One of the most frustrating tasks a cleaning or restoration business owner faces is trying to show up on page one of Google — without paying for clicks, of course.

Remember those old days of buying a Yellow Page ad and you knew exactly how big it would be, where it would be in the book and the other ads that would be Thinkstock/Stefano Senisearound it because your ad rep talked too much?

Ah, those were the days. You paid dearly for that Yellow Page ad, maybe $1,000 a month or maybe $10,000 a month, depending on your market (I was closer to the $1,000 a month deal). But you paid it nonetheless because you had no choice. It was the way you reached the market.

If you read my Foreword column last month, you noticed a letter written to what I call “Mr. Google.” Now, that letter wasn’t really for a literal Mr. Google, and it was in jest (well, some of it) although I did attempt to e-mail it in but got as far as something called “Webmaster Central” and a help desk, where I posted my questions and hoped to hear back from Google.

If nothing else, it was a fun experience, and I learned that the examples in the hit movie “The Internship” aren’t exactly real-life. I did learn what I already knew, in that there are plenty of resources to read and apply online if you dig deep enough.

And some things haven’t changed. You can still be competitive on Google and the other search engines by applying basic website building and search engine optimization principles. Make sure the mechanics of your site are up-to-date and accurate. Your URL should be keyword friendly, as should your title bar and website description. Make sure you don’t overdo the amount of keywords you have on each page, and choose your keywords carefully.

That being said, it isn’t enough in very competitive markets. You need to implement a solid social media strategy and build followers. You need backlinks from reputable sites. The list goes on. In a nutshell, your website strategy needs to take up a small part of each day (or someone’s day in your office) unless you are paying a company to do all this for you.

Google isn’t going to give away the farm. You have to work for it.

Bits and Pieces

As you know, it was reported first by Cleanfax that we lost an industry pioneer. Bill Bane will be remembered for a long time. There is a tribute to him in this issue of Cleanfax. Share your thoughts and memories of Bill on the Cleanfax Facebook page at

I was privileged to attend Mikey’s Fest in California recently. Wow, a cool bunch of entrepreneurs gathering together and sharing “How I did it!” The next annual event will be announced soon.

Last but not least, Cleanfax would like to invite you to think of some “horror stories” in cleaning. These can be serious or comical, and as we print them the real benefit is helping your peers to stay out of trouble. Because we all know we would rather learn from others people’s mistakes than our own. E-mail me your story, no matter how short or long, to