Immediately you’re thinking “I offer WordPress website maintenance; I don’t do SEO”.
Bear with me.
There’s huge value in linking SEO to website maintenance services in the sales process and we are about to explain why.
Businesses are desperate to be at the top of Google
We all know the importance of SEO when it comes to having an online business, especially in the midst of a huge shift towards digital operation.
With the pandemic being the catalyst to worldwide digital adoption, the fight for a ‘page one appearance’ has become more and more competitive.
Businesses are obsessed – obsessed with keywords, content and link building and spending thousands on perfecting their SEO strategy.
Thing is, anyone involved with website development or maintenance will know that no matter how much effort you put into SEO, if the website isn’t functioning correctly, Google won’t be interested in driving traffic to your site.
This is why the obsession for SEO creates a new avenue for website maintenance teams and agencies to sell their maintenance plans.
First step, educate prospects on penalties from search engines
There’s nothing like making a prospect see the consequences of not taking action.
In this case, it’s outlining how poor website maintenance not only affects functionality, but also discoverability and optimisation.
To be able to deliver this narrative confidently, you’ll need to ensure your knowledge is up to speed beforehand.
Search engines such as Google use specific methods to authenticate a website’s legitimacy and performance to ensure users are presented with the relevant information and have the best possible experience.
If the search engines deem the website to be one which won’t create a great experience for the reader, then penalties come into place and lower the website’s overall ranking.
It’s therefore vital you familiarise yourself with some of the areas that Google looks at and could trigger a penalty.
1. Spyware, adware or viruses
In the world of websites, there are tons of people out there determined to get access to credentials via any means possible, often embedding lines of harmful code or links which could lead to potential viruses.
When Google scans the website and its pages, malicious or harmful scripts, or links found will lead to a penalty for that site.
2. Hidden links or text
Another trigger which will enact a penalty through Google is hidden links and texts.
Content which is not discoverable directly by the user can be seen as a deceptive practice which removes credibility and trust in Google’s eyes.
This means if caught, penalties may be enforced on the site.
Cloaking is another Google penalty trigger.
Displaying a different version of a webpage from what the search engine robots can see is viewed as another form of deception.
Not having pages up to date or them being different to what search engines detect will penalise the site – a common issue that occurs if sites are not updated regularly.
4. Deceptive redirects
Deceptive redirects are not as common as other triggers, but they are frowned upon.
If a site directly redirects to another page without the user knowing then again, the search engine sees this as untrustworthy.
It’s worth noting that this could be a result of deceptive marketing tactics or a bug within the site that nobody is aware of.
5. High volume of duplicated content
Another common trigger in which Google penalises sites for is duplicate content.
If a site has a substantial amount of repetitive content, then search engines are less likely to push that site to search queries, thus lowering the sites discoverability and search ranking.
6. Poor optimisation & mobile support
With around 60% – 70% of Google’s search queries being done through mobile devices, mobile compatibility is vital for optimising websites.
If the mobile version of the site has broken pages, doesn’t fit certain resolutions or aspect ratios, and lacks the same content as the desktop version, then these are all potential triggers for Google to penalise the site.
You see, when it comes to a website, the functionality and content needs to be replicated across all versions so that search engines are more likely to recommend the site.
Another vital element, key to being recommended, is load times.
If the site loads slowly on all platforms or even on one platform, this can lead to Google issuing a penalty.
As mentioned, search engines focus on user experience, and if they keep recommending slow loading sites the user experience will be poor, bounce rates will be high, and they are likely to move on to a different engine.
Each search engine has different penalty triggers, but many follow the same principle.
A lot of these triggers can be easily prevented or identified when ongoing website maintenance is provided.
That’s why you, as a person offering website maintenance, can use SEO to demonstrate the value of your services during the sales process.
How to Link SEO to website maintenance in the sales process
As you’re probably already understanding, some of the penalties Google dishes out are actually for things not being done which website maintenance takes care of.
This is gold dust and something you should be using as part of your maintenance sales process.
The trick to nailing this is linking certain aspects of SEO to the services you offer as a company via your website maintenance plans.
Linking Regular Updates to SEO
Regular updates are a primary task for those offering website maintenance, so it’s extremely beneficial not only to the website and its functionality but also from an SEO perspective.
Having the latest versions of plugins and themes allows better compatibility and functionality of the site.
Many updates implement support for new features and bug fixes too.
This links to SEO as performance and functionality are key to search engines.
Linking Website Security to SEO
Security is vital to any site no matter what its purpose or the market it serves.
Security has always been a fundamental task within website maintenance and has great relevance to SEO.
Regular security updates and activities prevent as much as possible any vulnerabilities occurring which could cause harm to a website or compromise it anyway.
We are all aware that even larger websites can get compromised, so size in this instance isn’t relevant.
Many hacks and breaches are known to be quite damaging to SEO as they load harmful scripts, deface homepages and integrate malicious material to which search engines can pick up on.
Once search engines identify harmful or malicious sites, they are likely to be permanently banned.
If a temporary penalty / ban is put in place it can be extremely time consuming trying to regain the credibility lost.
This is why regular security checks through website maintenance are vital to not only just the website but the SEO side of things as well.
Linking Site Monitoring to SEO
Site monitoring has always been seen as a ground zero task when it comes to website maintenance.
There are three fundamental sections to site monitoring that have great value to clients’ sites.
1. Availability monitoring
This is a type of site monitoring which checks and verifies the response of the site from external servers.
It’s where you capture the uptime and latency based around the user’s geographical location.
2. Performance monitoring
This is the second type of monitoring used within site maintenance.
It’s designed to check and monitor the speed of the site such as web page loading times etc.
3. Functionality monitoring
The third form of monitoring is to check key functions are working correctly, such as plugins and those responsible for user experience.
Site monitoring in some cases is a manual task, but for the majority of people, especially those with WordPress management tools, it can be automated and scheduled on a regular basis.
Site monitoring links nicely into SEO as it helps with functionality and performance just like regular updates do.
Backend monitoring allows for functionality to be restored easily and for performance to be increased when necessary.
As we know, this then decreases the chances of any penalties being issued by search engines.
Linking Content Management to SEO
It’s not unusual for website maintenance providers to offer content management to their customers.
From a client’s perspective, they don’t have the time to change existing content or upload new content when produced.
They know how important it is from an SEO perspective to add new content, but they rarely know how best to add this to the site and the impact it has on site speed for example.
Here’s where content management links to SEO.
You can be responsible for ensuring that any new content added to the site is done so in a way that won’t jeopardise the performance of the website.
Linking 24/7 Support to SEO
Support comes under website maintenance but is usually seen as an additional service.
However, by providing 24/7 support as part of your offering, you can pick up some of the tasks quickly and limit SEO damage.
There are five elements of support which relate to SEO. These are:
- Data or content errors
- System going offline
- Web hosting issues
- Checking for 404 errors
- Removing spam comments
Support tasks such as hosting issues and 404 errors all link into functionality and as previously stated functionality is part of the criteria search engines assess.
Having poor uptime because the host isn’t responding or having pages that frequently display errors can harm performance of the site from an SEO perspective and removes credibility.
There are many effective ways to sell website maintenance, each of which relies on understanding the prospect and the value website maintenance will add.
But, with more and more businesses becoming concerned with their search engine appearance, right now is the time to include the link between SEO and website maintenance in your proposals.
Take it from me, demonstrating relevancy and understanding could significantly improve your chances of converting new customers.
PS. Looking for more tips on how to convert website maintenance leads? Check out our free e-book