A silver laptop displaying Google’s search engine page.

Must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses

A silver laptop displaying Google’s search engine page.

 

Must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses

In the digital age, few marketing practices have seen as much attention and devotion as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As a series of practices that aims to rank content in search engines, it boasts undeniable potential. Still, SEO is an extremely deep subject for multiple reasons. From its reliance on Google’s 200+ranking factors to its long-term nature, it can certainly dismay the uninitiated.

Indeed, measuring SEO Return on Investment (ROI) is notably difficult, and not all SEO endeavors fit all businesses equally well. Thus, let us use this article to delve into fundamental, must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses specifically.

How service-based businesses differ as regards SEO

The fundamentals of SEO are identical between service-based and product-based businesses. They are, after all, aligning their websites and content with the same search engine criteria. Thus, where they differ lies in how they approach SEO and where they focus on. In this specific dichotomy, the difference lies in what they’re selling; intangible services versus tangible objects.

Simplifying the difference for text economy, then, product-based businesses can often rely on impulsive purchases from broad audiences. That is, their content marketing strategies can rely more on eliciting emotional responses from a wider customer pool. In contrast, service-based businesses address more specific audiences, which are typically better-informed on, and more engaged with, their service. Thus, they need to emphasize service quality, sometimes rightfully sacrificing tone for substance. Moreover, they need to leverage social credit comparatively more, as customers seek intangible, often long-term or subscription-based services.

In-house SEO versus hiring an SEO specialist

The aforementioned differences aside, a final factor for both to consider is who will handle SEO. DIY SEO does have benefits, such as lesser upfront costs and businesses acquiring first-hand knowledge. However, SEO does have a steep learning curve, and early mistakes can have long-lasting consequences regarding ranking and revenue. Thus, while the final choice will depend on you, service-based businesses do have more incentives to hire outside help. However, should you do so, due research to choose the perfect person for the job is highly advisable. After all, not all professionals are equal, and your unique needs must be met in full from the start.

A tablet on a desk displaying a pie chart dubbed “traffic sources overview”.
If implemented correctly, SEO will generate notable traffic for any business website.

Must-have elements of SEO strategy

Now, with the above context in mind, we may explore must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses. Throughout most of its history, SEO has delved into 3 key areas of focus:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO

None of these subsets are of lesser importance, for service-based businesses or otherwise. Thus, we’ve gathered 2 elements from each subset that should deserve your attention.

1. On-page SEO

On-page SEO delves into on-page elements, as the name implies. These include images and videos, Call to Action buttons (CTAs), and others. The two most crucial aspects of it are, arguably, content itself and CTAs.

Quality content

It’s not entirely uncommon for service-based businesses to forego content marketing altogether, even if at the cost of additional traffic. For those that do not, content quality is still a profound subject that would warrant its own article. We may, however, consolidate the fundamentals down to the following:

  • Factual accuracy. Your content should strive to be as factually correct as possible.
  • Visual appeal. Your content should be digestible and enticing. Consider white space, visual elements, and other factors that affect visual appeal.
  • Your content should address your audiences’ interests and satisfy their search intent. Consider your choice of keywords to make your content relevant to your audiences.
A woman in a pink dress using a laptop.
Content quality will determine audience engagement, in turn affecting both search engine rankings and conversions.

Clear, alluring CTAs

For all its quality, your content should still facilitate conversions. It does so through CTAs, which are the primary focus of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). This, too, is a very deep subject, whose basics we may distill down to the following:

  • Visibility and readability. Ensure your CTAs are always visible, and other on-page elements do not distract from them. At the same time, ensure your choice of font makes them easily readable.
  • CTAs that incite urgency or suggest exclusivity typically function better. Consider countdown timers and exclusive offers in this regard.
  • Multiple CTAs may induce choice fatigue and hamper conversion rates. Thus, consider limiting each landing page to a single CTA.

2. Off-page SEO

Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO addresses off-page activities such as social media promotions. Among must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses, it encapsulates backlinks and reviews.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links to your content from external sources. SEO-wise, they help enhance your page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA), boosting your ranking efforts. Practically, they generate referral traffic and help build trust – which is crucial for service-based businesses, as highlighted above. To build a healthy backlink strategy, consider the following:

  • Content quality and promotion. Producing impeccable content will naturally generate backlinks through cross-channel promotion. Consider the skyscraper technique in this regard.
  • Branded mentions. You may scout the internet for unlinked branded mentions to claim backlinks, without additional effort.
  • Backlink type balance. A healthy balance between Follow and NoFollow backlinks is advisable. Google values natural-looking backlink profiles, and both types generate traffic.

Reviews

Similarly to backlinks, reviews are excellent social credit – especially for service-based businesses, whose audiences examine them carefully. They also affect such practices as local SEO, so you may address them in such ways as the following:

  • Elicit reviews across channels. You may do so through social media posts, popups, and so forth.
  • Feature them prominently. Most customers value reviews highly, so feature them prominently on your testimonials page.
  • Respond to them. Many bad reviews may be withdrawn if you can address their grievances, so always try to do so. It will also reassure other customers of your professionalism.
A man in a black suit pointing at a 4/5-star review.
Reviews serve as excellent social credit, assuring customers of your services’ quality.

3. Technical SEO

Finally, technical SEO ensures your website’s technical health, as the name implies. While it’s less complex by comparison, it is by no means any less significant. Two among its most notable subjects are sitemaps and breadcrumbs.

XML and HTML sitemaps

In brief, XML sitemaps are reserved for search engine crawlers, allowing them to index your pages. In contrast, HTML sitemaps are visible to human visitors and help facilitate easier navigation to your site. Healthy SEO requires both, so you should:

  • Provide Google with an XML sitemap. While it can be a challenging process, third-party tools and such WordPress plugins as Yoast SEO can offer immense help.
  • Provide your visitors with an HTML sitemap. Fortunately, creating HTML sitemaps is the easier process of the two, as SEMrush explains.

Breadcrumbs

Finally, breadcrumbs offer visitors a small text path at the top of pages that immediately tells them where they are. They are immensely useful for both search engines and visitors, as they consolidate content hierarchy and ease navigation, respectively. Fortunately, there are multiple third-party tools to help you implement them, such as the aforementioned Yoast SEO plugin. For service-based businesses, there are two main breadcrumb types to consider and choose between:

  • Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs. These follow visitors’ journeys from your homepage to subsequent pages and reflect your site’s hierarchy.
  • History-based breadcrumbs. In contrast, these reflect your visitors’ journey paths chronologically. Notably, you may also combine the two.

Conclusion

To summarize, there are must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses across all SEO subsets. For on-page SEO, content quality and pristine CTAs are crucial, as they entice visitors to convert. For off-page SEO, backlinks and reviews are invaluable, as they generate traffic, build trust, and serve as social credit. Finally, for technical SEO, sitemaps and breadcrumbs ensure technical health and cater to both search engines and visitors. These are, of course, only some of the fundamentals of SEO, but we do hope this list served as a helpful starting point for your future research.

 

Off-Page-SEO-Techniques

The difference between on-page and off-page SEO

Off-Page-SEO-Techniques

The difference between on-page and off-page SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an ever-changing process, and since search engine algorithms change all the time, you need to update your digital marketing efforts just as often. Understanding how search engine optimization works, and what its main categories and elements are, can be extremely helpful here. In this article, we will focus on the two different types of SEO, both of which are equally important and necessary for success. Now, what is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO, and how can you benefit from each?

What is on-page SEO?

Just like its name suggests, on-page SEO is the optimization of your pages and other content on your website. Whatever we do directly on our website to make it more visible and improve its ranking can be considered on-page SEO. Some of its elements are less popular now than they used to be, but they are still crucial for meeting search engines’ standards.

Some essential on-page SEO factors include:

  • Keywords
  • Meta description
  • Title tags
  • Alt text
  • URL structure
  • internal links
  • page performance

Keywords

Keywords used to be the most critical factor in search engine optimization. Even though some other elements have stolen their popularity, keywords are still the foundation of optimization. After all, they are the best way to reach your target audience by giving them the info they need. Ensure that you are not overusing them since that is one of the practices that are no longer useful.

Meta description

This is a short description of the content that follows. A meta description consists of a few sentences that should be interesting enough to attract your audience. It should also include your targeted keyword to be recognized by search engines.

Title tags

The title tag is the main title that your visitors see when your content is among the search results. Naturally, it should include the chosen keyword.

Alt text

For those visitors who use screen readers to get the full impression of your content, you need to include alternative text to describe every image. Incorporating the keyword here as seamlessly as possible will help your content rank better.

URL structure

This on-page SEO element has little to do with user experience, but a bit more with search engine crawlers. URLs should include your targeted keywords and be as short as possible.

Internal links

If readers are interested in what you have to say, their visiting time will be longer. Direct them to other pieces of your content by including internal links. Crawlers value them more when the anchor text is relevant to the linked content.

Page performance

You can have the most exciting content in the world, but if it takes too much time to load, nobody will bother reading it. Your content should be optimized for all devices on which it is available. Investing in your digital marketing strategies and losing your prospective customers just because your website is not mobile-friendly makes no sense.

As you can see, the on-page optimization is what you can do to make your website better for your audience and search engines alike.

Off-page search engine optimization

Off-page SEO is what you do outside of your website to make it rank better. In other words, on-page SEO is showing what you know, while off-page is more about who you know. It is all about connections here.

The main factors of off-page SEO include:

  • domain authority
  • backlinks
  • social activities

Domain authority

This is the strength of your website in comparison to others. The factors considered here are your domain name’s history and how long you have had it (without alternating it), the number of quality links and broken ones, etc. While there is nothing you can do about your domain’s past, backlinks are the aspect you can work on – make them better or remove them if they are corrupted. Do this regularly, and you will improve your domain authority.

Backlinks

Backlinks are an essential element of off-page optimization. To have top-quality backlinks, you need them coming from the most relevant websites in your niche, or in general. The number of websites linking to your content also matters. Just like in real life – the more people talk about you, the more popular you become. Search engines can tell poor-quality backlinks apart from good ones, and, naturally, they rank them differently. Getting the most popular websites to link your way is a great thing, but you can benefit from linking towards them too.

Google does not rank all backlinks and mentions the same way. Search engines give better ranking to those backlinks that appear more natural than they do those that are clear examples of affiliate marketing.

Social promotion

Being visible on social networks is crucial for your ranking and your overall popularity these days. When someone shares your content on social media, search engines recognize that people find it useful or interesting and automatically give you a better ranking.

Other ways you can differentiate between on-page and off-page SEO

There are some more ways to tell on-page SEO apart from off-page. For instance, in terms of ranking, on-page optimization is what you rank for, while off-page is how high you rank. On-page can be compared to what you do, and off-page is how good you are at what you are doing.

On-page and off-page SEO – which one is more important?

When in doubt about choosing your next SEO firm, you can ask them which side is more important. If they choose any, you should know better than to hire them. Working on one aspect and disregarding the other will bring little to no results, so the answer is clear – you need to put in just as much effort in on-page as you do in off-page SEO. They are interlocked and one drives the other.