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SEO Simplified For Firms: A Simplified Approach to SEO by Kai Davis

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
6 min read

About This Talk

This talk is by Kai Davis and was recorded on October 13, 2020. You can learn more about Kai by:

Also mentioned:


0:00 Intro
1:44 What Should SEO Do For Your Services Firm?
2:17 Kai’s Simple Approach to SEO For Firms
4:35 What Google Wants From Your Website
8:07 How to Write High-Quality SEO Content
16:50 Longtail Keyword Research
23:19 Link Building 101
27:37 How to Improve SEO For Your Professional Services Firm

What Should SEO Do For Your Services Firm?

SEO can do a lot of things for your firm, but it’s not a panacea, and it’s unlikely to solve all of your marketing and lead generation problems. But SEO is well-equipped to help you in a few different ways.

To start, SEO can help you get found online. When I interviewed Lee Frederickson about his services buyers research, he said that the fastest-growing method that buyers use to find firms is through search. The advantage of getting search traffic to your website is that you’re reaching people who have a question or a particular problem right now. That means some of your visitors from search will be more motivated to speak with you or buy from you.

SEO will help you drive more traffic and visitors. As you continue to invest in your online presence, you can build authority and get increasing amounts of traffic from Google as your search presence grows.

That increased traffic can help you generate leads for your business. At a minimum, visitors to your website can convert into email subscribers, which will help you gather leads you can educate through email marketing and other means.

Now that you know what SEO can do for your professional services firms, let’s look at Kai’s simple approach to help you get started or improve your search presence.

Kai’s Simple Approach to SEO For Firms

SEO is like tending to a garden. It’s an ongoing process that requires care and maintenance. Today you may plant things that take months or years to grow. And if you neglect your garden, you’ll find it overgrown with weeds, dead leaves, and other stuff you don’t want. My wife and I live in Portland where it rains a lot, so we know just how true this is!

Gardens aren’t made in a month or even a year. They take years of planning, care, iteration, and attention. You may have to change up your approach to your garden to keep it healthy and thriving. And you’ll regularly add new things and experiment to make your garden as healthy and beautiful as it can be.

Okay, now that I’ve taken that metaphor to the absolute extreme, let’s turn back to SEO.

You may have a collection of ten or so high priority articles on your site that you want to rank. You can write them once and simply hope they rank, or stay at the top of Google’s rankings. You’ll need to update and evolve your articles, write new content, and experiment with different ways to send signals that Google wants to see.

What Google Wants From Your Website

At a fundamental level, Google wants to deliver the best answers to search queries. This is good for users, and good for websites. Of course, how that’s done is a more complicated matter.

Kai recommends you have a specific target market or niche that you understand. Know how they think and talk about their problems. Know what they struggle with. Know where they go for answers, and the people they trust for advice.

All of that is just good marketing practice, and it’ll put you on track to give Google what it needs. You see, Google attempts to be a reflection of the way the real world is organized. If you’re an authority in real life – as in, not just on the Internet – then Google will want to serve your content to users.

But being an authority isn’t enough. You have to produce high-quality content, too.

How to Write High-Quality SEO Content

If you take nothing else from this article or Kai’s talk, know this: write high-quality content if you want to raise your SEO rankings.

What does that mean?

Your content needs to be as high-quality – preferably higher quality – than your competition is publishing. That means more in-depth, better researched, quality images, more interactive content if applicable. There are a lot of ways to make your content higher quality, so be creative and do what makes sense for your market and your readers.

You should also publish consistently in a way that increases the perceptions of your authority and credibility in your market.

What can you do make your content higher quality? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Make it more comprehensive than alternatives
  • Include more internal resources that are relevant
  • Include more research and external resources
  • Do original research and include it in your articles
  • Get external links to your site or target pages

The big idea is that you need to understand the market. The more you understand the market, the more likely you are to create high quality content.

Kai suggests your SEO checklist should include:


Keyword Research and the SEO Longtail

Is it worth your time to write an article for a specific keyword? The short answer is that it depends. Every keyword has two factors that you need to consider:

  1. The search volume: how many people look for that keyword on a monthly basis
  2. The difficulty to rank: how hard it will be for you to rank near the top of the search results for a particular keyword

You can easily check out the both the search volume and difficulty of ranking for a keyword by using tools like ahrefs and Keywords Everywhere (linked above). It’s likely that the first keywords that come to mind will be hard to rank for. That’s okay. Focus instead on the long tail.

Longtail keywords have lower search volume, are easier to rank for, and usually have more words in the query. Here’s an example from Kai’s presentation:

How else do you get Google to point people to your site? Keywords matter a lot but it’s also important to have links coming into your site. More importantly, in terms of the real world, other authoritative brands should talk about you, and therefore link to you.

Links are an essential part of the process because they send a signal to Google that you have authoritative information because other reputable people and websites also think your site is authoritative.

Here are Kai’s approaches to building more high-quality links:

  • Ask: ask friends and colleagues to link to your content
  • Write guest articles: publish content on other sites that link back to your site
  • Podcast tour: be a guest on podcasts

How to Improve SEO For Your Professional Services Firm

Here are the key takeaways from Kai’s talk:

  • Write content for a market that you know
  • Write higher quality content than your competitors
  • Research keywords that relate to your market
  • Tell people about your content

And here are four things you can do after watching Kai’s talk or reading these notes:

  1. Get your SEO tooling: sign up for some free- or low-cost tools like Google Search Console or Keywords Everywhere
  2. Keyword research: find the keywords that you want to target and are feasible for you to rank for
  3. Write high-quality content: start producing great content!
  4. Earn high-quality links:

Up Next

If you’re getting stuck writing or if you’re wondering if SEO is right for your business, check these ClientCon talks out next: