As a local service provider (e.g., plumber, contractor, electrician, landscaping service) you may find it rather challenging to keep up with the many changes that Google has recently introduced to both its advertising platform and search algorithms.
With limited time and resources for SEO marketing and PPC advertising, what should you do to make the most of your budget?
What are the most impactful tactics you can use to move the needle?
Google has developed many new features to support local businesses and help them get found by potential clients. It’s therefore important to understand the latest SEO and PPC trends so you can stay competitive and stand out from your competition in 2019 and beyond:
1. Optimize Website For Mobile Users
As more and more consumers are searching for local businesses on their smartphones, your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices.
In fact, 88% of consumers that search for local products or services on a mobile device call or visit a business within 24 hours. In addition, Google’s mobile-first indexing gives higher ranking to mobile-optimized websites in search engine results.
To boost your website’s mobile SEO, use a mobile-responsive template, remove interstitial popups, reduce page load time, optimize all assets (e.g., images,) improve the content’s legibility, use HTML 5 for video and animation (instead of Flash), and leverage mobile-specific features such as tap-to-call to enhance user experience.
2. Optimize Content For Voice Search
Since voice searches only present the top entries, it has become even more important to create content that will rank high in relevant search engine results.
To increase the chances of getting found on voice searches, you should create content based on commonly asked questions, write your copy conversationally, position and format the content to signal relevance (e.g., by using header tags and bullet points) keep the content concise, use long-tail keywords, and include local information or keywords.
3. Create Content Based On Google’s E-A-T Guidelines
Google’s most recent Page Quality Rating Guideline focuses heavily on E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s used as a ranking signal when determining a website’s position in search results.
Local service businesses can improve their E-A-T by publishing unique high-quality relevant information. You can also leverage relevant user-generated content to signal credibility and share personal experience or success stories to position yourself as the subject matter expert.
In addition, you can increase the trustworthiness of your website by getting listed and rated on third-party review sites, such as BBB (Better Business Bureau) and Yelp. You should also invest in your site’s technical security, e.g., by installing an SSL certificate and including trust seals on transaction pages.
4. Leverage AI-Driven Features To Optimize ROI
AI-driven technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing, are used by many PPC platforms (e.g., Google and Facebook) to analyze user data and help advertisers optimize ad spend.
Thankfully, most of these platforms are doing the work for you so you don’t have to worry about parsing through an endless stream of data or purchasing expensive technologies.
For example, you can optimize conversion rates and ROAS (return on ad spend) with Google’s automated bidding feature, which adjusts the bids automatically based on real-time data. You can also leverage Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), which use machine learning technologies to optimize ad copy by showing contextual content and increasing the reach of your ads.
5. Implement Customer-Centric Targeting
Customer experience will become an increasingly important factor that affects consumers’ decision-making process. In fact, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for better customer experience.
PPC ads and SEO copy need to be audience-centric rather than keyword-focused. For instance, audience targeting (e.g., by geographic location) will take priority while search intent will be used as a factor to help deliver the most relevant information to searchers.
Customer-centric targeting also gives you the opportunity to go beyond just making a one-time sale. You can also cultivate brand awareness and build brand affinity to stay top of mind – which will help you not only increase conversion rate but also improve client retention and boost customer lifetime value.
6. Don’t Overlook the Basics
Text ads are still one of the most effective formats in PPC advertising. However, one size doesn’t fit all when you’re using today’s sophisticated segmentation technologies, which allows you to deliver a highly personalized experience.
Create copy and tailor the CTAs of your text ads to speak to each audience segment (e.g., based on specific search terms or location) in order to deliver a coherent and highly relevant user experience that will help optimize ROI.
In addition, if you’re using responsive search ads (RSAs), make sure that all the headlines and descriptions can work well together regardless of how they’re combined to avoid a disjointed experience.
7. Use Remarketing Ads
Retargeting ads are highly effective in increasing click-through-rates and conversion rates. They allow you to reach prospects that have already visited your website and shown interest in your services.
For most businesses, Facebook and Google Display Network offer the greatest reach for remarketing campaigns. Just like any other PPC campaign, your ad creative should be aligned with the objective (e.g., drive conversion, build brand awareness) the users’ previous interaction with your business (e.g., the content of a page they have seen) and the landing page content to get the best results.
For example, for a visitor who has read about a particular service on your website, your ad should mention the same offering. This can help increase your conversion rate by delivering a coherent user experience.
8. Leverage New Features
PPC advertising platforms, especially Google and Facebook, are constantly rolling out new features to help advertisers generate more engagement from their ads.
Stay current with the latest ad formats and audience targeting options so you can increase the effectiveness of your ads.
In particular, ad extensions work well for local businesses. They allow you to include additional links, such as location extensions, call extensions, and site link extensions (e.g., to highlight your services) while increasing the real estate your ad occupies on the search results page without additional cost.
9. Get Shown In “Position Zero”
Google has been creating more opportunities and offering more features for local business to get ranked favorably in search results.
You can gain more exposure to local searchers who are looking for your services by getting your ad onto “position zero,” which is above the regular text ads and organic search results.
For example, by claiming your Google My Business listing, your information can be displayed in the “local pack” at the top of search result pages. You can also place Local Services Ads (LSAs), which is Google’s pay-per-lead advertising platform for local businesses. It will put your ad at the very top of relevant search results, above other text ads and the local pack.
Optimizing for local searches is the key to getting found by prospects looking for your services and generating more high-quality leads.
Besides getting your business ranked high on local search results and driving traffic, you also need to ensure that your website is set up to capture leads and generate sales. Otherwise, your SEO and PPC efforts will be all for naught.
That’s why here at 99 Calls, we not only help you rank high in search engine results with a mobile-optimized website and by getting listed on key review sites but also set up a lead generating website that’ll help increase your conversion rate.
Learn more about generating leads for your local service business or request a demo to see how we can help you maximize your online advertising dollars.