Just like a well-built house requires a solid foundation, the same principle applies to search engine optimization (SEO) for your service-based business. You’re probably aware that SEO can help your business become more visible online, but you might not know how to effectively implement it.
That’s where we come in. We’re here to discuss what SEO is, how it benefits service-based businesses, and some strategies to get started. The goal of this article is to provide you with the basics so you can get started with growing your service business through SEO.
What is SEO for Service-Based Businesses?
SEO for service-based businesses is a tried-and-true digital marketing strategy that improves website rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) through various site optimizations and strategies. These strategies apply to a wide range of services, for example lawyers, accounting firms, plumbers, HVAC and more. It involves creating tailored content, integrating researched keywords, and enhancing user experience to rank at the top of the SERPs for keywords that are relevant to your business and area.
For small service-based businesses with limited marketing budgets, it’s important to invest wisely. SEO for service-based businesses offers an unmatched ROI. Regardless of the service you offer, SEO is an efficient way to generate leads and grow your business. Unlike Pay-Per-Click (PPC), it does not have a direct cost for each click to your website. This does not mean that SEO does not require an investment, it just means that SEO is a typically more cost-effective long-term strategy for digital marketing.
Local SEO is particularly beneficial for service-based businesses operating within specific regions. By optimizing your website for local searches, you increase visibility to potential customers in your area, which can lead to higher conversion rates.
Is Your Business Local or Digital?
So, is your business geared towards the local market or a broader, digital audience? Understanding this is important as it shapes your entire SEO strategy. Whether you’re a local hair salon or an online graphic designer, your marketing message and keyword selection will differ.
Consider who you cater to: Is it other businesses (B2B) or regular customers (B2C)? Often, B2C services are local, while B2B services can reach a wider audience. This influences your SEO planning and keyword choice.
Before crafting your SEO plan, you need to know your audience well. Here are some questions to consider:
- What problems is your audience facing?
- How does your service address these issues?
- What makes your service unique and preferable over similar brands?
- Have you had a conversation with your customers or client businesses to understand their needs?
- Can you create content around your services?
- Are you interested in targeting a specific location?
- Are your services high-ticket or inexpensive?
- What does an ideal client look like?
These questions will help you create an SEO strategy that aligns with your current business model. The great thing about SEO is that it is completely aligned with your business. You don’t want to create content just for the sake of getting traffic. It is more important that you create content and target keywords that will bring in relevant traffic that will convert into clients. At the end of the day, SEO is a marketing strategy, so make sure that your message is relevant to your prospects.
SEO Strategies for Service-Based Businesses
Now, let’s explore some SEO strategies that can help your service-based business rank higher on Google. Although this is not a comprehensive list of strategies (there are too many to cover in one article), there are the strategies that we believe are most impactful in the beginning of any SEO campaign based on our experience in working with local service-based businesses.
1. Create a Google Business Profile Listing
First things first, create/optimize your Google Business Profile. If you don’t have one yet, now’s the time to make one for your business. We think that a Google Business Profile is the most important element for service-based businesses outside of their website when it comes to SEO.
This profile is a vital tool that helps your service-based business show up in Google’s local search results, Maps, and the Search Knowledge Panel. The main aspect of a Google Business Profile is the ability to rank in position 0 (top of the SERPs) in your area when someone looks for your services. For example, if someone looks for “Roofing business near me” you can appear at the top of the Map Pack if your Google Business Profile is verified and optimized.
After creating your profile, don’t forget to optimize it. You can do this by:
- Targeting keywords in your description
- Selecting the correct business category
- Creating “product” showcases
- Posting updates with keywords you want to target
- Ensuring your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across listings
- Posting relevant images
2. Set Up Google Search Console
After creating and optimizing your Google Business Profile, it’s crucial to get your hands on reliable data by setting up Google Search Console for your service-based business.
This free tool provides direct data about your website, straight from Google itself. It’s an invaluable resource for developing a long-term SEO strategy. Google Search Console can also be used as a basic keyword research tool to get you started on your content plan. We consider Google Search Console to be a necessity for SEO, especially since it is free and it is directly linked to your website.
If you haven’t linked your website to Google Analytics or Google Search Console yet, you need to do so immediately. These tools provide insights into how users find and interact with your website. By analyzing this data, you can identify areas where your SEO efforts are paying off and where improvements are needed.
3. Submit Your Website’s Sitemap
Submitting your website’s sitemap is another critical step in your SEO strategy, helping Google’s robots to better understand and navigate your site. By submitting your sitemap, you give Google’s bots the ability to crawl your website and index the pages you have published. Your website will not get any traffic if the pages are not indexed on Google.
Here’s what you need to do to submit your website’s sitemap (this may very depending on CMS and plugins used to build your website):
- Ensure Google Search Console is linked to your website.
- Locate your sitemap. Most website builders (CMS) and SEO plugins (like RankMath and Yoast) create sitemaps on your behalf. In most cases your sitemap will be yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
- Submit your sitemap. Go to your Google Search Console dashboard, click ‘Sitemaps’, then enter your sitemap’s URL in the provided space and click submit.
- Regularly update your sitemap. Each time you add or remove a page, update your sitemap if your website builder or plugins do not do it for you.
This simple process is the beginning to getting your pages on Google. Remember, a page cannot rank for any keywords if it is not indexed as Google won’t show your website until it is indexed.
4. Start Adding Content to Your Site
Now, let’s dive into the heart of SEO for service-based businesses: adding keyword-rich content to your site. Particularly when it comes to SEO, content is king. The more content you add to your website, the more opportunities you’ll have to rank for various keywords. Keeping your site updated with fresh content can also improve your website’s rankings, as Google values freshness.
To come up with content ideas, you’ll need to do some keyword research. There are a few sites that allow you to do basic keyword research for free, while others charge for more detailed analytics. Don’t forget that you can also use Google Search Console to do keyword research.
Try creating service pages, location pages, or blog posts answering common industry questions. Keep in mind that these industry questions are also considered keywords, they are simply long-tail keywords. An example of a long-tail keyword is “how do I create a chart of accounts as a nonprofit organization”. Long-tail keywords generally come with less traffic, but they are easier to rank for. These are excellent SEO targets for service-based businesses.
Your content should be substantive, informative, and optimized for the keywords your are wanting to target.
5. Get More Reviews
While you’re investing in crafting valuable content for your website, don’t overlook customer reviews as a powerful SEO strategy for your service-based business. Earning positive reviews creates social proof, builds trust, and encourages prospects to contact your business. Google is also more likely to rank Google Business Profiles with more reviews at the top of the local pack.
There are several ways to get more reviews:
- Encourage customers to leave a review after service completion.
- Send an automated email a few days post-service with a request for a review.
- Share your Google Business Profile review link provided to you by Google for quick and easy review submission.
- Always respond to reviews, both positive and negative, to build trust and rapport with your customers.
Reviews and testimonials have always been important in the sales process and decision making of a prospect, but now it is also an important aspect of local SEO. Keep a strong focus on providing excellent service and generating more reviews.
Additional Optimization Strategies
Now let’s take a look at some optimization strategies you can use. We recommend doing these after you have completed the tasks from the section above as we think those are more impactful.
Each of these strategies can help improve your SEO ranking.
Create More Listings & Citations
Increase your business’s online presence and local SEO campaign effectiveness involves creating more listings and citations, ensuring they’re regularly updated and accurate. Think of these as mentions of your details on third-party sites – like entries in a phone book, but digitally.
- Update regularly: Keep your listings fresh and relevant. Post images and updates whenever possible and make sure you update your open hours to accurately reflect your availability.
- Verify accuracy: Inaccurate info can damage your business’ authenticity, make sure you listings and citations are accurate.
- Utilize multiple platforms: Don’t limit yourself to one directory. Diversify. There are many options like Yelp, Bing for Business, YellowPages, etc.
- Consistent NAP: Following the previous two point, make sure your name, address, and phone number (at least), are consistent across the different citation platforms you use.
- Monitor your listings: Keep track of your listings and how they’re performing.
These listings create the opportunity to be seen by more prospects, which is ultimately the goal of marketing. Another benefit is that they serve as trust signals to Google to show that your business is real.
Optimize The Headers, URLs And Meta Descriptions Of Your Pages
Technical SEO involves optimizing your headers, titles, URLs, and meta descriptions with geographically relevant and high-volume keywords to enhance your page’s visibility on search engine result pages.
You want to make sure your headers are organized in an order that makes sense (one H1 heading which is the title of the post, followed by H2 headings for larger sub-topics, and H3 headings for smaller sub-topics, etc.). It’s also important that your title contains your focus keyword while being attention grabbing. It means nothing to rank at the top if no one is interested in clicking on your site. Make sure your meta description also mentions your focus keyword and is appealing to your target audience, encouraging them to read more.
Your page’s URL should be as short as possible while also containing the focus keyword.
By using geographically relevant and high-volume keywords in these areas, you’ll increase your content’s ranking on search engine result pages.
Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
With the rise of smartphone usage, it’s very important that your website is mobile-friendly, meaning it is easy to navigate, contains visible text, images, and videos on smaller screens. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re likely losing potential customers who might find your site difficult to navigate.
To make your website more appealing on mobile devices, consider the following:
- Responsive design: It adjusts to any screen size, providing an optimal viewing experience.
- Compress images: Reducing file sizes enhances load speed and user experience.
- Simple navigation: Keep menus and buttons large and easy to tap.
- Legible text: Ensure your font size is easy to read on smaller screens.
Your page’s loading speed and mobile performance are ranking factors to Google, so make sure you get this step right.
Start Growing Your Service-Based Business With SEO
Ready to grow your service-based business online through organic traffic? By leveraging the power of local SEO, you’ll find it’s not just possible, but within your reach. This digital marketing strategy can significantly improve the growth prospects of your business in a short time.
Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with these marketing concepts. It’s completely understandable if you can only devote limited time and effort to this, given the other demands of your business. That’s why we are here!
At Triton Digital, we offer affordable local and national SEO services tailored specifically for service-based businesses like yours. You just need to provide us with your business specifics and website and we can conduct a free SEO audit for you to see if there are areas where you can improve. We’re here to ensure your business thrives, without you having to worry about the intricacies of SEO.