iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

A Brief Guide for Using the Desktop “Messaging” Feature of Google My Business

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Did you know that Google My Business is adding a messaging feature to their desktop interface? Previously, a business could only respond to messages through the Google My Business mobile app. By adding this new feature to the desktop interface, it will be easier for local HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical contractors to manage live chats as they come in. 

How to Enable Messaging:

Lucky for you, Google has made this a very easy and straightforward process! It should take less than two minutes to enable this feature. 

Step 1. Log into the Google account that has access to your Google My Business profile. 

Step 2. After logging in, go to

Step 3. Click on the “Messages” link on the left side of your screen. 

Step 4. Click on “Messaging Settings”.

Step 5. Toggle the switch to “On”.

How Can Customers Submit Messages?

Currently, a customer can ONLY submit a message / chat through the Google Maps mobile application. When they see your business in Search Results, they may see a “Chat” or “Message” feature. 

Clicking on this button will open Google Maps, and allow them to initiate a conversation. The customer can see how long it takes you, on average, to respond to messages. Google will also insert the default message “Hi! How can I help you today?”

How to Manage Messaging Leads:

It’s imperative that someone from your business is monitoring live chats / messages on the desktop application, or from their mobile device. 

You will see live chats as they come in, and you can respond directly from the online portal.

We recommend staying logged in to Google My Business and keep one tab open on the “Messages” portal to allow you to respond quickly when customers initiate a conversation. 

Can You Enable / Disable Messaging Leads Throughout the Day?


In fact, it’s highly recommended that you disable this feature any time you, or someone at your business, cannot respond to messages (i.e. overnight). It’s easy to toggle this on and off. 

Simply click on the gear box at the top of the screen, and toggle the switch to “Off”. 

Have questions? Contact iMarket Solutions today. Dedicated to Contractor Success.

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Contractor Connection: Q&A with Aire Texas and iMarket Solutions

Friday, January 22nd, 2021

iMarket’s Co-Owner and CEO, Gary Elekes, sat down (virtually) with Aire Texas owners Chad and Amanda Faith for a discussion on how to grow sales and profits in the HVAC industry through digital marketing. 

Aire Texas, located in the Dallas, TX area, has been an iMarket partner since 2019, and are a well established business in their community. Chad and Amanda answered some of the top questions that come from contractors in regards to their marketing efforts. Read on as we provide an overview of this Q&A session! 

Q: How Can Contractors Set Themselves Apart from Their Competitors?

In the case of Aire Texas, they’re an education-based business, with specific core values that focus on factors such as improving every day and never making a decision for the customer. 

Chad Faith: “In order to improve every day we are educating ourselves and then pushing that out to our employees so they can allow customers to make informed decisions.” 

Gary echoed this sentiment and added that great contractors have to differentiate themselves, and people are what differentiates companies like Aire Texas. What makes a company great is being committed to great customer service, trying to learn from “failures” and using them to make you great with customer experience. 

Pricing is another important factor–contractors often don’t know how to price their services in a customer-friendly but profitable way. That said, it’s also important to realize that not all customers are good customers, and so it’s important to build a level of trust with the customers who are. 

Q: How Do Contractors Produce Lead Volume? 

In digital marketing, Aire Texas takes advantage of Facebook, PPC, reviews, and more. For traditional lead volume, they employ methods such as having a “Tip the Tech” section on the back of their business cards inviting customers to leave a review. These efforts have resulted in a 4.9/5 rating on Google for Aire Texas. 

Amanda Faith: “It’s also important that customers are seeing the promotions we have available on all the different platforms.”

She advises that for maximum lead volume customers must be engaged with at least 5 times, and that this is why it’s so important to be on all possible platforms, digitally and otherwise.  

Q: How Can You Grow Your Company Organically?

Well-designed responsive websites serve as conversion hubs for businesses, and contracting companies are no exception. Organic SEO has been crucial to lead generation for Aire Texas, and iMarket Solutions agrees that this is pivotal in getting the right thing to the right customer at the right time. 

Q: How Do You Approach Goal Setting and Determining Advertising and Marketing Budget?

At iMarket Solutions, we believe strongly in having a “plan of attack” for any situation. Working in the HVAC business, there are situations that are out of our control–we never know what the weather is going to do but we can have a plan regardless of how favorable outside circumstances may be. 

Chad Faith: “What helped us in this past year is looking at data from throughout the year, which iMarket’s dashboard helped with a great deal.”

Aire Texas used the iMarket Solutions client dashboard to look at what worked, and what didn’t in order to educate themselves. It also helps, according to Chad and Amanda, to look at what worked for other contracting businesses as well and to think about what you want your business to look like the following year–how many service calls do you need, how many maintenance agreements do you have? 

Q: What Are the Greatest Obstacles in Growing and Scaling Your Business? 

Gary Elekes: “If you don’t adapt as a business, the market will adapt around you. You’ll lose traction, and when you lose traction you suffer.” 

Most contractors would likely agree that one of the biggest obstacles in growing and scaling a business is a lack of qualified employees. Amanda adds that it’s also important to “get comfortable with the uncomfortable” by staying on the leading edge of technology, teaching that technology to their techs, and thereby ensuring that they send confident technicians into customers’ homes. 

Q: What Are Your Biggest Opportunities for 2021?

As we progress into 2021, more and more homeowners are going to seek out indoor air quality solutions in the form of air purification and air filtration. Contractors should expect and anticipate calls and inquiries about better filtration, duct cleaning, UV air filters, and more. 

Gary also adds that tuck-in strategies can be an angle for contracting businesses as well moving into 2021, and can provide lucrative opportunities. 

The above is a brief overview of some of the most common questions and answers being asked right now in the contracting space. Be sure to check out iMarket Solutions’ webinars and blogs for more great information on how to grow and scale your contracting business. Or, contact us at 800-727-3920 to learn more about our products and services. 

Contact iMarket Solutions today. Dedicated to Contractor Success.

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SEO Lessons Learned in the Time of COVID-19

Friday, December 11th, 2020

2020 hasn’t been the year we all planned for. The biggest impact has come from dealing with the spread of COVID-19 and its effects. Getting through a pandemic, as we have discovered, isn’t easy. However, things are a little easier to handle when we take the opportunity to learn from these experiences.

Adaptability has become vital to businesses around the world and yours should be no different. There have been plenty of changes to how HVAC and plumbing companies perform their duties to account for the safety of their crews and customers. Additionally, we’ve all had to shift the priorities of our digital marketing strategies.

The approach to SEO for contractors is one part of the online strategy that has certainly seen plenty of changes. SEO can be a bane or a boon to your business. That’s why we want to share some of the key insights gained and lessons learned from managing the SEO and digital marketing strategy for local, essential companies in this time of crisis.

4 SEO Lessons You Should Know

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a huge role in drawing potential customers to your site via the use of keywords and phrases. Thus far, we have 4 key insights we’ve found to help you adapt your digital marketing strategy to the current world. 

1.      Adapt to Changes with Google and Local Search

Google made several changes and added some unique features to help support businesses and provide customers with added transparency.

The first was that Google paused Reviews for a certain period of time. While Google Reviews have returned, it is a good reminder that they aren’t your only outlet. When Reviews are paused it is a good idea to refocus on other “watering holes” (websites) where people consume information such as Facebook, Home Advisor, Houzz, and so on.

Another change came with that RED icon that was added to every Google My Business Profile. Placed next to business hours to draw attention to potential changes, this icon also can create doubt for customers regarding whether your business is open or not. You can combat this by remaining consistent and strong about your business information on all other channels. The more consistent you are, the more trust your customers have in you.

One last note in this trend is that we want to encourage everyone to be an early adopter of the additions that Google has made to your Google My Business (GMB) profiles. This includes adding a COVID-19 post to your knowledge graph section and adding as much information as possible to your Local Service Ads section. The more info you provide, the more transparent your customers will know you are.

2.      Updates in Consumer Trends and Search Behaviors

It’s likely that you’ve already hopped onto this trend but if not, now is a great time to start. Unsurprisingly, search trends for certain products and services such as “Air Purification,” “Air Filtration,” “UV Air Purifier,” and more have seen a huge increase. The increased interest in these search terms has gone up by 400 to 600%. While the interest will likely never go back down to what it was, we want to remind you NOT to shift your entire strategy to only focus on these terms. Remember, SEO strategy involves long-term solutions so make sure to continue looking at longer-term SEO rankings for things like “HVAC,” “AC Installation,” “Heating Repair,” and so on. Using both types of terms to your advantage will help you gain the most traffic to your site.

3.      Adapting Business Objectives and Messaging

Remember to take your customers’ mindsets into account! They want to know that using your services won’t compromise their safety. You want to be transparent about your safety precautions, products and services, and your flexibility in regard to the delivery of those services (i.e. video call assessments). Customers will appreciate this transparency and the steps you and your staff are taking to ensure their health and comfort. Remember to be consistent across all of your online channels and avoid misinformation.

If possible, it may also help to offer flexible payment plans, Buy Now and Pay Later options, and other financial aids. This can help attract people to your site as they look for promotions, coupons, and deals that will allow them to get the work they need done.

It may be time to update how you ask for reviews too! When you have a raving fan, ask for a review and ask if they might touch on the safety precautions that your team took during the service call. This helps to address other customers’ fears in the future and can have a huge impact on how they perceive your brand. 

4.      Why SEO and Digital Brand Management Is Important

Last but not least we want to touch on the changes in search terms and habits. You want to make sure that your SEO strategy evolves as the industry continues to change during this time. This will breed long-term success if you take into account factors such as local trends and identifying keywords or phrases that will increase traffic to your website. If you haven’t already, try using Google Trends to take a look at some of the search trends that are currently out there. 

Your SEO strategy isn’t a quick fix, it’s a long-term approach. Keeping up with changes and trends like these will help you adapt your online marketing strategy in a way that will help your business get through the crisis and may even allow it to thrive in the long run.

Looking to optimize your SEO? Reach out to the team “Dedicated to Contractor Success”—contact iMarket Solutions!

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Q4 Marketing Tips Part 2: Building Your Digital Brand

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

What does your contracting business need to build your digital brand? At iMarket Solutions, we have a vested interest in your digital marketing strategies. But we will be the first to admit you’re not going to get everything you need from your marketing efforts using just digital strategies.

You’ll need to consider your marketing plan as a whole, which we covered in Part 1 of this 2-part blog series. We’ve provided a basic overview below!

SEO Blog Posts

As part of our process, iMarket provides new clients with an overview of on-page and off-page SEO best practices. Part of this includes your SEO blog posts. These blog posts should be keyword-driven while also providing value and interest to the reader.

Well placed blog posts that focus on local events, how your services will benefit the reader and why YOU are the best contractor to provide those services is one of the many important facets of a digital marketing plan.

Social Media Ads

Do you know where your customers live? No, we aren’t talking about their home address. They live on social media! Many contractors still dismiss the power of social media, thinking it doesn’t apply to them or their marketing plans. The reality is, this is where your customers are, and you need to go there in order to monetize your customer base.

Social media engagement is not just about posting funny memes or celebrating employee birthdays and milestones—although there are certainly arguments for doing this on your Facebook and Twitter pages, etc. You should also be taking advantage of social media advertising.

Paid Ads

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) or PPC (Pay-Per-Click) focuses on bringing traffic to your website through paid ads. Google and Microsoft Advertising utilize a bidding strategy to help contractors control their advertising budget and bid on keywords relevant to their services they offer while targeting the customers they want. 

Social Media Retargeting

Also called remarketing, this keeps your company visible to website visitors by ensuring that your online ads follow potential customers around the internet—including their social media pages. We would love to discuss with you how you can put the power of Google remarketing and social media retargeting to work for you!

Local Service Ads by Google

Local Service Ads by Google, also called Google Guaranteed, is one of the more recent developments in contractor digital marketing, and only available for certain industries—including yours! Google is always making changes, and low-cost leads will change as the Google model changes too. But it will serve you well to take advantage of this, and iMarket stays abreast of all these changes as they’re happening to help our clients make the best moves for their digital marketing plan.

Targeted Email Marketing

Email marketing is going to bring you one of the best costs-per-lead in the contracting industry. As long as your content is interesting and informative, your customers will open the email and read it. Of course, there is a lot more to email marketing than simply that, and we’re here to help you figure it all out.

Email is the medium that today’s web users are most comfortable with—they’d rather do their own research online before picking up a phone to call you. So this is another case of “meeting your customers where they’re at”!

Partner with the Right Marketing Team

Haven’t partnered with iMarket yet? We work only in the home services industry, so we are the experts when it comes to the complexities of contracting businesses. We want you to succeed and we’re here to help you do just that!

When you’re ready to upgrade your marketing, reach out to the team “Dedicated to Contractor Success”—contact iMarket Solutions!

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Key Updates to Google My Business and Google Ads with COVID-19

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

A lot has changed over the past several months. Many of us have updated our lifestyles so that we spend more time at home, include face masks as a part of our outfits when we do go out, and perhaps wash our hands more often than we used to. There has been a large effort involved in trying to adjust to all of the changes that have come with the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Of course, along with all the changes to our offline lives, there have been plenty of changes to how things are working online too. Google has brought their fair share of changes to their Google My Business and Google Ads products in an effort to adjust to changing business needs.

Our job here at iMarket Solutions is to make sure we keep you updated on what is going on with Google and how their changes and updates are going to impact your business.

3 Key Updates from Google You Should Know About

Here are some of the changes involving Google My Business and Google Ads in response to the current pandemic that we think you should know about:

Google Ad Credits for Small Businesses: Google announced in March 2020 that they would be allocating $340 million in ad credits for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to help them stay connected with their customers. Google first started to release these ad credits in New Zealand and after several weeks, began rolling these out to U.S. businesses last week. The maximum amount provided to small businesses will be $1000 per eligible company (so if you have multiple accounts, the grant will only appear in one of them.) If you receive funds from the Google Ads credits, the ad credit will be automatically applied to either a Google Search, Google Local Services or Google Display Account as determined by Google. The credit can not be moved to another Goggle account and must be used on the account applied to by December 31, 2020.

Google My Business Reviews Have Returned: Starting in March, Google halted the publication of new reviews and replies to reviews in Google My Business. This applied to any businesses that were not a part of the healthcare industry. Google has since resumed publication of reviews in Google My Business for companies in the home services industry. This is great news! The reviews submitted during this “pause” have now been published as well. Make sure you continue to request reviews from your customers—and don’t forget to reply to any new reviews that pop up, too. Remember that 82% of consumers read reviews for online businesses!

Updates to the Google Algorithm: Google didn’t skip a beat when it came to updating their search engine algorithm. This latest Core update started in early May and the rollout was completed around the middle of the month. The algorithm update will impact search engine results for content based on questions of quality, expertise, presentation, production, and comparison. Moving forward, it is advisable to check on-site content to ensure it conveys expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness as this will affect your organic leads and traffic, along with your keyword visibility.

If you already work with iMarket Solutions, then you know that we will continue to keep you updated on changes like these as they can affect your online presence. We work hard to be a reliable provider of COVID-19 resources for contractors. This includes keeping you abreast of anything that can impact your business.

Of course, if you have any questions, you can reach out to your marketing coordinator at any time. If you don’t already work with us, we would love to talk to you and become your go-to resource for your digital marketing strategy.

We are Dedicated to Contractor Success. Contact iMarket Solutions today to learn more.

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SEO Trends and Predictions: Part 2

Monday, May 18th, 2020

In part 1 of this topic, we discussed our 4 top predictions for 2020 when it comes to SEO. Voice search, E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), interactive media, and proximity in relation to reviews are all major players in how successful or unsuccessful your SEO results will be.

Fortunately, the team here at iMarket Solutions is the authority on this topic, and here to help you improve your SEO results while keeping our finger on the pulse of SEO changes and developments in order to inform contractors on how to best market their products and services.

Below, we’ve shared a few more trends that are equally important to keep in mind when it comes to SEO. Read on, and please contact our team with any questions you might have!

  1. Diversification

What we mean by diversification is the idea of having multiple URLs in Organic Search Results from the exact same company. In summer of 2019, Google reported that according to consumer feedback, searchers don’t like seeing multiple results for the same company in the same search. So Google Search updated to provide more site diversity.

In 2020, it’s predicted that due to this change, big, well-known sites like Yelp and Home Advisor will be impacted in the most negative way, as they no longer have multiple results on Page 1 of search. The biggest winners of this change are small business owners, since the likelihood of showing up on page one will increase. The best way for your home services business to prepare for this is to have a solid SEO strategy in place!

  1. Search Suggestions by Google’s AI

For 2020, we’re expecting a smarter and better artificial intelligence (AI) response from Google. Imagine a consumer searches the question “Why does my AC smell?” If you made that search a few years ago, you’d get results ranging from residential and commercial air conditioning to even vehicle air conditioning.

If you were to search this question in Google right now, under the search bar you’d see options for “car,” “truck,” and even “camper,” to help you narrow down your search even more. This shows that Google likely has a better understanding of search intent and is taking steps to provide the best experience for the customer. They want to be able to give the best recommendation, and this is a great way for them to do it.

With Google offering guidance for unclear search queries, or search queries with more than 1 meaning, search volume will likely rise for more of what we call long-tail keywords. An example of a long-tail keyword is “central air conditioning repair in Boston, Massachusetts.” With this specificity, it’s very likely the search query will result in a conversion.  This is a trend that everyone in the home services should be paying attention to this year, and iMarket Solutions is here to help!

  1. Local Service Ads & Google My Business

2020 is seeing more integration between Local Service Ads and Google My Business.

In 2018, Local Service Ads gained a lot of momentum, with HVAC and plumbing verticals being launched in nearly every major metro area in the US, and select cities in Canada. With Google My Business, users were able to select a radius for their service area, and can input any service or product in their search.

In 2019, Local Service Ads launched nationwide while Google My Business users were now required to select cities, counties, or towns for their “service area” and could select a predetermined list of “services offered.” Both of these align with how Local Service Ads are set up.

It’s believed that these two services will continue to operate as separate lead generating channels for the foreseeable future, and changes to each product will make them more similar. Google will consistently continue to test the Search Results Layout.

Contact iMarket Solutions for Your Digital Marketing Needs

As we said in part 1, Google always has and always will continue to make changes throughout the year, every year. We will always keep you informed of these changes and how they impact your contracting business! Stay on top of these trends by partnering with an experienced marketing partner.

Contact the professionals at iMarket Solutions for the expertise that you need. We’re dedicated to contractor success!

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SEO Trends and Predictions: Part 1

Friday, May 8th, 2020

In a previous post, we covered the top Google updates that will impact home services businesses in 2020.

What do Google updates mean for SEO for the Home Services industry in general? They’re just a small part of a much bigger puzzle, giving us historical clues to help make educated predictions for the future.

Read on as we uncover 4 of the biggest predictions for 2020, and stay tuned for further trends!

  1.     Voice Search

“Voice Search” has become perhaps the biggest buzzword in the digital marketing industry as of late. Google Home, Alexa, Siri… there’s a shortage of information on smart speakers and voice assistants, and how they’re the “next big thing.” It’s vital that we be mindful of this. 

  • More than 66 million Americans owned a smart speaker by the end of 2019
  • 30% of web browsing will be screen-less in 2020

Generally speaking, the larger a purchase or investment is, the lower likelihood there is of being a qualified conversion from Voice Search. Still though, contractors should care about Voice Search. A study done by Search Engine Journal looked at categories where people do actually make a purchase using Voice Search, and it showed that while percentages are relatively small, categories included “everyday household items,” “appliances,” and even “local services.”

We recommend you do everything you can to be found on Voice Search. To reach Google Home and Android phone users, this means you must be signed up for Local Service ads. To reach Alexa users, you need to be listed on Yelp. Finally, for Siri users, you must be listed on Apple Maps.

  1.     E-A-T

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. If you’ve watched our webinars in the past, then you might have heard us talk about Search Rating Guidelines. This is a 200-page document that Google sends to real people—meaning it is not an automated process—to help them evaluate search results and provide feedback.

Google’s algorithm is designed in a way to essentially reward websites that provide the highest level of E-A-T. Our prediction for 2020 is that Google will find a way to automatically quantify the E-A-T score of websites, which may include the following actions:

  •  Crawling Secretary of State Websites
  •  Auto-Verifying Professional Licenses/Insurance
  •  Crawling Website Content for Awards and Certifications
  •  Counting How Many Times Your Brand Name is Mentioned on the Web

The steps you can take to prepare for this is to:

  • Ensure your business has all of the proper licenses and state registrations.
  • Make sure your website accurately reflects your competitive advantages, including all awards, local community involvement, and even staff details plus local affiliations and partners.

You can improve your E-A-T by seeking online reviews from satisfied customers, making sure your “about us” page contains relevant details, getting more involved in the local community, and focusing on providing great customer service.

  1.     Interactive Media

Think about how personal it is for a homeowner to have a stranger come into their home. This presents an opportunity for the home services industry, and videos are a great way to help build trust! Here are some interesting interactive media statistics to ponder: 

  • Videos are the preferred type of content [customers] want to see from a brand or business – Hubspot
  • 66% of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product. – Wyzowl
  • YouTube is the second most popular website after Google. – Alexa

Videos engage users for a longer time on your website—nearly twice the amount of time they would otherwise, according to Forbes. The more time customers spend on site, the more likely a chance there is for a conversion, and videos can help increase SEO results.

The 2020 prediction for interactive media is that search results will continue to evolve, with our research in the HVAC space showing that up to 10% of search results might include a video snippet.

How can you get prepared? First off, if you have videos of your business, send them our way! Additionally, if you are considering hiring a professional videographer or photographer, let us know. We have a comprehensive website media guide we can send your way. Keep in mind, videos are also a great way to involve your service techs and boost morale among your employees as they’re simply fun to do.

  1.     Proximity and Reviews

According to SEO authority, proximity—distance from the consumer—and customer reviews play a huge role in a consumers’ decision to make a purchase, or in the case with home services, schedule services. In fact, these are two of the top factors for ranking in the local map pack that come up in search engine results.

Reviews have become increasingly important within the last 4 years, and will continue to grow in importance. Contractors and service-based businesses should prepare for reviews to increase in value. While proximity should be the #1 factor for many search queries such as things like “bike repair shop” or “restaurants near me,” reviews may become the #1 factor for many other search queries, such as “plumber in Burlington” or “air conditioning replacement.”

Proximity shouldn’t play as big of a role as reviews do when it comes to service-based businesses, and we believe this is something Google has recognized in recent years. In 2019, Google made changes, such as removing the “Service Area Radius” and replaced it with an area for business owners to add individual cities/towns.

Although we believe that Google will continue to make proximity the #1 factor for local-based search queries, reviews will continue to increase in value, specifically for service based businesses. The best way for you to prepare is by talking to us about your current review management plan, and how it can be improved.

Contact iMarket Solutions for Your Digital Marketing Needs

SEO is an industry that changes very quickly. Google always has and always will continue to make changes throughout the year, every year. The best way to keep up is by partnering with a marketing team that understands all the ins and outs of digital marketing, and how SEO plays a role. Be sure to read part 2 for a few more trends you can expect as we progress through the year!

Contact the professionals at iMarket Solutions for the expertise that you need. We’re dedicated to contractor success!

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5 Google Updates That Will Impact Home Services SEO in 2020

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

With 2020 in full swing, do you have all of the info you need to master Google’s search results? If your answer is no, our team is here to give you the details!

Google pushes updates out on a daily basis, so it would not be surprising if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed. The most frustrating part can be that most updates will have zero to little impact on your business, but you certainly don’t want to miss the ones that do.

Keeping home service businesses including HVAC, plumbing, electrical and solar in mind, we’ve collected the top 5 Google updates that will have an impact on your business moving into 2020. 

#1: Google Added Favicons to Organic Search Results

In late May of 2019, Google introduced favicons to mobile organic search results. At the time, it had been over a year since Google had made a major change to the design of search engine result pages. A favicon, which is a small visual that represents your brand, is now placed to the immediate left of a search result, next to the URL of the featured page. Starting in January 2020 Google began testing this treatment in desktop results as well.

Because a favicon is unique to your website, it’s a great way to draw attention to your result using colors and shapes that will draw the eye. Websites that do not define a favicon using Google’s guidelines will show a standardized, blue icon that looks like a folder. As a home service business, it’s important to use whatever tools are available to help your business stand out against the competition. We recommend using a favicon that contrasts against a white background. 

#2: Search Ads Are More Integrated within Search Results

Where favicons are displayed for organic search results, Google now displays a black “Ad” disclaimer next to PPC ads. Based on a user study which asked 428 users to identify ads over organic results, “users were unable to distinguish them between 77% and 83% of the time…”

Google’s new favicon result appears to show an improvement in user advert recognition, however, there is also a large increase in the percentage of users who think that natural search results are adverts.”

While Google is still testing this format on desktop, we may see a behavioral change in the way users interact with organic and paid listings. If your home service business is not capturing leads through different marketing mediums, you may miss out. 

#3: Google Has Recently Rolled out a Core Algorithm Update

Google continually tweaks its search results on a daily basis, but generally reserves major changes to its Core Algorithm for a few limited batches within a year. The Core Algorithm is essentially Google’s secret sauce, so when changes are made to this formula, it will have a major impact on search results globally.

Though Google has not released the nature of the most recent update in January 2020, one thing that contractors can count on is that if they have low-quality content, they may see a negative impact in their search rankings. On the flip side, contractors that have high-quality content may see a positive impact in the search rankings. Since fully rolling out, iMarket websites have seen a 3.83% increase in keyword visibility on the 1st page of search engine results.

#4: Search Crawlers Have a Better Understanding of Searchers’ Intent

In October of 2019, Google released BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), an update that impacts around 10% of search queries. The purpose of this update is to better understand natural language and searchers’ intent. More specifically, it enables search robots to process words in relation to all other words in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order.

This is especially relevant for home service topics that may produce unrelated results such as “garbage disposal,” which may be a garbage disposal system, but it could also be a garbage disposal facility. The role of BERT is to catch the meaning of search queries to produce more relevant results.

#5: Organic Click-Through-Rates Have Declined on Mobile

With content-rich Google attributes such as PPC ads, Google Local Service Ads, rich snippets and Google My Business owning the top half of search result pages, user behavior is leaning away from the traditional organic click that we have become accustomed to in the last two decades. The result of this is that over half of all searches result in a paid-click or no-click action according to leading search data vendor Sparktoro.

With this being the case, it’s more important than ever that home service companies use a varied marketing approach to ensure that they reach their audience. Companies that focus on their brand, building a presence through SEM, SEO, Google Local Service Ads, and reputation management, will have the upper hand in this “zero-click” environment.

Amp Up Your Home Services Marketing Goals for 2020

What are your goals for 2020? Knowing how these Google updates will impact the home services industry, are you thinking of adding SEM? Reach out to our team let us know what you’re ready to learn more about this year.

To learn about what we offer, contact iMarket Solutions today. We are dedicated to contractor success!

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Connecting Your Brand Purpose to Your Vision

Monday, January 20th, 2020

Last month we posted a blog about brand reputation and how you can improve your SEO results. Now, we want to go more in-depth about the connection between your brand and your vision. While we mentioned briefly the importance of understanding your brand and the importance of the “why,” we’d like to delve into how it relates to the “where.”

Read on as we uncover the steps you can take to organically improve the foundation by which your search results are generated. By putting these two concepts together, it’ll be much easier to reach your goals, and your customers will intuitively pick you over other competitors.

Steps to Success

If you’re going to improve your brand’s reputation and utilize the strength of SEO to reach success, you’re also going to have to connect your brand’s purpose to your vision. Keep in mind your own brand’s belief and the realistic goals you’ve taken to get there.

Purposes like “being profitable” or “being successful” won’t work nearly as well, because customers don’t like working with contractors that are just in it for the money. Customers like working with people that have an inherent set of values, things that make them leaders in their field and eventually leaders of their competitors.

Step 1: Figure Out the “Why” of Your Brand

In the TED talk we linked last month, Simon Sinek talked about the “why” of your business. Many brands simply exist to make a profit, and while that might be fine for them, it should never be a reason for a brand existing. Ideally, your brand should have a purpose that is tangential to making a profit, so the profit can come as a result.

Perhaps your brand’s purpose is to provide friendly customer service to everyone in your area, or maybe you’re on a mission to provide affordable heating to your community to get through cold winters. This purpose is genuine, authenticity drips from it, and your prospective customers or community members will notice. After all, consumers are intuitive, they can tell when you’re sincere. This type of purpose can uniquely separate you from the tens or hundreds of other companies out there that provide similar services.

Step 2: Define the “Where” of Your Brand

While the “why” of your brand is important, it’s not everything. You’re still going to have to take your company in the right direction that can make your purpose a reality. This is what we call a vision. A brand without a vision is like a bird without wings, even if you have the desire to fly, you’ll never get there without growing wings.

A vision can constitute the ultimate goal of your company. How are you supposed to serve your business’s purpose if you can’t realistically get there? For premier HVAC companies to perform what their purpose espouses, they need a realistic direction to head towards. A vision can be something like “being the leading contractor in your area,” or “meeting a certain amount of promises to every customer,” ensuring that your brand is always working towards your purpose.

Step 3: Build a Framework Between Them

Once you’ve got your “why” and your “where,” then you’ve got to work on marrying these two aspects together. The purpose of your brand should always be in line with the vision of how you see your brand practicing what it preaches, so to speak. 

If your vision takes your brand in a direction that’s opposite to the purpose of why you run your company, then it’ll be harder to reach your goals and make the necessary steps to be successful. Profit comes naturally to a business with a strong relationship between its purpose and its vision.

“What Does This Have to Do with SEO?”

So, what does all of this talk about purpose and vision have to do with SEO? Isn’t that a large portion of what iMarket Solutions does?

Sure, SEO can be a powerful tool to reach your desired goals with a structured approach, but it’s not the only tool that a contractor can use to be successful. SEO for contractors, in conjunction with a framework built from a strong purpose and a clear vision (the why and where), is an almost surefire way to be successful in a sea of competitors.

The fact of the matter is, if you’re in a competitive market it’s likely that your competitors are using basic SEO principles to help grow their visibility. To compete with this, you need to have a brand advantage that resonates with search users. When you focus on creating a brand that is true to a purpose, this will reflect in naturally-built positive customer reviews, backlinks from reputable resources, and higher conversion rates from organic visitors.

Many of your competitors offer the most profitable services, charge the most profitable amounts, and work with customers up until it’s not profitable anymore. Customers are more sensitive to these business practices now more than ever, which is why your brand’s purpose and vision are going to matter a great deal in the business world to come.

In Summary

When a contractor doesn’t have a purpose that resonates with their target audience, they’re fighting against the current. Making a profit and building your customer base isn’t just done by search engine strategies and marketing tools. Behind every successful company lies a solid foundation of bedrock that consists of a strong vision and an even stronger purpose. SEO strategists, marketing companies, and everyone else enjoys working with a contractor that’s dedicated to something.

Your purpose, your cause, or even your belief is what dictates the direction your company will head more than anything else.

To learn about what we offer, contact iMarket Solutions today. We are dedicated to contractor success!

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Building Brand Reputation and Improving SEO

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

If you’re not already familiar, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization—the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results ( The real question is, what does this have to do with brand reputation?

In the traditional digital marketing agency setup, these are two entirely different entities, but could disassociating these two key areas be a mistake? We certainly think so! In fact, as part of our dedication to contractor success, iMarket Solutions is in the process of aligning these two departments into one. But, why?

Over Half of All Website Visits Come From Organic Search

We’ve discovered that 57% of all traffic in the HVAC and plumbing industries comes from organic search versus all other marketing platforms combined.

That is an average of 13,795 website visitors per year.

Realistically, you will find that a large portion—about 70%–of these searchers never intend to convert, whether that traffic is coming from your blog, outside your service area, or it’s just a web user doing some research.

If we remove this traffic from the picture, we’re still left with a little over 4,000 users in a year’s time, and with the average qualified conversion rate that means about 1,000 qualified leads in that time. This is a solid number of course, but what if you could achieve even more?

What If Your Organic Search Results Showed a Different Picture?

It’s not enough for your business to just show up in organic search results. Your business must be portrayed in the right way, which we’ll delve into more detail about in the 5 tips below.

Nearly half of U.S. adults, according to a survey conducted on behalf of, use an internet search to learn more about a business before moving forward with a purchase, particularly in the service industry. From that survey, 45% of respondents say those search results made them decide not to work with a business—nearly 1/4th of all searchers actively claim their decisions are swayed by social cues!

56% of respondents found the information they saw in search results solidified their decision to work with a business, showing that consumers are more swayed by positive results than they are put off by negative results—but you have to have a convincing positive search presence otherwise you’ll miss out on a large chunk of your potential audience that needs your service.

A Strong Reputation Will Have a Greater Impact on Your Bottom Line

What is your company’s current reputation? You can start figuring this out by doing a search on your own to uncover review ratings, 3rd party review websites, social media profiles and more. You may find something about your company that looks off, or represent areas of opportunity.

You should also look at your competitors that come up and take a look at the “people also searched for” section to get a grasp of where your focus should be when attempting to improve your brand reputation. This reputation won’t be built or rebuilt overnight—we don’t have the magic bullet, nobody does—but the tips shared below provide long-term solutions that any contracting business can adopt.

As you read through these, keep in mind your budget, how much time and resources you’re willing to spend on reputation improvements, what areas need the most improvement and where you can start to make the biggest impact.

Tip #1: Understand Your Brand

The first step is often the hardest, and there’s no exception here. Many brands are lost when it comes to their branding, and buyers are intuitive—if your brand isn’t genuine, customers will pick up on it. You must understand your purpose and commit to it. This starts with knowing your “why.”

This concept is illustrated by author Simon Sinek in his TED talk as well as his book, “Start with Why.” We encourage you to check this out, and also inquire about iMarket Solutions’ full business workshop. Once you know your “why,” you’ll want to connect to your vision, or where you want to be as a company. Your question should be about how you can influence customers to choose your business over the dozens, if not hundreds of other options they have.

We could talk all day just on this topic, but we encourage you to reach out to our team for more information!

Tip #2: Get Involved in the Community!

Community involvement doesn’t have to be complicated. For instance, one of our clients does an annual blanket drive in order to support their local church and community, bringing positive attention to their brand. They’ve been doing this for 6 years now, and over 30% of their online reviews mention compliments such as how their techs are considered family, and how they’re friendly, polite and courteous.

Of course, not all these results may come from the company’s community involvement, but by focusing on efforts like this, you’ll show you live by your values and purpose. And an increase in buzz from trustworthy resources helps increase your website’s level of trust in Google’s eyes, helping your website rank higher over time for competitive keywords. This is true for recent events as well as older events—if you participated in a community event in the past, try to get the organization to link back to your site.

Tip #3: Use Your Website as More Than a Platform for Describing Services

Your website can and should be so much more than just a brochure of your products and services—in fact it’s one of your most powerful tools for marketing, setting the tone for your company and customers’ perception of your brand.

Relevant information on your site that sets your business apart includes things like:

  • What your team is about—what sort of training, certifications, and background checks do they receive? Are there visuals on your site of your team at work?
  • Community involvement and partnerships, including brand partnerships.
  • Unique service offerings.
  • Photos and other tidbits that engage your customers.

If there’s anything you can take away from this, we’d want it to be that your website content is vitally important in building a strong reputation that improves search rankings.

Tip #4: Own Your Brand Narrative

Google doubles as both a search engine and a review resource, so it’s important to ensure it’s optimized from both angles. You want to take charge of the narrative going on here, as well as other common review platforms like Yelp, Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, Facebook, and HomeAdvisor.

Of course, you’ll never have direct control over these properties, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. How? By asking your trusted customers to leave reviews, particularly on Google My Business. 

That said, you cannot offer incentives for these reviews—we suggest strict adherence to Google’s guidelines regarding this matter—, but you can work on building a strategy to request and respond to reviews. Seriously, respond to every single review you get to address the feedback you’re receiving, whether it’s positive or negative. When done in a tactful way, this will help increase trust in not only your customers’ eyes, but in Google’s eyes as well.

Tip #5: Listen to Your Customers

This goes beyond looking at the feedback you’re receiving through reviews—though this is part of the process. There are other areas where your customers are talking—listen to recorded phone calls, read through your form submissions, review Google messages, and take note of chat conversations to get an idea of how your brand and reputation are being perceived.

Engage with your customers, your employees, and even your close friends and family to see what they think of your brand, to get a better idea of how your company is perceived.

Remember, even the smallest shift toward improving your company’s reputation will begin to show in the way customers perceive and interact with your brand and marketing. We urge you to start from a place of understanding for your brand, and a partnership with a marketing agency that understands your specific business needs and opportunities.

Contact iMarket Solutions to learn more about our comprehensive digital marketing products for contractors. Our purpose is to be dedicated to contractor success. Everything we do is informed by this purpose.

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