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topic id 22503: Leads
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topic id 14288: Declined "Leads" charged
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Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hey there, I’m Scott! I’m a Product Manager at Thumbtack, and I work on the new search results system. Now that customers see results instantly when they search for a pro, it matters where you rank in those results.

I’m here to answer your questions about how ranking works. I also want to hear what ideas you have to improve search results!  

You may have participated in a Q&A in our online community already. This one will run a little differently. We heard that you were looking for faster, more live engagement from our team, so here’s how it will work this time:

  • Reply below with your question or idea by 6pm EST today, Wednesday December 12th.
  • Please limit to one question or idea in a single post to help me get back to as many pros as possible.
  • I’ll be online from 6:30 to 8:30pm EST, December 12th answering your posts, so look out for a response from me! If I’ve already answered the same question from another pro, you might see a member of the team link you back to one of my earlier responses.
  • Note that off-topic posts may be redirected to a more relevant thread.

I know where you rank is really important to your success with our new customer experience. That’s why I want to do all I can to help you understand how the system works and how you can do well in it. So tell me: what questions do you have about how search works? What questions do you have about our ranking algorithm? What ideas do you have to improve search ranking?

Thanks for participating!

21 accepted solutions

Accepted Solutions
Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @ks14, I'd love to help you understand the new ranking process for search results.

Ranking is based on an algorithm that takes into account many factors, but our goal is simple: we want customers to find the pros they need and we want pros to get hired. We try to place pros who will give the best customer experience at the top of the list.  

Our main consideration is: how great of a customer experience will you provide? And we think you can provide the best customer experience by focusing on these things:

  • Profile
  • Promote your profile
  • Pricing
  • Responsiveness
  • Reviews

When you promote your profile in search results, you tell us what jobs you want ahead of time. If a customer searches for a pro who can do one of those jobs, we know that you’ll likely provide a great customer experience, so we’ll give you a rank boost, 20% off, and you’ll pay automatically. Check here for more information on promoting your profile.

We’re still working to improve our ranking program to make search results work better for customers and pros. So, we appreciate your ideas on how to improve!

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @ZONACPA,

I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who think tax work is sexy Smiley Wink

It sounds like you're curious about what factors impact ranking, and whether price is one of them. The short answer is: it depends on what the customer is looking for. So we recommend paying attention to all factors that affect ranking, including your pricing. 

The biggest boost that’s easiest for you to control will come from promoting your profile.

We also strongly recommend that you update your profile - it’s easy and will help you stand out to customers. Add prices, import reviews, show your availability, and include additional information wherever you can.

It also helps if you can show your prices, but we know that not every pro can do this. That’s why it’s only one of several factors that determine your rank.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @TS2_Digital,

We want to make sure your profile is as relevant as possible for the customer, so we’ll try to use the content you provide as an input into ranking. Remember that this is one of many factors we use to determine where you rank in search results. Our algorithm is designed to help customers find pros who they want to hire, so focus on making your profile as appealing as possible to customers.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @jerry,

Thanks for writing in. It's awesome that you were a Top Pro in 2017. We want the new system to work for pros like you.

While we don’t give an explicit boost to Top Pros in search results, the factors that make you a Top Pro are the same things that affect your ranking.  For example, in order to become a Top Pro, you need to have a lot of reviews (at least 5 in the last 12 months), you need to have an average star rating of at least 4.8, and you need to respond quickly to new customer messages (within 24 hours, at least 75% of the time).  As I noted above, responding quickly and getting great reviews both affect ranking. So by becoming a Top Pro, you’re naturally doing what it takes to rank higher. That’s why Top Pros tend to rank higher in search results.

But being a Top Pro doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be at the top of the list either. Other pros might be promoting their profiles or have outstanding response rates-- factors you can’t see just by looking at their profile.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @eliascurtis,

Thanks for reaching out. @Meckell will be able to take a look at your profile to help figure out what you can do to rank higher.

For now, I'll say that your profile is the best way to get a customer to pick you out of the list of pros they see in search results. Think of it as your storefront where you can showcase who you are, your past work, and any information that might be helpful to customers.

A complete profile with lots of photos and information about pricing and availability will get you hired and reviewed more, which will in turn improve your ranking.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @Claudia,

It's super helpful to hear your feedback - thank you for sharing it here.

We only want to match you with jobs that you want and are a good fit for you. Set your job preferences, travel preferences, and availability, so we know exactly what jobs you want. Since we know these are jobs you want, we know you’ll likely provide a great customer experience, so we’ll give you a rank boost. If a job isn’t a perfect fit with the preferences you’ve set, we might still show you in search results if we think you might still be interested. But if a customer reaches out to you, we won’t ever charge you for those until you accept the lead.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @matthewstroia,

Glad to hear you're liking the new system! I'd be happy to shed some light on what goes into ranking.

We want customers to find the pros they need and we want pros to get hired. We use a few key factors to determine what type of customer experience you’ll deliver. The best ways for you to boost your rank are to:

  • Improve your profile: Customers want to know more about who they’re hiring and can take the next step toward hiring if you’ve completed your profile.
  • Promote your profile: When you promote your profile in search results, you tell us what jobs you want ahead of time. If a customer searches for a pro who can do one of those jobs, we know that you’ll likely provide a great customer experience, so we’ll give you a rank boost, 20% off, and you’ll pay automatically. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for providing a great customer experience.
  • Respond quickly: Customers want a quick response, but we know you have a day job too. So this is only one of many factors we consider.
  • List your prices: Customers want an idea of what they’ll pay before starting a conversation.
  • Get lots of great reviews: Customers trust pros who have been hired many times with great feedback.

There are a lot of factors that go into your rank, so don’t worry about every single response or review too much. We know that no one is perfect, so just focus on putting your best foot forward and keep up the top-notch work!

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @tfitzpatrick914,

Thanks for giving Promote a try! 

We know it can be hard to rank near the top when there are a lot of pros out there to compete with. The best thing you can do is promote your profile. But there are other ways to stand out too, like filling out a complete profile, providing pricing estimates, and getting lots of great reviews. Check out my recent post here to learn more about how to improve your ranking.

I get that this is about more than just your ranking. We’ve heard from some of you that you preferred when customers were only shown a handful of pros. But that wasn’t working for customers. Customers want to see lots of options and are more likely to hire a pro when we give the customer enough options to choose from. And that’s what we want-- for more customers to find the pros they need and for more pros to get hired.

Chris, our product manager who worked on building the new search results system, is trying to address this concern. Check out his response from the Search Results Q&A here for more information on how to stand out if you’re not ranking near the top of the list.

 

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @Jsbstewart123,

This is a tough one. Posting prices helps attract customers whose budgets match your prices, and posting prices does improve your ranking, so we encourage you to add it to your profile whenever possible.

But I get that there is a lot of variation between jobs and so not everyone is able to list prices. Here are some alternatives:

  • If possible, include a starting price to help customers gauge the minimum they might be spending with you
  • If you can’t include any pricing at all, include a note on your profile about why your prices aren’t available. Once a customer reaches out, try to respond quickly with a personalized message and explain what you’d like to know about their project to provide an accurate quote.

Remember that customers like to have a sense of price before talking to a pro, so if other pros are listing prices and you aren’t, you may not be getting as many leads as you’re used to.

Including your prices upfront also means you’re less likely to get customers who are “kicking the tires” just to get a sense of pricing.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @brandson80,

I know it’s frustrating when you’re not appearing at the top of search results. Especially if you’re not getting hired anymore.

There are a few reasons you might be showing up lower in search results than you expected:

  • You’re not promoting your profile
  • You haven’t listed prices
  • Your profile is incomplete
  • You weren’t responding to previous leads as quickly
  • You don’t have many reviews

Check Thumbtack Help for more information on what factors into rank in search results. Our previous Q&A on the new search results experience also addressed similar concerns about not getting hired here. Take a look to see what another product manager, Chris, suggests to get hired more.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @bonnie_bill,

Thanks for keeping an eye on our updates. We want our system to work for Top Pros like you.

We know pricing is top of mind for lots of pros. We’re constantly evaluating and adjusting our prices to make them more fair. In come cases, we’ve realized prices were too high, so we adjusted those. And we appreciate all the feedback we’ve received from pros who’ve called out specific prices that don’t make sense.

That’s why we hosted a Pricing Q&A in the community a few weeks ago. We got a lot of great questions and feedback. Our product manager for what you’re charged on Thumbtack, Vinamrata, is working to address a lot of your concerns. Take a look at the thread and her responses to see what we’re working on to improve pricing.

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Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @secretsimple,

I hear you, there’s been a lot of change lately and change is hard. But here’s why we made it. Before, customers would come to Thumbtack searching for a pro and would often have to wait hours — even days — to hear back from a pro. Sometimes customers didn’t even make it through the request form. In fact, 80% of customers wouldn’t even get to the point of meeting any pros. Those were jobs that could’ve been yours.

The reality is, customers want more options when looking for the right pro and they want them instantly. That’s why we’re showing you in search results, so you can get in front of more customers and ultimately get hired more. And that’s why we’ve transitioned to this new system  because we’re seeing that it works better for customers and pros alike.

That said, while the new system is working overall, we recognize that it’s not yet working for all pros all the time. We’re going to do absolutely everything we can to make you successful in the new system. We know it can work, and we want it to work for everyone.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @jpomeranz,

Thanks for writing in. I'd encourage you to check out Insights. It has information about views, leads, and spend.

I know it’s frustrating to pay for leads who don’t end up hiring you. And we’ve heard a lot of complaints lately about quick-replies. We’re working hard to address this, as well as make sure you’re only paying for the value you’re getting when you get a new lead.

I think Chris did a great job addressing this point in his Q&A on search results, so take a look at his response here. He walks through how the customer approaches getting their job done, and how quick replies can be helpful for them.

We know it’s not perfect yet, but I hope you stick with us as we improve!

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @Jdrdrains,

I’d love to understand more about why you don’t want to promote your profile. When you promote your profile in search results, you tell us what jobs you want ahead of time. If a customer searches for a pro for a certain type of job and it’s a job you’ve indicated you want, we know that you’ll likely provide a great customer experience. So we’ll give you a rank boost, 20% off, and you’ll pay automatically. You’re not paying to promote your profile-- you’re just paying for the leads you want.

We’re trying to balance getting you in front of more opportunities with making sure you have control over what leads you pay for. We’re still trying to improve how we do this, so we welcome any feedback on how we can do this better.

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Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @Pete_Stephens,

Thanks for writing in and for being a pro on Thumbtack.

Our goal at Thumbtack is to only connect you with the jobs you can actually do, which is why we want to know exactly what you can do, when you’re available, and where you’re willing to travel.

We aim to send you leads that meet these preferences.

However, we’ll sometimes send you leads outside your preferences if we think you might be interested in the customer -- even though they’re not a perfect match with your preferences. But we’ll never charge you for these until you accept the lead. Unless you accept, you won’t pay.

So just make sure your preferences are up-to-date by going, and you’ll be all set. You can learn more about how to do that here.

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Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @Withinteriors,

I'm sorry to hear you've been having a tough time getting hired in the new system.

If you were used to our old system, I get that you might feel like you can’t make a good first impression now that you’re listed in search results. I recommend putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and thinking about what would make the best first impression on you. It likely involves seeing a complete profile, lots of great reviews, and pricing estimates.

Check out our previous Q&A where the product manager who helped build the search results experience tried to address a lot of pro concerns around making a good first impression. Here’s his response.

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Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @faithglamhouse1,

We’re thrilled to hear that you’re liking the new system! Our goal for the new search results experience is to make it easier for more customers to find great pros like you. And we want to see you succeed and get hired. Your feedback is critical in helping us constantly improve, so please keep it coming!

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Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @RevDHirsch,

Thanks for writing in. I'd encourage you to give Promote a try. You can learn more about how Promote works here.

Also, because ranking is an algorithm, it may be not be obvious why another pro is appearing higher than you, even if you have more reviews, hires, etc. There are a few factors you can’t see just from looking at other pros in the list.

That pro might be promoting their service, or they may have exceptional responsiveness, which means they might also be a great fit for the job you want.

That’s why it’s important to do all you can to improve your rank. You can’t change the competition, but you can make your profile stand out, and you can offer a great customer experience.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @DJcheapo,

Great question. We rank pros higher if we believe they'll offer customers a great customer experience. Sometimes customers want new pros, and other times they're looking for pros with more experience.

Experienced and Top Pros might have lots of past hires and great reviews, and it can be hard to compete if you’re new. Promoting a service is typically the best way for new pros to get a leg up. When they promote their profile, they appear higher in search results.

Also, for the new pros out there: be sure to solicit reviews from past clients, to improve your profile, and to respond quickly to the leads you do receive. Finally, check your Jobs tab regularly for additional projects. These are leads who may not have picked you, but we think you still might be a good fit for the job.

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Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @artandsign67,

Thanks for giving Promote a try. I'd like to highlight that the leads that you're receiving are from customers who have picked you and so are excited about working with you. In the past, you might have seen more requests from customers who didn't have you in mind in particular.

Our ranking algorithm considers many factors, so it’s tough to say exactly how much of a boost you’ll get from promoting a service. We also are continually improving the algorithm, so the importance of different factors will change over time.

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi @ChefViaMelissa,

I’m sorry to hear you’re not getting hired as much as you want. I have a few recommendations. But before we get to those, I think it’s important to give some context on why we changed the way Thumbtack works. Before, customers came to Thumbtack searching for pros and would have to wait to hear back from a pro. Sometimes customers didn’t even make it through the initial request form. In fact, 80% of customers wouldn’t even get to the point of meeting any pros. Those were jobs that could’ve been yours.

The reality is, customers want more options when looking for the right pro and they want them instantly. That’s why we’re showing you in search results, so you can get in front of more customers and ultimately get hired more. And that’s why where you rank in search results is important.

So here’s what you can do to improve your chances of ranking higher, so you can get in front of more customers and ultimately get hired more:

  • Improve your profile. Look at it from the customer’s perspective - what photos and information can you add to make your business stand out from the crowd?
  • Promote your profile. When you promote your profile in search results, you tell us what jobs you want ahead of time. If a customer searches for a pro for a certain type of job and it’s a job you’ve indicated you want, we know that you’ll likely provide a great customer experience. So we’ll give you a rank boost, 20% off, and you’ll pay automatically.
  • List your prices. Customers often want to know what they’re getting into before they reach out, so giving customers a sense of what you’ll charge is a great way to engage them.
  • Get lots of great reviews. Remember those customers you previously worked with who said they loved working with you? Ask them for reviews so new customers know how great you are.
  • Respond quickly. When you do get a lead, be sure to respond quickly. Customers like it when pros are responsive since it shows the level of service you’ll provide.

If you’re still not getting enough customers contacting you from search results, check out your Jobs tab. The jobs listed here are from customers who’ve already contacted another pro, but customers like having options! You might be a better fit than the pros they’ve already contacted. If you are interested, let the customer know why you’re a good match. You’ll only pay if the customer reaches out to you.

521 responses
eliascurtis
Level 6

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Hi Scott, not sure how the search ranking system works exactly, but sometimes we are ranked number 10 under new pros starting out. Is that something still being worked on? We have a full profile with reviews, hires and a portfolio. Not sure if thats a factor in ranking, but it doesnt look that way at the moment. Can you check for us? Thank you.

http://www.thumbtack.com/biz/transformed-design-inc

 

jerry
Level 5

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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Whatever has been going on in the last month is no improvement. As a Top Pro, getting 75% of my business from TT in 2017, I have gotten zero clients (ZERO) in 2018, but managed to spend more $ in TT fees because of the changes. As of the last month, I have received zero contacts, well one who was a flake for which I was charged. The old system worked. 

Marina
Level 2

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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I agree 100%

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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This “new” improvement is ridiculous I’m a top pro in the area for insulation last week I received 80 views 12 leads and 0 contacts !!! I’m sure a lot of the pros won’t stick around for a wail
Partyhelpers
Level 4

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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I agree!!!
ks14
Level 1

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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I have found the same issues, I was getting 2-3 calls per month - nothing now.  I still don't really understand the ranking process. 

Thumbtack Employee scottz
Thumbtack Employee

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

Solved! Jump to solution

Hi @ks14, I'd love to help you understand the new ranking process for search results.

Ranking is based on an algorithm that takes into account many factors, but our goal is simple: we want customers to find the pros they need and we want pros to get hired. We try to place pros who will give the best customer experience at the top of the list.  

Our main consideration is: how great of a customer experience will you provide? And we think you can provide the best customer experience by focusing on these things:

  • Profile
  • Promote your profile
  • Pricing
  • Responsiveness
  • Reviews

When you promote your profile in search results, you tell us what jobs you want ahead of time. If a customer searches for a pro who can do one of those jobs, we know that you’ll likely provide a great customer experience, so we’ll give you a rank boost, 20% off, and you’ll pay automatically. Check here for more information on promoting your profile.

We’re still working to improve our ranking program to make search results work better for customers and pros. So, we appreciate your ideas on how to improve!

Re: Let’s talk about how you rank in search results

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That is not at all what I said. The ranking system is rediculous and cuts out real professionals hence I havent gotten a single job since you started it. You have automatically eliminated all real professionals.