|> E&O/GL Insurance for Home Inspectors
Competitive Rates, Broad Coverage,
Free Risk Management, online inspection
support for tough questions, discounts
on education and more...
Professional Coverage, Competitive Pricing
Shop OREP today!
>> Editor’s Note: To help you stay up-to-date and connected, OREP/Working RE has established a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Discussion and Resource Page where you can share your thoughts, experiences, advice and challenges with fellow inspectors. See what Inspectors are saying here!
“SEO done expertly can make you stand out from the pack. This is especially important when you have a lot of competition in the area. In today’s world, most people are finding the services they need using a search engine.”
How to Show Up When Someone Searches Google for a Home Inspector
By Ian Robertson, Inspector Toolbelt
Anyone who has their own website probably has a general idea of what SEO (search engine optimization) is. In fact, it’s quite likely that you have received several calls, emails, or comments on your website from people promising to improve your SEO beyond your wildest dreams. You probably realize such promises are mostly empty talk, but with the amount of confusion there is about SEO and how to improve it, such scams are often successful.
Search engine optimization basically means giving your website the best chance possible of being found by people searching for your services—i.e., home inspections in your area.
Do you and your business really need to worry about SEO? The short answer is yes, you do! How easily people find you, and how good you look online directly affects your business. One simple way to find out how you rank is to Google your own business by searching for “Home inspectors near me” or “Home inspectors in (the town where you operate).” If your business doesn’t show up on the first couple of pages, a potential client is not very likely to find you.
What a search engine looks for is a webpage that best answers the question that was posed—in this case, a home inspector in the area. If your SEO is done right, your page should fulfill the need of the person doing the search. When it comes to SEO though, it is important that your company profile be widely accessible and consistent. SEO done poorly could end up being worse than having none at all. Here’s how SEO for a home inspector can be done right.
Look Through the Eyes of a Client
Let’s say you were doing a hypothetical search for car mechanics nearby, you wouldn’t want to see results for those in the next state, right? You also expect to find some contact information listed right there for you to use. Maybe even some ratings to help you see how good they are. Google uses the information to best match the search along with the website’s overall reputation over the years. In most cases, the person doing the search will find what they are looking for on the first page and then stop looking. Google also pays attention to whether or not a person clicks on the results provided, whether they come back to search again after they go to a site, and other online behavior to help determine the quality of the search results.
One way for you to ensure your SEO improves is by offering people what they want—specifically. While you might think it is better to show up in every search a person does for a home inspector, this might mean people will find you but leave your website right away if you are not in their area, say. Instead of helping your SEO, this is going to hurt it.
One important update that you should do to your online presence, as soon as possible, is to go to Google My Business, and start an account if you don’t have one, and populate it with as much data as you can. Your Google Business Page is almost as important as your website when it comes to SEO. This is what people will see when they do a quick search. So having accurate and complete data available will give them a good idea of what your business does at just a glance. Add some reviews and you are off to a good start. While you might think having a few negative reviews, sprinkled along with the good ones, is a worst-case scenario for your business, it is even worse if there are no reviews at all.
It’s a good idea to be aware of what a prospective client will see when they visit your website. Is it easy for them to schedule an appointment? The majority of the visitors on your website are going to want an option to schedule online. Our free scheduler can make it much easier for you to convert website visitors to home inspection clients.
A Good Website Helps SEO
At our last check, there were over one billion websites on the Internet! If you want a client to find your specific site, it is important that your SEO is on par. Internet search engines look for very specific data when they are scouring sites for relevant results to answer the question asked. Something that helps is if the data you provide can be verified from other sources, also known as citations. These are online profiles that can be created by you or by someone you have hired to do your SEO. Consistency is key when it comes to citations. If you have your address spelled slightly differently on each profile, or if you have a different phone number that pops up every now and then, this can hurt you.
Another beneficial aspect to your website is its longevity. This is one reason why SEO is a long-term game. A newly created website just doesn’t carry as much weight with the search engines as one that has been established for a long time. While some might feel like they should “start over from scratch” at some point, this will set them back further in the SEO game. It’s better to use the same website domain name when freshening it up. In other words, if you want a new website—great! Just keep the old domain name. Having fresh content added to your website regularly (like a blog) will help your reputation with search engines as well, but only if it is original content, not some article you copied from another website. Copied content will seriously hurt your SEO.
The design of your website will need to serve two different types of visitors, human and search engines. While it is important to have a beautiful and responsive site to present to anyone who comes to visit, a search engine looks for different things. Responsiveness is beneficial both when it comes to the user experience as well as how a search engine would rate it, but it is far from the only thing. Every single object you add to a website can have metadata that a search engine will find and use. So optimize for both search engines and people—because they both matter.
(story continues below)
When Visitors Are Using a Cellphone
It is vitally important to know what devices your visitors use when they come to your website. I’m sure you have seen websites that are made only for a desktop experience. When you open them up on a smaller screen, such as a phone, nothing fits and you have to scroll left and right and up and down just to find what you need. On top of that, they might have a lot of videos and high-resolution pictures that make the site slow to load on mobile networks. This will not only make prospective clients turn away, but it is also going to affect how you rank for a search engine.
Modern websites are made to be flexible enough to work on any type of device. The experience should be similar across them all, and a competent website developer knows how to make this happen. Google has also switched to mobile-first indexing, which means they take your mobile site into account first and foremost.
If you are interested in using Inspector Toolbelt to create a professional website, you can learn more about our home inspection website design services.
SEO is SLOW—Patience Pays Off
One of the common questions we get when someone is looking for a company to optimize their SEO is: “How soon will I be the top search result for my area?” Unfortunately, that is a question that we can’t answer, and anyone who predicts amazingly quick results is most likely trying to deceive you. Rising in the ranks takes time, and especially so if you are in a large market with a lot of competition. A good gauge is to Google the term that you are going to be competing for. For example, a search for “Home inspector in Chicago Illinois” will tell you that there are 37 million plus results. Of course, you’re not going to be competing with all of those, but a search for “Home inspector in Tuscola Illinois” only gives you about 125,000. You can see what a difference the market will make when it comes to the SEO challenge.
Being patient pays off. Having someone in your corner who has experience with SEO is going to help your rating to move up as quickly as possible, but it is important not to expect miracles—that will only lead to disappointment and frustration.
Having a lot of people leave good reviews will help boost your results, so besides all the work that is done on your website and SEO, being good at your job will pay off as well.
SEO done expertly can make you stand out from the pack. This is especially important when you have a lot of competition in the area. In today’s world, most people are finding the services they need using a search engine. This highlights the need to make sure your business pops up on top of the list when someone is looking for what you provide.
Successful SEO is both a long-term endeavor and a multi-channeled approach, so if you are planning on doing it for yourself, you should be aware of what can help and hurt your SEO. If you decide to hire someone to do it for you, doing your research first is very important. While a good company can have a great impact, a bad company can actually do damage to your chances of being found in a search.
When you have a website created by the team at Inspector Toolbelt, you will be all set for success since we use all the tools necessary to create a website that works for you!
About the Author
Ian Robertson is a veteran home inspector, owner of three inspection companies, owner of Full View Home Inspector Marketing, and one of the founders of Inspector Toolbelt. Inspector Toolbelt is simple administrative and scheduling software for home inspectors that makes running your inspection business easy and automated.
Real-Life Inspector Lawsuits and How to Protect Yourself
Presenter: Isaac Peck, President of OREP
Isaac Peck, President of OREP Insurance Services, shares his insights and advice gained over nearly 10 years of providing risk management and E&O insurance for home inspectors. You will not hear many of these insights anywhere else.
Send your story submission/idea to the Editor:
Note: The Winter/Spring 2022 Working RE Home Inspector is now mailing to over 25,000 home inspectors nationwide. OREP Insureds/members enjoy guaranteed delivery of each print magazine and many more benefits.