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Google has added a new advertising method for a flat $25 a month (which is great as nobody can run up a bill against you by clicking it). The new feature allows you to add a one line tag/ad below your map listing. This draws people's attention right to your map listing. You can advertise a coupon code, special services, etc.

Here's a sample:

This does NOT affect your map ranking or search engine ranking.

If you use it and you get rotated into the first page of the map for areas, it will definitely help out your business by attracting people to your map listing. Right now few people are using it as it just came out. Eventually more and more people will start to use it and it will lose it's affect, but the price is still low enough that 1 job a year pays for it.

First you need to make sure you have added your Google Places listing, or claimed your listing.

Whether you need to claim your listing, or get started on this new advertising method go to http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter and login.

Scroll down the page and you'll find an option for "Make your listing stand out on Google"

Select the option for Highlight Your Website

Click Proceed to Billing, Fill out your billing info and start working on your tag! Watch the results carefully. I'd recommend going with each ad for 2 weeks and see how they do. Rotate through a few to find the ones that give you the best results.

When you're done or if you have questions, go to http://www.homeinspectorpro.com/inspector-forum/Search-Engine-Optimization/2563-SEO-TIP-Google-Map-Advertising-Tag/ to the message board thread on this topic. Let us know how it's working for you! I want to hear results!!

Oh, and I guarantee that you guys will start getting calls from companies 'offering' this service to you for $50, $100 or even more per month. Hang up on them!

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle (hmm, sounds familiar).

Time for another SEO/Website Marketing Tip  Grin

How many of you are on Facebook? Who ISN'T? How many booked an inspection in the last month because of Facebook? You haven't! Why not?

Facebook has over 500 MILLION people. 250 million of them log in each day. There's only 300 million people in the US (and 33 million in Canada)!

Facebook is quickly becoming one of the best marketing tools you can have but many inspectors are completely ignoring it. Lets go over some of the advantages of Facebook and some of the ways to use it. If you don't want to, that's up to you, your competition thanks you.

It's FREEeeee (picture guy in green with the $$ all over him shouting)

When a person logs into Facebook they see recent comments by all of their 'Facebook Friends.' The goal here is to get as many clients, potential clients, friends of potential clients and Realtors to be friends with you on Facebook so they see the comments you make on your site.

Each time you post a comment and it is seen by someone, you're reminding them that you're around! You're reminding them that they know a home inspector. This means that if they need an insector, or a friend or family members does, they will remember who you are to refer you. By keeping in constant contact with past/potential clients you keep them from forgetting about you, your name, your website. That's what would normally happen a few months after they hired you. This fact alone will help drive traffic to your site and inspections to you.

Post photos of crazy things you see at inspections and make a few comments on them. Tell people what city you were inspecting in. People like seeing things that they can identify with as being very WRONG. This helps you build a connecting again that will stick out in their mind. This gives people, especially guys a chance to post on your site and further identify with you.

Post some pictures of friends & family and events. Your son hits a home run in baseball, daughter just got accepted to the Navy, dog does something funny, Linas & Bob go to dinner and a movie together (okay, maybe leave that one out). Posting small events gives people, especially women a chance to comment on your post. Each time someone posts on your site you're furthering the connection with them. EVERYONE knows at least a few people who will buy a house over the next year. Past clients are future clients and more importantly, connections to others. You might want to leave out the binge drinking you did over the weekend.

Those of you who are currently on Facebook might have noticed a HUGE source of information that arrives every Sunday night via email... a list of all your Facebook friends who have birthday's it the upcoming week. There's quite a few things you can with this information. For most of your past clients you can send them a postcard. For the past clients that are investors and send you quite a bit of business, send them a Starbucks gift card a birthdary card. For the real estate agents send them a gift basket, chocolate or a card. The last one might be borderline in a few licensed states so make sure it's okay. At the very LEAST you can get on their Facebook page and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You'd be surpirsed at what this small gesture can do. How many other inspectors do you think will be doing this?

Are you donating money to a Charity during Breast Cancer month? Post this on your Facebook. What do you think the response is from the Women who see this? Giving a discount to Active Military & Vets around Veterans & Memorial Day, post it.

If you're blogging on your website (which all of you should be doing), write a teaser on Facebook linking to your sites blog.

Post videos!! Facebook allows you to post videos up to 20 minutes long. These can be great ways to grab people's attention if done right.

Now, the next big secret for those of you who are still with me. Facebook not only allows you to post a 'Like' button on your website, but more importantly allows you to post a list of "common friends" betwen you and the site visitor. What do you think the reaction is when John Smith, first time home buyer logs onto your site and see's that his buddies, Larry, Moe & Curly
are ALREADY friends with you? They're going to realize that you've probably done inspections for them. They're probably going to contact their friends and get a review of you. This connection will guarantee you jobs. Gone are the days where you just have agents referring you, you will have friends referring you without even knowing they're doing it!

There's a lot more that you can do with Facebook, but this should get you guys started. So if you don't have an account, go to http://www.facebook.com and get one. Once you do, make sure to go to http://www.facebook.com/HomeInspectorProSoftware and be my Friend Wink


If you do not have quality links TO your site, you will not be able to get to the top of the search engine rankings if you have any competition. Having incoming links to your site is part of the 'Offpage Optimization' that makes up about half of your rankings.

Here's the rules about links, in no particular order. Remember, search engine rankings is a game. Each thing you do adds or removes points which affects your rankings.

1. The search engines actually look at the content on the page that links to you, especially around the link.
2. Links from sites with the same type of content (home inspections) are the most valuable.
3. Links from sites with related terms are also good (builders, electricians, plumbers, etc) as they will also have the words like 'home' on their site.
4. The ANCHOR TEXT of the link (see the Anchor Text post I made on this board) is EXTREMELY important. You want people to link to you with your keywords as the link so in order of best type of link to worst using Bob's website:

BEST: Chicago Home Inspections <- Notice the entire link is an important keyword phrase.

Good: Elliot Home Inspections <- "Home Inspections" is part of the phrase which is good. The word Nolan is making this link less effective than the previous one. I also removed ", LLC" from the company name as it would make the link even less effective. Since no one is searching for Elliot or LLC these words are diluting the phrase.

Poor: http://www.chicagohomeinspection.info/ <-- Putting just the link URL as the Anchor Text is extremely weak. At least in this case the word inspections is part of the link. Many inspectors don't have home or inspectors or inspection in their link text. This type of link still will give you a boost but no where near as much as the other two.

For proof of concept, go and Google "here". Yes, just the single word "here".

You know why Adobe is the first site that comes up?? Becomes every person who has put a PDF on their website says something like "You need Adobe Acrobat to view this pdf, if you don't have it you can download it here". You'll notice the next few sites are Real Player, and other programs you would download where people have done the same thing.

So, use this threads out there on the board to start exchanging links with your fellow inspectors. Make sure to include where you inspect so they can link to you as Chicago Home Inspections, rather thanhttp://www.chicagohomeinspection.info/. Include a short sentence about your company as well.

Want to know how many sites are linking to you? Go to yahoo (not Google, they don't report all links publicly) and check out the links to your site. In my case this I type this into yahoo: link:www.HomeInspectorPro.com
Head over to http://www.homeinspectorpro.com/inspector-forum/Search-Engine-Optimization/152-Link-Exchange-Great-for-SEO/ and start linking!

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