|Phone books would list everyone, but you could spend a little extra to make your business stand out. The Web is no different. Source: iStock|
If you read about a product or service in The Driller, buy that product or service, and it makes your work easier or helps you make more money, we’ve done our job. I just returned from the South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Many of the contractors and other attendees I spoke with talked about products they’d bought or sold through our classifieds. The hundreds of ads in the back of this magazine are part of our service and I appreciate hearing success stories. We also have features that give readers a glimpse of how a tool or rig is used in the field, product showcases and a wealth of other information each month.
But what happens if you invest in a nice rig for your small business and can’t keep it busy? I’ve talked in this space before about marketing and promotion. I bring it up again, because I think it’s important and a lot of contractors can benefit from hearing about another aspect — one I hadn’t thought of when I touched on this topic before.
Next time you’re in the office, ask anyone under about age 40 when they last opened a telephone book. I’m squarely in Generation X and I haven’t opened a phone book in six or seven years, at least. If you ask a 30 year old, chances are he’ll say, “I’ve seen a phone book before, but just to recycle it when they drop it on my porch.” If you ask a 20 year old, the more likely answer is a puzzled, “What’s a phone book?”
Now, ask yourself how people like that will find your business.
I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. One word: Google. Let’s say I needed drilling services. I want a water well or a geothermal system for my home. I open a browser and search “water well drilling” or “geothermal drilling.” (Chances are, this need occurs to me in the supermarket checkout line, so I’m on my smartphone, but the process is the same on a computer.) My computer knows roughly where I am, it reports that information to Google and the search comes back with a list of links to water well drillers or geothermal drillers nearby.
Location is part of the relevance Google considers when it gives search results. If I want a well drilled in Michigan, it’s not very relevant to me to find a driller in Kansas. Google knows that. And it’s getting smarter all the time.
But, as a small business owner, did you know that there are ways to help Google and other online services see your company as more relevant? Associate Editor Valerie King dug into the idea to offer some tips to get started (page 54). The “authority” that a company portrays online has a lot to do with how easily someone searching can find that company. Plenty of companies offer services that help small companies “optimize” their online presence. But there are ways to do it yourself, too, that don’t involve up-front or ongoing costs.
How helpful is it to be on the first page of search engine results? Ask a 20-something who’s probably never clicked beyond that page when looking for a product or service.
Read Valerie’s story. Even if you don’t take action, you’ll at least know why your competitor who’s always writing on their damn blog about “residential geothermal drilling” — using exactly those words, repeatedly — is eating your lunch.
Stay safe out there, drillers.
The folded dimensions of the Terra Sonic TSi 150CC Compact Crawler were incorrect in a Product Showcase listing in The Driller's August issue. The rig’s correct folded dimensions are 230 1/4 inches long by 85 3⁄8 inches high by 87 inches wide.
Homework for Contractors
Go to Google or Bing and search for the name of your business. Does your business register? If it does, that's a start. Then, put yourself in the shoes of someone who needs your services. What would they search for? Type that in with the name of your county or a ZIP code, and see what page of the results your business is on. Are you on the second or third page? Getting on the first page will get you more calls.