We’ve all heard the tales of marketing disasters, but few professionals fully understand just how close they could be to losing serious business online. In our latest podcast, Nolen tells the scary story of how a once successful roofing professional lost over two thirds of their annual revenue ($2+ million) thanks to some unfortunate online mistakes! If you ever feel worried about the future of your lead generation, be sure to listen in.
Key Lessons for Roofing Professionals
- Your Google My Business account plays an essential role in local search results!
- Trying to manipulate the rankings of other companies is a recipe for disaster.
- Relying exclusively on reviews and referral traffic can lead to sudden drops in lead generation.
- Make sure your company has an organic presence to work off of.
A Shaky Foundation
Every seasoned industry professional knows that even the strongest roofing system is only as sound as its supporting framework. Without a solid foundation to rely on, a roof can quite literally implode on itself. One roofing company owner – we’ll call him “Bob” – found out the hard way that this concept applies to online search marketing as well!
In fact, a handful of mistakes cost his business over two million dollars in one year!
Bob ran a very successful company. With years of experience under their belts, Bob’s team managed to complete hundreds of roofing projects each year. Much of his business arose from repair and replacement jobs, as the company operated in one of the top hail-prone states in the country. His staff consisted of over 30 people, and the business still saw fantastic profits year over year. Unfortunately, all Bob’s success came crumbling down around him one day.
A Painful Local Search Mistake
Bob’s company did little in the way of marketing online, with the exception of collecting reviews. The company’s Google My Business account had yet to be verified. His website lacked essential optimization factors that could elevate rankings in local search. He didn’t even have to advertise very often. Like too many contractors and owners, Bob assumed that the company could coast along in reviews, so that’s where he spent his efforts.
That’s where he made the gravest mistake of all.
Bob wanted to encourage people to submit reviews for his company, so he offered $50 gift cards for anyone who would provide them. In the man’s defense, he wasn’t trying to coerce or bribe people for better ratings. His team already did great work, and the reviews created were from real, happy customers.
That didn’t matter when Google found out about his practice. It seems an unhappy former employee contacted the search engine and informed on his boss’ practice. Since this violated Google’s quality guidelines, they closed down Bob’s GMB account. Almost overnight, Bob’s roofing company went from premium rankings to practically disappearing in local map results.
A Difficult Lesson
Bob made an honest mistake when he incentivized reviews. Regardless, his company went from earning $3+ million in revenue to less than a third of that. He contacted Google, eagerly sought out his error, and apologized. Google reinstated his account, but Bob’s company still hadn’t recovered when they came to our team at Roofing Webmasters for help.
His company signed on, and we’ve worked very hard to restore Bob’s company to their former online glory. It’s been a challenging journey. The shaky reviews-only foundation that had supported the business collapsed when the GMB account was suspended! Because the company had practically zero search engine optimization for their website, no one could find the brand when they tried to search local contractors.
We’ve since started overhauling Bob’s website so he can start ranking again, but it’s going to take some time before his team fully recovers.
How Can You Avoid Bob’s Mistake?
There are a few key activities you can tackle to lessen your chances of a major marketing disaster like Bob’s. First, make sure that you’ve claimed, completed, and verified your Google My Business listing. While verification methods change from time to time, you should be able to get your roofing company taken care of within a few weeks.
Second, invest in a quality, search-optimized website. A sturdy website should have dedicated pages for each of your services. We see companies that provide dozens of services strip down their list to two or three, then jam-pack those few pages with way too many keywords. Instead, craft a handful of pages for your top categories (such as residential, metal, and commercial roofing), then create sub-pages beneath each of those with all the related services. Take time to work related keywords into every page in a way that reads naturally.
Finally, make sure that your company is consistently asking customers with reviews. Of course, you should avoid any sort of practice that could be interpreted as incentivizing reviews! If you ever feel unsure about a particular practice, check out Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines.
How to Earn Leads and Avoid Search Penalties
- Register, claim, and verify your GMB account.
- Create a custom, keyword-optimized website with dedicated service pages.
- Collect reviews from a variety of sources (Yelp, Google Reviews, Manta, etc)
- Get listed with citation sources, such as the Better Business Bureau.
- Never offer incentives for reviews!
- Never try to mess with reviews or listings for competitors.
- Consult Google’s webmaster quality guidelines.
If you’ve been hit with a serious Google penalty, our team at Roofing Webmasters would love to help. Contact us anytime at (800) 353-5758 for a free consultation!
Other Resources from the Roofing Webmasters
Podcasts and Articles
– 14 Roofing Sales Strategies to Boost Income Potential (Article)
– Roofing Marketing: 22 Proven Tips for Contractors (Article)
– Skin in the Game with Roofer Marketing Dollars (Podcast)