When an organization is in the market for managed service provider solutions for their business, they will turn to the search engines to satisfy their needs. A well-rounded Local SEO program to find a local provider is vital towards driving leads for MSPs. But considering that 46% of all Google searches seek local information and “near me” searches have grown at a rate of 130% last year alone*, it is simply too important to ignore or not do correctly.
Many MSPs check the SEO box by creating content, relying on the “if you build it, they will come” mindset. But this approach is flawed as much of this content is dry and in long form which is simply too stale for business owners to digest in a timely, relevant fashion. Don’t get us wrong, while content creation and optimization are very important for SEO success, the old adage of Content is King is simply not enough to drive leads for your business. Managed Service Providers need an all-encompassing local SEO strategy to separate themselves from the competition which helps drive more site traffic, more leads and drive sales for your business.
Local SEO for MSPs – What is it and how is it different from standard site SEO?
You may be wondering what makes local SEO different from general site SEO. Like standard SEO, local SEO still does require tried and true keyword driven content, backlinks and website optimization. Local SEO factors more criteria than those alone as the regional aspect of these programs is what sets it apart from general site SEO. Think of standard SEO optimizing around the “what” your business does but local SEO puts a priority on the “where” factor. This is ultimately the differentiator between the two types of SEO programs being discussed. With local SEO combining both the “what” and the “where”, you place your MSP business in a better position to show up for relevant, local searches from business owners seeking your services.
Understanding the anatomy of the Google Search Result Page:
In order to understand the impact of these six recommendations, it is important to understand the anatomy of the Google Search Result Pages. Beyond the Google Ads paid listings on the top of the page, the organic listings combine the “local pack” and “local pages”.
The “Local Pack” attains an estimated 50% of the clicks on the search result page for a local based query. This can include items that are most relevant to the keyword search and showcase the best local based search listings matching the user’s search query. It is important to note that your Google My Business listing falls within this section of the listings that garner 50% of the clicks***.
The “Local Pages” include website listings as well as other vital pieces of your brand’s footprint as it applies to local search. Listings such as Facebook profiles or your Yelp listings will fall within this section of the search result page. Posting consistently is a key to attain and maintain these types of listings.
Now that you have an understanding of how Google displays results, let’s dive into the six key factors that impact local SEO.
The core 6 Local SEO Ranking Factors
Understanding and correctly implementing the following six local SEO factors will position your MSP business correctly on the major search engines, steering leads your way vs. your competition. Focusing on these local SEO factors will help you save time and money that you can utilize to be more proactive with your clients, close more tickets and grow your business as a whole.
1. Google My Business: While this is free to do (currently) from Google, the easy-to-use listing service helps manage what appears on search result pages, typically on the right-hand side of a search result page. Creating and more importantly standardizing your business information including your business name, contact information such as your business address, phone numbers and more all play a role for SEO success on Google. Consumers also leave reviews which will be showcased within your Google My Business listing, a key factor in any decision-making behavior.
2. Reviews: As mentioned above, reviews from those that have tried your product or service offering has a ton of influence on buying decisions. And this is especially true for online reviews, as business owners want to find a trustworthy MSP to work with. In fact, 84% of consumers trust consumer online reviews much more than a personal recommendation**. Taking this further, Yelp states that increasing your Yelp ratings by one star alone can help a business grow their revenue by 5%-9%.
3. Content: Content comes in all forms. And while local businesses have adopted the mindset of creating content such as long form whitepapers, blog posts and more, you must wonder if those pieces alone are truly effective to sway a business owner’s decision making. Especially if they have limited time to read a long white paper. So, content is important, but it is more important to recognize and create different types of digestible, optimized content that will sway a decision from your target audience. Content such as informative posts, videos, images and infographics are just a few ways where optimized content can capture early stage awareness queries which will help your business get found and cultivate a cold lead (website visitor) into warm and eventually closed leads for your MSP business.
4. Website Backlinks: Backlinks are still vital for SEO, be it standard SEO as well as local SEO. Backlinks, to review, are when other web pages, which can include social business pages as well as review sites, link to your site. This link relationship passes SEO juice to your site and strengthens your relevance and value from the eyes of Google. And while the volume of backlinks is a critical factor for local SEO success, the relevance of a site linking to you holds more weight. Quality over quantity is the key to link building for MSP local SEO success.
5. Directory Listings: Piggybacking off link building, directory listings play a huge role in local SEO as well. Typically, directories contain a local citation, such as your business name and contact information, including your phone number. These citations help tell the search engines where you’re located and helps validate your business. Directory listings can appear on other business pages, review websites, or social media platforms, all of which help expand the reach of your MSP business.
6. Social Media: Social media is very important for MSPs that seek local SEO success as it enables smaller businesses to build communities and maximize reach with highly targeted local advertising. More importantly, it provides a platform for business owners to connect with and engage with MSPs. The more you engage with your business on the social networks, the better your overall local SEO presence. Social media exposure typically leads to subsequent searches from business owners as well – so expect someone that was exposed to your business on Facebook to continue researching your MSP business on Google using a branded search as the next step in their consideration for a managed service provider that fits their organization’s needs.
Local SEO is hard…we get it. With these local SEO factors to consider along with doing your day-to-day job functions, this can seem a bit overwhelming.
And that is where Media Horizons comes in! With our robust team of professionals taking the burden off of your team across these six local SEO factors, it will free up your time to do the things you need to propel your MSP business forward.
*Source: Think with Google