So you’ve got a services-based business and a website that’s been around for a little while. Your site’s already got a bunch of inbound links to the home page, which ranks great for your brand name. You’ve also set up a blog on a sub directory, which is updated consistently with interesting and relevant content. Maybe your best posts acquire comments, social shares, and even some inbound links. Sure, the long-tail traffic is great, but is any of that traffic converting? How about the millions of people every day that are searching for the services they need, when they need it? Are any of them finding your company’s services pages?
At Thunder SEO, we work with a lot of service-based businesses like law firms, auto repair shops, dentist offices, and rehab facilities, so we understand how hard it can be to build links to commercial service pages. Through that process, we’ve learned how important it is to leverage existing content and add value to these pages so that more people will want to link to them. Rand at SEOmoz put together an awesome Whiteboard Friday last year that talked about how to turn boring product pages into great content (seriously, WATCH THIS VIDEO). While there are some definite parallels between product pages and service pages, the fundamental difference between the two is that services are tied directly to people. So instead of adding content that showcases the advantages of a product, services pages need content that showcases the expertise of the people performing the service. Below are 5 tactics that help leverage existing content to add value to service pages:
1. Use Blog Categories
Set your blog up with categories that relate to the different service areas listed on your site. When you write a post that is related to that service area, tag it with the appropriate category. Then set up your service pages so that they pull in the titles and snippets of the most recent blog posts that are tagged with the appropriate category. This accomplishes a couple of things. First, it keeps the service pages fresh with keyword-rich content so that Google can keep re-crawling and indexing them. Second, it creates a topical hub of timely information related to the service area, turning a non-link-worthy commercial services page into a useful linkable resource.
2. Link Internally
When mentioning a service area within a blog post, link to the relevant service page. This isn’t a new breakthrough, but I see this missed opportunity on so many blogs. By being smart about internal linking, you can help signal to Google that the page being linked to is relevant for those service area keywords used as the anchor text. Also, because of the timely nature of blog content, Google tends to crawl blog posts more frequently. So when you link to the relevant services pages within a freshly crawled blog post, guess what? Google can follow those links and crawl the service page as well. Another benefit of internal linking is that if you write a killer blog post and it gets a bunch of Facebook likes, Twitter shares, and a handful of inbound links, you can possibly funnel some of that “link juice” and “social authority” into the linked-to pages.
3. Use Your Video Content
A big mistake that I’ve seen a lot of companies make is to put the time, money, and effort into creating quality video content, and then leaving it alone on their YouTube channel. Sure, YouTube is a huge search engine, has an active community, and can drive quality traffic, but c’mon, you gotta let that embed code do its job! First, integrate video content on your site in a videos section or in a video series within your existing blog. On each video’s page, include a textbox with an embed code that also contains a line of attribution with a link back to your site at the bottom. (Thanks to Paddy Moogan at Distilled for the tip!). Also add a transcript of the video at the bottom of the page, making sure to link to relevant service pages when mentioned. Then, embed the most timely and engaging videos on their relevant service pages. This can further add to the topical resourcefulness of the page, and help establish your company as an expert source for that particular service.
4. Leverage Your Link Bait
While you don’t want to clutter up your service pages with massive infographics or detailed How-To guides, these are great pieces of content to add to relevant services pages. Add preview images of your linkbait to a resources sidebar that pop-up in a jQuery modal box or lightbox when clicked. That way, when others want to link to it, they’ll use the service page URL that the linkbait is hosted on.
5. Make Services Pages Shareable
I don’t have any raw data on this, but I gotta think that service pages are probably not among the top types of shared content on the social web. Their static nature and commercial bias makes them the type of web page that people just don’t get that excited about sharing with their friends. However, when the pages are turned into more of a dynamic resource hub using the ideas above, they suddenly become a lot more shareable. For example, it could be a wife sharing the brake repair page of an auto shop website with her husband on Facebook because it has a guide on how to diagnose if your car needs new rotors. Or it could be a start-up restaurateur tweeting the restaurant equipment leasing page of an equipment finance company with his entrepreneurial Twitter followers because it hosts an infographic on the top pieces of leased restaurant equipment, broken down by cuisine type, along with average prices and interest rates over time. No matter what industry your company happens to be in, or how anti-social you think that industry might be, it’s a good idea to add Twitter’s Tweet Button and Facebook’s Share Button to the services pages on your website. We know Google’s looking at social sharing to influence rankings, so you might as well make it easy for your visitors to share.
Have any other ideas for adding value to company services pages? Leave a comment and let us know!