The 2021 SEO Formula for Restoration Companies


By Nathan Big

If you want to grow your restoration and remediation business in 2021, you’ll need a profitable digital marketing engine that delivers new business month in and month out on autopilot, but getting it right can be confusing and expensive. 

I know first-hand how hard it can be, but the payoff is well worth the effort. When I finally dialed my digital marketing in, I was able to grow and sell my restoration business quickly. That’s why I am on a mission to help other restorers get their internet marketing right and accelerate their lead flow in 2021.

Restoration digital marketing ‘holy grail’

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best way to get free leads from the internet. It’s the “holy grail” of digital marketing because it can bring in calls every day for free. However, ranking for top search terms in large cities is highly competitive and requires a huge amount of time and expertise—or money if you choose to hire an expert to improve your rank. 

Despite the inherent complexity of SEO, there are a few simple steps you can take right now that don’t cost a penny and can drive free leads immediately. Based on feedback from hundreds of SEO experts and thousands of ranking reports, I have created the 2021 SEO formula for restoration and remediation companies. Here are three steps to implement today to get real results, real fast.

Step 1: Choose your battleground

Google page one is the battleground where you and your competitors will fight for rankings. Page one is broken down into two main categories: paid and free. The top of the page is reserved for paid Google Local Services and Google Ads. The rest of the page is free and up for grabs through SEO. This is where you will find the “organic results” such as websites, Wikipedia entries, and Facebook.

For local service searches, Google creates a “Local Pack” section in the middle of the page, below the paid ads and above the organic results. The Google Local Pack or “Three Pack” consists of a map and a list of three local businesses relevant to the search. The Local Pack is also free and up for grabs when it comes to ranking on Google page one. I recommend you focus on the Local Pack as your battlefield because it’s the quickest and easiest place to win clicks and calls from Google searches.  

Step 2: Build your fortress

According to a 2020 survey of hundreds of SEO experts conducted by Whitespark, there are seven factors that determine your Local Pack ranking, but not all factors are created equal. The survey showed that 49% of your Local Pack ranking was determined by just two factors. 

The most important factor is your Google My Business (GMB) listing. This is the listing that is tied to the Local Pack. The second most important factor is your reputation—specifically the quantity and quality of reviews listed on your GMB.

Because the top two ranking factors are both tied directly to your GMB, it’s critical that your listing is optimized, it is 100% complete, and you consistently get positive reviews posted there. Use these three tips to optimize your GMB: 

Choose the right primary GMB category. Get this wrong and no one will find you. You must select your category from their list, so make sure you pick the one that is best for your business. If you do water, fire, and mold I suggest your primary category should be “water damage restoration service.” Don’t choose “contractor” or “building restoration service.” If you focus primarily on fire, I recommend “fire damage restoration service.”
Google updates their list from time to time, but at this point, there is no category for mold.  The closest they have is “environmental health service,” which is not ideal. If you are solely a mold remediator, I still recommend “water damage restoration company.”

Choose only relevant secondary GMB categories. The old formula was to “stuff” the categories with as many services as possible, regardless of relevance.  Don’t do this; it will hurt your ranking. Today it’s best to select only the categories that apply to your business. Go update your GMB categories now. Add all the relevant categories and remove any services that don’t apply. 

Include the correct keywords in your business title. An exact match of the category and search terms in your business title is the best way to rank at the top of the page. In real-world tests, it beats everything else. Change your business title from Frank’s Fast Flood Fixers to Frank’s Water Damage Restoration Company and you will shoot right to the top.  Add a location name to the mix—like Frank’s Water Damage Restoration Company of Miami—and it’s a slam dunk for that city (as long as your physical address is in Miami).

This strategy raises a few questions: First, can anybody do this? What if we end up with 20 nearly identical business titles? What are the rules?

The fact is there is nothing stopping everybody from doing this other than Google’s terms of service—which are important to follow. Google requires the business title in your GMB listing to match the business name or “doing business as” (DBA) name you have registered with the state. So, if you want to improve your rank, change your business title—but make sure you follow Google’s rules. In a big city where the payoff of better rankings could be huge, it might make sense to rebrand and change your company’s name with the state.

You may be asking yourself, does anybody police this?  Can I get away with bending the rules?  The answer is yes… until someone reports you, and then you will have to prove to Google your business title is legitimate.

Step 3: Storm the castle

The fact that changing a business title has the biggest impact on Local Pack rankings promotes keyword stuffing and cheating, and it appears that Google does nothing to verify the business title until it is reported by others. 

So, if you are playing by the rules, how can you stop your competition from cheating? Report them.  

You know who your competitors are; you know their company name and location. Search in Google right now and open the expanded list of map results. Check to see how many GMB listings violate Google’s terms. You can have a direct impact on your rankings by making sure the competition is playing by the same rules. Google doesn’t verify business titles automatically, but they will if you notify them of a problem, which you can do with the “Suggest an edit” feature. Here’s how:

Check the search results of GMB listings for any with business titles that don’t match up.

Click on the offending listing and you will see a clickable “Suggest an edit” under the basic info.

When you click, you will be given two options:
1) Change name or other details: Use this feature when reporting business name, keyword stuffing, or city stuffing violations.
2) Remove this place: Use this feature when reporting duplicate listings, fake listings (like a virtual office or non-existent business location), and lead generation sites.

Beat the competition

Don’t let your competition beat you to the punch when it comes to digital marketing. Implement the 2021 SEO formula for restoration and remediation companies today. It’s the first step toward getting your digital lead generation machine firing on all cylinders.

Nathan Big is the founder and CEO of Bulletproof Restoration Marketing and a former restoration business owner. He is an author, speaker, and host of “The Bulletproof Restorers” podcast. Big uses his 20 years of experience as a restorer and digital marketer to help restoration and remediation companies get their internet marketing right. For more information, visit or call 435-255-3112. 

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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