No matter where you live, competition in the home services industry is high. Roofers, HVAC contractors, remodeling professionals, and every home services expert in between is in a constant battle with other local contractors for new clients.
Okay, we get it. This isn’t news to you. But what you might not realize is the impact that your local search ranking on Google Maps can have on your ability to bring in new clients. By having a better understanding of how Google Maps rankings work and how you can optimize your own rankings, you can boost awareness of your home services business locally while making it easier for potential clients to find you in the process.
Understanding Rankings on Google Maps
One of the most important aspects of Google Maps from a local business perspective is a feature known as the Local Map Pack. Specifically, Google’s Local Map Pack highlights three local business listings that relate to the search query. These listings are displayed “front and center” on the page (along with an actual map of local search results), making them hard to miss.
The Local Map Pack is a coveted spot for any business to land on because it’s typically the first thing a potential client will see when they do a Google search for home services contractors in your area. For example, if somebody is looking for a window replacement contractor, they may search “window replacement near me.” From there, Google will display its “typical” search results—but the Local Map Pack will display three businesses prominently. This Local Map Pack results also include not just the name of the business, but its overall rating (based on Google reviews), its location, contact information, and business hours.
Getting Started With Google My Business
It’s easy to see, then, why you would want your home services business to end up on Google’s Local Map Pack. But with so many other competitors in your area, how can you make that happen? The first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure you have a Google My Business profile set up. This is the listing that will show up on Google Maps when somebody searches for your business or service.
Setting up a Google My Business listing is pretty straightforward and doesn’t cost you a dime. To get started, you’ll just need to enter some basic information about your business. This includes the name of your home services business, your location, a contact phone number, and a URL linking to your website. If you have specific business hours, you can also enter these when you create your profile.
Google My Business also gives you the option to categorize your business by services offered. This is where it would be wise to select any and all home services that you provide (heating/air conditioning, window replacement, siding installation, roofing, etc.). This will help Google’s algorithms match your business up with people who are looking for your specific services.
As you go to create your profile, it is possible that you’ll find an existing profile for your business already exists. This is most likely to occur when Google has auto-generated a listing for your company based on other information already on the web. If this is the case, you will need to go through the process of “claiming” the listing as your own through Google.
Whether you’re claiming an existing profile or creating a new one from scratch, Google will also require that you verify your information. This will typically be done via snail mail, telephone, or email. The process of getting your business verified can take a few days (or longer, in some cases), so be patient. Remember that you can continue working on your profile even while you’re waiting on verification; once your business is verified, all the information you entered will go “live.”
Optimizing Your Google Maps Ranking as a Home Services Contractor
Once your Google My Business profile is set up, you may be wondering what you can do to optimize your profile and increase your rankings. By following the right steps, you might even be able to snag one of those coveted spots on the Google Local Map Pack.
So, what determines Google Maps ranking for home services contractors? There are many factors that come into play, including:
- the completeness of your profile
- your proximity to the person entering the search term
- the number (and quality) of backlinks on the web
- customer/client reviews of your business
With all this in mind, there are a few steps you can take to optimize your Google Maps ranking as a home services contractor.
Fill Out and Update Your Profile Regularly
One of the most important aspects of optimizing your ranks as a home services contractor is simply making sure your profile is completely filled out and updated on a regular basis. When you create your profile, you’ll want to fill out as much information as possible; this includes not just your business name and location, but your services offered, your contact information, and a link to your actual business website.
Even once your profile is initially filled out, taking the time to update it regularly can increase your rankings as well. If your business hours change, be sure to update your profile. The same applies to any special holiday hours you may be holding.
Google My Business also gives you the opportunity to upload photos and create new posts on your profile; take advantage! This can be a great opportunity to upload some photos of your completed work, such as that brand new roof you installed or that completed remodeling project you tackled. Potential clients love to see photos of your work—and so does Google’s search algorithm.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule for how often you should be updating your Google My Business listing for ranking purposes, it’s a good idea to aim for updates about once a month.
Tackle Spam Listings in Your Industry
Unfortunately, there are a lot of “spam” listings on Google My Business and Google Maps. This is exactly why Google has developed a stricter verification process in an effort to cut down on these kinds of listings. Despite this, however, you may notice some spam listings as you search for home service providers in your area. These listings may be for larger companies that are not actually located in your area—or they may be for fake listings altogether.
The existence of these listings can put your own ranking in jeopardy, especially if these listings are taking up coveted space on the Google Map Pack. Your best bet here is to report these listings to Google as spam. You can do this by going to the “suggest an edit” link on the listing itself and choosing “remove this place.” Google will then review your suggestion and investigate the listing further. If it is found to be a spam listing, it will be removed. This, in turn, can open up space on the Local Map Pack for legitimate home services businesses such as your own!
Add Quality and Authoritative Backlinks
Backlinks play another important role in your business ranking on Google Maps. Specifically, backlinks refer to links to your business website that exist elsewhere on the web. This may include links to blog posts you’ve done on your site or even guest blogs on another legitimate site. The more backlinks you have, the better this is for your search engine optimization strategy.
This doesn’t mean you should just start cramming links to your site all over the web (Google’s algorithm actually frowns on that), but it does mean that link-building should be a focused part of your SEO strategy. You should also make sure that your site is indexed on sites like Bing Places, Yahoo! Local, and Yelp.
Take Customer/Client Reviews Seriously
Last but certainly not least, take some time to focus on your client reviews. Not only are these important to your potential clients, but they’re important to Google’s search algorithm too. Businesses with lots of great reviews are more likely to rank higher in Google Maps and on the Local Map Pack.
If you don’t have a lot of reviews, now is the time to encourage your past clients to start posting them on your Google My Business listing. It is also important that you take time to respond to these reviews, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative (or somewhere in between).
Ready to Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Demo?
Getting your home services business to stand out in a sea of local competition isn’t easy, but with the right knowledge of Google My Business and a little effort on your part, you can start ranking higher in no time.
Likewise, having help from the right local marketing software can make all the difference when it comes to saving you valuable time and boosting your local presence. Surefire Local’s marketing software can do just that! Reach out today to set up your free demo!