What’s more powerful than a name? Your plumbing company name not only establishes your identify to potential clients, it communicates who you are to search engines as well. That’s why originality, clarity, and conciseness are so crucial when it comes to choosing your brand name!
In our latest discussion with Jason and Nolen, they’ll explore some simple guidelines on choosing a brand identify that’s optimized for search. Following these guidelines could be the difference between steady traffic and none at all! Be sure to listen in if you’re rebranding or kicking off a new plumbing business!
Helpful Tips on Naming Your Business
Pick a name that’s very memorable!
Generic names do not rank well in local search.
Avoid using your city in the name.
If you have an interesting personal name, consider using it for your company.
Purple Monkey Plumbing
What do you say: is “Purple Monkey Plumbing” an effective company name? Believe it or not, your answer says a lot about how much you understand local search marketing! We’ll reveal this name’s effectiveness at the end of this short blog. Before we get there, let’s run over a few facts about your company name.
The Purpose of Your Company Name
No, it’s not just to sound cool! Your company name helps people identify your services and stand out from other businesses. Think of the dozens of contractors that operate in your city alone. In broader metropolitan areas, your business could be competing against hundreds of other trained professionals.
When a local homeowner’s water heater breaks down and needs repairs, will they remember your brand name?
Despite the size and prevalence of the search engine, even Google can have a challenging time telling businesses apart! Your company name allows the hardworking Google Search algorithm to separate your brand from other nearby players. Choose wrong however, and your website may never receive the traffic you need to earn leads.
Watch Out! Some Brand Generators Can Produce Extra Generic or Misleading Names.
How to Pick a Company Name
There are two key qualities your brand name needs to succeed in local search: distinctiveness and memorability. While there are a host of other traits that could aid your other marketing activities, these two qualities are non-negotiable. What do these two terms mean?
First, a company name should stand out from the crowd. We hate to say it, but “5 Star Plumbing” isn’t going to be easy to remember (for consumers or Google). Steer clear of generic terminology that could get your brand confused with another professional’s! A memorable company name also increases the likelihood of past clients searching for your brand directly in search. Direct searches enjoy a higher chance of converting into actual sales.
The Classic Naming Mistake
Ten years ago, it was common practice to take a common search term, such as “Plumbing Company in Dallas, TX” and adopt it for your business name. This practice was enormously successful, so everyone and their grandmother started choosing generic names for their plumbing companies. Then Google stepped in with an algorithm update. Countless professionals started dropping off the map.
City Based Names Will Likely Pit You Against Citation Companies and More Popular List Articles.
Today, choosing an (Insert City) Plumber company name makes it almost impossible for people to find your business. Even if someone searched your name directly, Google would think the consumer was looking for a list of plumbers in your service area. Your business profile won’t even show up!
Bottom line: stay away from generic brand names, even if they are optimized for your city.
Other Important Steps for Your Business
Once you’ve decided on a quality company name, there are still a few steps to take to start ranking in local search. First, you’ll need to register a domain that closely matches your new name. If you plan on expanding your business into other cities / states, make sure you don’t pick a domain with a location prefix.
Make Sure Your Hosting Company Registers Your Company as the Domain Owner. Image From Bluehost
Make sure that you own the domain, not the registrar. Too many plumbing companies have gotten screwed over by their host when their registration expired. Just play it safe and make sure you buy the name!
Next, you’ll need to register the company name and domain with Google My Business (GMB). Google will provide a verification method for you to complete, then your plumbing company will be eligible to start ranking in local search. Fill out as much of the information as possible. The physical address for your company should be exactly the same as the one you registered with Yelp, the BBB, etc.
Need Help With Your Branding?
By the way, yes! Purple Monkey Plumbing could be a very successful company name.
At Plumbing Webmasters, we support hundreds of professionals from around the country with professional web design, brand development, and organic SEO solutions. If you’ve been looking for a seasoned digital marketing team to partner with, we’d be thrilled to talk with you! Call us anytime at (877) 388-9884 for a free consultation.
Plumbing contractor marketing is all about strategy in 2022. There are plenty of marketing ideas to consider, but formulating a marketing plan will drive tangible results for your business. Whether it is advertising, email marketing, or SEO, promotion is essential to generating high-quality leads. Below, Plumbing Webmasters presents a strategy guide for 2022. Use these methods to grow your plumbing business and enjoy greater success than ever before.
What is Plumbing Marketing?
Plumbing marketing is the promotion of your plumbing business through various methods like advertising, email marketing, and search engine optimization. Any task aimed to drive qualified leads for your plumbing services is a form of marketing. While most modern marketing is performed digitally, offline promotional methods like direct mail, print flyers, and networking are still effective, too.
How to Measure Plumbing Marketing
Plumbing contractors can measure marketing campaigns with financial metrics like return on marketing investment (ROMI) and customer acquisition cost (CAC). On a more granular level, plumbers can review digital metrics from Google Analytics and Google Search Console, including, monthly clicks, monthly unique visits, and monthly impressions.
Because marketing can entail everything from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC), the most informative metrics will depend on your unique campaign. In some cases, quantifiable metrics such as revenue or return on investment (ROI) can provide conclusive measurements. However, more granular studies will provide further context.
Executing a Plumbing Marketing Plan
To execute a marketing plan, plumbers need information, strategy, and resources. Without them, there’s no practical way to follow through or feel confident in the future process. Most contractors and companies are pressed for time and don’t think they have enough to allocate marketing resources properly.
Businesses must gather information before developing a marketing plan. For instance, study target markets, consumers, and promotional methods as a starting place. Smartphones and WiFi have changed how consumers interact with businesses, and plumbers must adjust. Still, be aware of misleading information and ensure you are getting your data from a verified source.
Reading about the cost of a plumbing website can provide ideas and even cost figures. Still, until you decide what you’re willing to pay for a website and how much ROI you expect it to generate, it isn’t all that valuable. Developing a strategy solves this problem. If through research, you can determine that you hope to make x amount of dollars through marketing this year, you can begin to formulate a plan that projects a favorable return on investment.
Planning and doing are two different things. Plumbers can have the best marketing success strategy but lack the resources to execute the plan. A single person cannot possibly perform all the actions that make up a promising marketing campaign, let alone a full-time business owner. Having access to a team of individuals with unique skill sets is the ideal scenario when promoting plumbing services.
At Plumbing Webmasters, our team meets those exact needs. Call it a sales pitch, but we intentionally built a webmasters’ team to provide the skilled labor required to execute a marketing plan in 2022.
Marketing Basics for Plumbers
Every form of promotion is marketing. Whether you buy billboard space on your local highway or build a branded company website and publish it online, you promote your plumbing services. Think about the times you’ve left business cards on the windshield of parked vehicles or left fliers in the mailboxes of nearby homes. That is marketing. Marketing happens even when you don’t realize it.
When you discuss your service with an acquaintance, think of it more like a friendly conversation, but make sure to “sell yourself” just in case you are marketing. Contrary to popular belief, marketing doesn’t have to be manipulative, but it certainly can confirm that same belief.
1. Any Promotion of Your Plumbing Service is a Form of Marketing
2. Marketing Includes Paid Advertising
3. Marketing Requires Neither Manipulation nor Ethics But Can Feature Either
Ways to Market Plumbing Services
At Plumbing Webmasters, our specialty is online marketing. There are many forms of promotion within the online marketing category, but offline promotion exists. The more traditional forms of advertising like print, billboards, and even radio/television are all conducted without the need for an internet connection. They also no longer work very well. Very few consumers find plumbers through offline channels in 2022.
Instead, they visit Google and search for nearby plumbing companies and often compare and contrast them based on customer reviews from their Google Business Profile, Facebook, or Yelp pages. They might also check platforms like Instagram and YouTube to further understand the brand and its trustworthiness. Take a look at some ways to market plumbing:
Google Ads (PPC)
Remarketing / Retargeting
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Social Media Ads
Social Media Marketing
Telemarketing (Cold Calling)
Television / Radio Spots
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
If you were to breakdown the list above, you could place every way to market within one of two general categories: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. An inbound strategy pulls potential customers into your services organically while an outbound strategy goes out and gets them. Most traditional forms of marketing (including advertising) are considered outbound. Newer methods, most famously, SEO, are categorized as an inbound promotion.
The main distinction between the two is that outbound marketing is both intrusive and interruptive, while inbound marketing is notably less so. Since outbound promotion relies on “going out to get” potential customers, it tends to require a more significant financial investment. The most common example of this is Google Ads (PPC), a modern form of outbound promotion and costs much more to execute than SEO, which is the contemporary face of inbound marketing.
One old school promotional tactic that has been rendered obsolete by the onset of inbound marketing strategies, mainly digitally relevant, is billboard advertising. When drivers pass a billboard for your plumbing services, the likelihood of the ad being relevant to them at that time and place is shallow. Compare that to the relevance for someone who typed in “plumber near me” on their smartphone.
In the latter case, the person viewing your search result has already demonstrated a need for your services, which makes the relevance of the search result much greater. It so happens that the cost of securing that search result is also much lower than the price of the billboard, making it that much more advantageous from a marketing perspective.
Although they are an old-school marketing tactic, business cards remain a worthwhile investment for plumbers, if for no other reason than their sheer cheapness. The investment in these paper-thin promotional materials is so minuscule that any benefit at all would make them “worth it.” There’s also a degree of personalization that business cards can extend.
After completing a plumbing service for a paying customer, leaving them with a card that lists your contact information and a reminder to review your service on Google or Facebook can increase callbacks, customer retention, and of course, reviews. So while business cards are unlikely to “bring in” customers, they can help retain and maximize the ones compiled through other marketing methods, such as search engine optimization (SEO).
One new-school form of promotion is content marketing. Whether it is a social media platform like YouTube or a search engine like Google, content is the internet’s lifeblood. Without content, Google could not exist; Facebook could not exist; YouTube could not exist, and so on. The opportunity present for plumbers is creating content assets and marketing them through all of these different channels.
An example of content marketing would be writing a highly informative blog post about common plumbing problems and sharing it on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. As word of this blog post spread via search engine and social media, it would begin to funnel visitors to your homepage while growing brand awareness. If it became secure on page one of Google, it would start to earn inbound links, improving its ranking even more naturally.
Google Ads (PPC)
PPC is the intersection between modern and traditional marketing. The concept itself is conventional, but its application is very contemporary. You might think of Google Ads in comparison to the billboard mentioned above example. The difference with ads on Google is that there is relevance that can be demonstrated and tracked. Google allows advertisements to target specific keywords, locations, and demographics.
This way, ads are revealed only to a group of people that are worth advertising to. You cannot apply this same tactic to a billboard campaign since plumbers could not possibly track everyone who sees it. While Google Ads are decidedly modern in their application, keep in mind that they are still a form of outbound marketing, which makes them both expensive and, in some cases, off-putting to consumers.
Local newspaper ads, or even ads in the Yellow Pages, were once enough to generate high-quality plumbing leads. Those days are long gone, and print ads no longer carry much weight to prospective clients. There’s more than one reason for this phenomenon, but the most obvious one is relatively straightforward; nobody reads print anymore. Ok, so “nobody” is an exaggeration, but the decrease in print viewership from the late ’90s is astronomical.
Most newspapers have transitioned to digital formats as their flagship distribution channel, and that is, of course, because their readers will only show up online. Being mentioned in a newspaper article still holds value in 2022, but only if it’s digitally published, and preferably with a link back to your website. Inbound links serve as endorsements in Google’s algorithm.
Remarketing / Retargeting
If one marketing method can be considered both inbound and outbound, it would be remarketing, aka retargeting. Remarketing is the process of advertising services to someone who has already demonstrated interest in your service in one way or another. Most times, this interest is made clear through website visitation, but users can also complete other defined events, such as watching a branded YouTube video.
If someone browses your website or watches your video, their interest in your ad is theoretically more significant than someone who has not. Advertisements can retarget these users using browser cookie tracking. The numbers back up retargeting as a promotional method by showing significant increases in conversion rate to groups who have shown prior interest in the service. The previous interest of the consumer was inbound while your promotional targeting of them is outbound.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the most effective marketing strategy for plumbers in 2022. It checks all the boxes discussed on this page. It is a form of inbound promotion; consumers reach it at their most preferred source (Google), incredibly cost-efficient. Furthermore, it can be easily tracked, monitored, and analyzed at all times. While paid advertising methods like Google Ads (PPC) require a real-time investment for a short-term return, SEO is a concept that necessitates a much lesser investment to secure a long-term business asset.
Once search results appear on Google, they can become an ongoing lead generator for years to come and cost you very little as a plumbing company compared to other forms of promotion. Google is a constantly evolving search engine, so SEO is always subject to minor changes.
Social Media Ads
You now know about Google Ads, but were you aware that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube also offer ad space? Displaying ads on social media has become an increasingly popular promotional method. Facebook, the top social network, has minimized the impact of organic posts from local businesses, including plumbing contractors.
Since an organic Facebook post on your business page will no longer reach any of your followers, advertising becomes the logical solution. Ads, of course, can be expensive, but sometimes the investment is worth the trade. Facebook ads can yield considerable ROI if adequately constructed, managed, and tracked throughout their lifespan. The process is not dissimilar to the analysis of a Google Ads campaign, and the goal is identical.
Social Media Marketing
Ads are not the only way to promote through social networks. Organic posts on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube remain meaningful assets for plumbers. While they may not directly generate leads, they can help grow brand awareness and even influence local SEO by sending signals to Google. Even if it effectively as a business listing, a presence on social media boosts authority and lets Google and its users know that you are a legitimate business and have taken the time to connect with your potential customers through social media.
One way to utilize LinkedIn, for example, is to share blog posts published on your website. Content sharing helps distribute on-page content to external sources, which helps SEO as a general principle. Sharing original photos and videos is also beneficial to plumbers.
Telemarketing (Cold Calling)
Remember the days of smashing your Motorola to pieces with a baseball bat? Ok, so maybe you don’t, but that isn’t so far-fetched to consider when telemarketers harass you in your home. There was always a negative connotation associated with cold calls, but consumers are more aware of their tricks in 2022 than ever before. As a result, the few times telemarketing did work have dwindled to an even less likely occurrence.
So imagine calling random strangers in your service area to see if they have a broken pipe in their kitchen. Here’s a tip; if they do, they have already searched Google and found the plumber of their choice to rectify the issue. They don’t need you, and they don’t want your phone call. They might even block your number on their iPhone or Android device and make a note of your utter disgracefulness.
Television / Radio Spots
In 2022, the crazy plumber that comes on a commercial when watching the local news is doing two things; embarrassing himself and wasting money. Flashback to 1999, and he’s only embarrassing himself. But today, there’s no longer an incentive to do so. For that matter, TV spots and radio spots reach a much narrower audience than they did 20 years ago.
The cost of advertising on either medium remains higher than it’s worth, and a commercial’s production is not doing plumbers any favors. Uploading a self-made video to YouTube using only your iPhone device has an excellent chance of ROI than does a TV spot. Like with other types of old-school promotion discussed on this page, TV and radio ads are a form of outbound marketing and reach a pool of viewers or listeners who will find them mostly irrelevant.
Draping your truck in a sized-fit and mobile promotional sticker is not a horrible idea, even in 2022. Although it is undoubtedly a form of outbound marketing and is not trackable in the way SEO or social media marketing is, it can still provide ROI to plumbing companies. What makes it different than a billboard, you ask? For one, it costs less money to implement. Secondly, once it’s a part of your truck, it becomes a permanent business asset.
With a billboard or TV spot, you are paying an ongoing fee to keep the word out. The truck or car wrap can show your company logo, contact information, website URL, and whatever else you choose to promote. Again, it can be a worthwhile investment because it is a one time cost with a lifetime of opportunity to return. There is no fixed fee, and it can help brand your business.
Benefits of Marketing for Plumbing Companies
A plumber benefits from promotion in many ways. Assuming you develop and implement the best strategies, marketing can drive your business to the top of your market. The key is to take the time to create a plan based on research and to invest in the labor required to apply it successfully.
Building a brand can seem like “fluff” from a plumber’s standpoint, but branding is essential for several reasons and is a product of effective marketing. Brands are built on recognition first and foremost, but trust ultimately sustains them. Google has shown time, and again that trust is one of its most influential search ranking factors.
By building a brand through digital platforms (business listings, social media, website), you legitimize your plumbing company with a strong and expansive web presence. When people complain about Google favoring brands, they are bickering about the trust those companies have built through Google and the individuals who utilize its search engine. Sure, is it hard to build more confidence than a conglomerate? Yes. But remember, local results get priority for plumbers.
Plumbing marketing exists to generate leads. It cannot be any more simple than that. Leads are potential customers who connect with your business in one way or another. Both an email inquiry and a phone call are examples. Leads vary in quality, and services that are promising “lead generation for plumbers” may fail to produce serious prospects. Sometimes they offer shared leads, which implies those same customers are given to other plumbers in your area, making them less likely to convert into a sale.
The best kinds of leads are exclusive, meaning the prospect is inquiring only about your services in the email or phone call. SEO produces the highest quality leads (exclusives), which is another reason why it’s so valuable. Advertising, digital or otherwise, is also designed to generate leads.
Return on Investment (ROI)
The goal of plumbing companies is to make money. It’s not rocket science. You, as a plumber, must make more than you spend. This simple equation is known as ROI, which is short for Return on Investment. The revenue must significantly exceed the expenses to succeed in business. When adequately executed, marketing will yield an ROI, and sometimes one that is so significant, it changes the trajectory of your life.
SEO is one of the most powerful tools on earth because it can help plumbers earn money without spending too much of it. It can get you a larger home, a more appealing car, and a better education for your children. No, it does not guarantee you any of those things, but it gives you a chance, which is usually enough to justify the investment in the first place. But plumbers must decide for themselves.
Defining an Audience
No one can fully explain marketing without discussing the importance of a target audience. Sure, promotion in itself can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime. But as we discussed with some of the specific methods, that is not always the best course of action. It makes far more sense from both a practical and financial standpoint to promote services to a defined subgroup of people. Who belongs to this subgroup is determined by you as a plumber and us as your marketing adviser.
Age, education level, lifestyle, profession, relationship status, residence status. These are each an example of a demographic. Plumbing contractors might find one or more of these quite helpful when defining their target audience. Let’s take residence, for example. For individuals who own and live in homes (homeowners), plumbing services are highly relevant. After all, they, as a homeowner, are responsible for the plumbing.
Now let’s compare that to people who rent homes or apartments. These people are not liable for plumbing maintenance. So, by and large, they aren’t on the lookout for your services. As you might imagine, it’s cost-effective to promote services only to homeowners and not home renters.
Reaching a prospective customer requires some vehicle, and we don’t mean your plumbing truck. We are alluding to the medium or channel through which the prospect learns of your services. We’ve detailed options and which of them we believe are the most effective in 2022.
In our opinion, Google is the number one medium through which to reach a potential client, and the data backs this up. With this in mind, SEO becomes a clear-cut choice for plumbing marketing. Keep in mind that companies are not limited to only one channel. You can reach prospects on both Google and social media, for example. You can even use a truck wrap and also use Google Ads. There’s plenty of flexibility.
As a plumber with ambition, your service radius might be “optimistic,” to put it kindly. Contractors’ truth is that they should not market services to locations they cannot serve efficiently. If it takes you 2 hours to deploy a truck to an area you market, it can compromise your business.
Not only are you spending on fuel it takes to get there and back, but you are providing a substandard service and one that a company with a closer radius could easily outperform. Focusing on a radius that you can serve optimally will improve your performance and likely help your company build a superior reputation, including online reviews on Google and Facebook.
Tracking Marketing Data
We identified measurement as one of the three core elements of marketing. But before you can measure, you must track data. There must be a large enough sample of data to make a measurement worthwhile. Several tools exist that can help plumbers track their marketing data in 2022.
Facebook Page Insights is the platform’s native analytics tool that tracks the behaviors of users who visit or interact with your page or posts. Page Insights is the most potent native social media tracking tool available online. As we noted before, Facebook no longer a network on which to reach consumers organically.
To bring people closer together, they changed the algorithm to return the focus to human interactions rather than business or brand to human. That’s not great news for plumbers, but Facebook Insights remains a useful tool to track Facebook users’ behavior.
Google Analytics is the number one tracking tool available online. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, it tracks data using the best source we possibly have, Google itself. Analytics can track data from both SEO and paid advertising campaigns. Although they don’t reveal every bit of information, for example, you can’t see all of the terms people search for to enter your website.
They expose enough to give plumbing companies a good idea bout where improvements are necessary and where their successes originate. To install Google Analytics on a website, all you need to do is embed the code within the HTML. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, contact a local website designer or programmer.
HubSpot Marketing is a marketing analytics software that tracks data from all of your different promotional channels. Unlike Facebook Audience Insights or Google Analytics, HubSpot Marketing can organize information from multiple sources into a single unified dashboard. It empowers plumbers to analyze their data from a broader view.
While HubSpot Marketing helps track data as it flows in, its utility is even more impactful than that. The ultimate goal of this tool is to increase website conversion rates for businesses. There are other kinds of software like HS that exist on the web, but most independent evaluators rank it as the most prominent marketing analytics software available as of 2022.
Plumbing Marketing Services
Many contractors have a fundamental question about marketing, is there someone who can do it for me? The answer is yes. Plumbing Webmasters markets plumbers all across the United States of America and helps them reach their business goals each year. Our process is not complicated. We have a team of 15 skilled webmasters who perform the skilled labor required for an effective marketing campaign. We handle everything from design (custom websites) to plumbing SEO services. Here’s a full breakdown:
Our content team includes professional writers, trained regularly in the latest SEO practices and whose work is verified by an on-staff editor. There is a saying in the SEO industry; content is king. That’s because Google has publicly stated its affinity for quality content and cites it as the most critical factor in a page’s value.
We produce highly relevant content that is original, relevant, and unique. Each piece of content published on Plumbing Webmasters’ designed websites passes Copyscape to confirm its uniqueness and avoid duplicate content issues. Our writers are knowledgeable about plumbing services and write content for your consumers. We never engage in black-hat content tricks like keyword stuffing. We are a white-hat SEO company.
Design (Custom Websites)
Our website design team includes professionals with experience in marketing for plumbers. Each site built by our staff is custom-made and optimized for search. But most importantly, it is designed with clean code and schema markup. There is a direct relationship between SEO and custom design. When HTML code is clean, CSS style sheets are advanced, and schema markup microdata is incorporated, the sky’s the limit for plumbing websites.
Visual appeal is also a consideration under the Plumbing Webmasters design team’s watchful eye. Although the presentation does not reveal the code behind it, having an aesthetically pleasing display can increase conversion rates on a plumbing company website. A practical design integrates your company logo and color scheme.
There’s a saying in marketing, “put yourself on the map,” and it’s never been more literal than in 2022. Today, “the map” in its most literal sense is Google Maps. Search queries are adjusted based on the searcher’s geo-location concerning the search result. Local SERPs yield a group of results known as the Local Map Pack, which is 3 Google Maps listings that are most relevant to the user, based primarily on their location. Google Maps links with Google Business Profile to show the aggregate star rating of a plumbing company.
When Plumbing Webmasters conducts mapping services, we verify your Google Business Profile’s location and optimize it for local search. We also go to great lengths to ensure that you optimize your Google Business Profile, including the presence of favorable reviews that we help you generate with DataPins software.
Part of the promotion is reputation. How can a plumber most effectively market himself without a solid reputation? For many plumbers, reputation starts with becoming known in their local community. Establishing a name can be challenging enough on its own, but maintaining a favorable perception is even more difficult. The first step in gaining notoriety is to install DataPins software from Plumbing Webmasters. It makes the process of leaving reviews more convenient for customers. They can visit your website and directly submit feedback to Google or Facebook without ever having to leave your site.
Additionally, the software sends text reminders with links so that customers don’t forget to do it while at home. To maintain a positive reputation, try to do a great job on services and always monitor review platforms for any negativity. If it exists, respond professionally and request its removal if it is unfounded.
The objective of SEO is to optimize every aspect of your plumbing company’s web presence. Some mistakenly believe SEO is explicitly reserved and only for a website. That is not the case. SEO expands far beyond your main website — although it helps to have one as a central hub. Business directories, external domains, and social media pages are examples of web properties that encompass SEO on a larger scale.
There was a time when a website was the only viable destination for a prospective client, but that is no longer the case. Google can no longer grade websites exclusive from other factors, including but not limited to, citation sources, and social media signals. Inbound links remain an SEO factor whether Google chooses to dismiss it or not. Sites with quality links generally outperform those without them.
2019 promises to be a big year for plumbers. Check out our SEO for Plumber’s guide if you have not done so already. Today, we will discuss an actionable checklist that every plumbing contractor can utilize to gauge the progress of their web presence and identify points on which improvement is necessary.
As a digital marketing agency working with plumbers for almost a decade, we have the resources at our disposal to put companies in a position to succeed in the online space. The goal for all plumbers is to make more money. The best way to do that is through online lead generation, the majority of which happens via digital marketing campaigns. In this 10 point checklist, we’ll touch on the most critical aspects of SEO:
The front end of a website is what most consumers think about once they enter. It’s what most contractors think about when evaluating their plumbing websites. But the reality is that the front end is predicated entirely on a structurally sound back end. What good is a visually appealing website that nobody visits? What is its value to plumbers? The truth is that visuals only matter if you get the visitor to enter in the first place. That’s not possible without excellent website design.
So what makes web design suitable? For starters, a professional designer should create the framework. They should implement a clean and SEO-friendly code base, as well as SERP enhancers like schema markup. Does that all sound a little bit foreign to you? It should be because programming is not something that the general public understands. The need for professional web design is pressing, and it’s even more beneficial when the designer has a background in search engine optimization.
A solid codebase can place sites in an initial position to generate traffic. But the visual appeal, user experience, and navigability are what will keep them there. Google measures website performance in large part by how the user behaves after finding the site. If they exit immediately, the site’s bounce rate goes up. The higher the bounce rate, the worse your website is performing. One additional factor regarding design is how easy the website makes it for users to locate pertinent information. That means where to find you, how to contact you, how to review you, etc. These blocks of information should all be displayed prominently on a website. Plumbers should ensure their website excels in these areas:
2) Code Base
The front end of a website can promote these pieces of information through content, while the back end must use a microdata language known as schema.org. Most people reading this post use a template website for their plumbing services. Unfortunately, while it may have schema code, it isn’t likely to be optimal. Worse templates guarantee duplication of a codebase with other sites on the internet, sometimes even your competitors. But those listed above you for primary keywords more than likely have a custom code base rather than a premade template.
You can mark up almost every single component of your website with schema. Schema helps Google parcel your site’s data and understand its content to promote it best. The microdata tags can also encourage SERP enhancements which add exciting features to your search results, such as aggregate star ratings and site links. Much like ad extensions for PPC, SERP enhancements can make an organic impact outrank one that’s competing with it. A proper code base should exhibit these qualities:
Structured (Schema Markup)
There’s probably no word used more in the world of digital marketing than content. People swear by its value, and as Google’s algorithm has evolved, so has the standard for creating SEO-friendly content. Yet, to this day, many websites still exhibit shallow content. Content stuffed with keywords over and over again reads unnaturally and looks as if a 3rd grader wrote it with a poor grasp of sentence structure. The content that should be on your plumbing website is natural. Write your pages as you would want them described to your target customer. Consider identifying LSI keywords, natural synonyms, and terms related to your primary word, and place them within your content.
The presence of LSI keywords helps Google interpret a web page as robust and uses natural language that relates itself to the subject matter at large. The process of SEO writing has had difficulties shaking the tradition of keyword stuffing because old habits die hard. While using the keyword within the title tag and header tag is still encouraged, it should not be used more than once or twice within the body paragraphs themselves. A good rule of thumb is not to publish any content that doesn’t reflect how you would describe a service to customers in person. The written content is different from its spoken counterpart, but its entire presentation should mirror your direct intentions. Content on plumbing websites should favorably exhibit the following qualities:
4) Google My Business & Maps
Google My Business is the easiest thing to get right for plumbers who are marketing their services online, and it happens to coincide directly with your company’s Google Maps listing. But there’s a caveat; it’s also one of the easiest things to screw up. Messed-up listings are usually a result of plumbers trying to do too much with their GMB account. It’s a fundamental concept. GMB tells Google the name, address, and category of your business so that they can adequately promote you to consumers in your local area on Google Maps. So that’s the very base level of Google My Business, but there are also additional steps that can make a GMB listing even more impactful.
One of those is the FAQ section, where the business owner answers frequently asked questions from consumers. Plumbers can also put in branded company photos, like pictures of your office, truck, etc. Don’t forget your company logo. Most plumbers understand that local SEO is essential, and Google Maps is the foundation of every local SEO strategy. Optimizing your Google My Business page encourages Maps placement. Here’s what you should attend to in regards to your Google My Business:
As we noted earlier, points on this checklist tend to relate to one another. Google My Business is one of the best sources of customer reviews, which brings us to the following checklist point for plumbers, which is online reviews. While Google should be a top source for reviews, it should not be the only source. For example, if you get ten reviews, about 5 of them should be on Google. The others can disperse to Facebook, Yelp, BBB, and several other worthy platforms. Google has even publicly discouraged the notion that all reviews should affiliate with Google My Business.
But to diversify reviews, you have to generate them and do it ethically. It would help if you actively pursued reviews by asking satisfied customers in person and integrating a reviews dashboard that automatically texts clients your review profiles on Google and Facebook. In addition, it would make it convenient for anyone on your website to click the review us button. Be careful about who you do ask for feedback, however.
If you had significant problems with one of your clients, and you know that they were challenging to work with, don’t promote your Google or Facebook account to them. Hopefully, clients like these are few and far between but don’t go looking for bad reviews. Although they will be inevitable at times, you can drown plenty of good ones, as well as your direct response to the bad ones with professional reactions. Make sure you monitor these aspects of your reviews:
Diversity (Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.)
6) Link Building
A website builds authority by the number of inbound links that point to it. MOZ measures their collective influence with a metric called domain authority. While DA is not a Google metric, it provides a general snapshot of the strength of inbound links pointing to a particular website. Domain authority (DA) measures on a 1-100 scale, with 100 being the most authoritative link profile imaginable and 1 being a link profile that ceases to exist. The whole concept of link building is dangerous for SEO. Not all links hold equal value, and many times, links can distract plumbers and other website owners from more manageable SEO tasks.
In 2012, Google’s Penguin update ended manipulative link building and heavily penalized sites that broke guidelines. Fast forward to 2019, and while penalties are no longer as typical, the value of low-quality links is pretty much zero, if not hostile. So how do you build links? The only avenues are creating great content, building citations, sharing on social media, and conducting PR and blogger outreach. The most valuable links come organically. If you write a great blog post about plumbing, share it on social media, and another blog links to the article, you’ve earned a precious organic link. This process is hard to execute; make no mistake. But consistency and attention to detail help make it more probable. Keep an eye on these link-building metrics.
Domain Authority: MOZ’s estimate of a website’s authority
Followed Linking Root Domains: The number of unique domains pointing to a site (with dofollow links)
Inbound Links: The number of total inbound links pointing to a website
Linking Root Domains: The number of total domains pointing to a site (both dofollow & nofollow links)
7) Social Media
Social media and SEO are related, whether you want to believe it or not. Many plumbers don’t want to hear that because they hate social media. And we don’t blame them. After all, how does an anti-social plumber utilize social media in 2019? Truthfully, you don’t have to be a digital celebrity to make an impact on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, or YouTube. All you need is a legitimate presence on each platform. Unfortunately, Google has not been forthcoming about the direct influence of social media activity on search rankings. Still, evidence suggests that social signals take into account in one way or another.
That’s why publishing blogs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn produce visual content for Instagram and YouTube. When people are engaging with your business, whether it likes, shares, views, comments, or otherwise, it signals to Google that your company is relevant and noteworthy. Again, you don’t have to be a typical social media personality to send out these signals. After all, you’re looking for engagement from plumbing customers. People who are your clients, or who will one day become them. One thing to consider with Facebook and Instagram is that you won’t get many organic impressions. If you want to be seen organically on these platforms, you’re going to have to pay to advertise on them. But branded searches still matter. So when consumers who have pre-existing knowledge of your company look for you on IG or Facebook and don’t find you, that’s a missed signal opportunity that could go to Google. Keep these things in mind when auditing your social media presence:
8) Ongoing Work
Is your plumbing website stagnant? Also, do you add new blog posts each month? Finally, Have you invested in a website redesign? In any case, you are jeopardizing your position on Google SERPs or preventing yourself from improving. SEO is not a one-time deal. To truly master SEO, plumbers must commit to consistent optimization tasks. Google constantly changes its algorithms as they evolve, and activity will also be necessary. That’s no different than any other form of marketing, whether it’s online or not. If you don’t make incremental improvements each month, year, and decade, you can’t expect to thrive in your marketplace.
An example of Google’s evolution relates to content advancements. Google used to reward content written a certain way and ranked pages with keyword stuffing. Today, those same techniques will hurt your rankings. So if you never updated your content, you lost major spots on Google’s SERPs. Ongoing work is imperative to sustain a certain level of ranking and improve upon it. And it goes beyond content. Other areas that require continuous attention are coding, design, and user experience. Plumbers will want to take special notice of the following areas when checking for ongoing work:
Content: Is content up to date, and is it written for a 2019 reader?
Design: Is design fresh, engaging, and amenable to a 2019 visitor?
User Experience: Is a 2019 user going to have a positive experience with your site?
9) Paid Advertising
Plumbers tend to favor paid advertising, especially PPC from Google Ads, because it works quickly. PPC can be a significant part of an internet marketing strategy, as long as it coincides with macro-scale efforts like SEO, web design, etc. The problem with PPC is that it’s inherently short-lived. You can’t expect to make a living off of PPC ads. There are pockets of time where you can create significant ROI, but it cannot be your only source of traffic or lead generation if you expect to sustain success.
Furthermore, PPC only works with properly managed campaigns. Budgeting, targeting, and landing page optimization are crucial elements to Google Ads, and ignorance of them will result in a failed venture. Google is not the only paid advertising platform available to plumbers. Contractors can also invest in paid social media advertising like boosted Facebook posts or even Instagram posts. As we noted earlier, Facebook doesn’t show posts organically, so paying for promoted posts is one of the best ways to activate the social signals that influence SEO. Again, paid ads can be beneficial but only maximize when they are part of a more effective digital marketing strategy and one founded in SEO and website design. Ensure your paid advertising campaigns have these things managed:
10) Brand Authority
New forms of media have inserted themselves into the SEO discussion. Whether it’s video content, which has been around for some time but has recently started to become easier than ever to produce, or podcasts, which are an undervalued media format for any business, their collective influence over brand authority can be significant. The more signals a brand can send Google that is relevant and noteworthy, the more authority it can establish online. Podcasts and videos are great because they can be distributed and syndicated on multiple platforms. With podcasts, those can be Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and embedment on your website. With video, it can be YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and also embedment on your website.
Multimedia provides seemingly limitless options for plumbers, but convincing them to participate in producing this content can be challenging. If you are a plumber looking to take your business to the next level in 2019, you should more than consider a multimedia campaign; you should invest the resources required to do it. Brand authority is measured in more traditional ways as well. In other words, website design, logo design, and content marketing are also indicators of brand authority. But for this checklist, focus on these newer concepts:
11) Google Homepage
The Google homepage is an industry term for a phenomenon that exists with branded searches. When a consumer with pre-existing knowledge of your plumbing company types its name into Google, the entire SERP shows up for branded features, including the Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph appears on the top of SERPs and shows your GMB profile and NAP information. It should also include a page full of organic results associated with your company, which might consist of everything from your website, social media profiles, and other business directories across the web. The bottom line is this; you want your branded SERP to look great. It will only look great if you’ve attended to each primary point of this checklist. So what are the components of an optimal Google homepage?
Branded: The Knowledge Graph should show your GMB profile, and all results should be associated with your company
Feature-Rich: Several SERP features should be present, including aggregate star ratings
Healthy: There should be plenty of results, and all first page ones should be relevant
Robust: There should be diversity in the pages that show up, like website, social, & profile