Many IT firms and managed service providers are embracing a wider global audience, thanks to modern technology. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a need for local optimization. After all, if you’ve got a local firm that sees clients in person, you need to make sure that people know about and know how to find you, as well as why they should choose you out of all the MSP/IT services in the area.
There are several elements to a good local SEO strategy, no matter what business you’re in. This guide will cover some of the most important best practices and tips to ensure that your local optimization gives you the reputation and lead generation that you deserve.
You may know this as Google My Business, but it’s recently changed names. It hasn’t, however, changed in terms of importance. Google places a lot of value on whether a local business has taken the time to fill out its business profile completely. You can even find places to work in keywords, helping improve the optimization of your profile. And for those who want to make sure that their optimization efforts are maximized, Google even has a completion tracker that can tell you when you get to 100%.
One of the biggest facets of local SEO is creating a solid reputation for your business online. Reviews and testimonials from previous clients, vendors, and others can do wonders to help build your reputation. You should take the time to balance the locations of the reviews—testimonials on your website are great, but you’ll want to get reviews on Google, Yelp!, social media, and other sites.
What about negative reviews? You can’t avoid them or prevent them. Sometimes, they will happen. The best thing that you can do for your local SEO (and the user) is to respond to the review and try to identify how you can assist or resolve the situation. Even if you never actually reach a satisfactory resolution, you’ve done your part by showing that you tried to fix things.
Professional networking is another way to build valuable reputation points in the eyes of Google. You should always focus on quality networking, not just quantity. Google pays attention to these things and they’ll reward you kindly if you have the right connections. If you just share links and network with anyone to get any publicity that you can, it will show and you could even lose points in the eyes of the search engine indexers.
You can do this by sharing backlinks, posting guest blogs, networking and communicating on forums and other websites, and even networking professionally on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Diversify your networking for the best results.
One of the best things you can do to help create a more streamlined local SEO strategy is to perform an audit of your existing content. This will allow you to see what’s worth keeping, what can be modified, and what needs to be scrapped entirely and replaced. This is part of the process that you could outsource if you don’t have the capability, or you just feel like it’s better to trust an expert. In any case, someone needs to check your existing content, both on your website and other locations online where your business is listed. This includes your social media profiles, and a lot of companies still overlook that. Don’t be one of them.
Speaking of social media, you need to engage with your audience and utilize each platform accordingly. Just creating profiles is no longer enough. You also need to share content, engage with your followers, and give people that personal connection that they crave. Make sure that you utilize as many social media platforms as you can and do it accordingly. Cultivate audiences and followings here and watch how your reputation soars. After all, Google isn’t going to give you good rankings as a local business unless you prove that you’re really worth it.
When you list your firm’s contact information online, it’s called a citation, or NAP (name, address, phone number). It also needs to be standardized and consistent in every single place that you get listed online. Even something as simple as a misplaced comma or period, or an abbreviation versus spelling something out can cost you valuable points. Choose a standard NAP listing, stick with it, and make sure that everyone at the firm knows to use it whenever they’re listing the company’s contact info.
Today, there are millions of searches performed on mobile devices. When you’re in the business of managed services and IT, you might not think that you’ll have a lot of mobile interest but think about how many times you use your smartphone or tablet to look up local businesses—that’s what your audience wants, too. If your site is not optimized for mobile, you are going to lose valuable points in the search rankings. However, and perhaps more importantly, you’re going to lose a valuable sector of your audience.
Optimization is just one part of the effort—you’ll need to also have systems in place to manage the leads that start coming in once your local SEO is in place. That starts with a 24/7 answering service to ensure that you never miss an opportunity. When you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, it can also include appointment scheduling, lead intake, and even valuable assistance with outreach campaigns and outbound sales if you’re still working on those efforts.
And as always, it includes a custom strategy to manage every last detail. To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do to assist your MSP/IT firm, or reach out to us at email@example.com.