Discover the Keys to Search Engine Optimization
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
You have a website for your telephone answering service. That’s the first step to establishing your online presence. But is your website doing all that you want it to do? Is it living up to your expectations?
If you’re not enjoying the traffic you want to have, the answer may be search engine optimization (SEO). As the name suggests, SEO makes your website more attractive to search engines.
If you impress them, they’ll show your content to more people who are searching for answering service solutions or the expert content you’ve posted.
Here are three keys to SEO success.
1. Content is Key
Good SEO starts with great content. But don’t produce content for search engines. Instead write for people. Put your visitors first and the search engines second.
If you pursue the opposite strategy and produce content with an SEO-first mentality, you may see a quick bump in traffic, but visitors will quickly bounce once they discover your content is substandard or not what they expected. It’s a prime example of the adage of winning the battle but losing the war.
2. Avoid Shortcuts
Successful SEO is an investment in the future. Adapt a long-term perspective when it comes to optimizing your website for search engines, and you’ll enjoy lasting results with traffic that matters.
Yes, there are ways to game the system and garner a short-term spike in traffic. But it isn’t sustainable. And most of these get-traffic-quick schemes hurt your site in the long term and end up working against you.
These are called black-hat SEO strategies. Basically, it’s cheating. Though nefarious SEO practitioners will continue to develop new ways to avoid doing the hard work of search engine optimization, the search engines strive just as hard to negate these cheats.
This means that to stay ahead, they need to continually develop new strategies to trick search engines.
Don’t go this route. Instead take the high road. When you do so, you’ll enjoy better, long-term results.
3. Outsource with Care
Though it’s possible to learn SEO and successfully implement it, many opt to outsource it instead. It seems either too daunting or the learning curve is too steep, or they lack the time, so they seek SEO professionals to do the work for them.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to assess the abilities and effectiveness of individuals and companies that offer SEO services. Most talk a good game, but not all can produce. Too many of them will perform basic steps you can easily do yourself.
Sometimes they haven’t kept up with the industry and recommend techniques that once worked but no longer do. Other times they unknowingly—or knowingly—use black-hat tactics that will cause problems in the end and damage your website’s search engine reputation.
There’s no effective way the vet an SEO professional, but referrals from happy, long-term clients are key. You should expect quantifiable, measurable results. If an SEO vendor can’t provide that, then they don’t deserve your business.
This isn’t to disparage all SEO providers. There are good ones out there who are worth every dollar they charge. The challenge is finding them and distinguishing the good ones from the not-so good ones.
SEO Success Action Steps
When it comes to SEO success, put visitor-focused content first, avoid damaging shortcuts, and select your SEO vendor with care—or do it yourself.
But the worst thing you can do is nothing. That’s the most ineffective SEO strategy of all.
Learn more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s book, How to Start a Telephone Answering Service.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his books How to Start a Telephone Answering Service and Sticky Customer Service.