Here at Atera, we’re always looking for ways to help you guys be more successful in your own MSP business. Our Jack of all Trades series was incredibly popular, and so we’re going to be following that up with a series on SEO for MSPs.

If you’re looking to raise your local search engine status, get more hits on your website and content, and draw more attention to your MSP company through the web – you’re in the right place. We’ll be looking at keywords, digital profiles, how to optimize your content, and how to use trends to build prominence and authority.

First up, let’s look at why SEO is so important, and what you need to know before you get started.

Why do I need to think about SEO?

Most of our customers say that their best MSP clients are local, and have found them through either word of mouth, or local marketing. An online presence is a must-have for today’s businesses, but it’s not always so obvious how to get people to your website in the first place.

The answer is SEO.

Getting yourself onto that first page of Google is the best advertisement you could ever hope for. 88% of people will call a business owner within 24 hours of doing a search on Google, and 92% of searchers never get past the first page. On top of this, there has been a 900% increase in users looking for services “near me” or based on location over the past two years, proving that customers want to find smaller, local suppliers for their enterprise needs. All you need to do, is make sure that you’re there to be found.

Before you start with your SEO marketing plan, there are some quick and free ways you can check up on your own SEO. Here are a few of our top tips for gauging your SEO posture.

See What’s being indexed

First, simply put “site:yourdomain.com” into google. You’ll see under the search bar the number of pages that have been indexed according to your domain name.

site:yourdomain.com

An unusually high number might suggest that there are phishing websites or spam accounts to deal with, while if no results (or an unexpectedly low number of results) show up – Google is having trouble indexing your content. Take a look at the first few results, these should all be legitimate business pages or digital content. You can use Google Search Console to deep dive into these numbers, uncovering security incidents such as crawlers, and more.

How’s your sitemap doing?

If you’re concerned about your search engine results, one of the first things to thing about is whether you have a sitemap. This is one of the main tools used by search engines to find information about you and draw the right users to your digital content. It will take under 30 seconds to find out if you have an XML sitemap. Just try searching “https://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml”. Most website hosts such as WordPress or Wix will have plugins that automatically create your sitemap for you, so if yours is missing – check your settings. We use YoastSEO, who do an awesome job.

Once you’ve found your sitemap, you can take some time to check what pages are listed, and make sure that nothing vital is missing.

Look at your robots.txt file

Another quick hygiene check that can be done really quickly is to enter “https://yourdomain.com/robots.txt” into your browser. You’ll see a web-page that looks something like this.

Anything with ‘Disallow’ before it, is going to be restricted by the search engines. If something important is being missed, this could well be the reason why. Most importantly, if you see your robots.txt file looking like this;

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

– then your whole website is currently being restricted by the search engines, making you Google invisible!

Ready… Steady…?

Another important element to consider before you start with a whole SEO marketing plan is your website load speed. You could have the most incredible content with hand-picked keywords and fantastic SEO skills at every level, and a slow load time is going to penalize you by every search engine bot on the planet.

Luckily, this is also easy to figure out. Head to a free website speed checker such as Uptrends or Webpage Test and see how users experience your site from both mobile and desktop. It could be helpful to compare the speed from various locations, or to compare speeds from various browsers as well as devices.

If speed is your problem, now’s the time to think about large images, file caching errors, or even using some kind of additional technology like a content delivery network.

…Go!

Indexing and site mapping in good shape, site bots aware of your every move, and website speed up to… err, speed? You’re ready to get started with building an SEO marketing plan for success.

Watch this space for blog two in the series, and in the meantime, start working on great content by watching our recent webinar from our very own content King, Ari Sherbill.

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