June 14, 2019
Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator
Are you curious about how digital marketing can help grow your plumbing business? One way to take advantage of the vast resources of the web is by honing in on local SEO. It can help distinguish you online from your competitors, nab you a coveted top spot in Google search results, and drive relevant traffic to your site.
Below, we’ll go into a deep dive of local SEO for plumbers you can use for your own business.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of strategizing online content to target internet users in a specific geographic area—which is critical if you want to capture the leads who are typing “Plumber near me” into their web browser. Essentially, local SEO helps increase your online visibility with localized search queries so you can gain new customers from people who are searching for services that you already offer! Instead of cold-calling, door-knocking, or email-blasting, local search engine optimization makes Google do the heavy lifting for your marketing campaign.
Although there are other search engines besides Google, Google takes up a whopping 88% of the search engine market in the US—so that’s what we’ll focus on in this article. With that said, we will touch on Bing and Apple Maps. They’re not as popular on the World Wide Web, but it’s still important to optimize your information and profiles on those two platforms. And, hey, they’re free! Your extra bit of effort could go a long way.
You can’t talk about local SEO without talking about Snack Packs (no, we’re not talking about the bag of fruit snacks your mom used to put in your lunch bag). A Snack Pack is a boxed area that shows up on the first search engine result page (SERP) when a local online search is performed on Google. The Snack Pack box shows users the top three local business listings it considers most relevant to the query (plus an ad a company has paid to place at the top).
One study by Moz.com showed that 33% of clicks go to these Snack Pack listings and 40% of clicks are directed to the organic search results listed directly underneath. It’s a good idea to try to rank in both if you want to see an increase in your traffic and customers.
Note: Organic search results refer to unpaid search results.
Want an example of what we’re talking about here? The image below shows a Snack Pack on the SERP for the keyword phrase, “plumber Clairemont.” As you can see for yourself, the top three results are organized in the Snack Pack, with an advertised spot at the top followed by a list of organic search results.
Note: Local Google searches are done through several different apps and devices. Mobile search, Google Assistant, and Google Maps will all show local search results, so keep this in mind as you begin to set up your local SEO strategy.
Another aspect of local SEO for plumbers involves making sure your mobile site is easy to use. There’s nothing more frustrating than navigating to a website on your phone only to be met with broken formatting and delayed load times—that means the site is not optimized for mobile users. If you have to break out your reading glasses and really dial in your fine motor skills, something’s wrong. What’s the most likely outcome in this scenario? The user simply leaving the site—which impacts not only the user experience but also your SERP ranking on Google.
Avoid potential customers leaving your site for a better user experience offered by competitors by ensuring that your website is set up for mobile devices. Why? Because the numbers speak for themselves: 61% of mobile users will be more likely to contact you if the site is easy to use on their mobile device. If you’re not sure if your site is mobile-friendly or not, Google has a Mobile-Friendly Test tool that will check it out for you!
Keywords are a major pillar to any SEO strategy worth its salt. What do they do, exactly? Keyword define what your content is about and help Google’s computers determine if your content is relevant to a user’s search query. You’ll want to make sure you include relevant keywords on your company website so you have the chance to rank higher on the search results page.
Let’s look at an example:
If you’re a plumber and your business is located in Phoenix, Arizona—let’s pretend it’s called PHX Plumbing, for the sake of this example—you would obviously want to appear in searches such as:
“Plumber near me”
“What time does PHX Plumbing close?”
“PHX Plumbing phone plumber”
Those are pretty specific terms, but you might be wondering how you can optimize local plumbing SEO for more general keywords. The key is to pay attention to service in location (SiL). If local users are searching for the services your company offers, they’ll likely be searching for something like “plumber in Phoenix” or “drain cleaning in Phoenix”.
To take advantage of these kinds of queries, make a list of all the services your company offers and a list of the locations you serve. Together, those two elements can unlock a world of potential in keyword opportunities.Easy ways to research possible keywords relating to local SEO for plumbers:
Search Craigslist: Sticking with the above example, you could search for the keyword phrase “Plumber in Phoenix” on Craigslist. You’ll find popular keyword variations to utilize within your website copy.
Auto-Complete feature in Google: When you type a query into Google, Google’s computers are working hard behind the scenes to anticipate what you’re searching for. You can take advantage of this feature to pick out some keywords to drive business. Try typing “Plumber Phoe...” into Google and seeing which search terms auto-populate to find some keyword variations to steal.
Check out what the competition is doing: Search which keywords your competitors are using and go head to head with them by using similar keywords.
One of the most important parts of local SEO is claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing. GMB is a top local ranking factor for the Google Snack Pack box and organic search results, according to research. It’s completely free and very helpful for local businesses who are looking to boost their online presence.
Create a new business or claim an existing business.
Type in your address:
Note: As a plumber, you may have an HQ for customer service but in all likelihood, you’re going to be delivering your service in customers’ homes. If this is the case, you can check the box that says, “I deliver goods and services to my customers.”
Choose your exact location on Google maps with a pin.
The Google navigation pin will probably already be in the right place but double check and move the pin to your location, if necessary.
Choose a business category. These guidelines are pulled straight from the Google My Business Help page regarding your category choices for your business:
“Use as few categories as possible to describe your overall core business from the provided list.
Choose categories that are as specific as possible, but representative of your main business.
Do not use categories solely as keywords or to describe attributes of your business.
Do not use categories that pertain to other businesses that are nearby or related, such as a business physically contained within your business or an entity that contains your business.”
Confused? Here’s an example of how to pick GMB categories if you’re a plumber.
Your first category might be “Plumber” in addition to “HVAC repair” or any other relevant services you offer.
Enter your company’s phone number and website.
Verify your listing.
Either by phone or postcard, follow Google’s instructions for this step.
Optimize your listing!
Add photos. Consider adding a logo, on-the-job photos, before and after shots, and team member photos. Choose images sized between 10KB and 5MB with a minimum resolution of 720 x 720 pixels for a professional look.
Add a description that briefly touches on the length of time your business has been in operation, your qualifications and some kind of call to action. Here’s an example you can snag for your own Google My Business description:
[Business Name] is ready to offer you professional plumbing services such as [list of a few key services] in [City]. We’ve been in operation for [X] years and certified by the [list out certifications like BBB certifications]. Call [Your Company Number] today, we can’t wait to serve you.
Keep it around 250 characters—no need to write your first novel here.
List your hours. Make sure the hours posted are the same as the hours on your website, Facebook page, and other listings. Consistency is key to avoid confusing both Google and users trying to find out information about your company.
List individual services.
While Bing has much less of the market share compared to Google, it’s still a good idea to create a profile there. Before you begin setting up your profile, double check that your business isn’t already on the site. If you find your business is already listed, you simply need to hit the link that says, “Is this your business?”
Then, you’ll need to select your business type and location. For most plumbing businesses, you can categorize yourself as a small business with 1-10 locations. Now, you’ll need to input the rest of your business information.
If you’ve already set up your Google My Business profile, you’re in luck. You can just click the button that says, “Import data from Google My Business.” Double check that the information is correct. If you didn’t set up your Google My Business listing, you can just enter the information manually.
Then, you’ll need to choose a business segment or category. There are 11 available business segments you can choose from. You don’t need to choose all ten categories, just focus on the categories that apply to your business.
Remember: Add in your company phone number, website URL, relevant photos of your business, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and TripAdvisor links.
Apple Maps is the default map application on any iPhone, so there is a captive audience you can take advantage of by tapping into the platform. Apple allows small businesses to claim and submit Map listings with Maps Connect.
Sign up. To use this portal, you’ll need to sign in using an Apple ID and password.
Agree to the terms.
Add your business. Either claim an existing listing or add yours from scratch by tapping “Add New Business.”
Add details like Name, Country, Phone Number, Business Status, business categories and if Apple Pay is accepted.
Claim your business.
Submit your details. Press continue to submit. The process can take a few weeks.
Verify your business. You can verify your claim and then edit your information as needed.
It’s NAP time. But before you dive under the covers, you should understand the kind of NAP we’re talking about (and it doesn’t involve catching some Zs). It’s your business name, address, and phone number—your NAP!
Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of NAPs. There are two kinds of NAP citations: structured and unstructured. A structured citation is where your NAP information is displayed in a more regimented way, for example, in business directories.
An unstructured citation, on the other hand, is a mention of your company in blog posts or newspaper websites.
Citation signals are another top local ranking factor for both Snack Pack results and organic search results (remember, those are unpaid search results). It’s important to constantly verify the data that Google has on file for your business because if there are inconsistencies, this will confuse both Google’s computers and lead to a frustrating experience on the user end.
Your job as the business owner is to keep your information updated and to build up more citations.
Here are three main kinds of directories you should ensure your business has an up-to-date listing on:
National and general business pages
Angie’s List, City Search, etc.
Plumbing specific pages
E-Local Plumbers, Map Plumber
Your local Chamber of Commerce, an online local newspaper, etc.
You’ve set up your profiles on Apple Maps, Bing Places, and most importantly, on Google My Business. Now what? It’s time to optimize your own website!
Set up your title tag: AKA the “page title”, your title tag is shown to users on the web browser after the domain name description. Include your main business category, location, and the name of your company.
Here’s a sample you can use for your website: Plumber in [City] - [Business Name]. Ideally, you will want to keep your title tags between 50-65 characters.
Write out your meta description:
Keep this section between 100-150 characters. It’s the text that shows up below the URL and headline when the SERP loads.
If you need a sample template, here’s one you can use: [Business Name] is your answer for [list of plumbing services]. in [City]. Call [Phone Number] or schedule online to get your plumbing problems fixed immediately!
Add a headline: In webspeak, this is your “H1.” It should be your main business category and keyword relevant to your services. Example format: [Services Provided] in [City, State].
Add relevant content: Ideally, your main home page has between 500-1000 words that includes keywords, descriptions of your services, and your qualifications. You may want to include a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage site visitors to contact you.
Optimize your service pages: Make a separate web page on your website for each service, this may help you rank higher in Google’s search results. Create a separate page for “drain cleaning” and “toilet installations,” for example. In terms of length, you’ll get more SEO bang for your buck if you aim for a word count between 500-1000 words.
Create more pages: To boost your SEO potential even more, consider adding more pages of relevant content. For example, maybe an FAQ or About Us page would be a good addition. The more pages you create, the more opportunities you have to attract users with relevant keywords.
If you’re looking for free tools to get started on your SEO journey, Housecall Pro offers a free SEO audit of your website so you can get an idea of your areas for improvement. But there are also tons of local SEO tools you can use to start your DIY keyword research and get your website optimized for your plumbing business.
Keywords Everywhere:Check out monthly search volume and competition data for keywords you’re testing out on your website.
MozBar SEO toolbar: Get link metrics, on-page keyword highlighter, and domain authority scores.
BrightLocal’s Search Results Checker: With this tool, you can get a replication of local search results by zip code so you can get an idea of your competitors.
Pro Tip: Push your Google reviews before any other third-party apps since customers are more likely to see that page before anything else.
Here are some other benefits of reviews:
5-star reviews stand out
Customer reviews give you free content that promotes your business for you
Positive reviews remind past customers how great you are (still!)
You can highlight great reviews on a testimonial page on your website
With that said, only 13% of small businesses ask for reviews while 75% of customers reported being willing to write a review. The best way to bridge this gap and get more reviews is by providing exceptional levels of service. But reviews won’t necessarily pour in automatically—you have to ask. There are a couple of ways you can ask for reviews we’ll go into below:
Ask for reviews in person: After a satisfied customer pays for a service, it’s a good time to ask for a review. You don’t need a monologue prepared for this method to be successful. Let them know they can go to a certain review site and talk about their positive experience briefly. To really drive the message home, offer a business card with the review site details.
Ask for reviews in follow-up emails: Emails are a great marketing tool you can use for gathering reviews. After you finish a job and return to HQ, you can send an email thanking customers for their business and asking for a review of their experiences with a link to your Google, Facebook, or Yelp site—so they don’t have to go searching for your business!
Here’s a template you can use in your follow-up email:
“Hello [Customer Name], On behalf of the team at [Company Name], I’d like to thank you for your business. If you have a couple of minutes, we’d love to hear your feedback on the services we provided. Most of our customers found us on Google, maybe you did as well. Please help us continue to provide [Your City] with the best [Your Services] around by clicking here [Link to Google My Business profile]. Thanks!”
If you need help automating your email templates asking for reviews, Housecall Pro’s Review Booster tool is the perfect answer. Using automated marketing for plumbing businesses is one of the best ways to free up time as the company owner so you can focus on growing, not pushing papers.
Local SEO can help you build your business, increase your brand visibility, and outrank the “other guys.” By using this article as a guide, you can climb Google’s SERP rankings and convert website visitors to customers. An all-in-one tool for plumbing businesses can help you get there. From SEO to managing your team, Housecall Pro is the perfect addition to any small business.
Housecall Pro is rated the #1 software to run your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Carpet Cleaning and other home service businesses. Our features allow you to schedule and dispatch jobs, get booked online, send invoice and receive payment within minutes whether if you are in the office or out in the field. This comprehensive software can help you grow revenue by 30% in one year and save up to 500 hours a year. Join all the other successful home service businesses who have already started and try Housecall Pro for 14 days free today.
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