Like many other entrepreneurs, general contractors are heavily dependent on an influx of new leads. Back then, companies relied on word-of-mouth marketing and traditional advertising to reach potential customers. However, as technology changes, so do the marketing requirements.
Nowadays, you’ll have much more luck using search engine optimization than any other tactic. By implementing this marketing process, potential clients can easily find you on Google and other search engines. This makes SEO the most unassuming inbound marketing tactic, as you won’t have to beg anyone to visit your shop.
In this article, we’ll talk about SEO benefits, how it can help local contractors, and how to get the most out of your marketing effort.
How does SEO work?
Most contractors understand what is search engine optimization and what it does. Unfortunately, only a handful of them understand the underlying process. This can be tricky because if you don’t have any basic knowledge, it will be hard to assess the provider’s work. Even worse, some marketers might take advantage of you.
Google has more than 200 ranking factors that determine the quality of a website and its web pages. These metrics can be categorized into several groups, such as site-level factors, page-level factors, user engagement, and backlinks. By improving all these elements, you increase the likelihood of ranking on top of Google searches for profitable keywords.
While there are numerous factors to consider, they have significantly different values. Traditionally, SEO companies have been prioritizing links, but as of late, user experience factors have become every bit as important. Of course, you also need to consider other things such as page speed, indexability, mobile-friendliness, high-quality content, and so on.
Why is SEO important?
SEO provides numerous benefits that other channels cannot. In terms of volume, this tactic can provide the biggest gains out of all other marketing approaches. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s without flaws. That being said, here are a few things you need to consider before hiring a marketing agency:
- The tactic can bring lots of organic traffic to your website
- SEO traffic converts at a higher rate than other marketing channels
- A well-optimized site helps a company survive longer in a market
- SEO sets the basis for long-term brand awareness
- Even if you temporarily abandon the project, you can get back to it and build up on the previous efforts
- It takes time to yield results
- Mistakes during hiring can be costly
- Changing strategies or providers can lead to various issues
- Requires constant control from the contractor client
SEO vs. SMM
Both SEO and SMM can be considered long-term approaches. However, unlike SMM, where you depend on a third-party platform, SEO gives you full proprietorship (no one can influence your site). That way, you don’t have to think whether social media will go out of fashion or if they’ll change their policies.
Although different in nature, SEO and SMM are long-term approaches. As a contractor, it’s much better to go with search engine optimization, given that most of your clients will seek out your brand via Google. Local search, in particular, is especially useful for closing deals.
On the other hand, brands rarely do any business via social platforms. Even if a client is interested in your services, they’ll still need to follow the link to your site. So, whether you like it or not, you’ll need an SEO expert for basic website optimization and to improve user experience.
SEO vs. PPC
The choice between SEO and PPC is a choice between long-term and short-term benefits. SEO is notorious for requiring time to make an impact. On the other hand, the pay-per-click approach via Google, Bing, and Facebook yields much quicker results. So, if you need to generate leads asap, PPC could be a better choice.
The biggest issue with paid ads is that competitive companies understand how much a service is worth. Some of them are willing to bid to the very budget limit just to snatch a client under your nose. Even if they lose money on paid advertising, they believe they can recuperate it through retention and word-of-mouth benefits.
In other words, while PPC can generate quality leads for your contractor company, it might be much more expensive than you initially predicted. What’s worse, all the benefits will vanish as soon as you stop paying for the service.
SEO vs. other tactics
Of course, SEO, SMM, and PPC aren’t the only approaches you can use. You can also tinker with email marketing, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, and even traditional channels.
While each one of them has a certain worth, they aren’t ideal for local contractors. Just try to remember when was the last time you hired a person after an email back-and-forth. Similarly, influencers won’t help you push this kind of service. Out of all these secondary tactics, traditional marketing might be the best one, as long as it’s properly implemented.
Categorizing different processes
Due to a large number of factors, a contractor SEO company needs to make sense of all these things. They can’t simply start optimizing one by one factor, as it would take too much time and lead to confusion. Instead, they segment processes into four distinct categories:
- Technical SEO
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Local SEO
Here’s a breakdown of what each one of these entails:
Technical optimization is generally performed during SEO audits at the very start of the project. During this time, an agency is looking for ways to improve the technical aspects of the website.
For the most part, the process revolves around site architecture and indexing (the ability for search crawlers to reach content). The marketing team needs to ensure that visitors and Google’s robots can easily reach all pages on the site. Indexing is especially important because, without it, Google can’t show pages within the search.
However, technical optimization doesn’t stop there. It also involves a thorough checkup of existing content, links, and other performance-related factors. The marketing team needs to ensure that the contractor’s website can easily open on all devices within a few seconds.
Once the team has set the basis by introducing technical improvements, they can transition to on-page SEO. This process mainly refers to content marketing, that is, content creation and optimization.
On-page SEO starts with keyword research. The service provider utilizes a few main phrases for the contracting company and analyzes related keywords. During this step, the marketing team is looking for keywords with the highest potential, in other words, phrases with the highest search volume and lowest competition.
Once the SEO agency makes a list of all relevant keywords, they can create content for each one of them. The general rule is that you shouldn’t overlap topics or use the same keyword several times. Most importantly, each article that the company creates should fit user intent while potentially driving sales.
The term is used to refer to various tactics that are done externally. It includes processes such as link-building, social media interactions and sharing, PR campaigns, and even digital events.
As mentioned, Google has used links for the longest time to determine the relevancy of content. The general idea is that elite sites will never link to bad content. So, by accruing as many backlinks as possible from these reputable sources, you can boost domain authority as well as the authority of individual pages.
Due to its importance, link-building is perhaps the trickiest process to execute. Basically, you can never get enough links to scale the tactic for as much as possible. However, contractors should also be careful with this approach, as overoptimization can get them in trouble with Google.
Traditionally, local SEO isn’t considered one of the integral parts of optimization. But due to its increased importance, we decided to put it on the list nevertheless. With this process, your company can rank in Google’s local pack and harness the enormous local organic traffic.
First off, we need to mention that local SEO for contractors is very different from traditional optimization. By improving your site for local queries, you can gain a massive number of highly qualified leads. This makes it invaluable for various businesses such as handymen, restaurants, and other local venues, all of which make money selling to the community.
The entire process starts by creating a Google My Business Profile. The marketing provider needs to add the company’s data, such as address and phone number, email, and location, to corroborate that the contractor’s business is legit. After that, SEO adds the company to other online directories by using the same data.
Local SEO for contractors is significantly different from other optimization processes and hinges on the company’s real-world performance. Google’s algorithms use online feedback to allocate placement within the search engines. So, to rank on top, you basically need to provide good service to users.
3 Secrets of efficient SEO
Like most other digital marketing activities nowadays, SEO is a highly competitive field. Ranking on top of search engines for lucrative keywords is a tough goal, usually taking companies several years to achieve. Because of that, not only should you implement an efficient SEO strategy, but you also need to analyze other surrounding factors such as:
SEO provider’s expertise
Whether or not you can reach the top of Google search engine rankings hinges on the provider’s experience and expertise. In the end, if an SEO company doesn’t know what it’s doing, it doesn’t matter whether you have a cool-looking site or if you buy thousands of links. There are also many cases of providers using risky strategies that ruin clients’ sites and result in Google’s penalties.
To properly assess a provider’s expertise, you’ll have to check the following things:
Tackling different tasks
One thing that most people don’t realize is that SEO is a granular process consisting of several diametrically opposed procedures. For example, doing technical optimization is completely different from content writing or link-building. So, when looking for contractor SEO services, look for brands that can execute each task at a high level.
Sense of urgency
Being proactive might seem just like a thing you need from a marketing provider. But the thing with search engine optimization is that the process can’t be rushed. A custom contractor SEO strategy needs time to yield results, and if a provider rushes things, this might indicate they use risky tactics.
Keep in mind that many companies work based on performance or milestones (number of articles or links). When a provider is too hasty, this usually shows they wish to upsell you. Quick work would affect the quality of provided services but might also trigger a warning with Google’s algorithms.
Another way to tell if a company is legit is by checking its SEO rankings and traffic. If they can’t penetrate the page one of Google for relevant keywords, there’s a good chance they won’t move the needle for your brand. Of course, performing this kind of SEO audit might be a bit tricky if you have limited knowledge, but it will allow you to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Realistic timelines and goals
Most people don’t understand that SEO for contractors is a long-term investment. It is a meticulous process that requires lots of time and effort and is based on healthy brand-building policies. In terms of timelines and expected returns, it’s much more similar to social media marketing than paid advertising.
Many people fail with their SEO strategies, not because the provider was bad, but because they couldn’t wait for the results to start trickling in. In other words, they set themselves up for failure. Here are a few tricks that would help you moderate expectations and set realistic milestones:
- First, you have to understand that other companies are also investing in SEO for contractors. Your marketing agency has to go against all these competitors to get you to the top of search engine rankings. Even if the agency is great at its job, they’re still limited by the budget
- Speaking of the budget, the provider needs to clearly explain what you’re getting for your money. This includes the number and quality of links and the number of written articles
- Don’t expect a major burst in organic traffic during the first few months. A good marketing strategy will first focus on smaller wins (so-called long-tail keywords) and then progress to keywords with higher volume
- Keep in mind that rushing a provider usually won’t make a difference. As mentioned, these agencies are limited by the amount of money you spend as they also incur associated expenses. Most services within the SEO field are charged based on unit, article, or link
- As for the goals, you should measure results based on website traffic, rankings for relevant keywords, and impressions. Conversions should also be one of the focal points, although they aren’t necessarily SEO experts’ domain
If you wish to boost your contractor business by investing in a global or local SEO strategy, make sure to curb your expectations. Having a good service provider can go a long way, but only if you can endure until the results kick in. Pulling the plug too early is the worst thing you can do, as it will render the previous investment useless.
Another thing that many contractors don’t understand is that SEO is a continuation of your real-world efforts. Companies that have already built brand awareness with their clients have a much easier time promoting their websites. Thus, getting to the top of search engine results pages every bit has to do with your daily operations as with marketing.
Specifically, real-world interactions have the biggest impact on off-page SEO. Other businesses that work with your brand are more likely to share your content on social media and link to it. As such, these connections can serve as the basis for your future PR and link-building efforts. Of course, the more and better connections you have, the better the gains.
Your current partners and fans can also boost average user engagement on the website. For example, if you have a lot of followers on social media, their long interactions with the site will send a strong quality signal to Google. Nowadays, search engines understand that articles with higher click-through rates and longer time on the page are generally better and should rank higher.
If you’re serious about your contractor business, you should definitely consider hiring an SEO agency. Search engine optimization and, specifically, local search results are perfect for promoting your brand. This marketing tactic can provide a high number of qualified leads while also improving the long-term sustainability of your business.