5 Actionable SEO Tips for Professional Services Firms
How many competitors does your firm have? It's likely a high number, and that number is probably only growing.
That is the nature of things for today’s small businesses: consumers have more options than ever before. While this is great for the customer, it’s not so great for the businesses who strive to stand out.
Maybe you have the best medical practice in the area. Maybe your law firm provides the best service. Maybe your bookkeepers have the fastest turnaround time. How would anyone know?
This information is practically hidden online if your business can't rise past a page three rank on Google. But it doesn't have to be this way. You can rise in the ranks with SEO and here are some tips to do just that:
5 SEO Tips for Professional Services Firms
1. Try YouTube
YouTube used to just be a place where people could upload short video clips for their family and friends to see, and maybe the occasional stranger. However, it’s now become the second largest search engine in the world.
The value YouTube brings to your online presence is twofold. You can capture organic views on YouTube itself from people searching for certain video topics, and you can gain more Google search traffic.
Beyond trying to gain more views on your videos, it's important to understand the potential Google search value YouTube videos provide.
Google's algorithm places a lot of importance on search intent — if your query seems to be research based you’ll likely get Wikipedia articles near the top, if you ask about a local business you’ll likely get map results, and if you ask how something is done you’ll get how-to articles, lists or even a few YouTube video results.
These results tend to be among the first results in a search engine results page (SERP), placing them in prime real estate. To get your videos to be the ones that appear, they need to be search engine optimized.
There are plenty of YouTube specific SEO tips and tricks you can use in order to make your uploaded content more visible, but key among them is creating video descriptions that are at least 200 words in length and utilizing YouTube’s tagging feature to categorize your video.
YouTube can’t analyze videos for content. There’s no way for YouTube’s bots to discern what your video is about by listening to the video, which means it ranks videos based on their descriptions and tags. Therefore, the more descriptive you are, the more likely you are to rank in YouTube search, and possibly Google search, for your target keywords.
2. Don't Be Short
1,890 words. That is how long the average word count is for a first page Google result. And that's exactly what you should aim for with your pages.
This kind of length not only allows you to go in-depth about your firm or practice, but it provides readers with valuable content worth sharing — so long as your content is actually valuable and not just meeting a word count. Google places a lot of importance on high-quality, valuable content in its first page results. The more your content is shared and acknowledged, the easier time you’ll have rising in the rankings.
3. Repurpose Successful Content
Professional services firms rarely have large marketing divisions that can consistently churn out high effort pieces of content.
However, it is important to have a steady flow of content released as this shows Google bots that your website is alive and well. Even more importantly, this is what keeps people coming back for more and what draws in new customers.
A great way to maintain a steady flow of content is to repurpose successful content.
There are many different ways you can go about repurposing content, however you should never simply re-upload something you’ve created in the past — this will look like duplicate content to Google and provides no new or added value to your consumers — you could actually end up taking a ranking penalty.
You should, however:
- Turn a past blog post into a video,
- Turn a video into a blog post,
- Create an infographic with information from a previous piece of content,
- Create a slide deck based on past content and share that on SlideShare,
- Develop blog posts from speaking engagements or past slide decks.
This doesn’t mean you can’t update old blog posts or landing pages, by all means throw in new information and pictures, and maybe even add in some responses you’ve received since you published it the first time. But the best way to extend the life of something you’ve worked hard to create is by turning it into something new.
This allows you to cover a lot of different bases and reach people using a number of digital channels while really only investing the hard hours it takes to research and write content once.
4. Google My Business
Registering your firm with Google My Business is a must for local SEO rankings. Always make sure the information on your Google Business page is updated and accurate to help ensure you appear at the top of a local search.
This information is valuable to potential customers, 50 percent of whom use local search to find businesses — based on a study released by Google back in 2014, and we can expect that number has only increased since then.
This business information shows up not only in a Google search, but also on Maps and Google+. This means it’s vital your company profile is up to date, if not, it’s likely someone else is getting business that could be yours.
5. Review, Review, Review
Google also places importance on social signals — this not only means how often your content is being shared or mentioned on social media, but how often is being reviewed online, and if it’s being reviewed positively.
The solution for this is simple: make it easy for customers to review you, and encourage them to do so.
While it’s definitely frowned upon to bribe customers to leave you a positive review or force their hand by making it one of your purchase steps, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a review if they had a positive experience. And many business don’t think to make the ask.
Create an email campaign to ask past customers how they enjoyed working with you. If they respond positively, encourage them to leave a review, if they respond poorly, figure out how you can address and remedy the situation.
Reviews are very valuable online as they help other customers feel comfortable about working with you, but they’re just as valuable to your business. Through reviews you’ll get a better pulse on how your customers enjoy the experience and any issues in your process will surface to the top.