SEO Basics for the Communications Service Provider
Implementing a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is a necessary step in order to have a successful website today. Building and launching a website has become so easy a caveman could do it. (Sorry for the early 2000s Geico commercial reference.) Just because you can drag and drop a website in 5 minutes on Wix does not mean it will perform well within search engine results.
The “build it and they will come” strategy is not a strategy in 2018. What you do on your site (on-page SEO) and off of your site (off-page SEO) significantly affects how many people will see, visit and stay on your website.
“I already show up on Google,” you may say. An operation can show up for one phrase like “cable TV in Woodington” but be missing for many other services or products that are offered. Each search is a whole new world of possibilities. The results shown are based on the competition level and information available on individual web pages. Nearly every business has room for improvement when it comes to SEO.
Before we get too far let’s define some SEO acronyms and terms:
- SEO: tactics and strategies used to increase a web page’s organic listing on a SERP
ideally with in the top 10 results
- On-Page SEO: tactics used on a website to optimize search engine placement
- Off-Page SEO: strategies used to bolster a website’s authority to optimize search engine placement
- SERPs: search engine results pages are returned after a user enters a search term or phrase
- Organic Listing: “naturally” displayed search engine listings usually viewable under advertisements or other specialty listings like a “map pack”
- Map Pack: map listings on SERPS usually of local companies and organizations found below ads and above organic listings
Get Ranked On Google
Let’s be honest. The goal of most business websites is to rank well on Google.com. According to Net MarketShare Google enjoys a 72% share of the search engine market for desktops and laptops. On mobile devices the share is even greater: nearly 79%. Interestingly, Baidu, a Chinese search engine has seen significant advances globally in 2018. In the last year they have gone from less than 2% to nearly 20% share on mobile devices. In the United States, Google still reigns supreme.
In order to reach that goal, a CSP or any business needs to use a combination of strategies and tactics which we previously defined. As a local cable TV or broadband provider, you can show up in the listings via Google Ads, map listings and/or organic listings. SEO will most directly affect map and organic listings. The advertising placements are immediate for the most part but you will need to invest in an ongoing cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns. Maps and organic do not necessarily mean additional expenditures, but they do require work.
Making It On Maps
Making it in the map pack of a local search is directly tied to your Google My Business (GMB) account. If you have not claimed your business listing, do it now. You can add or claim your business by following the instructions at Google My Business Help. Once the listing is claimed it is important to fill out the listing with all of the pertinent information on your business. This will include hours of operation, parking availability, payments accepted and, of course, the correct address and phone number.
Time For A NAP?
No, we don’t fall asleep on the job. NAP is an acronym for name, address and phone number. NAP listings are also referred to as citations. While GMB is your primary citation, it is essential to have other listings like Yelp and Yellow Pages as well as local or niche specific listings. Your website NAP should be consistent with all of your citations. If there is a conflict, your map pack listing could suffer. Basically, Google will not know which listing is correct and therefore your GMB can lose authority and ranking.
With offices moves and business buyouts, citations can definitely get outdated. As mentioned, this can cause issues which lead to customers having a difficult time finding and contacting you. Of course, updating and managing the listing manually is an option. There are also services such as Yext and Moz Local that will maintain the information for a yearly fee.
On Point On-Page SEO
On-page optimization starts and ends with great content. There are several factors within Google’s search algorithm that determine rankings, but one is how much time is spent on a particular page. Content that is truly helpful, informative or entertaining will keep visitors on the page resulting in shares and/or backlinks (off-page!).
Key Takeaway: Individual pages are ranked not entire websites.
Keyword density is a factor to pay attention to. Google is looking for natural content that is not packed with the same phrase a hundred times. At the same time, if the keyword shows up too few times on a page Google will interpret that as irrelevant content. No top 10 placement for you!
Mega Meta Tags
Meta tags are the behind-the-scene signals telling Google what is on a web page. They are found in the <head> tag of the HTML and include the page title, meta description and keywords. Keywords used to be a much more influential part of on-page SEO. As search engines have evolved and refined, keywords no longer have the power they once did. Abuses like keyword stuffing or hidden text led to changes in the algorithms resulting in less emphasis on keywords embedded in the content. They are still important to a degree.
A title which mentions the targeted key phrase is more important. The title of a page has a 78 character limit but only 50-60 characters is viewable on the SERP. If possible stick that keyword in the first part of your page title. Google matches the key phrase the user searched for with the best possible page that has both a relevant title and content. As a local communications provider it is helpful to include the service area e.g. “How to Program Smithville Cable TV Remote.”
The meta description is summary paragraph between 110-120 characters in length. Once again, the targeted key phrase needs to be mentioned. Make sure the description is more than 100 characters so that your listing will be two lines instead of one. You want to take up as much SERP real estate as possible!
Off-Page SEO Success
To simplify, off-page SEO revolves around receiving backlinks from other websites. Backlinks are simply incoming links from other websites. The links serve as “votes” telling Google that a page is quality content. How you get the links is the crux of SEO. One can go the “Black Hat” route and pay for services to build a network of website and links back to the site. Preferably, you will take the “White Hat” option and build links naturally through social media engagement, bookmarking, directory submissions, blog commenting, document sharing and more. Black Hat can get you blacklisted. White Hat takes a lot of time and effort. Choose wisely.
Not all backlinks are created equal. Writing a blog comment on UncleJoesBroadbandTips.com does not carry the same weight as a front page link from CNET.com. The authority of the linking website determines how much “juice” the link carries. Stay in your industry as much as possible. A “vote” from a peer website is more valuable than a random blog about cats.
The reality is that your on-page work will determine the effectiveness of your off-page efforts. If you spend the time to develop content that engages visitors with useful information, it will pay dividends on the search pages.
Dominate the Rankings?
Whether you want to dominate the map pack or the organic listings you will need to beat out the competition. In large part that means doing SEO better than they do it. That involves research. Don’t go into SEO, flying blind. Find out who is having success, what key phrases are being searched for and then you can develop your plan.
If the job is too big, have a conversation with us. Effective SEO definitely requires BNDWDTH. 😉 Time and effort can result in real online success for your operation. Questions? Give us a call at 757-416-6109.
About the Author
BNDWDTH is a marketing agency built for communications service providers. We help cable TV, broadband and telecom providers increase market capacity.