Marketing for Painting Companies

I typically work with managers and business owners that say things like:

“I’m frustrated that we don’t have enough high quality leads coming in, I feel like  we’re getting too many “tire kicker” type of prospects that only buy on price.”

 

Something else I hear is:

“I have plenty of good leads, but my sales team’s closing rate isn’t good, we used to close 50% or more but now they are churning through leads and only closing 20-30% and I can’t figure out why.”

 

Finally, sometimes I hear:

“My sales IS closing great, but now I’m having problems getting enough labor crews to produce all the work they need done, and my margins are just too tight to pay as much as my crews want to make, so we seem to get stuck with lower quality personnel that are a hassle to work with.”

 

I don’t know your business, so I don’t want to guess, but do any of these things sound like something that is relevant to your situation?

 

 

 

 

Although I sometimes work with companies at the “top of funnel, middle of funnel” phase, I usually find great success with leveraging my marketing and sales experience at the bottom of the funnel to help increase closing rates and margins. In other words, often the best place to start changing your business is not getting more people to know about you, it’s getting more people to trust you.

 

I also find success with something that goes mostly untapped in many companies, working “below the funnel” with your current customer list in developing systems to increase testimonials, referrals, introductions, and repeat buying. The direct result of developing your current customers further is higher margin work, with higher closing rates, for less cost than other lead sources. I do this with a combination of content creation and old school delivery, like email! (whoever thought of such a thing?)

 

These areas of marketing aren’t that “sexy” or “groundbreaking” but they really get the job done. The reason many companies don’t spend time doing them is because it takes manpower to get done, and if everyone is stretched to the limit with what’s going on, it’s hard to justify adding more work onto the office personnel.

 

Here’s a list of questions I’d normally ask you in person to get an idea of what you’re currently doing, and to see what, if any, improvements we could make.

 

  1. What steps do you take from when the phone rings with a new lead, to when the salesman shows up at the house?
  2. What specific information about your company do you provide to new leads prior to sales arriving?
  3. What is your sales crew asking all customers to instill trust in your company?
  4. What is your system for collecting testimonials? Are you happy with it?
  5. What is your system for getting referrals, and is everyone doing the system?
  6. What is the system for getting introductions to other leads, and strategic partners?
  7. What is your system for developing strategic partners for your business and nurturing them so they don’t forget you?
  8. Do you have a system for co-marketing with strategic partners?
  9. Do you have a system for remarketing to past customers, with either additional services they may not know you do, or with repeat maintenance services?

 

If any of this makes sense, please feel free to email me or call me.

5 Essential Marketing Tools for Painting Companies

By on December 21, 2013

By Rich Littlefield

5 Essential Marketing Tools for Painting CompaniesHave you ever wondered, “What kind of marketing tools for painting companies will help us get ranked better in local search? What keywords should I be trying to target? What are my competitors doing that I should be doing online?” If you’ve worried about anything like this, this guide is for you.

Stumbling through the dark without a map isn’t many peoples’s idea of fun. Great business owners know that success comes from knowing your numbers and then being able to make good decisions based on the facts, not on a guess, or just your gut feeling.

The problem is that when it comes to marketing your painting business it’s easy to get confused about what’s really working, and what isn’t. There is so much information to keep track of, and so much competing information on the Internet, it can seem impossible to keep track of. Even when you get pretty comfortable with some parts of your marketing, you have a business to run, and things change so quickly with technology, there’s always something else to stay on top of.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a monthly system of marketing tools that you could walk through to get you all the most important information on your marketing?

 

I thought you would like that.

 

That’s why I put this guide together, and arranged them in order of importance as you work your way up (or scroll down) the “optimizing” ladder. This is more than just a “Best of” list, I’m including instructions on what report you need to get from each one, so that you can do them once, save them if that tool allows it, and have them done every month.

Putting this data together regularly will allow you to spot trends, measure performance, and see what activities you’re doing are worth it, and which ones you should ditch. Let’s get started!

 5 Essential Marketing Tools for Painting Companies

Table of Contents
Getlisted
Google Places
Google Analytics
Keyword Planner
Open Site Explorer

Let’s start out with the subject of how you are ranking in your local search results. You probably already know all about citations, and how important they are, because of articles like this, and this.  Also, Yext is pushing hard to contact and convince business owners that they need to use them to manage their citations, and other local directory related information. While Yext does offer a service beyond just getting citations, it’s something you need to decide AFTER you have some more info, right?

Here’s the first place you should stop when it comes to your local rankings.

Getlisted

This is an incredibly easy tool to use, although some of the work it leads to is more difficult. Getlisted has most of the major data aggregators on them that are important to most businesses. You shouldn’t skip any of these, but as a contractor, there’s probably 10-15 more that I would also include, such as Angies List, Brownbook, Kudzu, and others.

Make sure that you start with these major data aggregators on Getlisted.org, and keep track of the data you enter. I have a template you can use to store all the information on each site, like the password, email used, etc. as well as your progress on each one. I’ve played around with color coding the ones that make sense for contractors, so work on all the colored ones first.

Marketing tool for painting companies

Getlisted.org is a great free tool for checking your local citations.

It’s always important to understand the principle behind what Google is trying to accomplish with a tactic, so you don’t get sideways. The point of citations is that they show the vitality of a business.

Take advantage of the fact that “getting citations” on sites like Angies List and Kudzu is also a way to showcase your work with pictures, videos, etc. Don’t skip through doing this, because you are so focused on getting citations done.

Many times if you search for a business that has a strong community presence, but a weak website, you will see many listing in the top ten for the name of the business in the data directories, as citations. That’s ok, but the opposite can happen, too. You may have a strong website, but haven’t been in business very long, so it doesn’t look like there’s much going on as far as your business.

One of the most important things you can do with Getlisted.org is check on your Google Places listing. Getlisted will show you if you have claimed your listing or not, and the status of your reviews, pictures, and photo’s. It makes it easy to check on the major data sites, but it would be nice if down the road someone came up with a monitoring tool that you could have check the web regularly and warn you of changes to your citations, and also review, photo’s and other areas where you might be losing some opportunities.

If you don’t mind paying the money, Yext might be a solution for you, but keep in mind that with all the “locking your listing down” talk and being able to “instantly push” information out to some sites, they only cover about 40 directories, and some of them pull from each other. I don’t really think the one size fits all solution they have is the best for contractors trying to rank locally, as local citations that fit your industry and locale are more valuable.

 

Here’s the Action Steps for Getlisted and claiming citations:

 

1. Use Getlisted.org to get 2 citations done each week. After that you are simply waiting on verification from them. This is a longer process than you might think, so give it a couple months to get them verified, and a few more before the information filters out and changes.

2. Use the template I have to make a priority checklist, and keep track of all the important information you have right on the template. I would keep the description of the business there, hours, the official NAP, the website address, (always with the www.yourcompany.com) don’t leave the www. off the beginning, and a good description of where you left off, so it can be visited monthly or quarterly.

If you want to learn more about citations, how to get them, how not to get them, and the best kind to have, let’s talk! 


 

 

Jump to the top of the page
Getlisted
Google Analytics
Keyword Planner
Open Site Explorer

 

Google Places for Business

This is the main home spot for either getting started with Google Places page, or checking in on it to see if it’s updated with the right information. The reason I put this here right behind Getlisted.org is because many times Getlisted can show you that your Google Places listing needs work, or hasn’t been claimed.

With all the different Google products meshing together right now, it might be useful to just clear the air a little about what is what, and what’s important.

A Google Places listing is not something that you own, or have any real control over. You can claim “managership” (is that a word?) of it, but Google still has the final say over what goes on it, and can change information at any time. That’s why it’s important to make sure your citations are all consistent and being cleaned up before start changing anything on your Google Places listing. If you don’t, you might change something on your Google Places listing, and then it might change back if they find opposing information.

Here is a screenshot of a Claimed Google Places listing that hasn’t been connected or upgraded to a Google Plus page. 

Marketing tools for painters

This shows a Google Places listing, which is going to be merged with Google Plus for Business soon.

 

A Google Plus for Business listing is your Google Plus page for your business, and you do have control over what get’s put on here, much more so than your Places page.

Here is a Verified Google Plus Business page. If you look at the circular profile picture with the cabin in it, just to the lower right there is a little shield with a check mark that lights up green when you mouse over it on an actual page. This shows that a Verified Google Places page was connected to this Google Plus page, and its all been verified.

Great free marketing tool for painters.

Nice colorful Google Plus Business page.

 

Here’s the quirky part. As I mentioned above, after you claim your Places page, and your Plus Business page is created, you need to connect them and control them all from your Plus Business page. Here’s the 3 easy steps to getting them connected. 

Please first make sure you follow these criteria:

  • You must have verified your business in your Places account.

  • Your Places for Business email address should also have a  Google+ profile.

  • Your page must be in a category that is eligible for Google+.

So basically make sure the email you used on Google Places also has a Google Plus profile.

 

After you connect them, you’ll have more of a say over your Places page, because it will essentially vanish, and the link in your local listing will instead take people to your Plus Business page, which you can customize with your logo, a header image, posts, video’s, pictures, reviews, and more.

Until you get this all together, you may as well not exist in Google’s eyes. You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t have this done, so make sure you check this off your list.

I know it might seem like this is just another social media channel you have to manage, that you might not even use yet, but there is a great reason to put some effort into this.

Having a Google Plus page allows your clients and partners to +1 your business page. When they do, you will rank higher in search results when they look for your keywords. You will also rank higher when their connections search for your keywords, too. 

 

Action Steps for Google Places:

1. Get your Google Places page verified.

2. Create your Google Plus Business page.

3. Use the same email address on both, and follow the steps in the link above to connect them.

4. Pimp out your Google Plus business page. Load up some great photo’s, connect your Youtube video’s to your business page so people can watch the video’s from that page.

5. Make sure you get some reviews by emailing every client at the end of the job, and asking them to write a review, click your +1 button, and follow you.

If you don’t have time, or are tired of trying to figure out how to work with Google, you can get a free marketing review of your Google Places page and more from me. 

Jump to the top of the page
Getlisted
Google Places
Keyword Planner
Open Site Explorer

Google Analytics

Do you want to know for sure how many people are coming to your website each month? Would it help you to know what pages they like, what ones they don’t, and which ones make them convert and call you? Google Analytics will tell you all that, and much more, even in a basic view.

I know, listing Google Analytics as a free tool might almost seem like cheating, right? However, if you’re one of the thousands of painting company owners that aren’t getting a monthly report of your website activity, you need to know what you’re missing. After all, how can you really make decisions about content marketing, adding to or taking something off the website, or anything else without the data to make a good decision?

Google Analytics is pretty easy to have set up, you can probably do it yourself, and they give you several options. One thing that I’ve seen happen a lot is that business owners will think the Analytics has been set up, because they set up a Google Analytics account, but the web guys have never followed through and installed the code on the website.

To check that out, click here and go to Google Analytics, log in with your email address you set it up with, and take a look at the first report. If you have a flat line, you either aren’t hooked up, or your website is badly in need of help. It should look something like this if its working.

Marketing tools for painters, Google Analytics

Google Analytics Audience Overview

The cool thing is that if you don’t have much time, you can set up a custom dashboard by clicking a button at the top of almost every report. If you do, it will look something like this.

 

Marketing tool for painters, Google Analytics

Lot’s of good info here for a busy business owner!

 

You’re probably still thinking, I just don’t have the time!! How about if you could get these reports on your phone?

You guessed it, there’s an app for that, both Android and Apple.

I showed you the screenshots, but what do you do with the information? Here’s the report, and what you should evaluate about each one.

New Visitors: Change the date range on the upper right, and check your stats for last month, quarter, year. See if you are drifting down, or rising. Of course, there’s always seasonal changes you’ll notice. Here’s a few I’ve noticed for painting companies.

Starting in January, there’s usually a spike in traffic after the holidays are over. Traffic will drift down until the temperatures jump above 60 degree’s, and then you’ll get a big spike. In Georgia, that’s usually between March 15 and April 15. Traffic will keep high until August, where you’ll get a big drop just before the kids go back to school. After they’ve been in school a couple weeks, the traffic will shoot up again, but then keep tapering down closer and closer toward the holidays. Traffic will be really low the week of Christmas until the 1st of the year, and then it starts all over again.

So, if the traffic is so seasonal, how do you know if you’re progressing year over year or not? You can go to the date range box in the top right corner, and check the box, “Compare with previous period”, whether thats a week, month, quarter, or year. Do that, and you can look at your last matching period, which takes out the seasonal variations.

How about making sure how many of your visitors are really good prospects? Are you getting lots of traffic, but no calls?

Check out what may be happening by going to the GEO tab on the left. Here’s a shot of the US, showing most of the traffic. When you mouse over each area, a box will pop up and tell you how many new visitors came from that area, in that date range.

Google Analytics Geo report marketing tool

Here’s the world at your feet, with your biggest traffic sources the dark blue.

 

Let’s drill down to get some better information for our local painting business.

Google Analytics marketing tool

National level Geo report, showing concentration in Georgia.

Now we can see that most of the traffic is coming from Georgia, which is good. The Florida state is a little darker, too, because this company serves a resort area where a lot of the homes are owned by people in Florida. Don’t forget, you can see the exact number from each state when you mouse over it.

Here’s the final level of detail, showing where in the state people are visiting from.

Marketing tools, State level

This is a great level of detail. Even small towns show up and give you insight where you are ranking and attracting traffic.

Alright, you know I love screenshots, but is this important for more than just the COOL factor?

It sure is. Since Google no longer gives you the keywords people searched for to land on your website, you need to gather information from other places to measure your progress. Using these reports let’s you check your traffic at a state level, and even a city level if you want to. Simply click the export button at the top left of the report, and it will compile it out for you in Excel.

After a little tweaking to highlight the top row, and the totals row, it looks like this:

Marketing tool for local search

Local report in Excel

The nice thing about this report is that it shows you only the relevant information. It has the visitors, the page views, bounce rate, and time on the site for each city. If you were going to look at only one report each month, this would be my pick.

Action Steps for Google Analytics:

1. Make sure your’s is connected to your website, and verify that you have access to it.

2. Pull your Local report like above this way. Click Geo, click Location. Click the US, then click your state, then click Export, and send it to Excel an .xls file. If you get all your work from one state, you’re done, otherwise, do it for each state, exporting each one. Then copy and paste the information into one file so it’s easier to read.

3. Select the columns by clicking on the A column and dragging across the top. Go back to the A column, and drag the edge until its big enough to read. All the columns will jump to the same size at once.

4. Click on the 1 Row, right where the 1 is. Go up to Fill, and make it yellow or whatever color you like. Then, click on the View tab, and go to Freeze Panes. When you click that, and the menu drops down, choose the middle one, Freeze Top Row. This will allow you to scroll down the page, and keep the top row there so you know what each column means.

This report will let you keep your thumb on the pulse of your digital marketing efforts, from a high level view.

You’ll know if the website, and your content marketing efforts are getting better, or worse.

You’ll be able to tell if you’re becoming more interesting and relevant if your bounce rate drops.

You also might start seeing more time spent on each page, as people actually have something to read and watch, (if you embed video on your site).

All of this will be pulled just from your local area, so you don’t get lot’s of conflicting information that confuses things.

If you want me to create a report like this from your site, let me know and I’ll send you the steps you need to take so I can get the information back to you. 

 

Jump to the top of the page
Getlisted
Google Places
Google Analytics
Open Site Explorer

Google Keyword Planner

Building on what you just learned about Google Analytics, the Google Keyword Planner is a powerful tool to help you look into the mind of your prospects.

One of the hardest things to do is know how your prospects are thinking and searching for you. It’s common for us as painting contractors to optimize our whole site for a certain phrase, like “painting contractor {city}” and then find out later that it’s not even how people search for us. Basic mistake like this show you how important it is to learn to do keyword research. Even more critical to realize is that all of the clients I’m talking about had a “SEO” guy working for them to put the site together, and they didn’t get any good advice from them, because the SEO person was asking the contractor what to optimize for.

Make sure when you hire someone to do SEO on your site, that they are bringing more to the table that knowing how to put the keywords in the right spots, like the title tag and URL and H1 tag. There is a lot more to doing good SEO than repeating a phrase over and over throughout your entire website.

Let’s take a look at Google’s Keyword planner to see how we can put it to good use, and get some insights from it. Please keep in mind, some of the things I’m sharing here are part of my “Secret Sauce” and I really debated even touching on these points, because I wasn’t sure about putting them out into the public. However, I believe in sharing everything your prospects want to know, and I think the benefits outweight the possibility of harm, so I’m going to share them with you.

First, you need to have a Google Adwords account, which is free. Then you can use the Keyword Planner tool.

Open up the Adwords Account page after you’re all set up, and click over on the “Tools and Analysis” tab at the top. It will drop down a menu that you can select Keyword Planner from, near the bottom.

Now, you have the choice to “search for new keyword and adgroup ideas” the top choice on the Keyword planner tool.

This will pop open a box, like this:

Keyword marketing tools

Starting point for Keyword Planner

I use “painting services” as the product or service many times, but you can also use house painting, or exterior house painting, etc, to change the results you get at the end. Keep a list of different “seed” services you use, and see what different results you get.

Next, you can enter a landing page. If you want to base the words on what you already have going on your site, put yours in here.

  • A really good strategy is to use a competitors page as the landing page to see what phrases they are optimized for.

 

  • Another great strategy to get some new ideas is to find a forum of homeowners that are talking about painting and home improvement, and use it as the landing page. Google will scan the site, and pull phrases that appear often and generate similar keyword phrases. A DIY forum is great for this because people there are asking questions without fear of being sold something, so you get different kinds of questions and keywords than you might usually get.

I leave the last box open, and don’t usually worry about filling in the product category, it doesn’t seem to help the results. If you’ve had different results, please let me know!

Click Get Ideas, and you’ll end up at the results page. The tab will be set on Ad Group Ideas, but here’s where the site gets less useful. You can only show 100 keywords at a time, and the page is locked into place, so you can only scroll the small window in the middle. Forget that! Let’s get all the information out and into some place we can really play with it.

It doesn’t matter what tab you highlight before you export, the information is the same. Click the Export button on the right side of the keyword tab, it will give you the option to Export as an Excel file, choose that one, and save in this format:

{service phrase}, {landing page website} {regional, national}

It will look like this: painting services, paintingcompany, national

You’ll see why this is a good idea later, when you start generating lots of reports, and comparing different ones. One quick note, you need to leave the .com off the end of the website, it won’t work to put that in the file name, it does something weird.

Now, open your file in Excel. It will look like this.

Keyword Planner marketing tool

You can’t work with data like this!

Let’s get it cleaned up. I’m going to shorten the details on this, since I covered it above, and you probably have someone that can easily figure it out if they see what you’re looking to get to, so I’m going to post it below all formatted, with a list of the changes. If you have trouble making it happen, email me and I’ll hook you up with the details.

Standardize column width.

Freeze and fill top row.

Conditional format the monthly searches column, use bar graphs.

Conditional format the competition column, use Color Scales, More Rules, and change the lighter color to pure white.

Highlight all four columns, and Sort and Filter, Custom Sort. Select the AdGroup column in the box, and sort A to Z. This will group some of the keywords you DON’T want, like ones based on Atlanta, or Denver, or other different kinds of phrases that are similar.

Scroll the whole list, and delete any rows that refer to locations not near you, car painting, or any other phrases that got in there that have nothing to do with painting. Leave in phrases about ideas, tips, etc, they might not be something you’ve used before, but they do fit into house painting.

Now, highlight all 4 columns again, and go to Sort and Filter, Custom Sort. Select the Monthly Searches as the sorting column, and sort from High to Low.

Look at the first few high search keywords. If they are really generic, delete them. Having the really high search query words in your report throws the view out of whack, since everything is shown with the highest number filling the cell completely, which makes lots of the smaller ones almost disappear.

By now, it should look something like this:

keyword report tool

Here’s what a real keyword report should look like.

This is the view I use most often. Working from the top, you can see two things easily. What people search for the most, and the level of competition for each keyword phrase. The darker the orange box on the far right, the less competition for that phrase.

Now, that might tell you that its a bad phrase to go after, or it might show you opportunities for capturing lots of traffic easier.

Note: I’m going from the perspective of using content marketing to attract prospects to your site, and then nurture them with some automated marketing to bring them to the point of hiring you. Although I recommend going after the “buying phrases” as well, there’s a lot of opportunity further up the marketing funnel to bring people in and start nurturing the relationship.

 

There are a few things you might notice.

1. The Ad Group “Keywords like: House Painter” has a lot of high volume searches, and some are lower in competition than you would think.

2. There are several very high search volume phrases that are clearly people that WILL buy, but not just yet, like “painting ideas” and “interior paint colors”. What are you doing to capture traffic on these low competition phrases that have all this traffic? Would it make sense to help your prospective customers on their “color consultation” before they call you? Could you do this in a way that after getting a lot of great information, they are asked to download the rest?

3. Some words that we as painters use a lot, aren’t searched very much at all in comparison to other phrases. The one that really got me, the “Residential” Ad Word Group. Remember, this is a national report, and those numbers are really low for volume, but most are in the high 90′s for competition!

4. In several areas, there are high search volumes about paint colors, and other phrases that are similar, like “exterior paint colors”, “interior paint colors” and so forth. Do you think it makes sense for painters to be learning how to use Pinterest, Houzz, and maybe even Instagram?

5. One final note about keywords that we might think of is that prospects think a lot about the type of surface that is going to be painted. This is more of a regional thing, but do some research on your own around the words vinyl siding, aluminum siding, brick, stucco, lap siding, cedar siding, cedar shakes, and on and on.

What to take away from the keyword research discussion? 

Think like a prospect.

Give them what they want, when they want it.

Attract people that are just starting the search. 

Action Steps for the Keyword Planner:

1. Get your account opened.

2. Download a report or two into Excel and format them up like I showed you.

3. Make a list of 10-20 hot prospects you haven’t talked about on your website before.

4. Start creating content about those phrases, making each page high quality, authoritative, and original.

If you’d like help with this, I do a Keyword Analysis to introduce prospects to my services. Click below to get your free marketing reviews. 

Jump to the top of the page
Getlisted
Google Places
Google Analytics
Keyword Planner

Open Site Explorer

Have you ever looked up a competitors site and it didn’t look as good as your’s, you know they aren’t as good in business, but they are consistently outranking you? Doesn’t that drive you nuts? Here’s how to see if they are getting ahead with this critical step that you might be missing.

Links are still a huge way Google uses to see if your content is good enough for others to share it. No doubt you’ve heard some talk about backlinks, linkbuilding. For a long time it was really common on the forums to create an anchor text link in your signature like “Painting Contractor Chicago”, and use some HTML to link it to your website. The idea there was that Google valued inbound links with an exact keyword match to your site, and doing that on a forum made the link come from a domain that wasn’t yours. Also, if you had been on a forum for years, and you changed the signature, it would change all of them at once, and you’d get a big push in ranking to your site.

That did work for a while, even I did it. Google is pretty quick to catch “tricks” like that though, and they have devalued forum links a lot, and some even say that those could hurt you. Why did they devalue them?

They were using links as a measure of how much other people like you, not how much you think of yourself. For that reason, any form of referencing yourself in a link is frowned upon from Google, and they try to police activities like that. Realistically, it takes a lot of abuse to attract personal attention from Google, so I’d be shocked if a contractor ever got hit by something like that.

However, Google does make specific adjustments in the algorithms when widespread abuse is detected, and they are determined to keep the search results unbiased.

 

So, why did I even bring you to this tool?

Let’s think about what “real” link-building is supposed to be about. It’s designed to show how connected you are to your industry, what others think about your content on your site, and who are the people that think you’re awesome.

Google is actually doing you a favor if you follow their instructions, because they are going to “force” you to be nice to other people, participate in your industry, get known around the community, and as you do those things, you’ll get good inbound links.

I know you don’t have the time to spend going out and doing all this in person, so how can you scale that to make it realistic? Keep in mind that you don’t need hundreds of links to rank better. It just depends on what your competitors are doing, and everything else being equal, you just need to be better than them. Now we’re talking!

Open Site allows you to search your competitors sites, and see who is linking to them, giving you good ideas of where to get links also. Let’s take a look at this great tool, and maybe you’ll get some ideas you can put into use quickly. To show you how it works, I’m going to put a few random painters websites in the tool, since it operates on a public level, I’m not digging anything up that you can’t do in moments yourself. This will let you see the differences, and where it affects their ranking.

Link Building marketing tools

Open Site Explorer is a great way to waste a few hours, be careful!

 The chart above might be confusing, so here’s a couple important points.

1. The Atlanta-Decatur branch of Certapro is a sub-domain of the main site, www.certapro.com. As such, it benefits from the incredible ranking power the main site domain has, which you can see at the very bottom.

2. Internal AND external links can pass link equity. This means that you should structure your site in a way that allows the smaller, more specific pages that are easier to rank for on really specific keywords phrases like, “exterior cedar siding painting in Atlanta”, to point up to more generic, but more important pages, like “exterior painting services-Atlanta”. If you have 5-10 specific pages pointing up to the same Hub page, they can pass link equity up to the Hub page, and help it rank higher.

At the top of the report, you’re looking at the PAGE metrics, or the links just to the home PAGE.

The next level down is the SUBDOMAIN report, and you can see that still, a lot of other sites still have higher numbers of links that the Certapro local subdomain.

The final level is where Certapro is dropping the hammer on the competition. This is the DOMAIN report, which includes every link Certapro.com has, almost 500,000 links.

This points out how important it is to have good internal linking, since Certapro is basically pumping up the subdomain for the Atlanta site. The Atlanta site lags behind most of the others, except for the fact that it is part of the Certapro marketing system.

Before you get completely discouraged, keep in mind that we are mostly concerned about local search results, and there are a lot of different factors that go into that. Reports indicate that industry links are more valuable than random, non-industry links. There is a definite difference between good links and bad links.

For example, some things that might be considered a bad link out of context, like a painter getting listed in a pharmacy directory; but it could be good if it’s a painting company getting listed in a local directory of service providers with other painters.

Also, the Domain Authority and Page Authority of the link coming back to you plays a part in how much “link juice” you get from it, or how powerful it is.

Here’s a short list of some of the good link sources you can look for and get for a painting business.

Local newpapers and blogs. Try sponsoring or contributing services for worthy causes, as they often give a list of sponsors and have good links back to you.

Local directory’s for your type of painting services.

Larger national directories like Angieslist, Kudzu, and others can give pretty good links, but a high domain authority can be tempered down by a lower Page Authority with sites like these. This is definitely not a shortcut to success, just something you shouldn’t leave out.

Authority sites like .gov and .edu generally are good sites to get links from. Some goverment sites have directories of approved contractors for reference. If you’re approved to work in any kind of government work, see if they have a place to list you.

Education sites may be harder to get links on without getting spammy. If you can’t get an Edu link naturally, through some kind of charity event you do with them, or volunteering to speak to college students about the opportunities with a contracting business, or some other way of developing a relationship, then don’t worry about it.

Action Steps for Open Site Explorer:

1. Find 4 other large, high-ranking painting companies, and put their sites in next to yours on OSE.

2. Use the tabs and go to Inbound links. If you are analyzing another painting contractor that’s not part of a franchise, and just has a stand alone website, this is the best setting.

Open Site Marketing tool

Structure the sentence like this to get the relevant links.

3. If you are analyzing a Certapro type website, you can do this one, but then change the third sentence to just the sub-domain to get more local results.

4. Make a note of the types of links and locations of links that are working for your competitors and develop a strategy to use what’s working for them.

If you need more help with this, send me the name of your 4 biggest competitors, and I’ll do a review of your site, shot on a video that you can save and watch again as necessary. 

 

These tools will get you well on your way to being truly informed about what you are doing with your website, and being able to make good decisions on what to do next.

Going forward, consider these as your monthly action steps after you have used each of these tools:

1. Check your Google Analytics data monthly, and see which keywords are bringing traffic to your site.

2. Use the Google Keyword Planner to find similar phrases, and create pages that target the longer ones.

3. Create content that targets the main keyword groups you’re going after, including a really good Cornerstone piece every 3 months or so.

4. Use the cornerstone content to try and get links, people are more likely to link to a large, authoritative piece of content.

In the next large piece I’m putting together, I’m focusing on tools that help with ongoing marketing tasks, like tracking, planning, creating content, and measuring.

Do you have any favorites you would like me to include? Please send me any suggestions you have!

If you’re interested in learning how to use Screaming Frog, Moz Analytics, and Oktopost to manage your marketing like a boss, sign up here. 

Finally, please link to this page if you find it useful, and Share it on Google+.

Jump to the top of the page
Getlisted
Google Places
Google Analytics
Keyword Planner
Open Site Explorer

Setting up Gmail to check another email address

By on June 14, 2014

Several of my clients have asked for a walk through to set up Gmail to check another email address, like the ones I set them up with that match their domain name. Here you go! What you’ll need: You’ll need

Ross Gordon, CEO of Craftjack, How to Effectively Use a Contractor Lead Service

By on December 3, 2013

  By Rich Littlefield How to Effectively Use a Contractor Lead Service Can you really get any benefit from using a contractor lead service, or are they just for suckers and those who are just starting out in business? What

6 Big Content Marketing Mistakes that Most Contractors Make

By on November 15, 2013

6 Big Content Marketing Mistakes that Most Contractors Make By Rich Littlefield “I don’t think this content marketing thing is doing anything for us!” Maybe you’ve said that after sticking with it for  a few months. You’ve been consistent, and

How can content marketing help my sales team close more sales?

By on November 7, 2013

By Rich Littlefield Contractors ask me this all the time, because they are trying to increase their closing ratio, or get people to call them. Content marketing works great at these two points of the sales cycle, the conversion point,