by Nick Gromicko, CMI®
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
~~ George Berkeley, philosopher (1685-1753)
Here are some simple SEO tips that inspectors should understand and use every day. From online ads to blog posts and contributions to message boards, most of these suggestions will work for you with very little effort on your part. It's the kind of marketing that you don't really have to think about, once you start doing it.
- Put your location in your text. Say “Cheyenne, Wyoming” instead of just “our location.”
- Add your local market region to every page. By tracking IP addresses, Google knows where their users are searching from and customizes their search results accordingly. Therefore, it is important that Google knows where your service area is. Put your address, market suburbs, market subregions, satellite cities, and metro areas on every page of your website. If you serve more than one town or city, include them all. Even better, add geographically-specific phrases about your market area within your website text.
- Build keywords, such as your local city, into your page URLs (web page addresses).
- Ensure that your name, address and phone number (NAP) are consistent, and that these citations appear at the bottom of every page of your website and your message board signature.
- Use InterNACHI's free local (NAP) SEO tool.
- Take advantage of InterNACHI's free search engine submission service.
- Title your navigation links with optimization in mind. For example: "Contact the Inspector" instead of "Contact Us."
- Add new content to your pages on a regular basis. Content freshness counts for much as search engines cycle through their search algorithms. InterNACHI offers free inspection-related articles for this purpose.
- Contrary to what you may have learned, don’t try to stuff your text with keywords. It won’t work. Search engines know if your use of a term is abnormally high because people have tried to game the system, and this practice is a red flag. They prefer natural language content.
- Get your inspection-related vendors and suppliers to link to your site. InterNACHI already does this on behalf of its members.
- If you have a client who owns a big company with a popular website, ask if s/he will to link to your site. One single, authoritative and high-traffic site (like InterNACHI) can do a lot more for you than a dozen poor-quality links.
- Be sure links to your site and within your site use your keyword phrases. In other words, if your target is Cheyenne home buyers, then your link title should be “Cheyenne home buyers” instead of “Click here.”
- Title your images using relevant phrases, such as “Photo of inspector inspecting a roof in Cheyenne” instead of “Picture of me.”
- Mention the specific ancillary inspection services you offer in your first few paragraphs of text, and then try to work them into a few other paragraphs (at least).
- Place keyword-rich captions under your images (and as screentips), just like newspapers do.
- Be aware that private domain-name ownership may increase a search engine’s belief that you are a spammer.
- Renew your domain name a few years into the future. It shows search engines that you are keeping your domain name.
- Post frequently on InterNACHI's message board. At nearly 2 million posts, InterNACHI's message board is the largest accumulation of inspection-related material on the Internet.
- Make inspection-related posts in the open forums of InterNACHI's message board so that they're accessible to everyone, including consumers and search engines.
- Make sure your message board signature contains a live link to your inspection business website and NAP. This instantly gives you a lot of link juice (proportional to how many posts you've written).
- Create an online video. Google owns YouTube. And think about your script from a search engine optimization standpoint. According to Google, their new audio indexing system uses speech-recognition technology to transform speech into text and then ranks videos by spoken keyword relevance, YouTube metadata, and freshness.
- Make sure the privacy settings of your website allow it to be visible to everyone.
- If you are a Certified Master Inspector (CMI)®, make sure you exploit this custom ebook that has your contact information embedded throughout.
- If you offer commercial property inspections, join the Certified Comercial Property Inspectors Association – CCPIA – where your inspection company will be listed at ccpia.org/find-an-inspector
- Make a modest (even $20) donation to Cozy Coats for Kids, a registered charity supported almost solely by the home inspection industry. When you make a donation, your inspection company logo and live website link will be permanently displayed at cozycoatsforkids.org/donors