If you’re someone who wants to search for a contractor on your own rather than responding to an ad, then you’ll probably go to that tried and true method – the Yellow Pages. Scratch that – last century – that tried and true method, the Internet.
IT Specialists Keep their Company Names Very Visible.
Many people are very familiar with using a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo; but for those who aren’t a couple of pieces of information that might be helpful. Companies who have a website use various techniques to appear on the first page of listings when a consumer conducts a search. They know that most consumers will limit their search to the first page and perhaps second page so they pay IT specialists each month to keep their company names very visible. The behind-the-scenes strategy that these companies use to stay in front are focused on the use of keywords – the experts figure out what words you are most likely to use in doing your search and they make sure they’re in the right place to get the search engine to respond. But while the science behind it is solid, the results of a search by a consumer are not always as helpful as it could be. For example, if your search parameters ask for a general contractor in Orange County California, you’ll get thousands of responses. Trying to narrow it down by selecting one city or one zip code will help, but with 34 medium to very small cities plus the unincorporated areas, you could miss out on a great contractor simply because they’re on one side of the street and the city or zip code changes on the other side.
The Business Goal is to be Noticed
Just like the other forms of advertising, the business goal is to be noticed by trying to figure out how you would conduct your search. So what insights can we learn about a contractor who is listed on the first or second page? Perhaps only that he hired better IT professionals than his local competition. Advertising on the internet is simply another form of the science/art of making a connection.
Contractor referral sites are experts at using search engine optimization to get on the first couple of pages of search results. These listing companies will refer you to their “pre-approved vendors” or advertise their lists of “reliable contractors” on television and radio. A word of caution here – while some of these sites really do try and help the consumer and they do go through a process designed to prescreen contractors, the quality and thoroughness of that screening varies greatly. Few, if any, go through the process as thoroughly as we will in the coming articles and a large number of them will list almost any contractor willing to pay their fee. I get solicited on a regular basis from these companies and in fact, as I mentioned in an earlier article on license violations, I hired one of these handyman from a referring site and got a real lesson in due diligence.
The message here is the same as it is for all referrals whether it came from an advertisement or an Internet search – you still need to check them out before you hire them.