It can be hard finding clients and that’s exactly why we created this guide on SEO for contractors!
If you’re like most small to medium-sized contractors, you probably experience periods where you have less work than you’d like.
Maybe you’re busy enough, but you want to expand your business into a multiple-employee business?
Whichever description fits, this guide is for you!
What you’ll learn in this guide:
- What is SEO for contractors, and what’s the difference between this and SEO for other businesses
- Why you should invest in SEO as a contractor
- What results you can expect from SEO
- How to do SEO as a contractor
If you ever get lost while reading, or don’t understand something, please feel free to send us a message and we’d be more than happy to help out.
We’re not a fan of sales and actively selling here at SEOhdear, but if you would like to get hands-on help with your SEO, we can offer a variety of different services which will alleviate you of the worry while still receiving the great results you can expect from SEO!
You can leave the active management of your whole SEO campaign to us, so you don’t even have to think about it. You can also choose to go for a consulting option.
We offer basic SEO consulting for contractors starting at $150 per month, so it doesn’t have to break the bank and you don’t have to do it all by yourself!
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into something you actually care about reading 😉
What’s the difference between SEO for contractors compared to other businesses?
SEO is optimizing your online presence and search engine positions, to increase the number of leads and sales you get.
SEO for contractors is a little different than SEO for other business types. The word “contractor” is extremely broad and can be someone who operates extremely locally, to someone who operates almost throughout the whole country (depending on how large the country is).
For this article, we’re going to focus on local SEO for contractors, but cover some broader SEO too, just in case you feel like expanding in the near future.
As a contractor, you sell your services, and these are almost always on-location. This means that, more often than not, you operate in a location-specific area.
There aren’t many multi-national plumbers…
We can use this to our advantage in SEO. This prevents you from competing with the huge companies that may be stealing some of your work!
The fact you’re selling physical services makes SEO for contractors different than, say, SEO for an online store.
Nevertheless, SEO can be extremely effective and increase your income as a contractor by leaps and bounds.
Why should you invest in (local) SEO as a contractor?
The first thing that comes up, is to increase the number of clients you get per month.
Within 6 months to a year, you can expect a steady return on the time/money you invest in SEO. On top of this, organic acquisition through SEO is a long-term strategy and it’s very sustainable.
As your website gains authority and trust with Google, you won’t be as vulnerable to competition trying to steal your search engine positions. This will help prevent some of the fluctuations between periods of drought and being extremely busy.
Another great advantage is that you build a good level of online authority. This improves your business’s overall reputation, even for clients that you get from other forms of marketing.
All in all, SEO is a great way of getting results for your contracting business. But, what kind of results can you expect?
What results can you expect from (local) SEO for contractors?
As you can probably understand, this varies a lot depending on circumstances.
If you operate in a location that’s very small with not very many people, then you won’t see the results you will if you operate in a densely populated area.
That being said, you’d also spend less time/money if this is the case. This means it’s still (in most cases) going to be worth your time.
But let’s try and be a little more specific…
Let’s say you can get 200 more website visitors per month (this is extremely modest but easy as an example).
If these are all visitors with buying-intent, then it’s not unusual for 10% to call you for more information, or to book a date and time straight away.
Let’s say your phone skills aren’t great. Even then, with a good online presence, you can still expect some of them to become new paying clients.
Say you use a platform like craigslist to get the majority of your clients. You’ll still see the new clients come in from your SEO efforts. But, on top of that, there’s another big advantage.
Platforms aren’t usually known for the best results. A lot of people have bad experiences on platforms like craigslist, which makes a lot of buyers more cautious when it comes to contractors.
A good online presence will put a lot of your clients at ease.
SEO for contractors, if done well, will go further than just improving your rankings on Google. It will also work alongside your current marketing efforts, and improve your reputation.
SEO for contractors: The complete guide!
Now, for the part you’ve been waiting for.
Whether you’re looking for local SEO for your contracting business or are looking for SEO that focuses on a larger area, this guide is sure to help you out!
What we’ll cover:
- Keyword research for local contractors and ones that operate in a larger area
- Optimizing your website for SEO
- Setting up google my business
- Building backlinks
- Building reviews
- Local branding for contractors
- Improving visibility
- Putting it all together
Note: We are assuming you have a basic understanding of SEO. If not, make sure to have a quick browse through our article on SEO basics so that you understand the concepts mentioned in this post!
Keyword research for contractors
Each SEO campaign starts with identifying the right keywords.
A keyword is basically a search term that people type into google, to find what they are looking for. If you want to buy a new cutlery set, you may search for “buy new cutlery set.” This is a keyword.
We’ve broken keyword research down into 2 different sections. The first is keyword research for local contractors. The second is keyword research for contractors operating in a larger area.
While reading, please bear in mind that this isn’t a guide that’s set-in-stone. Get creative!
If you’re a contractor that deals in both large and small projects, use this to your advantage.
Use the local SEO for your smaller projects and use the SEO for broader areas to focus on the larger projects.
For example, say you’re a builder. You’re going to be able to travel a much further distance when you’re building a whole house than if you’re just doing small repairs.
Keyword research for local contracting jobs
When it comes to local keywords, Google has become a lot smarter. It used to be so that you needed to structure your local keywords like this: “Builder _______(location).”
Now, the number of people searching for “plumber near me” or “plumber LA” is lessening. When you search for something like “supermarket” or “gardener,” Google automatically shows you the local companies first.
This means you have a larger variety of keywords to choose from.
Make a list of all the keywords that are specific to your business. This includes everything from “contractor near me” to just the word “contractor” (insert your own profession instead of “contractor” of course!).
Check out our keyword research guide for more information on keyword research. This can help you narrow the right keywords down even more.)
Keyword research for contractors that operate in a larger area.
When you’re operating in a larger area, then you can adapt your SEO strategy accordingly. More on the broader strategy a little later on in this book.
Regarding keyword research, try to broaden your keywords to state-specific keywords, for example. If you’re in a small country, then language/country specific keywords should work great.
(The rest of the methods of how you can find the keywords or get suggestions, are in our keyword research guide!)
A lot of the broader search terms that can indicate a larger operating area, will be less buyer-specific. As we’ve said, we get more into your larger area keywords in the content section, as it will explain everything a lot better.
Since you’re generally going to be targeting higher-end buyers outside of your city, there’s going to be a different sales process. This should reflect in the type of content you offer and the keywords you target.
Make sure you learn the buying cycle for these customers, so you can target the right keywords. For large building projects like a house, people may google things like “how to find the right contractor for building a house” for example.
A keyword like this gives you the perfect opportunity to build trust with your target audience!
Editing your website
Once you’ve got your keywords, it’s time to optimize your website. (I don’t have a website yet!)
If you do, there are a few things you can do to optimize your website for the search engines.
- Make sure Google knows your location!
Make sure to add your location on your contact page, and preferably on the other pages of your site too. This can be done in a variety of ways, just make sure it doesn’t negatively affect your visitor’s experience.
- Test and improve website speed
Speed optimization is easy for a developer to do when it comes to a contractor’s website. Your site speed not only impacts your search engine results but also the chance of users taking the time to view your site properly. If your site is too slow, they will leave before viewing anything.
^^^ As you can see, google page speed insights works very well too!
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate and looks fresh
User experience has a direct impact on your search engine results. Not only that, a website that’s easy to navigate and that looks fresh, performs much better than one that doesn’t.
- Make sure you have a good amount of content that includes your keywords
More on this point in the content section of this post!
- Ensure your website provides value to your visitors.
Make sure that it gives all the necessary information and that your visitors won’t need to go to another site to get more information.
Setting up google my business
Now that your website is up to shape, and you have your keywords, it’s time to set up your google my business listing.
This is the part of the Google search results that comes up as a map. Having your business rank on this part of the search results is going to have a big impact on your online presence. This is especially true for locally operating contractors and businesses!
When you’re setting up your google my business, it’s very important to provide all the information they ask for. Make sure you fill everything in.
Then, once done, make sure to add in some photos of your location or/and yourself. This will help you be visible in a much more engaging way. It will also make it much more likely for someone to trust your listing and contact you or click through to your site.
Make sure to include your keywords in your google my business listing. Again, don’t do this in a spammy manner, but try to make it as natural as possible.
Apart from this, make sure to regularly update your listing, the images and the opening hours. This will help to keep everything fresh and up to date.
A note on using insights
Google has a great feature that offers you analytics into how customers find your listing and how your listing is performing.
You can use this data to further optimize your google my business listing. More on this in our local SEO guide though!
Reviews on your google my business listings will greatly improve your company’s image. This will result in more people contacting you, compared to a company who doesn’t have any reviews.
Make sure to ask your current customers or previous clients if they would be willing to leave a review on your google my business listing.
Note: Don’t try to spam fake reviews. It doesn’t look good and if Google can’t tell the reviews are fake, then people almost certainly can.
The next part of this guide on SEO for contractors is creating content. We’re going to go into the SEO for broader areas as well, in this section.
Even if you are a completely locally operating contractor, it can still help to provide helpful content to your website visitors. It will show that you keep your clients updated and that you care about your website visitors. On top of that, it also shows that your website is updated regularly.
Sharing the content on your social media will further help your marketing efforts.
When creating content, keep an eye on what keywords you use in your article. (more on SEO content writing here)
Also, make sure the content is helpful to your website visitors.
If you are looking to serve clients who are outside your geographical location, you have the perfect opportunity to raise awareness using your blog posts.
If you target keywords that aren’t buyer-specific and location specific, then you should be able to get search traffic from all over your country. (follow our mentor Monday series if you want to learn more about all-round SEO!)
The reason why this tends to work better for being awarded larger projects is that you built report with your visitors first. That’s why targeting searches like “how to find the right builder to build my home” may work better than “home builder USA” for example.
You’re going to need a lot more traffic to see good results from this. It’s going to take a lot more time as well. However, once you start seeing results, it will have a big impact on your business.
Building “local backlinks”
When it comes to your website, backlinks are one of the most important factors of how well your website will perform in the search engines.
There are two “types” of backlinks you need to focus on as a contractor. It doesn’t matter whether you focus on a local market, or are also using SEO to target clients which are outside of your city.
The first is local backlinks.
Local backlinks will help you rank for local search terms, and this is very important if you operate in a local area.
Mainly, these backlinks will be coming from sites that are specific to your location. Think about directories that focus on things to do in your city, your local chamber of commerce and other location-specific sites like newspapers or magazines.
The second type of local backlinks are backlinks that specify your business’s location in the anchor text, or in the piece of content around the link. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the website that is linking to you focusses on your location, but it does show Google that your business is linked to it.
The second is authority links
The second type of link you need is just general authority links. These links will make a big difference to your overall SEO results. These are great if you also want to attract clients outside of your city.
To learn more about backlinks and building backlinks, check out our post on building backlinks.
Some tips for building backlinks:
- Submit your website address and business to nation-wide directories like yellow pages and yelp. This gives you complete control over the text surrounding the link and also gives your business more visibility
- Add your links to your social profiles and social media pages, along with your businesses location, etc
- Try guest posting on other sites that target the same general industry as you do
- Do some outreach to companies who already mention your business, and ask if you’ll link to your website
Other SEO tips for contractors
- Other search engines and directories online
Google isn’t the only search engine you can use to start getting more clients coming in. Yahoo and Bing both have similar services like Google my business where you can list your business on. On top of that, sites like Yelp are also very popular with potential buyers.
These are great opportunities to market your business on. Also, it will help by creating backlinks to your website and make it clear in which location you operate.
^^^ As you can see, Bing also has local listings you can take advantage of.
Local branding for contractors
Branding can have a big impact on all of your marketing efforts. This is true for SEO as well. Working on developing a brand voice and tone can help you get dedicated followers of your blog and business.
This will ultimately increase the number of people looking for your website and brand, mentioning you on social media and the authority you have with your target audience.
This, in turn, will improve your search engine results and the raise the amount of website traffic you receive. Branding, whether you’re a contractor or larger business, should never be underestimated!
Improving your visibility is part of branding really, but it will boost your search engine performance too. The more people see your business, or you as a contractor, the more likely people will start searching and mentioning your brand.
Managing your social media accounts well will really help to improve your visibility. Also, it’s great for reputation management too. Your reputation is a big ranking factor when it comes to google!
Broader SEO strategy for contractors
Now that you have all the general information you need, it’s time to dive deeper into the things you still need some more information on. Once you know everything you need to know, it’s time to bundle it all up into some sort of strategy or plan.
How contractors can create an SEO strategy
Since you’re busy and do the work yourself, it’s likely you don’t have a lot of time to carry out your SEO strategy. Although you can purchase local SEO services, you probably want to do it yourself first if you’re reading this article.
Crating an SEO strategy as a contractor doesn’t have to be hard. Simply list the answers to the following questions, and you have a strategy that you can start implementing right away!
- What do I want to achieve with my SEO strategy? What are my goals?
- Who will be carrying out the work?
- When will the work be carried out?
- What keywords should I target?
- What do I have to do to my websites design?
- How much content am I going to add? (also list ideas of what you are going to add)
- Where am I going to get links from at the start of my campaign?
- How many links am I going to need?
- When will I set up my directory profiles? (google my business, yelp, yahoo, bing etc)
- Which social media channels should I incorporate?
- What will I post on social media? How often?
You now have some goals you plan on achieving with your SEO strategy, as well as an actionable list of next actions.
If you want to develop a more extensive SEO strategy, check out our article on this topic!
SEO can be very effective for contractors and can really impact your business. It can make your business more sustainable and ensure you have more new clients coming in. On top of this, it can improve the trust your contracting company has!
In this post, you’ve learned what you need to do as a contractor to set up an SEO strategy and get the results you’re after. Good luck implementing the information you’ve received in this post, and thanks for taking the time to read it!