SEO Tips for Services

How to Do SEO for Service-Based Businesses

Doing SEO for a service-based business goes beyond the technical stuff – it’s also about building a good reputation and showing your expertise. You need to find a way to connect with your audience, earn their trust, and distinguish yourself from the competition. So, what else, besides doing keyword research, identifying search intent, and listing your business on Google Maps, can help your business become the go-to choice for people looking for your kind of service?

SEO isn’t just reserved for online stores selling physical products we can place in our homes or fill up our stomachs with. Search engine optimization is also extremely useful for service-based businesses aiming to be easily found online by their clients looking for any type of service that is currently available on the market: repair, education, IT – you name it.

Much like in the world of e-commerce, the goal of SEO for service businesses is simple: You want to be the first brand people see when they’re searching for the service you offer. But with a sea of similar brands fighting for customers’ attention, how can your brand stand out and grab the top spot on the search engine result page?

In a moment you’re going to learn a unique approach that goes beyond the standard technical SEO applicable to all websites. Instead, we’re going to talk about the tactics that make service-based businesses rise above the rest and snag that top spot on the search engine result page.

SEO for Service Businesses: Before You Start

To start with SEO, think about the kind of business you have. Do you do things locally, like having a neighborhood hair salon, or can you work for anyone, no matter where they are, like a graphic designer or an online teacher does? Understanding this helps you shape your SEO for service businesses way more efficiently. Realizing this is crucial because whether or not you operate locally, your marketing message – especially the keyword selection – will differ.

Example: A local service business should optimize its website for location-based keywords, such as “haircut in [your city].” On the other hand, if your services extend beyond a specific area, it’s way better to focus on broader, industry-related keywords to reach a wider audience.

Service TypeKeyword Examples
Local services“best haircuts in [city/area]”
“quick cell phone fixes in [city/area]”
Non-local services“remote administrative support”
“online fitness coaching”

Secondly, you need to define who do you help: Is it other business (B2B), or regular customers (B2C)? Again, usually, B2C services stick to one place, like a local e-bike rental. But B2B services can reach more people living outside a given city or even country. This also needs to be taken into consideration while planning out SEO for service-based business because this influences the keyword selection, too.

Example: A B2B service should optimize for keywords like ”business technology solutions” to attract corporate clients. On the other hand, a B2C service, like a dog grooming service, should focus on local keywords like “professional pet grooming near me”.

Business TypeKeyword Example
B2B Services“best online English language tutors for your business”
“event planning services for corporate”
B2C Services“fitness classes for beginners in [city/area]”
“creative family photoshoots in [city]”

Thirdly, before you create your SEO plan, think about the people you’re trying to reach – you need to know your clients well if you want them to choose you over other brands offering similar services.

This task may get way tougher if your business deals with other businesses (that’s the B2B part). Indeed, looking at graphs and numbers in your Google Analytics 4 will give you just some pieces of information you need, but – sadly – it won’t be enough. In other words, analytical data is one thing. The other comes down to discovering the problems other businesses struggle with. How can you know that? Simply by having a good chat with the people/businesses you’re trying to help.

Example: Let’s say you run a local marketing company that works with other businesses. Instead of only checking the latest statistics and analytical data, have real talks with those businesses. Find out what they need, what problems they face, and the words they use.

This way you’ll learn a special language that helps you connect with your target audience. Later, when you saturate your web content with the words your clients use to describe their problems, you’ll increase your chances of getting discovered by them online.

Besides, having a list of relevant keywords, it would be easier for you to do content topic research, and later write articles and record videos that your target audience truly wants to engage with.

Remember, SEO for service-based businesses isn’t just some technical stuff related to sitemaps or metadata. It’s also about understanding your audience, and figuring out what they tend to type into the browser when looking for services like yours. When you know those keywords and problems, you can create a website that speaks the exact same language as your target audience.

Once you grasp your audience’s mindset, understand their pain points and learn the phrases they typically type when searching for services like yours, you need to add yet another element to your SEO for service businesses equation, and that is search intent.

Including Search Intent in Your SEO for Service Business Strategy

Making sure your content matches what your clients are searching for online is super important in doing SEO for service-based businesses. If your prospect is looking either for information, solutions, or to order something, your content should match exactly that intent. This makes it more likely that your website will show up in their search results.

When your content meets what users want, it simply makes them satisfied. When your clients find what they need quickly, they trust your website more, and are more likely to use your services or read your content. This good user experience that perfect search intent match contributes to can also help your website show up higher in search results.

Including what users want in your SEO plan also helps prevent different parts of your website from competing against each other (ie. content or keyword cannibalization), making sure it’s all organized and works well.

Analyze Your Customer Journey in the Sales Process

By figuring out the steps customers take, no matter if in B2B or B2C, service-based businesses can make sure each interaction is smooth and leads to successful sales. In most cases, whenever a regular customer tries to find a service – be it a dentist – they simply look the offices up online.

This means that, for local B2C businesses, especially those with a brick-and-mortar presence, showing up on Google Maps is a must. For that to happen, you need to get yourself on Google by setting up a Google Business Profile. Without it, your local won’t show up on a Google Map when your prospect searches for, let’s say, “best local dentist” – you want your office to pop up, right? In other words, to be visible to your customers, you need to move your business online. Even though you operate at your place, you need to be discoverable online.

This is basically how the majority of your clients learn about your business – through typing the type of service they want, following it by the city or neighborhood they live in. This customer journey is relatively simple.

Now, for businesses reaching far and wide in the B2B, the customer path is a bit longer and a bit more complex. In this case, SEO for service-based businesses is just one puzzle, not almost the whole picture as in the B2C case.

In this scenario, consistency is key. Your SEO efforts need to go hand in hand with your overall marketing strategy. You need to remember about

  • paid advertising,
  • sponsored articles,
  • outdoor promotion,
  • social media,
  • digital PR, and more.

You need to synchronize each element of your marketing plan, complementing and organizing them in such a way as to guide your potential prospects smoothly along their journey, turning them into actual buying clients.

So, whether you’re fixing cars for locals or offering online language courses for businesses, you need to understand how your customers discover you online. It’s the key to generating numerous touchpoints and increasing brand awareness as much as possible.

Extra Tip: Create Trust by Sharing Your Experience and Expertise

In their journey, clients who aren’t yet ready to use your service need to be convinced to do so. You can do it, for example, by teaching them about your services and sharing your expertise along the way. Publishing valuable and insight-rich content is about making your clients feel comfortable choosing your service, and showing that you really know your stuff.

This means that you should fill your website and social media with high-quality and informative articles, how-toss, and manuals. Back it all up by drawing on your industry experience – because that’s what makes your content even more credible and valuable.

Example, if you run a B2C cleaning service, you could share tips on maintaining a clean home through your website or social media.

This not only builds trust but also makes clients more likely to choose your service when they need help.

Now, let’s consider a B2B graphic design agency.

 Example, by publishing blog posts or hosting webinars discussing design trends, branding strategies, or the importance of visual identity, you educate your potential business clients. This expertise-sharing not only shows your agency’s proficiency but also becomes a valuable touchpoint in the B2B customer journey. When a business is looking for design services, they may lean towards your agency that shows a deep understanding of their industry.

The good news is that if you add E-E-A-T into your SEO strategy, you’re also likely to score some bonus points from Google, too. By showing your experience and expertise, you not only build trust, bringing your clients one step closer to ordering from you, but you also increase your chances of dodging the next Helpful Content Algorithm Updates bullet.

Go Beyond SEO

When doing SEO for your service-based business, try not to rely solely on search engine optimization. Build a community, grow your newsletter, and turn satisfied customers into brand ambassadors.

When people talk about you online, like quoting your blog on social media, it also impacts your SEO.

Remember, there’s more than one way to make your online marketing effective, so why stop at SEO when you can do more?

  • Build community around your brand. Engage with your audience on social media and create a sense of community. Encourage discussions and share useful content.
  • Send newsletters. Regularly share updates, exclusive content, and special offers with your subscribers.
  • Turn your happy customers into advocates for your brand. Encourage them to share their positive experiences online, whether through reviews, testimonials, or social media mentions. This word-of-mouth marketing can significantly boost your service-based business’s online presence.
  • Publish various types of content such as video tutorials, infographics, or podcasts. This not only answers different audience preferences but also enhances your overall online presence.

Make Things Easy for Your Customers

Lots of service-based businesses now use subscriptions and apps to make things super easy for customers, whether it’s cleaning or dog walking.

Don’t complicate how people order your service. Even if you nail your SEO and drive tons of organic traffic, you won’t get any conversions if it’s too hard to book a service from you.

Show Your Prices for More Qualified Leads

When your potential clients are interested in your service, they want to know how much it costs. Even if your prices depend on different things, give some ranges or estimates. This helps customers figure out if they can afford your help. People often search for prices on Google, so having this piece of information visible is a huge advantage and a sign of honesty.

Besides, when you inform your clients about the prices, the people who contact you are more likely to be able to pay for your services. Result? More time for you to focus on more qualified leads.

Why Do Client Reviews Matter for Service-Based Business SEO?

Getting good reviews from your clients is like giving your online presence a MASSIVE boost. Here’s why:

  • BUILDING TRUST Good reviews show others that your services are trusted and reliable. When people trust you, it’s not only good for attracting new clients but also for getting noticed by search engines.
  • LOCAL BUSINESS BOOST If you’re a local B2C business, reviews are even more important. Search engines like Google prefer businesses with positive reviews. It helps your bran show up more when locals are searching for services.
  • USING THE RIGHT KEYWORDS Reviews often include words people use when searching for services like yours. These words help search engines know what your business is about and show it to the right people.
  • ALWAYS FRESH Search engines like it when your website is updated regularly. Reviews keep coming in, providing fresh content. This tells search engines that your business is active and ready to help clients.
  • WHAT CLIENTS SAY MATTERS When clients share their thoughts, it’s like having different voices talking about your business. Search engines rewards such a variety because it shows your business is real and has a lot to offer.
  • MORE CLICKS TO YOUR WEBISTE Good reviews make people more likely to click on your website when they see it in search results. This is great because the more people click, the more search engines think your content is worth showing to others.

This means that asking your clients to share their thoughts online is not just good for business – it’s like telling search engines that your business is trustworthy, popular, and ready to help people.

5 Takeaways: Why Your Service-Based Business Needs a Visible Online Presence

Whether you’re a local tailor or offer online language courses, you need to know that your potential clients actively search for service-based businesses like yours online. That’s why…

…it’s a huge waste of potential not to have a well-optimized website, showing your services, helping your customers book a visit, or read reviews about your service-based business.

Now you know that having a website optimized for search engines ensures that your clients, or even other businesses, can easily find your brand online. Here is a short recap of how you can do SEO for your service-based business:

Connect with your audience.
Understanding your clients is the key. Use words and phrases they use when searching online. This is the first step in making sure your business pops up when clients are looking for services like yours.

Mix it up with different content.
Don’t stick to just blogging. Try out different types of content like videos, pictures, and podcasts. People like different things, so show them your service-based business in a few ways.

Get thumbs-up and positive reviews.
Good reviews are like gold. They make potential clients trust you, and search engines like that too. Ask happy clients to share their experiences online. It makes your business more credible.

Make things easy for your clients.
Don’t make it hard for people to order from you. Keep everything simple. When it’s easy for clients to use or order your services, they’re happier, and it helps more of them turn into regular clients.

Show your prices clearly.
Let people know how much your services cost. Even if the price changes depending on things, give a range or estimate. It helps clients see if they can afford your services and makes sure the people getting in touch are serious about working with you.

Don’t let your service-based business go unnoticed. Use all the benefits of SEO and make your business disvoverable by literally anyone who needs to use your services at a given moment.

If you happen to need some professional help or just a guidance on attracting more clients to your website, be sure to contact us. We can assist you in improving your online presence and make your services easily discoverable for your clients.

This is an update of the article published on June 5, 2024.

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