This article about SEO secrets for cleaning businesses is by Greg Shephard, Owner of Dallas Maids.
Have you ever wondered how a humble handful of your cleaning business’ competitors seem to be omnipresent on Google?
Take, for example, Dallas maid services search results (at right). This lucky house cleaning company in Dallas, Texas appears #1 in BOTH the 3-pack local listing and organic listings — The two positions in the search results with the highest click-through rates (CTR). And it cost them nothing.
But surely Dallas Maids must be paying some SEO business big-time bucks to boost Dallasmaids.com to the top, right?
No, they are not and I can confirm it: I’m the founder of Dallas Maids.
SEO for Newbies: How You Can Outrank The Pros
Greg Shephard, Owner of Dallas maid services
My business dominates the local search engine rankings. We have loads of leads flooding in for free. It has grown Dallas maid services into a million-dollar company. No search engine optimization (SEO) professionals were hired. No extensive study of SEO tactics needed. I did this myself. And you can too.
Here you will learn the secrets to my search engine results pages (SERPs) success. All you need to know are the SEO basics. Sprinkle on a little common sense and you’ll be cleaning up for a living in no time.
Position = Profit
The graph below, taken from smartinsights.com, shows the top organic spot yields 30% click through rate with second at 15% CTR and third with 10% CTR. The CTR quickly drops to less than 2% for the remaining results.
High position = high CTR = more paying customers = more profit.
Therefore, you want the highest position possible, preferably within the top three.
When I started amaid services in 2004 the internet was quickly becoming the way people found products and services. Needing a high-ranking website to sweep in the clientele was obvious. That started with knowing my keywords.
Know Your Keywords
Your Domain Name
Noticing Google rewarded rank for domains containing keywords, I placed myself in the shoes of my customer, searching formaid services online. Writing down the keywords I used to search such as “ maid services dallas”, “maids dallas”, “house cleaning dallas”, etc. it was apparent dallasmaids.com would be getting some Google love. I bought it immediately.
Google does not place as much weight on keyworded domains as before, but they are still effective. Therefore, ensure your domain name describes your business (include keywords eg). Your domain name should be short and simple, absent of non-alphanumeric characters such as hyphens and numbers.
A Quick Word about AdWords
Top ranking does not happen overnight. You may want to consider Google AdWords for lead generation until your SEO kicks in. Here is a trick to picking a profitable AdWords domain name for your business:
Write down potential domain names.
Buy 3 or 4 of your top choices.
Install your website on each one.
Set up separate, yet identical AdWords campaign for each domain (Call Google support. Their help is invaluable).
The domain that garners the highest click through rate after two months of testing is your winner.
The list of keywords also guides your website content. Include reader friendly versions of the keywords in your website. For example, use “house cleaning service in Dallas” instead of “house cleaning dallas” as in “Dallas Maids is an award-winning house cleaning service in Dallas.” Google wants well written, user friendly websites; “house cleaning Dallas” is just awful grammar.
In addition to the viewable content on your website, the metadata below the surface is critical. The most important being your title tag. The title tag uses your keywords to accurately describe your business and appears in the SERPs:
What you write here WILL affect your rankings. This is where you want to boptimize your keywords! For example, an effective title tag for a maid service located in Dallas, Texas would be:
“ Maid Service | Dallas Maids house cleaning in Dallas, Texas”.
“ Maid Service Dallas” is the top keyword phrase customers use to find house cleaning services; that needs to be in front followed by the second most common keyword phrase, “house cleaning Dallas”.
Pro Tip After Achieving #1
The Google results in the previous screenshot show the title tag for www.dallasmaids.com. So why am I not filling it with keywords? The title tag appears on the search results. People see it BEFORE clicking through to your website. Therefore, it can be used as a powerful, prime-time advertising spot. Dallas Maids already held the #1 spot in Google’s organic listing. Why not use title tag to advertise instead of keyword stuffing?
The title tag, “Dallas Maids, Recommended by D Magazine & Voted Best House Cleaning in Dallas”, employs a proven advertising technique called social proof. Social proof refers to the concept customers will choose you if you have already been chosen by others. For example, it’s dinner time and you’re famished. You pass two restaurants, one pack with people, the other with bored wait staff staring off into space. Which restaurant would you choose?
The title tag presents Dallas Maids as having been preselected by a prestigious and well-trusted Dallas-based magazine, D Magazine, along with being voted best house cleaning service in Dallas. Sales substantially increased after using organic listings as an advertising medium.
For more on Social proof and other factors that are hardwired in the human brain to make (not choose, eg) people buy from you, I recommend reading “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”
IMPORTANT: Don’t do this unless you are already dominating the SERPs.
Submit Your Site to Google
Once finished, I submitted Dallas Maids’ website to Google with amazing results. Within ten days dallasmaids.com appeared on Google’s front page! I found out after the phone started ringing. After a month, www.dallasmaids.com raced to the top spot where we’ve enjoyed since.
Granted, there was less online competition back then. So, do not get excited, expecting exceptional results. Just focus on the basic on-site SEO we’ve just covered along with off-site SEO covered next, and you will do fine.
Google’s algorithm is based on backlinks because they are virtual votes of confidence in the value a website holds. Therefore, it would behoove business owners to build backlinks.
Directories and Lead Sites
While pretending to be a customer searching for house cleaning services, I also wrote down a list of websites that repeatedly appeared in the SERPs. Many were online directories that offered free listings while others required a one-time, nominal fee. I built backlinks from all these websites to dallasmaids.com.
Today, you’ll probably see sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, all backlink-able to your website. Claim your business profile and complete it in full, including your keywords in the description along with mirroring your website information such as phone, email, address, etc. Google likes consistency; therefore consistency = ranking.
The more important the website, the more SEO juice the backlink will deliver to yoursite.com. Your competition knows this and is in a mad marathon for backlinks from these big-name sites. Instead, focus on the lesser-known, local websites to build backlinks, preferably related to your industry. These sites may seem insignificant to your competition but are a local SEO gold mine. Google takes into account backlinks from websites that are local to your city and related to your industry.
Think local bloggers hungry for products to review (usually wanting a free sample), Better Business Bureau (get BBB accredited for easy social proof), or local magazines’ websites (local directory and/or a write up of your business).
Social media sites are superb sources for backlinks. Google My Business and Facebook backlinks are a major must. Having a Google My Business listing is required for a coveted spot in the Google 3-Pack at the top of the search results. Having an active Facebook business page with a backlink to your site not only pumps SEO juice, it also funnels leads.
Any social media you are active on are also musts. Google notes the activity and rewards you with ranking. Here is a list of the more popular social media sites you may be active on:
Google My Business
In addition to backlinking, also add links from your website to your social media presence. Dallas Maids social media links appear at the bottom of all Dallas Maids website pages:
Ensure the information on your website (contact information, address information, etc.) matches your business profiles across the internet. Remember, Google likes consistency.