The commercial bail bonds industry has always been under pressure, and in May 2018 Google and Facebook have decided to ban paid pay-per-click ads on Google’s Adwords network and across all of Facebook.
Major players in the industry spend $1,000s of dollars on paid advertising via Google and Facebook. Paying for pay-per-click ads guarantees placement towards the top of search results. If a bondsman has the budget, they can get business by paying for it. This tactic becomes more difficult with the latest ruling.
We will not go into a lot of detail as to why Google made this decision – essentially, their opinion is:
For-profit bail bond providers make most of their revenue from communities of color and low income neighborhoods when they are at their most vulnerable, including through opaque financing offers that can keep people in debt for months or years.”
Those in the bail industry understand that there is a need for bail bondsmen. Bondsmen offer a service that’s needed and many will speak to how bondsmen offer low-income individuals the only way to get out of jail. While Google states one thing, it seems more likely that their decision is a move focused on long term goals towards abolishing the entire commercial bail industry. As mentioned, bondsmen are often the only ones able to help low-income individuals who can’t pay full bail. It’s better to have a 10% option vs no option to get out of jail. It seems Google is saying one thing, but in reality, is thinking way ahead towards a bigger impact this may have on the industry, which is to force the government to completely rethink their approach on bail.
Facts speak for themselves when it comes to the positive impact bail bonds can have, just look at our infographic below. Not having an option to pay for bail puts individuals in a very negative position. Google is essentially putting the blame on bondsmen, who are simply providing a solution within a bail system that’s existed long before bondsmen ever came into existence.
Without getting into all the details that most of us are already aware of, especially the positive services bail bondsmen offer, let’s focus on how bail bondsmen can adapt to this change and continue to flourish.
What exactly are Google and Facebook changing with the bail bonds ban?
- Paid ads that show up at the top of Google search results will be removed starting in July 2018.
- Facebook ads dealing with bail bonds will be removed.
- Organic Google listings that naturally show up, including Google Maps listings and natural website results, will continue to show up.
- Facebook Pages, Groups, and Events dealing with bail bonds will not be affected and will remain on Facebook. Paid promotion of such pages may not be allowed. Pages and Groups will not be deleted on Facebook.
Where can bail bondsmen still advertising their business?
Media.net is the next biggest player in the paid search industry. They run the Bing search network. Traffic also comes from all of their website publishers. This means that your ads will not only show up on Bing searches, but also on websites that run Media.net ads. Give them a try.
The next best option is to advertise on bail websites that can generate leads. For example, you can get listed with us today. We are one of the go-to websites for bail information and much of our traffic comes from local searches where people are looking for a bondsman. Get listed with us today, either via a premium directory listing to be #1 in your market, or explore our Bail Bonds Pay-Per-Call model. Instead of paying for clicks, we can send callers your way and you will only be billed for the calls we generate for you. Click here to learn more.
Does Google ban impact organic / natural results?
This question is very important. Google is NOT banning regular bail bonds listings, they are only banning premium, paid ads that show up at the top. Of course, this still has a significant impact on many bondsmen, but it’s important to note that Google is not completely turning its back on the industry. Most bondsmen will continue to get the majority of their online traffic via Google.
Organic SEO for bail bondsmen will become critical moving forward. Money will transfer from paid advertising via Google to website SEO in order to rank well organically.
How can bail bondsmen improve their SEO and rank higher in Google results?
This is the million dollar question. SEO businesses exist for a reason. It can be a full time job to build up your website in order to rank well organically within the Google Map and search results. Ranking highly on the Google Map requires specific optimization while regular search results often have their own criteria.
In order to better rank your bail bonds business on Google Maps, do the following:
- Ensure your business phone number, address, and other contact info is consistent across online sources. Is your phone number the same and accurate across all directory listings? Is your address consistent? Having discrepancies can negatively impact your Google Maps ranking.
- Maximize the number of Google reviews you have. Both volume of reviews and the overall rating are important.
- Remove any duplicate entries of the same bail business within Google. It looks spammy. Optimize the one accurate business listing you have. If you have multiple bail office locations, then you can have separate listings – in fact, it’s recommended to list all of them to maximize local reach.
- Increase the amount of citations – these are directory listings and websites referencing your business name, address, or phone number. Ensure these are accurate and build up as many business references as you can. Google uses citations as a signal of business strength and reputation. Make sure to contact us to get listed with Bail Bonds Network. We’re one of the most important bail directories you need to be part of.
- Ensure all of the Google Maps fields are filled out for your bail bonds business. To name a few – include pictures, hours of operation, and select the correct business category.
- Select the accurate map coverage for your bail business. Expand the area to include all counties you write bail in.
If you want to know how to rank your bail bonds business better in regular Google results, do the following:
- Clean up your website by optimizing titles, content, images, and meta descriptions. If you are not familiar with these terms, outsource the work to a quality SEO company, or contact us for assistance.
- Create unique pages for the counties and cities you cover. Make sure your page titles including the County and City you serve, and each page should have unique information and text, otherwise your may be penalized with duplicate content by Google.
- Build links pointing to your bail bonds website. Do you have a blog on your website? By writing interesting articles covering helpful topics, other websites will link to you, therefore boosting your reputation in Google’s eyes. Think of links as one of the most valuable things.
- Is your bail website mobile friendly? 60-70% of search traffic for bail bonds tends to come from mobile devices. If your website is not mobile friendly, you will suffer in Google’s natural results.
- Have you converted your websites to https? Google will give your bail website a slightly boost in rankings if you are https compliant.
We can help if you are new to this and need help ranking your website. Visit our page on marketing ideas for bondsmen to get some creative options and make sure to
contact us to get listed in our bail directory.
While many will focus on the negative impact the Google & Facebook decision had, we can also focus on the positives and the opportunity this may have.
This will level much of the competitive landscape between big bail bonds companies and the small guys. Not many had the big budgets to rank for paid ads so many were left out. This will bring up some of the smallers companies and will allow others to be seen below the ad section.
Big players will still have the edge as they will funnel most of their Google money towards quality SEO optimization, but basic SEO can be handled by most people and it should still cost less than paid ads in some markets.
It’s important to get out and speak in the community and via media outlets at this time.
This topic is hot and many people are passionate about it. Bondsmen should reach out to the media and push their message –
- What positive impact are you having as a bondsman?
- Is it really true that bondsmen take advantage of people, or are you helping keep the community safe?
- Are you offering payment plans and asking for low down payments to help those in need?
This is your opportunity to shed light on the good you do. What better time to do that than now when everyone wants to talk about this major news?
What single, most impactful thing can bondsman do now?
Contact us to get listed in our bail directory. It will give you a local citation, drive calls, and you can even get a premium listing to get ahead of your competitors. While others are down and disappointed about the news, you need to act and get ahead of them. If you take the right actions, you can get the same traffic as before from Google, except this time for free from their organic results vs paying $1,000s for advertising.