SEO playbook for ranking your MSP business on Google search
One of the most cost-effective ways to market your MSP is by having a strong digital marketing plan. The core of any digital marketing plan is effective SEO.
Illustration: Karthikeyan Ganesh
The good news is that most SEO efforts are free, and you can learn how to do it with a myriad of online resources. Here is our SEO playbook for ranking your MSP business on google search.
Why SEO matters
SEO or search engine optimization is essentially a long list of activities you do to help your business's website be more visible on Google. It's important because more buyers than ever are starting their search for a new product or service online.
Additionally, they are getting farther along in their selection process than ever before talking with your sales staff. If you want more new clients, you need a quality website, and they need to be able to find it on the first page of Google.
Your website is a key to quality SEO. Having a website designed with SEO in mind and that targets the right keywords will go a long way. On-page website design is a big part of that as well as the content on the page itself.
Your website content needs to be unique. If you try to copy another site, Google will notice and can penalize you. Make sure you write quality content relevant to your audience and contains the keywords you're trying to rank for.
Keywords are an essential part of SEO. Essentially, they're the search terms folks put into Google that help them find you online. They may perform a search for "IT Company" or for "IT Support". For you to rank higher in Google's search, you need to have the highest quality relevant content that matches the terms your potential clients are looking for.
You want to find keywords that are both relevant to the service you deliver and have buying intent. You also want to sprinkle those keywords throughout your content in a natural way. There are some great tools that can help you optimize your on-page content for a particular keyword. The Yoast plugin for WordPress is especially easy to use.
Start Local (Listings, local pack)
Local SEO is a great place to start for a lot of MSPs. It will help you to be more visible online to those businesses in your area that needs help. There are a lot of different contributing factors to quality local SEO. Here is a great guide with many additional details you can dig into if you want—a few key things to keep in mind with local SEO.
- Claim your Google My Business page and make sure all the info on there is accurate
- Optimize online directories and listings so that your information is consistent across all of them. Key ones to look for are Google, Bing, Facebook, Google Maps, Foursquare, Here, Apple Maps, Waze, Hotfrog, Showmelocal, us-info, Neustar, and Data Axle.
- Reviews are an essential factor to show up in Google's "Local Pack", which are the local results in that box on the search. Do what you can to request positive reviews from your happy clients to boost these rankings.
- Local Keywords will help as well. Try adding a local city to a keyword you're targeting. Instead of IT Company, try Nashville IT Company or similar variations.
That's by no means an exhaustive list for local SEO, but it will go a long way to help increase your local rankings if you do these things well.
There are some key things you can do on your site to signal Google what your content is about that will help increase your rankings. Here are a few things to look for.
Title Tag: Each page has a title tag. It's the few words that show up in the tab at the very top of your browser. Google sees the content on that page is related to the title tag. You can easily specify a title tag in WordPress based on the content of the page and the keyword you're trying to target.
Meta Descriptions: These provide a brief description of the page's content and are typically what is displayed in the search results.
Header Tags: These tags are HTML elements (H1-H6) used to identify headings and subheadings within the rest of your content.
Again, there is a lot more to look at with on-page SEO. Here is a deep dive if you want to get further into the nitty-gritty.
Quality backlinks are one of the biggest keys to SEO. One of the largest factors Google examines to determine your website's authority is how many quality sites link back to your content. Marketers are continually looking to build out quality content to encourage others to link back to them. There are also a million strategies you can use to increase your backlinks.
Quality is more important than quantity, and it's essential to keep in mind that you can quickly get in trouble from too many spammy links. Make sure you vet the quality of the backlinks you're collecting.
Here are a few link-building strategies to get you started.
One factor that has increased in importance recently is the speed and performance of your site. If you have an exceptionally slow website or one that isn't optimized for mobile, Google may penalize you with lower rankings. Luckily, Google also provides a handy tool that will scan your site and tell you what errors you need to fix for better performance. It's Google's Page Speed Insights Tool.
It's worth it
I feel like we've only scratched the surface here of what you can do with SEO. As you can see by the numerous links I've included, there are a bunch of quality resources that can help you. SEO can be time-consuming but keep the end goal in mind.
If you can get ranked in the top 5 on a handful of quality keywords, it can send you a continuous stream of potential customers via Google organic search. That kind of exposure is priceless, and the cost for Google organic search is FREE.
Ticketing system and PSAs for new/small MSPs
Every new business has some growing pains as they are starting up. There is a certain learning curve they must face, and sometimes we learn through hard experience. A good example of this for MSPs is where to move to a PSA and get those tickets out of your inbox.