Your website serves as the ultimate foundation to any digital marketing strategy. Any website that cannot be found easily by both search engines and real people will cost you - in dollars lost to your competition.
Since search engines change algorithms so frequently, SEO best practices change over time, so it's important to keep up with the latest techniques to get the most juice out of your optimization.
SEO is simpler these days: There are fewer tactics, but each of the vital tactics that follow must be done thoroughly and correctly.
Hindrances relating to SEO for professional services companies are specific to a few common factors:
- Professional services companies often lack the internal staff to work on the company's website or do any kind of marketing, so they must outsource, but often don't see the ROI in doing so.
- Professional services companies often focus on customer lifetime value (LCV) more than trying to acquire new leads since the revenue from repeat business is often higher than in other industries.
- Many companies have been in business long before the advent of the Internet, and haven't reinvented their marketing strategy for the digital age.
Have you fallen victim to any of these issues? If so, are you ready for a change? You can get more leads and get ahead by following the following 3 main SEO keys to success:
#1 Key to Success: Take a Severe Look at Your Website Structure
A website's structure is the basic engine that supports the text and images that make up most of the content in a website. In days of old, a website was solely comprised of static, HTML-based pages. Today, database-driven content management systems (CMS) rule. If you have a good CMS, great, but if you have an old HTML website or one of those freebie online websites, then it's time for an upgrade. Want top SEO? You can't do it with an outdated, cheapie or "one page wonder" website.
Good SEO structure means having:
- An easy to navigate menu system.
- SEO-friendly URLs.
- Mobile-ready responsive design.
- Decent hosting with good page load speeds.
Omit any one of the points above, and you'll pretty much wreck your SEO capability.
#2 Key to success: Internal and External Links
Professional services companies often cannot convey every possible piece of information about a given topic on a single page. For example, if you have a "services" page and sub-pages to describe your various services, you might create internal links to your main "services" page to your sub-pages. Such linking doesn't invoke Google's content redundancy penalties because you're not duplicating content, only the links to that content.
Internal linking best practices:
- Create natural links. If you think a reader would be interested in a related topic on your website, link to that page or post. Don't try to fool search engines by simply creating a lot of links to try to improve your ranking.
- Don't create too many links on any given page. Again, be natural about your practices.
- Don't create lists of links, or a page with a list of links. Don't put links to keywords in the footer. The latter used to be an SEO practice in days of old.
- To sum up: Don't create links that seem artificial or contrived.
External links are simply links from your pages to content on other websites. Such links show that you're a team player and want to engage in sharing of information across the web as a whole. They also show that you're not the sole thought leader in the professional services niche. If you're writing about a certain topic, and you find a relevant article elsewhere, link to it.
#3 Key to Success: Use Keywords
Keywords best practices have changed over the years. 10 years ago, you could sprinkle keywords throughout your site to really help your ranking. Today, doing so will kill your ranking. Today, the careful use of long tail keywords is still one of the best SEO tactics you can use.
How to use keywords:
- Choose and then focus on one keyword per page or post. The keyword should center on your main topic or blog article. Trying to focus on more than one keyword for a typical 500 - 800 word page or blog post can get tricky.
- Use the keyword in your page or post title, and in your Meta title.
- Use the keyword a few times (no more than 5 or so) in the body of your page or post.
- You can use variations of your keyword. For example, if "internal linking best practices" were a keyword, "best practices for internal linking" would be a good variation you could use. Google is smart; the search engine will understand what you are saying.
Key take-a-ways from this blog article:
- SEO tactics are fewer today, but each one is very important.
- Your overall website structure is as important as any specific SEO tactics.
- The most fundamental SEO rule applies today more than ever: "Create a good website for people, and search engines will love it also."