A homeowner can spend ten years thinking about a new kitchen, but once a water leak from the dishwasher destroys the subfloor, the thinking stops. Likewise, a hardscaping project can wait, but when water starts coming through a leaking roof, a homeowner is going to act fast. The same happens on a hot day when the air conditioner goes out, on a cold morning with the furnace blows, or when a pan fire ruins the cabinets.
The contractors who respond to these customer emergencies are in “Repair Categories.” For other contractors, your Yelp reviews or your Facebook page might earn you some phone calls from tire-kickers. But for repair category contractors, Google Maps is everything.
When a homeowner is shopping for siding or windows, they’ll plop down on the couch with a tablet and spend hours - or even months - shopping. But when the sewage backs up the drains, they only go to one place: their phones. And they don’t sit down on the couch to shop. The Google search “plumbers near me.” The first thing they see is the Google Maps listings (try it!), and they click on the first listing with decent reviews.
We’ve discussed at length how businesses live and die online by the strength of their Google ranking, but for contractors in repair categories, a strong Google Maps presence is nearly as vital. Your customers need to know that they are within your service area and have immediate access to reviews, photos, and contact information for your service.
Did you know that there has been a 150% increase in “near me” searches in the past two years? That is to say, Google searches that use the phrase “near me” in the query (for example, roofing contractor near me). Customers tend to prefer businesses that are close to them, and they overwhelmingly trust Google Maps to supply them with that information. In an emergency, the closest contractor is exactly who they want.
So how do you make sure you show up top-3 on Google Maps?
1. Claim Your Business on Google Maps
This is our first step when helping a client improve their Maps presence. Claiming your business on Google My Business is essential as it allows you to edit the information about your business to make sure that it is up-to-date and trustworthy to potential customers. It tells Google that the basic information they have about your business is accurate, which makes them more willing to serve it up to searchers. Claiming your business on GMB also allows you to be alerted to customers' reviews and respond to them, which lets customers know that you are available and responsive. It greatly helps your SEO performance as the Google algorithm prefers verified businesses.
2. Link Your Google Maps Listing to an Organically Strong Website
The site you link to your Google Maps listing needs to have all the elements of a strong organic website: Rich & deep content, clear tagging, video, and contextual outlinks. According to Google, the algorithm prefers sites that are regularly updated with high-quality content that is user-friendly and relevant to customer inquiries. Having a well-designed website that meets these specifications is the next step to getting your business noticed on Maps.
3. Make Sure You Are Near Your Customers
When customers search for a repair contractor, they should see a red pin on the map for your business location. Even if you don’t have a company office, you should always provide at least a city address for your business. This will help your business show up in the aforementioned “near me” searches from customers in need of a local contractor. If you don’t have a company office, you can edit your pin location by logging in to your Google My Business account and following directions from there.
You can’t control where your customers live, but you can control how many pins you have, which makes you more likely to be close to more customers. Let us help you with this.
4. Solicit Reviews from Customers (Hint: Use Our Review Automation Service!)
The first listing on Google Maps isn’t usually the contractor with the most reviews or even the one with the highest average rating. However, the first listing is very rarely a contractor with no reviews. To rank well on Google Maps, you’ve got to get in the game and score yourself some customer reviews.
Most happy customers are more than willing to leave a positive review on Google for their contractors, but they might need some encouragement. Whether in person or through a follow-up email, you should always request that they write a review on Google, and when they do so be sure to reply. This will make other customers more likely to leave reviews and will make your business more trustworthy to other potential customers. Additionally, the more reviews that you receive, the better your website will perform on Google maps, making it more likely to be suggested to potential customers.
You don’t have time to beg all your customers to leave reviews. We get it. Also, if you beg everyone for reviews, the angry customers are still more likely to respond that the happy ones. We get that, too. Review Automation solves both problems. Contact us for help with that.
If you are a repair contractor who is looking for ways to draw customers and improve your visibility, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Simple.biz.We have a crack team of web developers who will build you a beautiful website that is designed to increase your visibility on Google Maps and fortify your site with robust content that will take your business to the next level.