Tag Archives: Organic SEO

True Client Stories: Trouble With Leads

Have you ever been on a kids roller coaster? As a child, the thrill of moving easily keeps us entertained. As an adult however, that thrill changes to irritation as we long to progress to loops, sudden drops, and rapid turns. A kids roller coaster simply goes nowhere, fast. 

When it comes to plumbing companies, lead sellers are the new kids roller coaster. There’s a real thrill of feeling your business gradually move with each incoming lead. As your company brand matures however, it becomes clear that you’re paying a frustrating sum of money to essentially spin in circles. Very little brand growth occurs, and you’re left none the richer from your investment.

Today, we’re going to talk about that frustrating ride. More importantly, we’re going to reveal how to get your business off the tracks and into some real long-term growth. Be sure to listen in as Jason and Nolen share real-life stories from plumbing companies.

Key Lead Generation Lessons & Plumbing SEO

  • Continually paying for leads slows down your brand development and customer base growth.
  • Even when you pay a seller for a lead, you may still have to compete with other local businesses.
  • Paid leads are simply way more expensive, both in the short and long term.

Buying Your Way Into Oblivion

Another day, another frustrated caller talking about expensive lead sellers. But what is it about buying leads that plumbers find so frustrating? At the Webmasters, we’ve heard all kinds of stories about people’s experiences with these services. Most boil down into a handful of common complains…

Top Problems With Buying Leads

  • They get really, really expensive!
  • When you pay for a lead, you still compete with other listed companies in your area.
  • Some “leads” are just people looking for quotes, not interested would-be clients.
  • It discourages SEO for plumbers, and other forms of lead generation.
  • Buying leads encourages return visits to your lead seller, not your company website.

The Eye-Opening Secret of Lead Sellers

Everyone wishes they could cut out the middleman and earn their leads at cost. After all, that would mean saving thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of dollars every year! It’s clearly possible; not everyone pays for lead sales. How do they do it? The real question you should be asking is: Where does your seller find their leads?

95 times out of 100, lead selling companies source their leads directly from Google Search! Not only do lead sellers pay next to nothing for each lead (even when you factor in long-term marketing), they add a massive upcharge to leads you could have earned for free.

Two Lead Sellers and an Organic Listing for a Local Plumber

This Local Plumber Managed to Outrank a National Lead Seller and Earn Their Own Leads.

How does that make you feel?

In the picture above, you can see one of the frequently-used tools of lead sellers for acquiring new customers. National level brands like to use localized “top plumber” lists to try to capture consumers. However, they actually have to work very hard to secure these listings, because Google prefers to list local businesses over national organizations. That’s why an independent contractor can earn a second place organic (free) in the same results page as two huge lead generation companies! 

Not only is it very possible compete with these household name lead sellers, Google will practically help you do it. If you’re tired of spending lots of money paying for leads, why not invest in making your own leads like this plumber?

How to Generate Leads

You’ll need two major tools to start generating your own leads: a Google My Business account and a company website. Some businesses try to get away with only one of the two; it just doesn’t work well. Now you might be thinking “Bah! I’ve heard about this SEO for plumbers stuff. It takes too long.” While plumbing SEO does take a couple months to start producing results, at least.

So what?

A Local Map Pack for Repiping Companies

Local Search Optimization Offers Faster Results After Google’s Local Search Algorithm Update.

Marketing always takes time to fully mature. If you have to spend a little money to earn a long-term source of cheap, high-quality leads, isn’t that worth your money? Anyway, there’s great news.

If you optimize your website and GMB well, you could start earning local listing traffic even sooner. In a recent podcast called “Brown Friday” (linked below), our team at Plumbing Webmasters got a tankless water heater specialist ranking for his top keyword in his community within a month. A brand new business (and website) knocked out long-term champions for top spot in a local map pack, which represents a huge portion of traffic.

Optimized Website Design

Your website will need to be fully optimized with dedicated service pages for the keywords you wish to rank for. This supports the local search results driven by your Google My Business account (which is absolutely free, by the way). Tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, Answer the Public, and SEMrush make it easy to discover hot keywords in your industry. You can also use Ubersuggest to see what terms your competitors are ranking for, and try to steal them!

If you’d like to learn more about using local search and organic listings to secure high quality leads, our team at Plumbing Webmasters would be happy to talk about it with you. Consult with one of our seasoned experts for free at (877) 388-9884!

Additional Resources From Plumbing Webmasters

Related Articles and Podcasts
Brown Friday: Rockstar Plumber (Podcast)
How to Rank Your Plumbing Company for “Plumber Near Me” (Article)
Forced to Brand (Podcast)
– All About Plumbing and Septic (Case Study)

Services Related to Lead Generation
Google Analytics for Plumbing Websites
PPC vs Organic SEO
Website Design Services

Posted: | Updated: Dec 23, 2019 | Categories: Podcast

How Plumbers Should React To The Google BERT Update

You may be wondering who BERT is and what he did to affect your business. The answer would simply be: Not much. BERT is the latest major update in a long line of releases from Google.

Algorithm updates generally pursue two objectives: enhancing the average user experience and drawing people deeper into Google services.

Major updates tend to send companies scrambling to find out how their business (and/or their clients) will be affected in the keyword rankings. While this year has certainly been an impactful one for millions of listings across the US, we aren’t seeing the dramatic change with this latest algorithm renovation. As Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz reassuringly tells us, “…many SEOs and many of the tracking tools did not notice massive changes in the Google search results while this algorithm rolled out in Search over the last week.”.

Google representative Danny Sullivan goes even farther with his Tweet on the subject:

Danny Sullivan on the Google BERT Update

Google Rep Danny Sullivan Underscores the Company’s Focus on Informative Content.

What Does the Google BERT Update Change?

Essentially, BERT enables better interpretation of long-tail conversational search phrases. It better analyses user intent behind longer search queries, and subsequently provides stronger listing matches. Long-tail searches take up a smaller percentage of search volume compared to the popular (and ultra-competitive) short keywords, yet Google believes this update will affect 1 in 10 searches across the nation. 

It’s clear that the Google BERT update has clear ramifications for businesses across the country, but what takeaways can your business pull from this release?

No Rush

Tip #1: Don’t Rush to Rewrite Your Content

Every time a new major algorithm change comes from Google, there’s an instant urge to burn everything to the ground and start over. Don’t put the torch to your content just yet, because the Google BERT update probably won’t impact your rankings very much (in the short term). If you’ve already taken the time to connect with your target market through informative content, you may notice higher rankings thanks to the update!

Take a little time to examine this last week’s Google Analytics results against numbers from previous weeks, just in case.

You should also read Google’s blog article on the subject, where they discuss in detail BERT’s effects on search query results. The update has been steadily rolled out over the last month in numerous languages. We also know from Danny Sullivan’s tweets that the Google BERT update has ramifications for both organic and local search results (such as featured snippets).

New Inspiration

Tip #2: Get Reinspired to Make Quality Content

Every new question to the Google team seems to come back with the same answer: Continue making excellent content for your users. There’s been such a heavy emphasis on keyword-optimization in the past, that many plumbing contractors forget the ultimate purpose for website material. Content is meant to provide helpful insights to guide behavior and solve problems. 

Does your content directly answer the key questions that searchers are asking?

If not, let the Google BERT update inspire you to make greater steps towards insightful content. Your materials may include video, original photos, infographics, podcasts, and a host of other engaging devices, but everything comes back to user value. The good news: you can draw people to your website with user-friendly content, and still create leads for your plumbing company.

Time Investment

Tip #3: Invest More Energy in Content Marketing

If you haven’t taken time to learn more about the latest SERP features, check out our guide on the subject. Featured snippets and local map packs are dominating local search results, and Google continues to place more emphasis on them. As we mentioned already, BERT impacts both organic traffic and snippets, which is traditionally won by content marketing materials.

To this day, it’s still a struggle trying to convince plumbing professionals why they should invest time in blogging and other practical forms of content marketing.

Not only does content marketing enable your website to rank for more keywords, it provides more opportunities for interacting with potential clients. By solving real world problems that a would-be client faces, you create that much respect for your business and recognition for your website. Plumbing companies that do really well can earn featured snippets, which offer tremendous traffic boosts (ie: potential leads) for their website. 

In Summary…

Don’t let this latest release from the search engine giant intimidate you. Watch out for digital marketing companies that might claim the Google BERT update comes with changes that only they know how to address. You shouldn’t feel any major effects in the near future, at least as far as your general website traffic goes.

However, there are some valuable lessons that we can learn from our buddy BERT. 

  • Google remains heavily invested in directing users towards great content.
  • Even long-tail queries have significant impact in search.
  • Google has a vested interest in SERP features, such as snippets.
  • Content marketing will continue to play a key role in featured SERP results.
Testing Process Used for Google BERT Update

Google Continues to Test Out New Layouts for SERP Pages. Pay Close Attention to Search Results in Your Area!

If you haven’t been taking stock in long-tail keywords till now, it’s time to heavily consider infusing some into your content. While they may not have the volume that search volume that shorter plumbing phrases do, they’re valuable for their heavy user intent and higher conversion rates. As we’ve talked about before in previous blog posts, developing a diversified keyword strategy typically provides better traffic and growth for your business online.

Don’t miss out on traffic that you could be earning with content marketing either! Even one blog post a month could have significant value for your brand and for your local searchability. If you aren’t sure what sort of materials perform best, try seeing what sort of content your top ranking competitors are producing. You can also check out our page on perfect content for plumbing sites!

Need a Hand?

Our team at Plumbing Webmasters would love to help you grow your business online. With our custom web design, in-depth keyword strategy, and dedicated content development, plumber businesses like yours enjoy incredible rankings in local search! To learn more about our services or ask questions about the industry, call us at (877) 388-9884.

Posted: | Updated: Nov 4, 2019 | Categories: SEO

The $3200 Plumbing SEO Screw Job | The Plumbing SEO Podcast

Does it ever feel like your plumbing SEO company is trying to hide something? Unfortunately, too many plumbing businesses get cheated by their digital marketing agency. That doesn’t have to be you! Thankfully, there are many red flags that can help you steer clear of shady marketing practices. Be sure to listen closely as Jason and Nolen discuss real industry stories that should serve as a word of warning.

Helpful Tips on SEO Services for Plumbers

  • Watch out for bundled deals! These tend to cover up shady reporting practices.
  • Many digital marketing rely heavily on PPC to markup their services.
  • Month to month SEO services often work the hardest to produce results.
  • SEO for plumbers should only require a couple months to start producing results.

Discovering the Tough Truth

“Bob” is a local contractor who relied on the same marketing service for two years. Despite his significant investment into online marketing, Bob noticed a suspicious lack of phone calls coming into his office. With growing concerns, he reached out to the agency that handled his PPC and SEO service bundle. As always, he heard the same old sales runaround that had grown less and less reassuring. So Bob decided it was time to consult with another marketing team.

After running a brief search of some of the top ranked SEO companies in his area, he arranged a one-on-one consultation with our team at the Webmasters. Pretty soon, Bob realized his nagging concerns were justified. Not only was his current provider using confusing reporting practices to hide their lack of organic SEO activity, but it was clear they were spending very little of the money they had allotted for PPC campaigns (and pocketing the rest).

In other words, Bob had been royally screwed for almost two years.

Reporting on SEO Services for Plumbers

Does Your Reporting Come From Google, or a Less Trustworthy Source?

A Common Trend in Digital Marketing

Bob’s story is one we hear all to often. As an experienced contractor in a modestly-sized, non-competitive market, he should have been a rockstar in local search. But his digital marketing company had done literally nothing to optimize his website or his company Google My Business listing.

This trend fits many SEO services for plumbers: using flat fee bundles to hide inactivity and mark up prices.

Bundling paid search and organic SEO services together is almost always a bad idea, especially if the bundle is tied together with a long-term contract. Since contracting professionals see this sort of pricing all the time however, they think nothing of it. Frankly, digital marketing companies do a fantastic job of selling these services. Here’s what happens when a plumbing contractor steps into a long-term PPC/SEO bundle deal.

Temporary Results

Part #1: They See Results (for a Time)

Most plumbers start seeing results, but not quite the quantity they expected. That’s because paid search campaigns start producing leads almost immediately. The initial influx of business is usually enough for most plumbers to grudgingly continue without contacting their marketing agency. Those that do speak out end up hearing the same familiar line:

“We’re working hard on your organic SEO, but it always takes 6 months to a year to start seeing results.”

Strange Reporting

Part #2: They Experience the Runaround

When leads begin to slow down, most plumbing contractors naturally start to wonder what’s going on. That’s when the confusing reporting comes out. Some marketing agencies appear more trustworthy by pushing their numbers through a third party reporting company.

On a side note: this is why you should always have your PPC campaign spending issued directly from Google. This prevents your digital marketing company from hiding the actual costs per click.

The reporting also enables SEO services for plumbers to cover their lack of progress on website optimization. Remember, successful SEO practices actually produce cheaper, higher quality leads for your business. Companies that make the most of their money with inexpensive PPC campaigns don’t want a productive organic presence taking money away from their primary source of income.

PPC Addiction

Part #3: They Get Addicted to PPC

What happens next? The same thing that plumbers experience when they purchase leads from a vendor: addiction. PPC’s slower, but dependable source of leads makes it difficult for most plumbing companies to part with their marketing agency. After all, who wants to leave a steady stream of business, even it if is smaller than they’d like?

Thus begins the cycle of PPC addiction, which takes many plumbers years to overcome. Those that do escape inevitably feel jaded against other marketing professionals that could actually provide real, lasting, and remarkable results. That’s why productive SEO services for plumbers have to work so hard to prove themselves!

Real Results – Plumbing Webmasters

So what’s the solution to break this cycle of deception and loss? Accountability. At Plumbing Webmasters, we’ve talked with hundreds of plumbing professionals who feel jaded because of their past experiences with dishonest marketing. That’s why we work so hard to prove ourselves with detailed expense reporting. Our SEO services for plumbers are always priced and reported separately from our PPC services, because you shouldn’t have to wonder where your money is going. You’ll see every one of our services fees in your billing, which we charge month to month.

Do you feel unhappy with your current marketing company? Contact our highly-rated, trusted team at Plumbing Webmasters and consult with a professional for free. Call (877) 388-9884 and see the difference for yourself!

Other Resources From Plumbing Webmasters

Related Articles and Podcasts
True Client Stories: PPC vs Organic SEO 2020 (Podcast)
Forced to Brand (Podcast)
Plumber Online Marketing Confusion (Podcast)

Plumber SEO Services
Organic SEO for Plumbing Contractors
Plumber PPC Campaigns
Content Marketing for Plumbers

Posted: | Updated: Sep 18, 2019 | Categories: Podcast

Forced to Brand | The Plumbing SEO Podcast

The way online marketing is progressing, plumbers will likely be forced into one of two paths: start developing your own company branding strategy, or pay another brand to feed your business with leads. It’s a tough situation to be in, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to grow your company online. In our latest podcast, Nolen and Jason discuss what company branding means today, and how to make the most of local search.

If your plumbing business has struggled with slow growth online, be sure to listen in!

Important Lessons for Plumbing Professionals

  • Online company branding requires dedicated SEO.
  • It takes more than a website to show up in local search.
  • You can start earning leads, or pay someone else for them.

Modern Company Branding

As a whole, marketing in the United States has shifted dramatically from its roots. While it changed only gradually over hundreds of years, the modernized internet causes tumultuous industry changes even in just a five year period. 5 years ago, any company with a decently written website could expect a favorable ranking on Google Search. Today, “decent” just doesn’t cut it. Google expects exceptional branding towards its search engine and towards potential customers.  

What is branding when it comes to marketing your business online?

As a plumbing contractor works to establish their company identify with Google, they must add several more branding elements into the mix. These include: customer reviews, NAP listings, and content (just to name a few). Such elements create a general profile that helps the search engine understand who you are, where your business operates, and what sort of services you provide.

Crafting an online image might seem like a mundane task, but everything makes a difference in a world where the vast majority of consumers search for essential services online. To be successful, we ultimately must distinguish the things that shape consumer perception from those that shape Google Search’s perception. That’s where the “E-A-T factors” come into play.  

Results of Heavy Company Branding in Local Search

The Best Listings Go to Experienced, Trusted Plumbers.

The E-A-T Factors

E-A-T: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. The world’s number 1 search engine works hard to create dependable results for its user base. That’s why it only lists contractor websites it believes conveys these three attributes. What sort of activities and materials does Google use to gauge these qualities?

Expertise

Measuring Expertise in Branding

Think of the expertise factor as an industry qualification process for your company branding. To convey expertise, you need to provide insightful content specifically tailored to address popular consumer problems and questions. Flaunting your plumbing certifications also helps establish your expert status.

Below are some company branding tasks that help build your online industry expertise.

  • Writing well-structured (and organized) service pages
  • Consistently releasing insightful blog posts on popular questions
  • Earning featured listings for frequently searched plumbing topics
  • Producing social media posts with homeowner or business tips
  • Displaying your credentials on your website’s front page
  • Crafting FAQs and answering questions in your GMB account

Authority

Gauging a Brand’s Authority

While expertise is proof of your right to join the plumbing conversation, authority determines your place in the pecking order. Do other plumbing companies reference you content in their websites? Do consumer websites link back to your blog posts when diving into the hottest homeowner topics? If so, you likely have a fantastic authority rating.

New businesses may start out with a very low authority website score, but they don’t have to stay that way. Below are some popular ways to enhance your company branding for better perceived authority.

  • Find prestigious industry organizations, and see if you can provide a quote.
  • Build relationships with other local businesses, then see if they will provide links.
  • Ask for recommendations from your best clients!
  • Add social sharing buttons in your blog.
  • Create exceptionally shareable material in your content marketing (ex: videos, infographics)

Trustworthiness

Calculating Trustworthiness

It’s theoretically possible to get by without great expertise. It’s very possible to still achieve moderate results with low authority. But no business is going to survive long with a poor trustworthiness rating! Without trust, Google has no incentive to show your business, and consumers have no reason to take a chance on you (especially for expensive projects).

So what company branding activities can you perform to prove you’re business is worth the risk?

  • Ask for reviews! Consistently ask for reviews from every happy client (across multiple platforms).
  • Answer consumer questions on your website and social media profiles.
  • Turn angry customers into content ones with conflict resolution.
  • Keep your company office addresses exactly matched for every listing.
  • Finish your company Google My Business listing.

The Near Future of Company Branding

People simply don’t read Yellow Page-type listings anymore. More and more consumers look to local search for their essential services. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to start branding your company online and establish a steady influx of organic leads. Branding online takes time, money, and effort on your team’s behalf, but it’s so much more cost-effective than the alternative. 

Company Branding Takes Off With Customer Reviews

Client Reviews Do Wonders for Your Local Search Results! Source: Dr. Drain

Alternatively, plumbers can sit back and pay other brands to supply leads for them. It’s sad to see businesses get locked into the cycle of buying leads, for multiple reasons:

  • The lead-selling service gets the brand recognition and website traffic.
  • Lead quality fluctuates wildly. You never know if you’re getting a buyer or a shopper.
  • PPC campaigns provide leads at a much higher cost than organic means.
  • Paid leads have a smaller chance of becoming repeat customers.

When it comes to organic company branding, a little help can go a long way. Our team at Plumbing Webmasters supports businesses all over the country with custom website development, content writing, PPC advertising, reputation management, and so much more. Clients earn exceptional traffic, better rankings, and wonderful lead quality. We’d love to partner with you too!

Contact us today at (877) 388-9884 to learn more about our plumbing SEO services!

Helpful Resources from Plumbing Webmasters

Articles and Podcasts on Company Branding
Plumber Online Marketing Confusion (Podcast)
PPC vs Organic SEO 2020 (Podcast)
The Coolest Review Software Ever (Podcast)

Related Webmasters Services
Google My Business for Plumbers
Organic SEO for Plumbing Contractors
Content Marketing for Plumbers

Posted: | Updated: Aug 28, 2019 | Categories: Podcast