Chapter Corner

The Five Common Errors That Are KILLING Your Web Leads

Posted in: January/February 2013

Remember when the Yellow Pages were a dominant source for contractor leads? Okay, it seems like it was right after the fall of the Roman Empire, but still.

Now, Yellow Pages lookups are in a precipitous decline. In fact, they have plummeted over 60 percent in the last 36 months, largely because of that digital playroom known as ...

The Internet

InsightsPicSEO2.gifWhen the web first kicked into gear, everyone told you to build a website. "Content is King!” they yelled. So people threw entire libraries on their site, sometimes regardless of subject matter. Why? Because we were told this helped with SEO, which either stands for Search Engine Optimization or Spit Everything Out: Same difference.

Yet for local companies, such as contractors, content has been bumped down to second lieutenant. Currently, “clicks” are king because they translate into leads, appointments, and cash. Many people in business like cash.

That shift from “broad” SEO to “narrow” local marketing happened the day Google changed the rules in October, 2010. And on that day, leads from the old methods plummeted. If you check your lead counts, you’ll probably notice your decline began around then. This is not a coincidence.

The sad thing is that most contractors didn’t get the memo. Now, local listings have become the most potent form of online results. Their power is in the instantaneous and geographic specificity of the search. So, if I need “Drain Cleaning in Dubuque,” that’s what I’ll get, since hiring a plumber in Nova Scotia would be silly, plus would include a significant trip charge.

Local listings rule, for that and other reasons. You want leads in your service zone, right? You want hot and eager prospects searching for what you provide, right? Search results pull up the exact contractors in order of top ranking. It’s like Yellow Pages on steroids, without the awful side effects.

The catch? If you’re not in the top five on Google, you may as well be passing out your competitors’ business cards. See, customers have gotten lazy. We used to flip through the Yellow Pages, but now our index fingers sweat if we have to click any more than one page of listings. Research shows that a full 91 percent of consumers never make it to screen/page two.

That’s serious. So, if you’re not on page/screen one, you will not get the leads, because to searchers, you don’t exist. All of those customers click to your competition on the first page, time and time again.

InsightsPicSEO.gifWhat Are the Top 5 Listing Errors Killing Your Results?

  1. Your Business Listing is Unclaimed - This is the #1 critical violation
    Unclaimed listings DO NOT qualify in search results and are at risk of theft by others. Yes, another company can hijack your listing if it hasn't been claimed. If you want your web leads to rank at the bottom, leave it alone. Otherwise, claim your listings right now, today. Nearly 40 percent of contractors are NOT claimed.

  2. Company Name and Contact Info Incorrect or Outdated
    This seems small ... a transposed digit in your phone number, a misspelling in your address - maybe you even changed your company name. But there's no such thing as a "little" mistake with your listing. Search Engines combine their information for your business from hundreds of online directories. If you've moved, changed your business name, or added a phone number, your listing has probably NOT reflected that change. Any discrepancies mean a lower rank, less findability, and fewer online leads.

  3. Multiple Local Business Listings with Same Address
    Search Engines are smart … and stupid. Say your company name is Davis & Sons Heating & Cooling and you’ve claimed that listing. But maybe you also spell it Davis and Son and claimed that listing too. The problem? The Search Engines think you are two companies, diluting your results. Not good. Actually, you’re even penalized for the duplicated attempt. We find this about 16 percent of the time.

  4. Lack of Keywords and Keyword Compounding
    A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a few well-chosen words can be worth gold. People search using keywords, but weak listing attempts disregard this little fact. Compounding the right keywords in your listing screams, “Look at me! I match the search you’re looking for!” You do this in your business description, history, service listing, photo tagging, and more. This is another little trick most people don’t know how to do. Our research indicates that just under 70 percent of contractor listings fail to maximize keywords.

  5. Categories Not Assigned
    Essentially, this means you are telling search engines what kind of business you are in your listing. If you do electrical, plumbing, and HVAC – mark all three. This is an area where you want to be as specific as possible to cover all of your bases. Why? Because when a search comes through for an air conditioning contractor, unless that’s marked in your categories, you’re probably not going to make the search engine cut. In fact, without having categories, you’re basically earmarking yourself for the search engine wasteland designated as “miscellaneous.”

One Fast Way to Fix Those Errors: Get Your Listing Graded at No Charge

This little whiz-bang of a test contains a specially-created formula that “grades” your Local Listing Rank. You get a numerical grade that’ll show where you’re losing leads, plus how to build rank.

The longer you wait, the more of your online market share you give away … and that includes all of the prospects, leads, and sales that would have come with it. Get your listings claimed and optimized today before your business becomes road kill on the information highway.

Adams Hudson is President of Hudson, Ink., a contractor marketing firm serving the contractor trades. Readers can get a complimentary “Local Listing Grade Guide” for your listing by making a polite request via email to freestuff@hudsonink.com (include your company information) or simply call Hudson, Ink. at (800) 489-9099. Hudson, Ink. is an IEC National Bronze Partner.