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State of SEO in 2022 - Home Inspector Edition

Kevin 3/1/17 3:11 PM

This is required reading for all home inspectors that have a web presence and pay attention to their online marketing.

I talk to home inspectors everyday. We often talk about digital marketing. There might not be a more misunderstood topic than SEO and online marketing. Here is why:

Google's search algorithm has evolved dramatically in the past 5 years.

The "tactics" and "schemes" to trick their algorithm no longer work. They haven't worked since 2012. 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.

I have ran hundreds of tests myself when I did this as my day job. I still do. I also closely follow the most respectable SEO practitioners in the industry who test and watch search results daily. 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 their search algorithm to look at a multitude of signals to determine relevancy and authority.

I get it. We all want to believe that digital marketing is a problem that can be solved quickly, cheaply, and definitively. We don’t want to hear that it’s an ongoing investment that’s much more difficult and costly than it was years ago. So people continue to hang on to that belief blindly without adapting.

Think Like Google...

Think about it. Is it in Google's best interest to make it easy to get to the top of search results and get clicks and more business? If any new home inspector can just slap some 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. Then users are happy, keep searching, and they can keep selling ads.

Just like most things in life that are worth having, it takes hard work and consistency to reap the benefits of high rankings.

So what does work if adding keywords or simple tricks don't anymore?

Having the actual keywords on your site still matter, 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.

Moz did the largest survey and study on this over a year ago. Here are the results:

  1. Content
    1. On-page content - Are you providing relevant information on your site? Do you use words people are searching for?
    2. Blogging - Are you writing about helping and interesting topics for your audience? Are you consistent?
    3. Guest posts - This can be a great source of direct traffic and/or links.
  2. Links - Links from high-quality websites requires a whole strategy on it's own. There's a reason it moves the needle. Because it's difficult.
  3. User Experience - Is your site mobile-friendly? How's your page speed? Can people easily book an inspection?
  4. User Metrics -  Do people look at multiple pages on your site? Do they hit the back button because your site looks straight out of 1985? Do people click through to your site from email, social, and organic?
  5. Citations - This is important for showing up in the local Google maps 3-pack. If your directory listings aren't consistent, there's a good chance you won't rank well in local SEO.
  6. Social signals - Are you influential on social media? Have a nice following? This alone isn't a huge ranking signal but it can help you greatly by driving meaningful traffic to your blog posts/website.

My Advice to Home Inspectors

  • You don't take shortcuts inspecting a home. Don't try to take shortcuts marketing your business.
  • Read up on what modern SEO really means. Read up on local SEO.
  • While there are certainly "snake oil salesmen" that can make you skeptical, remember there are many marketing professionals that have a thorough understanding and skill set needed to help businesses get found online. They are professionals in their craft just like you are in home inspections.
  • Remember that it will take time and/or money to increase online visibility. This is the new reality and those that adapt will get ahead and move up.

I think everyone can agree that more people are searching for home inspectors online than ever before. Being there will only become more important in the future. Make sure you're not the last home inspector in your area to do something about it.

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