Online Marketing Archives - My Market Inspector

Category Archives for Online Marketing

What to Know Before Hiring a SEO Agency for your Home Inspection Business

The digital marketing industry is wildly unregulated.

There are high quality people out there that will do you right – and there are also some sleazeballs.

In no way am I trying to tarnish the SEO (or online marketing) industry, but I do want to provide transparent, useful advice to you as a small business owner.

So, with it being so unregulated…

How do you protect your home inspection business from getting in bed with a bad company?

The answer is: Education.

Know a little bit about what to expect, rather than go in blind hoping for the best.

Here are five ways for you to keep your prospective SEO company accountable while also getting the most out of your investment.

1. Your Service Agreement

Before you start, there should be some form of written agreement, regardless if it is a signed contract or not.

A good service agreement will outline exactly what outcomes are expected, and who needs to do what.

Not all SEO companies will disclose exactly what they do each month, however there needs to be something in writing that will determine if the campaign was a success of failure.

This generally includes some collection of deliverables (tasks), goals, timelines and anticipated results.

If there is a guarantee the company will stand behind in the agreement, even better. That said, be wary of people promising #1 ranking positions.

A good example of an effective guarantee is ours (I know, so modest) – we offer our clients free campaign management if we don’t get X results in Y time frame. (We’ve never had to work for free!)

Solution:

Ensure you have a service agreement in place with your agency prior to starting any campaigns that outline important aspects of the campaign such as goals, payments, deliverables, reporting frequency and duration.

2. Reporting

Having clear expectations on reporting timelines and metrics is another crucial aspect of having a good relationship with your SEO company. With SEO, results don’t happen overnight, however all progress is measurable.

As mentioned, the reporting method should be outlined in the service agreement. You should understand what these reports are saying.

The three most common forms of reporting are task-based reporting, ranking based reporting, and traffic based reporting.

Some companies will include more than one of these into their reports. All three of these are legitimate reporting methods, however scamming can exist in them.

Here are some less than admirable methods to keep an eye out for.

With keyword based reporting, some agencies will remove key words that aren’t showing good progress from monthly keyword ranking reports. This is to hide the bad and only show the good. This is a big red flag, and unethical, in my opinion.

Solution

Make sure the same keywords are on your reports month over month, unless there is a specific reason for the keywords to change.

Another keyword based concern that pops up is when agencies use “long-tail keywords” to show results, rather than the seed keyword(s). A seed keyword is a major service keyword that generally drives the most traffic – eg. “Chicago Home Inspector.” A long-tail keyword example would be “Home Inspector in Chicago Illinois that does basements.” While you want to be ranked in Google for both, the seed keyword will drive a while lot more business than a big long-tail keyword like that.

Solution

Ensure if there are any agreements in place, the results are based on the seed keywords and not the long-tail keywords.

With traffic based reporting, some agencies will display incorrect information. What I mean is, they’ll include traffic sources (people visiting your website) from all sources, such as social media and direct website visits, not just search engines. Furthermore, you only want to have the local traffic reported. It generally doesn’t matter if someone from Florida visited your website if you only service Chicago.

Solution

Ask for traffic reports to include traffic from search engines and also from website visitors that are local to your service area. This can all be done from within Google’s free platform Google Analytics.

3. Access to Accounts

Another way to protect yourself is to ensure that you are getting access to the important accounts that they make for you, so that you still have access after you part ways.

This one is very common; however, it is less of a scam and more of a “I don’t give a shit and am not going to prioritize you” attitude by the company after you stop paying them.

Some very common accounts that will be made for you are Google analytics, Google search console, Google my business, Bing, and Google tag manager. Regardless if you continue to work with them, do your own SEO, or work with another company – you’ll need to have access to these accounts.

It can be a major headache to get these login credentials from a company you are no longer paying.

Solution

Ask to be made the “primary owner” or Administrator right when these are created – not at the end of the working relationship.

4. Campaign Termination

Talk to your SEO provider about what the end of the working relationship will look like, before the end of the relationship.

Do this at the beginning, when you’re not vulnerable. Ideally, before any money has changed hands.

They should have a system in place that delivers you the client all of the necessary login information that they created for you.

For example, let’s say an agency creates 100 local business directory citations for you.

Then, a few years later you end up moving. Naturally, you – much like many other inspectors – will change their “Google My Business” address to their new address.

If you don’t have login information to all of the local citations that they created on your behalf, you need to go in and request access and prove you’re the owner before you can make any changes.

This is very time intensive, versus the other option of simply logging in and changing the address and postal code.

For the uninitiated – having inconsistent business information like this floating around will harm your SEO – here’s an article we have on how to check your business information consistency. (Arguably one of the most important factors in SEO for “local” businesses.)

Solution

Simply ask them what their end of contract process is. If they don’t have one in place, that may be a red flag unless you’re working with a very new, or a very small company. This isn’t a deal breaker, but tread with caution and use your judgement.

5. Backlinks

One very important aspect of SEO are backlinks.

This is simply getting other websites on the internet to point back to your website.

It is one of the most complex areas of SEO and you don’t need to understand it, but you want to be aware of the methods used, and where you’ll be left when you stop paying the provider.

When links are placed strategically, rankings increase. When those same links are removed, rankings will fall.

Some companies will remove the links after you stop paying their monthly retainer. Others will leave them in place. You want them left in place.

At My Market Inspector we use 100% “white hat” links that remain intact after the client leaves.

Some companies will make their front-end offer of SEO very cheap, knowing they won’t need to uphold any links used during the campaign after you stop paying – they can simply “point” your old links to their new clients.

Non-paying old client drops, new client rises in rank and the SEO agency’s paying clients are happy.

Solution

Ask your SEO company if the links will remain in place after the end of the working relationship. Also make sure they’re not referring to social media or citation links either – ensure they’re high quality backlinks.

6. When Will the Campaign Be Reassessed?

An SEO company’s favorite client is one that shuts up, doesn’t question anything and keeps paying their monthly retainer.

A lot of companies actually fall into this category.

Again, there is a lot of shroud around SEO and what we do, so it is easy to keep people thinking we’re working a lot harder than we really are. I’m not saying that you need to be pestering your agency every day or week – but if upward momentum stops on the monthly reports, question it.

If you do hit a ceiling and progress stops, there are two logical outcomes:

1) You stop paying and move on
2) You begin targeting new keywords

The sad fact is, most companies will continue paying thinking they’re “getting more SEO” while in reality, the SEO company isn’t doing much to benefit them anymore due to already being optimally placed.

This is always subject to the amount of competition in your area – if you’re in an urban area and 5 of your competitors are all actively optimizing for “home inspector Chicago” – you may want to continue targeting that keyword to maintain your footing.

After all, SEO is kind of like a game of “king of the hill” – so use your own knowledge of the competition before taking this last one into consideration.

Solution

Specifically ask your SEO provider when you will reassess the objectives of the campaign, and how that will impact any on-going investments. Timelines are great here as it keeps us digital marketers under pressure to get results.

Conclusion

Alright, those are six key areas that you should be aware of when hiring an SEO company.

Did I miss anything that you’re curious about? Let me know in the comments below.

Oh, and if you are hiring an SEO company, contact us to get a quote. 

Facebook™ Ads for Home Inspectors: More Inspections at a Low Cost

Have you ever noticed that after visiting a site, you see more of their brand’s advertisements on your Facebook™ feed?

It’s not paranoia – this is a modern marketing technique that has a really high success rate coupled with a very low cost rate.

In this article I’m going to show you a method to increase your booked inspections from online sources, using a cost effective online advertising tactic.

What I am referring to is Facebook™ Remarketing.

Basically, it allows you to show ads on the Facebook™ platform to people that have visited your website recently.

Aka – when they’re very likely in a “buyer” mindset. 

Let’s take a look at a few important aspects for the average home inspector to take into account.

  1. What’s the benefit of remarketing?
  2. Is remarketing affordable?
  3. How do I do remarketing?

What’s the Benefit of Remarketing?

The biggest benefit is it gives you a chance to directly speak to someone that has been on your website recently.

Often times, people browse websites before making a call or purchase.

Perhaps they were given your card along with a few others from their real estate agent.

Perhaps they found you on Google, or from a local ad.

Regardless of how they found you, they probably looked at your website… and then proceeded to look at every single competitor in sight as well.

By showing them an ad after they’ve just looked at 10 services that are all offering a similar service – it gives you an opportunity to stand out and be the service provider they go with. 

Think about it like this…

Traffic + Website + Remarketing = Added Growth Potential of your business.

If you’re already getting website visitors, remarketing can reach them again and help nurture them into becoming a customer.

It also gives you an opportunity to offer them some sort of incentive to take action.

Maybe a simple “Call in the next 24 hours to take advantage of infrared scanning for free” – or something along those lines.

Or, just show them an ad with your brand on it. Remind them that you exist and are ready to help them.

If you don’t have Remarketing setup, you’re losing out on business

Another way is to take the “helpful” route – show them a blog post that you know the typical person looking for your service would find helpful.

Whatever way you go, you need to make sure the ad adds value to the customer, stands out to them and ultimately makes them take action and call your business. (See our Remarketing Ad Formula for detailed instructions.)

Where you’ll have some sort of “call to action” – basically, a big fat button with your phone number on it.

Alright, I’m rambling.

Is Remarketing Affordable?

Yes.

Because you only show your ads to people that have visited your website, the volume is very low, and the interest is high.

If you cut through the techno-babble, all this means is you get a higher percentage of people buying at a lower cost than you would with other forms of advertising.

Another big factor as to why it is so much cheaper is because you’re providing the “targeting” to the ad space provider (Facebook™.)

You’re just telling them “Hey, show my ad to this person.”

How do I do Remarketing on Facebook™?

There’s four distinct steps to setting up a retargeting ad. And bare with me – it may sound complicated but it’s actually very easy to do and well worth your time as a business owner.

If you’re a DIYer, here are the steps:

First step: Get setup for Facebook™ ads (Facebook™.com/ads/manager)

Second step: Setup and add your Facebook™ “pixel” to your website

Third step: Set up a “custom audience” in your Facebook™ Ads manager.

Fourth step: Create the ad within your Facebook™ Ads manager.

Fifth step: Turn the ad on

You only need this set up once and then you can easily switch this on or off as you like, for that specific ad.

Alright that’s it.

You can get super creative with this remarketing stuff. You can use it to target people that have visited specific pages on your site even! Hint: There’s an incredible strategy to connect with real estate professionals if you get creative.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to post below to get in touch. Good luck!

 

How Do I Know SEO Will Work For My Inspection Business?

How would you feel if you went over to Google.com and typed in your services and saw your company pop up on the first page of the Google search result pages?

You would probably feel pretty excited and proud.

 

Most small business owners strive to have optimal Google placements, but don’t know who to trust to get them there, or how much to invest – or if it is even worth investing in.

Today we’re going to look at just that: How do I know my investment in SEO is going to benefit my company?

Let’s dive in

The biggest factor in determining this is the number of people searching for your “keywords.”

For example, if you were in Houston, how many people a month are typing in to Google “Houston Home Inspection.”

We have an extensive free training on our blog if you want to learn more about SEO keywords for inspectors. But let’s stay on track.

It’s simple, more searches per month equals more potential leads coming into your home inspection business.

Now it’s important to remember that not all those people searching will click on your website, and not all the people that click on your website will actually call you.

And even if they do call you, you still may not close the sale. We won’t dive into these variables because they are more technical than we need to get right now.

By determining how many searches a month you’re getting for your keywords, you’ll be able to predict if it is a wise investment, or not.

You can do this on your own with nothing more than a free plug-in.

It just takes a minute to install. if you’re using Chrome or Firefox, there’s a free plugin I like called Keywords Everywhere.

Once installed, all you need to do is type in variations of your keywords.

Here’s a short list to get you started, but you may also have other services you want to include.

Just make sure whatever keywords you use bring up businesses similar to yours in Google when they’re typed in.

Example keywords:

Home inspection houston
House inspection houston
Houston inspection
Home inspection houston tx
House inspection houston tx

Results:

home inspection houston 1,600 searches a month
house inspection houston 90 searches a month
houston inspection 720 searches a month
home inspection houston tx 320 searches a month
house inspection houston tx 30 searches a month

That comes out to a total of 2760 searches a month.

Now, there are two simple ways to get an idea of what your ultimate ROI will be.

ROI projection strategies

The first one is comparing it to similar Adwords costs.

The second is an estimation of new revenue from this exposure.

ROI Calculation #1: Adwords comparison

Let’s take 2760 (searches a month) and take 10% of it. This assumes that after you’re placed optimally on page 1 for these keywords, 10% of all the people searching for these terms will land on your website.

10% of 2760 equals 276.

Then multiply 276 by the average cost per click (the Keywords Everywhere plugin tool will tell you this when you look up the search volumes.)

Let’s say the average is $6 per click.

This means that the value of traffic per month is $1656 per month – if you were to pay Google (through Adwords) for the traffic.

This is just an estimate of course, and we are making assumptions, but it a valid way to get your head around what you’re actually paying for when it comes to SEO.

ROI Calculation #2: Projected closed deals

Now, the second method is to calculate it based on projected closed deals you get from your search engine traffic.

We’ll use the numbers from our first example and pretend 276 people visited the website. 5% of those people called your company and you closed them. Let’s say your inspections run $300 a pop. (Again, I am being very conservative across the board.)

We simply take 5% of 276, and multiply it by 300.

This means your traffic would be worth $4140 in new revenue to your business each month.

Conclusion

Those are the two strategies I use when explaining Return On Investment to business owners – and while neither are ever 100% accurate, they’ve proven to be viable enough to continue to use.

While tracking this stuff is a bit bloated, you can do the majority of it through Google Analytics.

The biggest factor in getting lots of internet leads is having a website that actually builds trust.

You need this before you do SEO – otherwise, you’re putting the cart before the horse.  If you have a great SEO placement, but no one calls your business, you’ve just pissed away time or money getting there.

And worse? The changes you need to increase your “conversion rate” may drop you down in the search engines if they’re significant.

It’s why we have a premium training showiung home inspectors exactly what to add to their website, what pages to have and also how to structure it for future SEO potential.

The content we go over is “non developer” friendly, and is intended for inspectors that want to build their own SEO and “conversion” friendly website. Basically, a website that will actually turn a website browser into a customer. If you want to learn more, just click here.

Hope you got something from today’s post.

Have you ever paid for SEO? Did you get a ROI? Post below your experience to help other inspectors make informed decisions.

NAP Audit: Your Path to More Maps Rankings

One of the easiest ways to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to positioning your home inspection business in the “Maps” listings on page 1 is to screw up the”NAP” in your citations.

The NAP, or Name Address Phone number, is a very common word in the SEO world, and a fairly common term in the home inspection industry.

That said, it’s executed poorly, and worse, inspectors don’t seem to clean up their own NAP mentions when necessary.

This gives you the edge, because applying this information you’ll be gaining on your competitors while they unknowingly deter Google from loving to rank their website.

I once took on a home inspector that had three different mailing addresses tied to his phone number and business name in various online directories due to moving a couple times.

This alone really screwed with his SEO.

All a NAP refers to are the most common aspects of a typical citation for your business online, being your business Name, Adress and Phone number.

A citation is any instance where either your business name, address, business phone number, ZIP/Postal code and/or website appear.

Google loves NAPs, and that is why the term is thrown around so much when people are talking about search engine optimization (SEO.)

The NAP is a very, very important aspect of SEO for “local” businesses.

It is so important that I actually won’t take on a client that refuses to publicly display their address on their website. I once had to let a client after they decided eight months into a campaign that they didn’t want to reveal their address online anymore – after our initial discussion in the first month of the importance of it. Needless to say, they lost their Map Pack rank in Google to a competitor soon thereafter.

It has that much of an impact on SEO in the long run.

I know you’re probably thinking to your self…

“But I don’t serve people at my location, so I don’t need it on my website.”

“I don’t want my address online. People will show up on my doorstep.”

“I have children, I can’t have my address online.”

All fair points, and at the end of the day this is 100% your call. And there are tactical workarounds – but we’re straying from the topic. Let’s refocus.

Because the NAP is so inherently connected with a citation, we may be swtiching between the two, but this blog post is about the NAP, and how to leverage it to get higher rankings in Google.

This should be required reading prior to setting up any of your own business directory citations.

You need to know this before actually creating the citations, or you’re doing yourself a disservice, and your competitors a service!

Also, just FYI, it is important to understand that a citation does not need to have a backlink to your website for it to have positive SEO effect.

Three steps to a Google-friendly NAP:

  • Where to place your NAP
  • How to display your NAP
  • How to check if your pre-existing NAP (citations) are correctly structured.

Where to display your NAP

We have three major “areas” that we want our NAP to show up.

These are the highest importance when it comes to “local search engine optimization” (aka the type of SEO that is going to help your home inspection business.)

They are Google (inside business.google.com), business directories websites (ie. Yelp) and your website (preferably on every single page, aka in the footer.)

Alright, that was easy. Moving on.

How to display your NAP

Your NAP should be displayed the same everywhere online, when possible.

When it comes to displaying the NAP, follow Googles lead. Always.

All this means is that however Google is showing your address in the Google search results, that is exactly how you need to display it on your website, your citations, and every other place that you mention it online, like forums or featured articles.

So, if you were google your company name and see your address displayed in the Google search results like this:

Joe Smoke Home Inspections

401 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

(000) 444-3333

But then went over to your website, and it was displayed like this:

Joe Smoke’s Home Inspection Services

401 Suite E Ontario Street, Chicago, illois 60611

(000) 444-3333

You would then need to change your website NAP to match the Google structure, even though both instances of the NAP make perfect sense to the human mind.

Remember, you always want to mimic Google.

The reason for this is because it makes it easier for Google to find you and it helps ensure you get credit for each citation you build, rather than spread out the “power” over a few different variations of spellings. This is a little technical, but Google actually sends what is called a “spider” to “crawl” your website – it basically digitally “reads” everything and makes connections with other information indexed by Google. Make it easy for the spider to recognize you!

Also, if you’re more advanced, you can set up your Schema information to be identical to your correct NAP making it even easier for Google to give you credit.

If you’re reading this still, I want you to know…

Most home inspectors screw up their local SEO by leaving their address off their website.

Usually, it is because of privacy reasons.

This gives you the edge.

If it was a horse race, it’d be like racing against a horse with a lame leg.

Alright, now for an aspect of the NAP, or citations, that almost no one talks about.

Auditing your NAP

What the heck do I mean by that, you ask?

Well, if we just talked about how important it is to mimic google in every way when typing out NAP out on the internet…

You can bet your bottom dollar that there are going to be badly structured mentions of your NAP all over the place, unless you have no internet presence or are very new.

This actually hurts your SEO, and having bad citations can sometimes mean the difference between being in the Maps listings on Page 1 or not being listed at all.

You already know how to structure the NAP.

But, how do we find any offenders?

Well, we use tools!

You’ll need to download NAP hunter plugin for Chrome.

There are other tools similar to it, but this is the best one I have found.

It is simple, clean and elegant – it gets the job done.

Alright, here are the steps:

Step 1: Install NAP Hunter

We need to set up NAP Hunter and run it after installing it. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to do this.

Click here to download or view the standard operating procedure that I use when training new team members to do this for my clients. No email required.

You’ll need to wait a few minutes for the plugin to work after you follow the instructions.

Once it has finished running, you’ll be prompted to save a CSV file onto your computer. This will have the information that we need to actually start diving in.

Step 2: Perform the audit

The audit can be done in three distinct steps.

First, delete all of the duplicates – make sure to leave one of each website so you can manually check it later.

Second, go through the entire CSV, and delete all the irrelevent websites listed. These will be things like news site, websites that don’t actually have your information on them, websites you cannot edit, etc.

If you find blatant citations in business directories that you didn’t create, and you can’t edit, don’t delete these – take note of them for another day.

These are generated by data aggregators. All you need to do is find out which company shared the data to make this happen, and then edit it at the source – it is a very common practice in the business directory world.

Lastly, visit each link one by one and edit the information to reflect your correct NAP address. It is important to note that some citations will automatically default “Street” to “St” and if that is the case, you’ve done all you can do and it is okay to leave it that way – so don’t worry.

You’re done!

If you’d like a video example of how I personally perform the audit for my clients, I’ll need an example website to use. Post your website below with “You can use my website” and I will start your audit for you, record it on video and then post it here for you, and everyone else to learn from.

Happy Hunting!!

Profitable SEO Keywords for your Inspection Business

My Market Inspector Results Driven SEO for Home Inspectors

In a perfect world, you’d create your home inspector website and then, without any further effort of investment of time or money, you’d begin generating leads through that website.

Right?

Well, if you’ve been around for any length of time, you know that doesn’t just happen unless you live in a small town.

You have local competitors, and worse – those pesky massive directory sites that steal a lot of the top positions away from you and your business. 

It’s why I’ve taken the time to produce this mini-course on keywords for home inspectors.

We’re going to use 100% free tools and techniques to get a cutting edge professional keyword list.

Let’s cut that cost for you and bootstrap your way to an excellent keyword list to use for your online marketing campaigns.

Most web developers understand the basics of keywords, and they may include a few here and there, but you need to really buckle down and study if you want good results – or hire a specialist. 

Lucky for you, this SEO specialist is willing to spill the beans.

When it comes down to it, lazy SEOs, or people that don’t specialize in SEO simply plug a Keyword into some keyword tool (like Google Keyword Planner, AHRefs, Moz or SEMRush) or use obvious keywords and don’t generally go beyond that. 

By learning how to find these keywords without relying on these tools you’re going to uncover keywords that your competition have no idea about, and also find lower competition keywords.

I have a friend that uses the phrase “Ready, Fire, Aim!” when people are doing things backward.

It applies here.

But, there’s more to keywords than just researching them.

Here are the three aspects of keywords you must hit out of the park:

  1. Planning
    • This is where we find all of the keywords/ideas/content to use
  2. Mapping
    • This is where we strategically figure out where it fits on your website
  3. Researching
    • This is where we put it all together

I’m going to walk you through this entire process, start to finish. We’ll be using real-world examples for a home inspection company and start building a keyword list.

Just follow along and things will start falling in place for you.

The first section is going to be very text heavy. The ideas here are best outlined that way.

Once we move past the first section, we’ll be looking at more videos than text.

Follow along with these videos and you’ll have a valuable keyword list in no time.

And better yet – the knowledge of how to do this for every single blog post or service moving forward. 

By learning how to do this without costly monthly subscription tools like Ahrefs SpyFu, Moz and SEMRush you’re going to save money in the long run.

You’re also going to find tons of opportunities that are less competitive because not many people really know how to do manual keyword research. This means there’s a less crowded road to the top – which is where you’ll be sitting if you do this step right. 

We’re only going to use free plugins to make this all work.

That said, in our Agency we combine by hand techniques with paid tools – we love SEMRush and Ahrefs they’re incredible tools that go far beyond keyword research!!

Jumping In

Let’s get to it. I’m going to show you some behind the scenes tactics that we use in our Agency to get real results, for real businesses.

Before keyword research starts, we actually need to consider keyword planning and mapping.

Let’s start with planning.

Keyword Planning

We need to consider the following to get a true, professional sense of what keywords to use.

We will go into more detail for each of these sections, with specific examples for home inspectors. This is, in my opinion, one of the most critical aspects of the keyword process.  

We’re going go into the following questions and topics and pick them apart to really find your true keywords. These keywords will match your service, industry and geographical location.

Think about:

  • Who are you trying to attract? (eg. pre-listing, investors, real estate agents, sellers, buyers, etc.)
  • What services do you offer?
  • Any environment causes that may trigger someone to need a home inspection? (Eg. hurricanes.)
  • Regulations & qualifications
  • Local terms (City name, suburbs, surrounding cities, etc.)
  • Are there any local slang or terms relevant to some in your area a user may type into Google?
  • What questions or concerns do you see while on the job? What concerns do you think your client may have, but not bring up to you? (Eg. how to hire a home inspector)
  • What topics/content exist on your competitors/other industry websites?
  • What does Google suggest?

Let’s pick these apart to get going.

As we go through these questions write down your answers on a piece of paper. Or better yet, a spread sheet – I personally love Google Sheets.

We’re going to be coming back to them and using them to actually find a usable list of keywords and determine search volumes at the very end. 

Who are you trying to attract?

Who is it that you’re trying to attract to your website? Who is your ideal prospect?

Some examples:

  • First time home buyers
  • Home buyers
  • Sellers
  • Investors
  • Real estate agents
  • People with a damaged roof
  • People that found mold in their home
  • etc

What services do you offer?

This one is a bit obvious. What services do you offer?

The most obvious one should be home inspection related keywords. Include main services here.

  • Home inspections
  • Commercial inspections
  • Roof inspections, etc.

Less commonly targeted keywords by SEO/inspectors are ancillary services.

Do you do mold, roof, infrared or other specialty inspections?

List all of these too. It’s important to only list the ones you’re qualified to do – NOT all of what’s out there.

Environmental Causes

Are there any reasons why someone would out of the blue need an inspection in your area?

Make sure to stay within your qualifications and state regulations on this one, if relevant. These causes will jump out and be obvious to you.

Some examples here include:

  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Flooding
  • Heavy rain
  • Hail
  • Earthquakes
  • Any others that affect your area

Regulations & qualifications

Regulations and qualifications are two different things. Both of these topics should jump out at you and be obvious.

Regulations:

  • Are there any government or state regulations that you can include on your website? (A good example are Tarion-backed mandatory inspections in Ontario, Canada, where I live.)

Qualifications:

People will type in “certified home inspector” or “certified roof inspector” to find qualified people. Don’t miss these keywords – you can also get specific by thinking about using terms like:

  • Association ties (think: internachi, ASHI, CAHPI, state specific associations, etc.)
    • People may very well know about some of these and type them into Google eg. “internachi certified inspector”
  • Generic “certified” “qualified” “ethical” etc. related keywords

City and surrounding locations

Now, you’re obviously going to need to include the city you want to rank for.

Make sure to jot down all the terms that are relevant here. Include cities, suburbs, towns, etc.

Ensure you do the most research into your main city – ideally, wherever your Google My Business address resides. When you list these, try to keep them organized in the spreadsheet so you know which suburbs go with what cities.

Local slang, terms and abbreviations

Keeping tabs on this stuff should be easy for an insider such as yourself. Think of any of these that may exist for you and note them in your handy spreadsheet. 

  • Are there any slang terms used in your area? For example, Chicago is known as the Windy City.
  • Unofficial areas or government areas are sometimes used by locals, but not actually listed on a map. These are a great thing to target as outsiders (aka most web devs/SEOs) will miss them initially.
  • Abbreviations. This one is pretty simple – just don’t forget about the abbreviations that someone searching for your website may use. For Chicago, you’d want to include “illinois” AND “IL” for example.

Your client/prospect’s concerns

There’s two easy ways to generate ideas here.

First, put yourself in their shoes. What are they thinking – what matters to them at the time of them needing a home inspection? 

Look around the internet for people with concerns. Use google. Look on real estate forums.

Check out negative and positive reviews of competitors to see if you can pull out anything. If someone types in their review “I was really worried about XYX but James made the inspection go off without a hitch.” – That’s your cue that this probably isn’t the first time someone has worried about it.

Second, what questions do you get asked by prospects/clients?

Keep a running list.

Chances are these are great topics for your website, because if they’re asking you – there are probably people typing them into search engines as well.

A good example of this is a blog post on the topic of “Should I use my real estate agent’s home inspector?” – this is a valid concern many people face.

Always provide value!

Competition analysis: what is already working?

Your competitors that are highly ranked in Google have already figured out what works. Check them out and see what they’ve done!

I kept this towards the end of the keyword planning list because I don’t want you getting lazy and JUST doing this step.

I strongly urge you to perform all the steps leading up to here to best rank in your local area for the terms your prospects will be using.

Once you have, let’s jump into this video.

Watch over my shoulder as I pick apart the competition and steal their keyword ideas. 

Leverage Google – What do they think?

Lastly, let’s jump back into Google and figure out what they think. This is a strategy that is excellent at producing “long tail keywords” and what we call in the SEO world as the “LSI keywords” – which is related content, as Google sees it.

I strongly recommend you install and activate the Chrome/Firefox plugin “Keywords Everywhere” when you follow along with this video.

This plugin is going to be instrumental in your keyword research process.

When you do this exercise, make note of any search terms that have any search volume.

The tool will tell you if they do or not.

Personally, I just bold these items and worry about them later. If you properly indicate which ones have volume, it’ll make your life easier.

Another cool tip that runs parallel with this technique that we don’t go through here is to use Google’s keyword planner to identify what “generic” keywords (aka keywords that don’t include your city in them) get search volume in your specific area. You can do keyword research on a more local level with that tool – but it’s a bit more advanced than we get into in this training.

You’re going to get some incredible insights, that essentially fall under the 3rd part of this article, keyword research.

The planning phase is the heaviest section AND THE MOST IMPORTANT SECTION, so good job.

You’re doing great. Let’s move on. 

Keyword Mapping

Keyword mapping is a simple concept but not one that people always take into consideration.

It’s essentially pre-planning where the different content (different topics/keywords) will be going on your website. 

This is a crucial step.

What goes where?

When filling your website with great, optimized content you need to avoid something called “keyword cannibalization” – which is basically where you confuse Google by optimizing (whether purposefully or accidentally) different pages for the same keywords or topics. This isn’t good for your SEO, and can actually be a detriment to good rankings. 

By taking proper planning into account from the get go, you can avoid this nuisance all together without ever really learning what the heck “cannibalization” really is (it is less terrifying than it sounds, full disclosure) and better optimize your content in the long-run.

To get an understanding of how we can do this, let’s jump back into a video.

Additionally, use some common sense

What keywords are related to others? What naturally fits onto a page together?

Would it make sense to randomly start going into detail about radon inspections on your roof inspections page? No – you could briefly mention it and link to its own page about Radon and the benefits of an inspection though!

By doing this, you’re creating highly relevant pieces of content that Google loves to rank when people are looking for that information.

In general, I will use industry standard keywords and hot buyer-intent keywords in the main navigation (the header or header menu) and I’ll generally add more informational keywords as blog posts (eg. “What to look for in a new home purchase.”)

So for example, on a Chicago home inspector website, I may have 5 main pages. Let’s say home, radon, mold, commercial and roof inspections.

On each of these pages, I would include all the keywords that someone may type in together.

For example, someone could potentially type “Internachi certified mold inspector in Chicago” into Google. If you’ve added the words certified, Internachi and Chicago to your mold page, you’re getting way more brownie points from Google than someone that didn’t.

This list goes on, but you’ll need to use critical thinking. For example, including “hail” keywords on your roof inspection page could be beneficial.

Pro tip

Add words that people use to describe services in Google to every single one of your main service pages.

“Best” for example – people may type in “best home inspector Chicago.”

If you’re hitting these keywords, Google notices.

These are called “Maps qualifier keywords” because they actually produce a Maps section showing local businesses when prepended to local terms like “Chicago home inspector.”

Some examples in the home inspection industry are ethical, best, expert, professional, high quality, fast and certified. The list goes on – be creative!  When combined with expert on-page SEO, stealing the Maps listings on page 1 become a lot easier.

Now, one thing we haven’t discussed yet is… search volume! 

Which is funny, because that’s where most people start. Luckily, you know better!

In fact, I’d go as far to say you’ve learned some techniques that people that flat out sell SEO to business owners don’t even employ!

Alright, I’ll get off my soap-box. Let’s get back to this and wrap it up.

Keyword Research

Alright, what we have currently is a spreadsheet of keywords, or topics.

Effectively, a dog’s breakfast.

What we now need to do is actually construct our keywords.

What keywords are actually getting search volume at a local level?

“Local” keywords are the ones that will drive new inspections for you, because people in your service area will use them. Eg “Chicago home inspector.” 

An example of a local keyword would be “Chicago home inspectors” – it is a term that someone may type in when looking for your service. 

The other topics you’ve scraped together will dramatically support these keywords, while also reaching new search engine users.

Putting out this high quality content is an excellent way to increase your overall SEO, because having positive “click thru rates” and “dwell time” are good SEO influences. But, I digress… let’s get back to keywords.

Combining Google suggestions and Keywords Everywhere plugin

This is magical. It is where I start finding out what types of keywords exist (that have search volume) for a specific city. Follow this video and you can too. 

The FINAL research strategy is up next.

This is what I do at the very end of the process. I ONLY do this after I’ve painstakingly gone through every single service offered using the method above.

Before we jump in, please note this is for your LOCAL terms. High buyer intent terms – things like “chicago home inspector” – NOT for blog topics such as “Should I get my new home inspected.” 

The final research method

The website we’re using here is http://mergewords.com/. It’s free, and doesn’t require a sign up.

Watch over my shoulder as I construct a keyword list for a chicago home inspection website. 

That’s it.

We’re done with keywords.

Well… until we need to actually optimize the website with these keywords. On-page SEO is a beast unto itself.

If I’ve done my job, you’re now convinced that keyword research is absolutely critical in your SEO efforts.

Because it is. 

Leave me a comment below if you want further clarification on anything.

Oh, and make sure you get on my email list if you’re not – it’s a great place to stay up to date on best practice SEO tips for your home inspection business.

Home Inspector SEO Tactic for 2017

Non-technical Home Inspection SEO Tactic

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a nice addition to any home inspector’s marketing plan.

That said, SEO has changed drastically over the years – and some websites are simply behind the times still using what used to work.

Although SEO can be complicated, it’s getting easier with each passing year if you keep up to date.

The reason is simple – it’s getting harder to game the system, and Google is rewarding high quality content.

Now, we’re going to skip all of the basics like getting your NAP dialed in, getting listed in directories, getting inbound links, setting up your Google My Business, setting your website up with keywords etc. – that said, this all still applies.

At the end of the day… that information is widely available and won’t make you stand out because everybody knows to do this.

That’s why I’m going to dig into this tactic that allows my clients to enjoy tons of predictable website traffic that actually converts into customers.

The most important thing you need to know right now for SEO:

Google ranks websites based on “relevance.”

Relevancy refers to the closest piece of content that matches up with what the Google user typed into the search box.

Let’s look at a couple basic examples and then look at it from a home inspector’s point of view.

Let’s pretend these three websites about cats exist:

Website #1 is a website about the best cat food.

Website #2 is a website about the best cat food for hypoallergenic cats.

Website #3 is a website about the best cat food for house cats.

Best cat food is very generic and broad. There are lots of websites offering this information.

On the other hand, websites about the best cat food for hypoallergenic cats or house cats will be less in numbers.

If someone searches for “Best cat food for hypoallergenic cats” and there is a website or web page specifically speaking about the best cat food for hypoallergenic cats – it’ll likely rank above a much more “powerful” website that is just about a non-specific type of cats’ food.

You can use this to help your ideal customers find you online, and get to the top of the search engine pages faster.

Most home inspectors will optimize their website’s home page for all their keywords.

Because they do that, this gives you a massive advantage.

Let’s say you have a competitor that is ranking their home page for the terms ‘residential home inspector,’ ‘commercial inspector,’ and ‘real estate inspector’ for your city in Google.

You can easily compete and ultimately out rank them by creating pages for each of these terms on your website – each page would be highly optimized for each ‘category’ of keywords.

If Google encounters a person in your geographic area typing in search terms relating to these keywords, they will favor the most specific content.

There are two more incredible perks to this strategy:

  1. You can easily optimize each individual page for a set of related keywords. For example, we all know the URL of a page and the “title tag” are important for SEO – by having these available for each individual keyword, you’ll be able to out-optimize a homepage-only optimized site with these technical SEO advantages.
  2. You know exactly who will find your page. If someone types in real estate inspection and you followed this strategy, they’re going to get served your real estate specific web page. This allows you to speak directly to this target customer. Perhaps you want to advertise specific things on this page that wouldn’t be relevant or appropriate to advertise to every person entering your website. This helps you turn more website visitors into active customers!

Try this out on your website and let me know how it goes. I’ve had great success with this over and over and it is something that I share with people learning SEO as it was one of the biggest “aha” moments in my career.

If you want to get fancy, you can also set up Facebook retargeting on a page-specific level. But we’ll save that discussion for another day…