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  1. Chris Haught
    October 17, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

    Darren,
    I agree, social done right will not only build community and relationships, but help in search by having more fresh content. What Social Media platforms would you suggest?

    • Darren
      October 17, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

      Hey Chris…well, Facebook, Twitter, Google+…then pick and image-based platform…Pinterest or houzz. But point is, be active!

  2. Charles Budd
    October 18, 2013 @ 2:37 am

    I know nothing about SEO, but still come up as no. 2 on my local Google search. This gets me 3-4 enquiries a week which is actually too much as I’m so busy with work gained primarily through social media! I totally agree that people prefer recommendations, and as such will ask on social media “anyone know a good decorator in Stratford upon Avon”. It works.

  3. barb walsh
    October 18, 2013 @ 5:53 am

    Hi Darren, I agree to a point. Yes, social is where marketers/contractor should spend most their time for the reasons you outlined above, but good SEO is still important. I see websites showing more and higher in search than social sites unless it’s G+. On page SEO, fresh content, relevant backlinking (business listings and commenting on relevant blogs) still proves out in search. Lots of folks, specially older homeowners are still not super active on social and still use search in their buying decisions. Yes, there is a shift happening but its too soon to relax or abandon good SEO effort.

    • Darren
      October 18, 2013 @ 8:55 am

      Hey Barb, thanks for stopping by and commenting. What you say is absolutely true. But here is the x factor. I am going to assume you sit in front of a monitor all day like me, therefore, we can do whatever we feel is needed to move our businesses forward. Contractors don’t have that luxury. They can’t putz around with what works this week and might not work next week. These are proper businesses they are running. It would be like advertising in the Yellow Pages, buying a double truck, then have the YP say, we are going to move you to a business card size ad because we don’t like you using green text. Who would put up with that? And I think on page SEO is very important, I don’t think chasing the tail of off-page SEO is worth it…not when I can go buy a click and be done with it.

  4. Andy
    October 18, 2013 @ 9:48 am

    Thought provoking Darren. Not sure we are quite at that point yet, to throw the baby out with the bath water. The game still has a long way to roll before we get to the top of the Google search curve, at least here.

    Social media has many merits, I love twitter especially, but for business, social media is still at Wild West stage, more of a feeling – it is right for brand awareness but if you ask a client the question, where did you find us, and you are big on social media, the answer should be “everywhere” and then you are in the Peter lever territory of advertising, where 75% works, but which 75%. What works on social media?

    I do see the shift in social that you talk about, and we will crank our iinvolvement up over time, but in our demographic, Google is still massive, and most clients really are still at the “we found you on Google” stage. Lest we forget, we are starting from such a low base of internet savviness, there are plenty of legs left in Google, it did take Yellow pages a looong time to die.

    • Darren
      October 18, 2013 @ 9:54 am

      Hey Andy…thanks for stopping by and commenting! I don’t disagree with any point you make. BUT…you haven’t seen a drop in traffic for your efforts, so to you, it is still viable. Imagine all the effort you put in to TP and to find one day it stopped ranking? That is the nightmare scenario I am painting here. They can’t take the relationships away from you…they can take your rankings. Plus…I can get right back on page one as a contractor via PPC, so I have two tools working instead of maybe one…PPC and social instead of just focusing on SEO.

  5. Andy
    October 18, 2013 @ 10:02 am

    I didnt see your last response to Barb. The same vulnerability exists with social media platforms too, how many times have FaceBook caused near riots with their changes and tweaks. MySpace who? It wont be Google who? for a while, as you say, but it may be 5 results per page and only entries who are on G+ Then again, maybe that will be their interim experiment before reverting to a pretty cool system of search that can bring up useful info in a trice.

    Social or convential, no matter what the pros and cons, it is down to how well something is executed whether it is a good way to go about business.

    Directories per se arent bad ways of listing info, they have just been full of poor and biased untrusted info. Asking for recommendations from people you know, in theory is how people like to find out who to call, but many a train wreck has been caused by people who dont know what to look for, recommending the roofing guy for no reason other than he was such a nice man, and charged what he promised. Another roofer looked at the work and said however “nice and honest” he is, this guy couldn’t lay a tile to save his life.

  6. Andy
    October 18, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    Didnt see your other response either! I agree with what you are saying, absolutely I wouldnt be happy to be wiped out after doing what seems to be the right way of using the internet.

    Would Google or the public really buy into the idea that only info shared in social media conversations is relevant? Surely social media needs something to talk about, so you have endless chat shows based on news stories, or discussions on books. A stream of core useful info has to prevail, so maybe content that Google currently depends on is going to get even more valuable as a conversation starter onall platforms!

    • Darren
      October 18, 2013 @ 10:20 am

      Google is becoming the Yellow Pages. What I mean by that is they have done terrible at reviews, terrible at mapping, terrible at most things small businesses care about other than listings on a page. Which is being used by less and less people. And I see one flaw in this statement you made:

      Social or conventional, no matter what the pros and cons, it is down to how well something is executed whether it is a good way to go about business.

      You can execute off page SEO flawlessly and then one day what you did the day before now hurts you. Listen, they make chocolate and vanilla for a reason, and at the end of the day, this is more for those who have been stung by Google over the last month or so, because they KNOW the pain of putting in years worth of effort only to see it washed away and they are looking for another solution. There are plenty of ways to spread the message…it just doesn’t have to be Google. The streets are filled with washed out businesses that relied too heavily on the loving hand of organic results only to be washed away with the lat tide.

      • Andy
        October 18, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

        Is feeding FB, G+, Twitter etc any more secure an option than feeding Google. They are still private companies that may get bought out at any time, told to change their policies, or decide to charge businesses for partaking – or maybe they will get unpopular like MySpace, or a flaw in the social media model busts them all wide open.

        • Darren
          October 18, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

          And an asteroid might hit the Earth tomorrow. My point is, Google is providing diminishing returns for the effort while social is just getting warmed up. You still have to market your business. Social (and when you say social, you mean multiple platforms who all aren’t going to pivot at once) doesn’t care about algo’s or keywords (mostly), the return you get from social is strictly a result you get from what you put out, it’s agnostic. It is crowd-sourced traffic because real people either vote you up, or vote you down…not an algorithm. When you rest your business’ survival to an algo, the machines have won. One day organic traffic will dry up for TP and you will NEED to find another solution…trouble is, you can’t build a social community overnight…it takes a VERY long time to build a tribe.

          • Andy
            October 18, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

            I thought that said “Android might hit the earth”!

            I dont disagree with your viewpoint of where things are heading, and having feet in social media platforms now and feeding those beasts is essential.

            It seems we have a different view though on the speed and depth of the demise of Google, and how profoundly different a social media landscape will be?

            Plenty to think about, thanks Darren.

          • Darren
            October 18, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

            Thats funny…android! No, don’t get me wrong…Google isn’t going to evaporate overnight. I just think that between reputations and citations and referrals and testimonials and reviews as confidence factors vs. search, social and the many platforms that word represents, has a distinct advantage going forward. Now, you and I both enjoy Google love, I rank very well for what I do and that comes from years of hard work, as the effort you did with yours. I just wouldn’t want to see that effort (for either of us) go to waste because of a lever pulled here or a button pushed there at the mothership…I want to know those efforts have stability along with results. But I appreciate your POV and you always make my posts more interesting with your comments, so thank you!

  7. barb walsh
    October 20, 2013 @ 6:53 am

    Wow…it’s getting hot here at Darren’s. I think what I’m hearing from Andy and a point I would like to make is we still need a balance. Put effort into search and social. Sure I agree contractors don’t have the luxury of time we have with our computers daily…..that’s why they need to hire us!

    • Darren
      October 20, 2013 @ 6:55 am

      Hey Barb,

      All in good fun! YES! Most guys and girls have to decide what they are going to do with their days and marketing and promotion fall way to the bottom (for most contractors) which make both SEO AND social tough to deliver on consistently, which is why I am saying if you are going to make the effort, make it on a platform they can’t take away from you (easily).

  8. Mike H
    October 20, 2013 @ 10:39 am

    All the contractors I know, including myself :), have limited time, energy and money to spend on SEO etc. I’d bet that most contractors would gladly go back to the ‘good old days’ of the YP when the only decision was what size ad to buy once a year. It’s way more complicated now. But we all need to have an online presence that works.

    A smart social media strategy is important. Try this experiment; Google ‘Santa Cruz Remodeling’. The ‘Remodeling’ image board of the Santa Cruz Construction Guild Pinterest gallery shows up at the top of Page One for this valuable search term. It proves that social media influences Google directly.

    This image board has 109 images. That’s not a lot. I did that on a hunch. It worked. It’s been in top position since February. You can do that in your area. Link all the images back to your website. Make your project images work for you.

  9. Nick Dunse
    October 20, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

    I’m no expert on SEO although I’ve had several websites since 2001 and leaned allot. I am active on twitter and Facebook but as far as landing jobs from either? You could turn your Facebook page into a mini website so to speak and post constantly about your trade. Whether that will boost your rankings or land you work I’m not so sure..

  10. Don Goddard
    October 21, 2013 @ 1:25 am

    I’m in a unique position to talk about this topic. My business started at the beginning of the year. I went straight for a website and got it to the top of google (for most of my keywords) on my own. Then I got tired of spending my time working on it myself and let a company take over. They did a great job of keeping me on top until I got kicked for having 2 Google Places set up. Not sure how that happened, but it did. I would say that 95% of my business was coming from Google Search at that time.

    As my rankings were falling, I was just getting into the Social Media game pretty heavy. Now it has went from 95% Google/5% Social to more of a 50/50. So Social Media started picking up when I started pushing it more. Now that I’ve started using Darren for my social media, I’ve realized that I’m getting a few more calls per week as well.