In this article we will discuss the top 5 tips to help any water damage restoration company to rank locally.

  1. Create local optimized content and pages
  2. Convert visitors with trust factors 
  3. Optimize your Google My Business listing
  4. Encourage reviews & testimonials
  5. Maintain consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP)

Introduction

Water damage restoration is one of the most competitive local service industries. A unique challenge restoration companies face is putting a marketing plan in place to promote their services to both business customers and consumers.

The business segment includes property managers, roofers, plumbers, and large institutions like military, hospitals the government and insurance carriers.  Having a plan in place to develop those relationships takes time but can bring consistent and profitable business. For this segment, most restoration companies use traditional marketing and sales techniques that include a combination of inbound and outbound selling. This segment is very competitive and often requires deep discounting in order to compete. But if you are a young company starting out it can be costly and time consuming to build these relationships and start generating significant revenue from these efforts. 

Marketing to consumers (homeowners and commercial property owners) has its own challenges. What makes this target audience unique is that the customer typically will use your service once in their lifetime and when an emergency, such as a flood, occurs. To generate revenue from the consumer target audience, your company first needs to rank in local search and second understand the trust factors that will get the searcher to call your company.  Before they call they want to feel confident that they are calling a reputable, professional and knowledgeable company.

During an emergency, property owners hire the first company they call 80% of the time.

Property owners are typically not shopping around for the best price during an emergency. 80% of the time, the first company they call will be the company they hire. But before they call, they will do their research. The time between the emergency and the call can be very short. Their journey to find a restoration company can be just minutes.

What is Local SEO?  

Local SEO is similar to general SEO (search engine optimization), but focuses on reaching customers that are looking for a service or product in their geographical location. There are a number of factors that affect your local ranking. Moz produces an excellent annual report, Local Search Ranking Factors, that outlines the top Local Pack/Finder and Localized Organic ranking factors.

Ranking for local and getting listed in the Local Pack is just half the effort. Conversions are just as important. Outlined below are our top 5 local SEO tips for the water damage restoration industry that you can implement quickly to improve your local ranking and conversion rate.

Tip #1 Build a local keyword strategy 

Have your keyword strategy in place first. Always be intentional when writing blogs, creating and updating your business listings, website copy, and even in your review strategy.  Keywords such as “water damage restoration” and “flood damage restoration” are 2 of the most common keywords in the restoration industry and are very competitive and difficult to rank for in a short amount of time. Instead, focus on long tail keywords using your geographic territory, such as “water damage restoration San Diego”. The search volume will be much less, but it will be much easier to rank.  Also, with a water damage loss, there is an added sense of urgency on the searcher side and they are typically looking for a company that is close to them.

Action
Review your keywords and add a your geographic territory.

Tip #2 Know your trust factors 

What are the trust elements that make a client feel comfortable to call your company? Those trust factors need to be prominent for the searcher to find them easily. They are in the middle of an emergency and are looking to make a quick decision. These trust factors are imperative when a prospect is choosing a water damage restoration vendor to help them through a very stressful time. These trust factors need to permeate throughout your brand. Know what they are and make sure they are front and center. Some of the most important ones are:

  • Reviews:  everyone is looking for validation that the company they invite into their house is trusted, professional and knowledgeable.   The social proof is typically found on review sites, such as Google, Yelp, Facebook or Nextdoor. Make it easy for your prospect to find and read your reviews.  Add links to key pages to make it easy for your searcher to find them quickly. 
  • Have a professional image: your website, your business listings, photos and videos that you post must have a professional look.  Your staff are clean and uniformed, and your trucks and equipment are clean and organized.
  • 24-hour availability and quick response time
  • Knowledgeable, trained and certified staff. 

There are a number of other factors to consider like an A+ rating with the BBB and being child & pet-friendly.

Action
Determine which trust factors are important to your business and promote them across all channels.

Tip #3 Google My Business

Ever since Google separated Google My Business (GMB) from Google+ it has continued to grow in importance. GMB signals now make up 25% of the top Moz Local Pack/Finder Ranking Factors. Most business have not yet discovered all the additional features listed nor are they using them yet. Here are the top features that you can start implementing today that will help grow your restoration business:

  1. Posts: Aim to publish posts twice a week. Try to always include a photo and/or short video. 
  2. Q&A: Encourage your customers to ask questions in the Q&A section that may be helpful to potential customers.
  3. Services: Your profile should be 100% complete but the services section is key to letting Google know what services you provide.  You can add a 1000 word description for each service offering. Use it and include both short tail and long tail keywords that are location specific. Be specific about the category in the description and the category choices.  Keep info up to date [ and change it up often] .
  4. Photos: Update your photos often and include videos. Make sure to include images of your staff, premises, equipment, trucks, and jobs. Before & after photos are a great way to demonstrate the quality of your work to prospects. Consider hiring a professional photographer to improve the quality of your brand’s photos.  Clients want to see that your company and staff are clean and professional looking. 

Action
Follow the Google My Business Announcements page to learn about the latest GMB features launched each month.

Tip #4 Reviews

Positive reviews are the #1 conversion factor for local businesses. Customer testimonials are the most important trust factor that will get a prospect to call your restoration business. People visit review sites to look for a company that has an excellent reputation.

Have a plan in place to attract and encourage feedback. Understand the Google Maps User Contributed Content Policy for reviews. Companies that have a plan in place for getting reviews and encouraging feedback are likely to have the highest ratings. They know the importance of reviews in getting the phone to ring and have educated their staff on providing excellent customer service.  Getting a 5-star review starts from the moment the phone rings. 

Google loves all customer reviews.  Total reviews for your business are less important than Google reviews but they are still very important. Yelp, Facebook, Nextdoor, Angie’s List, etc are important. Consider adding on-page reviews as well. On-page reviews reside on your website and usually managed by 3rd parties such as Customer Lobby or Yext.  Make it easy to leave reviews by giving out leaflets, QR codes or business cards once jobs are finished. Always follow up the request with emails and text reminders. Educate your staff to ask for a review on the final walk through or give your clients a link in a follow-up email or text reminders. Unlike Yelp, Google encourages you to make it easy for your clients to write a review.  

Finally, reply to all reviews, both positive and negative, in a timely fashion. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge if you messed up.  Never dispute or be argumentative with a client when responding. If the client is angry and has more to say, try to convince them to take the conversation off-line. Give them the opportunity to contact the manager or owner directly.  Trust Pilot suggests that you leave negative reviews on your site.  “Most consumers trust companies more that have some negative reviews”. Companies are run by humans and humans mess up sometimes.  It’s not how you messed up, but how you addressed the mess-up that most people will be interested in.

Action:
Share your Google My Business short URL with customers to make it easy for them to write reviews.

Tip #5 Citations

A citation is an online reference to your business Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP).  Google uses citations to validate and increase the authority of your business.  The format you choose needs to be consistent across all citations. 100% consistency in the nomenclature (“ste” vs “suite”, “floor” vs “flr”) is important and will determine how Google and other search engines rank your brand. The more citations the better. Consider using a tool such as Bright Local Citation Builder, Yext Listings or Moz Local to help with managing your citations. There are many general directories as well as industry-specific ones such as Angie’s List, Home Advisor, ThumbTack.

Action
Ensure you’re using consistent citations in your blog posts, press releases, social channels, and forum posts.

Conclusion

A good restoration industry marketing strategy needs to address all aspects of digital marketing including the local SEO marketing tips referenced above. No single marketing effort is a silver bullet and should be part of an integrated effort across multiple online channels and platforms.  

If you need help formulating an integrated marketing strategy or a local SEO strategy give us a call. We offer a 60 min free consultation.