Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the closest thing to “automatic marketing” that you will find. When someone searches for your service on the Internet and your business ranks high on the first page, then you will get more business.
I have experienced the power of this first hand from running my own service business. Depending on the search engine terms used, I would be getting three to five calls per day from the website alone. Remember, this is in Missoula, Montana with a service area of only around 70,000 people.
In the big metropolitan areas, some companies are getting 10, 20 or even 30 calls per day from their website. That’s not taking into account referrals, repeat business and other advertising and marketing. The correct use of SEO and a high-converting website is like a salesperson that works for you 24/7 rain or shine.
I’m not just bragging to impress you with what we have done. Our company, Big West Marketing, has helped hundreds of happy clients who have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled their business using these techniques. I am sharing our methods and systems because we want to help you to create your own Money Machine.
Why SEO Is Different for Service-Based Businesses
SEO is the same for all businesses, right? It’s the same for Carpet Cleaners, Dog Groomers, Online Jewelry Stores and Walmart.com, right? The answer is absolutely not. For some reason this myth is perpetuated over and over by almost all marketing pros.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of techniques, strategies, tools and tricks to rank a website at the top of Google. All these so-called marketing experts want you to believe they have the magic solution and the missing piece to the ranking puzzle.
The truth is there is no single solution to effective SEO. There are many factors involved and one of the biggest considerations is the type of business. Ranking a brick-and-mortar retail shop requires a much different approach than ranking an online ecommerce store. Ranking a service-based business that goes out to client locations requires a vastly different strategy from a retail store or online store.
Why is this so important? Because most information you find on SEO is very generic and won’t apply to your situation. You need specialized information specific to your type of business. Otherwise you will drive yourself crazy trying to understand and implement techniques and strategies. Most of those don’t apply to you, and that can cost you hours of wasted time and thousands of dollars in wasted money.
If you had a brain injury, would you go to a foot doctor for advice? No, you want a neurosurgeon who understands and has experience with your specific injury. The same goes for SEO. My expertise is in SEO for service-based businesses like yours, and that is our focus in this book.
I’m not going to teach you how to be an SEO expert for all types of businesses. You are not going to find sweeping generalizations about SEO. I am going to give you a very specific blueprint for ranking a service business website.
Google is King!
When I use the term SEO I am referring to ranking as high as possible on the first page of search results on Google.com. This involves using search terms that generate traffic, clicks and phone calls.
Why only Google? As of this writing, over 90% of people use Google to find a local business. Google is king! Google is where you will get the most traffic and the most customers, so that is our focus throughout this section.
That said, SEO should not be your only marketing tactic but rather a part of your complete marketing strategy. You should still be working on reminder and referral programs, face-to-face networking, Facebook, postcard mail-outs etc. You never know when Google will make a change. You don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket.
One of your BIG goals when it comes to marketing (besides getting the phone to ring) is to funnel every potential client to your website. If you have implemented everything in this book, you are on a path to success. You will have established enough trust and credibility to demand higher prices, separate yourself from the competition and close the deal.
Before we jump into the how-to lessons, let’s clarify the different components of SEO and then establish some basic vocabulary.
The Crucial Difference Between Paid Ads, Local SEO and Organic SEO
When someone searches for a local business on Google.com, three different types of results will appear: Paid Ads, Local Results and Organic Results. Let’s take a look at each so we can decide what is most important and then spend our time, energy and money as efficiently as possible.
- Paid Listings – Also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Google Ad-words, they appear at the very top of any results page. They will be designated by the word “Ad”. These listings are not part of SEO. These are simple advertisements that businesses pay for on a per-click basis.
They only receive an average of 10% of the total clicks and hold little trust with the searcher. Although they can be somewhat effective for certain services in certain cities, they will not be a topic of discussion in this book.
- Local Listings – These types of listings go by many names including: Maps Listings, Google My Business and Google Places. They all refer to the section of listings below the Paid Ads. They can be identified with a map image and each listing will have star ratings associated with each one. These results are where you will get the most traffic to your website.
An average of 80% of searchers will click on these listings first. They hold the most trust and therefore when I talk about SEO or ranking on Google I am primarily referring to these listings. Remember, our goal is to get the maximum amount of traffic and phone calls. These listings are where the money is made.
- Organic Listings – These types of listings appear below the Paid Ads and Local listings. Usually a searcher will have to scroll quite a way down the page to even see the organic listings, especially on a mobile device. Although they do hold more trust than the Paid Ads, their low placement results in an average of only 10% of the clicks for local business searches. Therefore, we will not focus too much on Organic listings, but they are part of SEO so I will address some ranking factors.
How Much Work Is Involved?
The bulk of the work is done up front and after that, minor maintenance will be required to maintain rankings. This is almost like residual income. Work hard once and reap the rewards for a long time.
There is a common myth circulating throughout the SEO industry that to rank a website, you have to be constantly adding fresh new content or blog posts to your website every day, week or month. Although this may be true for some types of websites, it does not apply to small local businesses. Trust me, I have thoroughly tested this idea and can attest that fresh content doesn’t help a small business rank higher, especially in the Local listings.
What is the Guarantee that you will Rank on Google?
Google is a third-party platform. When dealing with any third-party platform, it is impossible to guarantee anything 100%. There are so many factors that come into play, including the history of your business, the history of your domain, your physical location, etc.
There are no guarantees with any kind of marketing, whether it be postcard marketing, word of mouth, print advertising or even TV and radio. So unfortunately, no one can guarantee anything in marketing, but you will be setting yourself up for the best chance of success if you follow my system.
The information I’m about to share with you will give you the best possible chance of ranking any type of service-based business on Google. The more you know, the better job you will do with your website.
Before attempting to rank your website, you should be aware that your website may be tagged with Google penalties. How will you know if you have been penalized? This is something that is often overlooked by business owners and SEO companies, but is crucial to your success. This little-known fact is especially true for service based businesses and contractors.
In my experience the majority of service companies work out of their home and have changed addresses, phone numbers or business names at least once during the life of their business.
These small changes create inconsistencies across the Internet that can negatively affect your website rankings on Google. One of the most important ranking factors is clean, consistent information across the Internet. That is how Google decides if you are a stable, reputable business. If you have conflicting information, it can create penalties and drop your rankings.
Another way to get penalized is poor SEO link building practices. Link building will be explained in detail in chapter 11. If you have worked with one or more SEO companies in the past, they may or may not have created links from other websites and/or profile listings that Google considers spammy. A common practice is to create multiple phony business listings in attempt to rank in areas that you don’t have a physical location. These days this will get you into trouble.
In the next two chapters, we will address how to clean up and remove penalties that may be holding you back.
SEO is a game, but it is a game that you can win once you understand the rules and how the playing field is laid out. Like in any game, the team has players with differing skills and talents. Those teams that have a knowledgeable coach to guide and direct them have an advantage. I hope you will consider me your coach and trust my experience and my hard-won skills to help you win.
In the next few chapters I will teach you all my top strategies and tactics for getting your business and website to the top of Google.
Table of Contents
Intro to Book: The Service Business Money Machine
Chapter 1: The Power of Making It Easy
Chapter 2: Navigation Menus and Pages
Chapter 3: Going Mobile
Chapter 4: Website Look and Feel
Chapter 5: Domains, Hosting and Websites
Chapter 6: Building Trust On The Internet
Chapter 7: Video Power!
Chapter 8: Closing the Deal
Chapter 9: SEO – Understanding the Game
Chapter 10: On-site SEO
Chapter 11: Off-site SEO
Chapter 12: Google My Business FAQ
Chapter 13: Facebook Marketing
Chapter 14: Bringing It All Together