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!