Google My Business for Plumbers
Brandon Schmidt | Dec 1, 2020
If you are a home service contractor like a plumber, you already know that the competition can be fierce online. New startups, single man operations, established businesses, and national franchises are all competing to get in front of a homeowner when they need assistance.
While having a highly-converting website, investing in digital advertising, and using Local Service Ads are all important components of a digital marketing strategy, many plumbing companies overlook Google My Business, a free service offered by Google.
See how you can use Google My Business to get in front of your local competitors and get more leads.
What is Google My Business?
Also called GMB, a Google My Business listing is free to claim, update, and maintain. It’s where people can find your phone number, read reviews, or click to visit your website. It has quickly become an essential part of any plumber’s digital marketing.
GMB profiles show up when someone does a local search (“plumber near me” or “plumber [town name]”) or conduct a search on Google Maps. Your company’s GMB listing can also show when someone searches for your brand, appearing on the right-hand side of search results on desktop/laptop, and at the very top of search results on mobile devices.
Learning from 26k+ Other Plumbers
Recently, we did a small study where we looked at Google My Business for HVAC companies. For this next project, we decided to expand the scope of our study beyond Pennsylvania to incorporate the entire United States.
As a result, we studied the GMB listings of 26,519 plumbing companies in the United States. After we compiled and anonymized the data, we were able to spot trends in GMB for the highest-ranking plumbing listings.
Google My Business for Plumbers: Best Practices
1. Select the Right Primary Category
One of the most common mistakes we see home service contractors make with their Google Business profile is not selecting the right primary category. Within the system, there are over 6,000 categories you can choose from; you can select up to 10 categories to place your business in, but the first one (or primary category) matters the most for where Google places you in search results.
When it comes to showing up for plumbing related queries, our study shows a clear winner: 94.21% of businesses used Plumber as their primary category. There were a few other primary categories that made an appearance (Heating Contractor and HVAC Contractor each received just under 1%), but the data overwhelmingly showed that Google favors Plumber as a primary category.
If we compare this data to our recent study on GMB for HVAC contractors – which favored companies that used HVAC Contractor, Air Conditioning Contractor, or Heating Contractor as a primary category – we see that the primary category for plumber matters even more.
For companies with multiple divisions – like HVAC, electrical, or kitchen & bath remodeling – you may need to decide which business segment is most important to rank for. You can lean into HVAC or Bath Remodeling as a primary category, but you may lose search visibility for plumbing related searches.
Of course, you can always add these other services as secondary categories. In our study, we saw the most popular secondary categories included Drainage Service, Bathroom Remodeler, Kitchen Remodeler, General Contractor, and the HVAC related categories mentioned above.
2. Have a Website
Your website is crucial for digital marketing; it’s where people go to learn more about your company, meet your team, and see if you offer the services they are looking for. Plus, your website helps your GMB profile rank for your target searches and within your service area.
According to our study, 60.98% of plumbing companies link to their website from their GMB profile. This is down from our study of HVAC companies, in which we found website links on 70% of GMB listings.
This means that nearly 40% of plumbing companies don’t link to a website from their GMB listing. This could be an oversight on their part, or it could be that they do not have a website. If you don’t have a website, you can still link to your Facebook page, or you could create a free Google Business page.
3. Get Online Reviews for Your Plumbing Company
Before someone contacts you for a repair or service call, they will look at your reviews on Google. Even before that, they are likely deciding between you and your local competition based on the number and quality of your reviews.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your online marketing is to ask for reviews on Google. Once someone leaves a review – good or bad – you should go in and respond to them. This will show future customers that you are attentive to your GMB listing, that you care about your reputation, and that you value feedback.
To stand out from the rest of your competition, you will want to have more reviews and a similar or higher average star rating. In many cases, this is not as challenging as it may seem; according to our study, nearly half of all plumbers have 3 or fewer reviews on GMB, and 26% plumbers have 0 reviews on Google. If this is like most of your competitors, it may just take a few customers to get ahead of them.
Of course, the number of reviews you should get is related to your local competition. If you have local competitors with hundreds more reviews than you, it may take longer to catch up with them.
4. Improve Your GMB Profile
Google is often updating and improving the Google My Business platform; smart businesses keep track of these changes and update their profiles accordingly so that they can stand out more from the competition.
For example, you can add an appointment link on your GMB listing. That way, someone can go directly to your contact page or online scheduling tool and book an appointment right away. If you add an appointment link to your GMB profile, you will definitely stand out since only 13% of plumbers use this new feature.
Another update you can make to your GMB listing is to highlight your service hours. If you offer emergency services, you should mention 24-hour service on your profile. According to our study, only 28% of plumbers list 24-hour service on their GMB listing.
Finally, you can also add custom attributes to your profile to let potential customers know about your business or service. For example, you can say that your business is Black-Owned, Veteran-Led, or Women-Led. You can also use COVID-19 attributes to highlight your health and safety precautions: Staff Wear Masks or Staff Get Temperature Checks. And if you have modified services because of COVID, you can add those to your GMB listing: Online Estimates and Onsite Services.
Lean into Google My Business for Plumber Marketing Online
Claiming and updating your Google My Business profile is free and easy to do. Plus, Google has a free mobile app, so you can respond to reviews and add photos to your listing from anywhere in the world.
By following these best practices, you can launch past your local competitors and get in front of your potential customers right when they are looking for your service.
Google My Business Trends for Plumbers
Study based on 26,519 Google My Business profiles for plumbing companies in the United States.
- 94.21% of plumbing companies use Plumber as their Primary Category for their GMB listing.
- 5.98% of plumbing companies use Drainage Service as an additional GMB category.
- 9.25% of plumbing companies use Heating Contractor as an additional GMB category. In addition, 6.22% use Air Conditioning Contractor, and 7.34% use HVAC Contractor as a GMB category.
- 4.19% of plumbing companies use Bathroom Remodeler as an additional GMB category, while only 3.03% use Kitchen Remodeler.
- 60.98% of plumbers link to a website from their Google My Business listing.
- 2.65% of plumbers link to the free Google Business website from their GMB listing.
- 0.34% of plumbers use a Facebook page as their website in their GMB listing.
- 25.1% of plumbers link to a non-secure website in their GMB listing.
- 49.32% of plumbers have 3 or fewer reviews on their Google My Business listing.
- 26.25% of plumbers do not have a single review on their Google My Business listing.
- 41.4 – The average number of reviews for a plumber on Google My Business.
- 34.55% of plumbers have the word “Plumbing” in their name on Google My Business.
- 7.32% of plumbers have their location in their name on Google My Business.
- 14.77% of plumbers don’t have a single photo in their GMB listing.
- 16 – Average number of photos in a plumbing GMB listing.
- 13.2% of plumbers are using an appointment link in their GMB listing.
- 28.12% of plumbers have their hours listed as 24 hours on Google My Business.
- 1.11% of plumbers have the Veteran-Led attribute on their GMB listing.
- 0.96% of plumbers have the Women-Led attribute on their GMB listing.