MSP Marketing Strategy: Use Local Citations To Dominate Local SEO
Claiming Citations Your Managed Service Provider or IT Services Company
One of the most important steps in developing an MSP marketing strategy and setting up your IT services company online is search engine optimization or SEO. Making sure your name pops up near the top of any search list is half the battle to getting customers in your virtual door.
There are a number of steps to accomplish this goal but let’s start with claiming your IT services business in all the appropriate local business indexes. Since each index may have a slightly different claiming process the goal of this article is to give you a more general sense of what you’ll need to do.
First, check to see if your MSP or IT service company is already listed in a citation
The first step in claiming your MSP or IT services business will usually entail making sure your business doesn’t already exist in their index. Finding out that your new business is already listed, even if you’ve never created a listing, occurs more often than you might think. More than likely your business has done something on the web and a listing for it has appeared somewhere so it’s natural that an index may have already “found you”. Either way, you’ll most likely be instructed to enter your business name and/or phone number to determine if there are any previously existing listings.
Whether your business is already listed or not you’ll next need to provide the appropriate information and details about your business. Examples of the types of data you’ll be asked to provide include business name, address, phone number, URL, and more. You may also be asked to provide information on the types of categories and genres your business fits into. Double-check your entries to make sure the information you are providing is 100% accurate. Your business needs its core information to be the same wherever you are listed.
Next, get your MSP business information into as many citation sources as possible
The next step is usually a verification process of some sort. This can come in one of many ways but there are a few very common methods. One is with a phone call to the business line where you’ll be asked to verify a PIN number provided by whoever is attempting to verify you as the owner. Another method is a verification postcard sent to the business address also requiring a PIN number. If you use this procedure be sure you check your mail regularly. You wouldn’t want to miss it! A third method would be via email with a verification link.
One of the most common questions about registering your business with a search engine is how long will it take for the listing to appear online after the verification process has been completed. Every search engine is different. Some may verify and post your listing within minutes. Others take days. Some local search engines have more arduous review processes and it may take months before your listing is approved. Patience is a virtue in this case so stop second-guessing your choices and simply wait for the listing to appear. It is important to avoid making changes if at all possible because in many cases this will instigate a “re-verification” which means more work and more time spent. While it is possible to make some changes without re-verifying you should be aware of what you can and can’t do.
If you have many different listings to claim at once it’s probably a good idea to develop some sort of system as part of your MSP marketing strategy to keep track of where you are with each one and what the next steps might be. Creating a spreadsheet or some type of ledger might be a good idea.
Another step in maximizing your search engine exposure is to create as many local citations as you can. A citation is any mention of your business, and it’s relevant details like name or address, on other web pages. Examples of these kinds of citations would be the online yellow pages or perhaps a local business listing at the Better Business Bureau or something similar. Anywhere your business’ information appears can be useful even if there is no official link to your site.
These citations are very important, as they are a big part of the ranking algorithms used by engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Businesses with more local citations will often be ranked higher than a business with fewer or none. Not all citations are equal either. Citations from well-established, high-traffic sites are considered by the search engine as a more reliable way to verify your business’ information and categorization. The more certain an engine is on your business, the higher you will rank.
Other considerations in your MSP Marketing Strategy
Citations can take on even more importance in fields where many businesses don’t have websites or a large web presence. With regards to a Managed Service Provider or IT service company, it’s often the case that there are many within a geographic region, but in our experience, few understand how an effective MSP marketing strategy really works. Local citations also provide proof that a business is part of a particular community. Faking membership in a Chamber of Commerce index or some other local business listing service is not only difficult but rarely worth the trouble.
In short, local citations serve you well to establish the validity of your company and, if executed properly, will greatly increase your search engine rankings. So get out there, make it a part of your MSP marketing strategy, claim your listing, verify your company, and get those citations. You’ll see your search rankings improve in no time.
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