On average, Google processes around 3.5 billion different searches per day. According to a Local SEO study by HubSpot, 46% of all Google searches are local and 76% of all local searches result in a phone call. As a contractor with a website this means opportunity for “free” website traffic and leads for your business by way of SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website via organic search results pages.
With the evolution of the internet, and now increased usage of smart phones, the opportunity for businesses to grow is larger than ever, and one of the best ways to do that is by driving traffic and acquiring leads from search engines.
Maybe you’re a local contractor with a website that isn’t doing much for you – or maybe you do alright online, but might be looking for some ways to improve or stave off the competition? Working so closely with contractors ourselves, we wanted to provide some best practices and areas of opportunity for local contractors to improve their website, and their SEO visibility.
On-Page SEO Elements For Your Contractor Site
The content (the words on the webpage) and metadata (backend data) that comprise your website are without a doubt some of the biggest factors when it comes to optimizing for organic search. It is also the part in which you have the most control over yourself. (Mentions and links back to your website from third party sites also play an important role in determining search rank but these are often outside of your control).
Here are some of the fundamental elements you should have in place on your website to enhance your website’s SEO:
While the title tag is an element users will likely never see, it’s an important element for focusing in on the topic of a page and enhancing SEO around a given keyword or set of terms. You can typically see the title tag of a page by hovering over the tab on your browser.
If you’re working with a static HTML website, you’ll often find the title tag coded in html between tags. If you’re working in a Content Management System (CMS), they likely have built in SEO features for adding these in; WordPress for example has plugins that make adding these in and optimizing a breeze. Two of the more popular plug-ins include Yoast or All-In-One SEO Pack, both of which offer free and paid versions.
- Focus the title tag on the primary keyword(s) you’ve chosen for your page
- Limit length to 55-60 characters – Use this free title tag tool
Example Title Tag:
Residential Roofing Contractors in City | Company Name
Heading tags are probably the most under-utilized on-page elements for SEO purposes, yet they are one of the more important. Use heading tags to structure your content by breaking out main topics and their supporting content. Heading tags are often just used as a styling element for web design, as the sizes of them typically change based on which tag is selected, this is especially true when it comes to working inside of a CMS.
H tags are defined with numbers, and can sometimes be seen going to H5 or H6, however for our SEO purposes, you will generally only need to use H1, H2, and H3 tags. Their importance is relative to their numbering, with 1 being the page’s most important content (usually the title).
You should use your H1 tag to define and reinforce the main topic of your page, and it can mirror or be a variation of the title tag you chose. Use H2 and H3 tags as sub-topics that support your main H1. This is your chance to get more specific with the types or services you might offer.
An example of heading structure for your contracting business might be:
<H1> Roofing Contractors in CITY</H1>
<H2>CITY’s Best Residential Roofers</H2>
<H3>Roof Repair & Replacement CITY</H3>
Having high-quality content that matches the intent of the search is one of the biggest assets you can have on your site to both boost your organic search performance, and help your target audience find exactly what they are looking for. The key here is to write naturally for your audience, and not force keywords into your copy for the sake of SEO. Search engines have evolved to the point where they are constantly getting better at understanding semantics, and Google in particular has invested a lot of money into natural language processing.
We understand how important leads are and getting on the phone with a potential customer can be, however, this doesn’t mean you should hold back information from your website in hopes a user will call to find out instead. The more transparent and informational you can be up front, the better, for both users and search.
- Address frequently asked questions with thorough answers
- Dedicate individual pages to specific topics, don’t cram it all on one
- Discuss types of services offered and your methodology
- Include what sets you apart from your competition!
A great way to get started generating ideas for your page content is to do a Google search for your topic or keyword. See what others have written about it and what is currently ranking well. Then look to the “people also ask” and autofill suggestions to see what users are frequently asking around a given topic. If you’re focusing on trying to rank for your specific contracting service in a city, pick your own city or a major city nearby, and search for your keyword + city. Once you have the results evaluate who is ranking highly. There is a strong chance they are doing their own SEO or working with an SEO Agency – from there you have a foundation in which you can start to write your own content.
There you go, three steps to improving your search ranking. Ok, that was a lot of information so let’s recap.
Your SEO Strategy for Success
1) Review your site’s title tags. If they are not there, add them. Remember, focus on your keyword for the page and keep them short (under 60 characters).
2) Add Heading tags to your pages. Still not sure how to use H tags? Think back to high school English class. Remember the outline you had to create before writing a paper? Well you’re doing the same thing here. Heading tags help you organize the content on the page and make it easier to navigate for both search engines and your customers.
3) Build up your site’s content. Don’t let the idea of writing content intimidate you. A great place to start is with something you do everyday, answering customers’ questions. Just this time do it in writing, on your website.
Investing in SEO is a long term strategy, and there are various other ranking factors aside from those covered here that are at play in determining a websites ranking. However, these fundamentals should allow you to better understand your website, search, and build a solid foundation on your own to work towards driving more leads and website traffic for your contracting company.
Steve Nuttall is the SEO & Analytics Lead for CertainTeed and has years of experience working with sites from enterprise level to small local businesses to improve their SEO strategy.
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