By Garrett Smith
A snow contractor can easily get lost in the blizzard of Google’s naming conventions. Making your business more visible to the hundreds, if not thousands, of people in your area searching online for a provider is more important now than ever. You don’t need a CSP in SEO (search engine optimization) to take some simple actions to improve the search engine rankings and online visibility of your business.
Following are six steps to use to immediately help improve your company’s search engine visibility:
1. Create a “Google My Business” profile. While your website is the hub of your online efforts, much of the search results for local service queries like “snow removal” are powered by Google My Business profile pages. These profiles are part of the “Google+” social network and are similar in function to Facebook and Yelp pages. Claiming and optimizing your profile is easy, and it contributes a lot to the searchability of your business.
2. Claim your company directory listings. Hundreds of websites act as business directories that search engines use as signals of authority and authenticity in ranking company websites for local search queries. Claiming your business profiles on these sites and updating your profile to ensure you have the correct name, address and phone number for your business will not only improve your rankings, but it will also ensure customers are calling the right place.
3. Enhance your geographic relevancy. Google and other search engines (yes, there are others!) long ago altered how queries deemed “local” conjure and display results. Searches for “snow removal services” followed suit. Enhance your geographic relevance in two ways. One, use a website domain that includes your city, town or region (e.g. ChicagoSnowPlowing.com). Second, ensure that your company’s name, address and phone number appear on every page of your site, either in the header or footer.
4. Be mobile friendly. With the world moving away from their desktops and laptops, preferring the convenience of cellphones and tablets, search engines have responded by effectively penalizing websites that are not optimized for mobile usage. On your smartphone, enter your website’s URL and if it doesn’t look formatted for your screen, you’re hurting yourself (both in search and with potential customers).
5. Use one page for each service. Even if you’re a snow-only contractor, your website should have a single page for each service you offer. These pages should take a local slant as well as describe the services you offer in full detail. If you’re offering snow removal in Des Moines, you should have a page about your snow removal services in Des Moines. In cases where you serve multiple markets, you can extend this to include service pages for each city, state and/or town.
6. Get social! Social media sites may not prove to be the most effective tool for direct sales, but search engines place value on them (and customers love them). To maximize the search benefits of social media, you must at least have a company page/profile on each of the major networks, with accurate information and at least occasional posting — even if you automate it.
Once you’ve done some (or all) of these steps, you’re sure to improve your snow business’s search visibility and ensure predictable growth for your company. Being the special snowflake that it is, doesn’t it deserve to stand out above the rest?
Garrett Smith is founder of WNY Snow Removal in Orchard Park, NY, and Pitch+Pivot, a sales and marketing agency for startup companies. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @garrettsmith.