Ideas That Work!
Online Listings And The Professional Investigator
By Ralph D. Thomas
Someone stated that they have never gotten a case out of being in an online
directory. The problem is, some investigators say they get a lot of business
off of certain listings, web sites and so forth while others say they
nothing. What is up? Advertising, either free or paid doesn’t bring
you any cases
at all. That is your job. All it will do is give you a certain amount
calls, which YOU then convert to case assignments. If no one is ever in
office to answer the phone and potential clients get an answering machine,
is a proven fact that the percentage of cases you get from these phone
drops drastically. More than that, if you never return those phone calls
do not return them in a timely manner, nope-you will not be getting any
assignments from them.
There are a lot of PI directories around. Some are free, some have a very
small yearly charge and some are rather high to get listed. You should
as many of them as you can for reasons other than just making the telephone
ring from the directory listing. Many of the search engines rank your
based on the number of web sites that link to you. Therefore, it stands
reason that the more links you have out there, the higher you will get
rated in the
Most investigators get good mileage out of being listed in the state and
national investigative associations directory. You can find a list of
In order to get listed in state
and national investigative association directories, you of course need
to join each association.
PI Search Engine
The PI Search
Engine is a new high traffic listing service where you can list your
private investigative agency service and web site. There is a section
for NAIS members, NAIS members who are certified, Bodyguard/executive
protection services, process servers and private investigators. There
is also a place to list private investigative associations, bail bondsman
and bail enforcement agents. Listings are free so take the one minute
it takes to post your listing. The PI
Search Engine is new but traffic is growing very quickly.
Free Web Page At
PIClassified.com For NAIS Members!
As a member of NAIS, you can create a free web page on piclassified.com,
is a high traffic web site ranked well for traffic (see details below!)
and a place you can use to draw traffic to your web site. PIClassified.com
lets you place your web page which you design quickly in your web browser
into different specializations. The search engine on PIClassified.com
works fast and lets users find your listing by location (city and state
or by just inserting a zip code). You can link your PIClassified.com
web page you create to your main web page or use it as a stand alone web
Mall High Traffic Site
The PI Mall is ranked
as one of the highest placed to link your web site or to store your complete
web site. It's the place NAIS has chosen to keep the complete NAIS web
site because traffic is so high here. Not only that, it's the place where
smart investigative agencies throughout the USA and the world choose to
purchase a link or park their web site because of the traffic and most
will tell you that they get business and case assignments because of it!
Between February 24th, 2005 and march 17th, 2005 The PI
Mall had 3,258,255 visitors. It's recently been completely redone.
Not only that, as an NAIS member, you obtain a discount for placing your
web page with The PIMall
or obtaining a link to your web site off their main locate a private investigator
It's important to note that ranking and ratings is important when you
consider placement of a directory listing. It's a matter of how much exposure
you obtain. Naturally, the higher a ranking, the more traffic the specific
service is going to obtain. Sites and web pages that are considered link
farms basically give no consideration these days to many search engines.
Link farms are defined on the Internet as:
of link farm on the Web:
• A recent term used to describe some link exchange programs.
These programs are nothing more than random links on a page and
really do not help one popularity. Can be considered spamming.
• a site created solely for search engine ranking purposes
that consists almost entirely of a long list of unrelated links.
These types of pages are penalized by almost all search engines.
• On the World Wide Web, a link farm is a large group of web
pages created that contain hyperlinks to one another or a specific
other page. Link farms are normally created by programs, rather
than by human beings.
There are a few ways to check a specific ranking of an individual web
site or directory. You can check the google ranking but this basically
only gives you info for the google search engine. Alexa offers a ranking
service that is fairly good. Here are some examples of ranking from Alexa:
Of Alex Rankings:
PI Mall/NAIS 48,445
Legal Directory 107,205
Directory-Spies Online 229,055
Virtual Gumshoe 370,068
Investigator Directory 1,321,839
PI Network 5,464,420
Note that the lower number, the higher the ranking. It would then stand
to reason that a service that had a ranking of say 10,000,000 is not going
to get nearly the traffic that a site had for say 150,000. However, the
results you might obtain from just using rankings may not always match
for various reasons. For example, Law Info is ranked 20,881 which is a
high ranking. However, the private investigator directory is just a small
part of their overall web site. Their main focus is a directory of law
firms and web sites. Therefore, the ranking for rating as a private investigator
directory might be lower on the list. However, since they have so many
law firm listings, it would stand to reason that the law firms in their
web site would tend to search for private investigators who are listed
Various types of online listings
in the net will be of benefit to private investigative agencies for several
reasons. First, many are designed to bring you case assignments from users
of investigative services, both consumer type cases and professionals.
Secondly, many online listings such as various types of investigative
associations will bring you case assignments from other investigative
agencies in the form of subcontract or case referral work. Investigators
who join certain types of associations tend to use the association membership
directories to find investigators in locations outside their own service
area to refer or assign cases to. Aside from all that, there is another
important benefit that many of these listing services will do for an investigative
agency that is often overlooked. Most of the major search engines base
your own web site ranking on how many other sites are linking to your
site so it stands to reason that the more direct links you have to your
own web site, the better ranking you will obtain.
The Internet has developed
over a period of a decade or more and can not be considered in it's fourth
generation. Both professionals and consumers have become accustomed to
using the Internet to find products and services that are looking for.
Many agencies who once relied on other forms of advertising to obtain
case assignments and clients are now reporting that the Internet is starting
to produce more assignments and clients that anything else. One example
of this is Bob Brown's
web site for his agency in Orlando Florida. Brown
and Associates has relied for many decades on yellow page advertising
to obtain domestic cases from private individuals.oday, Bob
Brown And Associates reports that the number of new case assignments
from his web site is now beating the number of new case assignments he
obtains from yellow page display ads.
Changing Your Contact
Info Can Kill Your Business
Many newer investigators do not seem to understand the benefits of what
can best be described as stability. It's a fact that it takes a long time
to build an investigative practice. A combination of word of mouth, cold
call marketing, networking with other investigators, direct mail, targeted
display space advertising, web site and internet advertising that can
all be integrated and combined into one overall marketing plan is what
is needed. However, when you move your office or address, change your
phone number and/or your email address, move your web site--this all impacts
your past marketing efforts drastically. The people that may have emailed
you or have your business card on file from three or four years ago will
never find you again when they are ready to give you a retainer if you
keep changing your location and contact information. Marketing in any
form tends to have what can be described as an overall accumulative effect.
It takes a long time for the energy of our marketing efforts to start
to work in your favor. It therefore stands to reason that if you keep
changing your vital contract information (mailing address, email, phone
number web site and so forth) you will never get to the point in which
you start reaping the benefits of accumulative marketing. Therefore, our
advise is to take what you have and hold on to it and use Internet marketing
to expand your marketing exposure.
I'm going to once again turn to Bob Brown
And Associates in Orlando Florida and Beltrante
And Associates in Alexandria Va. as two case in points. Both of these
agencies have been in business for well over twenty years. They both have
the same address, same telephone number, same email address and the same
vital contact information that they did last year, the year before that
and the year before that. Although Bob Brown moved his office a about
two years ago for unavoidablereasons, Mr. Brown was careful to keep the
same phone number he has had for over 30 years and the same email address
and web site location. Beltrante
and Associates is a rock of stability as they have been in the same
location with the same contact information for decades. Both of these
firms are reaping the benefits of decades of accumulative marketing efforts
and are two of the most successful private investigative agencies in the
Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc.
National Association Of Investigative Specialists, Inc.
Spy Exchange And Security Center Inc.
Utrak. Inc.-Online GPS tracking