As a Virtual Assistant, a website will go far in marketing your services on the internet. However, it’s no good having a website if no-one gets to see it apart from your mother and best friend!
So, how do you make sure that your website ranks highly in the search engines such as Google? In other words, how do you employ ‘search engine optimization’ (SEO) for your Virtual Assistant website?
First of all, you need to do some keyword research and find out what keyword phrases your target market would likely type into a search engine. You can use the free keyword tool at Google to generate some ideas:
Then you need to use these keyword phrases in various ways in your SEO campaign, which we will cover shortly.
But first of all, here’s a tip – don’t try to rank for highly competitive phrases such as ‘virtual assistant’ straight away. There’s already too much competition for that keyword – it’s going to be much easier to rank for something that has a longer keyword phrase such as ‘find virtual assistant’. OK, fewer people will be searching using that term, but the competition is lower.
Also the phrase is more targeted i.e. a person searching for ‘find a virtual assistant’ is actually looking for a Virtual Assistant. The term ‘Virtual Assistant’ is very general and will include people wanting to become a Virtual Assistant, which is not your target market if you’re looking to attract clients.
Another example could be ‘real estate virtual assistant’ or ‘realtor virtual assistant’. See how targeted this phrase is? Of course, this is only useful if you’re targeting real estate agents, but think along these lines when you’re choosing your keyword phrases.
Once you have your list of phrases, you need to go about your SEO campaign using a two-pronged approach.
There are two main factors: onpage and offpage optimization. By onpage optimization, I mean using your keyword phrases on your website itself. Search engines send ‘robots’ out to explore websites and find which ones are relevant for their listings. These robots go through the website code and look for how often keyword phrases appear within the website and where they appear.
It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into a huge amount of detail, suffice to say you need to use your keywords in the title tag, in the headings and in the body of your website content. But don’t overdo it, as the search engines can penalize your site for ‘keyword stuffing’.
Offpage optimization presents many opportunities to rank well. It’s all about getting valuable ‘inbound’ links. By this I mean websites linking to yours using relevant keyword phrases. In the eyes of the search engines, each inbound link is a ‘vote’ for your site. If another site links to you, then Google interprets this as saying ‘this website is relevant for this topic’.
You can approach this by writing articles and submitting them to article directories, making sure to include your keyword phrase. With each submission, you must include a ‘resource box’ which introduces you, describes what your service is about and, most importantly, includes a link back to your site.
Blogging is another way of linking back to your site, along with submitting your site to directories and posting on relevant business forums using a signature which includes your URL (web address).
A more advanced SEO technique is to create videos and upload them to Youtube, using your keyword phrase in the title of the video and including your URL in the description.
As with anything worthwhile, achieving good rankings takes time, patience and persistence. Don’t expect to rank overnight. Put a plan into place which reminds you to focus on SEO every week!
Does anyone have any questions or additional tips to share? This is by no means a highly detailed SEO tutorial. I wrote it off the top of my head this morning – I’m sure some of you will come up with other strategies to help others rank highly in the search engines.