In October of this year, Hurricane Ian hit the gulf coast of Florida head-on. Hurricane Ian is one of the worst storms to hit the Gulf Coast in almost a decade. Clocking in at a category 4, Ian destroyed over 5,000 homes and left millions without power for several days.
Rocco Zaldivar, one of 99 Calls’ customers, is one of those over 5,000 to lose their home in the storm. Unfortunately for Rocco and his family, his home stood directly in the path of the eye of the hurricane. Being so close to Sanibel beach, their home ended up flooding completely within 40 minutes if the storm’s approach. His home is now completely unlivable.
With no true place to call “home” at the moment, Rocco and his family have been forced to stay in a hotel an hour north of Lee County, but that hasn’t stopped him from helping others in his community. Due to the nature of the industry he serves, there are a lot of people who are in need of his assistance. As a Lee County resident himself, Rocco has been traveling back and forth to help home and business owners to repair their damaged and flooded properties. Because he works in both claims adjustment and general contracting, Rocco is in a unique position to be able to provide support both with filing and managing insurance claims and property repairs, which is hard to find!
Both Florida Claims Adjusting Firm and Powerhouse Roofing pride themselves on being honest and good companies with customer service at the forefront of their business models. When you choose to work with either or both of these companies, you can rest assured that you are in great hands. Rocco gained his passion for hard work and getting it right stems from a lifetime of solid role models in his life.
Since he was 15 years old, Rocco has found himself a part of the construction industry. Thanks to the strength and durability that a youthful body possesses, he was a great fit when it came to working for his Uncle’s construction business with his cousins. After learning the labor side of the trade, Rocco went on to get his general contractor’s license. In turn, his cousins began working for him instead of alongside him.
Rocco knows the importance of hard work in order to be successful in business, but he notes that it’s also important to not overwork yourself. As a word of wisdom for future and existing business owners, Rocco recommends finding honest, loving, and humble people to surround yourself with and always following your passions.
Once again Google has made changes to the Google Business Profile management dashboard. Business owners will have to adjust to a new process for managing their GBPs.
Here is the latest on how to navigate the Google Business Profile dashboard. It is quite different from what it used to be.
Once you log into your account, if you just have one profile to manage, the process to access it is simple. You are taken directly to the “in search experience”, which looks like this:
Below we’ve layed out how to navigate the new “in search experience”.
Here you can manage all the basic details about your business. Business name, category, phone number, website, location, service area, business hours.
Note: For service area businesses, in the previous GBP dashboard you would need to manually clear the address so that it would be removed from the maps. In this new search experience, you’ll see an option like this, where you will turn that field off, so the business address isn’t visible.
From this option, you can access all the customer reviews on your GBP and respond to them.
From here, you can either turn your SMS alerts on or off and manage the rest of your chat settings:
There are other chat settings that can be adjusted within “chat settings”:
From this field, you can add your photos, logo, and cover photo.
From the performance option, you access analytics on your GBP’s performance. This feature was the “Insights” feature in the prior GBP dashboard.
This option will direct you to the Google Ads platform where you can build and run an Ads campaign if you’d like.
From here you can highlight any products you sell or promote.
In this section, you can manage a more detailed list of the services you provide.
Here you can link any online booking tools you would like to use on your GBP.
This feature allows your customers to directly request a quote from your GBP.
This feature shows you your call performance or your call history.
Then when you click on the down arrow next to Calls from your menu, you’ll see additional options,
Q & A
This is the question and answer feature allowing you to connect with your customers via GBP.
From here you can add Posts, either an update, offer or event. Just choose which type of update you’d like to add and complete the fields prompted.
Ask for reviews
From here you can capture the link to your GBP to make it easier for you to refer your customers to your GBP to leave a review. You can also send the link directly from here to an email address or other platforms such as Whatsapp or Facebook.
Other Management Tools and/or Settings
Some additional management options which aren’t so obvious can be found by clicking on the 3 dots found here:
Business Profile Settings
Business Profile Settings is where you would need to access your user management, Google assistant codes, see profile ID, remove business profile options, and link accounts such as Ads or Merchant Center.
From here, you can manage you you wish to receive notifications from multiple fields shown below:
Adding or Managing More than One Profile
If you are managing more than 1 GBP from your account, or want to add a new GBP, then you would select “Add a New Business Profile” or to manage another GBP, select “Your Business Profiles” to see your others.
The last 3 options include Help & Support, Send Feedback, and Terms of Service.
If you’ve just created your GBP and you were waiting for a PIN code, once you receive the code, you will see this screen,
You’ll want to click on Enter code to enter your PIN code and verify the profile.
If you look at your menu from your in-search experience and you see this
Then you’ll want to click on “Get verified” and complete your GBP verification via the method you’ve been prompted.
Pros and Cons of Google Local Service Ads (LSA) and Google Ads (PPC)
By Dipa Gandhi and Devon Osborne
Google provides businesses a few different platforms for lead generation. Google Business Profile (GBP), Pay Per Click (PPC), and Local Service Ads (LSA), all of which have their own pros and cons associated with them.
Here we’ll focus on LSA and PPC and the pros and cons of each. Many business owners or marketing managers have asked themselves which route is better, LSA or PPC. They each have their own pros and cons, and both have the potential to generate leads and produce a solid ROI.
First, let’s look at how each result is displayed. If you search Google for “HVAC in Palm City, F” L. Here are the search results presented on the first page:
The first set of results at the top of the page are your LSA:
The next section down contains the PPC results. They are easily recognized by the “Ad” designation to the left.
And directly below these are the Google Business Profile results:
Local Service Ads
Based on this example, let’s take a look at LSA.
Gain Trust Immediately
Google displays a Google Guaranteed badge on your LSA which lets your customers know you’ve passed Google’s vetting process and that you are a screened and qualified business backed by Google. Being displayed here means you are a legitimate business. You benefit from the attention, recognition, and trust of your business.
What You’re Paying For
With LSA, you are paying for each qualified lead you receive, not click. Again, you are paying for every lead, NOT click. Google uses its own tracking phone number on the LSA itself and vets all the calls which come through the LSA. They remove any unqualified leads and only charge you for qualified leads. Because this is a manual process, they too make errors, and you may be charged for an unqualified lead. However, their platform allows you to dispute a lead if you feel you have been wrongly charged. If Google determines this dispute to be valid, they will credit the charge back to your account.
Most contractors report that the leads they receive through Google LSA are far less expensive than through Google Ads. For example, HVAC contractors are typically paying $100 – $200 for PPC leads, and less than half that for those received through their LSA campaign, depending on your region of course.
Most businesses already have a free Google Business Profile (GBP) set up for these businesses. The great thing about LSA is that the reviews from your GBP will feed directly into your LSA. You don’t have to worry about which platform to have your customers leave reviews on. As long as they leave a great review for your business on your GBP, your LSA will also display it.
It’s SO easy!
LSA’s platform is transparent and simple. Google has made it extremely easy for most business owners and managers to use. It is easy to monitor and once set up, the only adjustment you might want to make is your monthly budget.
Google does have several requirements before gaining the Google Guaranteed badge. Depending on your industry and your state requirements, you must pass these requirements:
Before getting started, you’ll want to make sure you have a business license if required by your state, proof of insurance and allow Google to run a background check on yourself, as the business owner, and other employees if Google requires it.
LSA is not yet available for all services in all areas of the United States at this time. There has been a slow rollout of service by service. If your services are not yet being promoted by Google’s LSA program, check back in a few months.
The position of your LSA is driven by ranking factors similar to the free organic Google Business Profile. Some of these ranking factors include proximity to your primary location, number, ratings on reviews, optimization of your LSA account, and budget. Another factor that will affect the position of your LSA is the level of competition. In the end, it is more difficult to control where and when Google will choose to highlight your LSA Ad than your PPC Ad.
Google Ads PPC Campaigns:
Google Ads are auction-style, meaning that you’ll be competing with other businesses in the same area. There is no long “ranking” process the account needs to go through. A well-optimized Google PPC account can expect to see leads being generated within the first week or so of a campaign going live.
Higher Lead Volume
When optimized and properly funded to reflect the going prices for local leads in your industry, you can expect to achieve a higher volume of leads via PPC advertising than you will through an LSA account. Many people get the bulk of their leads through Google Ads but use LSA as a supplement for lower-priced leads.
Flexibility In Targeting Your Most Profitable Services
With Google Ads, you have the ability to choose the keywords for the services you want to target with your campaign. With LSA, you are only able to select the “Job type” or “Category” to indicate the services you offer. There is tremendous flexibility in terms of running different campaigns and targeting locations and adjusting budgets for each campaign.
Less Extensive Verification Process
Google requires only garage door companies and locksmiths to undergo a vetting process. To run Google Ads, there is no extensive verification process like LSA, however, Google may eventually require you to provide proof of business registration.
With PPC Google Ads, you are doing just as the name suggests, paying for every click, whether that person is calling or not. Due to the cost per click being auction-based, getting leads via PPC Google Ads can be costly, especially if the campaign is not being properly managed.
Not for Beginners
Running a PPC campaign without the proper knowledge is not advisable. The Google Ads platform can be overwhelming to newcomers. Without knowing the basics behind PPC Ads, you likely won’t know where to find the pertinent information you need to optimize the account or how to use it to your advantage.
If you are looking for a low-cost set-it-and-forget-it platform to supplement your other lead-generation efforts, LSA is a great option. It does take time to rank among the competition, but simple to set up and maintain. It is easy to optimize an LSA, and adding lots of high-quality reviews will improve your results. If you already have a free Google Business Profile for your business with several great reviews, and not a lot of competition, then LSA might be the best option for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more specific types of leads in a more targeted area, a large number of leads, or faster immediate results, then PPC might be the best option for you.
To capitalize on the number of leads you receive, you can run both LSA and PPC Google Ads simultaneously. The pay-per-click Google Ads will help bring in leads quickly while the LSA builds rankings. Due to the fact that you only pay per lead with LSA, you won’t be wasting money while it grows.
For a free consultation on LSA or PPC for your business, call the experts at 99 Calls at 800-717-4669.
Since the beginning of this year, Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly known as Google My Business (GMB), has undergone several changes. A new video verification process was tested earlier this year to verify Google Business Profiles, specifically for service area businesses to avoid spam listings. Just last month, it appears Google officially rolled out this video verification method. This is now the more prevalent method of verification. We’ve outlined the steps to help businesses complete the video verification process.
The New Video Verification Process
When a new Google Business Profile is created, follow the standard steps, for a new client’s business. Once the final step in creating the profile is complete, you will likely be prompted to enter a business address. Rather than being given the option to send the postcard, a video verification option is prompted, which looked like this:
When you’re prompted to complete a video call, you are asked to capture all of the following in one video recording:
Once you have prepared and gathered the required supporting items or documents and you are at your business location, you will be prompted to complete the video verification from your mobile device.
Steps to complete GBP video verification
On your mobile device, make sure you are signed in to your Google account at business.google.com. Note: You might need to have Google Chrome installed and sign in from there in order for this to work.
2. Once you select your business, you will see this screen:
3. Click on “Verify Now”
Then this screen:
4. Here you want to enter your verifiable business address, then click “Next”.
The next screen is:
5. Click “Start”
Then the next screen is:
6. Click “Start Recording” here. Then you will see this screen:
7. Here go ahead and click “Next”, then follow the remaining steps as instructed.
If you would prefer to watch a step-by-step video on what the video verification process looks like on your mobile device click here: https://youtu.be/bYTuTTZpBX0.
Though this process of getting your Google Business Profile seems a bit more cumbersome than the simple PIN code verification, it may actually have greater benefits. It may prevent more spammy Google Business Profiles in the search results and on maps, and you don’t have to wait 2-3 weeks to get your postcard and then complete the verification.
For assistance in setting up or managing a Google Business Profile or with supercharging your lead generation efforts, call the lead generation and SEO specialists at 99Calls.com at 800-717-4669.
Updating your website and listings regularly with unique content plays a large role when it comes to lead generation. With online competition growing more year after year, businesses need to find more ways to set themselves apart and outrank the others.
How Does Adding Content Actually Help?
Having an attractive website is only a small step when it comes to SEO lead generation. Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant and valuable search results. Therefore, it is recommended that content should be informative, valuable, credible, high-quality, and engaging. More information on the types of content Google values can be found here. Consistently creating relevant content is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle if you want to easily be found by prospective customers. 91% of people will not search past the first page of results. Therefore it is of utmost importance that your website is ranking highly on that first page.
Google rewards businesses that are regularly updating their website and listings with fresh content with higher rankings. When you add new content, Google will crawl your website, giving you the opportunity to increase your rankings each time you update it with quality, relevant content. This is not to say that you should go and make unnecessary, irrelevant changes or updates to your site, that is not what search engines are looking for. Adding relevant content also allows you to add more search keywords which is another great way to improve your rankings.
Search engines are not the only ones that want to see fresh content on your website, consumers do as well. Stock photos alone may look nice on your site, but before choosing someone to do the job, your customers want to know what kind of work you do. Content is a great way to show off your expertise and feature the awesome work that you do. When customers see this, it will help you stand out from your competition.
Examples of Good Content
When it comes to creating relevant content for your website, you may not know where to begin. We have identified a few simple ideas to help you out!
Photos of your work: Help showcase the great work you do with before/after photos.
Customer testimonial videos: Show potential customers why they should call you.
Running a promotion: Who doesn’t love a deal?
Adding an “about us” section to your website: This is a great way to share your story and gain trust with prospective customers.
A: Dominating page 1 of Google by getting featured multiple times!
If you wonder whether ranking high on Google search results is important for a local service business such as plumber, electrician, housecleaning service, or landscaper – get this: 46% of all searches are local while 76% of them result in a phone call!
Getting mentioned multiple times on Google SERPs (search engine results pages) can amplify your local service business’s online presence and increase its credibility, which in turn will drive more online traffic and attract more high-quality leads.
Here’s an example:
Colonial Carpet Cleaning shows up an amazing 6-8 times on SERPs for “rug cleaning Wilmington MA” and “carpet cleaning Wilmington MA”!
The chances of this business being seen by prospects that are actively looking for carpet cleaning services and making an impression have increased greatly since it appears so many times.
So, what can you do so your business shows up multiple times on the first page of Google search results?
If you look at a local search results page, you’d notice that there are a few different sections – the local ads at the top (“carpet cleaner nearby”) the text ads, the local pack (with map and links,) and then the organic search results.
By optimizing for all these different components, you can appear multiple times on relevant local search results on Google.
Local Service Ads (LSA)
At the very top of the SERP are the Local Service Ads (LSA). It’s a pay-per-lead platform by Google for local service businesses.
These ads are shown on all devices and display key information that helps increase conversions, such as star ratings, business hours, and phone number.
Since it’s an independent product, you can run LSA alongside Google Ads without them interfering with each other’s ranking or effectiveness.
To set up your LSA, simply visit the LSA website, follow the online instructions, estimate the ad spend, and create your profile.
Make sure to submit your business license and insurance details for Google to verify your information. The “Google Guaranteed” badge will then be added to your ad to increase credibility and drive more traffic.
Many SERPs for local service inquiries (e.g., “near me” searches) display the search results on a map with the businesses’ locations and website links.
The local pack is shown on both desktop and mobile search results and is a very effective way for capturing the attention of high-quality leads that are ready to hire a service provider.
Star ratings and customer testimonials are particularly powerful for increasing your credibility and attracting more clicks. You can put client testimonials on your website and then use schema markup so they show up on organic Google listings.
In addition, monitor your GMB listing regularly to ensure that you’re responding to queries and comments in a timely manner. Keep in mind that anyone can update your GMB listing so log onto your dashboard regularly to make sure that the information is accurate.
Text ads are still one of the most effective ways to reach prospects that are located in your geographic area and have high purchase intent. These ads are simple and easy to create, not to mention Google is always adding new features to help advertisers optimize results.
Google has access to a tremendous amount of user data. With the help of AI-driven technologies, it’s now possible for small businesses to tap into that wealth of information.
Leverage the granular targeting options available on the Google Ads platform to help you reach the highest-quality leads. For example, you can choose targeting segments based on demographics, in-market users, custom intent, similar audiences, and remarketing.
Use Google’s automated bidding feature to optimize your bids, which uses machine-learning technologies to tailor the right bids for every single auction.
In addition, Google often introduces new ad formats to help advertisers improve results. For example, by using ad extensions (e.g., call extensions, location extensions) you can provide additional information and increase the “real estate” your ad occupies on SERPs so you can capture more attention at no additional cost.
Last but not least, optimize your ad copy to include relevant long-tail keywords and a call-to-action to drive targeted traffic.
Organic Search: On-Page SEO
While ads are becoming more prominent on SERPs, it’s not to say that organic search isn’t important. In fact, many consumers still prefer to click on organic search results instead of ads.
As more consumers are using their smartphones to search for local service providers, it’s becoming even more important to get ranked high on the first page so your link can be seen with minimum scrolling.
On-page SEO is one of the most effective ways to improve your ranking on SERPs. Here are a few things you can do:
Mobile optimization: since Google introduced mobile-first indexing, websites that are optimized for mobile devices are given priorities in search engine rankings.
Site speed: reduce load time by optimizing assets (e.g., images) and cleaning up the code.
Navigation and usability: simplify your website structure so users can find the information they need quickly and easily.
Long-tail keywords: optimize your content for long-tail keywords, which helps you rank high in relevant search results and attract visitors with high purchase intent.
Visual content: leverage the power of images and photos to increase engagement. Use alt tags with the proper keywords so search engines can index the content.
Videos: post videos on YouTube (which is another great way to get listed on the first page of Google) and then embed them onto your website.
Third-Party Review Sites and Local Directories
Many third-party sites (e.g., Yelp, Google) have high domain authority, which Google uses as a signal for trusted sources. By listing your business on these sites, you can leverage their “SEO juice” to get extra spots on the first page.
Listing on these sites also adds backlinks from high authority sites, which can help improve your website’s ranking.
Make sure to complete your profiles and include your website URL so you can increase your reach on the review sites and drive more traffic back to your website.
Online reviews, especially on your Google My Business listing, is another signal Google uses to determine ranking. A 5-star review will add credibility to your local pack listing or LSA and attract more high-quality prospects.
While it’s important to show up on Google first page so you can drive more website traffic, your website also needs to be optimized to effectively capture leads so you can turn them into customers.
That’s why here at 99 Calls, we combine the latest SEO best practices with a lead generating website to maximize your marketing ROI.
Learn more and see how we can help you dominate Google first page here.