What’s The Best Way To Get More Tree Service Leads?

That’s really the question that most arborists are trying to figure out and some have found an answer that is valid for them, but maybe not for others.

I could tell you that SEO is the absolute superior way to get tree service leads, but the truth is – like with all difficult questions – that it depends on your specific circumstances

Are you located in a major metropolitan area, or are you out in the countryside?
How strong is your local competition?
What are they doing to advertise and get leads?
What’s your marketing budget?

These are just some of the questions that determine which marketing method will be the most efficient for getting more tree service leads in your particular case.

That being said, if you’re like most arborists, then you’re a small to medium sized business that doesn’t really have a strategic marketing plan in place.

For the most part you’re still in business because you do good work and you sustain yourself through your reputation with your clients, which brings you a decent amount of repeat business and extra jobs through word of mouth.

Most likely you’ve tried working with a marketing company and have been let down. False promises and agencies that underdeliver unfortunately are not a rarity and you’ve probably experienced it first hand.

I’m not going to bore you and tell you how we’re different now.

Instead, let me lay out what’s going to be the best way to get more tree service leads for YOUR business.

Because that’s what you’re here for.


Where To Get Tree Service Leads

Here’s what we’ve found to be true: Most people who are looking for tree service will go on Google (not Facebook, Instagram or TikTok) and type in any combination of “tree service near me”, “tree service city name” or “service name near me” (e.g. tree removal, stump grinding or pruning).

In SEO we call these search prompts “keywords”. 

What happens next is Google instantaneously categorizes the search and, in the vast majority of cases, comes to the conclusion that the search intent is “local”.

Now Google’s local algorithm kicks in and shows the user a search engine results page (SERP) that contains the following elements:

– Google Ads (Local Service Ads & Pay-Per-Click Ads)
– An embedded map with 3 suggested businesses (Map Pack) – only displayed with Google’s local algorithm
– Websites ranking “organically” under the map pack that have “earned their spot” on the top of Google (Organic Search Results)

It’s important for you to understand this, because every lead generation service you’ll ever use will generate the leads they hand to you from those 3 places.

That’s all there is.

For the sake of simplicity I won’t go into why Facebook ads and other methods are only a supplemental solution at best here.

We can even further break this down into only two effective ways of getting leads: Google Ads and Local SEO. 

Google Ads can take different forms, but the most common ones are search ads that appear on top of the SERP (search engine results page) and local services ads.

Local SEO entails the process of optimizing ones Google Maps listing, also called Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly also known as Google My Business (GMB). And it also entails optimizing ones website to drive traffic. The latter is known as search engine optimization, or short SEO.

So there you have it. If you want to get more tree service leads you have to do Google Ads or SEO.

Now it’s only about figuring out which one is best for you, and who is going to be able to genuinely help you with getting results through those methods.


Should You Do Google Ads or SEO To Get More Tree Service Leads?

For many Google and Facebook ads still seem like a fast track to growth, offering the promise of instant visibility in a crowded marketplace.

However, for tree service businesses, the decision to invest in these advertising avenues is not as straightforward as it might appear.

For well-established tree service companies boasting a robust online presence, Google and Facebook ads can act as the perfect fertilizer to accelerate growth.

If your business already enjoys a strong Google Maps listing AND a website that’s literally a conversion machine, you’ve likely maximized what you can achieve through organic search alone.

In this scenario, ads are not just viable; they’re a strategic move to outpace the competition and capture the high-intent customers ready to dial your number.

However, for small to medium-sized tree service businesses that lack a solid foundation with their maps listing and/or website, jumping into the world of Google and Facebook ads is generally going to be premature and probably even detrimental because you could be investing your hard-earned money better and more sustainably. 

Without a solid foundation – a well-optimized Google Business Profile, a user-friendly website designed for conversion, and a deep understanding of your local search ecosystem – ads can quickly become a financial sinkhole rather than a growth catalyst.

Investing in ads without this groundwork is akin to throwing money out the window.

The harsh reality is that, in the absence of a strong online presence (think website), your ads may fail to convert at a rate that justifies the investment.

This not only impacts your immediate budget but can significantly hinder long-term growth by diverting essential resources away from foundational SEO efforts that are critical for sustainable success.

So before you’re tempted by the allure of instant visibility through ads, consider whether your digital foundation can support such growth.

Because your ads will convert that much better with a strong foundation.

That means having a website that is not just visible but compelling enough to convert visitors into customers, and a Google Maps listing that outshines your competitors’.

For small to medium-sized businesses, that don’t have a highly converting website, the priority should therefore be to build out and optimize your maps listing and website. 


It’s Better To Own Than To Rent

One important thing to remember is that Google owns your maps listing, not you.

We’ve seen it many times where owners have a strong maps listing and are doing really well, but then Google shuts down their listing because they made a tiny, silly mistake – like changing the location on their listing (never do this without professional guidance) or something similar.

At the end of the day the only real marketing asset that you actually own 100% is your website. Next to your book of business and reputation it is the most reliable source of new business, if set up properly and managed well.

So, to summarize:

Tree service companies that already have a strong website that is getting a lot of traffic and converting well, should focus on Google ads to further increase their lead flow.

Business owners that only have a strong Google Business Profile (aka maps listing) should invest in building out a good website. For two reasons: Firstly to convert more people that check out their maps listing, because generally more people will visit the website than call from the maps listing. And secondly to future proof their business in case anything should ever happen to their maps listing.

Lastly, those arborists that neither have a strong maps listing nor a strong website, should focus all of their efforts and resources on improving both of these incredibly powerful marketing assets. The last thing they should do is spend a fortune on ads and neglect their foundation.


How To Find A Quality Local SEO Service For Your Tree Care Company

Tree service business owners are more skeptical than ever when it comes to engaging with marketing companies, and not without reason.

We hear horror stories almost daily from arborists that have been scammed, ripped off or let down by false promises.

It is important to us to take a stance against dishonest and deceitful business practices by marketing companies, as there are still many reputable and genuine service providers in this space, and all our reputation is being damaged by these “black sheep”.

Without a doubt the amount of “black sheep” has soared over the past few years as more and more people falsely come to believe that starting a marketing agency is the best way to make a quick buck online.

You should avoid falling into the trap of judging a book by it’s cover. Don’t judge service providers by their gender, age, heritage, where they come from or live, etc. Instead only judge them by what they do.

Here’s what to look for:

  1. Are their pricing and deliverables transparent? Not necessarily worrisome by itself, but in combination with other red flags it might be.


  2. Do they set up an agreement or a contract with you? If no, then that’s a big red flag because how are you going to know what they’ll deliver and what you’re paying for. Not having a contract is an absolute no-go and you should be very careful about engaging with a marketing company that doesn’t set up any type of agreement with you.


  3. Do they use Google Analytics and other tracking tools such as Brightlocal or Local Falcon (for Local SEO) and Ahrefs or Semrush (for keyword rankings)? And are they keeping the insights to themselves or are they going to be sending you monthly reports? If they don’t provide any reporting or updates then that’s a red flag, because how are you going to know if what they’re doing is effective? Not only is it nontransparent but it’s also unprofessional.


  4. Who owns what? You should own your domain and website, not them. Otherwise you’re in an unhealthy dependency, like with lead generation services that make you pay for duplicate leads and tire kickers.


  5. Are they mere web designers or do they actually know how to do Local SEO? If they don’t have substantial knowledge and expertise in SEO & CRO (search engine and conversion rate optimization) they won’t be able to help you improve rankings and conversions. Here are some questions you can ask them: What is your backlinking strategy? What do you do specifically for on-page SEO? How are you conducting keyword research and how will your findings translate into actions on my website? What do you do for conversion rate optimization? If they struggle to answer any of these questions you should probably pass.


  6. Which CMS (content management system) and which hosting provider are they using? If they try to get you on a cheap hosting plan (like a GoHighLevel sub-account) or use simple website builders (like Weebly) instead of a professional CMS (like WordPress) then you should pass.


  7. Do they either have strong testimonials OR are they offering a flexible contract where you can cancel at any time? Having reviews and testimonials is overrated because they can easily be faked, especially if one is tech savvy. What’s important is that you don’t get locked into a long-term contract just because you got blinded by a few great testimonials. If they have tons of outstanding testimonials you can probably trust them to deliver on their promises and agree to a long-term contract, if you have a good feeling about it.

If you consider all of these questions when choosing a service provider for Local SEO, then you should be able to save yourself a lot of pain and headache, wondering why things aren’t working and burning through one “marketing guy” after the other, only to be left frustrated and disappointed because things aren’t working like they should.

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