Local SEO Guide for Chimney Sweeps: 5 Tips to Improve Your Google Rankings

/Local SEO Guide for Chimney Sweeps: 5 Tips to Improve Your Google Rankings
Local SEO Guide for Chimney Sweeps: 5 Tips to Improve Your Google Rankings 2017-11-12T10:14:16+00:00

As a chimney sweep, you are probably highly familiar with the challenges involved in attracting new business. When someone needs a chimney sweep, he usually runs a quick Google search and then calls the first company or two on the list. To bring in as many new customers as possible, you need to make your way to the top of the results page.

We will walk you through our proven step by step process to move your company to that critical top spot. Before we get started, though, let’s take a look at why local SEO is so important for chimney sweeps.

3 Reasons Chimney Sweeps Should Invest in Local SEO

Google Is the New Yellow Pages:

Until recently, chimney sweeps could simply take out a Yellow Pages ad and wait for the phone to ring. Today, however, a surprising 97% of people search for local businesses online, and Google is by far the dominator.

Free Traffic:

Although it is evolving, advertising is still one of the largest expenditures for most small businesses. Boosting your Google rankings will give you an ongoing stream of free traffic that you can convert into paying customers.

Zippy Results:

For national and international companies, it takes roughly 6 to 12 months to see much movement in their Google rankings. As a chimney sweep, though, you have a tremendous advantage. Your competition is only other chimney sweeps nearby, not those on the other side of the world. And many of your competitors are not using local SEO. This means that you could catapult to the first page of Google local rankings in as little as 30 days!

Step 1: Select Your Keywords

The first step in your local SEO campaign is simply to create a list of keywords that reflect your services. For example, you might try “chimney sweep”, “chimney cleaning”, “chimney repair”, and “fireplace cleaning”. When your list is fairly complete, sign up for a free Google AdWords account.

There is no need to develop a full ad campaign, but an AdWords account provides access to Google’s free Keyword Planner tool. This helpful tool lets you input your selected keywords to see how much traffic they generate. It will also suggest additional related keywords that you may not have on your list.

With this information in hand, you are ready to determine your final list of keywords. All keywords can be loosely categorized into 2 types:

  • Buying Intent: Prospects searching for buying intent keywords are imminently ready for your services. For example, a search for “chimney sweep Boston” likely indicates that the prospect has done his homework and is ready to have his chimney cleaned.

    Focus primarily on buying intent keywords, which will produce the speediest results. Feature them on your homepage, and create your service pages around them.

  • Research Intent: Research intent keywords signal that a prospect is just shopping around. He might want his chimney cleaned at some point, but not right now. For example, someone searching for “how do I clean my chimney” is just starting to consider her options.

    Make these keywords a lower priority, as they take a long time to drive conversions. Don’t take them off your list altogether, though, as they are highly useful in blog posts and FAQs. These posts introduce you to prospects who might come to you when they are ready for your services.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

With your final keyword list in hand, you are ready to optimize for them in 2 spots—your Google My Business page and your website. Here’s what to focus on:

Google My Business

Think of your Google My Business page as a shortened website that appears in Google’s “Map” section. It briefly describes your services to new prospects, and it increases your overall online presence. It can drive a quick rankings boost, since it is much easier to rank highly with a Google My Business page than with a website.

For the best results, make sure these elements are accurate and complete:

  • Verification: First, claim your page and go through the Google verification process. You are ready to move on when you see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your business name.
  • NAP: Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) should be completely accurate and fully consistent across the internet. Let Google know that your business is local by listing a local phone number instead of an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google requirements state that categories must focus on services instead of results. In addition to Chimney Sweep, list any additional services you provide. Try to list 3 to 5 categories.
  • Description: The description is simply a brief description of your company that ends with a call to action. It should be 100 to 200 words long, and formatted similarly to: {Name of Company} offers professional {chimney and fireplace cleaning, or similar} in {Your City}. {Provide some information about your background and/or why customers love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first service!
  • Hours: Make sure your office hours are up to date, and are consistent throughout all of your internet listings. If you provide cleaning services on a different schedule than your office hours, note that fact in a separate paragraph.
  • Images: Images can dramatically boost customer engagement, and show prospects that you do a great job. Add a few photos of your team at work (with permission, of course!). Your images must have a sharp focus, be sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. We also recommend replacing the generic Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Start by optimizing your “core” pages, which are your homepage and service pages, for your buying intent keywords. Later, you can optimize your “content” pages, or FAQs and blog posts, for your research intent keywords. Here is what to focus on:

  • Homepage: The single most important element on your homepage is the title tag, which plays a similar role to a book’s chapter title. Keep it between 50 and 65 characters long, and format it similarly to: Chimney Sweep in {Your City} | {Name of Your Business}.

    The next element is the meta description, a 100 to 150-character listing of your core services that ends with a call to action. Try to approximate this format: {Name of Company} offers quality {chimney and fireplace cleaning, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first service!

    The H1, or visible headline, must include your primary category, and should be both concise and descriptive. This format works well: {Chimney Sweep} in {City, State}.

    The last major element is your 500 to 1000-word page copy, which must be clear, descriptive, and well edited. Give some background information, briefly explain your core services, and close with a strong call to action. Incorporate your primary keyword in a natural way.

  • Service Pages: Create a keyword-optimized page for each main service, optimizing it just as you did for the homepage.

Step 3: Build Citations and Links

With your structure in place, you are ready to build citations and links. These boost your online reach and help to improve your Google rankings.

  • Citations: A citation is simply a listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) in an online directory. You can choose from general national directories (yellowpages.com and Facebook), general local directories (Chamber of Commerce website), and targeted industry-specific directories. Make sure your NAP is identical in every listing.

    Note that while many directories are free, some charge a listing fee. Before you invest, take a look at Google Analytics. Do not spend money on a site that does not drive traffic and conversions.

  • Links: Google rankings are heavily dependent on high-quality inbound links. Focus on building relationships both online and in person with those who offer complementary services, and then ask to trade links. Use a tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer to see where other local chimney sweeps get their links.

Step 4: Gather Reviews

Customer reviews are important for two reasons: they convince prospects to try your services, and they assure Google that you have a legitimate business. All review sites can help, but for the fastest rankings boost, focus on Google My Business reviews. Send an email to your satisfied customers with a link to your Google My Business profile, and ask them directly to write a review. Doing this on a regular basis will provide an ongoing stream of reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

You can only know if your local SEO campaign is working, and find those areas that still need tweaking, by tracking your results. There are many different ways to analyze your data, but these 3 core metrics are the most essential:

  • Rankings: Google search results are customized based on the user’s previous browsing behavior. Therefore, to get your true rankings, you must use a tool. The free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a great place to start. Ask your webmaster to install it, and look at your results once or twice per month.

    For a deeper analysis, consider a paid rank tracking tool. We like the one offered by RankRanger.com. This helpful tool tracks Google+ Local pages as well as webpages, and provides automatically updated ranking data from all of your SEO campaigns.

  • Traffic: Google Analytics is arguably the best way to track your traffic, or visitors to your website. You can view your total traffic, the traffic for each individual webpage, and the percentage of visitors who reach you through Google search. Check your report once a month, and keep a close eye on any long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a specific behavior that you want your prospects to perform. For a chimney sweep, this might be contacting you for 10% off one service. In Google Analytics, you can track both web and phone conversions, learn which of your services drives the most conversions, and find out which of your webpages have the lowest and highest conversion rates.

Are You Ready?

Now you understand why a comprehensive local SEO campaign is so important in bringing more customers to your chimney sweep business. Work through the steps in order, making sure to complete each one before starting the next. Here is a recap of the 5 steps:

  1.    Keyword research
  2.    Keyword optimization
  3.    Citations and Links
  4.    Reviews
  5.    Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping chimney sweeps attract more local patients through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

Click here to request a Free SEO Quote

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