Just over 2 years ago we began promoting our business Deep Roots LLC using the internet. Our business focuses on creating custom outdoor living spaces and landscaping in the Birmingham, Alabama area. Not knowing what kind of results to expect, we wanted to keep our cost down … so we decided to do the work ourselves with in-house personnel vs. hire one of the fancy pants marketing firms. Establishing a strong presence online has been slow and at times challenging while completing landscaping projects is our primary focus. We continue to see results from our growing presence on the internet and have a clear plan for what we need to succeed in the future.
Our site deeproots.biz started out with very humble beginnings as a static html template site generously created by a friend. From our humble beginnings, the site has now grown to a more professional site complete with video and a premium WordPress theme created by Don Campbell’s team at Expand2Web.com. Don’s theme made it super easy to optimize the site for local search and showcase our landscaping projects without having to be a programmer.
>> How we have dealt with the dreaded Google:
One of the first things we did was claim our local listing with Google Places. Completing our profile is easy and it provides more information and pictures about our business to potential customers who are searching via the local search feature in Google. We recently added the links to our videos to the listing as well. It will be interesting to see how many people actually find the videos from this listing … I believe this data should be available via YouTube insights.
We faced an unexpected challenge about one year ago when the physical office for deeproots.biz changed locations. Shortly after changing the address in the Google Places listing and on our website, we began to notice a decrease in the traffic from the local listing. After a little research, I confirmed this could be the case and went about cleaning up the other locations (or citations) on the internet where the old address could still be found. Overall this wasn’t a huge deal, but it is a good example of how sensitive search engines can be and one of the risks of the do-it-yourself approach. There are some unexplained spikes in our Google Places data that did not correlate with any marketing campaigns or the actions taken by visitors (see trend below). This appeared to be something that maybe Google was testing at the time as the volume of impressions returned to normal after a few days of the dramatic spikes.
Next, we began following Don Campbell’s “Circle of Trust” process. This is a very simple, effective, and evergreen process when executed consistently helps establish one’s website as an authority in the eyes of Google and the other search engines. Of course, no website can not float the business by itself, so it is also critical the business owner has an excellent reputation for doing outstanding work. That’s the best part about this process, it takes honest hard work to make it work and one needs a great business to execute it well, or else the transparency of the internet will provide a voice for unhappy customers.
Another free tool we have taken advantage of is Google Analytics. This free analytics tool allows for detailed monitoring of website traffic and visitor interactions with the website. For local search, it is critical to confirm the traffic we are getting is targeted for the Birmingham, AL local search area. This sounds obvious and simple, but if an unknown problem existed with the website that did not correctly identify Birmingham, AL as the location of our business, this would be a big deal for us as we not going to travel to Birmingham, UK to do a landscaping project. We like to travel, but I just don’t think we could talk the client into paying for our airfare. Anyway, it’s really nice of the folks at good ole Google to provide this for free.
Having targeted traffic is obviously very important for our business and Google Analytics easily helps us track where the visitors to our site are coming from. With this data, we can tweak on-page and off-page SEO as needed to help visitors find exactly what they are looking for.
>> Facebook Fanpage
Second, we have started building an online community interested in Birmingham landscaping using a Facebook fan page. Facebook is a little tricky for us landscape guys because we are not able to spend lots of time in front of a computer since we are usually in the field on a project. Fortunately, we were already equipped with Blackberry mobile phones. This allows us to easily upload on the job photos and comments to the fan page while in the field. Using the mobile upload feature was a big breakthrough in keeping fresh content on the fan page, but it has taken the focus away from posting new articles on the main website blog. There are some apps for the Blackberry out there that will allow you to post to WordPress from your mobile phone, but we haven’t pursued any of these yet. WordPress just needs to create a mobile upload plugin similar to what the guys at Facebook have done … if you know of a good solution please leave a comment below. So far traffic to the main website from Facebook accounts for only 3.5% of the total traffic to deeproots.biz, but we expect this to grow steadily as the community grows.
I know this is just a trickle of traffic when compared to larger sites, but in a local market, we only need a steady flow of new clients to keep us busy. The best part about Facebook is it is very cost-effective for creating a traffic stream out of nothing. We are proud of the work we do and really enjoy sharing with the little community we are building.
>>Getting Found on YouTube
Establishing a presence on YouTube … we are just getting started here, but so far the results of using video in the local landscaping niche have been really positive. In the past when working with a client we would sometimes spend four to five hours driving clients around town to provide examples of completed projects. Now with a professionally produced video, it can take less than fifteen minutes for the client to review the video which leaves more time to discuss their landscaping needs. Using custom FBML we have just recently added a custom video welcome page on the fan page, I’m looking forward to seeing how this is received by the visitors.
Moving forward we are looking forward to creating more custom outdoor living spaces for our clients and using the internet to share these projects with others.
Jonathan Brown is the owner of Deep
Roots LLC, a firm specializing in creating custom-designed outdoor living spaces, hardscapes, and landscaping in Birmingham,
team at Deep
Roots have a combined 15 years of
experience to make your backyard dreams a reality.