SEO for SMP artists – The ultimate guide
What is SEO and how does it work?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of positioning your website favorably in Google search results, for keyword searches relating to your business. The impact of SEO cannot be understated, in fact, the success or failure of your SMP business may rest on the performance of your SEO. It really is that important.
As Facebook and Instagram get more crowded, and paid ads on those platforms become more expensive, SMP artists are realizing the importance of Google as a key part of their marketing plan.
Unfortunately for many SMP artists, they already have a mountain to climb as their competitors already dominate Google search results in their city. If this is the situation for you, or if you’re one of the lucky ones who realized the importance of SEO before the task became onerous, this guide is for you.
We offer a range of SEO services for SMP artists who would rather bring in the experts. Otherwise, read on.
Where on Google can my business be displayed?
Although there are new initiatives being launched by Google all the time, displaying search results in different ways to best serve the searcher, there are fundamentally three places on Google your business is most often found:
- Paid ads (at the top and bottom of the search results page).
- Google Maps (the top 3-4 are displayed with a local map towards the top under the paid ads).
- In the main organic search results under the Google Maps section.
What does Google want?
Google makes money by selling Google Ads. Google Ads are profitable for Google because a lot of people use Google every day. If people stopped using Google, Google would lose advertising dollars.
Encouraging people to keep using Google is critical to Google’s business model.
To ensure that people like you and I continue using Google, they have to make sure their search engine is as useful as possible. This means providing the most accurate, useful and proactive search results for the customer doing the Google search.
Google is exceptionally good at this. Not only do they understand what you are searching for, they also understand buyer intent, so they know what the customer really wants to find. Google are also able to see how other people who searched for the same thing reacted to the results that Google showed them, and they tailor the results of future searches accordingly.
The key to SEO is to understand that Google wants to show results that are backed by Expertise, Authority and Trust (E.A.T). Google doesn’t care about your business and what it needs. They care only about the people searching on Google, so our task is to convince Google that your website is the best resource available to match what the searcher is looking for.
What is E.A.T?
This is perhaps the most important aspect of SEO, and one that although being relatively simple, is critical to understand. There are hundreds of ranking factors that make up the Google algorithm, however E.A.T is a collection of factors rather than a single factor on its own. It is a general measure of how much Google values your website versus other websites that contain similar content.
E – Expertise
This is Google’s measure of how much you know about a subject, and how comprehensively you’ve shared that knowledge. This is largely about the quality and depth of your content.
These 4 businesses are competing for scalp micropigmentation clients in Miami:
Which businesses do you think are demonstrating expertise? Which do you think Google might be compelled to reward with higher rankings?
A – Authority
From an SEO perspective, Authority is all about the standing and status of your business in the wider industry context.
- Have you been established longer than others?
- Are you highly trained and qualified, and do you make this clear on your website?
- Does your website have a lot of high quality backlinks?
- Does your website have industry-specific backlinks, like links from TeamMicro.com, SPCP.org, from the training school you attended or the company that insures you?
- Do you have high quality local backlinks to your website, perhaps from your local Chamber Of Commerce, local news outlets, or from local educational institutions?
Authority cannot be taken for granted. Many artists mistakenly believe that Google just “knows” their work and their reputation. Remember, Google is an algorithm rarely interrupted with manual reviews. You may be the best artist in your city, but that doesn’t mean you’ll top the Google rankings by default. Often, far from it.
T – Trust
This is as much a mark of good behavior as anything else. Websites and businesses that earn a lot of trust from Google typically share the following characteristics:
- The domain name is not brand new, but has been established for a time, or has recently been changed but the old trusted name is being correctly redirected to the new name.
- The website has not been subject to any manual or security actions, as referenced in Google Search Console.
- The website does not have spammy, irrelevant, adult or gambling links pointing to it.
- The website’s backlink profile looks natural and normal.
- The business has a lot of good Google reviews.
- The owner of the website has not engaged in spurious SEO practices in the past.
What is search intent?
Google always wants to satisfy what they call “search intent”. Simply put, search intent is the underlying reason for the searcher running the search.What do they really want?
This is important because you can tailor your content accordingly and Google is likely to reward you with higher rankings.
For example, a prospective customer searching for “is smp painful” is probably quite close to booking a procedure, because questions like these are usually asked by clients those who have done most of their research, and are now starting to think about the day of their first session. Customers like this are best served a lot of reassuring content, for example:
- Some great before and after photos.
- Maybe a video with a friendly looking client, talking about their experience.
- Links to other information resources on your website, in case they still have questions about the procedure.
- Any guarantees or assurances you can provide.
On the other hand, a customer searching for “best smp clinic in miami”, has probably already decided to get the procedure, and is now choosing their provider. Your content, on whichever page shows on Google for that search, should focus on why you are the right artist for their needs:
- Show your certifications and any awards.
- Make yourself super approachable. Add a photo of you, and explain why you care about your clients needs.
- Show the best examples of your work.
- Reduce the risk for the client by highlighting your experience, any guarantees, and why you believe you’re the best SMP artist in your city.
What SEO changes really make a difference?
The Google algorithm is made of hundreds of ranking factors, at least that we know of, that combined, determine where a website ranks on Google for a given keyword.
The fundamentals of SEO for ranking in the main organic search results will also help you rankings on Google Maps, however Google Maps has its own requirements for the best ranking positions.
To rank in the best positions on Google Maps, the best strategy is to focus on SEO for the main organic search results, PLUS make sure some specific additional tasks are also completed.
The Whitespark survey
Check out the results of the annual Whitespark ranking factors survey (below). Whitespark surveys a large pool of the world’s best SEO experts, so the data is solid.
“Local Pack/Finder” refers to Google Maps. “Local Organic” refers to the main organic search results.
As you can see, to rank on Google Maps the consensus is that 32% of your ranking determination comes directly from your Google Business Profile (GBP) signals, with 19% coming from your on-page signals, i.e how well your website is optimized. Then other factors like reviews, backlinks and user behavior come into play.
Compare that to what’s needed to rank in the main organic search results, and the difference is quite striking. For starters, your on-page and link signals far outweigh everything else which really highlights the importance of good on-page SEO and a solid backlink strategy.
How to rank on Google Search
We’ve been executing SEO campaigns since 2002. During this time, we’ve worked in a ton of different industries, obviously SMP, but also permanent makeup, aesthetics, hair transplantation, online retail, car accessories, sporting memorabilia, law, trades and weddings.
Unlike other SEO specialists who usually know very little beyond the basics, we earned our place as the world’s #1 SEO agency for SMP artists, working with real SMP business owners to achieve real results. The kind of results that fill the diary and put real cash in the pocket of the artist.
We do things differently here. What follows is the broad strategy we use, at least as much of it that can be taught within a reasonable timescale. Follow our strategy step by step and you’ll see results, usually within a few weeks.
Our strategy is based around 4 core principles:
- Create great website content.
- Fully optimize the content.
- Use backlinks to help Google find and love the content.
- Add citations and proximity signals to boost rankings on Google Maps.
If your ranking improvements hit a wall, or you want to call the professionals in, you can find our SEO services here.
Before we get started, there are some things about Google you need to know:
- Google is far from transparent about how their algorithm really works. Everything we do and recommend in SEO is based on industry best practice, and 20+ years experience. It is not based on a rulebook, because such a thing does not exist.
- SEO cannot be rushed. Pay us $1 million today and we still cannot get you to the top of Google tomorrow. It just doesn’t work like that. If we push too hard, we put your website at risk of a penalty or ban. Consistent actions over time is the best and only way to dominate Google search results, hence why even our one-time payment packages are delivered over 3 months.
- There is a deliberate time delay between an SEO action being taken, and a change being visible in Google search results. This is partly because it would be too easy to game their algorithm, but also because it takes Google a while to reindex the web and discover any changes made.
- And lastly, understand the SEO industry is a dirty place. Completely unregulated, anyone can set up a business and claim to specialize in SEO. Most of these ‘specialists’ charge a monthly fee in return for some really basic on-page SEO and a cheap link package full of spam links that is likely to do more harm than good. Your best option is to choose someone you know and trust, or learn to handle it yourself.
What is the “main organic search”?
These are the main search results directly below the Google Maps section. When people talk about Google and SEO, these are the results they’re usually targeting primarily. The aim is to get on the first page of Google search results, i.e the top 10.
What is “on-page” and “off-page” SEO?
On-page SEO refers to optimizations that are made to your actual website. This could include optimizing your text content, images, page structure, the way your website is tagged up, and also technical factors like your conversion optimization, the UX (user experience) and measures to improve factors like bounce rate and dwell time.
Off-page SEO primarily refers to backlink building, a critical componenet of SEO, but can also include citations, reputation management, Google Search Console optimizations and more.
Choose an SEO-friendly website platform
A website CMS, or Content Management System, enables a website to be built and maintained. Popular examples are WordPress, WIX, GoDaddy and Squarespace.
We only use WordPress, as it is by far the most SEO-friendly platform for small business websites. We load a page builder into the platform called Elementor, which makes it super easy for artists to handle their own ongoing maintenance if they wish.
WIX and Squarespace are okay, however neither are anywhere near as flexible as WordPress. Unfortunately GoDaddy really isn’t great, so we cannot recommend them at all.
Contrary to popular belief, a fully customized platform is completely unnecessary in the modern world. If your website designer wants to use their own custom platform, I advise extreme caution as it can be difficult to manage and maintain your own website if the platform is unfamiliar to anyone but the designer. Often, artists find themselves chained to a specific designer because their website cannot easily be moved or managed by someone else.
Understand the strength of your domain name
Short domain names might be expensive, but they offer no ranking advantage. Keyword-rich domains, for example “www.smpmiami.com” provide no advantage either. They used to, and some SEO specialists still advocate their use, but the reality is that having a keyword-rich domain makes no difference at all.
Regarding your domain name, these factors DO matter:
- Domain age
- Domain backlink profile
- Spam/trust history
- TLD (.com, .net, .es)
Domain age is a significant ranking factor because it cannot be faked. The age of your domain generally indicates the age of your business, so if your domain is 15 years old, this tells Google your business is well established. You can view the date your domain was first registered using the Whois lookup by Domain Tools.
The backlink profile of your domain is critically important. Backlinks remain the #1 SEO ranking factor, so if your domain is well established and has some good quality links pointing to it, you have an immediate and significant advantage. You can view the backlink profile of a domain in many ways, however we recommend you open a free Moz account and use their Link Explorer, paying special attention to the Linking Domains section.
Spam/trust history refers to the number of spammy links pointing to the domain. You can use Moz for this. Look for links from domain extensions well known for spam like .cn (China), .ru (Russia) and low value extensions like .xyx and .biz. Also look out for anything related to pornography, gambling, bitcoin or counterfeit goods. Links from these types of websites are very common, as low quality SEO agents tend to buy links like these because they’re cheap.
Trust history also takes into account any breaches of Google’s webmaster guidelines, either involving the specific website you’re working on, or any other website associated with your business.
The TLD (top level domain) of your name is important. Consider the following:
- Quality TLD’s tend to attract more clicks from Google as they look less spammy. So try to find a .com or .net domain rather than .me, .biz etc.
- Country-specific domains are useful for businesses outside the USA that do not need to reach an international audience. Country-specific domains tend to rank better in their target country than a generic TLD like .com, however they will rank poorly outside your home country. For most artists, using a TLD specific to their home country like .es (Spain), .ca (Canada) or .com.au (Australia) works just fine and is generally recommended.
- Finally, you could consider one of the newer ultra-modern TLD’s like .expert or .studio. The best place to search for domains like these is Namecheap.
- List all the services you want to include
- List any ancilliary pages you want (About, Contact etc)
- Add your pages to one of the following structures:
- Single service (SMP, Microblading etc)
- Multi-Service (inc training)
- Allocate your target keywords to your pages.
Practice proper keyword targeting
It is crucial to target the right keywords. These keyword targets are the base of everything you do with SEO, so it is important to choose your keywords early on.
There is no point targeting obscure searches like “vitiligo micropigmentation in potters bar”, or indeed no point in targeting “hair loss” either.
You need achievable keywords with decent search volume, and probable buyer intent.
However… keyword research is a pain in the ass.
But… we already know what keywords to target, so you don’t need to do any research.
Here are our keyword recommendations
- 60% of all online searches are “long tail”, so use synonyms
- You don’t need a separate page for every keyword.
- “scalp micropigmentation” and “smp”
- “ombre brows” and “powder brows”
- Geo-modify everything.
- “hair tattoo miami”
- “scalp micropigmentation near me”.
Get your headings and subheadings on point
When writing content for your website pages, it is important to understand how headings and subheadings work with SEO, because they are a strong ranking factor. These headings add structure to your content, improve the user experience, and help Google understand what your page is all about.
Headings and subheadings are expressed as H numbers:
- H1 – your main headline. Each page should have one H1 heading only
- H2 – Use these to divide your content into topics
- H3/H4 – Use these to divide your topics into separate points
Write great page title tags
Each page needs its own title tag. Not visible within the page content, the title tag can be seen in the page tab at the top of your browser (mobile may display differently), and the text within the title tag is usually selected by Google as the clickable/tappable text within Google search results.
Your title tag should be around 60 characters long and contain the main keyword for that specific page, your company name and lastly, a geo-modifier. For example:
Scalp Micropigmentation For Women at SMP By Rob – Miami, FL
Don’t forget your META descriptions
Your META description simply describes what your page is all about. Usually limited to 160 characters, the META description does not directly influence your rankings, but it is highly visible in Google search results, so it impacts your click-through rate (CTR). Click-through rate DOES impact rankings, so it’s worth spending a little time making your META descriptions compelling and inviting.
Here’s an example META description:
Choose SMP By Rob, and discover why we’ve quickly become the preferred scalp micropigmentation specialist in Miami for female SMP procedures.
Optimize your main body text
Your body text is the main text content on your page, and is critical for effective SEO. Writing for search engines is not hard, just follow a few basic guidelines as follows:
- Decide what primary keyword you are targeting, for example “female scalp micropigmentation”.
- Include your primary keyword in your title tag, META description, H1 heading, and in the first and last paragraph of body text.
- Write a list of at least 20 synonyms and scatter them in your content, including in your H2/H3/H4 headings and in your body text.
- Ensure your spelling, grammar and pronounciation are on point.
- Include internal links to related content on your website.
- Don’t be afraid to use bold text, italics and blockquotes to better structure your content.
- Aim for 300+ words on low priority pages (About, Gallery etc), 500+ words on service pages and your home page, and step up to 1000+ words if your website is relatively new, has a Domain Authority score of less than 10 in Moz’ Link Explorer, or if you’re in a competitive city and/or chasing competitive terms.
Aim for exceptional content depth and quality
The saying “Content Is King” was born of the SEO industry, and remains true to this day. There is simply no substitute for high quality, useful, engaging content, combined with skilfully executed high quality backlinks.
Unless you’re in a very low competition area, promoting a very niche service like Procell or Microneedling, a service page with anything less than 300 words of high quality descriptive content simply won’t do.
If you have built (or bought) a good portfolio of backlinks, you don’t need to go crazy with the word count. Around 300-500 words is usually enough. However if you are early on your SEO journey, your content will need to pick up the slack. In which case aim for more, and for highly competitive terms, for example “scalp micropigmentation miami”, you need at least 1000 words of high quality content.
IMPORTANT – We are not trying to generate word count for the sake of it. Useful, engaging content with a lower word count is infinitely more preferable than churned-out content with a higher word count. There really is no way to game the system here.. your content must be genuinely interesting and add value to the customers journey by making their life easier or answering their questions, comprehensively yet concisely.
Learn how ChatGPT can help you
Tempting as it may be, you cannot rely entirely on ChatGPT to write content for you. Google can detect AI-generated content and deems it to be of lower value. As more artists publish exactly the same or very similar AI generated content on their websites, Google will certainly filter this content even more aggressively. Google hates duplicate content, and that’s what AI-generated content will ultimately become.
However, ChatGPT can help if you use the tool carefully. Go to ChatGPT, create a free account and login, then enter the following prompt:
I want to write an article about my scalp micropigmentation clinic in Miami. My business is called Awesome SMP. Provide a list of the top 5 topics the article should contain to ensure the article is comprehensive.
ChatGPT will suggest 5 key discussion points about scalp micropigmentation that together, will make a great article.
Next, if you’re happy with the 5 key discussion points,simply enter the prompt:
Please write the article as described above.
Finally, you need to edit and clean up your article. Do NOT skip this very important step. Remember, Google does not want to rank AI content, so we need to make this content as useful and unique as possible.
- Add / edit your headings and sub-headings.
- Tidy up any internationalization errors, i.e color/colour.
- Edit the opening and closing paragraphs to make them your own. Ensure your main keyword is added to the opening and closing paragraphs.
- Add photos to illustrate your content.
- Add internal links from other pages on your website to this page.
Keep your website tightly focused on its primary topical theme
Keeping the topical theme of your website 100% focused and relevant is your weapon against massive authority websites that cover a multitude of different topics.
These huge websites like Facebook, Instagram, LadBible, and even sites like tinadavies.com, are competing for the same rankings you are. However, their inherent weakness is those websites cover a lot of different topics, and are not focused on a single location. Beating websites like these on Google is actually straightforward, if your SEO is executed correctly.
The takeaway here is not to deviate too far from your core topical theme. Listing multiple hair loss solutions on your website alongside SMP is fine, but as soon as you start straying off your main path, perhaps with services like Procell, skin rejuvenation, permanent makeup or barbering, you really should put those services on a separate, dedicated website.
Load your website with synonyms
OK, so you can’t stuff your content full of keywords, but you can pack it to the rafters with closely related synonyms. These are really powerful, so take note.
A synonym is simply a word related to the main topic. For example, if the main topic is “scalp micropigmentation”, these are some synonyms:
- scalp pigmentation
- hair tattoo
- hairline tattoo
- hair loss tattoo
- hair loss
- thinning hair
- shaved head
- … and so on.
Example of an opening paragraph, making good use of synonyms: Scalp Guru SMP page
Using synonyms offers two amazing benefits for your website:
- You will start to rank for all manner of obscure “long tail” keywords. This is a big deal because around 70% of all online searches are for “long tail” keywords. There are so many of them, it would be impossible to create pages targeting each of these keywords, but synonyms enable a single page to rank for hundreds, even thousands of keywords.
- Your rankings for your primary “short tail” keywords will improve, as you are providing Google with a more comprehensive, multi-faceted piece of content that is likely to be higher quality, and more comprehensively address the users search query.
Master image optimization
The following steps will ensure your website images are SEO-friendly, boosting the ranking of your pages and increasing the odds of the images themselves showing up in Google Image Search:
- Optimize the file size and type to speed up load times without compromising the quality of your image. If using WordPress, we recommend a plugin called Imagify. Imagify will reduce the file size of your images, crop them to a pre-determined maximum size and convert the file type to .webp, a newer and more efficient file type designed for the web.
- Activate lazy loading. This ensures the images are only loaded to the page when they’re actually pulled into view, reducing overall page loading times. For WordPress users, there’s a free plugin called Lazy Loader that works just fine, although check if lazy loading functionality is built into your theme, or if you’re using one, your caching plugin.
- Be thoughtful when naming your image files. For example, traction-alopecia-smp.jpg is more likely to show up in Google Image Search and support the SEO of the page than a file named abcxyz.jpg.
- Use ALT and image TITLE tags. These are easy to add in WordPress. Best practice is to use 1-4 words to describe what is in the image. If you want to add keywords to these tags, mix them with related synonyms to avoid any over-optimization penalties.
Understand and execute internal linking
An internal link is simply a clickable/tappable link from one page of your website to another. For example, this is an internal link to our SEO services.
Internal links are important because they help Google to find all the pages of your website. They also signpost to Google which pages are important to you, and if keyword rich anchor text is used (the text that is actually clickable) indicates what content the link points to.
For example, this link to our scalp micropigmentation pigments page tells Google what the target page is all about, because the anchor text “scalp micropigmentation pigments” indicates as such. This helps the target page rank for that search term.
- Internal links from your home page or other major pages are more powerful than links from your Contact page, About page etc.
- In-content links are much stronger than links in your footer or sidebar.
- Use sparingly. Just because internal links from your home page are powerful doesn’t mean you should link to every page from your home page. Link to your most important SEO pages only, so your main treatment pages, not your Gallery or other ancilliary pages.
Backlinks: Everything you need to know
A backlink, often referred to simply as a “link”, is a clickable or tappable word or image on a website that leads the user to another website. For example, this is a backlink to our Meeting Of Minds website.
A link is so much more than a functional signpost. Google knows you wouldn’t link to websites that are spammy or low quality. For this reason, Google interprets the existence of a backlink as a vote of confidence from one website to another.
So if Team Micro links to Scalp Micro USA, Google sees this as Team Micro vouching for Scalp Micro USA, and will build this into their ranking decisions.
The value of a link
Not all links are created equal and some are much more valuable than others. The relevance and authority of the link determines its ultimate value. The perfect link is:
- Highly relevant. If the link is from another website in the same industry, this makes the link more powerful.
- Geographically targeted. If you’re based in Miami, the link is more valuable if it comes from a website that focuses on Miami.
- From a website with strong metrics. To know how powerful the linking website is, and how valuable a link from that website would be, use the Link Explorer at Moz.com. Look for the Domain Authority (DA) score. If the website is highly relevant to your business, a DA of 10 or more is useful. If the website is not relevant at all, perhaps in the case of a local news website, any DA score of 25 or more is worth having a link from.
We provide a range of different SEO packages to suit all requirements. Most of our higher value links are from high authority websites, and we create additional relevance by ensuring the links are embedded in content specific to scalp micropigmentation, hair loss, or at the very least, mens health.
Keep in mind that not every link can (or should) be from a highly relevant, geographically targeted or strongly authoritative website. Every website needs foundational links, like links from your social media profiles, business directories etc, as although they are less valuable, Google expects all businesses to automatically acquire these low level links as they go about their normal business.
Anchor text and spam
“Anchor text” is the visible clickable or tappable text that comprises the link. For example, the link SMP pigments uses the anchor text “SMP pigments”. Using this anchor text signposts the topic of the page to Google, and can help that page rank for that term.
Unfortunately a lot of spammers abused this system, pointing vast quantities of links to money-generating websites using exact-match anchor text. For this reason, Google had to clamp down aggressively on this practice. Having too many backlinks to your website, using targeted anchor text, is the fastest way to get deindexed or banned by Google.
We must convince Google that your backlinks were acquired naturally, and not as the result of any SEO work. Obviously this simply isn’t practical in the real world, but we must be careful to ensure your rankings are improved safely and sustainably.
Reserve exact match anchor text for your strongest links from the strongest websites. This is a healthy mix of link types:
- Exact match (no more than 5% of your total links)
- Branded links (example – Team Micro)
- Naked URL’s (example – https://www.teammicro.com)
- Semi-naked URL’s (example – www.teammicro.com)
- Generic (example – more info or click here)
- Conversational (example – I found this great article)
- Synonyms (example – hair loss solution)
The target of your link is the URL (website page) it points to. The aim is to make this look as natural as possible. Follow these natural patterns to stay below Google’s radar:
- Home pages tend to attract mostly branded links, naked and semi-naked URL’s.
- Save exact match anchor text for your service pages, but mix in plenty of generic, conversational and synonym anchors.
- Don’t waste links on your About, Gallery or Contact pages. For SEO, those pages are low value.
How to acquire inbound links (backlinks)
There’s no getting away from it, link building is hard. Very few people want to link to your website. And why would they? There’s no incentive for them to do so.
Furthermore, website owners get spammed on a daily basis by people asking for links. They’ve heard it all before. You could send maybe a hundred begging emails and get one link, if you’re lucky. Who has time for that?
Buying links is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. Despite this, the professional SEO industry revolves around link buying, simply because its the only reliable, scalable solution. The question isn’t whether or not to buy links. If you want to rank in the top spots, you have no choice. You have to buy links. The question is how to do so safely, in a way that looks like natural link acquisition to Google.
At the end of the day, running a business is about making money. Buying links enables you to do that.
Almost all link vendors are shady. I’m talking 95%. They either sell shitty links, links that don’t match expectations, or they’re simply scammers who will take your money and disappear.
Don’t believe me? We’ve spent 21 years and close to $500,000 finding out the hard way.
That said, in 2020 Team Micro applied and finally gained access to one of the most secretive and exclusive link vendor networks in the world. We now have the most powerful links at our fingertips, hence why since 2020 Team Micro has totally dominated SEO in micropigmentation.
We’re not allowed to share who our vendors are. Its a condition of our membership. But you can hire us to deploy these links on your website.
That said, there are some links you can acquire on your own, safely and relatively inexpensively. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Local directories like these (Manchester UK, Jacksonville USA, Toronto Ca). Bear in mind directories only help if they’re in the same geographic area as your business, or if they specialise in the same industry as you. Sometimes you’ll need to pay. Anything up to $100 per year is reasonable.
- Well known business directories like these (Yellow Pages Canada, Yelp USA, 192 UK).
- Industry-specific directories like these (ScalpGuru.com, SPCP.org)
- Links from other SMP artists websites. However, do not exchange links. If they link to you, that’s great, but as soon as you link back to them, the value of the link is nulled as Google does not like link exchanges.
- Links from associations, accreditation boards, suppliers, sponsors, chambers of commerce, business federations and small business networks.
- Links from websites of other business owners in your immediate area, if their business is at least loosely related to yours.
- Links from local media. This usually means approaching them with a newsworthy story and hoping it’s something they’d be willing to cover, however some news outlets sell sponsored articles which can contain a link to your website. Be aware though, Google ignores links in articles that are marked as “sponsored” content.
What is nofollow and dofollow?
Nofollow is a special tag website owners can add to a link to nullify its SEO value. Nofollow is applied to many links including those from major news sites, social media platforms like Facebook and many more.
In the source code, a nofollow tag looks like this:
<a href=”https://www.yourwebsite.com” rel=”nofollow”>Your anchor text</a>
There is no such thing as a “dofollow” tag. Dofollow simply means a link that does not have a nofollow tag applied to it.
Before you start obsessing over nofollow and dofollow, and only acquiring links that are dofollow, keep in mind that websites naturally accumulate links of both types. Of course, we want dofollow links, but nofollow links can be valuable too, especially if they come from a large, well established website.
Just don’t spend a ton of time or money trying to acquire nofollow links, unless its on a website with crazy authority, like Wikipedia.
How to rank on Google Maps
Google Maps appears as part of Google’s search results, when the search query has a strong geographic connotation. For example, when a user searches for “barbershops”, they are almost certainly looking for a business nearby, so Google will include Google Maps in the results they show to the searcher.
When we talk about “organic search results”, we are referring to the main search results on Google, excluding Google Maps. When we refer to “Google Maps” specifically, we’re talking about positioning on Google Maps only.
What is the Map Pack?
The “Google Map Pack” (or the Google Local Pack) is a prominent section in the Google local search results that showcases the top ranking local listings for your location or the search location.
In the Google Map Pack, businesses are listed alongside their geographic location, contact information, hours, and other helpful information.
Users can click on a listing to learn more about the company, call the contact number, or pull up Google Maps navigation to the business’s physical location.
The Google Map Pack is displayed as a set of three or more Google Maps results when a user searches for a local business. Google calls up the search result that its algorithm interprets as being most relevant to their search.
Here is the definitive list of actions every SMP artist should complete, to stand the best chance of ranking high and maintaining their position on Google Maps.
Verify your Google Business listing
You cannot rank properly on Google Maps without a fully verified listing. Sometimes this can be done automatically, but most SMP artists will need to receive a code in the mail and input it into Google Business to verify their listing.
The purpose of this step is to keep Google Maps spam-free. Although it may seem like a hassle, its a sensible measure that protects your business and your customers from spammers and scammers.
Complete all fields comprehensively
Help Google to help you. Ensure that all available fields in your Google Business listing are completed in full. If you just created your listing, Google only asked you for some fairly sparse information. To see the gaps, log back into your listing and complete every field in detail, one at a time.
Do not stuff keywords
Keyword stuffing is so 2003. Try it today and risk getting deindexed or banned by Google. Just don’t do it.
Not sure what keyword stuffing is? Here’s an example. Let’s say your company name is “SMP By Tony”. What should you call your clinic on Google Business?
The following company names are fine:
- SMP By Tony
- Scalp Micropigmentation By Tony
Although I would use a name like this one:
- SMP By Tony | London Scalp Micropigmentation Specialist
However, these are NOT fine:
- SMP By Tony | Best London Hair Tattoo, Hairline Tattoo and Hair Loss Clinic
- Scalp Micropigmentation London | Best SMP Hair Tattoo Artist | SMP By Tony
Choose the right business categories
All Google Business listings must have a primary category, and additional categories can also be added. Google provide general advice about choosing a category, and a complete list of Google Business categories updated for 2023 can be found here.
Most scalp micropigmentation artists should choose “Hair Replacement Service” as their primary category, then choose their secondary categories from the following shortlist:
- Hair Transplantation Clinic
- Beauty Salon
If you train, the following categories are the most relevant:
- Beauty school
- Private educational institution
- Education center
- Training center
- Training school
Set accurate business hours
Don’t set yourself up on Google as a 24 hour business. You’ll annoy your customers and risk a complaint, which could trigger a manual check by Google. Don’t risk it, just set your actual business hours when customers can contact or visit you.
NAP data and citations
Google wants to know your SMP business is legit, so they check your NAP data (Name, Address, Phone) is consistent across the internet.
For this you need two things – a good number of citations, or mentions of your business, and for those citations to be consistent with the NAP data on your Google Business listing.
Creating citations takes time, however in the short term just focus on around 5 online directories like Yellow Pages, Yelp, Yahoo Directory, Scoot, Superpages and so on. Or for an easy life, just buy our low cost citation service.
The vast majority of location-based searches, those most likely to trigger a Google Maps result, are done using a mobile device. As your listing contains a link to your website, Google are less likely to elevate your exposure if your website is not easily accessible on mobile.
Talk with your website designer and make sure your website is mobile-friendly, often referred to as having a “responsive website”, because your website responds and adjusts how it is displayed to suit whatever device is being used.
Good website SEO
An strongly SEO’d website is critical to your success on Google Maps. A website with great SEO has strong relevance and authority, and when linked to your Google Business listing, plays a significant role in your Google Map rankings.
The #1 relevancy signal that matters on Google Maps is the physical location of your business. Make sure geo-keywords like “Miami”, “Florida” and “Miami-Dade County” are included in your Google Business listing, your Google Business posts, and on your website.
Embed a Google Map on your website
Over the years, Google has generally rewarded businesses that fully use their products, or encourage others to do so. Embedding a Google Map on your website is an easy way to do that, and adds further location based signals to encourage high rankings on Google Maps.
Embedding a Google Map is easy. Just follow these steps.
Add lots of photos
Google is really encouraging businesses to add a comprehensive selection of photos to their Google Business listing. They do this by making photos a very prominent feature on these listings, and by making the frequent addition of photos, a Google Maps ranking factor.
The key here is not to add a ton of photos up front, but to add 3-4 photos consistently every month so your Google Business listing is constantly up to date.
Add posts directly to your listing
Google allows you to add mini blog posts, or excerpts, directly to your Google Business listing.
Not only does this show Google you’re actively promoting the use of their product, it’s also a valuable opportunity to reinforce keywords like “scalp micropigmentation”, “hair tattoo” and “miami”.
Branded searches for your business name
Nothing says “legit” quite like hoardes of people searching Google for your company name. If lots of people are seeking you out specifically, this gives Google a lot of confidence in your business, making them more likely to show your listing for keyword searches like “smp miami”.
Unfortunately this behavior is hard to encourage. Your best option is to do a really great job of reinforcing your company name on all of your branded materials and marketing, and to choose a memorable name in the first place.
Above all, NEVER buy fake traffic. We’re all for breaking a few rules, but if you get found out by Google, all endeavors you may contemplate could be compromised in future because Google will forever associate your profile with fake traffic, which is strictly against their terms of service.
Searcher behavior and engagement
This is an important ranking factor for Google Maps because it’s difficult to fake and effectively validates whether or not Google’s algorithm made the right choice by showing your business in the results.
If you show up on Google Maps for a search, lets say “scalp micropigmentation miami”, Google observes very carefully the way the searcher responds to and interacts with your listing.
If a high proportion of searchers engage positively with your listing, read your reviews, view your photos and tap to call you or visit your website, thats a great signal to Google to show your listing more often, and in a higher position.
The best way to encourage this behavior is to make your Google Business listing as interesting as possible. Following all of the steps in this guide will help you do that, but in particular, focus on your photos and reviews as they are extra visible and have the biggest impact.
Real, legitimate businesses acquire reviews from real customers, regularly and consistently over time, and they reply to their reviews.
The importance of good reviews for your business cannot be overstated, however this is especially important with Google reviews. Until you have at least 200+ Google reviews, focus your attention on Google entirely. Whilst reviews on Facebook, Yelp and Trustpilot are nice to have, they’re simply not as important as your reviews on Google.
Make asking for reviews a habit (this handy QR code may help), and reply to every review you receive, good and bad. Remember, the aim is not to get tons of reviews overnight, but rather to get new reviews regularly over time. 3-4 reviews per month are more valuable than 20 reviews overnight