Local SEO Guide for Moving Companies: 5 Steps to Boost Your Google Rankings

/Local SEO Guide for Moving Companies: 5 Steps to Boost Your Google Rankings
Local SEO Guide for Moving Companies: 5 Steps to Boost Your Google Rankings 2017-11-12T10:14:16+00:00

Moving companies face numerous challenges in attracting new customers. When someone needs a mover, she typically completes a Google search and then calls the first few companies on the results page. To attract as many new customers as possible, then, you need to find your way to that all-important top position.

We will walk you step by step through our proven process to move your company to the top of the pile. Before we get started, though, let’s take a look at why local SEO is so important for moving companies.

3 Reasons Moving Companies Should Invest in Local SEO

The Yellow Pages Are Dead, Google Is King:

At one time, you could bring in new business by taking out an ad in the Yellow Pages and waiting for prospects to make contact. Times are changing, and fully 97% of people today search for local businesses online. Google is the undisputed leader of search.

Free Traffic:

Its nature is evolving, but advertising is still one of the biggest expenditures for many businesses. Raising your Google rankings gives you an ongoing stream of free traffic that you need only to convert.

Speedy Results:

On average, national and international companies must wait about 6 months to a year to see their Google rankings move. As a moving company, though, you are competing only against other movers nearby, not those on the other side of the country. And quite a few of them have not yet discovered the power of local SEO. With a targeted campaign, you could springboard to the first page of Google local rankings in as little as 30 days!

Step 1: Decide on Your Keywords

First, make a quick list of keywords that reflect your services. For example, you might try such keywords as “movers”, “moving services”, “long distance moving companies”, “furniture movers”, and “house movers”. When you have a good list, set up a free Google AdWords account.

You do not need to actually set up or pay for an ad campaign, but the AdWords account will provide access to the free Google Keyword Planner tool. This allows you to type in your selected keywords to find out how much traffic they get. It also suggests related keywords that may not have occurred to you.

Now you are ready to decide exactly which keywords you will use. All keywords can be loosely categorized into 2 types:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords are used when a prospect is imminently ready for your services. For example, someone searching for “moving services available next week Savannah” has an upcoming move and is looking for the right moving company.

    Your local SEO campaign should be based on buying intent keywords, which produce the speediest results. Feature them on your homepage, and create your service pages around them.

  • Research Intent: Prospects choose research intent keywords when they are just shopping around. They might hire a mover eventually, but not right now. For example, someone searching for “DIY moving tips” might be exploring her options for an upcoming move.

    Research intent keywords should be a lower priority, since they do not drive fast conversions. Hold onto them, though, to use in FAQs and blog posts. These posts introduce you to prospects who might think of you when they are ready to hire a moving company.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

When you have finalized your keyword list, it is time to optimize for them in 2 spots—your Google My Business page and your website. Here’s what to focus on:

Google My Business

Your Google My Business page is a sort of mini-website that appears in the “Map” section of Google local listings. It boosts your overall online presence, and gives new prospects a short description of your services. It can also raise your rankings quickly, as 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: The first step is to claim your page and submit it for Google verification. When you see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your business name, you will know you were successful.
  • NAP: Your NAP, or business name, address, and phone number, must be both accurate and entirely consistent across all listings. Tell Google that yours is a local business by listing a local phone number instead of an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google My Business categories must focus on services instead of results. Besides Moving Company, list any additional services you provide, such as Moving and Storage Service or Piano Moving Service. Try to think of 3 to 5 categories.
  • Description: Use your description to provide a 100 to 200-word overview of your business that ends with a call to action. Try to format it similarly to: {Name of Company} offers professional {local and long distance moving services, or similar} in {Your City}. {Provide some information about your background and/or why customers love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for a free estimate!
  • Hours: Double-check that your office hours are up to date, and are consistent throughout all of your internet listings. If you provide moving services outside of your office hours, note that information in a separate paragraph.
  • Images: Images can dramatically raise engagement, and show prospects that you do a great job. Add a few photos of your office, your staff, or 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+ Local background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Start with your homepage and service pages, also known as your “core” pages. Optimize them for your buying intent keywords. Later, you can optimize your blog posts and FAQs, or “content” pages, for research intent keywords. Here is what to focus on:

  • Homepage: Similar to the chapter title of a book, the title tag is the single most important element on your homepage. It should be between 50 and 65 characters long, and formatted similarly to: Moving Company in {Your City} | {Name of Your Company}.

    The next element is the meta description, which lists your primary services and ends with a call to action. It must be between 100 and 150 characters in length, and approximate this format: {Name of Company} offers quality {local and long distance moving services, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for a free estimate!

    Make sure the H1, or visible headline, is both concise and descriptive, and contains your primary category. This format works well: {Moving Company} in {City, State}.

    The last major element is your page copy, a 500 to 1000-word descriptive section that must be well edited. Provide some background information about your company, briefly describe your core services, and close with a strong call to action. Use your primary keyword in a natural way.

  • Service Pages: Create a separate page for each of your core services. Optimize each service page in exactly the same way as the homepage, making sure to substitute the relevant keyword.

Step 3: Develop Citations and Links

With the basic framework of your campaign in place, you are ready to develop citations and links. These boost your online reach and help to improve your Google rankings.

  • Citations: A citation is simply an online listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) in a directory. There are general national directories (yellowpages.com and Facebook), general local directories (Chamber of Commerce website), and targeted directories of movers. Be sure that your NAP is identical in every listing.

    Note that although many directories are free, some accept only paid citations. Before spending the money, take a peek at Google Analytics. Do not invest in a site that does not drive traffic and conversions.

  • Links: Inbound links from authoritative websites play a key role in Google rankings. Focus on building relationships both online and in person with those who offer complementary services, such as realtors, and then ask if you can trade links. Tools such as the Moz Open Site Explorer tool will help you learn where other local moving companies are finding their links.

Step 4: Collect Reviews

Customer reviews play two key roles: they convince prospects to try your services, and they let Google know that your company is legitimate. While all review sites are useful, the fastest rankings boost will come from Google My Business page reviews. Send an email to your satisfied clients with a link to your Google My Business profile, and ask them directly to write a review. Doing this on a regular basis will ensure an ongoing stream of reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

The only way to know if your local SEO campaign is doing its job, and to identify those areas that still need a bit of help, is to track your results. There are many different ways to analyze your data, but these 3 core metrics are the most crucial:

  • Rankings: Google customizes its search results based on past browsing activity. This means that the only way to know your actual Google rankings is with a tool. The free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is an excellent choice. Ask your webmaster to install it, and check your results one or two times per month.

    For more detailed data, consider a paid rank tracking tool. We like the one offered by RankRanger.com, which tracks Google My Business pages as well as webpages, and provides automatically updated ranking data from all of your SEO campaigns.

  • Traffic: To track your website traffic, or visitors, try Google Analytics. You can view your total traffic, the traffic for each individual webpage, and the percentage of visitors who reach you through Google search. Look at your report at least once per month, with any eye toward long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a specific action that you want your prospects to perform. For a moving company, this might be contacting you for a free estimate. 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.

Ready to Start?

Now you understand why a comprehensive local SEO campaign is so important in driving more potential customers to your moving company. 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 moving companies attract more local patients through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

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