The Death of Bondsmen Ads
Google recently banned ads for bail services, and the implications for the industry could be significant. Because PPC ads have long been considered the bread and butter of bondsman marketing, bail companies will now have to look elsewhere to promote their services with search engine optimization, otherwise known as “SEO,” being on top of the list. Whether you agree or disagree with Google’s decision, nothing can change it. Bail Webmasters can help you make sense of what happened, why it happened, and what to do next.
What Does an Ad Ban Mean?
Google’s PPC platform, formerly known as AdWords and now known simply as Google Ads, no longer accepts bids from bail services. Any revenue your business was generating from Google Ads has ended. Bondsman services cannot advertise on Google anymore.
Why Did Google Ban Bail Ads?
Google disallows any ads that are considered by their definition to market a deceptive or harmful product. Bondsman services often profit from low-income communities unable to post bail after being arrested but before standing trial. Payments can put families in debt quickly. Even if the defendant is found innocent, it will severely hinder their long-term financial well-being — specifically for communities already struggling with income.
While the ethical reasons for banning bail ads have been made clear, Google has strategically withheld their financial motives. As much as Google has attempted to brand their decision as strictly ethical, the reality is that money is a factor. Because low-income communities don’t represent a worthwhile ROI for Google Ads, banning said ads does not impact their bottom line. Their motive for instituting this ban probably falls somewhere in between the two ideas.
What Can Bondsman Do About It?
Since bond dealers are unlikely to shut down their businesses, they must find new ways to market their services online. Since PPC is no longer an option, organic search optimization becomes the next best method to generate internet leads. Because every company within your industry is subject to the same regulations, you have every chance of outranking them on search results with a competent bail SEO service. Areas of optimization to focus on include:
Optimizing on-site web content refers to on-page SEO. On-page optimization includes everything from titles, headers, and meta descriptions, to body content, image alt text, and internal linking. Every bondsmen’s page aims to inform their target consumers. If someone gets arrested for a DUI, they’ll want to find a web page that talks specifically about DUI bail services and provides helpful information about how to proceed. Elements of on-page SEO include:
- Content: The body text throughout each web page
- Headers: The optimization of H1’s, H2’s, and H3’s on your pages
- Images: The relevance of your on-page photos, as well as their alt text
- Meta Descriptions: The length and relevance of your meta description
- Titles: The SEO title of each page (Should include keywords, but only once)
When people think of SEO, they most frequently imagine on-page optimization. Keywords have always been a popular buzzword in the online marketing community, but they no longer hold as much weight as they once did. The highest-ranking pages today use a combination of keywords and relevant synonyms for a superior reading experience. The tactic of stuffing as many keywords as possible into your text is obsolete.
Optimizing your website is a significant first step, but on-page SEO cannot alone make you rank towards the top of search results, in most cases. Remember, your web page only has to be incrementally better than your main competitors. So if your rivals are only doing on-page SEO, you can probably outrank them by doing it better. The reality, however, is that most websites have a full range of SEO methods that extend beyond the page. Elements of off-site SEO are:
- Directory Listings (NAP): The claiming and optimization of business listings on Google, Yelp, etc.
- Inbound Links: The acquisition of incoming links from authority websites within your niche
- Social Media: The presence of your company’s brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Like with their decision to discontinue bail ads, Google has also brought the hammer down on spammy link building. The difference is that this shift in focus happened back in 2013. Many sites were heavily penalized for the illegitimate formation of backlinks and suffered significant ranking drops. It’s never been more important to keep your off-site SEO strategy within the regulations levied by Google and its constituents.
Some parts of optimization have nothing to do with words and everything to do with the operation. Your content quality won’t matter if the website doesn’t load quickly enough or discourages simple navigation via a mobile device. Today, attention spans are shorter than ever before, and people are unwilling to wait for information. If they can’t get an optimal mobile experience from your website, they’ll move on to your competitor. Aspects of technical SEO are:
- Mobile Design: The intuitiveness of your website’s display on smartphone devices
- Page Navigation: The simplicity of your site’s navigation from smartphones and tablets
- Site Speed: How fast your pages load once clicked on
Because users access the web on a wide range of devices, your bail website must display optimally on each one of them. Apple products like iPhones and iPads are top-rated, but other devices like the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy hold a significant market share. And despite its steady decline, we can’t forget about the good old desktop computer. The same is true of laptops, MacBooks, and other kinds of hybrid devices.
How Bail Webmasters Can Help
Since one of your business pillars has been pulled out from under you, investing in a marketing company to assist you with re-establishing your online presence is critical. Bail Webmasters can be that company for you. As specialists of bail marketing, our services are tailored specifically for guarantors, giving us a leg up on more general marketing firms. We understand keyword research and how to rank your website responsibly and sustainably. Our search engine optimization services consist of:
- On-Page SEO: Titles, headers, images, body content, etc.
- Off-Site SEO: Link building, NAP listings, social media, etc.
- Technical SEO: Web design, site speed optimization, etc.
For many bail companies throughout the country, this is a stressful time. Because Google decided to disallow PPC ads marketing your services, many are scrambling to find a way to supplement that traffic. The first step is to avoid panic. Don’t do anything radical just because one of your primary traffic streams is no longer available. Understanding that you are under stress, Bail Webmasters can walk you through the process step by step and help you either regain or sustain your traffic and lead generation. Call 866-362-3378 to speak with an SEO specialist today.
Other Bail Marketing Options
Aside from SEO and the now-prohibited PPC advertisements, bond dealers have other avenues through which to pursue customer growth. There’s good old direct mail for bondsman looking to gain clients using a more traditional method. The problem with direct mail is that its ROI has grown increasingly limited over the years. The time spent crafting a graphically appealing postcard or flier is seldom worth its 1% or less response rate. Many of today’s consumers would respond more to inbound marketing, making them feel in control of their own decisions, rather than outbound marketing, which feels like tired salesmanship.
If direct mail is too antiquated, email marketing seems like a possible supplement. The problem with email marketing is that you must have a sizeable contact library to utilize it effectively. For bondsman new to the trade or to those who don’t have the customer base that merits a mass email newsletter, or something similar, SEO presents a far superior alternative to email marketing. Like with direct mail, email newsletters are fundamentally outbound marketing, and therefore generally work against the ideals of today’s consumers and their buying behaviors.