Search-Engine Optimization for Contractors
Here are some simple SEO tips that contractors should understand and use every day.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
George Berkeley, philosopher (1685-1753)
In order of their importance:
- Put your actual geographical location in your text, such as “Tampa, Florida” instead of just “our location.”
- Add your local market region to every page. Using IP addresses, Google knows where their users are searching from and customizes their search results accordingly. Therefore, it’s important that Google knows where your market or service area is. Put your address, market suburbs, market sub-regions, satellite cities, and local metropolitan areas on every page of your website. If you serve more than one town or city, include them all. Even better, add geographically-specific phrases about your market area within your website text.
- Build keywords such as your local city into your page URLs (web page addresses).
- Ensure that your name, address and phone number (NAP) are consistent and that these citations appear at the bottom of every page of your website.
- Title your navigation links with optimization in mind. For example: “Contact the Contractor” instead of “Contact Us.”
- Include well-written construction-related content throughout your site.
- Don’t try to stuff your text with keywords. It won’t work. Search engines know if your use of a term is abnormally high because everyone tries to game the system, so this practice is a red flag. Search engines prefer natural language content.
- Get your subcontractors and suppliers to link to your site.
- If you have a client who owns a big company with a popular website, ask if s/he will to link to your site. One single, authoritative and high-traffic site can do a lot more for you than a dozen poor-quality links.
- Be sure the links to your site and within your site use your keyword phrases. In other words, if your target is Los Angeles home buyers, then your link’s title should be “Los Angeles home buyers” instead of “Click here.”
- Title your images using relevant phrases, such as “picture of contractor on a roof in Knoxville” instead of “picture of me.”
- State the specific ancillary construction services that you offer in the first few paragraphs of text, and then try to work them into a few other paragraphs (at least).
- Place keyword-rich captions under your images (and as hover-over screentips), just like newspapers do.
- Be aware that privacy domain-name ownership may increase a search engine’s belief that you’re a spammer.
- Renew your domain name a few years into the future. It shows search engines that you’re keeping your domain name.
- If you post on industry-related message boards, make sure your signature includes your business name, location, logo and tagline, and live-link them to your website.
- Create an online video. Google owns YouTube. And think about your script from a search engine optimization standpoint. According to Google, their new audio indexing system uses speech recognition technology to transform speech into text and then ranks videos by spoken keyword relevance, YouTube metadata, and freshness.
- Make sure your website’s privacy settings allow your website to be visible to everyone.
TIP: Read this article on Websites for Contractors.
Google AdWord campaigns can be an inexpensive and effective customer-acquisition strategy. The concept behind AdWords is that you bid on keywords in an effort to have your ad appear. The goal is not to generate traffic to your website, but to generate traffic from visitors who are likely to want your contracting services.
Here’s a list of suggested keywords:
- your name (to help searchers who know your name find you);
- your company name (to help searchers who know your company name find you);
- the name of your town/city;
- the regional areas within your market; and
- all your services (or, at least the ones you want to sell the most).
Sign up for Google Analytics. It’s free. Google Analytics provide you with statistics about your visitors, including which sites referred them, what city they’re in, what search phrases they used to find you, and much more.