means that it is more competitive. A more effective and professional approach to keyword research for SEO is to hire an SEO company or use PPC (Pay Per Click advertising) to create several different landing pages with forms of call to action. Each page will be optimized for different keywords and you can use analytics to track which keywords generate the best results. This will allow you to avoid wasting time optimizing for keywords that don’t convert well. After finding the most relevant keywords, you will need to optimize them on your website, which leads us to on-page optimization techniques.

Identifying Relevant Keywords for Service-Based Businesses

In this section, the author discusses the importance of selecting the right keywords for your business and website when seeking to optimize your search engine performance. Keywords are the words and phrases that people enter into search engines. The aim of this SEO strategy is to reach your target market via search engines and when they arrive at your website, service their needs with your product or service. For example, an auto mechanic may target the keyword phrase “changing spark plugs” because it is more likely that a visitor using this search term is looking for his services. The mechanic can then target this keyword with a landing page optimized for that term. The author makes the distinction between broad keywords and specific keywords. Broad keywords provide a very general idea of what the surfer is actually searching for and often bring in high volumes of traffic that are not necessarily targeted to your service. Specific keywords are more focused and on the topic. The traffic from specific keywords is more likely to be seeking exactly what you are offering. The tools used to identify the right keywords are Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI), Good Keywords, and Word Tracker. The KEI compares the count of a keyword’s search engine activity to its competitive activity. The higher the KEI number, the less competitive the keyword. Good Keywords is a software package that can brainstorm keywords, relatively analyze the POP of different keywords, and harvest Overture data. Word Tracker is a widely used keyword research tool that can help you find the correct keywords that will bring targeted traffic to your website. These tools are all wonderful resources to help you decide which keywords will bring the most relevant traffic to your website.

On-Page Optimization Techniques for SEO

The above code represents the title tag section of a specific webpage. Seeing as how the title tag is considered the most important factor (behind the actual content of your page) for search engine optimization, it would be wise to reserve a minimum of a 3-4 word keyword phrase for optimal results. In the “Meta description” tag (located below the title tag in the HTML code), you should use the keyword again and provide a brief description of how that keyword is related to the specific webpage. Following the description tag, you have the “Meta keyword” tag. I wouldn’t say that this is a huge factor for the major search engines like Google and Yahoo, but it won’t hurt to include it and it will help your optimization for some of the smaller search engines. Usually you’ll want to plug in plenty of keywords for this tag as it doesn’t affect the readability of your page in the browser.

<html> ” keyword research “</html> <title>Keyword Research</title>

The most basic way to start placing your keywords is to do so in the various Title and Meta tags within your webpage. Each web page should be targeting a different keyword, so for example here’s how to optimize a title tag for the keyword “keyword research”.

Now that you have a quality, relevant keyword list, it’s time to begin implementing the keywords onto your website. Optimizing keywords into your website is an attempt to let search engines know that your website is relevant for those keywords. When implemented effectively, your site should have a higher chance of being found when search engines are matching your keyword phrases to other web pages.

Off-Page Optimization Techniques for SEO

Exchanging links with other relevant websites is an off-page factor that has an impact on your search engine rankings. Not all links are equal though. Link exchanges with highly relevant sites are a sure way to tell the search engines what your site is about, and improve your rankings. It is also an incredibly valuable marketing tactic. By exchanging a link with another business you are effectively exposing your website to their entire customer base. A win-win! This can also be a good opportunity to engage in a little bit of social networking. Suggest to your competition that you could run some PPC campaigns for each other’s sites, or distribute some press releases for a joint venture. You will be surprised at how often such a proposal can be accepted. Writing articles and submitting to article directories is a great way to get some quality backlinks to your site. Just submit an article (which contains a link back to your site) to a popular site like Ezine, and there are innumerable sites that will copy that article and link to it. Obviously, the more relevant the article is to your site, the better, and the more quality backlinks you will receive. You don’t have to stick to writing articles for article directories. Think about any topic relevant to your business that you could make an article about. You will generally get a higher quality of traffic from people who read the article and are interested, than just a random surfer who clicks on a link.

Content Creation and Marketing

Note: Although offsite SEO can be a very effective method of gaining extra traffic and new clients for a service-based business, it is beyond the scope of this document. This final part of content marketing has only been mentioned briefly in 3.4 as guest blogging can be a good way to do this. In order for this method to be effective, the guest post content should be worthwhile and had just the same amount of effort put into it as content for the business’ own site.

When it comes to optimization of this content, the first step is keyword research to determine what phrases the business wants to be targeting. From here, it’s about using these target keywords in the content and metadata so that the content can start ranking for them. It is important not to overdo this as the content still needs to be high-quality and no low-quality tactics such as keyword stuffing should be used. The next step is promotion; this content is not going to promote itself, and in the competitive industries most service-based businesses are in, too few links and shares will often mean it will not register on the radar. Social media can be effective for this, but if there is an existing client base, the best way to get them involved can be to send them an email politely informing them about the content. A more advanced tactic is to use paid ads to promote the content. This can be very effective for landing pages resulting in new business and getting extra links and shares. Start Trial

Creating high-quality and engaging content is vital for business success in this contemporary era of cutthroat competition in the World Wide Web. It is this content that will make an impression on potential clients and it is the reason why they will decide to bookmark, subscribe to a newsletter, or buy. As a service-based business, it is important to showcase the expertise possessed by the business and the team, and there is no better way to do this than creating authoritative, unique, and valuable content. Valuable content is what users are looking for, and if your business can provide it, this will greatly help increase the authority and expertise of the business in the service provided. As well as content writing, white papers, guides, and tutorials can also provide a good opportunity to showcase knowledge and expertise and gain trust and confidence from visitors to the site. Using various types of multimedia in your content can also make it more engaging and increase the chance of it being shared. For those providing a form of consultancy or service, video content can be highly effective as customers can get an idea about what the service will involve, and these videos can also be syndicated through YouTube to gain extra traffic. Once all this content has been created, the key to content accessibility is to make it easy for users to locate, and therefore it should all be placed within the site (not just in PDF form) and have clear navigation and internal linking.

Creating High-Quality and Engaging Content

“Engaging content keeps visitors on your site for longer, which reduces bounce rates and increases the chances of a sale.” (Search Engine Journal). But a website that’s hard to navigate won’t compel the customer to stick around. So the first step to creating quality content is ensuring that your website is user-friendly. A visually appealing web design coupled with clear, simple navigation will ensure that visitors stay to read your content, and hopefully that they’ll return at a later date.

You already know that great content is essential to the success of any online strategy. You have to provide something valuable in order to gain something in return. Whether it’s entertaining or educational, your content should be relevant to your customers’ needs. But there’s another great reason for prioritizing content creation: it’s often more effective for SEO in comparison to other activities like link building and on-page optimization. In addition to the fact that search engines love fresh, compelling content, quality content can also result in more incoming links and social sharing – both of which are important for SEO.

Optimizing Content for SEO

SEO is an art with a purpose. The purpose is to get desired results into the eyes of an audience who would find said results useful and designated website or landing page. The art is in the execution of the various elements to achieve this goal. Considering the age of information we live in, content is at the forefront of what determines success and failure of a website. If an article is poorly written and contains faulty information, it is likely to fail just as if a well-designed mechanic is using the wrong tool to fix a car. The mechanic may realize the problem, but the odds of the wrong tools getting the job done are slim to none. Step one in content optimization is to have something of value to provide and design a game plan on how to provide it.

Search engine optimization was developed in the mid-1990s, although the importance of content optimization for search engine visibility wasn’t easily embraced. It wasn’t until 1998, seven years after its conception, that search engines grew increasingly popular and the industry grew as SEO, a term first used in 1997, continued to gain importance. In the early years of SEO, it was fairly easy to get a page to rank well and even manipulate search engines to bring undesirable results to the top. Today, search engines have minimized the effects of rank manipulation, making it nearly impossible to take advantage of their algorithms. The rank and file algorithms oversee a list of specific categories and features that have an ideal effect on ranking. With the overwhelming amount of information going about the specific details of the algorithms, it is important to note that page content still plays a large role in search engine rank.

Leveraging Social Media for Content Promotion

In order to effectively leverage social media for promoting your content, it is essential to first build a high-quality professional profile and establish a broad network of followers. Doing so will help maximize the reach of your shared content. The company’s followers can be considered low hanging fruit because the content is more likely to be seen and engaged with by these users. The followers of these users can also be a targeted audience based on the similarity in industry and interests. High-quality content can also attract readers outside of the company’s network. For example, a well-researched article that provides insight on a rarely discussed topic in the field. An effective way to build a larger target audience is by participating in relevant groups and communities and sharing the content there. This can result in a snowball effect as a well-received post will likely result in new followers who share similar interests. A larger network will have a large impact on the results of promoting content.

The popularity of social media websites cannot be understated. No one could have foreseen the largest global social media website, Facebook, would reach more than a billion active users in ten years. More recent platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat have seen rapid growth as well. The majority of these platforms provide the ability to share content including links to articles, infographics, and landing pages making social media an effective way of promoting content.

Guest Blogging and Influencer Outreach

Influencer outreach is quite similar to link building in a sense – the goal being to leverage another’s platform to direct traffic to one’s own site. An influencer is someone who is able to effect (i.e., influence) the behavior or views of others. Influencers are often bloggers themselves, and having them as a guest blogger could be a very effective strategy. More commonly however, the SEO will form some kind of mutually beneficial arrangement, providing content or a service in return for a blog review, social media promotion or a link from the influencer’s site. In cases where the influencer is a non-blogger and the goal is simply to increase exposure, some form of paid promotion may be considered. Remember that the goal here is to make it as easy as possible for the influencer to help you. You are providing them with value, so they are more willing to do the same for you. Keep the requirements simple and do not require too much from the influencer, lest the arrangement become unbeneficial for them.

Guest blogging can be very effective both for serving high quality backlinks or for gaining direct traffic. Many sites – blogs especially – are often in need of fresh, interesting content – exactly what the guest blogger can provide. In return, the blog can serve as a platform for the guest blogger, aiding visibility and possible click through to the guest’s site. Caution must be exercised in choosing blogs to guest write for. The blog should be related thematically to the guest’s site, and should have a strong readership. Writing for an unpopular or unrelated blog is likely to be a waste of time.

Tracking and Analytics

Once you have your descent targeted keywords and on-page search engine optimization, the search engine positioning marketing process moves on to setting up tracking tools to monitor how your target audience is using your site in order to find it. Some call it search engine positioning marketing, but it is really internet marketing. A good internet marketing campaign can and should lead to a good search engine marketing strategy. Use more specific tags. Try using an alt tag to describe an image. Using a common description widely increases the chances of getting it picked up by the major search engines. The most important thing to remember throughout search engine marketing is that your target is to just be found. Any tactic or marketing campaign should be evaluated to see if the desired outcome was achieved. Using web log analysis is the most common and effective method to track and evaluate search engine marketing results. Any tool that provides a way to see what people are doing on your site can be considered a web log analysis tool. High-end web log analysis tools like Omniture and Webtrends are great, but leave many out there without a couple grand to spend. There are many lower price alternatives like Google Analytics, which is a personal favorite. With a free tool like Google Analytics, there is simply no reason not to track and evaluate search engine marketing results. After successful analysis of search engine marketing efforts, the next step is to make moderate changes or more course corrections to optimize search engine marketing results. This is most effectively done using a process management methodology and an application of statistical quality control methods like Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. This process has been successfully implemented across many different industries looking to improve process outcomes and is an ideal approach to optimizing the outcome of a search engine marketing campaign. With a well-thought-out plan and a clear vision desired result, a systematic approach to continuously measure and evaluate change combined with the instantaneity of the internet and its effects on marketing results, the use of quality control methods and a process management can be very effective in the improvement and optimization of search engine marketing efforts. So, it is very important. Rock on and keep testing!

Setting Up SEO Tracking Tools

The most common tracking tool is Google Analytics, and although it is not the most feature-rich analytics tool, it is suitable for the majority of small to medium-sized sites and is very powerful considering it is free. Google Webmaster Tools is also useful for providing data on the keywords that bring people to your site. A method to track the position of your site for various keywords is to export a list of keywords from Webmaster Tools that people use to get to your site and import them into Google Analytics using the instructions here. This method does have limitations, however.

Setting up a tracking tool is crucial to ensuring your SEO efforts are not in vain. It allows you to track your progress for various keywords and phrases and determine which ones are worth the time and effort. It can also save you time by storing lists of keywords and providing data on the ranking of your site for these keywords and search phrases you are targeting.

Analyzing SEO Metrics and Performance

Due to the multi-faceted nature of search marketing, the use of multiple tools becomes necessary. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools provide data on traffic, referrals, search queries, click patterns, and many other useful indicators. You can segment the data in a variety of ways in an attempt to isolate issues and discover the true nature of problems residing within your website. Step one is to sync your site metrics with a concrete set of goals and objectives, this way there will be no question as to what needs to be improved. Step two involves the continuous tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs). Popular KPIs include: organic search traffic, the rate of new organic search visits, and the bounce rate of organic search visits. This data can be tracked over time in a spreadsheet to visually demonstrate improvements or declines in the site’s performance. Step three is learning how to extract the right data from the correct tool. Each tool has its own strengths and custom report building is often necessary. Always ask “what data might indicate a problem or change in this area?” With a clear understanding of what information is available, brainstorm on possible metrics that would signify improvements towards campaigns and projects. This will be a key driver in setting the future state. Step four is to avoid making decisions on impulse. Often times a hunch can lead to further damage. Always validate changes with data to ensure the right decisions are being made. Step five is to establish an internal site level of accountability. Task specific changes to particular individuals and measure their respective effectiveness. By sharing data and progress in the form of a story, you can keep clients and teammates encouraged and well informed.

Influential online marketers depend on information and knowledge, instead of assumptions. Try to set up a mindset of continual enhancement. When it comes to analyzing SEO metrics and performance, the primary goal is to associate search behavior with business goals and establish a process to make calculated changes. With the fast pace of the online environment and the search industry, it’s vital to move quickly and make data-driven decisions.

Making Data-Driven Decisions for Continuous Improvement

Another example may be finding out if the level of SEO effort being put into a particular product is commensurate with its revenue generation. Step one is to track the revenue of the product. Next, you need to determine the amount of traffic the page for that product is receiving. Data says that you get 10 clicks per day from search engines on that keyword for the product in question. Step three is to measure the effectiveness of the current page at converting a visit into a sale. This can be done by setting a value goal in Google Analytics to be triggered when a user visits the page with the g/buy.php, for example, and watching the ratio of daily visits to this page with the number value goals completed.

To do this, you need to find which keywords they are and then compare it to a list of keywords you are focusing on. This statistical testing will allow you to confirm if your efforts on the keyword you want to be found for are the cause of increased revenue. If it is not, you may need to put more work into the page the link is directed to.

A good example of this is deciding which keywords to concentrate your SEO efforts on. A common method of keyword selection is to target those which generate the most revenue.

A point to note here is that many decisions will need to be made on the gut feel of an experienced marketer. However, taking as much decision making as possible away from guesswork and applying findings of statistical analysis will move you further along the business objective achievement path.

Once you have systems in place for tracking and analytics, the next step is to use this data to make informed decisions which will move you closer to your business objectives. This may seem obvious, but all too often it is neglected.

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