My name is Matthew Rupp and I have helped dozens of local businesses, right here in Wichita, get more website traffic and improve their rankings on Google.
In 2011 I owned Big Sky Party Rentals. After hiring several companies to help with increasing my ranking on Google, and becoming increasingly frustrated with the results, I set out to teach myself how to accomplish this. In less than two years, I was #1 on Google for 64 different keywords and on the first page of Google for 119 keywords altogether. You can check out my entire story (it’s pretty cool) here: http://www.sawwebmarketing.com/about/ . Since then I have continued to learn and stay up-to-date on the latest and best SEO practices and wrote a pretty massive guide on the subject. I turned my frustration into a new business and today I give talks on the subject and have helped dozens of companies, many of which are right here in Wichita. http://www.sawwebmarketing.com/testimonials/
It’s hard for business owners
On one hand, ranking well on Google is absolutely critical today……
On the other hand, it’s hard to know WHO to trust
I know what you are dealing with:
- The phone book (HIBU now) – Makes such outlandish claims it should be illegal.
- Every 2 bit huckster who read a handful of blog posts and is now an ‘expert’.
- The guys who claim ‘expertise’ but put all their customers into the same box.
- Not to mention THOUSANDS of directories (Yelp, Citysearch, YP.com) who claim to have piles of leads just begging for somebody to do business with.
- And top it off with 4 billion automated phone calls offering to ‘help’ you claim your free business listing.
I decided to rise above the ‘noise’ and do something different. I identified a company I would enjoy working with and I wrote a HUGE (massive) plan for exactly HOW they could start dominating their industry (here in Wichita) on Google. I put a great deal of time and research into it and put it on my blog (to make it easy for them to read, click links and share with others) – http://www.sawwebmarketing.com/7716-words-will-make-larson-brown-1-google/
Turns out they liked what I sent them. I was surprised when they printed it out at our first meeting and it was 76 pages long. We are working together today to implement that plan and have already seen dramatic results.
Not long after I started working with Larson/Brown, I sent an email out to some smart folks I work with from time to time asking them if they knew anybody who might like a similar plan drawn up for them. I couldn’t have been happier when I got this message back from Dave Allen at Fresh Horses.
I was happy for 3 reasons:
- I had produced REALLY great results for a company right here in Wichita that put in pools (amongst other things).
- The Mrs. and I bought a house two years ago (which we all love) close to Valley Center which has a SWIMMING POOL so unlike so many of my clients who fix teeth or broken cars I can REALLY RELATE to the struggles of a pool owner and come at it from the perspective of a customer.
- There is guy named Marcus Sheridan (I assume you have heard of him) who owns River Pools and transitioned from being a pool company owner to an internet marketing ‘guru’ of sorts. The great thing about online marketing is how easy it is to see behind the scenes of what is making that particular company successful online.
That’s a perfect storm to me. A local, successful business that somebody I respect thinks are ‘good people’ in a niche I have a great need for myself which means I KNOW how their customers think AND we have a very successful online presence (in a different market) we can get ideas from.
I hope the folks at Little Richards pools here in Wichita, KS. are ready to make their phone ring 🙂
Let’s start by getting a feel for who is ‘strong’ on Google as they stand today.
Let’s look at ‘pool companies wichita ks’ to start:
What about ‘pool closing companies wichita’
Pool service Wichita ks
‘pool cleaning companies wichita ks’
‘pool maintenance companies Wichita ks’
One more. Swimming pool companies Wichita
Now we know who the ‘players’ are in Wichita.
After calling pretty much all of these companies to see who answers, how friendly they are and what they charge (at 1:45 on a Tuesday afternoon) I learned we can cross Paradise and Superior off the list. They only care about the build side of things.
The only other company who even answered was Dave’s Pool story and while the price seemed pretty reasonable ($55 a week plus the cost of chemicals) I have already had a couple bad experiences with them so that’s a ‘no’ in my search for somebody to service my pool for me.
I guess we will see who bothers to return my call.
I am sure why I got so many answering machines was due to it being pool closing season and they are swamped with business.
Still, if everybody is swamped that ONE company who hires a decent answering service to field calls and sends problem calls to one guy and potential new customers to somebody else and dispatches all the telemarketers and time wasters, I would think would pay for itself pretty quickly.
One thing that makes it SO incredibly powerful for a local service business to rank at the TOP of Google is what an incredible huge percentage of people go for the #1 and #2 spot.
The top 3 spots get approximately 55% of ALL clicks.
The top 5 spots account for almost 70% of all visits.
Results 6-10 account for 3.73 of all clicks.
That tells us that Goode, Personal Touch and Humble are crushing it when it comes to Google. Goode especially is DOMINATING the results in Wichita when it comes to pool service. Don’t worry, I will explain WHY and how you can take that top spot.
BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER LET ME CLARIFY A COUPLE THINGS THAT MIGHT BE HELPFUL
What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the science of increasing your chances of coming up higher on Google when somebody searches for something related to your industry.
How do you ‘do’ SEO? Good question. You, basically, give Google what they are looking for.
So, what is Google looking for? Let me take you back a step and it might help explain things. Google make tens of billions of dollars a year selling paid ad that show up when people search for things (like below)
Fortunately (for you) not many people click on the paid ads because they know THEY PAID TO BE THERE and they want the ‘good stuff’ They want, what, to Google is the BEST possible ‘free’ result because people trust Google to not bring them a site that is slow, full of gibberish, not mobile friendly or unrelated to what they looked for.
It’s important to realize that Google isn’t in the business of serving the businesses in the ‘free’ results they are in the business of serving their USERS and they do that by being VERY good at determining what website is the likely best possible result.
Ok, so now we know Google is looking for the best possible result but HOW do they do that? A long ever changing complex algorithm that updated hundreds of times that few people in the world even know all the factors to is the ‘right’ answer but before you give up and quit reading its important to realize two things.
A very successful SEO campaign only requires understanding two things
- We only have to be faster than the ‘other guys’ and from what I have seen so far the competition in the pool service business in Wichita, KS is NOT very strong.
- If you do one thing really well with your website being #1 is easy. That one thing is BRING YOUR CUSTOMER VALUE.
If you think about it if you make it a priority for your website, your social media profiles, your entire online presence focused on bringing the visitors to your site genuine, real value you are GIVING Google what they are looking for.
They are looking for the BEST possible result when it comes to Pool Service. My mission with this article is to help you see how we can do that.
I AM GOING TO TOUCH ON 15 DIFFERENT AREAS THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY KEY WHEN IT COMES TO DOMINATING YOUR NICHE ON GOOGLE. WE WILL BE COMPARING TO SEE HOW GOODE, PERSONAL TOUCH, AND HUMBLE STACK UP AND WHAT OPPORTUNITIES THEY ARE DOING WELL (and what Little Richards can do better)
Of course, any analysis of which pool service company is ranking better than others has to start by looking at the actual websites themselves. There is no point in ranking #1 and driving tons of traffic to your site if you are only converting a very small percentage of those visitors into actual customers.
|If website A gets 400 visitors a month and converts 20% of those into a phone call that is 80 ‘leads’ or opportunities to turn those into customers.
If website B gets 1,200 visitors and only converts 2% of those is 36 leads a month.
I look at 3 things when I look at a website.
Who are you?
Why should I care?
Can I trust you?
What’s next? (we look at this one in the Call to Action section)
Using those criteria lets run through and ‘score’ these 4 websites and see what we come up with.
GOODE POOLS AND SPA – http://www.wichitapools.net/
They are actually using a freebie, do it yourself website builder called Weebly. I can honestly say I have never seen a company rank so well using a platform like that and to me that’s very encouraging. If they can rank so well with such a simple site that’s good news for the folks at Little Richards!
The site is clean and fresh and looks professional. Nice use of white space.
Just real basic, who they are and what they do. No testimonials, not pictures of actual people. Thin content. No blog.
The links to services either take you to the contact page or back to the homepage. Pretty thin and nothing to really see. A handful of pictures and that’s about it.
PERSONAL TOUCH – http://www.personaltouchpoolsupplies.com/
The best thing this site has going for it is the navigation. Unfortunately that’s about the only thing.
Hell of a lot better than most sites with SERVICE and FINANCING and SPECIALS (Those aren’t helpful to Google or users)
I love that they have a video but it’s just 6-8 pages with one images and a short bit of text and that’s IT. Nothing to build trust, make me think these are real people who care about their customers. Nothing to make me feel warm and fuzzy that they will do a good job and do what they say. Would not be at the top of my list if I was looking to have a new pool installed.
The 2nd listing – www.humblelawnandpool.com/ is titled ‘our story’ and no business name.
When I visit the actual site I am greeted this scary site.
Not a good sign for them. This pop up every time I look at a new page of their site.
(To be nice I sent them an email from their site but my guess is they will ignore the message just thinking I am trying to sell them on something)
I get running a seasonal business and wanting to move from a pool website to one that incorporates the ‘lawn’ business but there is a way to do this without DESTROYING what credibility the pool website had built up. This is not it.
I absolutely LOVE that this site has the ‘story’ of the company starting back in 1976. Her son and his friend run it today but this would be SO much more powerful with actual PICTURES. It would help drive this home and make it SO much more ‘relatable’ and authentic.
These are cute but it’s not clear they are meant to be clicked on. There is no ‘home’ button.
When I click on any of these links I am taken AWAY from the Humble website vs them opening in a new tab. Bad idea.
LITTLE RICHARDS – http://www.littlerichardspools.com/
First thing I am VERY happy their site is built in WordPress. This is a very powerful platform and excellent for about 100 reasons when it comes to SEO
Finally, A breath of fresh air. This is what I have been looking for!
This site is really great for a lot of reasons we will get more into as we go along. Very impressed!
In summary as far as actual websites go this is my ‘scoring’ of these 4
WINNER IN THIS CATEGORY? __Hands down Little Richards! _____
MOST IMPORTANT PAGE OF YOUR SITE
Technically this section is part of the website and could be rolled into one but, in my opinion, it’s worth breaking out separately.
Do you have a guess what the absolute most important page of your website is?
Most people assume it’s the home page but it’s not. We install a small piece of code on all our client’s websites that allow us to see an actual heatmap of what people click on when they visit their site (and what they don’t)
It’s astounding. Almost every single client regardless of industry the highest clicked on page is the About Page. People want to do business with people they can relate to. That they feel like they can trust. That can pride in what they do. That have experience. Where better to (hopefully) find that then the ‘About’ page of your website?
The top example is a screenshot of Cambridge family dentistry here in Wichita. The example below it is a heatmap showing how many people click on the ‘about’ page.
If the majority of people who come to your site would click on something on your site that isn’t there that’s a missed opportunity. A good about page does so many things for your visitors and for Google
- Makes a connection to the community when you highlight your team and where they went to school or what they are interested in for example
- You can mention causes that your company is active with or gives to
- Tells a story and helps people who visit your site feel like your business is full of real people who care about their problems
Without dragging this out forever I will just score the different sites real quick.
You don’t know who is who but there are actual pictures and a story – http://www.humblelawnandpool.com/index.html#about
WINNER IN THIS CATEGORY? __Humble wins the day for sure______
What is content? Pretty much anything you can think of that can be ‘consumed’ by the visitors to your website can be considered content. Images, text, video, infographics, Q&A, white paper, case study.
Content, of course, is fundamental to powerful rankings.
You want ALL the content you can get on your website directly related to what you do. This WILL help you rank better, there is no doubt about it. BUT it must bring your visitors genuine, real VALUE.
If you pile content on your website just for rankings this can backfire and have the opposite effect you are shooting for!
What I see ALL the time is this – http://www.humblelawnandpool.com/pool.html
Let’s go back to the very beginning of this post and remember Googles mission is to determine the BEST possible result based on what their users are searching for. In looking at this page is there ANY chance that Google might think when it comes to:
That this page is the BEST possible result for any of these things? No. Not likely.
When the total sum of your content about ‘pool liners’ is this much content – http://www.personaltouchpoolsupplies.com/wichita-ks-pool-liners.htm
I don’t feel very warm and fuzzy that any alarm bells are going off at Google about the greatest piece of content related to ‘pool liners’ is on this site.
See where I said very often SEO is just a matter of being better than the other guy J Sometimes the other guys aren’t even TRYING.
WINNER IN THIS CATEGORY? ___Little Richards is the only one even trying ____
An example of great website content – http://blissbombed.com/11-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-started-my-business/#comment-1299
A blog is the HARDEST thing I try and get my clients to embrace. It is hard. It is a challenge but the rewards are INSANE. Seriously. I guarantee the owners of Little Richards and every other pool company (hell, probably 5,000 businesses right here in Wichita have NO idea of the power of a GOOD blog on their site or they would FIND a way to make it happen if they knew.
Hopefully this quick video (ok, 4 seconds short of 9 minutes) will help explain how good blog posts can be rocket fuel for your business. I am going to make will help communicate the power of fresh, relevant content on your website.
Note, I said FRESH, RELEVANT content. That does NOT mean rehashing some crap you took from a manufacturers website. That does NOT mean paying some clown in another country $6 per article or $20 a week to add ‘fresh’ content to your site.
This will give you a SMALL idea all the different keywords related to ‘pools’ and ‘pool maintenance’ We could have gone MUCH deeper (and do for our clients)
Pretty crazy huh? It’s incredible the length and variety of what people type into Google. Can you believe 20% of the searches on Google, out of 3.5 billion searches a day, have NEVER been searched for before.
That’s why a blog is so important. When you create content around your potential customers that is SO powerful for a variety of reasons
- You are the #1 result with minimal effort and time because they searched for ‘cloudy pool problems’ and you were the ONLY relevant result.
- They clicked on the ONLY good looking (local) result and found genuinely helpful, useful advice. Maybe that advice was enough for them to solve their problem themselves and great. Who are they likely to turn to when they have a problem they can’t solve?
- There is a chance they bookmark or save or share your helpful article or maybe even share with a friend on Facebook (because we made it easy to share by clicking one button)
This is a perfect scenario for a smart local SEO campaign! Fight the smart fight and not the slow costly one!
Let’s move on.
WINNER IN THIS CATEGORY? __Keep going. No winners here_____________
An example of great website content – http://blissbombed.com/11-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-started-my-business/#comment-1299 (add these to each section)
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
On June 11th, 2014 Google rolled out a platform called ‘Google My Business’ this allowed business to go in and basically tell Google who they are, where they are, show them what they do, who does it and a lot more. You can add pictures of the inside and outside of your business. Your product itself, pictures of your staff and a lot more.
This is KEY to showing up in what’s called the ‘3 pack’
This is the whole ball game. Having a complete, verified profile won’t guarantee you will show up in the ‘3 pack’ but I can almost guarantee you won’t without it!
(It’s free and you can do it yourself
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
- 31 reviews
- 16 photos inside and outside and of real (smiling) people
- Complete business details
- Link to Facebook
- Reviews from Facebook
- Busy times
Remember, ranking high is about Google trusting you are the BEST possible result for what you do. Its very easy for them to see what Cambridge Family Dentistry does with this complete of a profile.
WINNER IN THIS CATEGORY? __Goode is the clear winner (and ranking the strongest) ___
- An example of great website content – http://blissbombed.com/11-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-started-my-business/#comment-1299 (add these to each section)
When you can click on something on website A (an image, a piece of text, a video, just about anything and be taken to website B that means website A is ‘linking’ to website B.
To Google the more quality, related, relevant links you have pointing to your website the more strong or authoritative it must be. To Google links are basically votes of confidence.
Once again this is NOT a numbers game and the name of the game is QUALITY not QUANTITY.
This was a HUGE part of my success with getting the Big Sky Party Rentals website to dominate Google. I mean LITERALLY #1 for everything you could think of. We did almost 400k in sales the year before I sold the business and didn’t spend a penny on advertising! (you can read about it here if you wish)
I got links from all KINDS of authoritative sources, especially around Wichita (making a connection to the local community is important in building links.
- We got a link from Wingnuts by exchanging free inflatables on opening night
- We got a link from the Thunder Hockey website by doing something similar
- We got a link from the Police and Fire games because it was a good cause and we gave them a great deal
- We got a link from Carrie Rengers about an article she wrote up about us
- We got a link from the RiverFest by discounting our price a little bit
Think about it from Googles perspective. If you have one party rental company that has a bunch of spammy, low quality links, another that has NO links and another that has links from all those companies listed above and all 3 companies put a bunch of fresh content on their site, maybe a blog post inviting people to come see them at the Air Show or come support the Light the Night deal which site do you think they trust the most?
Links are the foundation that SEO is built on. There is no more important factor.
When we take a look at the link profiles for these 4 companies:
Out totals are a sad state of affairs to be honest. This entire industry, in Wichita at least is SCREAMING for somebody to just take over Google when it comes to pools. These are the BEST Google can find. A handful of links. Google my Business profiles practically empty. Websites with almost NO content on them.
Sometimes it really does come down to just being better than the other guys to literally triple your website traffic (and consequently phone calls, appointments, leads)
16.5 THOUSAND links from 1.3 THOUSAND websites. One of the exciting things we can do for our clients is create a list of every one of these sites pointing to this one (and all the other huge pool companies around the US) and explore this list for opportunities for you!
Just a handful of high quality links can make a world of difference in your rankings and traffic!
SIDE NOTE: In working on this guide I just got a call and it was Jess returning my call to Little Richards from yesterday. We had a GREAT visit. I was really impressed and THESE are the kind of people I love working with! Family run business. Really good at what they do and proud of it. Her dad started the company and brother, her husband and now her kids work in the business.
I hope they are ready for the best year in business they have EVER had because that would happen if they applied all this advice!
THAT SPECIAL SOMETHING
I love coming up with creative ideas for our clients. Something that has the potential to really blow up their traffic, rankings and secure their lead for years to come. A couple we are working on right now:
- We just started working with a popular dog kennel here in Wichita. In doing keyword research for them I realized there is a tremendous amount of searches, right here in Wichita, related to ‘dog parks’ unlike a lot of bigger cities there is NO clear, helpful list of dog parks in Wichita. When we are done with this it will be gorgeous. Complete with maps and directions and pictures and a ton more helpful details. If we do this well it will be easy to rank #1 for this and if we do it well it will get shared, liked, bookmarked, tweeted, etc and in the process build a rich pile of links for our client. This is an excellent way to get links! Provide REAL value first.
- Another project is a body shop that gets the questions “When will my car be ready?” about 25 times a day every day. Commonly insurance is paying the bill but, of course, everybody wants to know when will their car be ready. The challenge is there are a TON of factors at play (the weather, part arriving, backlogs, insurance companies holding things up, the dealership) and its almost impossible to answer that question with any real certainty. We are working on a (hopefully) clever way to help people understand they are on their side and want the car done as quickly as possible but here are some of the factors that we have to overcome. If we do this WELL and share it with body shops around the country there is a chance this could easily result in hundreds of relevant, quality links.
There is so much low hanging fruit when it comes to pools in Wichita there is no need for anything exceptional to be the market leader (online at least).
Citations simply a mention of your business name, address and phone number (whether it includes a link back to your site or not) This is the thousands of directories that are constantly calling and sending messages and harassing you half to death. (they do the same to me)
Most of them are worthless and not worth the money but a little trick to see which ones Google considers relevant to the pool industry you would have to scroll up to the very top of this guide. Remember when we looked at who was ranking well for the big name keywords. Angies List was right up there on every search. That means to Google they consider Angies List an important citation when it comes to pools in Wichita, KS.
If I were going to spend ANY money with any citations it would just that platform and none of the others.
Once again it’s about quality, NOT quantity.
You do NOT want to go on a binge and fill out profiles on 4,000 directories of every size and name and color! This will have the opposite effect you want it to have! The important thing is the big boys in the industry have CONSISTENT information.
What happens a lot of the time is over the years maybe your business moved, you had a part time receptionist who ‘helped’ with some things online, maybe a partner got bought out or the business changed hands or, Heaven forbid, got a different phone number. This can leave a trail of incorrect, incomplete information about the business and once again, SEO is about ‘TRUST’. Google has a hard time trusting a business is the BEST pool company in Wichita if they appear to have 3 different phone numbers, 2 addresses and no profile on industry platforms. For example, if you are a dentist and don’t have a profile on Healthgrades that doesn’t make Google sleep well at night.
HUMBLE – http://www.humblelawnandpool.com/
Same issue with multiple profiles. Meaning there is so much inconsistency its hard to tell if they are separate companies or just one.
WINNER IN THIS CATEGORY? ___Little Richards knocked it out of the park! ____
Reviews are becoming more and more important. To people using the web and to Google. They matter. A lot. This is something else I encourage all my clients to really embrace.
One of our clients. They ran a contest with the service technicians and the winner for a gift certificate to a nice dinner and off early one day!
I could show the folks at Little Richards how to deal with that one terrible review. We had the same issue with Patton and it was a huge pain in the butt but we got it done!
WINNER IN THIS CATEGORY? _We will give it to Goode (begrudgingly) _____
Hopefully this ‘plan of action’ was helpful, informative and helps you.
I am going to wrap this up.
We are at 67 pages before I go back and add a little here and there and send to my writer to ‘clean up’ Hopefully it is very clear there is an enormous list of opportunities when it comes to ranking well for anything and everything related to ‘pool service’ or ‘pool maintenance’. I am very confident that I could (without a doubt) massively increase the rankings, the traffic and the conversions (phone calls) for Little Richards and after talking to Jess on the phone today I would LOVE to make this happen for them!
The field is practically wide open for somebody to come in with a strong, in depth plan of action (like this one) a handful of smart people that know how to implement it (that’s what my team and I do)
We didn’t even look at a long list of high value areas like website speed, mobile friendly, Call to Action, technical aspects, video, or optimizing content!
If you have any questions or would like to get started putting your website to work, I can be reached at 316-285-0729 or my email is firstname.lastname@example.org . I look forward to the opportunity to help your business grow!
All my best,