What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a techy word that makes house cleaners run for the hills. It’s not going away, and we need to have a conversation about it, so let’s do that now. SEO is important to your cleaning or maid service business, because that is how the search engines find you.
What is a Search Engine?
Google, Yahoo, Alexa, Ask, AOL – they are all search engines. Your prospects go to a search engine to find “house cleaning or maid services”. Top 15 Search Engines for 2016
As a small business, you will do “Push marketing” or “Pull marketing” or both. We could spend an afternoon discussing the differences of push vs. pull marketing. We could elaborate on the pros and cons of push vs. pull marketing. And we could argue the expenses between the two. But the important thing for today’s conversation is this: Push marketing pushes you out to your prospects. Pull marketing draws your clients into you. If you could only do one – have it be pull marketing. It’s easier and less expensive.
So how do you do pull marketing? It’s all about working smart not hard.
When you choose a name for your business – choose a name that says what you do. (Hint: Cleaning, clean houses, house cleaning, office cleaning, maid service, etc.) The name of your company is NOT the time to get creative and cutesy. I know a lady who named her cleaning company “An Afternoon with Rose” NO! Do not be like Rose. What does that mean? Is this a book club? Is this a dating service? Will we be sniffing roses in a botanical garden? Will we be learning about the care and growth of roses? It is way too confusing – and it says nothing about cleaning houses.
Think about the big cleaning franchises like Merry Maids, The Cleaning Authority, The Maids. Their company names hint at what they do. The Cleaning Authority – are they really THE authority on cleaning? Maybe. But there’s a far better chance they can clean my house than if I hire and spend “An Afternoon with Rose.
The Cleaning Authority lends credibility just in the name itself. Why is this important? Because search engines are not people. They are computer programs that try to guess what your content (advertising, marketing, webpages or blogs are about.) If you typed in a search engine these words: I need a house cleaner. I promise you that the search engine will find The Cleaning Authority – before it finds An Afternoon with Rose.
Why SEO is important for house cleaners
If you have a limited marketing budget, SEO is a great way to promote your residential cleaning business.
Now that you have an awesome company name – let’s make a website. A website gives you a home for all the questions your prospects will ask. I’ve got a list of 63 questions that prospects will ask you before they hire you as a house cleaner. Why not save yourself from answering them dozens of times by pasting the answers on your website?
You can also put an about page on your website that shows your clients who you are, pictures of you and your car. Yay! Now they know what to expect when you show up to clean.
So if you have a website – what is your domain name? The domain name is also known as a URL. It is what you type in after the http://www. Is your domain name specific to your cleaning business? Does it say your cleaning company name? Check it out http://www.TheCleaningAuthority.com is their website. Awesome right? It has their company name built right into their domain name.
If you haven’t already, register the domain name for your business. You can use a service like www.GoDaddy.com or www.Cheap-domainregistration.com. For an annual fee of $10-$12 you can license your company domain name. I can’t stress the importance of this. If it is available, choose your company name with the extension .com. There is only one.com Dot com was the first round of domain names. It is the industry standard, so most people over 30 will still look for your company.com
If it is not available, try for a different variation of your company.com, the .com wins over variety extensions like .us .info .org .gov etc.
SEO considers a .com URL more valuable than other extensions. They get what we call more “SEO juice”.
But once the domain name you want to use is gone, it’s gone. If somebody else registers the domain name you want, the only way you can take it from them, is hope that next year they don’t renew the license. Or you can make them an offer and pay thousands of dollars and buy the rights from them.
Either way, you want to register your business domain name right now. You don’t have to host it, or build a website today – you can “park it” for free. But pay the registration fee and snag that domain name while you can.
Pull Marketing through SEO
So if you’ve got a great company name, and a dynamic domain name, it’s time to create some pull marketing through SEO. How do you do it? With every piece of content you create – you should include a keyword.
Every piece of content means every piece of content. The search engines don’t just look at your website. They look at your Facebook profile and posts. Your Instagram profile and posts. Your Linkedin Profile and the groups you’ve joined. They look at your profiles on Tumblr and Twitter and the keywords you include in your posts.
Why do they do this?
The search engines are playing a competition game with each other. They all want to be the best. Just like you want to be the house cleaner that pops up on a search engine, when somebody does a search for house cleaning in your neighborhood. You want to be the best or the most popular, so you get the business.
The search engines want to be the best so they get the business. They sell keywords for a living. That is how they make their money. So they have to be accurate in the searches they provide. Right now, you are not going to pay for keywords. (This is a different conversation we’ll have another time.) Today focus on optimizing your search engine presence doing free stuff first.
The program that runs the search engines is a code written by software programmers. The code looks for keywords in your communication, to confirm that you are the right person to choose for the search query.
It’s like the game Red Rover – and you’re standing there in a line up of other house cleaners hoping they call your name. How do you get the search engines to pick you?
You use keywords.
What is a keyword?
A keyword is a hint. I’ll give you a hint about what I do for a living. The keyword(s) can be one, or two, or five words. It might be a keyword phrase, but to make it simple we will just call them keywords.
On another day we’ll talk about short tail and long tail keywords but for today a keyword is a hint.
So what are your keywords? What do you do? Oh yes, you clean houses. So your keywords would be something like: House cleaner. Clean houses, maid, maids, maid services, cleaning services, and cleaning. Stuff like that. When you talk on social media you want to include your keywords in your normal conversations.
Instead of saying “I had a long day today.” You would say “I had a long day today cleaning houses.” See? It’s more specific and you used keywords.
SEO for the independent house cleaner
You are one person. You are not a cleaning franchise, and you do not have thousands of advertising dollars per month, coming in from franchise owners. So you have to get creative with your pull marketing.
My company name is Savvy Cleaner. Guess what I do? I train house cleaners to start and run successful house cleaning businesses. When they have completed my course, they are a savvy cleaner. My domain name is http://savvycleaner.com – we talked about the domain name, but what about social media? The same rules apply. I want the search engines to connect the dots with all my social media accounts. So my accounts look like this:
You get my drift. I’ve created similar profiles for all the social media. I’m making it easy for the search engines to guess that I am the same savvy cleaner who blogs at http://AskaHouseCleaner.com
Guess what we blog about? Oh yes, house cleaning. You can ask a house cleaning question, and your house cleaning question becomes the next blog. (So check it out, I used the keywords “house cleaning” three times in normal conversation in this very paragraph. Ha! I made you just go back and look.)
Are you starting to see how keywords work? It’s pretty exciting when you look at it like a game.
There are all kinds of WordPress plugins for bloggers that help with keywords and SEO. Companies specialize in the analytics of SEO tips, and optimizing hacks. But you have enough homework for today. Go back through your social media profiles and look to see where you can optimize your pull marketing. Change your name handles to include your business name or service.
Register a domain name. Start using keywords in all your online posts. Make it easy for the search engines to find you. They won’t recommend you if they can’t find you. And if they can’t confirm you’re the right person that matches the search query.
More on search engine optimization coming soon. Don’t miss out. Sign up for my free weekly email with insider tips for social media for house cleaners at http://magicmarketingmix.com/tips
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