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Something that I have never been able to get for my local service area business are good links. For years I have read about how to do it, but I have never been able to accomplish it. What website with authority wants to give links to a plumber/electrician/locksmith?

It seems like the rest of the web buys links and does well from it. Is that my only hope?
 

Phil Rozek

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@DontBiteUrNails, it's not too hard if you don't take a swing-for-the-fences, "let's make a 'viral' infographic!" approach. You'll want to look at local Chambers of Commerce, industry associations that you might consider joining anyway, sponsoring local organizations you might want to support anyway, and HARO outreach, to name a few irons in the golf bag.

Oh, and consider ponying up for Ahrefs, so you can size up and monitor long-term your competitors' links. Most will be junk, but you'll probably find some keepers. In there you can also study non-competitors' links - like those of businesses that do what you do, but aren't anywhere near you.

In some cases getting listed on niche, industry-specific directories (even free directories) can yield a couple of OK links.

No good link-getting approach ever guarantees a good link, but that's always how it goes. Everything is a trade-off.

The good news is most of your competitors will be pretty feeble in terms of their links, so you don't have to do anything amazing to surpass them. If a bear is chasing you through the woods, you don't have to outrun the bear. You only need to outrun the other campers.
 

Tony Wang

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Follow Phil's advice, but it does take some effort and/or money (eg, joining the chamber). In terms of "good links" it doesn't require links from high authority sites like NYTimes, etc, just relevant to your region or industry.
 

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@Phil Rozek thanks for the advice, I’m going to follow that.

I like reading reviews on Google and yelp about service contractors around the country. It helps me learn what to do and not to do. I just randomly stumbled upon a review that you left for an electrician on yelp and I immediately recognized your picture LOL. Small world. :ROFLMAO:
 

Phil Rozek

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@DontBiteUrNails
My first guess would have been you saw my mug at the post office, though I do write reviews from time to time.

Still, what are the chances? (Higher if you live in MA, I suppose.)

Fun fact: if you saw the Yelp review I think you saw, that review was up for a year-plus, got filtered once I went dormant for a while, and got un-filtered once I started writing a dribble of Yelp reviews again.
 

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I searched yelp for Electrician in Boston and found your review.:D

One of my crazy pastimes is reading negative reviews for plumbers, electrician, and HVAC contractors around the country. It really is a learning experience for service contractors.

Half of the negative reviews are reasonable and justified, so they teach me what I have to be sure I never do. The other half of the negative reviews are from crazy people who expect unreasonable things, and it teaches me what/who to avoid.
 

Phil Rozek

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That is a crazy pastime, all right. A useful one, though. Not too many nuanced 3-star reviews of businesses in those industries. Those contractors are a real mixed bag, and even sane customers' emotions tend to run pretty high. (One reason I do most of the work on our house myself.)

If there's one thing I've seen, it's that most customers don't get too enraged unless they feel their questions or complaints have been ignored or dismissed, and a review is the only way to get the contractor's attention or settle the score.

I'd be interested to see your "Hall of Fame (and Shame)" sometime.
 

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Unfortunately I never saved any of them. Too bad, it could have been a rather interesting list to post.

By far the biggest righteous and reasonable complaint that customers have is the contractor not getting back to them, which is the contractor's fault. But here is the thing, I have seen the same company get 2 different 1 star reviews for telling the customers that they are very busy and don't have an opening until 2 months out. Then get 2 more 1 star reviews from different people for not getting back to the customer, who says in the review "I guess they were too busy, but they should have at least let me know". Well, they let the other two people know and that got them bad reviews as well, so they can't win. You tell them you are busy- bad review. You don't get back to them hoping they go to the next company- bad review.

Then there are the unreasonable reviews about money. A common one goes something like "They charged me $130 for the 15 minutes they were here, it is insane for a company to make $500 per hour!!!!!!". All service companies have a minimum service call of generally an hour, some are 2 hours. A company can't charge you for 15 minutes, they would lose money going out on that service call.

One that I really hate is when someone gives a terrible review because the contractor did not come out at night. They know that they are calling a small 1 or 2 man show. The hours are listed on Google or Yelp, whatever site they are reviewing on, yet they feel the guy should get out of bed and go fix their light. But I guarantee you they would complain about the higher emergency call rate. If a company doesn't list their service as 24 hour emergency services, expecting them to do it is unreasonable. It's like complaining because McDonald's didn't open for you at 2AM when you called the manager. I actually saw one of these complaints when searching Boston contractors:

Screen Shot 2020-09-21 at 6.03.19 AM.png
 

dynasty

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Our clients use our community engagement tools and local charities to get some traction on backlinks. Offering scholarships and similar programs can also get you picked up by local papers and radio stations. HOAs are another good place to reach out to for contractor backlinks. Good luck!
 
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