Whether you’re a family owned plumbing business that has neglected its online presence, or a local roofing company that’s trying to break into a specific metro market, Local SEO can seem like a gauntlet for business owners trying to get their website to rank highly on search engines.
Whether your competition has a top-notch external marketing team or are successfully managing their online presence internally, when it comes to navigating the complex world of SEO you could easily find your business buried in the competition.
Contractors have unique concerns when it comes to SEO – location is one of the primary factors in gaining new business. While you may do better work or offer more value than your competitors, proximity to the job is a consideration for many when hiring a contractor. We’ll tackle a few must-dos and don’ts when it comes to building a solid foundation for getting your website to rank above the competition.
A major contributor for clients finding their next contractor is online business listings. The king of them all is Google! Google itself provides a thorough outline for best practices for listing your business with them: Guidelines for representing your business on Google. The things specified in the guideline are there to help ensure that those looking for the highest rated, or nearest contractor are able to do so easily. Remember, Google is in the business of returning helpful search results and they will value you if you can help them do that!
One of the most helpful things in a business listing is to make sure your business name isn’t vague or misleading; don’t call yourself “The Power Company” if you’re starting out as an electrician as this could lead to confusion when people search for you online.
It’s also important to ensure that you do not create multiple or duplicate listing for your business. Some people think they can game the system by having multiple listings for their business, but multiple listings confuses Google – if it is difficult for the search engine to figure out what is real and to determine the correct information for your business they do not see this as a quality result, so they will not return your listing when people run a search. This free tool will help you determine whether your business is already listed and where. If you see a listing that claims to be your business, taking ownership or deleting that listing can be a bit complex and nuanced.
All said, your Google My Business listing provides a solid base for your online presence and there is really no reason to not create a listing for your business. There are of course other avenues that will help grow your visibility even more. Read on!
You’ve heard it time and time again – content is king – and there’s a good reason for it. Your website’s content gives search engine algorithms the basic figures to determine the results of their SEO formula. Geo targeting keywords are a contractor’s best friend, as they allow for your services to show for searches in your area. Let’s say you’re a roofer in the Denver area, by pairing Denver with highly searched for keywords (i.e. Denver roofing company), or some of the more obscure one’s in a highly competitive market, can add value to your content and improve your ranking.
Solid keyword research will be your basis for building a good content strategy for your website. This free keyword tool from WordStream is a great way to familiarize yourself with SEO vocabulary: the most important being:
- CPC: Cost-Per-Click for paid ad services such as Google AdWords, Facebook ads or Adroll
- Volume: number of times users have searched that particular keyword in a given time
- Competition/Diversity: which is the relative amount of competition for that particular keyword
Keeping your content fresh is essential; updating images regularly and including a blog on your site that updates at least once a month is a great step to ensuring SEO friendliness. Using the keywords from your research, carefully curate meaningful content to post on your website in the form of a blog or article. Contractors can offer helpful advice, tips and education for the public to stay informed on the services offered. Remember, Google wants to return high-quality, super-useful content to searchers and content creation is your opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Another general rule of thumb: do not engage in keyword stuffing! Keyword stuffing actually hurts your potential to rank in the long-term because Google will recognize the fluff and they are looking for substance. Keywords are critical to include in your content, but they must be incorporated in a way that makes sense naturally and flows with the content overall – try to include one or two high value keywords in each article you post.
Statistics don’t lie! 91% of consumers will read online reviews and nearly 82% will visit a review site if they plan on soliciting a service. But reviews aren’t only important to attracting potential new clients: Google actually pays particular attention to your online reviews when determining where to place you in search results.
The important of reviews doesn’t stop at gaining a high star-rating, the volume of reviews is important as well. Having too few reviews, particularly in comparison to your competition, can be detrimental. Reviews garnered can be considered testimonials to your work, if the general consensus is that your work is middle-ground or average, you could find yourself losing business to a competitor that places emphasis on reputation management.
A good rule of thumb is to become consistent when requesting reviews from clients after a successful job. You can send emails to clients, or print business cards to be handed out at the completion of your project. Any legitimate review should be posted at any time, but if Google sees an onslaught of reviews all at one time that raises a red flag and is considered suspicious by review platforms.
When crafting your Local SEO strategy, it’s important to have a diverse set of tools to help you monitor and improve your efforts because search engines are constantly adding on to and changing their methods for how they rank results.
The Google My Business Community forum connects business owners with each other as they navigate the complex world of online listings and is a great place to start when you have a digital problem you need help solving. The forum is also a resource stay up to date on things like new Google algorithm updates that could affect your SEO efforts.
Another Google tool, Google Search Console is absolutely imperative to have in an SEO master’s arsenal. Search Console contains the necessary tools and resources to help you submit new content to Google, monitor your search rankings, search traffic, technical status updates and much more.
Another great tool to help you stay on top of your online presence are programs that help you monitor your reviews across various review sites – Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Free Reviews Monitoring is just one of the trusted sites that can notify you when you’ve received a review, so you can promptly take action when it matters.
Local Service Ads are geared towards service providers looking to take their business listings to the next level. LSA is new to Google and is only in a few cities, but it is quickly expanding and is set to be a direct competitor with Home Advisor, Angie’s List and more in the future. If you find that you’re not high-up on those directories, LSA could be your answer to gaining the attention of potential clients.
While you may not think advertising is for you, ad spend is becoming essential for businesses looking for clientele. If you do find yourself curious about Local Service Ads, there is an application process you must go through in order to begin advertising on this platform. Oh, and optimization of your Google Business listing is required, as if you needed another reason to set up that listing!
Convert More Leads
Having a solid foundation for your local SEO strategy helps ensure that the reputation you build online is informative, reliable and effective. After all, by improving your overall organic ranking you will inevitably drive more business your way.