Rocket Media is a digital marketing agency that works with some of the largest home service companies in the U.S. Naturally, we’re going to receive a lot of questions about search rankings and how to improve them.
Perhaps the most common question we get about this topic goes something like this: “Do you have a silver bullet strategy for increasing page rank on Google?”
And we always answer that question with a question of our own: “There’s no silver bullet that’s been invented yet...but have you considered writing more blogs?”
Blogs are awesome for helping websites rank higher in the search results. But they do have some limitations. We hope to answer some of the most common questions regarding blogs and their impact on SEO and website rankings in this article. Some of the topics include:
How blogs can increase your entire website’s ranking (and not just that individual blog)
Why blogs help build trust (and thus increase sales over time, especially for high-value conversions such as AC or heat pump installations)
Why it beats out PPC in the long run (although PPC still has its place, and we’ll talk about that, too!)
Want to skip ahead to the good part where you bring in tons of new business from blogs and other digital marketing assets? Give the professionals at Rocket Media a call. Our content team can help identify the right blog topics and engage your audience from the very first sentence.
Blogging 101: Why blogs work for home service companies
If you’re a digital-savvy CEO or marketing strategist, you’re likely familiar with what we’re about to cover in this section.
However, for the sake of getting everybody on the same page, it’s worth spending some time on how search engines work, and why blogging is an essential piece of the search engine puzzle.
Let’s go over the process step by step. It goes something like this:
Search engines like Google rely on complex algorithms to rank businesses in their search results.
There are hundreds of ranking factors (over 200 for Google alone), but some of the most important have to do with keywords and keyword phrases.
When a potential customer types in a keyword phrase in the search results, Google will serve up the most “relevant” results based on their algorithm.
The businesses with the best algorithm scores tend to rank higher on organic search results (i.e. results which appear naturally when a customer types in a keyword or keyword phrase into the search bar).
Long story short, search engines attempt to show results which have the most potential for the “searcher” to take action on. That action starts with a click in the search results. But the real goal is to get the searcher to purchase a service, sign up for a newsletter, or take direct action in some form.
Blogs are very capable at getting clicks because they help answer important customer questions. And if the blog is set up correctly with CTAs (Calls to Action) and other sales-oriented information, they become both information tools and a convenient place to schedule a service visit.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as to why blogs work for home service companies. Let’s go a bit deeper and see what other benefits blogs have on SEO and search rankings.
Blogs provide fresh content with relevant keywords
A website shouldn’t be something you create and leave alone. Great websites are like living organisms; they’re constantly growing and changing. (And they need to be fed!)
Blogs are a great way to “feed” your website. Blogs grow your website by introducing content that wouldn’t otherwise be contained on your essential site pages (home, service pages, etc.)
This content is essential for a number of reasons, but the most important reason has to do with the increased volume of highly relevant keywords. An increase in targeted industry keywords gives your site greater authority in the eyes of search engines, thus boosting all of your site’s pages (not just the blog page!)
Blogs build trust at the earliest stages of the buying process
When customers are looking for an AC repair, a sewer line replacement or something else, they want to buy it from someone they trust. And as it just so happens, blogs are incredibly good at establishing that trust.
Let’s go deeper into how that works. We’ll use an AC installation as our example.
Let’s say Joe’s AC is on his last leg. But he isn’t ready to buy at that exact moment. Before he ever reaches out to a contractor, he’s going to do some research. And like just about everybody these days, he’s going to research at home on his computer by typing his questions into search.
Here’s what Joe is probably going to type into his favorite search engine:
How long does an AC last?
What is a good SEER score for a new AC?
What is the best brand of AC?
Here’s where the magic happens. If your HVAC business has a blog that answers Joe’s question in a clear and concise way, that’s going to build trust. It may take a couple weeks or a couple months before Joe is ready to buy. But he’s going to remember who answered his questions.
This strategy is particularly important for high-value, high-return services such as installations. The general rule is, the more expensive a service is, the longer the sales funnel should be. By introducing yourself to a customer earlier on in the buying process, you generate trust and make yourself top-of-mind.
Blogs attract external and internal links
One of the most important ranking factors for search engines is the number of external sites linking to your website. External links prove your site is providing helpful, relevant information. A well-written blog provides excellent link building material that other websites will be inclined to reference, creating important external links.
Blogs also serve the critical function of providing internal links to pages that are deep within your site. Search engines want to see that your pages reference each other and are coherently tied together. Blogs can reference your product, service and company pages and help create that internal linking structure.
Link building is a long-term strategy. It’s powered by content assets such as blogs, which are by no means a breeze to write (i.e. they take time if you want to do it right). And it requires other businesses and customers to share and link back to your content, which also happens over time.
Where Does PPC Fit Into All of This?
Let’s say you’ve worked your butt off writing blogs for months and months, and you’re starting to see traction in the search results. Some blogs may have even reached the first few slots on the very first page of Google. You’re jumping for joy just at the sight of it! You’ve done it!
But then, out of nowhere, one of your competitors comes in and “buys” his way to the very top of the results. What a jerk, right?
And then it hits you. “Why didn’t I do that?” Why didn’t I pay Google to just throw an ad at the top of search and get oodles of new customers?
Well, there’s a few reasons why that isn’t the only strategy a home service company should pursue.
PPC is incredibly powerful. But it can also get very expensive, very fast. This is especially true if ads aren’t displayed at strategic times, or if a company goes overboard on its ad budget.
Organic search results by some estimates receive as much as 90% of all clicks. There’s a good reason for this: people trust organic results more than they trust ads.
With PPC, you have added concerns such as click fraud, which by some estimates accounts for 20% of all paid ad clicks. Smart agencies such as Rocket Media have strategies in place for dealing with that. But it’s impossible to avoid click fraud entirely.
Rocket Media has additional educational resources to help manage your PPC strategy, like this blog on “How Does Paid Search Work?” So don’t forget to check that out as well!
But wait, there’s more!
Not only do blogs play a key role in improving your website’s search rankings, they are also a great way to increase your customer’s engagement, establish yourself as a thought leader, keep your visitors coming back for more and build trust within your community. They even integrate perfectly with your social media marketing.
Most web users are now expecting companies to have a helpful and relevant blog. Will they be disappointed?
Not a writer? Don’t know what to blog about? Rocket Media will blog for you! Contact us using the form below to get started.