The ins-and-outs of SEO for Professional Services business owners. Learn if, why, when and how to do SEO for your business.
People are searching on the Internet all the time. Just ask yourself when was the last time you searched Google. And now ask the person next to you... According to Google, 97% of Internet users look online for local services and products. Google’s search data shows that every 1 in 5 searches is actually for a product or service nearby.
In other words, whether you’re a wedding planner in Atlanta, an interior designer in Houston or a lawyer in San Jose, someone is probably searching for your service online right now.
The question is, how do you get your business to show up in those search results. The answer is Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
What is SEO and how is it important?
Without getting too technical, every time someone searches for something on a site like Google, Bing or Yahoo, these search engines looks through billions of web pages in order to provide the most relevant and valuable results.
Think of it like this: Google is the guy sitting in the back of the room at a conference watching how questions are asked and if relevant information is being provided. That's Google's agenda - to always provide the most relevant results for your search. So if you want your business to appear first on the results page, you must prove to Google that you’re the most relevant.
SEO is the tool used to show Google for which search terms you’re relevant. Even after you “convince” Google of your relevancy and make it to the top of the results page, the game isn’t over. SEO is an ongoing process because if too many people searching for "Photographer Detroit" click on your site and leave within seconds, Google understands you aren't relevant for this search and will move your site down in the results.
Traditional elements of SEO include using relevant keywords, links and properly structuring your website. To learn more about the basics of SEO, take a look at the video clip, here: http://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo. Here is another article that explains the basics of SEO in greater depth (and has some yummy looking pictures on cake!).
How do I do SEO?
As plenty of marketers will tell you today, you don’t “do SEO” anymore. Search Engine Optimization has become something so fundamental that it needs to be incorporated into all of your online marketing efforts. You’ll want to think about a broader SEO strategy for your business.
SEO can get quite technical as well and is changing all the time in correspondence with search algorithm updates. Google, for example, changes its search algorithm between 500-600 times a year. You’ll therefore most likely want to consult an SEO professional.
Finding an SEO person shouldn’t be too hard but make sure you get good recommendations and a straightforward work proposal. It’s important to work with someone trustworthy and to know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
Speak to your friends, colleagues and LinkedIn connections and see if anyone can recommend someone. Another great way to find a reputable, local SEO professional is by posting an inquiry on EZBZ. Using EZBZ you’ll be able to easily compare bids from different companies.
Professional services companies tend to struggle with SEO so it’s worth spending the time to find someone good!
Can I do any SEO on my own?
While we recommend working with an SEO expert, there is plenty you can do on your own! For starters, consistently add relevant content and information to your website and blog. If you’re a patent lawyer, write a blog post about the current patent wars between technology companies and write another piece telling people how to search public patent archives. Another post idea would be something titled, “How to Better Prepare for a Meeting with your Patent Lawyer” and so on. The more you write about your services and industry, the better. This will definitely put you in the right direction as search engines look for text and also give extra points for new content.
Here is something else you can do right now on your own. It’s called Google+ local. By setting up a Google+ local page, your business will appear in Google Searches, on Google maps and on the Google+ social network. To set up your page, go here: https://www.google.com/+/business and then choose the “Local business or place” option. When filling out your information, try to add as many details as possible including your address, local phone number, high quality photos and more. It’s also highly recommended that you link your website to your Google+ page.
Setting up a YouTube channel and regularly posting videos will bring you a lot of SEO value (and not to mention fan appreciation!). This article here will walk you through setting up your own channel on YouTube: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229284. The name of your channel, video titles and video descriptions are all important for SEO purposes so make sure they’re directly related to your business.
Take a look at our article on Social Media Marketing for Professional Services Businesses where we discuss YouTube and Google+ further. By utilizing these networks, you can easily “kill two birds with one stone” (i.e. SEO and Social Media Marketing)!
If you have any other social media pages for your business, like Facebook and LinkedIn, you should go through the “About” sections and make sure they’re all filled out properly. That information as well can be found in search results so it should all be accurate.
While there is SEO value in linking to all of your social media pages from your website, the Google +1 button can significantly improve your ranking in search results so that needs to be a must. Here are further details on the +1 button’s impact on search rankings: http://mashable.com/2012/02/21/google-plus-1-seo/. Read this article to find out how to add the +1 button to your Wordpress site.
How can I learn more about SEO? If you like to read, have some time on your hands and want to find out more about SEO, you can dowload this free beginners guide to SEO, here: http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo. You’ll be more than a beginner when you’re done!
There are also plenty of blogs that cover the subject. Just quickly search for SEO tips in Google :-).
Have questions about SEO? We’d love to hear them! Send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also contact us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn where we are always listening!