How to Get Your Salon to the Top of Google Searches
Updated: May 31
What does your salon or spa do to get new clients in the door? Apart from referral programs (word of mouth), the reality is that most salons don’t do very much. They’ll put a banner outside their door, some signage in their window, or maybe create a partnership with a local business. Many salons think that by being more active on social media it will increase their exposure. These aren’t bad ideas, however their reach is limited. Advertising in your window or outside your door is only talking to people
who are physically in front of your salon. Social media posts talk to the people that are already following your page. They are likely existing guests, friends, family and potentially other industry connections, but very few would be new potential guests.
The new way to advertise in the digital age is through online advertising. It is so powerful because it can be highly targeted, fast, measurable and very cost-effective. It often scares salons because it can seem complicated. We also know many salons that have tried Facebook ads with little success and so they abandon them (if this is you, check out our Facebook Ads Starter Guide for Salons).
We want to show you the best techniques to get online advertising working for your salon and spa as efficiently as possible. Imagine having a system in place to continually generate new clients walking in the door without having to lift a finger (other than setting up the system the first time). This is the power of digital advertising! And it starts with Google.
You’ve probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which are techniques that can help you get ranked higher in search results. But there’s a much easier and faster way for your salon or spa to get to the top of page #1 on Google – it’s called Search Engine Marketing (SEM). You can pay to be there with Google Ads.
Like everything, Google Ads uses complex algorithms, but we are going to share with you the simplified version to put you on the right track to take advantage of this opportunity. The great news is that Google Ads are extremely under-utilized in the hair salon industry, meaning that there will be less competition for your salon to get to the top of Google!
Here is the basic principle of how Google Ads work:
You pay for specific keywords that you choose
When someone makes a search request on Google using those words, you show up at the top (the only way this may not happen is if another company has also paid for those same keywords, which is very rare in hair salon industry)
The Advantage? Your ads are highly targeted. You are showing up ONLY when someone searches for specifically what you want! Therefore, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Pretty great, right?
The Disadvantage? It can be costly on a pay-per-click basis. This depends on the keywords that you have chosen and how popular they are.
As you can probably tell, it’s the quality of your keywords that is the most important element of your Google Ads campaign. If people aren’t searching for your keywords then they are essentially useless.
Nobody will see your ads, visit your website, or turn into a paying customer.
On the other hand, if the keywords you’re using are too broad, you might end up competing with other companies that want the same keywords and you might reach consumers who aren’t really interested in your services, both of which will end up costing much more for your ad clicks (remember with Google Ads, you pay for every click).
So how do you find the right keywords? Here are 3 easy steps to help you find the best keywords for your salon or spa:
1. Start by brainstorming a list of general topics related to your salon or spa. This would mostly be around the different key services that you offer (haircuts, haircolor, balayage, hair extensions, wedding hair, chemical straightening, manicure, pedicure, tanning, massage, etc...). You can also consider some of the key adjectives that people might use to describe your salon (modern, trendy, luxurious, family-friendly, eco-friendly, etc...)
2. Now put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about how they would use all of these words in a search. Make sure it is location and service specific. For example:
a. Family-friendly hair salon in (your city)
b. Luxury hair treatments in (your city)
c. Best wedding hair and makeup in (your city)
3. Google offers you a free tool to check the average monthly search volume for any keyword. The tool also can suggested related keywords to what you have entered to help you choose the best keywords for your salon. Check out Google Keyword Planner and play around!
Now that you’ve found the keywords that you want to use, how much should you expect to pay for your salon keywords?
Using broad, general keywords will cost more per click and you’ll be less targeted, which will result in lower conversion rates (less people who click will actually book an appointment). But you’ll have more visibility and get more clicks faster – more people will be using those search terms and seeing your ad.
Using specific keywords will have the opposite impact. It will be a slower approach because fewer people are searching for those keywords, but your salon ads will be much more cost effective because the people who click will be much more likely to book with you.
For a hair salon or spa, a typical cost per click might be around $1 to $3, but this can really depend based on how specific or broad the keyword is and how much competition there is for the same keyword.
We recommend that you aim to spend about $20 to $50 per day across 1 or 2 keywords. You can set maximum budget amounts and Google will stop your ad once you reach your limit. At that point you can measure your results and decide if you want to continue or if you think you should modify some elements of your ad.
We’ve spent a lot of time explaining the keywords because they are critical. But they are not the only important element of a successful Google Ad. Think about what happens when you click on the link in an ad – where does the link take you? What information is there? Is it what you were looking for? Does the information relate to the ad that you clicked on? Is it easy to find what you are looking for?
If you want to convert someone who clicks on your link into a paying customer, you need to make sure that the information they see when they click on the link is powerful. Too many salons simply send people to the homepage of their website. But if I’m looking for the ‘best wedding hair and makeup in (your city)’ and your link sends me to your website homepage, I am probably going to see many things that are not related to wedding hair and makeup. And that will frustrate me as a consumer. Consumers
want convenience. So the best thing you can do is to create a specific Landing Page that connects with your ad and gives the consumer everything they need to know in order to book, check out this article for tips to create great landing pages.
In short, having the right salon or spa keywords will help make sure you get the right person to click on your ad. Having a great landing page will help make sure that the person who clicked on your ad actually becomes a paying customer.
All that’s left for you to do is to get started! Figure out your objective, do your keyword research, create a powerful landing page, then open a Google Ads account to get started today! If you know you need to do this but feel that setting it all up and executing it is too daunting, feel free to reach out to us. We offer a service to manage and execute both Google and Facebook/Instagram ads for salons.