PPC Tips For Land Clearing & Tree Removal Contractors – Google & Bing Ads

You don’t need to be building million dollar homes or installing expensive HVAC systems for PPC to be an important part of your marketing strategy. We’ve worked with several small businesses and contractors in the land clearing and tree removal industry, a specific niche that is a great fit for our management style here at PPC Assist.

ppc for stump removal companies

While the keywords seem pretty straight-forward at first, there is important nuance based on the kind of services that your company provides. For example, brush and land clearing companies may just take care of smaller growth and lack the equipment for serious tree removal. Similarly, some companies may take down large trees, but someone else may be needed for the stump removal.

Due to the specialties of different contractors and specialists in this niche, we have specific negative keyword lists that can be applied based on the services you do (and don’t provide). Applying these can give you an instant bump in lead quality, click quality, and overall performance.

PPC Assist Scorecard

The overall score for Tree/Stump Removal Companies & Land Clearing Companies comes in at an 8.6/10, which makes it a very strong fit for PPC Assist.

  • Fast Decision Process: This industry loses a few marks because the decision to engage in these services isn’t exactly an emergency, so there is little urgency behind the decision making process. However, it isn’t a complicated and long decision either, so it still scores quite high.
  • Measurable conversions: Like many home services companies, leads are generally going to be phone calls and form submissions.
  • Niche Negatives: There are a lot of important negative keyword considerations here, from avoiding DIY and informational searches to focusing on the specific services that you offer.
  • Low Seasonality: The score would be higher in temperate climates with less seasonality, but overall this will lose a few points as they generally aren’t cold-weather jobs.
  • Keyword Consistency: Keywords are extremely consistent here – this industry isn’t influenced by trends and doesn’t experience frequent innovation risks.

Industry Insights

The biggest challenges in this industry is avoiding DIY and informational searches.

For land clearing companies, we employ extensive negatives to avoid people searching for things like brush collection and pickup, which are generally periodically scheduled by the city or other municipality. Those aren’t keywords you want to pay for. As Google expands basic targeting, it’s important to have negatives for searches like that, as well as others (e.g. “where to bring brush”), to reduce wasted spend.

For tree and stump removal, there is generally less risk when it comes to search term targets. Very few people have much interest in cutting down their own oaks or renting the equipment and training to become a stump removal expert. That’s a good thing when it comes to paid search, so keyword quality tends to be high. Situations like that are great for on-demand services like ours.

Approximate CPCs

While heavily dependent on the strategy, competition, and targeting area, it’s common to see CPCs in the $3-$8 range for land clearing companies.

Tree and stump removal can be a little bit higher, in the $5-$15 range.

10 PPC Tips for Land Clearing & Tree Removal Companies

If you’re running campaigns in this industry, we have a few tips to make sure you aren’t wasting money on your campaigns. Here are 10 tips to help you maximize the use of your budget:

1. Extensive Negative Keyword Lists

The importance of extensive negative keyword lists has moved way up the list of importance over the past few years. As Google and Bing have gotten more and more liberal with their keyword matching definitions, unintended targeting of certain keywords has become rampant. The only real way to combat that at the moment is with extensive negative keyword lists.

At PPC Assist, our negative keyword lists are immediately applied to current campaigns. This often results in immediate savings that more than cover our costs. As discussed above, this is bigger for land clearing keywords than it is for tree and stump removal (which tend to be much more straightforward). That said, it’s still important to apply lists for these industries to prevent expensive clicks going towards DIY and informational searches.

Negative keyword lists should include competitors (if desired), states/cities/countries you don’t operate in, (too) high-funnel informational searches, keywords ancillary to but not targeting your services, words that would disqualify someone, cheap/free, pdfs and other documents, and the list goes on.

Particular to this industry, it’s also important to get rid of people who are searching for brush pick-up dates and services provided by local municipalities. These are low-quality searches made by people not looking to spend money on professional services.

2. Don’t Stress About Match Types

Don’t stress about match types because they don’t matter that much anymore. Exact doesn’t mean exact, phrase doesn’t mean phrase, so agonizing over match type structures is just a guessing game of what keywords you’ll actually qualify for. Rather than worry about that, embrace the AI-focused bidding and give Google and Bing the opportunity to drive cost-effective results for you.

Broad match is feasible as long as negative keyword lists are comprehensive. With extensive and useful negative keyword lists, you can loosen your grip on match types and allow for more targeting freedom, knowing that you’re restricting the AI from spreading too much given your extensive exclusions.

For new accounts, we still recommend starting with exact and phrase keywords. As an account matures and the negative keyword list lengthens, you can introduce or switch to broad targeting to expand your reach without introducing lots of poor quality.

3. Mobile Optimization

The majority of your traffic is going to be from mobile devices. That trend has been evolving for years, but especially for home services companies, having an effective mobile experience is paramount to success.

We recommend using a mobile-first design (focusing on mobile users first), or at least analyzing how your website appears on mobile devices and making adjustments to improve usability. It should be very easy for users to scroll through the mobile website, quickly understand all the content, and fill out conversion forms quickly.

4. Conversion-Focused Landing Pages

Maximizing conversion rates are integral to being successful in paid search. We see a lot of companies driving expensive traffic to outdated websites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices (which may receive most of your traffic) or don’t have simple, effective call to actions.

Increasing conversion rates from 6% vs 10% (or 25%) when the stakes are this high is invaluable.

Land clearing, tree removal, and stump removal are easy to understand concepts. They don’t require a ton of user education, so an overly complicated landing page can hinder conversion rates. If you want to educate users about what services you can and can’t provide, pricing per acre measures, and other details you can, but they are best pushed below the fold so the focus can be on conversions.

So, if you’re running a business in this industry, make sure you’re featuring forms that are short and easy to fill out, as well as a clear phone number on the website (especially for mobile).

5. Conversion Tracking

At PPC Assist, our management philosophy relies heavily on effective conversion tracking to operate successfully. Utilizing “big data” AI-driven ideas relies on the algorithm being able to differentiate between a good click and a bad one.

Tracking contacts is vital, which for land/brush clearing and tree/stump removal typically means click-to-calls, calls from ads, contact form fills, and landing page form fills. During onboarding, we’ll make sure all of these are set up and tracked via Google Tag Manager.

For most companies in this industry, tracking leads is enough. However, if you’re investing a lot into paid media (say, $5k+/month), you could take it a step further and feed lead quality data back into your acquisition sources. You could use lead scoring, differentiating between Leads vs. MQLs vs. SQLs, or even assigning a dollar value to leads. Once you have enough data, you can optimize for qualified leads rather than just contacts.

Optimizing for qualified leads rather than simple contacts or form fills helps campaigns optimize for the right users, which gives you an advantage over advertisers who are optimizing for any contact. But it’s quite a bit more work, so most companies in the industry avoid this level of complexity.

6. Comprehensive Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions allow for a little creativity (mainly with Callouts), but the main theory here is to take up as much real estate on the SERP as Google will allow. Forgetting to use these just ends up with smaller, less compelling ads with lower quality scores, decreasing CTRs and increasing CPCs. Not good.

land clearing extensions

Location Extensions – Your GMB listing is important, and it should be integrated into your account as an extension. Map listings can be powerful, so make sure this is optimized and added to your account.

Call Extensions – Skip the website if you can! Get users to call you immediately, but make sure to schedule these only for times someone can answer the phone.

Callout Extensions – These allow for some creativity and allow you to differentiate from competitors a bit. If you can be specific with callouts on the campaign or ad group level, do it. In other words, talk specifically about land clearing in that campaign/ad group and have some separate extensions for the tree/stump removal sets.

Sitelink Extensions – The more content you have on your website, the more options you’ll have here. This allows you to be specific with Sitelink Extensions, using not just service pages and contact pages, but also relevant resources, subservices, or even testimonial pages.

Structured Snippets – Home services companies will typically use these to display the different services that they provide using the “Service Catalog” snippet. Here, you can just list Land Clearing, Brush Hogging, Mulch, Tree Removal, Stump Removal, Gravel Driveways, etc – any kind of service your company performs. Just use as many of them as you can, and make them as relevant as possible. You need 3 extensions to run these, but if you only have 3 services, that’s perfectly fine.

Image Extensions – Pictures draw attention to the ad and should be used in all cases. Keep in mind these appear quite small on search pages, so nothing too complicated.

Video Extensions – While these don’t get much attention for search campaigns, it doesn’t hurt to add them if you have some effective videos uploaded to YouTube. Who knows how Google will promote these in the future. As video continues to grow, utilizing your video assets will be important in getting the attention of your target audience.

For all extensions, it’s important to be as targeted as possible with them. That often means ad group or campaign level extensions (depending on your structure) rather than account-level extensions. The more you can speak directly to the needs of the user and differentiate yourself from the general contractor ads on the SERPs, the more likely you’ll get those clicks and conversions.

7. Location Targeting

Don’t make this mistake! Google and Bing seem to have a very loose idea of “interested in” when it comes to geographic locations. Sometimes it seems that if I show interest in thin crust pizza, Google will decide I’ve shown interest in NYC and show me ads there.

The “Presence or interest”, at a minimum, sets a very generous radius around your location. However, we’ve seen accounts with a lot of international traffic that use this setting, which as a local service provider you really don’t want.

If you want to use the “Presence or interest” setting to be more liberal with your targeting, you can. In these cases, we recommend using negative location exclusions aggressively for these campaigns (which you should be doing anyways). For example, if your company is located in Chicago, consider adding negatives for surrounding states, which would effectively just extend your reach to more rural Illinois to people who might be willing to travel to Chicago.

But again, for land clearing and tree removal companies, we really recommend using the Presence targeting.

You can (and should) also use negative keywords to exclude people searching for services “in” a different city.

8. Retargeting

Since these types of home services aren’t based on an immediate and urgent issue, like being locked out of your house or a broken heater, retargeting can be an effective tactic. Effectiveness of retargeting advertising largely depends on the length of the decision making process for potential clients, so make sure to set your audience lengths (advertise to users visiting the website in the past X days) accordingly.

We typically recommend retargeting for all land clearing and tree removal companies with enough traffic to qualify for lists (100 user minimum). Making a visual impact and continuing to influence users during the decision making process are a great reason for remarketing.

Retargeting can also be done through several mediums. Rather than just retarget on the platform you’re advertising on, you can expand reach to social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram in particular), or other Display and Video ad networks (Bing, YouTube, Google).

9. Time Restrictions

If you’re operating on a limited budget, it’s best to restrict ad times to when you can answer the phone or respond to chats. The larger your phone number CTA on the website, the more this is true. If most of your leads are coming through your form, there’s less urgency to do this.

Of course, if a lot of advertisers are ignoring late night traffic, sometimes it can be had very cheap. So instead of eliminating bidding, consider using bid adjustments to allow for inexpensive volume if it’s available (they can always leave a message or fill out a form).

10. Test Bidding Strategies

Quite frankly, the “maximize conversions/clicks” bidding models that Google recommends these days get pretty scary when multiple companies are all vying for the same leads. The more competitive your geographic area, the more prone prices are to spiking. There isn’t much keeping CPCs from spiraling upward. For that reason, it can be a good idea to maintain a bit more control on bidding and test alternative (capped) bidding strategies.

Even the “maximize” bidding models allow for targeting CPAs or restricting clicks from going over a certain amount. If click costs are getting out of control, setting a limit here to see if clicks can continue without restricting performance may be a worthwhile test.

You could also consider going a bit more old-school with Manual CPC for a bit to test the elasticity of the bidding market. If there are only 1-3 aggressive bidders in the market, taking bids down could have a significant, positive impact on CPCs and results. If it’s a competitive market, however, it’s likely others will just fill in the space and you’ll lose all your exposure. That’s why it’s something to test, not to set and forget.


The home services industry is competitive, so land clearing and tree/stump removal companies will likely face steep local competition and relatively high CPCs. As PPC evolves, it’s important to evolve with it. At PPC Assist, that’s exactly what we’re helping home service companies do.

Many agencies charge a high percentage of spend for PPC management, which just doesn’t make a lot of sense when CPCs are high and budgets are low. Even worse are companies charging $300+ management fees on monthly budgets of less than $1k. With the increased effectiveness of AI-optimized tools and bidding, it makes more and more sense for home services companies to use a model like this rather than active management.

Regardless of what ongoing costs your company pays for management of your Google Ads account, an effective setup is absolutely crucial in all cases for the success of the effort. The tips above focus on putting you in a good place, structuring the account well and reducing wasteful spend as your account runs. There are certainly benefits for ongoing help (including seasonality adjustments), but for companies in this industry our on-demand model makes a lot more sense than a high retainer fee.

If you’re interested in learning more about PPC Assist, check out our PPC for Land Clearing or PPC for Tree Removal pages, or view our pricing to see how much you can save on management. You can also request a free review of your account!

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