Window cleaning companies face problems common to many small businesses, including how to connect with potential customers and generate new leads with minimal investment of time and money. A visually-appealing website is a start, but it’s only effective if people can find it when searching online.
Cleaning Business Websites are Useless without SEO
Internet marketing can be the best way to reach new customers with minimal investment…but only if your website is ranks well on search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and review sites like Yelp and AngiesList. No matter how visually attractive your website is, no matter how low your pricing or how excellent your reviews are, they mean nothing if you do not rank at the top of the search results for your area.
Window cleaner’s websites must: Instill conference, locally focused, and contain effect sales copy
For this reason, window cleaners should consider optimizing their websites to get their service in front of more potential clients by using search engine optimization strategies to improve their site’s rankings. Below I have outlined some of the most important SEO actions that window cleaners should implement on their websites in order to rank well. This list should be viewed as a list of essentials, not a comprehensive list. These items are a starting checklist that needs to be done to have any chance of ranking at all. Without taking these steps, no one will ever see your site, no matter how pretty it may be.
And while this list is written with window cleaning companies in mind, the principles apply to any kind of cleaning business, whether carpet cleaning, power washing, stone and tile cleaning, etc.
How to do SEO for Your Window Cleaning Company Website
Whether your site has been up and running for a while or is brand new, you should review the following items and take action to carry them out. You may find that your web design company accomplished some of these tasks, while leaving others. If you have currently have a SEO firm working on your site, and you find they have not carried out these basic tasks it take it as a sign that you should consider replacing them with another firm.
Website Design – CMS Selection
It all begins with the design of your site. If a potential client sees your site and is not impressed they will leave with a bad taste in their mouth about you and your company and likely head right into the hands of one of your competitors. But more than just visuals, website design also plays a huge role in your site’s success or failures on search engines. This is because websites must be built according to certain guidelines in order for Google and other search engines to understand them and rank them well.
Obtaining a functional and attractive website design need not be expensive or require much effort. Many freelancer designers can make a clean and simple site for under $250. You can also look into getting a high quality site template and make personalize it with your logo and write all of the page content yourself.
Content Management System is the program that will allow you to manage and edit your site. Many designers will build your site using their own proprietary CSM, which requires moderate computer programming skills to operate. They do this to make sure you always have to use them to make even the slightest edits to your site. This is a huge problem for SEO efforts, since you will need to regularly update your site by posting new content, editing page titles and descriptions, posting links to other sites, etc. If the CMS is not up to par, you should consider moving to a different provider.
There are many popular CMSs out there that do not require programming knowledge to operate, but still are search engine friendly. The most popular is WordPress. It has a very easy to use interface that allows you to create and edit nearly every aspect of your site (pages, blog posts, menus, pictures, etc.) without having to know programming. It also is search engine friendly and has a wide support base.
Depending on how advanced you want to get, you can find a website hosting company or you can simply run the site off of many popular platforms like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. If you get a hosting account you will have more control and functionality but it will require more work to setup and maintain. If you are not very tech-savy or do not have the time, it might be best to go with a more all-inclusive hosting option like WordPress.com or Blogger.
Whatever you decide, do not cheap out! For many potential customers your website will be the only chance you have to introduce your company and make a good impression. If your site looks dated, or looks cheap, they likely will conclude that your services are also low quality and not trustworthy. If your website is clean and presents an image of trustworthy business your customers will feel more inclined to contact you about your services.
Keyword Research – Include Local Terms
Targeting the right keywords is often the backbone of a successful SEO campaign. You might think there are only a small list of potential keywords you should target (window cleaning, residential window cleaning, window cleaners, etc.). These should be viewed as the principle keywords rightly so. But by no means should you resign to simply target these big ones.
By expanding your keyword list to include local search terms you focus your efforts on your visitors that really matter, the ones in your local area. Local search terms are words or phrases that define a specific locality.
For example, if you’re a window cleaner in suburban Chicago, you might add the names of several towns to your keywords, such as “Window Cleaning Naperville” or “Chicagoland Window Cleaning” to better focus in on your target marketing. Search engines take notice of these terms and use them as a ranking factor when deciding to include you not just in general results, but also in local results.
Additionally, you may find that these long-tail, local term specific keywords have much less competition than the more generic “principle keywords”, meaning you will rank easier and quicker for these.
On-page SEO – Meta Tags, Site Organization and Content
Now that you have a site, you need to tell search engines what it is about. The programs Google uses to read your site are able to comprehend language and see the pictures on your site like humans so it uses several different items together to understand what your site is about. These programs are designed to figure out what your site AND if it is useful to people who might visit it.
It is important for all of your pages to have proper titles and text. This includes the text you see (headings, paragraphs, etc.) and things unseen such as meta data tags. Make sure all of your pages have proper meta title and descriptions tags that use your company name, type of business (e.g. window cleaning) and local area. This is vital for being considered relevant to local area searches. Do not go crazy with stuffing keywords and buzzwords, remember to write meaningful titles and primarily write for people, not for machines.
The text on your pages should be clear and well written, with no spelling or grammar mistakes (Google knows!). Further, you should include your full company name, address, and phone number in the html text on the most important pages, and perhaps even on every page if this can be reasonably done (e.g. placed in the footer or header). Google uses this information to decide if it should include you in local search results.
Any photos you use should be clear and have descriptive alt meta tags that make use of your keywords and accurately describe the photo. Be careful not to use any photos or videos that are too large and slow your site down when they load, Google considered average loading time of a site as very important!
Organize your pages in a clear and logical way. Google looks at your site as a series of pages organized like a family tree. This organization needs to make sense to your visitors. For example, if you offer several different services (e.g. residential window cleaning, commercial window cleaning, power washing, etc.) you might want to first create a “Services” page with general descriptions of all of your services, and then link from there to individual pages. This tells Google things are organized and easy for visitors to find what they are looking for. So make sure there are no broken links or “orphan pages” on your site.
Finally, make sure to include useful content for your visitors. This includes pages that detail your services and products. Don’t forget to write a good About Us page, as well as a well-written Contact Us page. You should also consider a section for articles or a blog, where you can post new content on a regular basis to show Google the site is active and always improving its offerings for visitors. These could be case studies of customers, articles on how to take care of windows between cleanings, or photo/video testimonials of satisfied customers.
Local Listing Sites and Social Media – Review Sites, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Which social media sites you focus on will depend on your specific strategy and should take into account your target market and which you feel the most comfortable using.
That being said, it is vital for any local area service company to setup/claim the most important listings and social media accounts right from the beginning. The most important of these are Google+ and Bing Local listings. On their own, Google and Bing will often create these listings based off things like business filings, phone book listings, information scraped from your website, etc. They will lay dormant and lacking much content until you claim them. Once you do, you can verify that you are the owner of the business and then manage them. Filing these profiles with information and linking them directly to your website is crucial to ranking well in local search results.
Further, it is wise to create accounts on all the major social media networks with your company name to prevent others from taking them such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Additionally, you should consider what other social media or review sites you might want to join. Many service providers use Yelp or Google+ to manage their reviews. This tends to offer better SEO value than directly posting reviews on your website, but there is no harm in doing both. I would recommend researching which are used in your area and commit to one. In time you can ask customers to submit reviews to that site and work on building up a good reputation there.
Linking – A Few Basic Ideas
Links are commonly thought of as the bones of any SEO ranking. If your site has few to no inbound links, it will not do well in rankings. Therefore, its necessary to build and cultivate your link profile.
One of the best things you can do for your site is to regularly post new content by using a blog. By creating useful content on your site you will have something to offer others in return for a link to your site. If you post useful articles, infographics, or videos, you will likely see others sharing this with their visitors and linking back to your site in the process.
Another great source of links is contractor/service provider review sites like AngiesList, ServiceMagic, etc. Many times you can build your profile for free and include links back to your site therein. Other great ideas include local directories such as Better Business Bureau, your local chamber of commerce. If you are creative, you might even be able to get mentioned by your local newspaper (offer an interview, or provide a discount to their readers, etc.) on their website.
Finally, you should look for companies that are related to your industry that have websites and form relationships with them. For example, you could offer a maid service a discount to all of their customers who they refer to you and then ask them to mention it on their twitter feed. Or you could partner with a home builder to take care of all after-construction window cleaning. If you manage relationships with these companies in time links will be easy to acquire from them.
All of this, it is important to remember that links need to come naturally. Buying links, or getting huge amounts from low-quality directories and SPAM sites will eventually get you penalized by Google. So take it slow and steady and work on quality, not quantity. A good link from a high value, relevant site, will do far more good than a 1000 from low-quality, irrelevant sites.
These items should be viewed as a starting point. Without these in place more advanced SEO efforts will fall flat. By making sure you have taken care of these essential SEO tasks you will ensure your site has a firm SEO footing on which to stand.
Try using our free checklist here while reviewing your site. It will help you track your progress and make sure you cover all the essential items mentioned here.
Do you currently have an SEO firm? Have they covered all of these items and more in their first few weeks? If not, you might consider switching to a more reliable firm like Ayres SEO.
P.S. Here are a few directories for window cleaners that you can submit your site to for free.