SEO Secrets for Service-Based Businesses

SEO Secrets for Service-Based Businesses

Marisa VanSkiver / November 7, 2023


An optimized website can help you grow your service-based business online, bringing in new leads and sales on autopilot. But how do you get people to come to your website in the first place?

While you can use social media, email marketing, and ads to drive people to your website, you don’t want to have to work all the time to get those new leads.

That’s where SEO comes in!

SEO or Search Engine Optimization just means that you’re setting up your website to get found on Google, Bing, and other search engines based on the content of your website.

When you want your website to generate leads and sales for your business, especially as someone who provides services for your clients, you need new people to visit your website regularly.

How do you get your website and your business found in Google?

With a few tweaks to improve your SEO.

These tips will help you improve your website’s ranking in search results, attract more visitors, and boost your bottom line.

Let’s go!

The Power of SEO

You may be wondering just how much value SEO can bring to your business. After all, don’t you have more control over other marketing strategies?

Here’s the cool thing about SEO – it compounds.

When your website is built to be seen in search engines, you’re not doing work that might only be seen for 2-3 days. Instead, you’re creating something that can be seen for years down the road.

One page can bring you tons of new visitors, leads, and sales.

When someone is using Google and search engines, they’re looking for a solution to their problems right there and then. They’re the warmest lead you can get in your business.

Basically, with SEO you’re going from being the hunter for those new leads to the person your leads are hunting.

That’s pretty cool.

What you do now to improve your SEO can have a positive impact on your business years down the line.

SEO Starts with Your Website

SEO can be a tricky subject. There are so many experts out there that make it feel and seem like a hugely complex thing. In part, it is, because Google is constantly working to improve its algorithms and product.

But at the end of the day, SEO is really about you providing the correct answers for Google’s customers.

They care about their searchers getting an answer that works for them. If your website is catered to the searcher rather than Google, you’ll build an SEO strategy that works well for a long time.

Making your website SEO-friendly is called “On-Page SEO.” It just means that you’ve followed some best practices to communicate the content of your website to Google.

How do we make that happen?

Create a Free Search Console Account

The first thing you’ll want to do, if you haven’t already, is create a free Google Search Console account.

Back in the Wild West days of the internet, you had to submit your website to Yahoo and other search engines.

While Google can crawl and find your website on its own now, it’s faster and more accurate if you have an account and submit it to them.

What this does is ensure that your website is crawled by Google more often and every page of your website is indexed and recorded in their system.

To do this, you just have to create the account and claim ownership of your website in some way. If you already have Google Analytics installed, it will auto-verify. If not, Google will walk you through other ways to show them that you have control over the website you’re submitting.

From there, you need to submit something called an XML sitemap. This is just a fancy-coded page on your website that lists every single page in your site.

Whether you use WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, or other website builders, you’re able to Google and find how to get your XML sitemap. Once you follow the prompts and submit the sitemap, Google will start changing up their records and indexing your website on a more regular basis.

Entice People to Click with Meta Descriptions

Now that you can get listed in search results, you want people to click on your listing.

You do this by writing something called Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions for each main page of your website.

If you have a WordPress website, you can add the free Yoast SEO plugin and it’ll give you some guidance on how to do this.

When a result comes up in a search engine, the title and meta description are what’s being shown. In the screenshot below, you can see what my website looks like when it’s listed on Google:

captain coder meta title

The top line is the title and the text underneath that is the description.

This content helps give searchers a reason to click on your link versus someone else’s, so having a properly written meta title and a description with a call to action can encourage someone to choose your website over someone else’s.

While you don’t have a ton of space to write here (60 characters for the title and just 150-160 for the description), you’ll be able to drive a ton of traffic back to your website if you do it right.

Use Customer Lingo for Your Keywords

When you hear SEO, you’re inevitably going to hear the phrase “keyword research.”

Keyword research is the black hole that any entrepreneur can find their way down. Trying to decide what you want to rank for can be an overwhelming thing and this is where a lot of SEO agencies can take advantage of you like a bad mechanic.

Here’s the secret about keywords – you want to focus on how your customer describes your services, not how you do.

It’s all too common for businesses to get in a cycle of trying to target their technical jargon and then get confused as to why they’re not getting seen by actual leads.

That’s because your customer doesn’t know your technical jargon. You’re the expert, not them.

Instead, talk about your services in your website copy like they do.

This is a hard mindset shift, especially when you’re buried in your business. The best way to do this is to go to places where your ideal customer is hanging out (like a Facebook group) and see how they’re talking about what you do or get a few on the phone for a market research call.

You’ll be amazed at how differently you both talk about things!

But if you’re not using their lingo, they’ll never find you.

Create Regular, High-Quality Content

Okay, so here’s the less fun SEO tip. But service-based businesses that are doing great with SEO and getting found in Google search? They post regular, high-quality content.

That means writing blog posts that are informative and engaging for your target audience.

Do a search for any kind of question and you’ll notice a lot of the results in Google are blog articles.

That’s because, with an article, you’re able to focus on one topic and dig in deep.

When you publish regularly, Google knows when to come back to your site to find a new piece of content (because of your Google Search Console account).

Being consistent with high-quality content on your website can push you ahead of the competition.

Building SEO Authority

With some minor tweaks, your website can be far better positioned to build and capitalize on traffic from search engines! Woot!

While I wish the only work we had to do for our websites was to work on the website itself, it’s important to borrow some authority from other websites on the internet.

Called “backlinks” in SEO, this just means that you’re trying to get other businesses to link back to your website.

This shows Google that you have good, high-quality content because other people think so, too!

Create a Google My Business Listing

The first step? Create a Google My Business listing. You might think “But wait, I work from home, do I have to list my address?”

The short answer – nope! Google has updated its system to allow home-based businesses a bit more privacy by letting you hide your actual address and use only the area you live in.

This is called a “service area,” and this allows you to better attract local clients.

Plus, let’s be real, Google loves it when you use its products so you can get a good SEO boost for having a Google My Business listing.

Ask for Customer Reviews

Take your listing up a notch and ask for some reviews.

If you have customers that you know are super happy with your work, circle back with a quick email and ask them to leave a review for you on Google. They don’t have to be in your local service area to write a review for you either!

Make sure that when you ask, you give them the direct link to your listing to make it easy for them to take action.

Google sees reviews as a sign that your business is trustworthy and reliable, which helps to improve your overall search rankings.

Guest on Podcasts or Blogs

Now, how can we break out of the local area and grow to audiences all over the world?

You can build it up through others’ audiences!

One of the best ways to get a link back to your website is to write a guest blog post for someone or be a guest on their podcast.

Often as a guest, you’re able to not only provide great value for their audience, but they’ll also provide a link back to your website and other resources from their own.

This is one of the best ways to build up links to your website because it’s coming from other high-quality content and sources, something that matters to Google when it takes those links into account.

Getting in front of a new audience can be a fantastic way to not only increase your traffic but also boost your online authority and build your SEO.

SEO Builds on Itself

One of the best things about working on your SEO is that is never a sunk cost. You won’t do a ton of work to see something just get views for a day or two and then go away, never to be seen again like a Reel.

Instead, your efforts in improving your SEO build over time, and the efforts compound to get better and better.

If you’re ready to stop tracking down your ideal customer and instead have them come find you, it’s time to give SEO some serious thought.

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