To my fellow inspection brothers and sisters who struggle to make
a living, there is hope.
I have read several questions people have had about marketing on the
Internet. I have managed to get my listings on Googles front page
in all the cities I market in. My listings appear 3-6 times on Googles
front page through using several methods. Go to my web site and look
at the cities I market to. Then search for an inspector in these cities
and see the results. You will find my listings in directories, pay per clicks
ads, and my business web page… all on the front page of Google several
times. I have had people come to me based on the fact that my ads
show up more than everyone else on the front page. It helps. I have
low page rank but my site beats the others. Pagerank is not as
important as it used to be. Things are changing.
I used to market to Realtors but now I never do. I have come to
understand that it is a trap. Your mind is pulled to pleasing them if
you come to depend on them. It will bite you in the end. Be careful
of pleasing the Realtor to build your business. Your report will have
holes in it. Stay true to your heart and your client first.
I use this example to encourage everyone. I started out about a year
ago with getting only 1 web page hit a day… I started reading and
doing research. Now I recieve 75% of my inspections from the internet,
and I raised my prices (as Nick suggested). It paid off.
I listen to everyones advise but few give the correct advise. They
mean well, but you have got to stay current with the “Google way”
of doing things or it will not work. It takes time, be patient. It
requires you to research your links, content and key words or
you will fail. There is a method to the madness.
Below is an article to help you get better results with your web page on
the internet. This site also has other good advise that will help you.
Directories and links are helpful. Pay per click is cheaper than the yellow
page. There is no silver bullet that does it all. But it all adds up.
Then once you get the phone to ring… have a list of benefits that a live person can read from. Make sure that person, if its not you, has gone with you on an inspection and they “understand” why you are the best inspector on the planet. They will sell what they believe in…
You should here Nick talk about answering the phone… he sounds like a machine gun. Its all true… but we’ll talk about that later.
Ten Tips to the Top of the Search Engines
by Jill Whalen
Completely Revamped and Updated October 2005
Having a website that gets found in Google, Yahoo, and MSN, etc. isn’t hard to do, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are my latest and greatest tips to get you started:
- Do not purchase a new domain unless you have to. Due to Google’s aging delay for all new domains, your best bet is to use your existing domain/website if at all possible. If you’re redesigning or starting from scratch and you have to use a brand-new domain for some reason, you can expect to wait a good 9-12 months before your site will show up in Google for any keyword phrases that are important to you.
- Optimize your site for your target audience, not for the search engines. This may sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. The search engines are looking for pages that best fit the keyword phrase someone types into their little search box. If those “someones” are typing in search words that relate to what your site offers, then they are most likely members of your target audience. You need to optimize your site to meet their needs. If you don’t know who your target audience is, then you need to find out one way or another. Look for studies online that might provide demographic information, and visit other sites, communities, or forums where your target audience might hang out and listen to what they discuss. This information will be crucial to your resulting website design, keyword research, and copywriting.
- Research your keyword phrases extensively. The phrases you think your target market might be searching for may very well be incorrect. To find the optimal phrases to optimize for, use research tools such as KeywordDiscovery, Wordtracker, Google AdWords, and Yahoo Search Marketing data. Compile lists of the most relevant phrases for your site, and choose a few different ones for every page. Never shoot for general keywords such as “travel” or “vacation,” as they are rarely (if ever) indicative of what your site is really about.
- Design and categorize your site architecture and navigation based on your keyword research. Your research may uncover undiscovered areas of interest or ways of categorizing your products/services that you may wish to add to your site. For instance, let’s say your site sells toys. There are numerous ways you could categorize and lay out your site so that people will find the toys they’re looking for. Are people looking for toys to fit their child’s stage of development? (Look for keyword phrases such as “preschool toys.”) Or are they more likely to be seeking specific brands of toys? Most likely, your keyword research will show you that people are looking for toys in many different ways. Your job is to make sure that your site’s navigation showcases the various ways of searching. Make sure you have links to specific-brand pages as well as specific age ranges, specific types of toys, etc.
- Label your internal text links and clickable image alt attributes (aka alt tags) as clearly and descriptively as possible. Your site visitors and the search engines look at the clickable portion of your links (aka the anchor text) to help them understand what they’re going to find once they click through. Don’t make them guess what’s at the other end with links that say “click here” or other non-descriptive words. Be as descriptive as possible with every text and graphical link on your site. The cool thing about writing your anchor text and alt attributes to be descriptive is that you can almost always describe the page you’re pointing to by using its main keyword phrase.
- Write compelling copy for the key pages of your site based on your chosen keyword phrases and your target market’s needs, and make sure it’s copy that the search engines can “see.” This is a crucial component to having a successful website. The search engines need to read keyword-rich copy on your pages so they can understand how to classify your site. This copy shouldn’t be buried in graphics or hidden in Flash. Write your copy based on your most relevant keyword phrases while also making an emotional connection with your site visitor. (This is where that target audience analysis comes in handy!) Understand that there is no magical number of words per page or number of times to use your phrases in your copy. The important thing is to use your keyword phrases only when and where it makes sense to do so for the real people reading your pages. Simply sticking keyword phrases at the top of the page for no apparent reason isn’t going to cut it, and it just looks silly. (Purchase and read our Copywriting Combo for exact tips on how to implement this correctly.)
- Incorporate your keyword phrases into each page’s unique Title tag. Title tags are critical because they’re given a lot of weight with every search engine. Whatever keyword phrases you’ve written your copy around should also be used in your Title tag. Remember that the information that you place in this tag is what will show up as the clickable link to your site at the search engines. Make sure that it accurately reflects the content of the page it’s on, while also using the keyword phrases people might be using at a search engine to find your stuff.
Make sure your site is “link-worthy.” Other sites linking to yours is a critical component of a successful search engine optimization campaign, as all of the major search engines place a good deal of emphasis on your site’s overall link popularity. You can go out and request hundreds or thousands of links, but if your site stinks, why would anyone want to link to it? On the other hand, if your site is full of wonderful, useful information, other sites will naturally link to it without your even asking. It’s fine to trade links; just make sure you are providing your site visitors with only the highest quality of related sites. When you link to lousy sites, keep in mind what this says to your site visitors as well as to the search engines.
*]Don’t be married to any one keyword phrase or worried too much about rankings. If you’ve done the above 9 things correctly, you will start to see an increase in targeted search engine visitors to your site fairly quickly. Forget about where you rank for any specific keyword phrase and instead measure your results in increased traffic, sales, and conversions. (You can sign up for a free trial of ClickTracks, which easily tracks and measures those things that truly matter.) It certainly won’t hurt to add new content to your site if it will really make your site more useful, but don’t simply add a load of fluff just for the sake of adding something. It really is okay to have a business site that is just a business site and not a diatribe on the history of your products. Neither your site visitors nor the engines really give a hoot!