Your pest control company knows quite a lot about wrangling mice, roaches, and other nasty critters that like to hide in your customers’ walls.
But when it comes to pest control marketing? You’re more than a bit lost.
Pest control marketing is about more than just throwing a website on the Internet and waiting for hits. You need to be strategic about how you put your business out there. Here are a few tips you need to boost your marketing and leads generation.
Let’s start with the neighborhood. After all, that’s the area your pest control business serves.
And for that, you need local SEO for pest control.
A lot of digital marketing advice is geared toward businesses with a global mindset. But if your business serves one city or the metropolitan area around a city, it doesn’t do you any good to get site visitors from halfway around the world.
Not sure where to start? Keep reading.
What is Local SEO?
Let’s start with the basics: what is local SEO?
Local SEO refers to search marketing and optimization for localized searches. If that sounds like a load of garble, it’s not actually that complicated once you look at a search.
Let’s say someone was looking for a pest control company in Chicago. They open Google and type “pest control Chicago” into the search bar.
That’s a local search. How can you tell? It has geographically-specific markers, like a specific location (in this case, Chicago). “Near me” searches also fall into this category. Basically, it’s any search that uses a geo-modifier.
If you have a brick-and-mortar business or a service-area based business, this is exactly what you need to attract customers in your area.
What Influences Local SEO?
Unlike regular SEO, local SEO is geared toward a specific geographic location. So while some of the same SEO influences work in local SEO, there are some influences that are particular to local SEO.
These include things like:
- Link signals
- Business signals (proximity, keywords, categories, etc.)
- On-page signals
- Citation signals
- Review signals
- Social signals
Since a search engine has to review your information before it can show it to the right person, you have to provide the search engine with the right cues to show that you are located in Chicago rather than New York, South Bend, or Marseilles.
For a closer look at local SEO for small businesses, check out this guide.
Local Keyword Research
To do this, a good place to start is local keyword research.
Let’s say you have a pest control company called Undertaker Pest Control. What kinds of terms would you want to rank for? Maybe terms like:
- Pest control near me
- Undertaker Pest Control
- Pest control [location]
- What time does Undertaker Pest Control close?
- Undertaker Pest Control phone number
Why these particular queries? As you may have noticed, they’re not your typical long-tail keywords. You want to rank for these particular queries because they all reference information that Google and other search engines will pull straight from your business listing.
Of course, you’re going to need to pay attention to long-tail and short-tail keywords as well. Fortunately, this process isn’t nuclear astrophysics.
Just brainstorm the type of information your customers would be looking for when they find your site. Let’s say you’re a pest control company in Boise, Idaho. People might search for your services with terms like:
- Exterminator in Boise
- Boise exterminator
- Mouse removal Boise
- Emergency exterminator in Boise
- Pest control in Boise
- Boise pest control
Not sure where to start? Brainstorm your SiLs (Service in Locations), a list of the services you offer and where you offer them. That should give you a good list to work with.
The Basics of Local Citations
From there, you can direct your attention to local citations.
Local businesses like pest control companies have a unique problem–they struggle to attract natural backlinks. Unfortunately, backlinks are the way that search engines establish:
- Whether your business is real
- How trustworthy your business is
And since search engines need this information to decide how to rank your site, local businesses were at an unfair disadvantage. So, search engines came up with a new solution: instead of using backlinks, search engines use citations for local businesses.
Luckily for you, you already have several of these–listings in directories verifying information like your name, phone number, and physical address.
Why Citations Matter
As a local business, you cannot afford to neglect citations, as they have a direct impact on how your business performs in searches–in other words, whether you show up where your potential customers are looking for you.
Let’s say your would-be customer is looking for a pest control company. They’re going to do one of a few things.
First, they might search for a pest control company nearby. If they’re enabling location services on a phone or computer, the search engine will provide local search results before organic results.
Second, they’ll look for a pest control company in a directory. If your business has a citation there, it will aid in natural discovery.
Third, they’ll voice search for “pest control company near me.” Search results are shown, again, with local results first, since they used geo-tagging language.
Take a guess where search engines pull the information that they use in situation #1 and #3?
Yup. Your citations.
Structured vs. Unstructured Citations
Normally, a citation has three component parts:
- Phone number
But this isn’t always the case. This usually depends on whether the citations are structured or unstructured.
Structured citations generally follow the above format and can be found in directories like Better Business Bureau.
Then there are unstructured citations. SEO experts disagree on the exact nature of unstructured citations, but they’re more or less good old fashioned backlinks. You can normally find them in local blogs, links in press releases, social media profiles, and company announcements.
The key difference between an unstructured citation and a backlink is that unstructured links don’t necessarily need to be a do-follow link to be valuable.
Your Site as Citation
So, how do you get citations? Chances are, you already have at least one, even if you don’t realize it: your website.
The pothole most businesses fall into is thinking that their site is the end-all-be-all, the first source of correct record and the main font of correct information that all other listings feed on. But that’s simply not the case.
In a Google-dominated search environment (Google is projected to hold 80% of the search engine market in 2019), the first source of correct information is actually your Google My Business listing.
This means two things: you should pay close attention to your Google My Business listing, and you should treat the address on your website pages as a highly valuable citation.
Google My Business, Bing Places, Apple Maps
Did you know 86% of people look for business information on Google Maps? Take a wild guess what they’re looking for.
Businesses near them and the addresses of those businesses.
Some would argue that claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing is the most important thing you can do for your local SEO efforts. They wouldn’t be far off the mark. Remember, your Google My Business listing is the first source of correct information about your NAPs (Name, Address, Phone Number) in a Google-dominated search environment.
That said, Google isn’t the only search engine out there and you shouldn’t treat it as such. Bing Places and Apple Maps are just as important in your local optimization efforts.
Local On-Page Optimization
Of course, your listings aren’t everything. You still need to pay attention to your website if you want to perform well in SERPs. This is where on-page optimization comes in.
For example, you can display your NAP information on your website. Ideally, you should do so in schema format. Schema markup is basically crawlable HTML text format that makes it easy for a web crawler to read and index your NAP information.
Whatever you do, don’t use an image to display your NAP information–web crawlers can’t crawl images, even if there is text embedded in an image. They just see that there’s an image present and move on, which means you’re losing valuable SEO points.
It’s also a good idea to embed a Google map on your website. Not only does this make it easy for users to find your physical location, but it also earns you a few spare SEO brownie points.
Now, that covers your bases if you have one location.
If you have multiple locations, roll up your sleeves, because you’ve got some extra legwork to do.
Create Location Pages for Each Location
First things first: if you think that putting all your information on one location page will get you SEO points for each individual location on that page, we’re sorry to say that you’re in for a surprise.
When web crawlers look at a location page, they may note that there are multiple locations listed, but you’ll only get the points for it once. And that can be to the detriment of your other locations.
Instead, you need to create individual location pages for each individual location. However, these location pages should not be identical, as this can hurt you more than having just one location page.
These pages should include things like:
- The location’s NAP information
- Location-specific information, such as site-specific news, site-specific staff information, and reviews for that location
- Images from that specific location
- An embedded Google map
- Descriptions of where and how to get to this location
If you’re struggling to figure out how to make each page unique, the best way to approach pages like this is to think of them as unique microsites, each with their own unique content to serve their particular customers.
For example, you should include local business schema markup for each page to ensure that specific page’s location information appears in search results when users are looking for it.
You also want to ensure that the page is discoverable to web crawlers (if web crawlers can’t find it, users can’t find it either). The best way to do this is through location-specific keywords in your meta descriptions, title tags, and content, as well as submitting a sitemap once the landing pages are complete.
Build Links to Each Location Page
Remember earlier when we said that local businesses often struggle to acquire natural backlinks?
Well, there is a way to bolster your chances of backlinks for each of your location pages. But you’re going to need to build a linking strategy for each individual page (remember, each page is functionally a minisite–treat it accordingly!)
One of the best ways you can do this? Content marketing. Generate valuable local (and location-specific) content for each of your web pages. To do this, host a blog for each page.
This will help you attract interest, and from there, you can build an email list from which to do email marketing and paid ads for each individual page.
Is it a lot of work? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely.
Now, let’s say you operate in a city but don’t have a physical address there. In that case, you can’t use NAPs to rank local landing pages in that city, but you still want to work your local SEO to bolster your site there.
What’s an enterprising business owner to do?
One option is city pages, which are similar to most other types of local landing pages–except that you don’t have a physical address in that city.
This makes them a great option for businesses like your pest control company that are located in a central city but also offers services in surrounding counties and neighboring cities.
Fortunately for you, city pages require many of the same elements as their NAP-friendly counterparts. This includes things like:
- Optimized title tags
- Optimized meta descriptions
- A keyword-friendly page name and URL
- A rock-solid link structure
So if you master these elements elsewhere in your site, you’ll have no problem managing them for your city pages. Let’s break it down.
Title Tags and Meta Description
In regular SEO, you’re often advised to optimize your title tags. That’s just as important in your city pages.
Ideally, your title tag should include:
- Your business name
- The location
- A top keyword
Generally, your title tag should be between 50-60 characters.
Your meta description follows many of the same rules.
As with most things related to SEO, this should be useful to your users (pro tip: useful and keyword-stuffed are not synonyms). Don’t get so caught up in ranking that you forget about the user.
Instead, write a meta description that compels the user to click on your article while also incorporating the keywords naturally. Keep it to 160 characters or less–otherwise, you’ll get cut off in the SERPs.
Page Name and URL
You might not pay much mind to your page name. The devil’s in the details, especially when it comes to SEO.
It’s generally accepted to use your top keyword and city name as your URL and page name. This is for many of the same reasons as putting the keyword and city in your title tags and meta descriptions–it has some SEO benefit and may encourage clickthrough if your users think you’re offering valuable, relevant information.
That said, don’t go crazy with the URL. Keyword stuffing is a no-go, even in your URL where no one will read it. Stick with one keyword that represents your business and leave it at that.
Strengthen Your Link Structure
Finally, as with other areas on your site, it’s vital to strengthen your linking structure in your city pages.
The best place to start is internal links. Why? Because a page on your site with good linking power can share that good energy with the page that links to it. It’s not total transference, but it definitely helps.
The key here is to use relevant internal links in a natural way. Always aim to offer your users value before you try to sell them something.
Then, there are external links.
You might not think that you should link to someone else’s site if you’re trying to keep a reader on yours. But if you’re providing your reader with valuable resources, this will actually boost your credibility in their eyes.
Remember: don’t overstuff it. Spam isn’t useful to anyone, even if the resources are actually good-quality.
SEO and Lead Generation
Finally, we’ve arrived at the digital marketing component that you’re probably familiar with: SEO, or search engine optimization, the magical set of tools and tricks that makes it possible for your website to see actual traffic through Google and other search engines.
Most of the pest control marketing tips we’ve shared thus far have been related to SEO in some way (city pages are expressly designed to leverage SEO in an environment that would seem to undermine it).
Here, we’re going to focus more specifically on your broad SEO strategies and what you can do to generate leads from it.
Understanding the Importance of Content
First, though, you need to understand the importance of content.
You’ve heard before that content is king. Truth is, good content will always be king. Why?
Because good content is one of the best ways for you to demonstrate value to your customers.
Good content is separated from mediocre content by what you offer to your customers. If you’re writing content to fill space, that won’t do your customers any good.
What will help them is a blog post on how they can keep mice from getting into their food, or how to check for a tick infestation. Plus, a well-written and properly optimized post can help your site rank well for that topic, which will bolster you for quite some time after the original post.
Of course, good content isn’t limited to long posts, and good content isn’t all you need. You can convey useful information in all sorts of other ways. Like, say, infographics.
Infographics are all the rage for a good reason. They’re easily digestible, contain useful information, and they’re fun to read. Plus, they hijack the natural processes of the brain in a way that’s guaranteed to hold your customers’ attention more effectively than text alone.
About half of the human brain is directly or indirectly dedicated to vision. That makes sense when you realize that about 90% of the information sent to the brain. So despite the old saying that a picture’s worth a thousand words, it’s actually worth closer to 60,000, since we process images 60,000 times faster than text.
So, how do you transfer that advantage to an infographic?
Break down information into small factoids that are easy to read and arrange. Use interesting images that are relevant to the information, like ants or rats, and don’t be afraid of color.
Looking to Conquer Pest Control Marketing?
You know how to conquer pests. Now, it’s time to conquer pest control marketing.
That’s where we come in.
We do more than just work your SEO. We partner with your business to learn your goals and struggles so that we can help you spend less time banging your head on a desk and more time clearing out pests from houses.
Ready to give your business a boost? So are we. Use our contact page to start the conversation.