Search engine optimization (or SEO) is one of my most misunderstood practices in the home inspection industry. Here's why:
Google's search algorithm has evolved dramatically in the past 5 years.
The "tactics" and "schemes" to trick their algorithm no longer work. We know this because Google publicly announces their major algorithm updates and what they are meant to combat, like unnatural links and keyword stuffing. They've rolled out dozens of major updates since 2011 that specifically prevent "one-trick ponies" and gaming the system.
We all want to believe that digital marketing is a problem that can be solved quickly, cheaply, and definitively.
In reality, digital marketing (and SEO in particular) is an ongoing investment that's much more difficult and costly than it was a year ago. SEO is complex and requires quality, authoritative content.
No one activity in isolation will work anymore. You have to view marketing and SEO holistically.
Plain and simple: Adding certain keywords, locations, or simply "doing SEO" on your site one-time doesn't work anymore. Google has evolved its search algorithm to look at a multitude of signals to determine relevancy and authority.
It's not in Google's best interest to make it easy for you to top the search results. If any home inspector could just throw keywords on a page and shoot to the top, what kind of quality would we be getting as search users?
Google needs to be able to trust that they're showing the highest quality home inspection businesses.
Just like most things in life that are worth having, it takes hard work and consistency to reap the benefits of high rankings.
Having the actual keywords on your site still matters, they just won't make a huge difference on their own. Factors like quality links pointing to your site and consistent content have shown to be strong ranking signals.
Here are some of the most important ranking factors that will play into how Google views your site.
There are great beginner's guides to SEO available for free online if you're looking to learn a true foundation of SEO. But if you're looking for home inspector-specific SEO tips, keep reading.
Here are our tips for home inspectors to rank on Google:
You don't take shortcuts when you're inspecting a home. Don't try to take shortcuts in marketing your business. The best way to rank is through high-quality, well-researched content. Put in the work and you'll see results.
Did you know that over 60% of Google traffic comes from mobile searches? We can expect that number to go up in 2023.
Your site needs to perform well on mobile because Google uses mobile-first indexing. What does that mean? Basically, your site will most likely be evaluated based on the mobile version.
Check your website on your phone. Is it easy to navigate? Does it load fast? Is it responsive? If your answer to any of the above is "no", it's time to upgrade your website.
As a home inspector, your Google Business Profile is one of the most important aspects of your SEO. Around 64% of consumers use a Google Business Profile to find contact information.
Make sure all your information is up to date and most importantly, ask customers for reviews after each inspection. Even a few 5-star reviews can move the needle.
We know the days of just piling keywords onto your site are over. But using keywords strategically will help Google understand your site.
You can put relevant keywords (such as the name of the city you serve) in your URLs. You should also be intentional with your wording. Take advantage of your navigation links and optimize: instead of using a generic "Team" page, try using "Meet Our Inspectors" instead. Specific language that includes details about your business and industry can make a difference.
Written content is great (and necessary), but it doesn't hurt to add video content. For example, a brief video on your site that walks a homebuyer through how to read their home inspection report is super useful.
Explaining your services is key, and audiovisual content is often the best way to do so.
Update content on your pages on a regular basis. Old, outdated information won't provide much value to anyone on your site, and it won't do well on Google. Content freshness counts in Google's eye, and it will provide value to agents and potential customers.