The Complete Guide To Marketing Your Home Service Business Online 2020
Beginners Guide To SEO: Best Free SEO Tools To Help You Rank On GoogleIn today’s digital world more and more people are searching online for home services like Electrician, Plumber or Cleaner.
In this we are sharing a comprehensive guide on How To Market Your Home Service Business Online for 2020
In this blog we will walk you through the process of claiming your map listing, optimsing your website from an SEO perspective and explain:
How search engines work and what you need to do to handle each
for maximum return.
- How the map listings work & how to get your home service business
listed on the map.
- Our search engine optimisation strategy for home service business
- How to find your most profitable keywords
- The most important online directories that you must be listed on
- Our social media strategy specially for the Home Service Industry
Why SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is so Important For Home Service Businesses?
Most home service business already understand that the internet & search engines are EXTREMELY important to the long term growth and sustainability of their business but occasionally we get the question.
Why SEO is so important for home service businesses?
Yellow Pages and Traditional Marketing Are No LongerEffective.
It used to be that the #1 place consumers looked when they need a service was the Yellow Pages. In today’s market, very few people still reference the printed Yellow Pages. In fact the new generation has not even been exposed to the Yellow Pages and only know the Internet as a way to search for local businesses.
Where do they go now?
They look on the search engines like Google & Bing and social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter asking for referrals from their friends and family.
Here’s an example of a search query “Electrician Near Me”
If your business is not showing on the first page results then you are potentially losing customers.
- A new survey of 2,000 consumers found that 86% of those surveyed used Google or Bing to find a local business.
- 74% of the respondent said they use a search engine when they are looking for a local retail or service business.
If you are not showing up on the page one of major search engine like Google & Bing for the home service related keywords in your area. Then you are missing a major opportunity.
This guide will show you how you can ensure that you put your best foot forward and show up in as many local search terms in your area as possible.
Understanding how search engine work
Over the past ten years the way the search engines work has changed significantly; especially with Google focusing on local results. A majority of home service businesses we talk with are confused about how the search engines work and the differences between the map listings, organic listings & the paid / Pay-per-click listings.
In this section we wanted to take a few minutes to demystify the search engines and break down the anatomy of the search engine result page. By understanding how each component works, you can formulate a strategy to maximize the results of each.
There are 3 core components of the search engine result page
- Paid listings or PPC
- Map listings
- Organic listings
Paid Listing or PPC Listings
In the paid section of the search engines you are able to select the keywords that are relevant to you and then pay to be listed in this area.
The reason it is referred to as PPC or PAY-PER-CLICK advertising is because rather than paying a flat monthly or daily fee for placement, you simply pay each time someone clicks on the link. The PPC platform is based on a bidding system and the company that bids the highest gets the best placement.
PPC is still a good way to market your business online, but should be thought of as a short term marketing solution.
Here’s an example of a PPC Listing use the search term “Mandurah Electrician”
Map Listing or Local Listing
The map listing have become very important because it is the first thing that comes up in the search results for most locally based searches. If someone searches “Electrician + Your City” chances are the map listings will be the first thing they look at.
Unlike the paid section of the search engine, you can’t buy your way into the map listings you have to earn it, and once you do, there is no per click cost associated with being in this section of the search results.
We will share our Google My Business optimisation strategy with you later in this guide and show you exactly what needs to be done to obtain page one placement in the map section.
Here’s an example of the map listing using the same search query ” Mandurah Electrician”
The organic listing of the search engine results page appears directly beneath the map listings in many local searches. Similar to the map listing, you can’t pay your way into this section of the search engines and there is no per click cost. We will share our SEO strategy guide.
Now that you understand the 3 major components of the search results and the differences between paid, map and organic listings you might wonder
What section is the most important?
This is a question that we receive from businesses every day.
The fact is that all three components are important and each should have a place in your online marketing program because you want to show up as often as possible when someone is searching for your Home Service business in your area.
With that said, assuming you are operating on a limited budget and need to make each marketing dollar count; you need to focus on investment on the sections that are going to drive the strongest return on investment.
Where People Click on The Google Search Results
Research indicates that a vast majority of the population look directly at the organic and map listing when searching and their eyes simply glance over the paid listings.
According to the research 72% of the clicks on the search results are going to the Map and the organic listing.
While 28% of the clicks are going to the paid results.
Here’s an image of eye tracking heat map where most searchers are looking.
Getting Listed On The Google Map Results
Step 1: Visit the Google My Business website and follow the sign up process
You should see this page. Simply follow the sign up process.
A listing on Google My business is a must for any local home service business, it’s the very first listing Internet searchers see; even above the organic results.
Google My Business Listing Optimisation Tips
Now that you have successfully claimed your Google My Business Listing on Google you need to take additional steps to improve your placement on the maps in your area.
Tip 1: Establish a consistent NAP ( Name, address & Phone number )
- You need to establish a consistent NAP across the internet, on your website, as well as on the major business listing websites like Yellowpages, Yelp, Truelocal and Whitepages.
- Consistent Name – Pick the format for your business name & stick with it. we recommend using your trading name instead of legal business name. For example XYZ Electrical instead of XYZ Electrical Pty Ltd
- Consistent Address – if your business address comes with Suite’s and Units make sure it matches everywhere.
- Consistent Phone Number – You want to use the same number on each of these sites.
Tip 2: Get Reviews
Reviews are a key ranking factor within the map listings.
- As a practice, you need to request reviews from your customers in order to get them. A strategy that we use takes a three-step approach:
- Send an initial email to your clients asking them for a review
- Keep an open ear for happy customers and ask if they are willing to write a review
- Have a review us card printed and give it to your customers after every completed service
Tip 3: Build Out Your My Business Page
- Fill your My Business page with quality content. Add all 10 photos of your office, staff, company logo, fleet and equipment
- Upload a video. These video don’t necessarily need to be high quality or professionally produced. Break out your mobile phone and take a few video shots. Record yourself ( Owner or Manager ) explaining who the company is, what you do, and what your unique selling proposition is.
Tip 4: Select The Right Categories
You have the option to choose up to 5 categories. It is very important to select the appropriate scategories and/or add new custom categories, as needed.
Tip 5: Increase Your Citations
All the things being equal, citations are a key determining factor of ranking. Just like in SEO where in-bound links determine the ranking with local listings, citations determine the ranking. Whoever got the most quality citation wins.
- Citations are listings across the web that contain your NAP with or without a link.
- Add your business to business directories Click here to find the most relevant local listing for your type of business.
Seo Strategy for Home Service Businesses
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of getting your website to show up in the Organic section of the search engines.
There are specific things that you can do both on and off your website to ensure that you show up when someone types “Your Service + Your City” into Search Engines like Google or Bing. In all of our years working with businesses in some of the most competitive markets, we have developed a proven strategy that consistently gets our clients to the top of the search results and we are sharing it with you for free.
Step 1 – Build Out Your Website & Obtain More Place Holders On The Major Search Engines
A typical home service business website has only 5 – 6 pages ( Home, About Us , Our Services, Reviews and Contact Us ) That does not create a lot of indexation or place holders on major search engines. Most contractors provide a wide variety of services.
By building out a website and creating seperate pages for each of those services ( Combined with city modifiers ), Your business can get listed on search engines for each of those different keyword combinations.
Here’s an example on how we would normally build a website for a plumbing company in Mandurah:
Home – About Us – Customer Reviews – Contact Us
Sub Pages for Each Service – Mandurah Emergency Plumber, Mandurah Leak Detection, Mandurah Toilet Repair, Mandurah Water Heater Installation etc.
Most home service contractors like a plumbing company provide services in multiple suburbs or cities outside their primary suburb. In order to be found on the search engines for each of those suburbs, additional pages needs to be created.
Sub Pages for Each Suburb They Service – Rockingham Plumber, Baldivis Plumber, Bunbury Plumber, Port Kennedy Plumber etc.
Step 2 – Optimise for Search Engines:
Once the pages are built for each of your core services and sub-pages, each of the pages need to be optimised from an SEO perspective so that the search engines understand what the page is about and list you for those words.
Here are some of the most important items that need to be taken care of for on-page SEO.
- Unique Title on Each Page
- H1 Tag of your Main Keyword
- Image Alt-tag with Main Keyword
- URL Should contain page keyword
- Anchor Text on each page and built into footer
- XML Sitemap should be created and submitted to Google Search Console
Step 3 – Inbound Links or Backlinks
Once the pages are built out and the On-page SEO is complete, the next step is getting inbound links.
Everything you have done to this point is laying the foundation or groundwork – you have the pages in order to even be in the running but it is the number of QUALITY inbound links to those pages that is going to determine your ranking in the Google search results.
30% of SEO is On-Page Work the other 70% is Link Building
So once the pages are built we are really just getting started. The only way to get your site to rank above your competition is by having more quality links to your site than your competitors.
There are number of things you can do to increase the number of inbound links to your site.
- Association Links – Be sure that you have a link to your site from any industry associations that you belong to.
- Directory Listings – Get your site listed on as many quality directory type listing as possible.
- Create Interesting Content / Articles about your industry – This is probably the number 1 source of inbound links because you can write an article about your industry and push it to thousands of article directory sites, each containing a link back to a specific page on your site.
If you build out your site for your services and sub-services , optimise the pages using SEO best practices and then systematically obtain inbound links to those pages and sub-pages, you will start to DOMINATE the search engines for your Home Service Industry related keywords in your area.
In order to help you determine what pages should be built out for your site. we are going to guide you on how to find the most searched keywords in your industry. By knowing these keywords and implementing them to your new website, you can ensure that you don’t miss out on valuable traffic to your site.
Keyword Research To Find Your Most Profitable Keywords
Step 1. Sign in to Google Ads ( You need a gmail account to login ) if you don’t have one you can just create a dummy gmail account for testing purposes.
Step 2.Once you have completed the sign or sign up process. Click on the wrench icon in the toolbar at the top of the page.
Step 3. Choose Keyword Planner.
Step 4. You’ll see two different tools within Keyword Planner ” Find new keywords” and “Get metrics and forecasts for your keywords”
When it comes to SEO-focused keyword research, these two tools are enough to generate thousands of potential keywords.
To be Clear:This tool is designed with PPC advertisers in mind. So there are a lot of features in the tool (like keyword bidding features) that won’t be useful if you’re using this tool to find keywords for SEO.
With that, it’s time for us to show you how to find SEO keywords using each of the tools built into the Google Keyword Planner.
Find new keywords Tool : Like the name suggests, this tool is ideal for finding new keywords.
So to help you get the most out of this tool, I’ll break down each of the 3 options.
“Enter Words”: These are single words that describe your business (for example, “plumber” or “electrician”). This allows you to access Google’s internal database of keywords for different industries.
“Phrases”: This is where you enter “seed keywords” and get a list of closely-related terms. I recommend entering AT LEAST 2 keywords. For example, if you run an Plumbing business, you’d want to enter terms like “Plumbers in Mandurah” and “Emergency Plumber” here.
“A URL related to your business”: This is designed for Adwords users. But you can sometimes find a few solid keywords here using your site’s homepage… or an article from your site.
Get metrics and forecasts for your keywords: This is feature is only really useful if you already have a long list of keywords… and just want to check their search volume. In other words, this tool won’t help you generate new keyword ideas.
Step 5: Filter and Sort Results:
Now it’s time to filter the list of keywords down to a smaller list of terms that are best for you.Both the tools I just described will take you to the “Keywords Results Page”, which looks like this:
You can sort by Search volume or competition ( Be aware that the competition section on the Keyword planner is designed for Google Ads and not for SEO)
Step 6: Choose a Keyword
Now that you know how to use all of the tools, features and options within the Google Keyword Planner, it’s time for the last step: finding awesome keywords that you can optimize your site’s content around.
This is tricky.Why? There are LOTS of factors that go into choosing a keyword. And it’s more art than science.
There are dozens of different factors to look at. But, in general, We like to choose keywords based on 3 main criteria:
Search Volume: Very straightforward. The higher the average search volume, the more traffic that keyword can send you.
Commercial Intent: In general, the higher the competition and suggested bid, the easier it will be to convert that traffic into paying customers when they land on your website.
Organic SEO Competition: Like commercial intent, evaluating a keyword’s competition in Google’s organic search results takes some more digging. You need to look at the websites that are ranking on the first page… and figure out how hard it’ll be to outrank them.
Directory Marketing For Home Service Businesses
10-15 Years ago, you could place a Big ad in the Yellow Pages and connect with a large percentage of your local customers when they were in need of your services. Today, people go to a numbers of places including Google & Bing , they also go to online directories.
Below are the most important and search directories that you want to make sure you are listed in:
You can add your company to most of these directory free of charge and that will service its purposes from a citation development perspective.
Visit click here to find the most important listing you need to be in for every industry.
When you are adding your company listing on the directories listed above make sure you enter a consistent NAP ( Name, Address, Phone Number)
We recommend using the exact same details as what you entered on your Google My Business Profile since citations can boost your Google My Business listing and rank you higher on Google Map results.
Social Media Marketing for Home Service Businesses
There is a lot of Buzz around Social Media ( Facebook, Twitter, Youtube ) but how can social media be leveraged by a home service business? How can you actually use social media to grow your business?
It starts with understand that social media is the new word of mouth. The best way to use Social Media is to enhance the engagement / loyalty of your existing customers and by extension of that and social media platforms, you will grow your repeat business and word of mouth business.
Setup your social media profile
Send an email blast to your existing email list letting them know that you want to connect with them on social media and that you now have social profiles. Offer them some incentive to follow you.
- Discount off next purchase
- Discount for their family and friends
- Something of value for free
Add social media to your day-to-day business practices and systematically invite your customers to engage with you online.
- Add links to your business cards, brochure, marketing materials and website
- Be sure to invite all your customers to engage after service via follow up email
Post Valuable Content
This may be the most important component of your Social media strategy. If you have thousands of fans and followers, but you don’t add value. you will have accomplished nothing.
You need to post relevant up-to-date tips and ideas, techniques, news and special promotions on a daily basis. Try to keep your 90% if your posts informational and 10% promotional.
Engage with Your Customers
You need to stay on top of your social media profiles and engage with your fans/ followers when they post or reply to your profiles.
Times have changed
Has your business changed with it?
Gone are the Yellowpages, Directmail and Signage. Those forms of media are still very expensive and give little return on your investment.
The top forms of media are now internet, sms and audio/video podcasting. By reading this detailed guide you are well on your way in the right direction.
Website and Internet Marketing Checklist
Domain Name & URL
Why this is important: the domain name is part of the identity of your business. The URL chosen can have significant impact on brand identity and in a lesser extent, keyword ranking performance. However, how your site domain name and page URL’s function can have a significant impact on your website.
- Short and memorable
- Uses your main keyword
- Used in email address
- Use favicon
- Alternate Domain redirects
- No underscores in filenames
- Keywords in directory names
- Multiple pages per directory
- Product Names
- Brand Names
- Type-in Keywords URL
Why this is important: the logo lends directly to brand identity and site identification. It also creates a certain element of appeal and professionalism in the mind of the visitor. It holds and important role in visitor assurance and navigation.
- Display company name clearly
- Isn’t hidden among clutter
- links to home page
- Unique and original
- Use tagline consistently across site
- Crisp, clean image quality
- Minimal distractions
- Font-size adequate
Why this is important: Website architecture can make or break the performance of your website in the search engines.
Poor architectural implementation can create numerous stumbling blocks, if not outright roadblocks to the search engines as they attempt to crawl your website. On the other hand, a well-implemented foundation can assist both visitors and search engines as they navigate through your website, therefore increasing your site’s overall performance.
- Correct Robot.txt file
- No iframes
- Alt-tag on images
- Custom 404 page
- Underlined links
- Differing link text color
- Breadcrumb usage
- Robot.txt non-user pages
- Check Broken Links
- Page size less than 50k
- Unique title on all pages
- Unique description on all pages
- Branded titles
- Minimal uses of tables
- Good Anchor text
Top 9 Internet Marketing Scams You Need To Avoid
1.We’ll submit your website to hundreds of Search Engines
Bad idea. This is one of the worst internet marketing scams. First of all, there are 4 primary search engine that handle about 95% of all internet searches, so submitting to anything other than the primary 4 is pretty much useless. Second, search engines don’t like submissions.
They prefer to find websites on their own through incoming links to the site. In fact they gotten so good at it, that it doesn’t take weeks or months for a site to get indexed anymore.
The last issue has to do with the fact that many of these services mention as a selling point that they will re-submit your site weekly or monthly to the search engines. This is definitely a no no, and is actually pointless.
2. Get #1 Ranking In Google Guaranteed!
Of course this isn’t a bad thing. but make sure you are reading the fine print. Do you get to choose the keyword? I doubt it. No competent SEO agency is going to guarantee #1 ranking for a set price for any keyword you choose.
All keywords are not created equal. The likely scam of companies that advertise top ranking on search engines is ranking you for uncompetitive keywords.
These are keywords that might look good, but in reality don’t get traffic, and are easy to rank very well in based on a lack of competition. Beware of unreasonable guarantees… It it sounds to good to be true. It usually is.
3. Get 2,000 Inbound Links for only $39.95!
This is a scary offer. Too many unknowns. The sad thing is that this will probably hurt your search engine ranking, and not help it.
The only way someone could offer this many backlinks through spammy link sites and/or crappy directories. Or , they may happen to own a few large sites that can offer the links. Either way, I guarantee you that
#1 . The links won’t be relevant
#2. The pages will be extremely low quality
#3 Your rankings will not improve.
4. “We Will Submit Your Website to Over 1,000 Directories!”
That’s amazing! How do you do that? The answer is simple… There really are thousands of free directories out there, but the question is, do you want your site to be included on all of them? The answer is a very resounding: NO.
Yes, of courset here are plenty of free and paid directories out there that are worth getting listed on like DMOZ and BOTW, and there are even services that you can pay to manually submit your website to legitimate directories like:Best Web Directories Submission Service but, you have to be very careful
Many of these scams will submit your site to automated link farms that can really hurt your ranking. Make sure you have a full list of directories in your hand before submission.
5. Link Exchange Programs (reciprocal linking)
Link exchange programs can be considered a scam because the companies that push them are either lying, or are ignorant about what they are selling. Why would you pay for something that doesn’t work?
6. Banner Exchange Programs
These are all but dead, but they are worth nothing because there are many newb’s that still waste their time with these.
Bottom line: they pull visitors away from your site, you never know what types of sites will be linking to you (this could be potentially dangerous), the conversion rates are horrible, most banner exchange sites have been proven to cheat customers out of links, and finally I submit that banner ads themselves are dead. I mean, who wants to look at a website with banner ads everywhere?
7. Send An Email Ad to 10,000 Opt-In Subscribers
Can you say illegal? Most of the scams already mentioned probably won’t get you or the company advertising them prison time.
Since the Can-Spam Act most people have wised up to this scam. It’s obvious that spamming people is a dangerous endeavor. Although it is still a huge industry, and there are many that simply beat the system, most would agree that it isn’t in line with “best business” practices. The above offer has problems written all over it. Are the emails really opt-in? What if they aren’t, are you willing to take full liability?
8. We Guarantee Top Search Engine Results Through Professional Meta Tag Optimisation
Admittedly, this is an older sales technique that isn’t used as much anymore, but it is still pretty common.
This sales tactic plays on people’s ignorance about search engine optimization. Some poor schmo may have heard the term “meta tag” in some old poorly written marketing article, and thinks that it is the key to success. Sometimes the cost is outrageous. I’ve seen offers like this that range from $200-$3,000.
It’s just ridiculous how much someone would charge for 20 minutes of work, and sad that many people have been duped by this scam.
9.Boosting Website’s Rankings Through Black Hat Techniques
This is a touchy issue. But the bottom line is that “Black Hat SEO” uses techniques that try to trick search engines into better ranking.
There are hundreds of techniques involved, but some of the more well known are doorway, gateway and mirror pages, redirects, cloaking, invisible pages… the list goes on and on. I obviously don’t suggest any of the above, or any other “secret” way to trick a search engine into better ranking.
And believe it or not, there are actually SEO firms that will perform services like this for you. Just watch out, you could easily get banned. Find out for sure if your SEO company is dedicated to White Hat techniques.
So What’s Next?
Through the course of this guide, we have covered a lot of information and taken you step-by-step through How to Claim & Optimise Google My Business Listing, How To Optimise Your Website and how to leverage social media to get more repeat and referral business.
If you have taken action and followed our instructions , you should be well on your way to dominating the search results for the Home Service Industry related keyword in your area.
Need more help?
If you’ve gotten to this point and feel like you need some extra help to implement some of these ideas, we are here to support you. As experts in helping home service businesses, we have had tremendous success implementing these strategies.
You can call us directly at 1300 879 983 with any questions you might have or visit our website at Shoutoutdigital.com.au to request for a FREE online marketing evaluation of your business.
Our team will review your entire online marketing effort and come back to you with a complete assessment of where you can improve and what you can do to take your online marketing efforts to the next level.