How To Get Commercial Cleaning Contracts Using SEO
Getting more janitorial contracts isn’t easy. Most companies struggle to get qualified leads. You may have tried cold calling, door to door, or even hired a marketing agency for SEO. If your online marketing isn’t working or you’re looking for an additional strategy to grow your cleaning business, it’s time to take a look at SEO.
I’m not going to bore you with the gory details of SEO. You won’t become an SEO expert by reading this article. I don’t have a magic SEO pill for you to take. You will have to do some work yourself.
But, if you follow the SEO strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you will start getting the same types of office cleaning contracts your competitors are getting on Google now. How does that sound?
First Things First: How Is Your Online Reputation?
You can’t talk about SEO without looking at your online reputation. Prospects that are ready to hire a janitorial company usually want to get 2 or more quotes. So, which companies do you think they’ll contact? Given a choice, they’ll probably call the ones with the best ratings and reviews.
So what does your online reputation look like now? What’s your Google rating? How many reviews do you have?
Improve Your Reputation And Get More Leads:
Good SEO will generate leads for your janitorial business regardless of your online reputation. Some people just don’t dig that much and will call the first company they see on Google. But, more and more people are researching companies before they decide who they want to do business with.
When your online reputation isn’t great, your chances of getting leads decreases. So, If you want more SEO leads than you’re getting, start working on your reputation now.
Commercial Cleaning Companies Don’t Get Lots Of Reviews:
If you don’t have any reviews yet or have some negative ones, don’t panic. It’s never too late to build (or rebuild) your online reputation.
Most commercial cleaning companies haven’t racked up dozens of reviews because they can’t. They usually don’t have the volume of business to generate a lot of reviews.
You may not realize this, but you’ve got a pipeline of positive reviews waiting for you now. So, who are they and how do you get them?
Star Ratings Are Important
A (Free) Strategy That Will Get You 5 Star Reviews:
Many marketing companies charge for review services to help you generate reviews. But, most commercial cleaning companies don’t have the volume to justify spending money on a reputation/review service. Besides, it’s probably not in your best interest to put review requests on automatic.
So, with that said, getting reviews is something you’ll have to work at. But, I guarantee you that it’s worth the effort.
Unfortunately, most of your commercial accounts won’t go online and leave a review without being asked. Unlike Yelp, Google says it’s ok to ask for reviews. If you aren’t comfortable asking for reviews, I have a solution for you. Follow this step by step guide and the reviews will start coming in:
How Commercial Cleaning Companies Can Get More Reviews:
- Provide great service; that’s a given.
- Set up a google my business (GMB) page so your customers have a place to leave a review;
- Call long time customers to see how their service is going; If they’re happy, ask them to write a review (after you do this once, it gets easier) and send them a link to your GMB page; If they’re not happy, here’s your chance to fix it and save an account;
- Call customers after you’ve provided a specialty service such as carpet cleaning or strip and wax; Ask them to write a review and send them a link to your GMB page.
- Provide a one time service for a client, such as upholstery cleaning. Call the client after you’ve provided the service and ask for a review (don’t ask for the review in exchange for the service).
- Drip your reviews. That’s a term for adding them gradually, so Google doesn’t think you’re faking it. One or two new reviews a month for commercial cleaning companies is probably all you’ll need.
- Add legitimate reviews only. Follow Google’s guidelines and don’t ask friends or employees to write you a fake review (or risk being penalized). Also, people are getting smarter at recognizing fake reviews.
Review Tip: Good service AND good communication should generate all the reviews you need.
Generate 5 Star Reviews With This Strategy:
Your online reputation is an important piece of SEO, but that’s not all of it. You’ll need to learn a little more about SEO before you get started.
So, What Exactly is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. The search engine we’re talking about is Google. The best way to explain the optimization part (without the gory details) is to look at the goal of SEO. It’s to get your company in one form or another on page 1 of Google without placing ads.
For example: a prospect searches for a janitorial company. If your company shows up on page 1 (somewhere) and you haven’t paid for an ad, your SEO is working. If you’re not showing up on page 1, you (or your marketing company) have some work to do. So, why is getting on page 1 so important?
Why Page 1 of Google Is Your Ultimate SEO Goal:
How often do you look past the first page of Google to find what you’re searching for? Probably not a lot. That’s why it’s important to get your janitorial business there. That’s the ultimate goal of SEO, but getting there isn’t always easy. It really depends on one thing: how good your competition is at SEO.
Who Else Is On Page 1 Of Google In Your Area?
You probably know most of your competitors by name. But, do you know who your SEO competition is? It’s easy to find out. Open a private browsing tab on your computer and google this: commercial cleaning company (include your city name). Look past the ads at the top of the page and see who comes up. The companies who show up in the maps section and below are your SEO competition.
Why Your Competition Is On Page 1 And You’re Not:
Your competition is on page 1 (instead of you) because their SEO is working. They may or may not have great reviews, but their overall SEO is better.
If your competition doesn’t have great reviews, it makes your job that much easier once you get your SEO program going. And, when you show up on page 1, your prospects will call you first if they like your reviews better!
Local Cleaning Companies Can Outrank Yelp, Yellow Pages and Franchises On Page 1
Does Google Know How Good Your Cleaning Company Is?
Your customers may be raving about the services you provide. But, if Google doesn’t know how good your cleaning company is, they won’t give you one of the 10 spots that are available on page 1. So, how do you convince Google that you’re a good choice for page 1? SEO.
Good SEO Will Help You Gain Google’s Trust And Get Your Company On Page 1:
Your janitorial company has earned the trust of your clients. That’s why they do business with you. But, if you want your SEO to work, you’ve got to earn Google’s trust as well.
Google looks at various SEO factors on your website to determine your company’s trustworthiness. Some of these include:
1)How fast your website loads. People are impatient when surfing the web and Google knows it. If your website takes too long too load, Google won’t want to send prospects there. Use this free Google tool to check your website’s loading speed:
2)How much time your visitors spend on your website. If your website doesn’t have the information your visitor’s want, they’ll exit quickly. Google tracks how long visitors spend on your site and how fast they “bounce” off. You can find this information and much more about your website visitors when you set up a Google analytics account.
3)How easy your website is to navigate. Google looks at the structure of your website to determine if your visitors can find what they are looking for easily. The links from one page to another should be set up so your visitors can get the information they want quickly.
4)Website content. If your website doesn’t contain the terms (keywords) that people use to search for cleaning companies, Google won’t send visitors there.
Caution: Don’t overuse keywords. Google can detect a website that’s been “stuffed” with keywords. Your website content should be easy to understand. The information should be useful and current. Updating your website with blogs, case studies and customer testimonials will help users (and Google) trust your site.
There are a multitude of other website factors that Google looks at. Some of these are written into the code on the back end of your website that you can’t see. Good web developers make sure that your website has been “optimized” and set up correctly so Google understands your business and the customers you serve.
Gaining Google’s trust takes more than just getting your website in order. There’s still some SEO work to do off your website to get on page 1.
Off Site SEO: How Backlinks Help Rankings:
I’m sure most of you know what a link is. It’s that thing you click on that gets you to another page on the web (I said I was going to keep this simple).
Google ranks companies they trust. Google looks at incoming links (aka backlinks) as a sign that you are a trusted source of information for other websites. The more backlinks your website has, the greater your chance of ranking on Google. But, it’s more than sheer numbers. Google also looks at the quality of your backlinks.
Get Backlinks That Matter: Example: BBB
When you get accredited by the BBB they put a link to your website in their business directory. Google picks up the BBB “backlink” and infers that your cleaning company must be legit. Why? Because Google sees the BBB as a trusted source.
Most SEO experts agree that link building is a very important component of SEO. High quality links build trust and authority, which improves rankings.
Other Links That Can Improve Rankings:
There are many ways to get links from trusted websites. Some are as simple as getting listed in a respected directory. Writing guest posts (blogs) on a trusted site is another. Here are a few ways to get valuable links to your website and improve your Google rankings:
1)Join industry organizations, such as the ISSA and BSCAI;
2)Get accredited by the BBB;
3)Join the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) or other green cleaning organization;
4)Join the Chamber of Commerce in your area;
5)Write testimonials on industry related websites about their products. They will usually provide a link from their website to yours.
Backlink Tip: Get a backlink by joining one or more of these organizations (depending on your budget). Add their logos to your website.
The number of links you need to get on page 1 depends on the link profile of your SEO competitors. Do you have enough links to compete with other janitorial companies in your area? Contact us at Local Jani and find out what it will take to outrank the competition in your area.
Are You Confusing Google With The Wrong Name, Address, Or Phone Number (NAP)?
You may or may not have a website or GMB page yet, but your company information (i.e. name, address and phone number) can be found in various directories and websites on the net.
Directories like the yellow pages get information about your company from various sources and publish it online. Sometimes this information just isn’t correct.
If you moved your business or changed your phone number, there could be old, incorrect information about your company on the internet (e.g. in directory listings). When your NAP information is conflicting, it’ll confuse Google. And, when you confuse Google, you hurt your rankings.
One of the first tasks of SEO is to make sure your company name, address and phone number is listed correctly wherever it appears on the internet. The next task is correcting the inaccuracies that are (almost always) found. While that might sound like an easy task, it isn’t. Good news: there are marketing agencies that can handle this for you.
Which Directory Listings Do You Really Need?
Google wants to confirm your company’s identity (i.e. name, address and phone number) before they put you on page 1. Getting in the right directory listings and having consistent and accurate NAP information will help your company’s rankings. But, which directories (and how many) should your janitorial company be listed on?
Claiming Your Google My Business Page Is Free!
Janitorial companies are considered a local service area business, which means you can claim a free business page on Google. Once you claim a page and get it verified by Google, you can display all of your company’s information on Google for free.
Claiming a GMB page is a great way to improve online visibility for your cleaning business and get free leads. There are many things you can do to optimize your GMB page and get the most out of your free listing.
When someone searches for a local cleaning service in your area, Google verified businesses have a chance of getting listed in the “local 3 pack” in the Google maps section on page 1.
Get More Leads By Appearing In The Local 3 Pack:
Being number one in maps isn’t critical to your SEO success. However, being in the top 3 keeps you on page 1 and is guaranteed to generate more leads for your business (again, most people don’t look past page 1 when doing online research).
Who Gets Into the 3 Pack In Google Maps:
For all non-paid, organic search listings (including the 3 pack), Google ranks businesses based on a proprietary algorithm (that no one has access to). However, many authorities agree that the single most important ranking factor for the local 3 pack is proximity to search. This means that the janitorial companies closest to the person searching for your service will be displayed first. You can get top ranking if you have a Google business page and are in the vicinity of the person who is searching for a cleaning service.
Why YOUR Office Location Is Important!
Your business location is important, but there are numerous other factors that play a role in Google Maps rankings. Most of these factors relate to Google’s trust in your business:
- Years in business;
- Customer reviews;
- Photo quantity and quality on your GMB page;
- Listings in local directories;
- Links to your website;
For a complete list of ranking factors that are considered important by SEO pro’s read this.
You May Have A Google Business Listing And Not Know It:
GMB listings don’t have to be created by the business owner. You may already have a local listing, i.e. GMB page, without your knowledge. GMB pages can be created by anyone with a Gmail account. However, only the business owner can claim and verify the listing.
GMB Tip: Once you claim and verify your GMB page, you can control what information appears on your listing.
How To Claim/Verify Your GMB Page:
The process of claiming and verifying a GMB page is easy. Follow these steps:
1) Set up a separate business Gmail account (don’t use a personal Gmail account);
2) Go to this link and follow directions to open a Google business account and claim your GMB page: http://bit.ly/2GARgvC
When you claim your GMB page, you’ll have to verify your business information by phone or mail. Google will either send a postcard or call your business line to verify that your cleaning company exists at the address you listed.
Google does not require local service area businesses, such as cleaning companies, to have a separate physical location, e.g. office space, in order to qualify for a GMB page. Janitorial companies can use their home address when setting up a GMB page (see below Google’s policy on this).
More GMB Facts:
- Cleaning companies don’t need an office location to create and verify a GMB page;
- Janitorial companies can sign up for GMB using their home address;
- You should hide your home address in your GMB dashboard if you use your home address (Google policy requires you to do so);
- Google doesn’t allow the use of PO boxes, mailing services or virtual offices as a business address.
Completing Your GMB Page: Fill In As Much Information As Possible:
Once you’ve claimed and verified your business page you can access the GMB dashboard to manage the content on your business page. You can add a detailed business description, a list of services you provide, photos of your business and your hours of operation (as well as a host of other items).
Google periodically updates the dashboard, removing certain features and adding others. The more information you provide, the more your prospects can learn about your business (and the more Google knows about you). Remember, this page can be your first (and only) chance to make a good impression with your prospect.
Choosing A Primary And Secondary GMB Business Category:
Google allows you to choose more than one category to describe your business. Select the primary business category that matches your primary service. For example, if you are mainly a residential cleaning company (but do some commercial), I would choose house cleaning service as your primary business category. You can always list commercial cleaning as a secondary business category to tell Google you provide that service as well.
Business Category Choices For Commercial Cleaning Companies:
Which Primary Business Category Should Commercial Cleaning Companies Use?
If you only provide commercial cleaning services, you can choose janitorial service or commercial cleaning service as your primary business category. Secondary categories can be added for any other services you provide (e.g. carpet cleaning). There is a separate section on the GMB dashboard for listing additional services and a description for each service.
You can use a free tool provided by semrush.com to compare search volumes. Follow these instructions to find the keyword with the highest search volume in your area:
Enter the keyword commercial cleaning service (followed by your city name) and note its volume. Run another search for janitorial service (also followed by the city name). Use the keyword with the higher search volume as your primary GMB category. Add the other keyword as a secondary business category.
Show Off Your Reviews On Your GMB Page:
Recent studies show that most people read online reviews before they purchase a product or service. Your GMB page is an excellent place for customers to leave reviews whether you have a website or not.
Some SEO pro’s believe that reviews can make a difference when Google determines rankings in the maps section. Regardless of the role they play in ranking, reviews can make a big difference when a decision maker is comparing companies online.
Five GMB Features That Many Cleaning Companies Aren’t Using (And Should Be):
Here are 5 GMB features that many cleaning companies aren’t using. Some features are designed to engage prospects while others make it easier to contact you:
- Frequently asked questions: You know the questions that your prospects ask. The janitorial company owner can ask these questions and provide answers on their GMB page.
- Google posts: this feature can be used to:
- Showcase your best reviews.
- List certifications, awards and memberships in industry organizations.
- Announce any events you are sponsoring.
- The only limitation here is your own creativity.
- Messaging: Set up the messaging feature on your GMB mobile app so customers can text a request for a quote;
- Products (brand new): allows you to provide more information about the services you provide;
- Appointment URL: You can set up a link that goes to the contact form on your website. This is done on your GMB dashboard.
Google adds new features from time to time. Try to keep your GMB profile up to date. Use GMB to its full potential and start getting more leads today!
GMB Tip: Download the Google My Business app on your phone and get access to the GMB mobile features.
Get More Leads By Using These GMB Features:
What Are Keywords And Why They’re Important For SEO:
The words you type in when searching for something on Google are known as keywords. People will use different “keywords” to search for the same service or product.
Example: Someone wants to find a cleaning company online. Here are a few of the different “keywords” that people might use:
- Cleaning service
- Office cleaning service
- Janitorial company
- Commercial cleaning company
And the list goes on and on. These keywords are important in SEO. You have to know the different keywords that prospects use and which words are used most often (known as search volume).
Google wants to help people find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Google won’t show your website if it doesn’t contain the keywords that people use in their searches. One purpose of SEO is to make sure that as many of the most commonly search for keywords are present on your website (without overusing them).
Are You Using The Right Keywords On Your Website?
Why SEO Can Get You More Janitorial Contracts Than Other Marketing Strategies:
Prospects search online for janitorial companies in various ways. Some will click on the first ad they see on the top of the page. But many will look further down the page to research companies in more depth.
So, if you aren’t doing SEO in one fashion or another, you won’t get any of the contracts that become available in the organic section on page 1. However, SEO takes time to see results. There is a strategy that can help you get contracts now while you’re waiting for your SEO to kick in.
How To Get Commercial Cleaning Contracts Now: Google Ads (PPC)
The best way to get commercial cleaning contracts online now is with Google Ads (i.e. pay per click). If you start running ads you can get your company’s website on the top of page 1 right away.
Studies show that ads attract buyers who are more likely to purchase a product or service now. So, these leads are hot and convert at a high rate.
PPC for janitorial contracts can be a powerful way to grow your business. But, PPC is highly technical and you’re bound to make costly mistakes if you do it yourself or don’t hire a company with janitorial marketing experience.
One thing to note is that PPC leads will stop (immediately) when you shut off your google ads campaign. The same can’t be said about SEO, but there are risks to pausing or stopping an SEO campaign.
Can SEO Be Stopped After The Leads Start Pouring In?
It might be tempting to stop SEO if you’re getting a steady supply of leads (and contracts). But, here’s a word of caution: your competition is watching you. When your SEO starts working, your rankings will improve and you’ll start taking leads away from your competitors. When that happens, they’ll probably ramp up their SEO efforts to get their rankings (and leads) back. That’s a good enough reason to continue your SEO program even when the leads are pouring in.
So, How Many SEO Contracts Are Available In Your Area?
It’s hard to say how many contracts are available in your area without doing some preliminary research. Our national database can provide estimates about local search volumes and the number of contracts that are available in your area with a well executed SEO program.
It’s Never Too Late To Start SEO:
You might be wondering whether or not it’s too late to get into the SEO game. Remember, 50% of the janitorial contracts in the United States go out to bid every year. More and more decision makers are going online to find janitorial companies. If you aren’t in the SEO game you’ll be missing out on a lot of new contracts as they become available in your area.
Why Local Companies Should Invest in SEO:
You might think that it’s impossible to compete online with the big players in the janitorial industry (franchises, prime contractors, lead generation services, etc.). After all, they have the resources to spend a lot of money on SEO. While that may be true, local companies can often outrank the big players by implementing some of their own SEO strategies (some of which are free).
Many of the “big players” don’t have a Google my business page (they can’t have one unless they have a business location in your area). These companies can’t show off their reviews like you can. In addition, Google looks at different signals to confirm that you are indeed a local company. It’s very expensive and almost impossible for the “big players” to set up a website in each city and optimize it correctly for local search. So, for these reasons (and more) you could have an edge in SEO in your area. But, you still have to do SEO correctly to get results.
Pick An SEO Company With Janitorial Experience For The Best Results:
Your SEO needs will vary based on your location and your current online presence. We can provide any and all of these SEO services for you:
- Website development or re-design. Sometimes tweaking your current website is all that’s needed. We can also develop a well optimized website from scratch when necessary.
- GMB page set up and optimization. We can help you get the best results from your GMB page by offering insights and even manage the page for you.
- Directory listing service. We’ll get you listed in online directories that have the greatest impact on rankings.
- NAP correction service. This service can help improve your rankings by removing any incorrect business listings you have.
- Customized SEO program to help your Google rankings. We can develop a complete SEO program that will get your company ranking higher on Google than your competition.
Using the SEO strategy outlined in this article can be a cost effective way to get more janitorial contracts. But, SEO takes time and expertise to get the best results. There is a learning curve to doing SEO correctly for janitorial companies. That’s why the marketing company you choose should have janitorial marketing experience.
Local Jani is a great choice for SEO because we’ve been in the industry for over 12 years and know how to get contracts with SEO. Find out how you can get more leads and close more contracts using SEO. Contact Local Jani today.