Ten years ago, everyone talked about how important a website was for your business.  These days, it’s all about your “web presence.”  But what’s the difference?

It’s not just a term that marketers invented so they could charge more for their services.  That might have been smart on the part of the marketers, but they’re definitely not the ones responsible for making you manage more than just your website.  It all comes down to a few giant corporations controlling so much of the internet.

Ten years ago, when you wanted to learn more about a business, you’d type in their web address or search for them on Google.  Either way, you’d land at the same place – the business’s website.  On a website, the business is in complete control of their own message. They can put the best possible face on their business by making customers comfortable with their reliability, integrity and experience.

Today, many (if not most) customers who look for a painting contractor online still land on their website before calling them.  But they don’t get there until they’ve already narrowed down their search to two or three options.  Google and/or Facebook usually control what potential customers see up to that point, so the painting contractors that give Google and Facebook what they want will be the ones that earn business online.

The Google Search

If a potential customer goes to Google for help, they’re probably not going to type in your business’s name.  Most likely they’ll type in a phrase like “house painters” or “painting contractor” or even “house painters near me.” Ten years ago when somebody searched using one of those phrases, Google would have provided links to two or three painting contractors who paid to advertise with them at the top of the search engine results page followed by a list of websites of painting contractors located near the customer.

Things have changed quite a bit in those 10 years and the Local Pack now plays a significant role in how people search for local businesses.

When a person searches using Google today, those ads are still at the top of search results – and most people still scroll right past them.  Before the list of traditional search results, however, there is a small group of painting contractors, along with their location on a map and their contact information.  This is called the Local Pack and the information shown here comes from these painting contractors’ Google My Business profiles. If you don’t have a Google My Business profile, you aren’t going to show up here.  This is why your Google My Business profile is a major part of your web presence if you want to earn customers via the internet. Nearly 33% of all clicks from searches are on the Local Pack!

Google chooses which businesses show up in this section based on hundreds of factors.  But three major ones are (1) Google’s confidence that they provide painting services, (2) whether the business has great online reviews and (3) how close the business is to the person searching for a painting contractor.  At the end of this section, there’s a link to see more painting contractors, but only some people click on it – others will just visit the website of the contractors on the first page or call them directly.

Google’s not likely to place a business with poor reviews in the Local Pack – but even if they do, it’s not likely to help the painting contractor very much.   The average review rating is posted right next to the business’s name, along with how many Google Reviews they’ve earned.  Some customers won’t even read the actual reviews to see if they’re legitimate – they’ll just look at the average score.  Other customers will read the reviews, but only for the painting contractors that have a high average score.  This is why it’s important to have great reviews – another major part of your web presence.

The Facebook Request

Around 190 million US and Canadian citizens visit Facebook each day – just more than 50% of the population.  Those users are on Facebook for around an hour a day.  Facebook controls an enormous percentage of the time that people are online.  That’s why Facebook is also an important part of your web presence.

Importantly, you need to engage with people on Facebook in a way they enjoy, or you won’t find many people paying attention to you.  Less than 20% of all posts should directly promote your business or its services.  Be personable.  Post pictures of jobs you’ve completed that might inspire others to have their homes repainted.  Offer tips on how to select a painting contractor, how to select paint or how to complete a small job successfully.  If you’re able to connect with community members and they find value in the content you post on Facebook, they’re far more likely to think of you when they’ve got a painting job.

Other Parts of a Web Presence

Some companies will try to tell you that a web presence has hundreds of parts – that everywhere your business is listed online is a part of your web presence that needs to be managed.  That’s not really true.  Google handles trillions of searches per year.  Facebook has half of the United States using its site daily.  As a small business owner, those are the places where you should focus your time, along with your own website.  If you miss that handful of people who actually use Superpages or Foursquare or Manta, you’re still going to be just fine.  You’ll never get your money back focusing on those places.

But without Google or Facebook’s help, it’s hard to get people to your website in 2020.  And that’s why your presence on their platforms – including location details, reviews and content is a critical piece of your business’s success.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your business build a great website and a great web presence, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.