When homeowners or business owners have junk they need to dispose of they look online for help. And more often than not this means going online. Either on their desktop or more likely, on their cell phone.
For junk removal companies, online marketing is the primary way to generate leads for their business. And like most home services businesses, this means being found on Google.
They go to Google and type in junk removal services near me or simply junk removal. They might type in special junk pickup or construction debris removal.
If you manage a junk removal company, you have three opportunities to be found on Google – the local pack, the organic listings, and paid ads. Each has their advantages, but some are more beneficial than others.
I've worked with a number of junk removal companies over the years and while most of my focus is on Google Ads, I still do Local SEO for many of these clients.
Google My Business for Junk Removal Companies
The first step any business in a local market needs to do is either claim their Google My Business listing or create one if one isn’t already online.
Some Local SEO experts estimate that as much as 70% of a local companies’ business could come from just this listing alone.
Once you claim your listing, then make sure all relevant information is added, such as hours, company description, website, and address.
One problem with Google My Business for junk haulers is that there is no category related to junk services.
For a roofer or an electrician, these specific categories exist. Unfortunately for junk haulers, there is no defined category such as a junk removal company.
The closest categories are Waste Management Service and Garbage Collection Service.
The former is something many junk hauling companies don’t do and the latter is what people associate with their city pickup. Even worse is that some are listed under junkyard or snow removal. You can have more than one category, but only choose those that are relevant to your business.
Luckily your Google My Business listing allows you to add additional information about your business, such as with the description.
In the description make sure to incorporate phrases such as junk removal company and junk hauler.
I’ll also reveal later a workaround so that you show up in the Google 3 Pack for junk removal services.
For many businesses, once they’ve claimed their listing and added their vital information, they do little with it after that.
This is a mistake.
Stay Active With Your Google Local Listing
There are many things that a business owner can do on an ongoing basis.
Adding photos is especially important, at least according to Google.
For a junk removal company, this is the perfect opportunity to post photos of unique items they’ve hauled. Hot tubs, old sheds, construction debris are just a few things consumers or businesspeople might not be aware that you take care of.
Use your mobile phone to take pictures and then load them onto your listing.
The reason I suggest using mobile is that location information is embedded in the image. This could help to solidify your business's service locations.
Reviews are a critical part of Google My Business. Google puts a lot of importance on them because so many consumers rely on reviews when choosing a business. You want to make sure you're getting reviews regularly and this begins by exceeding your customers’ expectations.
Yet, just getting reviews isn't the end of it. Responding to them is always a good idea.
If the comments are positive, then thank the person. If there is a negative review, try to address it appropriately. Don’t get into a public fight that could turn off prospects If people see that you tried to remedy the problem, it could encourage them to choose you.
Another way to interact with prospects is through questions they leave on your local listing. Anyone can answer these questions, but make sure your business responds to them, even if they've been answered correctly.
One thing to do when claiming your listing is to make sure there aren't other listings out there. They could be duplicate listings of your current address or listings for old addresses. Claim all of these and mark them as duplicates. This avoids customers finding inaccurate information or leaving reviews that you can't respond to.
Google My Business Posts and Junk Removal Services
I mentioned already that photos are a way to highlight unique services that you offer that people might not be aware of. So too are Google Posts.
Google Posts are a way to put out information about your business or a service. They are free and can include calls to actions. They are free and have an impact.
I use posts to focus on services like shed removal or construction debris cleanup. Or about picking up products like mattresses or hot tubs.
A post typically only stays active for a week, but one nice feature everyone isn't aware of is that they stay in Google's system.
Google might reference information in them later when someone does a search.
PPC for Junk Removal Companies
There are many options when it comes to investing your marketing dollars in PPC for junk removal companies. You could advertise on Bing or take out ads on Yelp, Angie's List or Facebook.
Yet, it all begins and ends with Google Ads. This is where the majority of people look for services in their community. You can generate leads on the other platforms, but not to the extent that you can on Google. It's where people are actively looking for junk removal services.
Google Ads for Junk Removal Companies
For a junk removal company, the next step is to set up a Google Ads campaign.
Why is Google Ads so critical? There are a number of reasons.
For one it takes up a lot of real estate, especially on a mobile device.
When people search for junk removal services on their phone, they’ll first see 4 ads and then the local pack, where your Google local listing shows.
Only much lower on the page do they see the organic or free listings. And usually the first listings aren't actual companies, but directories such as Yelp or Angie's List.
Another reason is that SEO takes time and there is no guarantee of its success.
While SEO can be a source of leads, it often takes months to see results. Even longer if you’re going up against competitors with more established sites.
Consumers used to have a bias against ads, favoring the organic listings over the paid ads. This is no longer the case, especially with all the changes Google Ads have made.
With ad extensions, callouts and other features you can often incorporate more information then is found in an organic listing. And take up more space in the process.
With Google ads you can control what words your ads show for, what pages they are taken to, and when you’re available to take calls.
In creating your campaign, it’s critical to set the ads reach to your specific market. If you serve a number of communities, you could just add all these to your locations. If you have a single location, you might consider doing a radius around your business. How far can you travel and still have a job be profitable?
You can also target words other than just junk removal or junk hauling. People type in shed removal, hot tub removal, construction debris removal, etc. These can be very profitable jobs and Google Ads lets you target these phrases and much more.
To understand how to create a campaign, read my article How Does Google AdWords Work.
When creating the ads be sure to focus on what separates you from your competitors. Is it lower prices, or a reputation for being on time and courteous? Are you certified or insured?
You want to stand out from people advertising on Craigslist who pick up junk in their pickup truck. Show them you’re a legitimate business.
If your budget is limited, then focus on phrases like junk removal near me or junk removal plus your city.
If your budget allows then focus on phrases like hot tub removal, shed demolition, etc.
Make sure to read the search term report which shows the words your ads actually appeared for. You'll often be surprised by what you find.
You’ll likely find people looking to get into the junk removal business themselves or wanting to get rid of a junk car. Or for services in communities you don't serve. Use negative keywords to prevent phrases that don’t apply to your business to avoid wasted spend.
Many business owners are hesitant to do Google Ads, but done right it will generate leads for your junk removal business on a regular basis.
Local SEO for Junk Removal & Organic SEO
With local SEO you’re not just optimizing your site for a specific service, but also specific locations. Create the content of your website accordingly.
Each location should have its own page and also break down your services into different categories such as lawn waste, construction debris, office debris, etc. Try to create original content for each page. Simply changing the location in the text for each page won’t benefit your site.
Depending on the size of your market, you might want to consider blogging to build up the authority of your site. There can be a lot of great topics that people might be searching for. Think about the questions people ask you when they call.
Google is the big player, but it’s not the only directory to be found in.
Yelp, Angie’s List, Thumbtack are other popular directories that are used by people looking for junk haulers.
As I mentioned, there currently is no category for junk removal services in Google. Many of these other directories, however, do have this as an option.
It used to be critical to get your business listed in dozens of local directories and that all your information be the same. This is what made Yext so popular for many businesses.
Local citations as these were called are no longer as important as Google has so much data already on a business, especially with their Google My Business listings.
Instead focus solely on the sites that allow for consumers to leave reviews on. Many of these are sources of leads on their own, as well. So claim your free listing on Yelp, add photographs and then respond to any reviews left.
Having a listing on Facebook is helpful as well. Thanks to changes Facebook has made over the years, the importance of posting on Facebook has lost its relevance. Even if you have a lot of followers, most likely they won't see your updates.
The reviews on Facebook, however, show up on Google My Business listing. So for this alone have a page.
Organic listings are different from Local SEO. The organic listings are the results below the Local Pack listings. This used to be the prime place to be found, but with the changes to Google Ads and Google My Business, a top listing isn't as valuable as it used to be.
Still, you can get leads from organic listings and this is where your blog and all the location pages of your site. Links to your site also help with your rankings.
Look for local opportunities for getting links to your site. Many communities have directories of local businesses. Being a member of the local chamber of commerce is another great opportunity.
Maybe you donate a lot of reusable goods to a local charity. If it’s possible, see if they’ll do a thank you on their site, with a link to your business.
How To Keep the Phone Ringing When People Are In Self-Quarentine
This is a difficult time for most small businesses, especially when so many people are in self-quarantine. Yet, for junk removal companies there are steps to take that will help to keep the phone ringing.
First you must decide on the best approach that will keep your customers and workers safe. This includes incorporating social distancing.
With so many people shut in, many are looking for things to do, including spring cleaning. Yet, they certainly aren't going to the local landfill.
And many cities are overwhelmed with trash because so many are at home and aren't offering bulk trash pickup.
Marketing to prospects in your area means you must also address what you're doing to keep them safe. Let them know the steps you are taking, such as having workers dispose of gloves after each job. That prospects can pay over the phone instead of in person. And that they don't have to invite workers into their home to get the junk. They could be encouraged to set the junk in the garage or at the curb.
With your ads and your Google My Business Posts highlight the precautionary steps you're taking. And that your still open for business.
Hopefully this crisis will end soon, but until then focus on what you can do to keep your business going and your workers and customers safe
If you need help with your online marketing for your junk removal services, then contact me to talk about your business. As a Google Ads consultant, I specialize in helping junk removal companies with their Google AdWords campaign, but I can also assist with Local SEO.