Why Google Local is the King of Marketing for Home Service Companies
31 Aug, 2020 / Comments: Comments Off on Why Google Local is the King of Marketing for Home Service Companies / By Stuart McHenry
Wouldn’t it be great if your business showed up on the 1st page of Google?
I don’t mean the paid advertising sections like Google Local Services or Google Ads that display your pay-per-click advertising. I mean the organic spots that show up under the maps with the star ratings, address, phone number, and a button to click so searchers can view your website. This area is referred to as the Google Local 3-Pack.
Here is an example:
In nearly all cases, only three businesses will be displayed there. If your business is in a competitive market, the competition for these three spots will be high.
Why Should You Put a Huge Focus on Google Local SEO?
One of the single best platforms for free leads is Google local. This client of ours last week alone received 94 free leads that called their business directly.
How much do you pay for leads to your business?
In Google Local Services, the average lead is $24. Google PPC is much higher. If we take the average of $24 per lead and multiple it by 94 calls, this client of ours received $2,256 in free leads, in one week.
Can you see how critical ranking well in Google local is?
How Does Google Determine Which Businesses to Display?
Let me tell you numerous factors goes into Google’s Local algorithm. Some of the most important are:
• Age of Listing
• Business Location
• Local Citations
• Google My Business Optimization
• Link Building
I will break down each of the above areas for you so you will have a better understanding. Keep in mind these are some of the more significant factors, not all.
Age of Listing
The first thing to understand is Google loves historical data and businesses that are stable. If there weren’t preventative measures put in place like the age of listing, spammers could create fake companies and rank right off the bat.
However, this is more so the case in competitive markets and niches. If you are attempting to rank for “plumbers” in a small town with very few competitors, it is possible to rank faster. If you are trying to rank for “plumbers” in San Diego, you will have an uphill battle, and your listing age is important.
This is also why you occasionally see a listing for a company that has hardly any reviews ranking well. It’s a combination of their proximity to the searcher and the age of their listing.
Google loves to show searchers the businesses nearby. So, as you sit in your office and Google keywords and where your website ranks, keep in mind that the same search from a mile or two away will look completely different, especially in the local 3-pack.
As you will see below, this is an excellent example of a plumbing and HVAC company that is in a larger market. Anywhere you see a green colored circle with either a 1, 2 or 3 indicated they rank in the Google local 3-pack for searches performed near that circle on the map. As you can see in one large city, you can get numerous results depending on the searcher’s location within the city.
When a company can build up a more considerable authority, they can increase the area they rank. By increasing the ranking area, your home service business will get more free leads from Google.
Google uses information from your website to help determine which keywords to display for the local 3-pack. If you don’t have a website with great content about your services, you are missing out.
I often see home service companies with websites that lack content about the services they provide. Your website must help Google understand what your business is about.
Sure, you might offer plumbing services, but what does that include? Water heater repair? Hydro jetting? Leak detection?
Please don’t be lazy either to add a page about your services because I said you should. The page should be detailed and answer questions your customers may have related to your specific services. This is where a good local SEO can help by providing the research and create the content.
Tip: If your website loads slowly you are losing money. 47% of searchers expect a website to load within two seconds. Test your website to see how fast it loads here:
*If your website loads too slowly, contact us to see if we can speed it up or design a new website for you. We have great pricing on custom web design.
If you don’t have a system in place for gathering reviews, then make this your top priority. Several companies provide software that will reach out to your customers and ask for reviews.
Broadley can differentiate between multiple locations while integrating with some of the more popular home service software. For example, if you are using Housecall Pro, you can use the customer tag function to tell Broadley which location the reviews should go to. This only works if the tagging is done before the job is complete.
What are local citations? These are mentions of your business that include your name, address, and phone number, also known as NAP online. This use to be weighed heavier in the Google algorithm than it is today.
It is still a best practice to ensure that you have some business listings that have your NAP. One critical aspect of local citations is that your business information is consistent across the Internet. If you moved locations, changed your website address, or phone number, you will want to contact each of the websites that list the outdated information to correct it.
Google My Business Optimization
There isn’t enough room in this article to discuss Google My Business SEO. I will discuss the most important steps here and write another article to discuss the full optimization process.
The most important aspects of setting up your Google My Business are to use your exact business name and selecting the correct categories. I know this sounds simple, but you won’t believe how many companies fail at these.
If you try to keyword stuff your business name, you will eventually get reported by someone to Google. When this happens, Google will suspend your business listing. You might be able to get the suspension removed, but you won’t get back the lost revenue caused by decreased leads.
Your primary category should be the main business you want to focus on. For example, if you do carpet cleaning and pressure washing, decide which business is most important to you, and that should be your primary category. Google puts a massive amount of weight on your primary category. You can add a secondary category, but a lot less importance is given to these.
Tip: You can change your primary categories based on your seasons. An excellent example of this is a plumbing and HVAC company. During the hot summer months, you may want to make HVAC your primary business on GMB and then switch to plumbing during the offseason.
There are a lot of aspects to ranking for Google local in the 3-pack. One of the most common ones overlooked is link building. Getting other websites and blogs to link to your website is huge. Link building will help out for both organic and local SEO.
There are a lot of SEO companies that do a poor job of this. They use low-quality blog networks or blogs they own to link out to their clients.
Why is this bad? Google is smarter than this, and not all links are created equal. When an SEO company frequently links out from blog networks, it creates an easy pattern for Google and other search engines to find, discount the links, and in some cases, penalize the websites involved.
A good SEO company or SEO consultant will do things the correct way and not cut corners. Links should be obtained from websites or blogs that receive Google traffic. There are plenty of online tools that SEO’s can use to estimate the Google traffic a website gets.
There is a lot of spam in local SEO, especially for plumbers, HVAC, locksmiths, electricians, roofers, and most trades. Nowadays, SEO’s need to help fight spam in Google. A well-trained SEO can spot a spam listing fast and follow the appropriate protocols to remove the spam.
Why is it an SEO’s job? If you wait for Google to find the spam listing, it could take years. Reporting and removing spam gives your legitimate business a better chance to rank well in the local search results.
A lot of aspects go into ranking well for Google local. If a business owner has time, many of the items on this list can be done themselves. The problem is it can be time-consuming, and then there is the learning curve of what needs to be done and how to execute it.
If you need help with optimizing your Google My Business listing and want to increase your local SEO, we can help. I would love to show you some of the amazing results we have achieved and discuss a game plan for your business.