Google has made many changes over the past few years that have impacted website traffic for local contractors. The switch from 3 paid ads to 4 being displayed in the top of search results, 3 local businesses included in the local search pack instead of 7, and Google’s preference of large nationwide websites instead of local business websites are just a few of the changes that have significantly impacted website traffic via search engines for contractors. We’ve helped many contractors and local businesses over the years and have a few recommendations for improving search engine visibility.
Cater To Your Local Audience
Tweaking and refining the text displayed on your website’s home page and service pages is obviously a critical part of connecting with your target audience, establishing credibility and maintaining a positive user experience from landing page to contact form completion.
While it is important to focus on optimizing content on your home page and service pages for your target audience, meta data typically gets overlooked by many contractors. Page titles and meta descriptions help search engines topically identify content and help them display your website in front of the right people.
For that reason, it is good practice to add location specific information to the meta data of your service pages and the home page. For example, if you are a roofing contractor in Dallas, TX it’s important to not only get roof related keywords in your page title and meta description but also geographic indicators. An example would be:
- Page Title: Dallas Roofing Contractor | Dallas Roof Repairs & Installation | Ralph the Roofer
- Meta description: Renowned roofer in Dallas, TX. Providing roofing repairs and installation services in the Dallas Texas regional area. Call for a free roofing consultation.
Google My Business
Cannot stress enough the importance of taking care of this. Verifying your Google My Business account and taking the time to setup detailed and descriptive listings for each of your businesses’ physical locations is the most time efficient thing you can do to help out your SEO. This requires that you:
- Provide accurate Name Address and Phone Number information (NAP)
- Fill out a detailed business description
- Add as many accurate categories for each location
- Any additional helpful information for your target audience like photos and business hours
In the end, after you’ve optimized your website to the best of your ability, the big factor that will influence search engine rankings is the quantity and quality of links to your website.
If you are a contractor, you can mine a few locations for links:
- Past Customers – If you’ve worked with a business in the past and they have a links section on their website simply ask if they would consider including a link to your website.
- Related/Affiliate Websites – If you’re a home renovation contractor, do you refer your clients to a different business when they need landscaping work? Mold remediation? Window replacement? Odds are you have connections in your industry and you benefit from referrals from other businesses. If you operate on a friendly basis with them, ask if they wouldn’t mind including your website on theirs.
- Clubs and organizations – If you support a local charity or non-profit group, see if it is possible for them to include a link to your website on theirs.
- News and Noteworthy – Have you moved recently? Opened a new location? Hired new employees? Local news sources are often happy to pick up on business growth and development stories in their local areas.
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
One of the biggest beefs I’ve had with Google over the past few years is their eagerness to display large national review and directory websites ahead of websites that actually perform the services requested. These websites often provide inaccurate information about listings or list irrelevant businesses for a query, and these directories are typically slower than Google at updating information. In essence, Google is asking these directories to do the work that they should be doing. Commence rant.
To show how dominant these business directories have been at pushing out local businesses from search results take the search query “painting contractor Chicago”. Here are the top ten results I am seeing – your results will almost certainly vary:
- Local Chicago painting contractor
- Local Chicago painting contractor
- Another BBB.org result
- Local Chicago painting Contractor
Of the hundreds of painting contractors in Chicagoland only 3 contractor websites crack the top ten results. Unfortunately that’s simply how Google is operating these days, not just for contractors but for all localized search queries. A number of the big directory websites included in the above example like Home Advisor and Yellow Pages allow free submissions for businesses, which allows you to piggyback on the SEO success of some of these big websites and get referral traffic – which leads to our next tip:
Get Listed In Local Directories
Getting listed in directories has three big benefits for your SEO, website traffic, and leads:
- Links – Again, a huge indicator of search engine rankings
- Citations – Also known as Name Address and Phone Number listings (NAPs). The more search engines see NAP information of a business around the internet the more likely they are going to display the website in local search results. It is important to note that NAP information can be outdated and you should ensure your preferred NAP information on your website matches what you have in Google My Business.
- Traffic from these directories – As mentioned earlier, some of your best website traffic and leads can come from being listed in highly respected review and directory websites.
Additional SEO Resources For Contractors
- JobFLEX’s SEO tips for contractors – more actionable tips for contractor SEO.
- Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors – a breakdown of which ranking factors are most important for local search.
Need help with your local SEO for your contracting business? We have the tools and experience to help. Give us a call or email us to learn more.