Are Paid Ads or SEO Better for Pest Control Company Leads?


Written by

Drew Lund

Customer Success Manager at Cedar Systems. Industry expert with experience in multiple sectors across pest control. Executed successful programs in customer success, operations strategy, business and franchise development, and technical project management.

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Paid Ads vs. SEO for Lead Generation as a Pest Control Company

If you build it, they will come.

Since the first day we began building shelters to shield us from the elements, the outdoors have been finding their way in. 

There’ll always be a need to keep pests out. That’s why pest control continues to be one of the most essential American industries.

With pests constantly crawling into our homes, pest control business owners are asking themselves, “What’s the best way to get my company in front of the customer?”

Many swear by traditional paid ads, while others attribute their company growth to the new kid on the block, Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

But in this ever-changing digital landscape, the answer may not be so simple.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at both methods and help you determine which approach will generate the most leads for your pest control business.

Which Is Better for Pest Control Companies: Paid Ads or SEO?

If you’re wondering whether paid ads are better than SEO for generating leads, the short answer is –– it depends.

Each pest control company has different desired results along with a varying budget.

Truthfully, your company can see significant results from employing both. 

That’s because customer behavior can vary: 

  • Some people searching online will click on paid ads first
  • Some within a Google Local Pack; and 
  • Some will scroll to organic search results.

But if there isn’t room in your budget for both approaches, you need to have a more nuanced understanding of your target customer’s behavior.

More specifically, we need to understand the landscape of the how and the what.

Let’s take a deeper look at how people search online for pest control companies and what they find as a result.

2 Ways People May Search for Pest Control Companies

#1: Generic Pest Control Company Search

People will often search for the general keyword plus an identifier, like their location.

Searches like …

  • “Pest control company Boise, Idaho”
  • “Houston pest control companies”
  • “Pest control company near me”; and even simply
  • “Pest control companies”

… can often return results local enough to satisfy the potential customer with no known specific pest needs.

Some potential customers may not know what their particular pest problem is, or they may have multiple pest control needs.

Other potential customers might know exactly what type of pest problem they have and may be searching for specific services or tips to eradicate it themselves.

#2: Specific Pest Control Company Search

Typically, people who know the type of pests they’re dealing with in their space will be specific when searching for a pest control company.

Someone may choose to perform a specific search to cut down on the time it takes to call or inquire online about the services offered.

Other ways people may be performing more specific searches can include:

  • “Pest control company for rats”
  • “Pest control for ants”; or
  •  “Help with mice”

Someone searching for “help with” may be looking for ways to do it themselves or a service to take care of the issue.

A search like this leaves plenty of room for your pest control company to reach more leads since you can potentially convert a do-it-yourselfer. 

In this case, focusing on the problem instead of the solution may provide access to a wider pool of leads.

Is your pest control operation feeling a little archaic? 

Cedar Pest Software offers state-of-the-art tools to simplify your work processes.

Get in touch with us today and step into the future of pest control.

What People See When They Search for Pest Control Companies in Google: 4 Main Result Types

#1: Google Guaranteed Ads

Thanks to the rise of social media, a simple check mark has become synonymous with terms like:

  • Verified
  • Trusted; and 
  • Credible

Google has adopted this practice by bestowing a reassuring green and white check mark on its Google Guaranteed Ads.

 A Google Guaranteed Ad is deliberately placed at the very top of the page, above the normal pay-per-click (PPC) Google Ads and the organic search results. 

This highly sought-after real estate is more difficult to obtain than a regular paid ad.

A business must first have a Google Local Services ads account and pass a screening and verification process to obtain a Google Guarantee Badge.

The screening process varies by business category and location and may include:

  • Background checks
  • Business registration checks 
  • Insurance verification; 
  • License checks; and 
  • Minimum review requirements

The upside to subjecting your company to the rigorous Google Guarantee screening process?

A Google Guarantee Badge shows customers that your company is a trusted business backed by the Google money-back guarantee.

How Guaranteed Ads Can Increase Leads

With Google Guaranteed Ads you pay for leads, not clicks like traditional ads.

So it’s Google’s objective with the guarantee ad program to make it easier for businesses to gain access to new customers. 

One way they endeavor to achieve this is by lending Google’s credibility, using the green and white check mark to offer potential customers the one thing they value the most –– trust.

The Google Guarantee promises unsatisfied customers, at the sole discretion of Google, reimbursement up to the amount paid for the initial service, subject to a lifetime limit.

That means more customers can feel safe patronizing new businesses knowing that Google has vetted its legitimacy.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the ad format only allows you to display your company:

  • Name
  • City
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation; and 
  • Customer rating

Displaying your customers’ reviews is another opportunity Google Guaranteed ads offer to attract more leads because it can help new customers feel more comfortable trying a new business.

#2: Regular Paid Google Ads

Google Ads is an advertising service that lets businesses advertise on Google search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Your search ads can appear either at the top of the page, above the organic search results, or at the very bottom.

With Google Ads, you pay-per-click (PPC), and each click is considered an impression on the ad.

Buying Google Ads is not much different than bidding at an auction. 

You bid a maximum amount of money you’re willing to pay per click. Higher bids get better visibility at the top of the SERPs, and lower bids are displayed at the bottom.

The average cost per click can be anywhere from five to 40 dollars.

Though they can be great if you have the budget, regular paid Google Ads can be competitive depending on the area.

How Regular Ads Can Increase Leads

Google Ads can help increase leads by getting your business in front of people who are ready to buy. 

Once you have identified your targeted generic or service-specific keywords, you can reach potential customers actively looking for your services by buying Google Ads on the SERPs of those keywords.

This is where it’s key to pinpoint your high-margin pest control services. 

The most profitable services are the ones you want to choose as service-specific keywords to get the most value for your Google ad dollars.

#3: Google Local Pack

When someone searches for a pest control company, below the Google Guaranteed ads and regular PPC Google Ads, they’ll find a group of local business results pulled from Google Maps called the Google Local Pack.

Though the Google Local Pack of pest control companies may feel reminiscent of what you might find in the Yellow Pages, that’s where the comparison ends.

Unlike paid ads, you need to earn a place in the Google Local Pack and that’s where a little SEO can help.

To earn this coveted spot, you can start by registering your business with a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business Listing).

As a local business, having a Google Business Profile is a crucial part of your online presence. 

A Google Business Profile makes it easy for online users to:

  • Find and learn about your services 
  • Contact you
  • Visit your website
  • Make an appointment or request a service quote 

Without one, your business is losing out to competitors in Google results for both mobile and desktop searches.

How Local Pack Ranking Can Increase Leads

Nearly one in three mobile searches are location or “near me” specific and Google is the most common search engine used to search for local businesses.

So optimizing your profile for the Google Local Pack can be a great SEO strategy for your pest control company to drive local traffic.

Google ranks business profiles based on their:

  • Relevance to the keyword searched
  • Prominence online including:
  • Strong website authority
  • Backlinks; and
  • Blog posts
  • Proximity to the user

Google strives to provide the most useful and accurate information to its users.

Most search results, even those without the “near me” qualifier will automatically be relevant to the user's location, thanks to the new location services in our mobile phones and laptops.

With that in mind, the more accurate information you can provide on your Google Business Profile, the more opportunities you have to reach users and increase leads.

#4: Organic Results

Below the ads and Google local pack on a SERP, you’ll finally get to the organic results of the page.

This is another area where strategic and smart SEO practices will come into play.

The primary goal of SEO for pest control companies is to boost your website’s rank in the organic search results.

Utilizing SEO tactics, including … 

  • Optimizing your website for local keywords
  • Adding backlinks to credible resources to build authority; and
  • Improving your website and navigation design

… can increase your pest control business’s organic web traffic and help you rank in organic results.

This pest control lead generation method helps your pest control business draw in more credible leads.

How Organic Results Ranking Can Increase Leads

Taking advantage of SEO can transform your pest control website into a powerful lead-generation tool. 

SEO is an effective way of getting your pest control company’s website seen. 

By focusing on user interaction, you can attract qualified leads using relevant pest control keywords that generate interest.

The more clicks your website receives, the higher it will rank, increasing your online reach for more people to see it.

SEO continues to work in this circular relationship feeding itself with organic traffic long after you’ve completed your basic optimizations.

Google Ads vs. Organic SEO: Hunting vs. Farming

If you want to deepen your understanding of how Google Ads and organic SEO differ in the way they generate leads, think of Google Ads as hunting and organic SEO as farming.

When you hunt, you reap the immediate rewards and are able to target the kind of food you want more precisely. 

Alternatively, farming may require more effort upfront, but it continues to pay off in the long run.

So how do you know if you need to hunt or farm? 

First, you need to identify:

  • What kind of food do you want; and
  • How long do you want it to last

Hunting With Google Ads

When you buy targeted Google Ads, you can turn them on and off at will. 

However, the minute you turn them off the leads may fall away.

That can work to your advantage if you’re looking for leads for a controlled period of time. 

The leads will roll in as long as you continue to pay for the ad, but when your ad budget runs out–– so do your leads.

So as in hunting, ads typically work best for those who want …

  • Fast
  • Hyper-targeted 
  • Short term 

… results.

Farming With Organic SEO

Organic SEO can take time and concerted effort before you see results. 

Depending on your resources, organic SEO can be applied to your pest control company’s website with little to no cost if you or someone on your team are open to learning and employing its tactics.

Dedicating the work now to SEO can potentially rank your pest control company online and generate leads for …

  • Days
  • Months; or even
  • Years

… saving you thousands of dollars on ads if done properly.

If you don’t feel comfortable or have the time to do the work yourself, you may want to hire an SEO company that can create the most value for the time spent.

Investing in an SEO company can still be more cost and lead effective than ads in the long run.

Update Your Google My Business Profile

Earlier, we mentioned that creating a Google Business Profile for your company is the first step if you want your pest control company to be ranked in the Google Local Pack.

A simple SEO method you can use to can differentiate your pest control company from others and increase your chances of ranking, is to optimize your business profile by:

  • Adding photos
  • Adding videos
  • Including a detailed description of your services 
  • Answering questions asked by online users
  • Engaging with customer reviews 
  • Sharing service specials
  • Providing business updates using Google Business Posts

Following these steps can boost your visibility in search results.

Write SEO-Focused Content

Another method used in SEO to generate leads with little money invested is to write SEO-focused content.

SEO-focused content can include:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Online guides; 
  • And more

Adding valuable content to your website is a great way to reach potential new customers and build your authority in the pest control industry.

There are many SEO tactics that can catapult your business to the top-ranking positions of the SERPs.

Nevertheless, ensuring that you’re content …

  • Is hosted on your own web domain
  • Is written directly to your customers 
  • Addresses topics that are relevant to their keyword searches; and
  • Draws them in with attention-grabbing headlines and keyword-rich phrases

… is a simple and effective approach to adding SEO-focused content that nurtures relevant and helpful interactions.

Final Takeaway: Paid Ads vs. SEO for Lead Generation as a Pest Control Company

Regardless of whether you choose paid ads or SEO to generate leads for your pest control company, it’s crucial to drill down to the specific type of leads you want.

Research and determine what those desired leads are searching for.

Are they focused on finding a solution to a specific pest problem, or are they just trying to find a pest control company near them?

An SEO company can help identify and analyze the keywords that matter most to your customers and will provide the most lucrative SERPs for your targeted ad or SEO efforts.

Cedar Pest: You’ve Got the Leads — Now Improve Business Practices Using the Best Technology for Pest Control Companies

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether paid ads or SEO is the best way to generate leads for a pest control business.

But with Cedar Pest's premium pest control software, you can improve your business practices using modern technology to simplify your:

  • Scheduling and routing
  • Payment processing
  • Customer management
  • Reporting; 
  • And More

Cedar Pest is a veteran-owned and minority-operated company, dedicated to providing you with the best pest control tools, including …

  • Mobile tools
  • Sales features; and 
  • Automated notifications

… to keep your pest control business running smoothly.

An uptick in high customer ratings thanks to the top-quality customer care you can provide with Cedar Pest can increase your ability to generate more leads, whether you choose paid ads or SEO. 

Empower your business when those leads start rolling in, and request a demo with Cedar Pest today!

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