Our search marketing experts at Nolen Walker field a lot of interesting questions throughout the year. One of the most frequently asked ones we hear is “Should I focus on SEO or PPC?” While different industries may benefit more from one category or the other, both offer incredible opportunities for your business.
Search marketing provides the best results however, when these two elements work hand in hand. Today, we’re going to dive into how to best blend your search engine marketing (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. If your business has struggled to make headway online, be sure to read along closely!
A quick note: PPC and SEO aren’t limited to what we see in a Google search engine results page (SERP). Activities in social media outlets and other non-search activities can have huge impact on search results.
Step #1: Lay the SEO Foundation
As we tell many of our clients, the foundation for roofing, plumbing, or HVAC SEO (or whatever your industry may be) is your company website. Before you can create a sophisticated search marketing campaign, you’ll need to make sure that your site is ready to greet customers with easy navigation and well-crafted writing. Since we’ve talked about graphic design and content writing pretty heavily in the past, we’ll stick with some of the introductory basics here.
First, create a list of your core service categories. Ideally, a website should have two to four categories. Otherwise, menus can get crowded very quickly and your customers will have a harder time of finding their desired services. Beneath each category, write down your most popular and valuable solutions. Below are examples of a top level categories and related services.
- Plumbing Repair – Toilet Repair & Replacement; Burst Pipe Repair
- Drain Cleaning – Clog Removal; Odor Removal
- Commercial Plumbing – Grease Trap Installation; Water Line Repair
- Tree Health Services – Root Rot Treatment; Oak Wilt Treatment
- Pruning and Trimming – Tree Removal; Yearly Tree Maintenance
Use your list as a guideline for your page hierarchy. If you can easily group your services in related categories, you’ll make your customers’ search much easier when the site gets published. Make sure you do your research when it comes to picking out recognizable words and phrases for your page keywords! You may know about the different types of bagworms and lace bugs if you’re an arborist, but most consumers won’t make it past “tree bugs”.
Step #2: Post-Launch PPC Pursuit
Most people view pay-per-click ads as a lure. The vast majority of your plumbing contractors, heating and cooling technicians, and pro roofers utilize PPC campaigns to try to draw people in. In reality, there’s all kinds of paid ads that go beyond the typical listings you’ll see from Google Ads these days.
That’s where retargeted ads come into play. For those types of services that require multiple visits to your website to generate a lead, these ads offer the perfect way to say “Hey! You looked at our website. Why don’t you take a look at this targeted pitch for a related service?” Maybe you have numerous potential clients leaving your metal roofing installation page. Try creating a campaign that delivers a relevant ad while they shop for groceries or browse through Facebook videos (more on this subject later).
Retargeted ads can also be used to poach potential clients away from your local competitors! Is a particular contractor taking the lion’s share of premium jobs in your community? Try using a PPC ad campaign that addresses visitors leaving their site.
To set up your ads for success, you’ll need to produce a strong list of high-performance keywords and pitches that potential clients will respond to. The good news is that you’re targeting consumers that have already shown an interest in the services you provide. For many, the cost of creating these retargeted ads is actually cheaper than using Google Ads (formerly Adwords), and they provide better results.
The concept of retargeting may seem complicated. In reality, practically anyone can purchase these ads. And if you can get more bang for your buck in the form of better leads, why not?
Step #3: Content Marketing SEO
Just the term “content marketing” is enough to cause many to drag their hands down their face in frustration. So many digital marketing professionals push the method too Aggressively, it leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Content marketing at its essence however, offers profound value for both consumers and contractors. In exchange for information that the contractor likely already possesses, consumers provide deeper levels of engagement and enhanced site performance. And leads, of course. Don’t forget leads! It demands consistent preparation and writing each month, but content marketing offers plenty of ways to draw in more traffic to your website.
How can contractors and other business owners take full advantage of content? There are three key facets to all content marketing:
- Topical research,
- Keyword enrichment, and
- Format optimization.
If you can nail all three of these elements, your content should naturally pull visitors to your site. Let’s break down each facet and what it looks like for your business.
How to Pick Engaging Topics
Choosing topics that potential customers will actually read is easier than you might think. Consider three essential resources for your topical research:
- Google Search – “People also ask” and “Featured Snippets”
- Answer the Public – Query lists for topics
- Your Clients / Customers – Frequently asked questions
While you may be tempted to jump straight into a guide on why people should call your business (and only your business) as soon as humanly possible, that’s usually not the sort of material that consumers look for in a blog. Since content marketing revolves around providing high quality information for your readers, it makes sense to chase the hot topic questions that people are searching. You can even use them as headers in your blog posts and social media releases.
FAQ’s from your clients offer a wonderful starting guide for your research. Try to keep a running list of these questions if possible, because they make blogging so much easier! Try Google-ing them and see what sort of results come up. If you strike on a hot topic, there should be a list of related questions in the SERP’s “People also ask” feature. (SERP stands for search engine results page). You can also take advantage of Answer the Public, an incredibly useful tool for generating hot topic questions.
How to Rank Up Through Keywords
Just because you’re talking about consumer-generated topics doesn’t mean you can’t utilize some kick-butt keywords in your content! Blog posts offer great opportunities to target those primary keywords all your competitors crave, while simultaneously taking advantage of high-quality secondaries and long tail keywords. This is the same type of strategy that our SEO professionals utilize at Nolen Walker!
- Primary Keywords: plumbing repair; emergency roofing service
- Secondary Keywords: metal panel roofing; furnace part replacement
- Long Tail Keywords: Trane AC unit installation; toilet repair in Dallas, TX
You may be wondering “Why not just fill up the entire article with primary keywords I want to rank for?” That may seem like a great idea, but this thinking causes hundreds of professionals to sit in the back pages of Google, earning little to no traffic for their efforts. Everyone competes for primary keywords, for their premium search volume. But few people take full advantage of secondaries, which still earn decent traffic without the heavy competition.
Secondaries and long-tail keywords earn high-quality clicks while your site progressively ranks higher for primary phrases. You’ll notice a steady influx of traffic in the meantime. Incidentally, you can use this same strategy for your service page content writing!
How to Optimize Your Content
We’ve already talked about keyword optimization, but let’s discuss how to make your content more appealing to Google. The greatest position any piece of content can receive in Google Search is the Featured Snippet. The search engine awards this prestigious listing to organic (non-paid) results that provide particularly insightful content on a particular topic.
To give your content the best chance of securing the featured snippet position (and make it easier for readers to consume), there are four rules you’ll need to follow.
- Keep your content at a 9th grade reading level.
- Provide step by step bullet list that summarizes your most important points.
- Use your primary keywords and questions in your headers.
- Space out content into palletable blocks (no content “walls”).
Step #4: Social Ads – Spreading Your Content
Paid ads effortlessly extend into the world of social media. In fact, many consider social media platforms Facebook and Instagram to be better platforms for ads than traditional PPC campaigns in Google SERPs. With Facebook’s enormous user base of 2 billion active accounts, plus its customization capabilities, it’s easier to target qualified leads than ever before!
There multiple ways to harness these social media ads for your brand:
- Content Promotion
- Service Advertising
- Event Publicity
Perhaps the easiest way to draw in potential customers is to utilize your best content marketing material as paid ads. By design, content marketing is designed to be extremely shareable and social media platforms are certainly the place to showcase your genius! Cut through the competition with a little ad spend, and your brand will certainly enjoy the publicity.
Remember those retargeted ads we talked about in step #2? Companies can also utilize the retargeting function available through Facebook Pixel. Simply embed code from the social media platform in your website, and you can create Facebook ads that follow people leaving your site. Whether you wish to promote your best content or you want to advertise an ongoing sale event, there’s plenty of uses for these ads.
The ads are relatively cheap and the advertising customization fantastic, so why not pursue your audience into Facebook and other hot social networks?
Step #5: Landing Page SEO – Upping Conversion
You’ve placed a lot of faith (and money) in your SEO and PPC plans. How can you make sure that your search marketing enjoys a solid conversion rate? After all, all this work should eventually produce new leads for your business!
Your website is the foundation of your search marketing. It’s also the final stopping point for all your campaigns, as consumers naturally drip down to the bottom of your online sales funnel. If a potential client clicks on an ad and willingly comes back to your website, that means they are either hungry for more information or ready to make the jump to contacting your business.
Your most important goal at this junction is to not screw it up.
Ad landing pages need to be extremely focused and direct. No beating around the bush with extra descriptive information about your services or when a consumer might want to contact you. Simply follow this short strategy to convert your readers:
Your Landing Page Conversion Plan
- #1. Confirm the Problem.
- #2. Confirm Your Solution.
- #3. Remove Obstacles to “Yes”.
- #4. Call to Action.
You know the audience has a problem, especially if they’ve clicked on an ad for one of your services. Simply restate the issue and qualify readers as potential benefactors. You know that your business has the solution. Show them in brief terms how you have the solution and how it’s better than other options.
There may be a handful of objections to your service pitch that you can help people overcome. Add in a customer testimonial or two, your 5 star rating, an A+ from the Better Business Bureau, and pictures of your best work. Finally, close with a direct, unapologetic call to action. Invite people to call, email, or text your team.
Find Your Search Marketing Team!
SEO and PPC both play essential roles in a healthy search marketing strategy. Together, they produce results that most businesses couldn’t realize with just one or the other. That’s why our team at Nolen Walker provides professional services for both!
Our clients, hardworking business owners from all over the country, earn fantastic lead generation with our helpful services. They rank higher, earn better traffic, and create deeper relationships with their clients. If you’d like to take your business’ online search marketing to the next level, we’d love to team up with you too.
Call us today at (866) 356-8198 for a free consultation with an SEO and PPC professional!