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Elizabeth Hurt

Peachtree Offices’ Michael Gudger shares his advice for flex space operators

Whether you do it yourself or outsource it to the experts, search engine optimization (SEO) and online marketing are critical to gaining leads and new member prospects for your coworking space, flex workspaces, traditional executive suites, and meeting rooms. A strong online presence is also necessary when promoting virtual office services. In the following post, Michael Gudger with Peachtree Offices shares how this Atlanta-based office suites company has utilized digital marketing to consistently rank in the top spot on Google and Bing.

Google is king

Peachtree is a traditional shared workspace, targeting customers looking for less than 500 square feet of office space. They also sell virtual office services, which has flourished during the pandemic. Between their six Atlanta-area centers, they boast about 1,400 clients and have a strong presence in the area’s executive suites and virtual office market.

Most of the time, if someone searches “virtual office Atlanta” in the Atlanta Metro area, they will see Peachtree in three places on page one of Google: the top ad spot, the top organic search result, and on the map of relevant businesses. This is no accident. Gudger taught himself SEO and spent years determining how to optimize Peachtree’s organic and paid search rankings abiding by the following principles.

Your website is your most important asset

Your website is your introduction to your prospects. It must give a good first impression. “Your website has to be top-notch,” Gudger shares. “Without a quality website, you are not going to make it, even if you attempt to implement all other SEO steps.”

Peachtree opted to hire a web design firm to build out their site, a decision Gudger recommends to most office space operators. Do your due diligence to ensure the web designer is a good fit for your business, understands your target market and the key information you need to quickly convey, and is reasonably priced. Sites like WordPress or Wix are also available to build your own site using templates, but, Gudger emphasizes, if any part of digital marketing should be outsourced, it is the website. “If you start with a bad website and try to accomplish anything else, you won’t.”

DIY SEO and PPC

With a quality website in place, the next step is to optimize it, or take necessary steps to ensure it appears in the top online search results. SEO firms like Bubble Up can guide your business in this process. Bubble Up has offered some quick tips for improving the SEO of your website in this recent blog post.

If you prefer to do-it-yourself, as Gudger has, YouTube is a wealth of resources. Search “SEO” or “PPC (pay-per-click) advertising” for relevant tutorials. Books on Google Analytics and Google Advertising are also invaluable and inexpensive compared to the cost of hiring an SEO firm. Retainer fees and the cost of the ads themselves can get expensive, so teaching yourself to manage the SEO and advertising process – if you have the time– can save you lots of money in the long run.

The key is to be diligent, consistent and analytical in your efforts to promote your executive suites or coworking center online, whether that means outsourcing SEO to a reputable company or carving out time and attention to do it yourself. “There are about 5,000 unique search phrases that send customers to our website,” says Gudger, “which requires us to drill down into the data and tweak our SEO as needed.”

“It is hard for someone to unseat you from the top spot in Google once you have earned it unless you have major issues with your website,” Gudger says. “You must consistently review your website performance and analytics to ensure page speeds and keywords are adjusted to keep your business ranked highly.”

Strike a balance between paid and unpaid search engine marketing

Eighty percent of Peachtree’s traffic comes from organic search results, underscoring the importance of SEO. However, SEM (search engine marketing) also plays an essential role. Gudger’s Google ads are tailored to be served to people searching for virtual offices and office suites in Atlanta. Anytime someone searches those terms, his ad is displayed at the very top of the results. Those impressions – or number of times someone sees the ad – help build brand awareness.

Have a trusted eCommerce solution

Coworking and executive suite operators who market virtual office services through paid and organic Google search results need a reliable, easy-to-navigate eCommerce platform to manage these sign-ups.

Peachtree Offices trusts Workspace Geek’s workspace management solution for this job. “The eCommerce platform is exactly what we need. It is tailored to mirror our site exactly, and the checkout process is simple,” Gudger says. “Without Workspace Geek’s streamlined platform, we would probably see our virtual offices business cut in half.”

A trusted workspace management software is critical in ensuring your business runs profitably online and in-center. Workspace Geek’s shared workspace software is intuitive and simplifies center operations.

Ask for reviews

Positive reviews are critical for workspace operators. Ask valued customers to leave five-star reviews on Google. The search engine rewards businesses who are reviewed favorably and therefore, trusted, by moving them higher in the rankings.

Photography is important

“When I was 10 years old, my father and I would sell things at the flea market,” says Gudger. “You realize quickly that to sell anything, you have to polish it up. The same is true for selling your office suites.”

Photograph your spaces semi-regularly with a quality camera or iPhone. Take photos from attractive angles and always represent your space accurately. Size photos correctly and update listing sites and your Google My Business page with current photography. Take new photos if your space layout or furniture changes.

Finally, pay attention to cost

Once you start spending money on something, Gudger notes, it is hard to stop. “You can spend yourself silly. Digital marketing is too expensive to not get right the first time.”

Digital marketing can seem daunting, but it is essential to keeping your coworking, shared workspace or executive suites center thriving, especially during these turbulent times. By implementing the suggestions above, you will be well on your way to Google’s good graces.