Mark O’Brien is a very smart man and the CEO at Newfangled Web Developers in Carrboro North Carolina.
Mark is exceptionally gifted at understanding how SEO drives new client acquisition for a professional services firm and even better at understanding what drives the SEO.
One of the best quotes I have heard from him on the subject related to the role and structure of an article or blog post on a website. I am paraphrasing but it was something like “write the article that answers the question your potential client is asking Google”.
So although writing an article about your expertise is great, write the article (and title) that reflects your potential client’s lack of expertise as demonstrated by their Google search.
Consider this for a moment. Assume I am a lawyer that focuses on trademark and patent law for US food producers, manufacturers, and distributors.
Consider also that a typical client searches for help usually in the form of “issue” and “industry”. So for example a food product manufacturer looking for trademark assistance might search:
“trademark process US food products”
So – “Developments in US Trade Mark and Patent Law” is a great title clearly communicating that the article will likely offer much information about the subject and be of interest to someone invested in trademark and patent law. It will definitely demonstrate expertise in a specific area of law.
But – if we shift the focus of the article slightly to reflect the possible Google search that might be done by OUR specific potential client looking for help on a trade mark or patent, we help Google to send that search to our article instead of the article above because we framed our article as “Trademark and Patent Issues in the US Food Product Sector”.
Conversely someone searching “trademark process Canadian garment manufacturers” would not be sent to our site (and that’s a good thing).
Our focused expertise was reflected in our very focused article, which Google scored as more relevant and valuable to the search terms above.
If there’s one thing we should take away from this exercise is that SEO for a professional services firm is not possible without focused expertise.
I’m sorry to report that there is no short cut to SEO for a professional services firm. If you want Google to work for you then you are going to have to work for Google.
And that means writing very focused expertise rich articles and blog posts. Good luck with that if you are a generalist.
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"This should be required reading for consultants AND their clients - especially the part about RFPs." - Blair Enns, Win Without Pitching