Tag Archives: Google Reviews

Survey Says: Roofers Need Reviews to Excel in 2020

Reviews and Consumer Research

It seems that no matter how many roofing contractors we speak with over the years, the vast majority underestimate the value of online reviews. For years, client feedback has impacted local listings, brand perceptions, and lead generation. While we certainly understand the value of online reviews when it comes to SEO for roofers, our team at Roofing Webmasters wanted to better understand how they influence homeowner decision making.

In particular, our search marketing analytics team was eager to know just how much online reviews impact the shopping process. 

  • Do consumers routinely check online reviews before selecting a contractor?
  • What sort of ratings must a contractor have to be considered for selection?
  • Where do homeowners prefer to look for online reviews, if they do at all?
  • How much do consumers value online reviews stack up vs. personal recommendations?
A Screenshot of a 5 Star Consumer Roofing Review
Our Study Goal Was to Determine the Impact of Reviews on the Shopping Process.

Based on old 2015 studies from Pew Research, we already knew that at least half of Americans tended to check online reviews before making purchases. From our own experience, we also recognized a few significant channels that homeowners were likely to check before selecting a roofing company. However, we didn’t know the weight of reviews in the consumer purchase process.

Key Findings From Our Online Consumer Study

Key Findings From Our Consumer Surveys on Reviews

Our Survey Process

In this latest research project, we decided to use a new survey tool from Google. With the search giant’s extensive reach and diverse user base available for us to dig into, it was easy to connect with people in our target market. Our team got to work designing questions that would unlock the answers we needed.

We dialed down on a target demographic most likely to own or rent a home. Each survey was sent out to 300 different consumers, mixed male, and female. Respondents aged 35 and above, with each base broken down into four groups: 35 to 44 years, 45 to 54 years, 55 to 64 years, and 65+ years. The surveys were spread out across each region of the United States.

In short, we achieved a very-well diversified respondent pool. Below, you can see each survey that we sent out, along with the various answer choices available.

Our Consumer Surveys

Research

When examining online reviews for a local roofing contractor, do you check more than one source? (such as Google ReviewsYelp, etc)

  • Yes, I typically check multiple sources.
  • No, I usually only check one source.
  • I normally do not check reviews.

Priority

If you needed to check reviews for a home roofing contractor, which of the following platforms would you check first?

  • Facebook
  • Angie’s List
  • Google
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Yelp
  • Other (please specify)

Imperfect

Would you consider a roofing contractor for your home if they had less than the maximum 5-star rating? If so, what is the lowest rating you’d be willing to accept?

  • 4.5 – 4.9 stars
  • 4.0 – 4.4 stars
  • 3.5 – 3.9 stars
  • 3.0 – 3.4 stars
  • 2.5 – 2.9 stars
  • I would not consider a company under 5 stars
  • Other (please specify)

Comfort

Which review star rating would make you feel most comfortable with hiring a roofing business?

  • 3 – 3.5 stars
  • 3.6 – 4.4 stars
  • 4.5 – 4.9 stars
  • 5 stars, the max rating
  • Other (please specify)

Important Lessons For Roofing Companies

Lesson #1: Gather Reviews From Multiple Sources.

Google examines hundreds of signals within a website to determine how applicable it is to a user’s search query. Users crave trustworthy content. Since any roofing contractor can claim to provide the “best roofing services” around, Google looks beyond the website to establish more substantial credibility. That’s where reviews come into play.

“Many websites are eager to tell users how great they are…When the website says one thing about itself, but reputable external sources disagree with what the website says, trust the external sources.” – Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

Client reviews are one of the most reliable trustworthiness indicators, and thus a critical element in SEO for roofing contractors. They can make (or break) a business. While personal recommendations still play a significant role in the consumer selection process, it’s clear that more and more homeowners are looking online. According to consumer research, approximately 78% of Americans “trust online customer reviews as much personal recommendations,” at least conditionally. (Statista)

We also know from prior research that collecting reviews from multiple sources produce much better results for your online brand. That’s one reason why we encourage roofers to establish accounts in various citation sources. In the surveys below, we attempted to determine just how important diversity was to consumers and where they looked for online company feedback.

Raw Counts of Survey Results Checking Multiple Review Sources
Consumers Checking Multiple Reviews Sources Won By a Slim Majority.

Above, we can see that most consumers prefer to consult multiple review sources before choosing a roofing contractor. Only a small percentage claimed to ask a single source. At the same time, almost 42% of the respondents usually do not check online reviews. This may indicate a preference for personal recommendations or a tendency to use Google Search ranking to choose.

From our survey results, we realized that gender only played a slight role in a consumer’s likelihood of consulting online reviews. Women are five percent more likely to check reviews than their male counterparts, and five percent more likely to check multiple reviews sources.

However, we see a distinct gap between generations, with younger age groups growing increasingly more likely to check reviews before choosing a roofing contractor.

Number of Review Sources Checked by Age
Review Checking Habits Shift With Each Subsequent Generation.

It’s easy to see the potential benefits of creating listings across multiple review platforms. For one, it creates more ties backlinking to your website. Second, it provides validation for consumers that check numerous platforms. Even if a sizable portion of your target market relies on personal recommendations first, you can’t afford to miss out on over half of your audience just because you don’t have sufficient reviews!

Next, we need to determine where the best places are to get client feedback. As you can see in the results below, Google Reviews and Better Business Bureau are high priorities for many consumers.

Male and Female Review Checking Habits
Males Were a Little More Likely to Check BBB & Angie’s List Than Their Female Counterparts
Primary Review Sources Split By Ages
Younger Generations Shift Away From BBB and Angie’s List Towards Google Reviews.

As we can see, each subsequent generation seems less likely to prefer BBB or Angie’s List over Google Reviews. The 35-44 age bracket also seems much more likely to consult Yelp than previous generations. Roofing professionals can use this data to determine where they need reviews from most, and where they should be advertising.

Lesson #2: Less Than Perfect is Still Great.

One of the inevitable struggles about collecting online user feedback is the steady trickle of negative reviews. Since roofers work so hard to establish their brand and service reputation, it’s intimidating to think that a few negative reviews can damage your business. We’ve talked with countless roofing professionals dead set on starting over (rebranding) because of a few one-star reviews. If you’ve been the victim of overly biting criticism, don’t be so eager to shut down your website!

People expect a few negative reviews. Heck, even Google expects it!

As their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines say, “Almost every website will have complaints about customer service, so it is important to look at various sources and reviews in your reputation research.” Consumers are more forgiving of imperfect ratings than you think. That’s what our survey respondents seem to say.

Willingness to Try an Imperfectly Rated Roofing Contractor
Over 60 Percent of Respondents Were Willing to Try an Imperfectly Rated Roofer.

Males were especially likely to give roofers with less than a 5-star rating a shot, though most ladies seem receptive. As we can see in the chart above, there’s a broad segment of consumers willing to accept ratings between 4-4.9 stars. Below four stars, the odds of acceptance fall much lower.

Let’s see how age factors into our findings!

Willingness to Accept Imperfect Ratings Split by Age Bracket
Once Again, We See a Dramatic Shift Between Older and Younger Generations.

Again, we see a growing divide between the oldest and youngest age brackets. Most age ranges willingly accept ratings between 4 and 4.9 stars, consistent with our gender analysis. Only in the 65+ age bracket do consumers still demand a 5-star rating. There’s an approximately 50-50 chance of losing a client in that age bracket if your star rating falls below a perfect score.

In some cases, consumers prefer contractors with less than a maximum star rating. In another one of our surveys, we asked what star rating made respondents feel most comfortable with a roofing contractor. The results were a little surprising!

Most Comfortable Ratings Split By Gender
Males Seem Slightly More Comfortable With Imperfect Contractor Ratings Than Females.
Ratings Comfort Split Up By Age Brackets
Younger Age Brackets are More Comfortable Trying Contractors With Less Than 5 Stars!

From age 35 to 64, consumers showed an intriguing comfort with sub-perfect ratings. This could be due to growing wariness towards fake and misleading reviews, most commonly associated with perfect scores. This could also indicate a perceived association between lower ratings and cheaper service pricing. Regardless, it’s clear that many homeowners are very willing to try out roofing contractors with less than spotless ratings. 

So don’t go restarting your business just yet! After all, you can keep improving your overall star rating by continually asking for happy clients’ feedback.

A Review Placed in the Better Business Bureau
Consumers in Our Study Seemed to Heavily Value Ratings in the Better Business Bureau.

Taking Advantage of Online Reviews

When it comes to local SEO for roofing contractors, online reviews play an essential role. In many cases, they determine whether or not your business earns a premium listing in a local map pack (which offers huge traffic volume bonuses). As we mentioned previously, Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines designate off-site reviews as key sources in website grading.

On the consumer’s side of search, we see that roofing company reviews also play a pivotal role. From our surveys, we’ve gleaned a handful of valuable lessons for your marketing team.

Top Lessons on Client Online Reviews

  • Google and BBB are the best places to start your review collection. Facebook, Angie’s List, and Yelp are distant seconds.
  • Most homeowners till consider a contractor, even if they average less than a 5-star rating.
  • At least half of consumers prefer a contractor with less than perfect ratings.
  • Males are more likely to accept contractors with lower ratings than females.
  • Younger demographics, mainly aged 35-44, are most likely to check online reviews.

SEO Lessons For Roofers

Now that you understand how critical online reviews are to your digital marketing efforts, keep up the excellent work with collecting them! A deep pool of recent reviews makes it easier for Google to rank your website higher. Receiving them from a variety of resources provides even more persuasive evidence of your company’s trustworthiness.

If you happen to suffer a few negative reviews, don’t despair.

A Yelp Profile For a Roofer in Houston
This Client Has Done a Fantastic Job of Collecting Yelp Reviews!

Bad ratings are most impactful when there aren’t many positive reviews to counter them. If a handful of snarky customers are taking your star count, make the extra effort to ask happy customers for reviews. Too many businesses call it quits and rebrand themselves when they need to talk more with their fanbase!

There’s a right way to ask for reviews, and there are many wrong ways. Here are a few rules of thumb you’ll want to follow as you expand your feedback pool.

  • Never offer compensation, promotions, or discounts for client reviews!
  • Never try to gather reviews (paid or otherwise) from someone who isn’t a client.
  • Always ask for feedback within a few days of service completion.
  • Explain how reviews make a huge difference for your business.
  • Ask nicely! Train your team members to ask after the service.
  • Provide links to your best review sites on a card, text, or email.
  • Experiment! Find out which ways of asking work and which don’t.

Closing Thoughts

If you haven’t paid much attention to reviews in the past, it’s never too early to start. Remember the lessons above, and you’ll be well on your way to ranking up in local search. In the meantime, our team at Roofing Webmasters is always happy to enhance your website and reputation management program.

How Do I Beat Other Roofers Online With SEO? (Podcast)

Does earning front-page rankings for your roofing business seem impossible? You might be closer to breakaway success than you think. In our latest podcast, Jason and Nolen discuss how to set your brand apart from the rest with SEO services for roofers. So if you’ve struggled to make headway with your business online, be sure to listen in!

Helpful Lessons on SEO for Roofers:

  • Just completing the SEO basics puts you miles ahead of other roofing contractors.
  • New companies should focus on GMB, optimized website design, and collecting reviews!
  • It’s almost impossible to rank well without using your free Google My Business listing.
  • Organic search efforts should only take a few months to start producing results.

Before You Can Compete

Anybody can jump into the online marketing fray without laying the proper groundwork. The backend pages of Google Search results are lined with roofing contractors that thought their SEO preparations were “good enough.” These companies earn little to no website traffic, and they shake their fists wondering why their haphazard efforts have failed.

There’s a bare minimum that every company must perform to rank for their desired services.

SEO Basics to Start Ranking

  • Step #1: Claim Your Google My Business Listing
  • Step #2: Establish Your Company Website
  • Step #3: Build Citation Sources and Collect Reviews

GMB

Open a GMB Profile

So what does a dedicated roofing company need to do to start earning business online? First, they need to claim and fill out their Google My Business (GMB) profile. A GMB listing allows the search engine to better understand the location and function of your company. Whatever address you use for the GMB account, make sure all your other citation sources match it!

The profile will request many other details of your business. Fill out as much of the information as you can, and check back yearly to make sure your data is still accurate. GMB also allows you to post photos and videos of your business and personnel. Try taking some pictures of your finished roofing projects to post on your account! You can even use existing materials from your Facebook Business to get started.

Website Optimization

Create Your Optimized Website

We can’t stress enough just how important it is to nail your company website! So many businesses put up a cookie-cutter, terribly written website and earn inferior leads as a result. If you want your website to do well, make sure you have it crafted by a professional team that knows what they’re doing. A healthy site relies on an organized collection of service pages, keyword optimization, quality content, simplified navigation, lots of schema coding, and review integration. 

No single marketing professional can provide all of these aspects, which is why it’s best to rely on a well-rated team. Few other factors of your online marketing so heavily impact your online lead success! Once you’ve established a well-optimized website, you’ll have the foundation necessary to spring into the rest of the SEO basics.

Citations & Reviews

Create More Listings and Earn Reviews

There’s no greater mark of authenticity than a host of glowing customer recommendations. Client feedback shows trustworthiness, one of the three E-A-T factors that Google analyses when ranking a roofing company brand. But, of course, the only way to pull in reviews is to establish listings for your business. As we’ve already mentioned, your GMB account is a great place to start. In addition, Google Reviews naturally integrate well with local search results, making your business much more visible.

However, the search engine provides better results when reviews come from a variety of sources.

That’s where citation sources come into play. These companies offer additional venues to list your company address and services, not to mention a convenient way to collect reviews. While some shady companies might push you to list dozens of obscure websites, it’s best to start with more established brands. The Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Angie’s List are a few intelligent places.

Overcoming the Online Competition

We have a saying at the Webmasters, “You don’t have to be perfect. You have to be better than everyone else.” So far, we’ve covered online activities that will keep you in pace with the rest of the successful roofing companies. Now we come to the SEO basics that make your brand stand out as a clear winner.

SEO Strategies for Winners

  • Ask for reviews all the time.
  • Regularly blog on the company website.
  • Create and manage a Facebook Business page.
  • Take advantage of customer complaints.
Ariat Roofing Review

We’ve already talked about how critical reviews are for your business. So why not ask for them consistently, especially after a job is well-done? Our team at Roofing Webmasters gets even more SEO power out of client feedback through a tool called DataPins. It adds geotagged data that shows Google the approximate locations of all job sites and showcases our clients’ roofing projects. While that level of review enhancement is pretty rare, a few other tools out on the market can provide added benefits for all your reviews.

Few roofing companies faithfully add to their company blog, which is why those that do consistently add well-written content are certain to stand out. The best part? You can take the informative material and share them on your social media pages for some added oomph! That’s just one reason to create a Facebook Business page, by the way. The social media platform offers a beautiful place to share information about your business, showcase your latest work, and tactfully address negative customer feedback.

Looking for More Online Leads?

Follow these winning strategies and SEO basics, and you’ll undoubtedly start earning higher rankings for your website. If you’ve been frustrated with organic or paid search, however, our team at Roofing Webmasters would love to help. Check out some resources throughout our website.

Posted: | Updated: Jul 19, 2021 | Categories: Podcast

How To Show Up On Mapping (Podcast)

Why do my competitors rank in Google Maps listings but not my business? It can be an extremely frustrating situation to find yourself in, especially when your business has more reviews, higher ratings, and more extended history. In addition, with Google’s history of frequent algorithm changes, it can be challenging to put the finger on exactly what’s going wrong with your roofing SEO.

In our podcast, Jason and Nolen explore what it takes to show up in mapping and earn more leads as a roofing contractor. So if you’ve been coveting a featured listing for some time, be sure to listen in.

Look for These Key Points

  • Should businesses focus exclusively on gaining Google Reviews?
  • What areas of roofing SEO must contractors engage in to earn Local Pack listings?
  • How can roofing contractors handle reputation management?

Google Maps Listings and Local Packs

By now, almost any roofing contractor can tell you that ranking #1 on Google means big business for your company. The top ranks of search engine results pages (SERPs) continue to shift with each passing year. The ultimate win for roofing SEO these days is scoring a spot in local packs, a feature of Google Maps listings.

Google Maps, of course, is a satellite and database-powered tool that connects consumers with local services. It features the standard pins on the map and nearby cross streets. In addition, maps listings now include crucial contact and reputation data on each business, including addresses, service type, operating hours, and reviews. That last element is a point of contention in the roofing contractor community. We’ll talk about that in a little bit.

On the other hand, local packs are a unique SERP feature that pulls three of the most relevant entries from Google Maps listings. As their popularity and influence increase, local packs grow more and more competitive each year. As a result, they earn a large percentage of clicks, pulling traffic away from other lower front-page listings. As a result, local packs typically claim second or third place in the front page order, just below Google Guaranteed entries and paid ads.

Roofers Local Pack

Reputation Management

Beyond the traditional keyword optimization, Google looks for three essential qualities in a website. These include:

  • The expertise of the content creators
  • Authoritativeness of the content creators, the content itself, and the website
  • Trustworthiness of the company

These E-A-T factors can be traced back to Google’s 2015 Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and heavily impact the search engine’s ranking of your website (including Maps listings). However, when it comes to proving trustworthiness, few elements influence Google’s (and people’s) judgment more than User Reviews. 

Local Roofer Google Reviews Screenshot

Balancing Your Reviews

In the past, Google emphasized the collection of reviews on its platform. The relationship between reviews and list ranking seemed clear: get more five-star reviews and get higher rankings. However, Google now recommends earning reviews across a broader spectrum of sources. Some of these may be from social media platforms (such as Facebook and Instagram). Others come from citation companies, including Yelp and Angie’s List.

Your roofing team probably works hard as it is earning new reviews from clients. Now there’s the thought of collecting them across different platforms. The most important players in this new plan are the people interacting directly with the clients. Simply asking for reviews and offering a reference card will usually do the job. Next, make sure your social media platforms have the reviews call to action optimized and ready to take on the additional traffic.

DataPins

Google also rewards businesses that display reviews within their website. The widget you incorporate could have a significant effect on Google’s perception of your business. One of the review tools that we love at the Roofing Webmasters is DataPins. Our clients can pull reviews from various platforms with this widget and allow customers to leave reviews directly on the website for their chosen medium (Facebook, Google, or Yelp, for example).

Roofing contractors can also use the widget to send invitations to review. Imagine quickly requesting reviews via text messages that include a direct link to your website! Finally, roofing professionals can check into job sites and that geo-location data gets embedded in your website. Essentially, this provides proof to Google that your company performs services in those locations. You can listen to Jason’s take on this capability around 8:10 in the video.

Balanced Roofing SEO Produces Results

We stress the importance of other roofing SEO factors in your company’s Google Maps listings. Reviews alone will not provide the rankings you desire. Google’s examination of your company website also impacts your local SEO rankings. If a business skimps out on professional design, keyword optimization, and other essential activities, they will almost certainly not appear in local packs. With that being said, reviews are crucial to ranking well.

Local Roofing Maps Listings

Earn Premium Listings With Roofing Webmasters

Are you tired of getting left out of top ranks or even the front page altogether? Our team at the Roofing Webmasters would love to help! We support numerous contractors with website design, ad campaign management, and SEO for roofers (among many other services). As a result, our clients enjoy premium rankings, higher site traffic, deeper user engagement, and superb lead generation.

Posted: | Updated: Jul 13, 2021 | Categories: Podcast

Roofing Marketing for Newbs (Podcast)

So you’re a newb when it comes to marketing for roofers—big deal. The reality is that everyone has to start somewhere, and there’s no better time to start than now. Embarking on a new business venture can be both exciting & intimidating. There’s the lure of the unknown and the challenge that comes along. At Roofing Webmasters, this podcast wasn’t created to earn new clients (we have a line out the door) but instead to impart our knowledge of what it takes to become a successful roofing contractor in 2021.

No Money, No Problems

Nolen Walker, the founder of Roofing Webmasters, started from humble beginnings. Like those of you reading this post, he didn’t have the money to invest in big-time marketing right away. So instead, he spent his time mowing lawns & painting curbs to build enough cash to parlay into a long-term investment. 

Planting your flag as a digital footprint, albeit a comparatively minuscule one, lays a foundation that you can build on many years later—Google factors in tenure when assigning trust to a particular brand or entity. Claiming a domain name now (even if it shows a dirt cheap website) is still a step in the right direction for prospective roofers. Here’s what you need:

Website

It would help if you had a website and domain name ASAP. Although you can’t expect to succeed on Google organic with a template website, having any website at all is better than not having one. Why? Tenure matters in the eyes of Google. So while you won’t directly benefit from your website today, you will be setting the stage for future endeavors in terms of lead generation. 

Remember, you have limited funds, and so you have to make the most of them. You can’t compare yourself to other roofers with massive budgets because that will only discourage you from trying. Even if it is a baby step, the first step can start a meaningful push to lead to sustainable success. Domains usually cost 9.99. Go for a roofing domain name that has a dot com extension.

Personilization Elements on Website

Google My Business Listing

If you do nothing else with your web presence, make sure you at least claim & optimize your local Google listing. GMB listings account for both your Google My Business profile & Google Maps address. Every business owner in the world can do this free of charge if they have a legitimate business. 

Google explains how to claim your business which is the simplest way to establish a web presence with no money. Make sure you add company photos to your profile as you take them. As a newb, you may not have many to start, but your GMB can be continuously improved over and again. First, maps addresses must be verified, which is most commonly done via postcard mail. Once verified, you can rank on Google Maps.

GMB Screenshot for Roofers

Google Reviews (And Other Reviews)

Once you’ve claimed & optimized your Google listing, you should pursue as many reviews as possible. Even if you have a dirt-cheap website, consumers can find appeal in a GMB listing with several positive reviews. If a prospect searches your brand name, they will see your GMB listing in the knowledge graph on the top right of search results.

Google is not the only platform on which you should generate reviews. You also want to disseminate them to business directories like Angie’s List, BBB, MapQuest, etc. But perhaps more importantly, you want to get them on Facebook, which serves as a social media platform as well as a top business directory.

Roofer Google Review Screenshot

Social Media

Speaking of Facebook, social media platforms are free to market and present a powerful web entity for roofing newbs with no money. Sure, you can’t advertise on Facebook or Instagram without funds, but you can certainly market yourself on them. Facebook marketing is primarily about establishing a business page that will show up on Google search results.

With Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, you have a chance to generate some organic impressions on the platforms themselves. Unfortunately, Facebook no longer empowers brands to show up on organic feeds as a way to discourage the clickbait that has plagued the social network over the past decade or so. But you can still use it to your advantage, as a newb roofer with no $.

Roofing Business Facebook Profile

Transitioning to a Higher Level of Marketing

Once you transition from newb to moderately successful roofer, you should take your earnings and re-allocate them towards superior marketing. The first step will be contacting a professional web designer who can replace your old site with a newly customized one coded for SEO.

Since your domain will already have tenure at this point, you can leverage its age to hit the ground rounding with your newly designed website. Yes, that’s right, you keep the domain that you bought for 9.99 some years ago but now energize it with a superior design. Combining tenure with SEO creates a perfect storm of digital promotion that one can enjoy the benefits of for years and decades to come.

Roofing Webmasters Can Help

Remember, this post is not for people who already have a dominant online presence; it is just a reminder to those who want to reevaluate once they gain that position. Roofing Webmasters has been working with roofing contractors for years, and our data supports consistent excellence in roofer internet marketing. We attend to detail, review the latest algorithmic trends, and constantly look for advantages to put our clients over their competitors on Google organic rankings.

Posted: | Updated: Jul 1, 2021 | Categories: Podcast