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US pest control company reduces paid search costs by 10x and ranks #3 on average for 50+ target keywords

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“Semrush has helped us improve our domain authority, create and analyze marketing strategies, and better contend with competitors.”
Allison McLain, Marketing Associate at Pointe Pest Control

Home services like pest control are often difficult to market in paid search. With CPC as high as $25 in major metro areas, customer acquisition costs quickly eat up the profit. 

In mid-2023, Pointe Pest Control, a company servicing the greater St. Louis area and the PNW states, found itself relying too much on PPC and struggling to bring in high-quality leads at a reasonable cost. 

The Pointe team decided to tackle the challenge in two ways:

  1. Improve paid search ROI
  2. Jumpstart organic search rankings and, ultimately, leads

Just 5 months later, they reported success: 

  • The average cost per lead in paid search went from  $104.65 to $10.
  • The average ranking position reached #3 for over 50 target keywords.
  • The company receives about 100 more leads a week on average in the St. Louis area.
Pointe’s target keywords in the Semrush Position Tracking tool

Read on to learn how they did it.

Solution: higher domain authority and niche keyword research

1. Increasing domain authority

Succeeding in paid and organic search often comes down to targeting the right keywords and showing Google your domain has the most authority and expertise in the subject.  

To assess their domain authority, the Pointe team ran a quick analysis using Semrush’s Domain Overview tool. Its authority metric accounts for the number and quality of backlinks, organic search traffic, etc. The tool showed a domain authority of 10 (on a scale of 1 to 100). This left Pointe Pest Control behind many competitors in Google’s algorithm. 

The team knew that after a recent rebranding, their site lacked backlinks from authoritative sources. This was confirmed by the Semrush Backlink Analytics tool.

Pointe’s 2023 backlink growth trend shown in Semrush Backlink Analytics

For a quick win, the team manually listed their business in local maps and directories. 

To save time on listings set up and upkeep, you use the Semrush Listing Management tool, which keeps your business’s online listings up-to-date, complete, and consistent across 70+ major business directories and maps: 

Within 30 minutes, you can be listed in dozens of top directories in the United States:

Example of submitted listings in the Semrush Listing Management tool

The listings not only expanded the company’s visibility for thousands of directory users but also instantly added dozens of high-quality backlinks to their site.

Next, the Pointe team used Semrush’s Organic research tool to determine their competitors and see which websites linked to them using the Backlink Gap tool. They simply:

  1. Entered their site and competitors’ domains into the tool
  2. Filtered the results by authority score and found local sites for guest posting:

These two steps were the key to increasing Pointe’s domain score. In just 3 months, their authority score rose to 16 which has allowed them to rank higher on maps and outperform competitors in organic and paid search.

Pointe’s goal is to increase their domain rating to 20 by summer 2024. For pest control, summer is the busy season and increasing organic presence will help improve both the quality and quantity of leads.

2. Finding niche keywords to target

Targeting generic keywords like “pest control Seattle” may be the most obvious and tempting way to go, but it usually means wasting ad money and losing organic positions to stronger competitors. 

Pointe started exploring alternative keywords to target: popular (around 1500 monthly search volume) but more niche. To do this, they entered various keywords (types of services they offered) into the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool and checked their:

  • Monthly search volume
  • Search intent (aiming at commercial and transactional keywords for product pages and informational for blog articles)
  • Keyword difficulty
  • CPC

Once they find a good keyword to target, they dig deeper into it using the Semrush Keyword Overview. The tool shows the most popular questions around the term, providing ideas for blog posts and FAQ content:

Answering these questions on the website, Pointe drives the researching audience to its website and reinforces its position as a topic expert in the eyes of Google.

When implementing the newly found keywords, the team took into account the region-specific nature of their business. For example, they knew that rodents or termites are a common problem in Oregon, while in St. Louis, there are many brown recluses. 

3. Maintaining site health

Finally, Pointe the rule of thumb when it comes to site health. The team uses Semrush Site Audit to ensure their site is well indexed and meets Google’s Core Web Vital standards. The tool not only shows issues but also has the “Why and How to Fix it?” feature. This helps Pointe figure out any issues with their site and fix them. 

These monthly audits help ensure nothing’s in the way of the site’s rankings. 


Just 5 months after the start of the campaign, Pointe Pest control: 

  • Reduced the average cost per lead in paid search from $104.65 to $10
  • Ranked #3 on average for over 50 target keywords
  • Received around 100 more leads a week on average in the St. Louis area

Key Takeaways:

  • Use a tool like Domain Overview to compare important KPI’s with the direct competition. It can be a great way to set goals. For instance, if they have 3,000 backlinks, then one’s company can make it a goal to also get 3,000 backlinks within a year. 
  • Create and maintain directory listings as a quick boost to your domain authority and backlink profile. Automate this process with a tool like Semrush Listing Management.
  • Use your competitors’ backlink profiles as a good starting point for link building. Reach out to domains that link to them for a higher chance of being featured. Semrush backlink tools will reveal this information with a click.
  • Target niche keywords in your industry to outperform bigger competitors in paid and organic search. Use Semrush keyword research tools to find the best combination of search volume, difficulty, and CPC.
  • Maintain good site health to have a better chance for high rankings. Use Semrush Site Audit to get a list of errors and tips for fixing them.
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