A Complete Guide to SEO for Contractors Part 1: Website Overview
SEO for contractors has been vital and influencial in the campaign of all the highly successful contractors in the modern age of Google. Local small business have taken the adoption of digital marketing much slower but search engine optimization is slowly turning into the chosen path for local general contractors to turn to so that they can attract the right demographic. The reason why contractor search engine optimization is now rapidly going is because of all the easy connectivity that the world has to the internet, and with this easy internet access they are able to search for local contractors more easily instead of using yellow pages. If you are aware enough and smart enough you know how important the internet is and it’s here to stay, so in order to grow in today’s world, online marketing for contractors is an absolute must. SEO should be the centerpiece of your contractor digital marketing strategy because Google & Bing have a grasp on such a big market share of all the internet traffic. Therefore, by optimizing for these search engines you are going to increase your client potential for your business using SEO for contractors.
What is Seo for General Contractors – and What it Is Not
Contractor search engine optimization is one of the best ways to get visitors to your website, and it could potentially help you get more business. But, the only way that SEO will be helpful is if you know how to do it right.
When doing SEO on your site you should avoid having duplicate content on multiple pages inside of your website. Google has developed highly intelligent bots and if they detect duplicate content spread through your site just to make it look like it has more content you will be penalized. A good practice is to have unique content on each section of your site that is relevant to the targeted keywords.
Content should be unique and it should provide value, this will drive more traffic to your site and business will continue to grow, prosper and more and more clients that are seeking your services will find your website. You should always be improving the content on your site. You won’t get a lot of visitors that stay on your site if they can’t find what they want, so getting your content to show value quickly will be a good way to keep traffic to stay on longer.
Developing a Strategy for SEO for Contractors, and choosing General Contractor Keywords
Most of the SEO strategies are defined by the general contractor keywords that are chosen. Your website is placed on Google based on how the content of your page is related to the keyword, this is why it’s important to choose the correct general contractor keywords that will dictate the direction of the content of your page.
Just like in other online marketing strategies, internet marketing for contractors is directed by the targeted audience. The reason is if the campaign is directed towards the demographic in the wrong locations, or wrong level of income then the conversions will not be as high as you thought and it will be a waste of effort. Your online marketing campaign should be dictated by choosing what type of clients you want contacting you. Knowing who your audience should be we can start formulating a list of potential general contractor keywords that you want to rank for on the search engines.
A bad general contractor keyword example for a company that wants to work for commercial customers would be “cheap framers Portland” because you would be attracting clients that are only motivated by price. But if your company has the lowest prices in town then keyword might be one that you choose for your campaign. Your market strategy and market objective play a big part when choosing your general contractor keywords.
If you look at the previous example you will notice that the keyword was meant for local seo for contractors. This just means that the phrase has a search term lets Google, Bing or Yahoo have an idea of the location of the searcher. These general contractor keywords could include:
- Best roofing company in Portland
- Siding contractor in Oregon
- Framing contractor in 97230
- Electrician in Gresham, OR
Keyword structure might be the most important part of your Local SEO strategy for a couple reasons:
First, they are longer keywords so this will leave them with less competition. Less websites rank for these longer keywords and this leaves you with the opportunity to reach the first page of google faster and more simply. The beautiful thing is that this leaves you with a positive ROI sooner and will begin attracting traffic faster.
Second, the quality of your potential clients that use these longer search phrases is much better than those that use general search terms. You may think that you want to rank for “best roofer”, but most of the people using this search term won’t be near you so you might be getting a lot of quote requests from people you can’t even service them. Being that the competition is extremely high for this broad general contractor keyword I would suggest not wasting your time or money attempting to rank for it.
Finally, if your business is located in the same city that the searching client is looking for, its more likely that Google will give you higher visibility for your website and your Google my Business. Higher visibility for your company in the search results means higher traffic for your website and more potential clients and more jobs contracted and more growth for your company!
Using General Contractor Keywords & Local SEO
The process for finding the right keywords is somewhat simple. The first type of general contractor keyword should start off with something general that will include search terms that are very common like roofing contractors, siding, framing, painting services along with a specific location. Now combine the two by putting the location before or after the general keyword to make a specifically targeted keyword.
By implementing these types of keywords you will attempt to rank for local search terms that have the most search volume available. But along with this high volume keywords there is high competition. This is why you must also think to have more variety of general contractor keywords that might be searched for with less frequency but these will be much easier to rank for faster.
General keyword phrases for contractors tend to be in the following format: “siding in Portland” or “Portland framing”, these are phrases that you can imagine that people type in naturally. By ranking for these keywords you can think that these people are interested in your services because they made this search, and you will see high traffic and conversions.
Specific General Contractor Keywords for Local SEO
Another type of general contractor keyword that you should focus on is specific for your service. These are the type of keywords that clients that are looking for a specific service are searching for not just searching for a contracting company in general. An example of this can be someone searching for a specific service is “Roof Replacement in Gresham” or “Bathroom tile replacement in Gresham” which lots of different contractors offer.
The good thing about using these specific type of service keywords is that they are an extra step apart from a broad search term because the client has made an extra effort to analyze the problem they’re having and they know which service they need specifically. These potential clients are in much more need in finding a contractor and will convert at a higher rate because of this.
Its possible to target broad keywords and specific service keywords on the same page to create content about gutter repair for example. The use of these keywords gives a much higher control over what type of clients you engage with. You can decide you aren’t interested in getting gutter repair jobs because the profit margin is too low and instead focus on getting roof replacement jobs.
Now with this information, you can choose and prioritize the types of service keywords you want to target so that you can use in your internet marketing campaign. This way you use your resources in a more efficient way in order to attract the right clients for your business. Depending on what services you offer and which are the most profitable you can create a strategy for contractor SEO that will optimize your production for greater profit margin.
Tools for General Contractor Keyword Research
Forming the ideal keyword strategy that has the effectiveness of both broad search terms and specific laser targeted keywords is the most powerful method of keyword strategy if you follow the previous advice of keyword research. This will ensure that you will have targeted the most amount of traffic but it will be the right type and highly converting traffic.
Generating this type of general contractor keywords is not too difficult, but eventually the problem that you will have will be that you ran out of keyword ideas quickly. This is where you can to dig into the toolbox and use Keyword research tools. Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Longtail Pro are a few tools that will let you find the best keywords for your niche. A lot of times it benefits you to use a tool because you might find a gold mine of related general contractor keywords that will multiply you reach which will bring in more potential customers and in turn will bring in more residual monthly income.
One slight downside about using these tools is that they are expensive to have if you are just building one website one time. Most of them charge a high monthly subscription but in order to take your website to the top they are a necessary expense. An alternative to having to pay the high monthly fee, you could hire an experienced SEO agency that already has access to these tools and knows how to utilize them to get the maximum benefits from them.
General Contractor Keyword Competition
Finding the perfect keywords is only one part of a SEO for contractors strategy. You also have to take into account just how competitive so that you can be realistic and ask yourself “can i really rank for this keyword and how long is it going to take me?”. Without a backlink analysis tool like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush its next to impossible to properly know all the work you will need to do in order to beat your competition. These tools let you see how many backlinks the top ranking websites have for your keyword and will let you evaluate how difficult it will be to rank for it.
Keyword reasearch is and always will be the foundation of any SEO strategy and it can be argued that it could be the most important component, but it is just a small part of internet marketing for contractors. If you are using the wrong keywords it won’t matter how many backlinks you have or just how well optimized your website is, you won’t be able to get the right type of traffic that will convert into the clients that you need.
For these reasons it might be more beneficial to pay an agency of experts manage your SEO strategy for contractors, instead of having to personally buy all these tools and possibly commiting vital errors which will result in loses of resources. If you choose to use an SEO agency part of what you pay them for is not only the hours of hard work, but also you will be paying for their years of experience and knowledge that steer your website to the right path, avoiding being stuck and not knowing how to reach your goals.
Website SEO for Contractors to optimize Conversions
As a contractor, the way that your business generates leads could be the most important thing. You might get one or two repeat clients but it could take a few years in order for that to happen. This is why its important to have a constant and reliable source of leads for your business. Contractor search engine optimization is important so that you can rank on the first page of Google which will give you that steady stream of consistent, high converting traffic that is already looking for the services that you provide.
Once the keywords that you are going to be used are established, the next step would be to make sure that your website is optimized. Not only just optimized for these keywords, but optimized in general for search engines like Google, Bing and other search engines. Google and the rest of the search engines determine just how legitimate and trustworthy a website is based on a variety of different factors. If your webpage isn’t optimized and doesn’t have the proper characteristics, it’ll be more difficult to classify for a competitive keyword.
Update your Webdesign to Benefit your Contractor SEO
Websites need to seem attractive and legit to the consumer. Consumers make split second subconscious and conscious decisions when visiting a webpage to determine if it is legit and if it will fulfill their needs otherwise they will back-out within seconds and go to an alternative. Even before taking the time to read the content the decision is made based on aesthetics, the sensations and functions of the website, basically the user experience. Just like if you were to visit a restaurant in the real world and judge it on visual characteristics even before seeing the quality of food they offer.
If a restaurant doesn’t seem legitimate or visually pleasing, then the potential clients will look for an alternative. Your potential clients do the same, its highly unlikely that an old html website from the 90’s will have higher conversions than a newer optimized design. It is a good investment to have a well designed and visually pleasing, optimized website that will assure quality and legitimacy to your clients.
Its important to give your users a great experience so that they stay on your website because Google uses this as another factor of influence for your website ranking. It’s called bounce rate and this shows the percentage of how long a viewer stays on one page. A higher bounce rate indicates that people are leaving quickly
and with time a high bounce rate can have a negative impact on your website ranking. Especially if they are drastically different compared to the rest of your competition.
This is why even before starting to optimize your website content you should be sure to have a high quality website that will in turn reflect upon your brand and company. An easier user experience will create higher conversions and will generate more revenue for you, this will also help your website ranking on search engines. A good example of a high quality contractor website is Tough Roofing as seen here:
Make your Address and Phone Number Visible at the top of your Website
More often then not if a company’s website doesn’t show a phone number or location then it might have unethical practice and might not be a legit business. Its good to have these as visible components because it reassures your visiting potential clients that they can find you and call you easily.
If you think about it, by hiding your address it could make it more difficult for a client to find you and to pay you and it could reduce your conversions. Its a good practice to include the phone number on your homepage and make it so that your business address is easily found in 1 click or less. We can see on Tonys Roofing, they did a good job in showing their office location and their contact phone number in the header section of their website.
Add a Call to Action Above the Fold on your Website
Because a service by a contractor, like a home remodel is costly, people tend to doubt a bit before pulling the trigger. One thing that can be done to help the consumers overcome this psychological barrier is to offer something free, like a free quote, just to get the ball rolling and reduce the risk on them. Here we can see that Portland Oregon Roofing has a simple call to action button to help customers call and get over the mental barrier.
Put a face to the Brand
It helps to have a picture of your team or the business owner on the initial webpage and also on other webpages. It’s been studied and proven that human faces involved in webdesigns make it so that the user forms a connection with the brand.
Another possible sign of a business that isn’t legit could be that their brand isn’t easily associated with an individual or team. This allows for them to do unethical practices without having to smear their personal image. Your goal is to do the complete opposite. In order to give your clients reassurance you should show yourself in a friendly manner in pictures on your site. This will remind your potential clients that there are real people behind your brand that are ready and willing to help them with their problems.
Show off Your Work with Pictures and Videos
One important factor that can help differentiate your from your competition, apart from competitive pricing, is the quality of your work. A lot of customers like to see your portfolio of previous work. Pictures are a simple and yet effective way to show off the quality of your superior work. But videos are an even more effective way of showing how great your work is because, they give different perspectives and can sometimes be even more detailed. A video can create a deeper connection with the potential client which can lead to them calling you and choosing you for their home improvement service.
Add your Certificates and Seals for Credibility
Its always a good idea to show your CCB #, on your website so that customers are reassured of your legitimacy. Another certificate that contractors should show is their seals from Home Advisor, Angie’s list, and the Better Business Bureau. You can also choose to show off anytime that your company was featured in a newspaper. This ads even more social proof that your business is one of the best around. Customer’s see this and will be reassured that you are a legitimate business and will more than likely choose you as their contractor as opposed to choosing another competing contractor that does not even show a CCB license number.
Show Ratings and Comments left by Previous Clients
Show off the praise that your quality of work receives. If previous customers have left you positive reviews on Google Reviews, Facebook, Yelp or even a phone conversation then include them on your website. It’s important to show visitors of your site the experience that your previous clients have felt when contracting with you. This could have a huge positive impact on your conversion rate, bringing in more clients for your business directly from your SEO traffic.
Make your Website Responsive and Optimized for Mobile Devices.
Times have changed and in today’s times more people visit webpages through their cell phones or tablets than a traditional desktop computer or laptop. This is why it is extremely vital for your website to be responsive and optimized for a mobile device if you want the visiting potential client to be able to view your site.
Google will give a higher placement in the search results to a webpage that can be viewed by someone making a search on their cell phone. Google wants to give their user the best experience it can and for this reason if someone is making a search on a cell phone it will show them search results of websites that can be seen easily on cell phones. Websites that aren’t responsive enough to be viewed on cell phones can be penalized by Googles algorithms and will hurt them in their ranking as a result of this. You can easily see if your website is optimized for a mobile device by visiting the Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google and entering your url.
Install Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Installing these Google tools can be done before beginning your digital marketing campaign so that you can capture all your traffic. It’s always important to gather the most amount of data possible about your traffic so that you can learn about them and adapt your website, ads, keywords and overall campaign to be optimized for the high percentage converting demographics. You can use these tools to identify missed opportunities to increase your website ranking and conversions. Google Analytics is used to collect data about where your webpage visitors are located, bounce rate and general information about like age, gender, even what type of device they are using to view your website. Google Search Console helps to see what keywords are being used to find your website and how effective your SEO is going.
Make Sure Your Contractor Website is Safe and Secure
One thing that is extremely important for your website, along with other things, is the security of your website. This is because its your legal responsibility to maintain your clients’ information safe, especially if you are processing payments through your website. Google Chrome and other internet navigators have began to show warnings when websites aren’t secure or have a SSL certificate instead of showing the actual website. Since July 2018 Google marks sites without HTTPS as “Not Safe” and this also makes it difficult for a visitor to visit the page because they won’t be able to see it unless they take the extra steps to click through a process to view it. You can imagine how this can really hurt conversions also.
SSL is a way to secure a website that guarantees a safe transfer of data, this keeps online payments or exchange of customer emails safe. Making sure that your SSL is correctly installed lets you obtain a higher ranking in Google which will in-turn give you a higher conversion rate of customers that will contract with you.
Summary of SEO for General Contractors
To summarize SEO for General Contractors doesn’t have to be extremely difficult. What is important is establishing a well formed plan and executing it in order for it to be effective. The base comes from researching effective general contractor keywords that you know you can rank for. Using tools to help you pick the right keywords. Making sure to have unique and relevant content. Working to get backlinks and making sure that your site is secure so that Google is able to trust and display your site. Stay tuned for part two and three of SEO for contractors where we go in depth to cover On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.