After a recent speech I gave at the 21st Century Building Expo & Conference in Charlotte, I had the chance to chat with a group of remodelers and builders about their experiences with search engine marketing. My conclusion? If SEO and pay per click (PPC) were competing for the next presidency, SEO would win in a landslide. Hardly any of the remodelers or builders I spoke to had ever even given pay per click advertising a chance.
If you want to maximize your search engine real estate—a proven strategy I always recommend to business owners who seek my company’s help—pay per click is something that shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, several big and recent Google updates make it something that you CAN’T ignore.
1) Google Has Reduced the Number of Local Listings It Displays
Google has come a long way regarding personalization of search—and one of those evolutions is serving up listings based on a user’s location. These local listings, displayed before the organic listings, have been an excellent opportunity for LOCAL remodeling businesses to gain first-page visibility simply due to their proximity to the searcher.
Before Aug. 2015, if a homeowner searched, “Baltimore kitchen remodeler”, they would typically see a search page with a paid ad up top (and along the right-side of the page) with a map below and seven local companies in/near Baltimore. Today, Google has reduced the number of local listings shown to just three.
This isn’t a problem if you already appear 2-3 times on the first page of Google (for those of you who are in prominent paid and organic spots, I applaud you) or if you somehow generate more referrals or word-of-mouth marketing than your team has the capacity for.
But if not, it’s likely you’ve seen a 100% reduction in first-page visibility post Google’s local listing update and this update could be pretty devastating to your business. Pay per click advertising isn’t starting to sound so bad, is it?
2) It’s Now Possible to Hyper-Target Ads to a List of Your Prospects
You (or your sales reps) likely have a large prospect list you’ve built and marketed to over the years (I know we have one!) and as of October 5th, it’s now possible to upload that email list to hyper-target your ads to prospects via paid search advertising (as well as through YouTube Trueview ads, and Gmail ads).
3) A New Home-Service Specific Ad Listing Is Coming
As I write this, Google is currently testing a new type of listing that will connect searchers directly with home service companies. At present, Google’s tests have been limited to plumbers, locksmiths, housekeepers, and handymen in the San Francisco Bay area, but depending on the results, they’ll almost certainly expand the program to include other types of home services.
While the point of the listing is to connect homeowners directly with high-quality home service companies, as a side effect, this new ad type will decrease some of the first-page organic real estate (and also appears to completely eliminate the local listings). Just another reason to reconsider paid search if you haven’t already.
If You Do Nothing Else
PPC certainly isn’t for everyone. For some niches within the remodeling and design/build industry, the line between generating leads and sales profitably and throwing precious marketing dollars out the window is razor thin. However, there is one form of PPC advertising that practically every remodeling company can benefit from, and that’s remarketing.
Remarketing is a form of paid search advertising that allows you to show your ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the web. Remarketing (also known as retargeting) is beneficial for many different industries, but I highly suggest it for industries with longer sales cycles, as it promotes top of mind awareness for users who don’t convert on the first visit to your site.
What about you?
What has your experience been with paid search marketing? Do you use retargeted ads? Leave a comment below—I’d love to know what you’ve tried, what’s worked for you, and what hasn’t.