The Plumbing Webmasters Discuss The Various Nuances of Plumbing SEO & Help Contractors Achieve Their Ideal Business Success. With a Wealth of Knowledge About SEO, Social Media, PPC, & Web Design Made Accessible To Plumbers Everywhere, This Podcast Has Limitless Value!
The $30,000 Plumbing Marketing Budget
A plumber’s marketing budget varies by location, goals, and philosophy. However, when it comes down to resource distribution, many plumbers are engaging in self-defeating behaviors. Spending $30,000 on paid ads is not smart when you understand the whole story of digital marketing. Reports suggest organic results get 75% of the clicks while paid ads get only 25%. So even though you think you’re ranking on top of Google, only 25% of the users are even going to consider clicking. That’s when you must re-think your marketing investments. Listen to today’s podcast to get a better understanding of where resources should be distributed for your company.
Paid Ads Shouldn’t be Your Whole Budget
Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords remains a top choice for plumbers marketing online. Paid ads can work if properly executed, but generally speaking, they are more expensive than their results would merit. We had a client who came to us with a $30,000 marketing budget. Their only investment was paid advertising. They didn’t pay for organic SEO and didn’t rank for any good keywords. They weren’t paying for leads either or working on branded signals through social media and other channels. While this type of setup might seem tempting, the results will disappoint you. Let’s take a look at other marketing channels that can provide better ROI for plumbing pros.
Since reports indicate organic clicks are 75% of all clicks, plumbers should go towards the majority. Most users are going to click on organic (either map pack or traditional links) over paid ads. Furthermore, consumers who click on organic are typically better prospects. They’ve done more research and have a better understanding of their plumbing needs. For this reason, all plumbers should invest some budget in organic SEO services. There’s limited downside to organic SEO aside from it taking a while to show up. The money you lose on PPC will outweigh any delay in returns from SEO campaigns that focus on organic clicks.
A website budget is often overlooked in today’s microwave society. Converting traffic into leads relies on proper calls-to-action and lead magnets. It also depends on the aesthetics and user experience that the website projects. Plumbers should look into website design services that include schema markup and click-to-call functionality. Mobile users will have the option to click on phone numbers and be connected to your cell phone. Obsolete designs discourage lead generation and damage brand image. Not all marketing is based on immediate results. Long-term and scalable solutions are the ultimate separator for successful plumbers.
The most overlooked aspect of SEO is branded signaling. Since it’s a somewhat vague term, many contractors don’t fully grasp what it means. Word of mouth was always a great marketing tool for contractors but the same concept has now been digitized. Google can detect brand signaling through a variety of sources including online review platforms, social media, and check-in technology from software like BrandREVU. Essentially, Google wants to validate your brad’s credibility. The strategy of “tricking” Google no longer works, and it’s not something plumbing pros should aspire to do anyway. Long-term investments help grow your business into a force.
How Plumbing Content Evolves in 2020/2021
There’s plenty of misconceptions about content in the SEO industry. For one, the phrase “content is king” has been misused and misrepresented among the industry’s most arrogant and delusional participants. While content is very important for ranking on search engine results, the manner in which it’s outlined, written, and published is ultimately what determines its value. Word count alone no longer matters in plumbing SEO in 2020. What matters is user experience and the satisfaction of user intent.
Working With Google, Not Against it
Google wants to rank the best plumbers in a given area. Your job, our job (if you hire us) is to ensure that Google understands your credibility as a plumbing company. This is accomplished through different forms of content. Pages remain integral to ranking for various keywords, but text content alone is no longer enough to distinguish your website. New forms of content like jobsite check-ins are the most innovative way to rank in 2020 and moving towards 2021. Videos, images, and review widgets also help.
Targeting Various Keywords
Obviously, plumbers want to rank for the keyword term plumber near me. But you won’t rank for that keyword unless you established something known as topical authority. To do so, you need to understand the types of services you offer along with which keywords people search for when looking for them. You might think of services like pipe drain repair and water heater repair, for example. Each of these terms should have its own dedicated page of content so that Google can index each term on a page-level.
Enriching Content With Check-ins
Hiring a content writer to write about drain pipe repair seemed like a good idea 5 and 10 years ago. But today, that kind of content is formulaic and uninformed. The writer is unlikely to have hands-on experience with water heaters and therefore is incapable of providing the unique insights that readers are actually looking for. The answer to this problem is jobsite check-ins. If you use plumbing reputation management software like BrandRevu you can populate each page with check-ins from jobs that relate to the specific service. Not the content is enhanced by actual proof of service.
Enhancing UX & SEO With Internal Links
Menus help users navigate through the website, but for lesser visited pages, internal links are critical. For example, your water heater repair service page might make reference to drain pipes, in which case you’ll want to link to your drain pipe repair page. This helps the users navigate seamlessly throughout your content without having to consult with the menus and submenus each time. Furthermore, internal links strengthen pages on your website. You never want to have orphan pages which are pages that have no internal links pointing to it. Google may not find it because there is no crawl route towards it. Therefore, it won’t rank at all.
Content Projections for 2021
SEO changes every year, so you can expect some different trends to arise in 2021. When it comes specifically to content, expect Google to further prioritize value and intent over word count and length. Many users look for websites to solve a problem quickly, not to spend hours looking for a solution. Instead of writing 1500 word pages about plumbing repair, you can get your point across in less than 500 words. This assumes you provide social proof through jobsite check-ins and review widg...
Most People Buy HVAC – Plumbing SEO Magic
Some plumbers and HVAC contractors, we speak to believe that SEO is a magic trick. These people aren’t fools, they are just misinformed. There’s a point of view from people outside the industry that proper SEO requires some kind of magical formula. The truth is that SEO is very straightforward when done right. Furthermore, Google can’t be tricked in the way that it could be in the early 2000s. Stop trying to trick Google and focus on your users instead. If you track Google’s algorithm updates you know it’s their end goal to provide the best experience to searchers and to satisfy their queries or intent. Check out today’s plumbing SEO podcast to learn more:
Don’t Try to Trick Google
Trying to trick Google is a lonely road that ends with a penalty and potentially bankruptcy for your plumbing or HVAC business. It depends of course how reliant you are on organic traffic for leads, but it’s going to be very difficult to sustain success without any organic traffic. Aside from the possibility of a penalty, Google is away too smart to be tricked in 2020. Their algorithm updates have address every kind of shady tactic from link manipulation to low-quality content production. Steer clear at all costs.
Google Values Credible Brands
One of the primary reasons why Google can no longer be gamed by shady tactics is because they’ve increased the value of brand credibility. This value optimization allows Google to ignore tricks from SEO scammers who don’t work with credible brands. For example, a local plumber with no reviews or reputation can build thousands of inbound links, but never rank well. Why? Because Google knows that nobody cares about their brand. In fact, their brand may not even be legitimate in the first place. Google uses signals from 3rd party sources as well as their own search data to determine whether a brand is credible and engaging for local consumers.
Brands are Built Through Engagement
Building your HVAC or plumbing brand is a holistic process. Whether you have yard signs, newspaper ads, or simply a good reputation in local neighborhoods, you build your brand by performing great services. These offline behaviors are then translated online with the help of reputation management software like BrandRevu. It’s important that Google sees your reviews on your Google My Business listing along with other 3rd party platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Better Business Bureau. As you build on your reputation, your SEO should improve even more than before. Responding to reviews is also a highly-suggested marketing technique going forward.
Check-ins Help with Branding
There’s some reputation management software for plumbers that supports local check-ins. Our favorites at HVAC – Plumber SEO Webmasters is BrandRevu. This software allows for local contractors to check-in at job sites and have those check-ins displayed on the appropriate page of the website. For example, you service a water heater in Dallas, TX, and take a picture of the tank. This picture, along with the other check-in information, is automatically populated on your water heater repair page. That’s the best SEO you can get. Forget about all this manipulative stuff and focus on actual work you do. Not only does Google prefer it but so do your website visitors.
Do Digital Signaling
We talked about reputation management software and how it can help build branding signals f...
Why Inbound Linking is Dangerous for Plumbers & HVAC Contractors
Since the birth of SEO, link building has been one of the most polarizing topics. We know that links are an important ranking factor today, but that the quality of the link is now of much greater importance. When Google first launched, they could not distinguish a natural link from an unnatural one. With this in mind, SEO professionals used spam and schemes to get to a #1 ranking. Many plumbers think these tactics still work in 2020, but they’re very wrong. Google’s quality guidelines on links are quite clear. Furthermore, penalties are still being handed out, and Google has said publicly that paid links don’t help rankings because they are ignored. Check out today’s episode of the Plumbing SEO Podcast to learn more:
Understanding Google’s Guidelines
Google states “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.” They really couldn’t have been more clear about their stance on links. Still, plumbers tend to ignore their advice and argue that links do in fact help sites rank high. While links are certainly one of the factors search engines use to determine credibility, the search engine has gotten much better at properly valuing links. So while links that are gained naturally through brand recognition and quality content are helpful, any type of deliberate link building violates Google’s guidelines and should be avoided by plumbing and HVAC companies.
What are “Natural” Links?
Natural links are those that are earned rather than built. So instead of begging your friend to link to you on their website, you earn the link naturally from your local Chamber of Commerce, who recognizes your plumbing company as a staple of the community. Links are intended to represent real-life connections. In other words, organizations that revere you in person can demonstrate that on their website. Conversely, unnatural links come from institutions that you are not affiliated with and have no good reason to link to you. Creating great content on your blog with independent research is another way to earn natural links since other websites will cite your blog post as a source, even if they don’t know you.
Can Plumbers Use Guest Posts to Build Links?
There’s been some confusion over the years about the validity of guest post links. Google has come out recently and re-stated that all guest post links should have the nofollow attribute, meaning they won’t pass full PageRank. So to be clear, guest post links are not the best method to get quality inbound links. After all, they’re unnatural because the person writing the post has the incentive to link to their own site, rather than to earn such a link in the natural manners we discussed previously. Any type of massive-scale guest post campaign you were running is not only worthless in regard to rankings, but it can also get you a href="https://www.plumbingwebmasters.com/seo-services/google-algorithms-penalty-recovery/plumbing-company-google-penalty-recovery/" target="_bla...
The Type of Plumber That Knows How to Market
When it comes down to the plumbing population, about 80% don’t take marketing seriously. These plumbers are satisfied with the status quo and don’t wish to grow their plumbing company and make more money. That leaves an additional 20% who aspire for a greater life, and business. These plumbers have made an important first step in the marketing process, which is a very personal one. It is the will to improve their lifestyle through digital marketing. They understand that without a deliberate intention to improve, nothing will ever change. With that being said, not every plumber within that ambitious 20% knows how to market. In fact, it’s only about 1 out of 100 of those ambitious plumbers that are running on all cylinders. Here’s what that type of plumber knows to do:
Organic SEO is the best return for plumbers in 2020. Contractors with 15 trucks on the ground are dominating organic search results in their market. Not only do they show up on organic results for keywords like plumbing repair dallas tx but they also get plenty of searches of their brand name. Since they’ve been established in their community as a top plumber, people are seeing their yard signs, or hearing about them from neighbors and then searching them on Google. This is where reputation makes a major difference, which we will expand on more later.
For plumbers, in particular, Google’s Local 3-Pack is critical to lead generation. It is important that your business listing shows up for search queries like plumber near me and plumbing repair near me. The local SEO algorithm is separate from the organic one and is based specifically on proximity, relevance, and prominence. An effective SEO strategy is locally focused and involves optimizing GMB listings as well as company websites. Reviews are helpful to local SEO which we will expand on in our reputation management section for plumbing companies.
We’ve already referenced reputation management twice, so it’s important to expand on the idea. Plumbers who succeed in 2020 have a positive reputation online. This is executed through review generation, specifically on Google and Facebook. Review software for plumbers like BrandRevu is the secret weapon to establishing credibility through reviews. The software sends SMS text reminders with review links to ensure the consumer can simply and effortlessly leave a glowing review of your service. The more reviews your listings accumulate, the greater your prominence score is and the better chance you have of ranking on the Local 3-Pack.
Plumbers who succeed have an established website with proper design. We cannot stress enough that the best plumbing websites use schema markup, clean codebase, and user experience optimization. Site speed is a critical factor in 2020 and it is urgent that users can browse through your website efficiently. Call to actions through click-to-call functionality are equally important when it comes to web design. Mobile users should have the option to connect to your phone straight from theirs. Embedded contact forms that are mobile-friendly is also something to consider for new plumbing website...
Why Most Plumbing Lead Buyers are Bad at SEO
For plumbers, lead generation and SEO are often thought about as separate services but in reality, the two concepts are fundamentally connected. You’ve probably thought about how you can buy plumbing leads without having a website, content, GMB listing, or any kind of search engine optimization campaign. While you will find companies that sell leads, you are unlikely to find what you are really hoping for from these lead sellers. Having worked with hundreds and hundreds of plumbers across the United States, we’ve learned that not all leads are helpful to your business. In fact, our experience proves that only leads that become satisfied customers, and oftentimes; repeat customers are worth generating online. These exclusive leads help your business grow each month, year, and decade which is how to grow a sustainable plumbing business. On today’s podcast, we discuss what you really need to achieve that level of lead generation, both in the rest of 2020 and beyond.
Understanding Leads for Plumbers
There are two types of leads plumbers pay for: shared leads and exclusive leads. Shared leads are typically dirt cheap because they are unlikely to result in an actual customer. A shared lead is a digital equivalent of throwing a piece of meat into a pack of dogs. Not only is insulting to you as a plumber but it is highly unlikely to help your business grow and evolve into a successful company. On the other hand, exclusive leads are far superior because the person inquiring about the plumbing job will only talk to you. That doesn’t guarantee a sale, but it certainly gives you a better chance.
Shared leads are given to multiple plumbers in the same service area who ultimately compete for the same customer. Leads like these are seldom worthwhile for plumbers who want to grow their business over time. Not only do they often fail to convert, but the few that do are even less likely to come back as a repeat customer. Because of the inherently low value of shared leads, they are often sold for much cheaper than exclusive leads.
Exclusive leads are superior for plumbers because you aren’t forced to compete against other plumbers for the same customer. Exclusive leads are more likely to convert and also more likely to become repeat customers. The ROI of exclusive leads is higher than those of their shared counterparts which is why 3rd party services sell lead exclusivity at a higher rate. For plumbers serious about growing their company, these leads are more appealing.
SEO Produces “Super-Leads”
We’ve established that exclusive leads are better than shared leads but if the lead doesn’t originate from organic search engine optimization or some other form of inbound marketing, it lacks optimal long-term value. The best exclusive leads come from your wong digital marketing campaigns which means throughout your website, branding, content marketing, social media, etc. Any lead that invests in your business, rather than just a simple job is going to be more invested in your company. This manifests itself through reviews, repeat clients, and long-term and sustainable growth for plumbers. Let’s examine why SEO produces the best leads for plumbing contractors:
As is the case with any purchase, the client who invests in the brand rather than product itself is more valuable. When a customer invests in a brand,