SERVPRO SEO Revolution?

Watch me dissect 1,857 Servpro franchise sites
using top SEO tools & offer "my take" (with examples) 
We include competitor comparisons too
Franchises and independents can use this to their advantage

How I was "DRAFTED" into the REVOLUTION...

1st  was the constant rumbling and grumbling
(coming from several SERVPRO franchises)

Later, it was a web marketing monthly email containing a statement by Jay Hinton (SERVPRO marketing manager) that made me wonder what on earth was going on?

Not sure why it came to me, (I'm thinking bad list hygiene) but there it was…

” In Q3 2020, franchise website blogs were the second most visited pages. They received XX,000 organic visits from potential customers.” - Jay Hinton
(almost triple digits)

There seemed to be a serious disconnect

Why were so many Servpro franchises complaining about their SEO results while Jay Hinton was touting "XX,000 (almost triple digits) organic visits"?

I decided to conduct a little research. 

Using a 3rd party SEO tool called SEMRush (an industry leader), I analyzed 1,857 SERVPRO franchises. I found a list of franchises here

- SPOILER -
SHOCKING Details Below

Shocking was how this information impacted me

SPECIAL NOTE - We do not claim that the information contained in the SEMrush reports are 100% accurate. and here's why...

How SemRush collects the data - 
For search engine rankings and keyword analytics, we use third-party data providers to collect Google’s actual search results pages for the 500 million most popular keywords...

We study both organic search results as well as paid search results to give you a complete picture of any website’s visibility on Google.“ Full details here.

How SERVPRO franchisees
can get precise numbers for their sites...


Servpro corporate could provide franchisees access to webmaster tools or franchisees could compare Semrush results to their google analytics outcomes.

If you would like a copy of your individual SemRush report, just contact us.

Or generate your own most recent report from SemRush. Grab a free trial here.

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Here's what I found:

Out of a complete franchise list of 1,857:

81.7% were down

and

18.3% were up.

.........................
The details:

Examples of the terms used above:

The images below show the # of site visitors on the verticle axis and the dates/month/year on the horizontal axis.

Flat dead - the trend is flat, with NO graph line appearing, essentially the no traffic position

Warminster-flat-dead2021-03-19_16-02-32

The BLUE line signifies organic traffic and the ORANGE line identified paid traffic.

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No data - Nothing appeared

cherry creek no data-2021-03-19_13-51-29

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Down dead - traffic dropped and was beginning to look "dead flat"

Gadsden-flat-dead-2021-03-19_14-00-06

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Down - traffic was in a down direction

Nil-paris 2021-03-19_14-16-50

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Down flat - traffic had dropped and appeared to be flat

east riverside down flat-2021-03-19_13-55-09

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Up - a nice upward direction

Montgomery-up-2021-03-19_15-58-49

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Up flat - trended up and now flat

west spokane up-flat 2021-03-19_15-54-45

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I compared the Feb/March reports to a small sample size of 2 franchises in June.

How I choose the two...

I was told about a post on Servpronet by Justin & Brandon Bisig,  the owners of SERVPRO of North Atlanta/Buckhead and the new owners of Servprosoutheastnashville.com.

They discussed their experience with thryv, formerly known as dex-media or DexYP.

I heard it was a glowing review and thought it would be a great example of some positive results.

I'll let you decide...

Here's what the comparison reports found:

Starting with Servpro North Atlanta Buckhead, I looked at branded vs non-branded traffic visits.

Image
Image
June

The June report showed a 66.67%-81.36% = 14.69 increase in branded traffic with a 33.33%-18.64% = 14.69% decline in non-branded searches. 

Meaning... the branded keyword searches ALL included the word Servpro.

As a marketer... I see that as dangerous, and here's why.

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Would you like to see how it compares to the competition?
(I have more details and examples below)

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In my opinion, a small percentage of people will search using the term Servpro in their search.

In other words, most people won't be typing in --
Servpro what do I do if my basement is flooded?

People will likely type into Google...

What do I do if my basement is flooded?
(minus any brand name)

Common sense suggests, the 2nd search will include a much greater volume of people.

In my view, the decline in
non-branded search is a negative thing!

And where WERE the pages APPEARING in Google?

In February/March reports, pages displaying in Google SERPs were found on pages 2-10, with most of those keywords appearing on pages 8-10.


In my opinion, i
t is unlikely that many people will click past page 1 never mind 9+ pages to finally view those results.

The "insider-joke" in the SEO community is:

Question: where do you hide a body on Google?

Answer: Page 2 in the SERP, because no one goes to page 2.

Think of the last time you searched.

How many pages deep did you go to search?

I struggle to think you went 9+ pages deep.

As you can see from the graph below, organic traffic dropped dramatically.

As a result, I have questions about what was presented in the Bisig video.

As a means of bringing any remaining questions about SemRush's data and its claims to a close, I recommend they share their analytics data and compare the trends above.

It appears the site had 2K visitors at one time (in 2015), but it looks like it was paid search, not organic.

We touch on paid search (pay per click later in this post)

Nashville's Up Next

The SERPS reports for SERVPROsoutheast Nashville.com from February-March found 99 keyword terms.

The situation appears to have gotten worse in June.
The number of organic keywords dropped to 22.

LOOK at those positions!

If you're not listed on page one, you're pretty much invisible, wouldn’t you agree?

June

February/March

Graphs from June and February appear to indicate that the majority of keywords listed in the SERPs appear on pages 5 to 10 🙁

That would help explain the visitor traffic graph below... organic traffic appears to be virtually non-existent.

Please note that ServproSoutheastNashville comes up # 1 during a search for Servpro Southeast Nashville just as you might expect. 

SPOILER

Don't assume when you search for YOUR brand/company and the city you serve that you'll appear... 

Here's a company that had an entirely different result.

The post is titled Did Belfor Hijack SERVPRO? 

If you want to see your most current SemRush report, you can get free access to the SEO tool Traffic Analytics Trial

According to SemRush, during February/March, SERVPRO of North Atlanta Buckhead was listed/found for over 300 keywords in organic search, leading to approximately 100 visits in organic search traffic.

Here is how Buckhead compared to its local competitors

(based on search traffic and keywords)

In February/March reporting, it looked like Buckhead was in good shape.

That seemed to change in June.

With an estimated 260 organic search traffic visitors in June, waterdremovalservicestoday.com and waterdamageserviceatlanta.com and waterpro-inc.com beat out servpronorthatlantabuckhead.com.

SPECIAL NOTE: In the February-March report, waterremovalservicestoday.com DID NOT APPEAR on the map.

But look at it in June!

In my opinion, this was a big STEP BACK for SERVPRO North Atlanta Buckhead

My best guess on why this is happening and how to correct it

In my opinion, the SEO results for 81.7% of the franchises DID support the complaints I had heard from many SERVPRO franchisees, and there was nothing consistently unusual in the remaining 18.3%

What could possibly be wrong?

Previously, I wrote extensively about SERVRO's SEO in a blog post titled:

 Peek Inside SERVPRO’s "Multi-Million Dollar" SEO Strategy See Why it's Both a FAILURE and a HUGE Opportunity for Franchisees & Independents  

As a result, I am somewhat familiar with SERVPRO and its community.

In my opinion, this could be seen as a site-related problem

ESPECIALLY when you see how SERVPRO's local competitors rank

I examined the site structure and content of random franchises using a tool that allowed me to view the folder structure of several franchise sites.

The "insides" of a SERVPRO franchise -  site selected at random

You don't need to be a geek to understand it.

Simply use your common sense and think about it as if it was an outline or chapters and topics in a book

  • Look at the file organization 
    (Messy or organized by topic?)

  • What folders are the content/posts in and do the names of the folders make sense?

  • How are the files are named?
    (Look at the file names of the employees)

Imagine you were a "bot" sent by Google.

The bot doesn't think.

The bot collects.

Remember you're competing against other local sites that seem to be paying better attention because those sites are outranking franchise sites.

The easier you make it for Google to understand what your site is about the better chance Google will place it in the position they think it belongs.

The Silo website structure (or the lack of one) caught my attention.

Building out a silo structure for your site structure is an important SEO best practice.

According to Google: 

A silo structure groups content and links structures in a way that search bots love. All of the information that your website covers is cleanly divided into categories. Each category should have around five pages under it. Each page in a category is thoroughly linked to the other pages in the category...

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I see a trend in low-performing sites that have all their blog content dumped into the root folder with no attempt to separate the content by silos or according to best SEO/practices.

Most of the successful SERVPRO sites appeared to contain only a few pages in the root folder.

Some pages appeared in the root but were not indexed, at least according to the tool we used.

I used a tool called Screaming Frog to generate that information.

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Screaming Frog - "It's important to remember that 'Indexability' does not tell you whether Google is indexing a URL or not - only Google ultimately decides that. Indexability tells you what you're instructing Google to do, which goes a long way in getting Google to do what you want."

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My understanding:
Non-indexable can include URLs that are the following -

  • Blocked by robots.txt.
  • No Response.
  • Redirect (3XX, meta refresh, or JavaScript redirect).
  • Client Error (4XX).
  • Server Error (5XX).
  • Noindex (or 'None').
  • Canonicalised.
  • Nofollowed
This is pure speculation on my part and only my opinion based on using the tool

Common sense tells me...

Google is better able to understand the content of the site if it's structured and organized properly.

That might help explain this anomaly in the data (servpromontgomerypulaskicounties.com)

Their root folder contained 93 total content pages, and 47 were non-indexable per screaming frog (see term description above), leaving only 46 remaining. Of those 46, three topics stood out.

Hence my hypothesis or best guess

WHAT’S POSSIBLE
NON-SERVPRO
(competitor sites)

We selected 2 sites to compare branded vs non-branded results.

These are competitors of SERVPRO

And the estimated costs of generating that traffic...

These figures are from https://www.bmscat.com.
I believe they're much smaller than SERVPRO yet their numbers are stunning and clearly very doable.

Their non-branded traffic beats any servpro franchise hands down.

BTW -  be careful when you are paying someone to "SEO" your site.

Be very careful...

Because THEY should be telling you about this.

They should also have a strategy on what to do, how to do it, and a long-term plan.

And YES 
We sell SEO services. 

NOT SEO snake oil...

We work on "virtually silos", pages, and our posts are a minimum of 500 words with most being 1,200-1,500 words of excellent content.

We send visitors to pages where the content is good and helpful.

So stop focusing on just punching corporates ticket.

1st - Start focusing on how you can bring real value to your readers.

BTW - I understand corporates' position, but they should please stop touting the "formulaic word count".

Instead, give a better description of what a good post looks like and what value actually means to the customer.

Franchises need to have a better understanding of what they are ultimately attempting to achieve.

CONTENT

ServPRO corporate suggests a minimum of 300 words for a blog post, and I disagree.
(please re-read  my comment above)


These days Google rewards posts that are a minimum of 500 words but in my opinion, 1,200 -1,500 words.

Franchises STOP what you're doing and do this:

  • boost the length of your content
    (people tend to just add words to meet the minimum - DON'T DO IT) 

  • make sure your content is valuable
    (do not spin it)

  • and link out to other sites in their local community
    (make friends)

Contact us for an example of a post we created and recommend.

You should evaluate your competition's work too

You can check out other blog posts in your industry.

Grab the Competitive research ebook here

So What is Good Content
That'll Rank in Search?

The next two items can help you create more engaging and linkable content that Google will love.

#1 - Become a Google Developer

Learn how to improve your content with Search Console Insights

FULL DISCLOSURE, we are part of the Google Developer Community

#2 -  Evaluate and improve the content in real-time

Everyone NEEDS A good content tool...

Even us...

Despite the excellent articles we write...

Our writers create content that is:

  • educational and entertaining,
  • while also providing readers with useful information and
  • supporting other local businesses in the community.
We need to sufficiently optimize articles/posts for search engines

Here’s an example of a before and after screenshot:

In the example above, our SEO content tool tagged our post with ONLY a 29% SEO and a  67% Content score.

Certainly not a passing grade...at least in our opinion.

And you should have the same opinion too!

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When it was tweaked to meet best practices, the content and SEO scores improved dramatically with 98% SEO and 90% content scores.

Please note - if you develop a similar tool, don't over-optimizing it because it will negatively affect your rankings. 

I believe Google views over-optimization as manipulation (Gaming Google), and too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing.

What to should look for when you optimize your content

Some of the items we look for

 include:

  • page title
  • page description
  • headings
  • main content
  • incoming link building
    (and there’s more)

Don’t forget to link out to your local businesses too.

SPECIAL LINK BUILDING NOTE:  Contact the sites you're linking to, introduce yourself, and explain to them why you are linking to them (provide some positive feedback).

Examples of GOOD content showing up directly in Google's mobile news feed:

The entire concept of the internet is to share information:

  • sharing
  • mentioning
  • discussing other local businesses can build strong and fruitful relationships

Just talking about yourself is boring.

So help people, and make friends, give before you get. 

Tricked Out?
--> SEO  Geek Out <--

It's CLEVER - and will get attention too

Send the company a link with a HIDDEN NOTE they'll SEE in their analytics.

For example a link to your local bakery. The link would typically look like this: www.yourlocalbakery.com.

 I suggest adding a message to the “trackable UTM” ending.

So now the link would look like this:
www.yourlocalbakery.com/?SERVPRO-Buckhead-loves-you

Adding a ? after the actual link will show up in their analytics data and not damage the integrity of the link.

The link will still function and your message will appear in their analytics too.

It's easy, and people LOVE IT

In my opinion, Servpro franchises, have limited control over their sites with minimum direct impact on improving their search results...

1.) I recommend leveraging social
YES,  SOCIAL

and here's why... 

Facebook posts are now prominently displayed in Google SERPs, Google can index them (business news feeds only) and you’ll get even more exposure.


In this case:

The video showing up on page one of the SERP is a video posted on Facebook.

And there's much more leverage you can use with video too

VIDEO TIP 

Don't forget to upload your videos to your YouTube channel.

I repeat... Don't forget YouTube!

ESPECIALLY if you’re channel is an authority in your local area. 

2) Grow your YouTube video channel into an  "authority channel"

Google will reward you with a high video ranking.

We can help you with this too 🙂

Contact us here for details

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Here is an example of how well VIDEO can rank

In this case, I built out a "customer video reviews" channel.

BTW - as I was typing the search in, Google recommended the term to me.

It's called auto-complete 
"Autocomplete is designed to help people complete a search they were intending to do"

The search was: servpro branford ct reviews.

I recorded the reviews with my smartphone and edited them in CAMTASIA® by TECHSMITH®.

Some screenshots of the video below.

At the time we fully optimized the videos to appear on this Google SERP 

There's nothing better than customers sing your praises.

DON'T STOP THERE

Time to find non-competing websites with high search rankings 😉

Advertise on those sites or develop relationships with them so you are featured with links going back to your site.

I would share your high-quality articles with other websites too

It would add excellent content to the posting site and build good quality backlinks to your franchise website.

In addition, you would benefit from their visitors and readers.

FULL DISCLOSURE: 

We offer ALL of those SERVICES...
PLUS:

Articles that are SEO optimized and guaranteed to be copyright safe. Be careful with your photos too.

Use someone else stuff without permission?

  • you may have to either take that content down
  • pay a fee to use it
  • get arrested by the government
  • or all of the above

We take that burden off your shoulders too.

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Google My Business
(we create content, adding images, post it, linking too)
 while restructuring your GMB so it's done in a way Google appreciates.

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Pay Per Click services
(we maximize the return on your PPC investments by leveraging your SERVPRO site the "right way")

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Making videos (AND RANKING THEM) for your YouTube channel making it easier to be a leader in your local area.

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Google loves authority. If you want to learn how to become an authority in your local area contact us

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Other sources of people/traffic looking to buy what you sell
(with less competition).

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You don't know what you don't know...
Let us help.

 3rd-PARTY SITE'S

 Look for existing pages that are ranking well in your area.

 You should either:

  • partner with someone who can create a site that ranks for your local area
  • build a relationship with them where they can promote you locally as a restoration firm on their site
  • and drive traffic to your franchise/money site 

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We offer 3rd-Party SITES

Our sites are outranking SERVPRO franchises

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Corporate may stomp their feet and say you can't have a 3rd party site.

I understand their position, they are protecting their brand.

I'm only suggesting you:

  • advertise on that 3rd party site
  • write articles for that site
  • develop a relationship so they recommend you over anyone else in your local area.

You don't own it, we do. So we can use as many SEO tools and tactics as we want.

We control the site, what's on it, and who's on it.

You can contact us here for details

A national brand player in a local community isn't always roses

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Before the Internet?

What happened in the local community...

STAYED in the local community!

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That doesn't happen anymore.

If you're a local brand it's tied into the national brand.

FOR BETTER

Ronald McDonald House received a brand new car from ServPro, which helped the charity restore their house last year after a flood.

or
FOR WORSE

Leverage your local franchise or if you're an Independent, take advantage of the opportunity to create your LOCAL brand.

Let us help you develop a strong local brand while you leverage all the benefits of a national brand.

Many SERVPRO's are adding "Team (company owner)" under their logo in order to differentiate themselves from other SERVPRO's in the area.

Other ideas might include:

- Promote yourself as an industry expert that happens to own a franchise. (this worked great for one of our clients)

- Have a good personal story
(Develop your local celebrity status)

- Build a family.
Make a family out of your Centers of Influence, and you should. Because families are loyal, and they support you and love you,

- BUILD REVIEWS -
Imagine your Google reviews at 1,397 positive reviews and your competition only has 95!

1,397 reviews vs. 95 reviews
Who do you think people are going to choose?

Ask about our review tool that's increased some companies (positive) reviews by 40%

It's important to be out there.
And that means
it's NOT only about SEO...

Is your Pay Per Click Program a mess?

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Not getting the results you should?

Interested in getting better performing PPC?

There's more to it than meets the eye.

Any questions or comments you can leave them below or contact us.

For more information on how we can help just drop us a note.

And NO we will not accept everyone.

Because people talk... www.RealCustomerTalk.com

So if your reviews show you're not doing a good job, then you're not a good fit.

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