[Podcast] Episode 34: The Evolution of SEO with Spencer Powell

Marketing is getting more complicated, and search engine optimization can seem like voodoo or black magic. The SEO landscape is always changing, as Google adjusts its algorithms every day.

The goal remains the same, though — growing your organic traffic online to rank higher in the search listings, so you get found by the people who will become your clients.

Spencer Powell joins Victoria and Mark to explain how to maximize your SEO, and share the recipe for a successful SEO strategy. 

Spencer is the founder and president of Builder Funnel, a digital marketing agency that helps remodelers improve their marketing and sales systems. They help you generate more leads and sales by putting the right technology in place to measure what’s working and what’s not so you can improve over time.

SEO matches up with the way people shop and buy. Users ask questions and do research, and you want your site to be there with the answers. But a successful SEO program is more than just choosing keywords and topics. You have to know what else comes into play. Learn more about:

  • Good content vs. junk content
  • Understanding what questions to answer
  • How to drive traffic using social channels and email
  • The keys to A/B testing, and how to do it
  • Calls to Action and where to put them
  • The importance of fresh content
  • And more…

Including this link to the 200 SEO ranking factors Spencer talked about. If you’ve got questions for Spencer, shoot him an email at spowell@builderfunnel.com. There are more resources for you at Builder Funnel’s website.

Click Here to Listen to Episode 34 >>

[Infographic] Top 8 Reasons Why WordPress is Perfect For Remodeling Websites

Whether you are looking to re-build your website in 2018, or perhaps you are building a site for the first time, it’s imperative to find a Content Management System (CMS) that will allow you and your staff to make changes to your website quickly and easily.

We have many members who have built their remodeling company websites on WordPress, but also hear from many who have not and they are struggling with making changes to their websites, keeping them fresh or can’t figure out why their search engine results have declined over the past few years.

If that sounds familiar and you are looking to make a change next year, take a look at the infographic below as you consider which CMS to use or build your website on. Beyond making changes to your website easily, here are 8 reasons why we recommend using WordPress (Click Image Below for PDF):

Did we miss any? Would love to hear from some WordPress users out there with any other reasons they decided to use it and if there are any other benefits. Leave your comments below.

9 Things to Look for When Choosing a Web Company

Your website should be more than an online brochure with pretty pictures of the projects you have completed. It should be a living, breathing, lead-generation machine. It should be the “Hub” of your digital marketing/content strategy and treated that way when looking at building or re-building your remodeling company’s website.

Choosing a website developer to work with can be daunting task. There are likely hundreds or more in your local market and there are Do-It-Yourself (DIY) outlets such as Weebly or WIX. And there’s always a friend-of-a-friend that “does websites…”

When looking for a Website Development firm, look for these 9 things when considering who to work with.

Breadth of Service

Many web development firms will build a website, launch it, cash your check and wish you luck. So you have the “hub” by having your website completed, but unless you have an internal staff of marketing pros to handle all of the associated “spokes” such as SEO, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media, Video, E-mail, etc. you have nothing but the brochure I mentioned above.

It is important that the firm that develops your website should also have a plan for what happens post-launch. Who will be responsible for writing copy for the site that takes SEO into account? How will you drive traffic to it? How will the site integrate with your social media? How will leads be handled? How often will the site change and who will be the point person on that?

The firm you choose does not have to offer every service needed but, at the very least, they should have 2-3 partners that they work with on an on-going basis to handle them. For example, the last firm I worked with did not handle SEO but we brought their partner into the planning stages prior to building the website, worked with them on the copy and then post-launch as well.

Portfolio of Work

Take a closer look at prior work.

  • Visit the websites that the firm has developed and click through them… Do they navigate well? Is it easy to find information? Are there broken links or 404 Errors (missing pages or bad links)?
  • Does the work reflect the type of website and quality that you are looking for? Remodeling sites rely heavily on presenting high-quality images of prior projects… Do they do that well?
  • Is there variety among the various websites in their portfolio? Or, does it look like they have used the same “template” and just changed the colors, images and dropped in a different logo?
  • What types of websites do they have in their portfolio? They don’t have to specialize in remodeling websites but they should understand what makes your website and our industry unique?
  • Contact the clients presented in the portfolio and ask them about their experience in working with the prospective firm. Easy to work with? Project completed on-time? Within Budget?

Technology

Many web development shops are design boutiques that create beautiful work.. really stunning visual sites.. but they lack functionality. As remodelers you may be drawn to them because of their ability to present your high-quality images but be very careful that you don’t wind up with a website that (1) can’t be updated easily, (2) can’t be found on a search engine or (3) doesn’t capture leads.

Look for a firm that not only creates professional, visually appealing sites, but also builds them on reputable content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress. The prospective firm should have a clear and demonstrated knowledge of website hosting, DNS, Domain issues and E-mail configuration as well.

In addition to the 3 above, here are more things to look for:

Ownership of website: Insure that once the website has been completed, that your company owns the website, including all code, copy, images, etc. This may mean purchasing the limited rights to stock photography, video, etc. but whether you are hosting the website yourself or not, insure you own it at the end of the day.

Project Plan: Ask to see a project plan from a previous client that they worked with, or even better, ask that a rough project plan be included in your proposal.

Process: What does their production process look like? Look for a firm that has a discovery phase before building anything.

References: Ask for them and contact them.

The Prospective Company’s Website: I know there is a saying about the Cobbler’s Children’s Shoes but if I’m trusting a web development firm to build my website I want to see that their own website is solid (no broken links, typos, incomplete pages, empty portfolio, etc.)

Do a Google Search: This likely applies to any vendor you work with but a cursory google search on the name of the prospective company is likely to uncover any client satisfaction issues that you should be aware of.

Summary

Because a website is so vitally important to any reputable remodeling company, choosing the right partner to work with can be a critical business decision. A poorly designed or executed website goes further than just an image problem; losing qualified leads because prospects can’t find or don’t like your website can negatively affect your bottom line. Take your time and choose wisely.

Did we miss anything? We would love to hear any tips or advice you have in finding good or strong web partners to work with. Please refrain from posting ads or links to firms you have worked with… We want to focus on other things to look for… or perhaps any red flags to watch out for?

5 New Platforms to Consider for Your Remodeler Marketing Strategy

*This post has been updated to reflect 2020 data.

Our team at Builder Funnel attends the annual Digital Marketing Conference INBOUND in Boston every year. We know we are always bound to come back to Colorado Springs overflowing with new ideas, inspiration, and technology updates for the coming year. 2017 was no exception.

With a heavy emphasis on storytelling, social media marketing, video marketing, and emerging technology, it’s fair to say we came back with our notebooks full of ideas.

How do you stay on top of an industry that is constantly evolving everyday? Let’s start with what you’ll need to know about emerging technology in the Digital Marketing realm.

1. Off-Site Publishing for Remodeling Companies

Blogging has been an important aspect of content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media sharing for the remodeling industry for years. But how does an increasing amount of mobile users affect this?

In fact, roughly 86% of time spent on mobile is in apps (and nearly all of that is spent among the same 5 apps). That means that the vast majority of searches conducted on mobile are directly in apps such as Facebook, Google Maps, and Instagram. So what does this mean for the future of search?

Medium is an increasingly-popular off-site publishing blogosphere that has taken the internet by storm. A popular app as well as search engine, Medium offers the added benefit of not only sharing your brand with new viewers but also of capturing more views on mobile in particular.

The biggest differences between Medium and your own blog include the following:

  • Medium articles are optimized for people rather than bots factoring in search like on your website
  • Medium is all about the aesthetic experience of reading on a mobile device whereas mobile websites still tend to be an afterthought rather than a forethought
  • Medium opens the door to audiences that don’t use Google as heavily for their search engine whereas your website heavily relies on Google to be found
  • Medium boasts 30 million monthly visits to its stories, whereas Google boasts 1 billion active users between all of its platforms (Gmail, Google+, Google search, etc.)

If you’re looking to gain some traction or even just begin blogging altogether on Medium, check out this helpful article to get started.

2. Podcasting for Remodelers

I know your initial reaction to this idea, because it’s the same as mine. A podcast? Talking and recording it? What can I possibly talk about for 20-40 minutes? How do I set a schedule for this? Where do I publish? How do I get people to listen to it?
But if your biggest question was “why,” then I do have the answer to that.

A voice adds humanity to your brand. And a thoughtful, intelligent voice boosts you as a thought leader rather than just another remodeling company.
If you think you don’t have enough content to turn into podcasts, consider every single success story you could tell – how many problems you’ve solved, designs you’ve developed, and lives you’ve improved.

And, as you may have guessed, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podcast Republic, Stitcher, and CastBox are among the top apps used on mobile. In fact, 104 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly (Infinite Dial 20) and 45% of monthly podcast listeners have household income over $75K.

Podcast viewership skews to 25 to 54 year olds and with the increase in speak to search tools such as Google Home and Alexa, podcasts are built directly into the software. This style of content has never been easier to digest.

If you don’t plan on starting your own podcast any time soon but would still like to try speaking on one, give us a shout! We just launched our Builder Funnel Radio podcast, and we’d be happy to interview you!

3. Voice Search with Google Home, Alexa, and More

Are you Team Alexa or Team Google Home?

These voice search techniques are transforming the way search engine optimization works. The way people speak and interact with a human-like product isn’t the same way they type. Our brains have been convinced that we type out searches one way because Google taught us how. But now, with the emergence of speak to search applications, we are re-learning how to search.

Now, I ask questions. Are your blogs and website optimized to answer questions?

4. Video and Live Stream for Remodeler Marketing

Have you heard video referred to as the currency of social media?

It’s true. According to Wordstream, 1/3 of time spent online is watching video and 85% of internet users watch videos online. In fact, 50% of video consumed is done so online, and a staggering 92% of mobile video viewers share with others. And if you want more gasp-worthy statistics, read the full article here.

Beyond just social sharing, video has proven to increase landing page conversions, email click through rates, and search engine standings. According to OptinMonster, 66% of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product.

So what does this mean for your remodeling company?

It means that video is critical to your remodeler marketing strategy.

Videos can be used all along the Buyer Journey by viewing them as integrated with your Sales Funnel. For example, when people are still in the discovery phase and are looking for information on your company, a video within your blog talking about the same topic could be helpful.

Or, if someone is considering your remodeling services, an educational video or a quick video about your company culture could help close the deal. If you’re ready to convert someone, a testimonial video or proof of performance is the perfect option.

Live video has been increasingly critical for businesses on Instagram and Facebook. Facebook claims that videos uploaded natively or hosted live on their platform receive and audience of roughly 10x that of YouTube in its algorithm.

If you are new to live video, I recorded a quick video to give you some background.

5. Maximizing Messenger for Remodelers

Perhaps you’ve heard that Facebook Messenger plans on being the only app you need to use (other than Facebook, of course). The statistics for 2016 and 2017 Facebook has rolled out seem to hint that this could be the future.

Messenger can now be used by business pages on Facebook in very strategic, communicative methods that can’t be overlooked. This app generates direct engagement with potential leads by engaging them in conversation on the spot. Messenger users can send message directly to your remodeling company

Facebook page rather than fill out a Contact Us form, for example.

But beyond just engaging in conversation, Messenger offers these other incredible business applications:

  • Sending content such as eBooks to users
  • Booking meetings through a scheduler
  • Engaging users during and throughout events (such as Inbound, for example)
  • Chatbots coded to answer basic questions users may have when interacting with your Facebook page

Facebook boasts that 11% of the world’s population uses Messenger actively, from video or voice calls to sharing images or engaging with brands. This is another channel where people already are expecting you to show up, and it’ll hurt your business if you don’t.

Implications of Emerging Technology for Digital Marketing

As marketers, we’re no strangers to emerging technology seeming to be unpopular but then resulting in disrupting the entire field. As 2018 approaches, it’s imperative to consider these upcoming trends moving forward with your marketing strategy.

If you have any questions, feel free to find us on Medium, check out our Podcast, ask Alexa, watch one of our videos, or shoot us a message on Facebook…

Lights, Camera, Action! 10 Reasons to Add Video to Your Content Marketing Plan

As we prepare to launch our next season of PowerTips TV, using video as a key component to a healthy content marketing plan is, of course, top of mind.

Why are online marketers spending so much time and effort producing and delivering video content?

According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), your audience is 10 times more likely to engage, embed, share, and comment on your video content than blogs or related social posts. What are some other reasons?

Easier and Less Expensive to Produce:
High-quality video can be captured easily on an affordable digital video camera or even on your smart phone and the cost of easy-to-use video editing software has dropped dramatically. Marketers no longer need slick, professional videos as consumers are preferring “real” content in many instances.

Easier to Consume:
Whether you have kids or not, you’ve likely seen for yourself how easy it is for consumers to access and view video content, especially on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

It Works:
Whether you are looking at click-through rates on e-mails, conversion rates on landing pages or increased engagement on social media, including video performs across the board.

Still not Convinced?

In a Forbes Magazine article, Matt Bowman, Owner of Thrive Internet Marketing, gathers and presents these compelling reasons to add video to your content marketing mix.

  1. Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  2. Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.
  3. Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
  4. 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  5. According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year.
  6. 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  7. 87% of online marketers are currently using video content in their digital marketing strategies.
  8. A third of the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos.
  9. Video ads now account for more than 35% of all ad spending online.
  10. Digital marketing expert James McQuivey estimates that a single minute of video content is the equivalent of 1.8 million words.

How are remodelers using video effectively?

There are some great examples out there… but here are a few Remodelers Advantage Roundtables members using video in an effective way.

Website: Sebring Services does an amazing job at incorporating video into his website’s homepage. http://www.sebringservices.com/

Blog: Lane Homes & Remodeling does a nice job at adding video to their blog content. https://lanebuilt.com/blog/

YouTube Channel: In addition to their website, Patrick A. Finn Custom Homes & Remodeling has a well-executed YouTube channel with some great videos. https://www.youtube.com/user/patrickafinn.  Patrick also does a nice job at bringing that video content to social as well, as can be seen on their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/patrickafinn

Who Else Uses Video Effectively?

I am sure there are others out there… Is it your company? Let us know about other industry companies out there using video in a creative way. Use the comment section below to share your thoughts or questions.

Summary

The audience is out there waiting to consume your content, whether it’s on your website, social media or blog… don’t be intimidated by the technology… start by simply grabbing your smart phone and capturing jobsite progress, testimonials or even some fun stuff around the office. Break a leg!

Joe’s Blog? The Secret Truth About Blogging for Leads

If you’ve ever read any of my articles about “website marketing” or heard me speak, you know that I’m a big fan of blogging. It is, in my opinion, the single most impactful thing you can do for your website.

In fact, during my session at the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop titled, “How to Turn Your Website into a Lead Generating Machine,” I discuss (among other things) the importance of blogging as it relates to attracting traffic to your website.

I’m sure you’ve heard that before.

But, although it’s certainly a critical component of SEO (search engine optimization), blogging is also a fantastic way to stay in touch with past clients and build relationships with future ones. This component of blogging is what I call planting and growing your very own customers.

But, although I’ve been preaching it for a while now, I’m hard-pressed to find many that have successfully put the tactic into action.

In fact, of the hundreds of remodelers that have attended the workshop over the past few years, few have done as good a job of this than past workshop attendee (and current Roundtables member) Joe Levitch of Levco Builders in Boise, Idaho.

“Joe’s Blog,” as it is appropriately named on his website, is exactly that: Joe’s Blog! It is written in the first person by Joe himself. It’s great. Each of his posts read like a personal letter from Joe to me.

And that’s the key. It’s captivating. It’s engaging. And it’s personal.

Most importantly, he still manages to touch on the main topics that his prospects are likely researching. An excellent example of this is his post, “What is the right price for a remodeling project?” I dare you to read the first two sentences and not chuckle. Not only that but you want to keep reading. It’s good storytelling.

Another blog post starts with the line, “I inadvertently stepped barefooted onto a proverbial Lego from Hell the other day.”

Ha! Perhaps it struck me even funnier than it should have because I actually stepped on a Lego two days ago. I saw stars for an hour, so I could relate.

And that’s the point!

Joe is connecting with his readers by being himself. By telling stories and anecdotes from his own life and experiences that his readers can relate to.

He writes in a casual sort of way and doesn’t worry about breaking a few grammatical rules from time to time (like I just did).

And that’s what I recommend you do. If you’re worried about your ability to write or concerned about what you should be writing about, take a lesson from Joe: write like you’re writing a letter to someone. Just tell stories and don’t worry about the rest.

If you start thinking like Joe, then you might just come up with some of your own great stories, like, “Why married men fear me.

And if you’re really serious about improving your website’s ability to generate leads then do what Joe did and come to the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop. (You’ll also learn from the masters on other topics like finance, sales, production management and more.)

So, what do you think?

Are you up to the challenge? Can you beat Joe’s Blog? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Paid Search: It’s Not Just About Keywords

A great paid search campaign can really drive your business. But building campaigns, identifying ad groups, and developing keywords is just part of it.

You’ll also need to integrate a negative keyword strategy.

If you don’t have one, it might be the reason that your paid ads are falling flat.

You see, it’s not just all about optimizing the keywords you DO use in the campaign.

Success largely depends on negative keywords, too.

Don’t feel bad if you’re wondering, “what are negative keywords?” Many businesses fail to take them into account.

But if you spend just as much time building this list as you do your keywords list, you’ll see a huge ROI.

What are negative keywords?

Simply put, negative keywords prevent your online ads from displaying for particular keyword phrases.

Here’s how an AdWords campaigns works:

Much like an auction, your business bids on keywords in order to get your ad in front of customers.

If the ad is relevant to the audience and the bid is good, you’ll increase the odds of appearing in search results.

That’s what it’s all about.

Negative keywords, however, stop your ad from showing up in front of the audience that does NOT care about your products or services.

Let me show you a couple of examples of negative keywords in action.

Example 1

Let’s say your business sells bathroom remodeling services. Your keywords will focus on the term “bathroom” and hopefully appear on search pages when people are looking for design ideas in general and specific materials like cabinetry, flooring or plumbing fixtures.

But what if people are looking for “bathroom remodeling jobs?” You don’t want to be included in these searches.

In short, negative keywords help Google know when a search query doesn’t apply to your business.

That way, you can limit the ad impressions for these kinds of searches. And that’s important because they will never lead to a sale.

Example 2

Not all people search for the term “remodeling.” To some, it makes perfect sense to search for “home improvement.” But let me ask you, do you remember the popular TV show “Home Improvement” featuring Tim Taylor?

You know know where I’m going with this right?

As you can see, negative keywords play a big role in ensuring your ad is served to the correct eyeballs, and they will save you big bucks in the end.

How to create a negative keyword list

It pays to do extensive research when finding negative keywords. And there are a few different ways to build your list.

  1. Create a list. For example, if your business offers high-end services, your negative keyword list should include terms like “jobs, pictures, tv shows, magazines.”
  2. Use the search query report. The AdWords search query report will show you the searches that are currently triggered by your ad. Look carefully through the report and identify irrelevant searches and terms. Add them to your list.
  3. Turn to the Keyword Planner. Another great tool to use when searching for negative keywords, the Keyword Planner lets you build a list of related and common keywords. Generate your list and then look for negative keywords.

With an effective strategy for generating keywords and negative keywords, your paid search campaigns will soar — and build a business you can bank on.

How to Get More Value from Google Analytics

I’m willing to bet just about every person reading this blog post has Google Analytics installed and is tracking their website activity. But, I’ll also wager that practically none of you look at the data on a regular basis—let alone take action on it.

For the rare exceptions—the handful of you that review your Google Analytics data daily, weekly, or monthly—there’s a good chance you’re wasting your time.  You’re wasting your time because, in its standard configuration, Google Analytics spits out some really misleading numbers.

Furthermore, it’s springtime. You’re busy. The last place you want to spend your time is inside in front of a computer analyzing website data. So, in this post, I’m going to give you a few tips for how to get more value from your Google Analytics data.

Tip 1: Get Your Data Delivered

For a lot of remodelers, the first challenge is finding the time to sit down at a computer. The second challenge is remembering how to access the 2-3 Analytics reports you looked at—and liked—last time you did this.

Did you know you can have Google Analytics reports delivered auto-magically to you? It’s true. Just about any report in Google Analytics can be emailed to you as often as you’d like.

email analytics reports

Tip 2: Filter It

I give a lot of speeches to audiences filled with small-medium sized business owners. Whenever I ask an audience, “how much website traffic do you get in a month?” I often get a handful of proud business owners that respond, “I get 1,500 hits per month” or “I get 2,000 hits per month. Getting people to my site isn’t the problem. The problem is getting them to turn into good leads.”

You’ve probably heard the saying, “junk in, junk out.” Nowhere does it apply more than to Google Analytics.

What most business owners don’t understand is that the vast majority of their “2,000 hits” per month are garbage that falls into one of two categories:

  1. People located outside your target service area
  2. Google Analytics SPAM

Removing people outside your service area is obvious, but as others have suggested, it is often overlooked. Unless a large percentage of your typical clients spend half the year in Monaco, you should create a filter to remove traffic from this country—and others like it.

Google Analytics SPAM is disregarded partially because it’s a more recent problem and partially because it’s not as obvious. To see how much Google Analytics SPAM impacts your website traffic reports, do this:

  1. Go into your Google Analytics account
  2. Look at the left navigation menu on the page
  3. Click Audience > Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium

If you see something like this, you’ve got a problem:

Google analytics spam

If you want to see exactly how to filter out SPAM, read this article which details how to remove SPAM from Google Analytics.

Tip 3: Create Goals

What do you really want prospects to do while they’re on your website? Do you want them to give you their email address? Do you want them to view your most recent projects and download your latest Look Book?

All of these actions can be tracked in Google Analytics. With a few upgrades, you can even see things like how many people called you after they were referred to your website by a site like Houzz.

If you’re truly serious about growing your business, I strongly recommend you create goals in Analytics and customize your account based on your business goals.

Conclusion

Every business owner I know has Google Analytics installed on their website. Most have never looked at the data. In one of Victoria’s recent posts, she wrote, “you don’t need a huge transformation in your remodeling business to see a huge transformation in the results you achieve.”

I love this because it’s also true for your marketing. The difference between good and great or even success and failure often comes down to the details. Take some time this year to make sure you’re tracking your website correctly. Review the data, and take action. Relatively small investments can yield major results.

Of course, I also believe that you should do what only you can do. I can’t build or remodel houses, but I can help you get better data and act on it.

SEO for Remodelers: Explained in 3 Easy Steps

I’m going to preface this post by saying that SEO has become an extremely complex practice. MOZ details out their list of SEO factors and how they correlate in their detailed survey each year. Here are the 2015 results. Others say there are 200 factors that Google looks at.

So how is a remodeler (not an SEO expert) supposed to keep up with all of this? Honestly, you shouldn’t. It’s not the best use of your time. However, it’s important that you understand the basics and the three things that will put you on the right path when it comes to SEO.

And yes, it’s okay to hire someone to help you with this. Several months ago, I wrote about finding a reputable SEO company right here on the Remodeler’s Advantage Power Tips blog.

So, what do you really need to know when it comes to SEO? Well, first, let’s talk about why you would do SEO in the first place.

  • SEO is NOT about ranking #1.
  • SEO is NOT about tricking Google.
  • SEO is about attracting more of the right type of prospects to your website by providing valuable information that they are looking for.

A Quick Overview of Google’s Goal

Google wants to return the most relevant search results to its searchers…and FAST. They want to find the very best, most helpful content and serve that up. That’s it.

So how can we use that and factor it into our SEO strategy? Here we go.

Step 1: Content

Google loves content. Content comes in many forms, but one of the most common ways of adding content to your website is through a blog. It’s been shown that the more often you blog, the more website traffic you’ll get.

In fact, HubSpot found that 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly — which, by itself, is still an impressive result. (HubSpot State of Inbound, 2013)

We started blogging back in 2010 and produced one post each week. Today, we blog once per day, and we’ve seen our website traffic grow from 600 visitors per month to over 10,000 per month.

So, blogging and content are critical to attracting more website traffic.

Content can also come in the form of new website pages that talk about the services you provide. I actually detail out a sample site structure for remodelers in this quick guide here. Fundamentally, you should have a website page that talks about your kitchen remodeling service and a separate page that talks about your bathroom remodeling service. I’ll explain this further in step number two below.

You can also produce content in others ways by leveraging video, podcasts, webinars, checklists, guides, and e-books.

Step 2: Keywords

Once you have created some really great content for your website visitors, you need to optimize that content for a keyword. What does it take to optimize a page? The basic elements include putting your target keyword in the following places:

  • Page Title
  • URL
  • Header on the Page (H1 tag)
  • Content on the Page
  • Meta Description
  • Image File Name
  • Alt Text for Your Image

Not sure what all these things are? See my article on the Remodeler’s Advantage Power Tips blog about the ABCs of SEO for Remodelers.

Keep in mind that keywords are used to help take what someone is searching for and match it with your content. You want the keyword you optimize your page for to be relevant to the website visitor. Your services page shouldn’t be targeting the word “services”. That’s too generic. “Remodeling Services in San Antonio, Texas” is a much more relevant keyword phrase to use.

3. Website Authority

This one is a little bit trickier. A long time ago, Google was trying to figure out how to rank the importance of websites, so it developed Page Rank. To cite Wikipedia:

PageRank is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites in their search engine results. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages.

According to Google: PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.”

Basically, Google had to figure out a way of figuring out which websites were important to the world. As an example, let’s say your website has ten other websites linking to it. Google looks at that and says “okay, your website is 10 links worth of importance”. If your competitor has 100 links pointing to it, then Google thinks it’s 100 links worth of importance and therefore will rank their content higher.

So if your website has more inbound links than your competitors, you’ll generally rank higher for the keywords you’re trying to target.
Google took this a lot further, and they started to “weight” the value of the links that were pointing to your website. So if those websites weren’t very strong, they didn’t put as much authority into those links.

Without getting too far into the weeds, the basic goal is to attract high-quality links from other websites. Quality links would be links that are connected to your industry regarding content and are also powerful websites.

Now you ask, “How can I attract more inbound links and make my website really strong?”

Well, there are several methods, but one of the best methods is creating really valuable content (see step 1 above). By creating blog articles that are helpful, useful and interesting, other websites will start linking back to your content and referencing it.

You can also reach out to trade partners, associations you are a part of and other partner companies and ask that they put a link back to your website on their partner page.

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, SEO boils down to creating really amazing content, using the right keywords in the right places within your content and attracting lots of inbound links. If you do those three things, you’ll be ahead of 99% of your competition!

3 Reasons Why It’s Not Enough JUST to do SEO Anymore

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.

sample SERP

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.

Home-Service Specific ad listing screenshot

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.