It is not a clickbait title, but an often-overlooked component when a restoration company is trying to be found online. Being a real company sounds like a simple task in theory, but in reality, it is not a consistently followed practice.
So what does “Be a real company” mean? It requires doing the small and sometimes neglected items that you would normally complete while trying to build your company in your local market.
One example is signing up for the local chamber of commerce. By doing this, you get yourself included in the member directory on the chamber website with a link back to your restoration website. When Google crawls the chamber of commerce website and follows the link to your website, it sends a "geo signal" to Google. This, in turn, helps Google understand where you are located while also giving you "online authority.”
This seemingly basic strategy is not just for new companies. In fact, I have spoken with many companies who thrived on word-of-mouth marketing for 20-plus years, but who never went through the steps of getting connected to these types of local or industry associations, among other things.
Why is this important?
If you already have an established online presence, then you know how important website rankings are to being found by your customers. By engaging your local market and receiving these links, you are unlocking a key determinant in ranking well by those searching for your services in your area.
This is important because Google tracks and follows these links across the web and assigns "quality/authority" to the website they end on. This is essentially the key ingredient to increasing rank and search visibility.
Most business owners agree that you cannot simply put up a website and easily be found online. The importance of utilizing local marketing for being found online is often underestimated in this goal. However, doing so can lead them to hire someone to do SEO and expect all of the results to come from this work. Unfortunately, it does not work that way if you have not built the foundation first.
How does a business build the foundation?
There are several methods that any business can try within their local market and the restoration industry to build a strong base. All along, Google will be picking up on these online signals and giving you online authority. A few examples include: Sponsorship of the high school baseball team; setting up a HomeAdvisor account (free link to your site); or signing up for the Chamber, BBB or local apartment association. That is building the "foundation."
Ideas of groups and associations:
- Chambers of commerce in the areas you serve
- Local travel sites and resource pages
- Housing and builders associations
- Demographic associations (women, ethnicities, religious, etc.)
- Hospitality associations
- Property manager associations
- Business/networking groups
- Local emergency resource groups
- Local health departments
- Lead gen and social sites
It is OK if you are not necessarily attending all of these groups and associations because the goal is to gain local online authority through the links. Even groups that you think provide little to no return in your local market (i.e. economic coalition group), can provide a boost when they include a member link or logo link back to your site. That is going to help Google understand where you are located.
The tough part about belonging to most of these organizations is that they all cost money annually. You should note though, that this is exactly one of the reasons Google places high importance on these associations – real organizations would be connected to these groups.
All local news and industry resources are hungry for good content. Could you write a case study for them? What about some fire prevention tips or other helpful information for their readers? Here are a few ideas to consider: Local news stations, Restoration Industry Association (RIA), Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).
Check your online authority
Want to know your “online authority”? Check out this free tool at https://ahrefs.com/website-authority-checker.
What is a good score?
- 1-5 > Poor
- 6-10 > Not Good
- 11-15 > Average
- 16-20 > Good
- 21+ > Great
This scoring is specific to local restoration websites.
Created the foundation but still struggling?
Now, what if you have connected to all these types of groups, participate in local marketing and have been around for at least a few years, but are still struggling to be found online? The issue could be more of the technical setup of your website. The good news is that building the foundation is much more difficult.
If you only want to pay for leads from lead generation sites or TPAs, that is OK. You do not need to go through all this effort of signing up for organizations and paying extra money. It is important to know the difference between what you are trying to accomplish and what it takes.
But if you are trying to build your own lead generation machine in your local market and build SEO, creating the foundation is necessary. If you have not focused on this yet, it might be one reason why you have not experienced success in the past with SEO and search visibility.