We know how much our Aterans look forward to our MSP Minds webinars, and our latest event was certainly highly anticipated! This month, we were joined by Avi Vaserman, owner of Sytex, and Hendrik Sjoerd van Dijk, ICT Coordinator at Datas, alongside our very own Head of SEO, Alex Milosh. The guys shared their expertise with us on a huge topic – how to turn SEO into clients.
Like with all of our MSP Minds webinars, we’re not looking for theory. Our IT experts have hands-on experience in the field, and so we were delighted to have them share their tried and true tactics for growing an MSP business using SEO.
Why SEO is crucial for MSPs
When it comes to digital marketing, the world progresses very rapidly. Everything is now digital, people are searching online constantly, and 83% of clicks on the web come from organic searches, directed with the help of search engine optimization or SEO.
53% of traffic to websites comes from organic search too, so if you want eyes on your website, SEO is the route to get there. You might not think of yourself as a digital company, as the bulk of your work is face to face with your customers, but if you want your prospects to find you, getting on the right side of the search engines is so important.
One more stat from Alex, this time on the importance of Local SEO. 46% of people searching on Google are looking for local information. Local SEO can even have better conversions than paid ads because search intent is so powerful. In other words, the users are looking specifically for what you offer, and where you are. That’s why Google’s newest algorithms will reward local sites that have higher-rated reviews. Avi and Hendrick told us how they incorporate local SEO in their strategy, adding all the locations where they do service to their strategy, creating a local network that helps users to find them. In that way, SEO doesn’t need to close you into one specific location, in fact – it can open doors into new areas, or surrounding locations where you can provide services.
Ok – you’re convinced! You need to think about SEO! Here are 4 top SEO hacks, all of which you can start taking advantage of immediately. Best of all? They won’t cost you a thing.
Utilize Google my Business
This is a free Google service for business owners, to provide the equivalent of their business card, but found over the internet. It matches search terms to your title, description, location, and attributes, which in turn encourages reviews and customer engagement. You can add your phone numbers, website address, opening hours, and more. This is a totally free tool and a very straightforward way to showcase your MSP business to potential clients. Avi has had a great experience with Google my Business since he set up his account, experiencing more leads, some of which even said directly that they came from this page, who found him simply via looking for MSPs with 5-star reviews.
Top tip: Don’t forget to add photos to help your business stand out from the crowd!
Get Yourself Those 5 Star Reviews
The truth is, you can’t underestimate the instant credibility of seeing 5-star reviews on a tool like Google my Business. Here’s Alex with some more of those stats, explaining how websites with reviews rank 43% higher since Google changed their algorithms back in 2015, and that’s before you think about traffic from a place like Google My Business. Simply put, better reviews = more traffic.
Hendrik told us how he encourages customers to add a review, by mentioning it in person when he goes out to a job. “If the customer is satisfied, they’re usually happy to get involved. When it comes to negative reviews, which we all get from time to time, whoever is responsible for handling the reviews needs to be on top of responding.”
We couldn’t agree more! Make sure to be polite, apologize where necessary, and offer help if possible. This can go a long way to mitigating the impact of a negative review. In some cases, you can reach out and try to establish a relationship with a reviewer, providing your email address and encouraging them to get in touch to resolve any problem they might have. You may even find they go back and change a 1-star review to a 4 or a 5 star one.
For Avi, when thinking about the business process at Sytex, he always asks clients for reviews, but importantly – he doesn’t rush in. “If a client thinks we’re doing a great job and that we’re helping them to reach their goals, we will ask them to leave us a review, but not after a month or two. Instead, we wait for 6 or even 12 months.” Avi finds that this helps because you’ve built a relationship by that point, so the client can see the benefit and will end up writing a longer, more heartfelt review that really explains what your MSP has achieved, not a quick few words or a simple thumbs-up. With 100% 5 star reviews on Google My Business, Avi knows what he’s talking about!
Focus on a Simple, Winning Website Structure
If you don’t have a website or your website doesn’t show your MSP business to its best advantage, this can make a customer lose trust or hesitate. Authenticity is essential here. Show your services clearly on your website, and include elements like an About Us page, and a Contact Us page. This can seem unimportant, but Google actually penalizes you for not including these, because it can’t verify that you are a legitimate business without them.
Before thinking about what’s on the site, make sure that the technical side of your website is up to scratch, as 40% of customers will leave if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load! Google also uses this same metric to provide the best experience to its users. There are plenty of free tools like GTMetrix to check your site speed, and then do the work you need to make it faster, even if that means employing someone for a one-off optimization project.
Avi shared with us his screenshots of the Sytex website, and how he optimized it for both desktop and mobile, which he’s seen have a direct impact on his traffic. He gave us some great advice, to look at competitor websites, see what they are doing, and compare your own content to theirs. Alex agreed wholeheartedly, adding that this tactic can help you find ways to stand out. “Your customers are almost certainly researching a few different vendors, so you want to make sure that your site stacks up well when looked at alongside the competition.”
Hendrick is right in the middle of a website optimization project, and we loved seeing his new home page! He gave us his expertise on how to choose the right website host for speed, and which images to upload to the site. One great tip was including staff photos alongside a caption that explains what each employee does so that when people come into the store, they automatically know they are getting the right expertise.
Ensure that You Share Regular Content
Our last best practice is to keep your website updated with regular blogs and content. It can work against you if you have an old blog with articles from 2017, while fresh, up to date content will help Google to make you known in the search rankings. Be consistent and use this as a space to show off your expertise. Avi shared his experience of his website traffic before and after he started his blog, and the increase in organic traffic and interest made our eyes pop! He has seen as much as 70% more traffic, and a move from page 5 or 6 on Google, all the way to page 1 or 2.
It’s clear that blogging = traffic, but what if you can’t write winning content? We have news for you – you absolutely can! Alex shared his great ideas about content writing, and how MSPs can share their own experiences about problem-solving, writing just one topic a month that will pique the interest of the IT community. Share it with your clients in a monthly newsletter, or as an FYI to help them avoid issues further down the line. Put it on LinkedIn, and encourage customers and network contacts to share it, too. Here are three great ideas that can help you get started.
- 5 biggest security issues every business must solve
- How to bulletproof your local business from security threats
- 10 tips for faster internet in your home or office.
Avi agreed with us that cybersecurity is everyone’s biggest focus right now, and a great topic to share content around. Explain to your clients how they can protect their data and their systems, exactly as you would do if they asked your advice directly.
Top Tip: Find other articles written by industry experts. Read them, and then repost them to your blog with your own comments or additions alongside.
What a webinar! The best thing about our live event for us, was that none of these SEO hacks cost any money at all. They are all completely free to put into place, but as you’ve seen – they have already been proven to have a huge impact on the success of an MSP business. Share your own SEO best practices in the Facebook group, or the comments – and let’s see how we can help one another to grow our audiences!
If you need any help or have any more questions, please do get in touch. Until next time!
Check out the full MSP Minds #4 recap: