SEO for Contractors: What You Need to Know
SEO for contractors might sound like a fad or something too complex to learn, but SEO offers a great opportunity to win more business. As a business owner, it’s hard to keep up with the latest trends, much less what’s going on in the online world. Because the internet holds so many lead generation options for contractors, it’s important to take some time to explore these opportunities.
The Yellow Pages are shrinking, literally. Newspapers aren’t being bought as much as they used to be. And people are spending more and more time communicating on social media networks. It’s a changing world. That’s why your marketing game has to change with the times as well.
One of the biggest opportunities online is with SEO (search engine optimization). It means getting free traffic to your website anytime someone looks for the information you provide. When you need an electrician you go to Google and search for something like “local electrician.” The goal of SEO is to be the first result that comes back and getting the attention of that user to click over to your website. There’s so much to SEO, but this guide should give you a starting point to get there.
You’ll need a great website to get started
Before you can master SEO, you’ll need a website for the search engines to send you visitors. You can create your own website with a solution such as Squarespace or hire a web development firm to do all of the work for you. There are a lot of advantages to hiring someone else to manage the process for you. But with the improvements in DIY website services, this can be a great place to start.
Your website really needs to represent you well. The best way to accomplish this is to think of your website like a digital catalog or brochure. You want people to FEEL your story and KNOW that you are their best choice. Having a professional online image that shares your company’s story and efforts will always win in the end.
The first thing to do is understand Google’s mindset
Many website owners get frustrated with Google, but all Google wants is to provide the searcher with the best search results in the most natural manner possible. Usually an upset webmaster is mad because they tried to take a shortcut and fool Google in hopes of a higher ranking. It seems like everyone has the latest “trick” you can use to get a great ranking. But they’re usually a bad idea, and the results are short-lived. Google will always find out in the end.
So in order to win the battle against the search algorithms, just create a website, an online asset, that produces tremendous value to your target audience. Make sure that it answers the questions that they are looking to answer. And offer it the way they that they need the information. More than half of web searches are done on a mobile device, so make sure your website is ready for mobile users.
What it takes to get good Google rankings
To the point above, when it comes to SEO there are aren’t truly any shortcuts. You have to put in the work, but it does pay off in the long run. With the ability to easily target your specific audience and what they’re searching for, the result can be a strong source of traffic that is looking for your services.
When it comes to the things that will help you rank it boils down to quality content that’s regularly updated, links from trusted websites within the industry, relevance, and social interaction. For a more comprehensive overview of ranking factors, this SEO checklist from ClickMinded and this comprehensive list of Google’s Ranking Factors provided by Backlinko are must reads for getting to the next level of SEO mastery. To start, here are a few of the most important factors:
Answer your audience’s most frequently asked questions
Depending on your primary focus, you may be looking to attract homeowners, fellow contractors, designers, businesses, or real estate professionals. Whatever the case may be, there is one thing common among them all. They have questions they need answered by a true expert in your field.
One way you can quickly build credibility is by offering great information. This can be anything from equipping the DIYers with a pro’s outlook (and showing why it’s best left to a pro!) to showing the world that you really know your stuff on more complex issues. When it’s seen that you’re attacking the industry’s biggest concerns with rock-solid answers (through guides, blog posts, blog post series, and other types of resources), you’ll be noticed as a leading contractor. Trust will be a lot easier to come by.
Share the latest trends and technology while giving your perspective
You don’t want to be looked at as the contractor set in their ways. You want to be seen as an innovator. One that’s on top of the latest/best trends as well as one that isn’t scared to use the newest tools and tech to their advantage. This will truly set you apart from competing contractors who may not even have so much as a website.
Not only does this help you strengthen your brand image, it could lead to even more exposure within the search results. Google will not only trust you more than the websites that are just sitting there and gathering dust, but it will also help your news breaks reach those who are truly interested.
If you work with design, make your website visual
If you offer remodeling, painting, or specialty work, then you need to show off your work. For example, when someone calls in a painter to freshen things up, they want it to look good. That’s because painting is a visual aesthetic that not only makes things appear more pleasant, but it also helps enhance the energy within their environment.
With a properly designed website, you’ll have a section you can use as your portfolio. This could be as simple as showcasing pictures of your previous work or something as in-depth as each previous project having a page that covers all of the details.
Provide an online catalog of the possibilities
It’s not enough to just tell your prospective customers that you’re a contractor that can do the specific job they’re looking for. Give them the whole picture, because this can be a better way of upselling other solutions you provide.
If you install doors and windows, let them know. From how you handle the task to what makes you the best at it, let visitors learn as much as possible about you, and the work you do, from your website. This not only gets their thoughts rolling as to the other things that can be accomplished, but it allows you to increase your reach via search engines organically.
Make the user think of the work their dream home needs!
Win over your website visitors
You know the WOW factor that’s often discussed among entrepreneurs? This is where it can help you perform extremely well. When someone shows up to your website, you want them to think “WOW! This company is really on top of things,” while others seem to be lacking when compared.
From a clean design to easy navigation, every part of your website contributes to the overall success of an online marketing campaign for contractors. This is why many business owners might find it best to partner with an established internet marketing agency, as an agency knows all of the little things to look for and tweak.
Know what your audience is searching for – and be there for them
Because search engines only respond to users’ question, you’ll need to know what your audience is searching for. This can be done by using keyword research tools such as the ones available over at Moz (a suite of SEO tools used by the biggest marketing agencies). You can also use predictive search and Google Trends to accomplish this, but only to a certain extent. For example, if you go to Google and start typing “Remodeling” into the search box, Google will give you some ideas using it’s predictive search feature. But as you can see, this returns only a small list of big ideas related to remodeling. As a research method, this doesn’t tell you how many people are searching for this topic, which is important.
Once you have a good idea of what people are looking for that a contractor could help with, start mapping out a strategy of how to accomplish this. Is it a new services page that you need to add or is it an informative blog post you could put on the blog? Maybe it’s an entire blog post series. By being there for your customers when they’re searching, you’ll be top of mind if they choose to hire a professional now or in the future.
To get results, provide fresh content on a regular basis
Regular updates to your website signal to search engines that you are working to help their search users. This is actually why companies have embraced the art of blogging. It allows them to maintain a consistent presence while ranking their posts for terms the website may not have already hit on. In turn this leads to more people being reached and a higher amount of traffic to your website.
One big mistake people make is thinking that a ton of short blog posts will do the trick. Unfortunately, it won’t. You need to hold each page or blog post to high standards. Make sure to provide a good amount of detail in every piece of content. As far as how often you should post, sometimes a post a week will work or you might find that 2-3 times per week will produce or exceed the desired results.
Keep in mind that consistency is the key here. This proves to search engines that your information is relevant and isn’t outdated. One tactic commonly overlooked is to rework older pieces of content. by adding, removing, or modifying it to the point it still serves its original purpose while containing the most up-to-date information possible.
Optimize, optimize, optimize.
While working on up-to-date, relevant content, don’t overlook the technical side of SEO. Relevant page titles, informative descriptions, SEO friendly URLs, keyword tags, and links from related websites are the basics of SEO. If you need to brush up on any of these terms Moz offers a great guide to SEO basics.
What it takes to win at SEO is always changing, so you’ll want to stay up-to-date with the latest insights from experts. Here are a few of our favorite resources to stay current:
When you want the truth, sometimes you have to go straight to the source. In this case it’s Google, and they have their very own spot in the blogosphere. You’ll find new additions to Google as well as updates covered here.
HubSpot is one of the leading marketing companies around, and they continue to provide useful marketing information via their blog. Not to mention, they share a lot of SEO knowledge that isn’t always revealed by SEO experts.
Moz is the gold standard of SEO tools, and they don’t hold back when educating the industry on SEO. All kinds of guides and news flashes saturate their blog. If something really makes a stir in the world of SEO, there’s no doubt Moz was one of the first to feature it.
This is the ultimate source for the latest information pertaining to the world of search engine optimization. They offer everything from the basics to the most advanced tactics.
Yoast made a name for themselves with WordPress plugins that helped make SEO easier for bloggers. It’s no secret that teaching SEO would bring in the type of people they need to continue growing. And this led to them becoming one of the top SEO resources online.
SEO is a long-term traffic strategy for your website
There are other ways to advertise online, but when you want a source of traffic for months or years to come, SEO is the only way to go. From allowing you to rank for trending topics to ranking for service-related terms, the amount of exposure available is nearly endless.