In this day and age, just having a contractor website for your construction business is not enough to find more clients online. Today's digital world is as competitive as the construction industry itself.
How can you compete online when it feels like your competitors seem to have unlimited resources to spend on SEO and digital ads?
Most artisan contractors are looking for very specific clients: nearby neighbors.
Unless you're a large construction company with the resources to take on projects all over the country, your ideal clients are close to home. Here's how a focus on local SEO can help you find more work in your own backyard.
Local SEO vs SEO: The Defining Difference
SEO (search engine optimization) is a useful tool that can help you get found when people are searching online. Here are the tactics you'll need to employ to be found.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Also known as organic SEO, this is a process by which you help search engines understand the relevance of your site.
With strong optimization, you communicate to the search engine what your business does. Search engines process this information, using it to determine when your website should be put in front of searchers keying specific search phrases (aka keywords) online.
Local SEO: Local Search Engine Optimization
Helping search engines understand your relevance (what your website/ business does) PLUS the geographical region that you serve.
Local SEO Matters for Your Business
Fact: 50% of local-mobile searchers are seeking information about local businesses like yours.
These searchers want to know how to get in touch with you and where to find you.
- 47% of all searches online are local
- 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within 1 day
- 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within 1 day
When you're looking to have a pizza delivered to your house, you pull out your smartphone and search for "pizza delivery."
Search engines aren't going to provide you with information about a pizza place in a different state. The results that will display first, the pizza restaurants closest to you, are the ones that have properly utilized local SEO to their advantage.
So how do you signal the search engines to show your contractor business to the people who live in your area?
#1: It Starts with Google
The first step in a local SEO strategy is to set up, or claim, your Google My Business listing.
Google is the undisputed King of search engines. More than 77% of the 6.5 billion online daily searches are sent through Google's search engine.
Local searchers will be able to readily find important info about your business - such as name, address, phone number, hours of operation, a map, and reviews - all through Google My Business.
How it works:
- Navigate to Google My Business
- Search for your business using its name and address
- Add or claim your business
- Verify your page
- Choose the correct category for your business
- Fill out your business profile completely and accurately
- Add photographs and logos
- Create a post
- Ask for reviews (more on this in a moment)
#2: Add Your Business to Online Directories
Creating your Google My Business profile is a good start, but you'll also want to list your business in secondary directory and search sites.
Mind your NAP: (business) Name, Address, and Phone number. These items need to be exactly the same across all directories and claims to your business. If not, the conflicting information from one listing to the next will confuse Google, other search engines, and potential clients.
Consistency is key. Be sure that the following information is exactly the same wherever it appears online:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Days/ hours of operation
- Website address
- Description or summary (be sure to include your keywords!)
#3: Claim and Optimize Social Profiles
Did you know that an astounding 2 billion people a day use Facebook?
YouTube is considered the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google, with more than one billion users watching 5 billion videos per day.
Don't underestimate the important role that social networks play in advertising your local business.
Be sure to set up/ claim and optimize a business page for all major social networks, such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
As with online business directories, consistency across your social channels is of paramount importance.
#4: Optimize Your Existing Site
Does your contractor website mention the local market you service?
Update your website pages to include keywords that point to your region. Remember that Google hates keyword stuffing, so avoid jamming your nearest metro area into every inch of your site. Be smart and methodical with your optimization.
Your contractor site should have a separate page for contact information that includes your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation and a map of your location. Also, include written details about your location to help search engines and prospective leads know how to find you.
Important Note: If your construction business services multiple regions/ towns/ areas, be sure to create a separate page on your website for each. Don't just copy and paste as you will run into duplicate content issues. Rather, create each as its own landing page, specifically written for an audience of people who live in that region.
#5: Get Great Reviews
Reviews and recommendations are important. Ask your existing and previous clients to leave you a review at your business directories, Google My Business listing, and social media pages.
Email clients to let them know that you’ve listed your business on a directory and request that they give you a review. Include a link to your business page/ profile to make it as easy as possible for them. For example, you can include a link to your Google My Business, Yelp, or Facebook profile.
Remember: Make it a habit to ask for reviews regularly from new clients. After you have completed a job, send out a thank you email that includes a review request.
If you get a negative review, don't panic. It's okay. Here’s how to handle it:
- Always reply to a less-than-stellar review in a professional and courteous manner.
- Reach out to the reviewer and seek to find a way to remedy the complaint.
- If the issue is resolved, you can request that the review be updated or removed.
- If the review is completely unfounded or incorrect, you may be able to have it removed by contacting the directory itself and flagging the review.
When all else fails, combat a negative review with a glowing one. Reach out to your most outspoken clientele, the ones who rave about your business. Send them a brief email letting them know that you've received a negative review and ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving a positive review to better reflect the level of work you do.
You'll find that most of the time your loyal clients will be more than happy to take a moment out of their day to share their fantastic experience with you.
#6: Publish Local Content
Whether your SEO efforts are organic or local, content is important.
Search engines love fresh content. Regularly publishing blog posts signals to search engines that your site is current and relevant. By adding local flair to the content you’re posting, you’re also letting search engines that you are highly relevant to your region.
More importantly, regularly publishing local content is your opportunity to position yourself as the knowledgeable contractor authority for both current and future clients. You can think of your blog as a tool used to serve your clients, adding value to your business and making you a trusted local contractor resource.
Winning the local SEO game takes some time and effort, but it can be done.
Unfortunately, just optimizing your existing web pages for your area won't do the trick. Rather, take your optimized website, add directory listings, mix in some good reviews, and then you'll have the recipe for a local SEO win.