Search Engine Marketing is the best way to get free leads from the internet. By definition SEO is very competitive and ranking for top search terms in large cities requires a huge amount of time and money.

However, with the right recipe you can start to see rankings improve immediately, without spending a penny.

Step One: Focus Your Efforts 

Page one of Google is where you and your competitors will compete for customers. But page one contains many elements and it’s best to get focused and target your efforts. 

The top of the page is paid: Google Local Services and Google Ads.

The rest of the page is free and up for grabs. This is where you will find the “organic results”: websites, Wikipedia, and Facebook.

For local service searches, Google creates a “Local Pack” section, in the middle of the page. It's located below the paid ads and above the organic results. These ads consist of a map and a list of three local businesses. Some call it the “3 Pack.”  

The key is to understand there are two FREE areas “Local Organic” and the “Local Pack/3 Pack”. 

My recipe for success is to focus on the 3 Pack, because it’s the quickest and easiest route to clicks and calls.  

Step Two: Optimize Your Listing

According to a 2020 survey of hundreds of SEO experts conducted by Whitespark, 49% of your Local Pack ranking was determined by just two factors. 

  1. Your Google My Business (GMB) listing. (This is the most important factor.)
  2. Your online reputation, specifically the quantity and quality of your reviews listed on your GMB.

Both are tied directly to your GMB, so it’s critical your listing is optimized, 100% complete, and you consistently get reviews posted there.  

You also need to choose the right primary GMB category. Get this wrong and no one will find you. You must select your category from their list, so make sure you pick the one that is best for your business.  

If you do water, fire, and mold, I suggest your primary category should be “Water Damage Restoration Service”. Don’t choose “Contractor” or “Building Restoration Service.  

If you want to focus primarily on fire, I recommend “Fire Damage Restoration Service”.

Google updates their list from time to time, but at this point, there is no category for mold. The closest they have is “Environmental Health Service”. Not ideal. If you are solely a mold remediator, I would stick with “Water Damage Restoration Company” 

You also need to add the right keywords to your business title. A dead on match of the category and search terms in your business title is the best way to rank number one. In real world tests, it beats everything else.  

Change your business title from Pete's Disaster Services to Pete’s Water Damage Restoration Company and you will shoot right to the top.  Add a location name to the mix  “Pete's Water Damage Restoration Company of Jacksonville” and it’s a sure-fire winner in that city. 

You read that right, and, yes, if you think about it, it raises lots of questions. First of all, can anybody do this? Can we have 20 identical business titles?!

The fact is there is nothing stopping you from doing this other than Google's terms of service, which requires the business title match the business name or D.B.A. registered with the state. 

So if you want to rank, change your business title. But make sure you follow the rules.  

If you're in a big city, the payoff could be huge, it might make sense to rebrand. Determine what it would take and decide if it’s worth it.  

You may be asking yourself, does anybody police this?  Can I get away with it?  And the answer is yes...until someone challenges you.  Then you have to prove to Google your business title is legitimate.

Step Three: Weed Out Cheaters

The fact that changing a business title has the biggest impact on Local Pack rankings promotes “keyword stuffing”, or cheating. And it appears Google does nothing to verify the business title until it is reported by others.

So if you are playing by the rules, how can you stop your competition from cheating? You know your competitors, you know their company name and location. Search right now and open the expanded list of maps results. If you find listings that violate Google's terms, you can report them by clicking on the “Suggest an Edit” link in clickable blue. When you select it, you will have two options:

  1. “Change Name or Other Details” – Use this feature when reporting business name, keyword stuffing or city stuffing violations.
  2. “Remove This Place” – Use this feature when reporting duplicate listings, fake listings (non-existent businesses location or virtual office), and lead generation sites.

Get Cooking!

Go implement the the 2021 Restoration & Remediation SEO recipe today., or find someone who can. It's the first step toward turning up the heat on your competition and getting your share of new business.