Archive for the ‘Plumber SEO’ Category

New Book Release – AdWords For Plumbers

Friday, October 28th, 2016

SMS announced that they have released a new AdWords Book for Plumbers. The book is available on Amazon.

Fix Your AdWords Leak: A Plumbers Guide to Google AdWords and Search Engine Optimization – the Kindle Edition

AdWords For Plumbers 2016

 

Link to the Amazon page for

AdWords For Plumbers

Focus On the Fundamentals for Marketing your Plumbing Business

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

As I talk with Plumbers & Plumbing contractors across the United States I have come to realize that a vast majority of you tend to skip strait past the fundamentals of your marketing strategy and want to go strait to tactics (SEO, Pay-per-click adverting, YellowPages, Direct mail, etc).

So what do I mean when I say “Fundamentals”? Well, all marketing has 3 core components:

 

 

  1. Message
  2. Market
  3. Media

You have to have a unique “Message” (who you are, what you do, what makes you unique, and why someone would hire you rather than some other plumber) a specifically defined “Market” (who you sell to and who your BEST customers are) and THEN look at “Media” (where you can reach those BEST customers). The tactics (Pay-per-click, SEO, Social Media, Direct Mail, etc) fall into the “Media” category.

If all you do is focus on the Media or Tactics you will probably fail regardless of how well selected that Media is. With that said, you need to go back to the fundamental. You need to invest the time and energy to flesh out your “Message” and figure out who your “Market” is. By doing so, ALL of your Media choices will be vastly more effective. So how can you do that?

Spend a few minutes and THINK. Take out a scratch pad and answer these questions:

Message:

  • What do I do that is unique and different then my competition? (Maybe you offer a guaranteed time frame for your appointments. Maybe you offer written estimates prior to starting work and promise to stand by that estimate. Maybe you offer a guarantee for all your work and will repair any issues within a 1 year period after the work is complete. Maybe you have recognized that people want to meet with a Clean, Profession & Curious Plumber so your technicians are always dressed with crisp clean collared shirts.)
  • If you think about the psychology of a customer, what concerns or apprehensions do they have about hiring a plumber? (They won’t show up on time. So I will probably have to waist the whole day waiting around for them. The are going to be a crude mess and leave my place dirty. They are going to give me one price over the phone, tell me one thing when I get to the house and then charge me something VASTLY more once all is said and done.
  • How can you address those common concerns that your customers have in a unique way.

Market

  • Who is my ideal customer (Please realize that it’s not every one in your city and not everyone within a 25 mile radius of your office). You need to be more clear than that.
  • Take a look at your last 25 customers and evaluate who spent the most, had the highest profit margins and was genuinely pleased with your service.  What are the unique characteristics of those good customers? Are they home owners vs. renters? Do they live in a particular area of town? Do they have a higher income level?
  • Start to define who that idea customer is so that you can put a marketing plan in place to attract more of those idea customers.

Once you have fleshed out your Message and your Market then you can start to think about Media. In order to determine what media will be most effective for you need to think about where you can reach that IDEAL customer that we defined above.

  • If it is home owners over the age of 55 that are home owners…maybe the YellowPages is still a viable media.
  • If it is home owners that are higher income then maybe Angie’s list is a great play for you.
  • Maybe it’s new movers (people that just recently moved into your community). If that’s the case then direct mail to the new movers list could be a great play.

Remember, you need to start with the FUNDAMENTALS (Message, Market & Media) before running headstrong into any marketing endeavor.

About the Author: Josh Nelson is a guest blogger on our website and is the CEO of PlumberSEO. His specialty is in SEO for the Plumbing Industry and we work with him on several accounts.

Site Optimization for Plumbers

Monday, February 20th, 2012
People call us all the time wanting us to do search engine optimization (SEO) and they believe it is fast, cheap, and easy. The problem is that it is none of these. SEO traffic is often the most expensive, risky, and difficult to manage of the traffic types. While we deal with optimization issues every day we do not provide SEO services because to do it right is incredibly labor intensive and the return from the investment is at best difficult to measure.

Client expectations are also commonly not realistic. I have had way too many meetings where we try to explain the challenges and the person just says I want to be first and hands us a list of 50-100 words.  The problem is that this is a competitive game and while you might want to be first most are unwilling to invest the time and money required to get there.

Organic traffic is great when you can get it but the problem is the lack of dependability and scalability. It is a common event to hear “I used to be first on Google” followed by a story of how the world came crashing down. There is absolutely nothing unusual or unnatural about this because it is just the natural ebb and flow of organic listings.

The Types of Organic Results

To really explore organic traffic you have to divide it down into its parts because they operate independently of each other. In the organic slots you can have Places (Local Map Listings), Optimized Pages, Google Base (Product feed), and social network entries.  When most people talk about SEO what they normally mean is the natural keyword based page listings. In the case of plumber searches this is often behind the Places Listings and in many metros it is on the bottom of the first page.

On & Off Page Elements

There are two parts of optimization; on-page and off-page. The on-page is the one that everyone seems to be fascinated with but is reality it is the smaller of the two and not by a little bit. However the page content is the foundation of the optimization and it is the easiest to understand. Google is ranking the page by what it is about and the term they use for this is relevancy.  The question Google is trying to answer is how relevant is the content of the page to the search query posed by the searcher. So in reality optimization starts with the searcher not the page. In here is the first challenge and the first rule in SEO. The more you optimize for one keyword the more you degrade another. This is a simple rule of density and frequency and it is not going to change just because you will it. Plumbers often want to optimize for the word “Plumber” and a list of city names. The problem is that the more you optimize for Los Angeles the lower your optimization for Long Beach. The more you optimize for the singular of Plumber the less you are about the plural of Plumbers. When this game is played at the highest levels winning and losing is often very small differences.

“The more you are about one word the less you are about the other”

This happens so often it’s almost a classic meeting and it goes like this. You gather your staff and brain storm the keywords you want to optimize your site for. This results in a list of 50-100 keywords and you hand this list to an SEO. If the SEO is honest they will hand the list back and ask you to circle the one you want. You want your home page optimized for all of them but the more you are about one word the less you are about the others. A home page is the most authoritative position within your website and at best you might get good position from two keywords and one of them is probably going to be your business name.  So what you need to do is decide what keyword (single not plural) you want to be found for. Pick carefully because you probably only get one and changing your mind resets the score back to zero.

More is not Better; Better is Better

When it comes to optimization this normally the first mistake and the thinking is that if one more use of the keyword is better then ten more uses must be even more better (bad grammar is to make a point). The problem is that it is keyword density not keyword count that is being scored and the score is based on a sweet-spot not a more-is-better model.  The actual sweet-spot level is a highly guarded secret inside Google but the concept is easy to understand. If the keyword occurs too often then it is a signal that the keyword is being stuffed. As a simple example let’s guess the sweet-spot at 3%. At 3% you get the maximum score for that keyword but at 4% your score is just as low as if it were 2%.  Google is much smarter than this simple example and they are looking at hundreds of other signals including things like inferred references. If they find that every sentence has the keyword in it with no inferred references the document starts to fall out of the model they are looking for.

Position Counts

Where the keyword is placed is extremely important and it follows a simple document hierarchy.  Actual point value at each level is unknown but we know the relative value follows: Site Name, Page Name, Page Position, Title, Headings 1-6, Bold, Linked, and body text. Putting the keyword on the home page gives it more value than a lower level page and putting it in a title is worth more than a heading or body listing. Google looks for keyword support at all the different levels so if the keyword is in the title, headings, and standard text then it knows that word is important.  There are also cross page support and this is typically why you win with your own name.  Most site designs include the business name on every page and it is often in the page title and footer of lots of pages. This creates a higher value for that keyword not from just one page but the entire collection of pages that make up your site. This is referred to as the page theme.

Pictures are for People – Text is Shared

When you optimize a site you are balancing the needs of different audiences – including People and Search Engines. These are very different audiences and so you have to find the right compromise between their needs. People understand and enjoy the web experience at a very different level than search engines and the simplest of these to see is humor so here is your first clue – search engines have no sense of humor. People on the other hand respond very well to colorful and creative presentations. Fortunately web pages have the ability to display text and graphics and search engines cannot see graphics. So if you have to use humor or be clever with our audience do it graphically so you do not confuse the search engine.  Search engines only see the text so keep it simple and structured so they can understand what the page is about. Lots of people make the mistake of trying to over optimize and in reality Google is looking for good content. So write with your heart and after your words have the voice that you want then review it for optimization opportunities but never change the soul of your writing.

Quality Content Counts

We have SEOs that have attempted to convince our clients that the optimization of the page was more important than the quality of the content; that is wrong on many levels. Creating margin quality content purely for optimization purposes is a self-defeating strategy. The result is that you attract a prospect only to deliver a poor first impression. Here is a simple rule – Content Quality Counts!  There is no doubt that a good content strategy that creates good quality content over a long period of time works but you need to make this part of your normal business cycle not a onetime project.

Places – Map Listings

We discussed this in more detail last month but it is worth repeating some key items. First is that places for local businesses is a critical listing and it is driven largely by citations and reviews. Citations are simply other sites that point to your site and include your physical address. Google sees this as a vote for your business in the process of scoring your places listing. Reviews are user written evaluations that typically contain a ranking of the customer’s experience with your business. You need a plan within your business to ask for reviews and you need to monitor those for negative responses and deal with those issues. No company is perfect so at some point you will end up with a customer that has a negative experience with your business. The key here is to communicate with and resolve the problem.  Many plumbers are small businesses that do not have a physical location so they use the owners home address. There is nothing wrong with this because in plumbing they are not going to come to your office to fix a leak. Bottom line here is you NEED a real physical location or you do not go on the map.

Product Listing – Google Base

If your Plumbing Business sells, installs, and/or services specific products then you want to make sure you include these in Google Base. Google Base is simply a database that you can submit to your product listings along with some basic product information such as price, picture, etc… Google will pick up this product feed on a regular basis and update the listing. This gives you one more possible way to bring traffic to your site and the listing is organic so the traffic is free. You can also connect your AdWords Account to your Google Base listings resulting in picture based ads like the ones above in the right column. This listing has some disadvantages in that the link from this page goes to a comparative shopping feature in Google, which then connects to your website.  To make all this work you will need a landing page for that product on your site so you have a specific page to connect your Google Base listing to.

As long as we are talking about products we need to point out that as your plumbing business shifts from service (plumbing) to product your keywords will change as well. Searches with things like price and shopping start to be attractive keywords.

Reputation is not what you say about yourself; but what others say about you 

Off-page optimization is more important than on-page optimization. It is largely driven by back-links, which in Internet terms is “What others say about you.”  When a site provides a back-link they are voting for your site and the word they use to do that is the word that gets the juice. The value of the back-link is based on the reputation of the site pointing to you. So a back-link from a highly respected site is worth its weight in gold, while a low authority site is not much. As you can see this process can get real complex but it is the way the world has always operated. If highly trusted people say good things about you then it increases your reputation and this is as true on the Internet as it in the physical world. Back-links are largely a more the merrier type of score assuming the sites have a positive reputation. In the underbelly of the internet are sites that will provide paid back-links and these sites can actually reduce your score. Back-links are difficult to earn but they will go a long way increasing your organic score.

Social Networks

Social Networks are getting to be a big deal and they are a source of citations and reviews so it is best to be aware of these and to start by simply claiming your name and setting up a simple presence on these networks. It is probably too early to be seriously investing in these networks but as they mature you do not want to be late to the party. Social Network signals are starting to have an impact on organic listings but the rules and values of these are still evolving. So our advice today is be aware and engage with the process but do not put too much resource into these yet.

Summary

In closing we want to stress that SEO and your Content Strategy need to be long term and to play this game you have to commit to an on-going investment in unique quality content.