Local SEO for General Contractors

/Local SEO for General Contractors
Local SEO for General Contractors 2017-11-12T10:14:30+00:00

General contractors face numerous hurdles when trying to attract new business. One of the biggest challenges is that when someone needs a general contractor, he will usually run a simple Google search and then call the first few names on the list. To attract as many new customers as possible, then, you need to get to that critical top slot.

We will show you our proven 5-step path to the top of the rankings. Before we do that, though, let’s look at why local SEO is crucial for all general contractors.

3 Reasons General Contractors Should Invest in Local SEO

No More Yellow Pages. Now Google Reigns:

Until very recently general contractors could place an ad in the local phone book and wait for prospects to call. Today, though, an incredible 97% of people search for local businesses online, and Google reigns supreme.

Free Traffic:

Advertising is changing, but it is still a massive expenditure for many small businesses. Boosting your Google rankings gives you a constant flow of free traffic that you can convert into paying customers.

Accelerated Results:

National and international companies wait, on average, 6 to 12 months to see much change in their Google rankings. As a general contractor, however, you have a tremendous advantage. Your competition is general contractors in your area, not those half a world away. And many of your competitors are not using local SEO. This means that you could easily reach the first page of Google local results in just 30 days!

Step 1: Select Your Keywords

Step 1 begins with drawing up a list of keywords that reflect your services. Examples include “general contractor”, “home additions”, and “basement renovations”. When your list is reasonably complete, set up a free Google AdWords account.

You do not need to build or fund an ad campaign. The AdWords account simply provides access to Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to input your selected keywords to see how much traffic they generate, and suggests additional keywords that you might not have thought of.

Now you are ready to finalize your keyword list. All keywords fall into 1 of 2 categories:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords indicate that the prospect is imminently ready to make a purchase. For example, a search for “bathroom renovation Memphis” likely indicates that the prospect wants to have work done, and is searching for a contractor who can do the job.

    Focus your local SEO campaign primarily on buying intent keywords, which drive the most rapid conversions. Feature them on your homepage, and design service pages based on them.

  • Research Intent: Research intent keywords indicate that the prospect is “just browsing.” She might hire you at some point, but is currently in the earliest stages of the sales funnel. For example, someone searching for “kitchen ideas” might be thinking of remodeling her kitchen, but is not yet ready to commit to a project.

    Give research intent keywords a lower priority, as they do not drive fast conversions. They can still be useful, though, for blog posts and FAQs. These posts are designed to introduce your company to prospects who might then choose you when they are ready to have work done.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

When your keyword list is finalized, it is time to optimize in 2 spots—your Google My Business page and your website. Here is what to do:

Google My Business

Your Google My Business page is a mini-website that appears in the “Map” section of Google results for local businesses. It offers a quick snapshot of your company, boosts your overall online presence, and even gives a rapid boost to your Google rankings. This happens because it is much easier to rank a Google My Business page highly than a website.

Fill out your Google My Business page in its entirety, making sure that all of the information is current:

  • Verification: The first step is to claim your page and undergo Google’s verification procedure. When you are finished, you will see a checkmark and the word “Verified” beside your company name.
  • NAP: Ensure that your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) is accurate and precisely the same across the internet. Draw attention to the fact that your business is local by listing a local phone number instead of an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google My Business categories must list services rather than results. List not only your primary service, but also any secondary services that you provide. For example, you might choose General Contractor, Home Builder, Bathroom Remodeler, and Sunroom Contractor. Try to list 3 to 5 categories.
  • Description: The description is a short overview of your company followed by a call to action. Keep it to 100 to 200 words, in a format similar to: {Name of Company} offers professional {home building and remodeling services, or similar} in {Your City}. {Provide some information about your company and/or why customers love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for a free estimate!
  • Hours: Your hours of operation must be up to date, and listed correctly across the internet. If your service hours are different from your office hours, note that information separately.
  • Images: Images dramatically improve customer engagement, so add a few photos of your team in action (with permission from the homeowner!). Make sure your images have a sharp focus, are sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. We also recommend replacing the generic Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Begin with your homepage and service pages (“core” pages), and optimize them for your buying intent keywords. Later, you can move to your blog posts and FAQs (“content” pages), and optimize them for your research intent keywords. Here is what to focus on:

  • Homepage: The most important part of your homepage is the title tag, which is roughly equivalent to a book’s chapter title. It should be 50 to 65 characters long. This format typically works well: General Contractor in {Your City} | {Name of Your Company}.

    The next major element is the meta description. This is a 100 to 150-character overview that touches on your core services and ends with a call to action. Try formatting it similarly to: {Name of Company} offers top-quality {home additions and remodels, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for a free estimate!

    Your visible headline, also known as the H1, should be both descriptive and concise, and should feature your primary category. Try this format: {General Contractor} in {City, State}.

    Finally, your page copy is your opportunity to tell prospects about your business. Provide some background information, briefly explain your primary services, and close with a strong call to action. The page copy should be 500 to 1000 words in length, cleanly written, and well-edited.

  • Service Pages: Create a separate service page for each of your main services, and tightly focus it on a buying intent keyword. Optimize each service page as you did the homepage.

Step 3: Develop Citations and Links

With the basics of your local SEO campaign in place, it is time to move on to developing citations and links. Both increase your customer reach and boost your Google rankings.

  • Citations: A citation is simply a listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) in an online directory. Your choices include such general national directories as Facebook and yellowpages.com, such general local directories as your Chamber of Commerce website, and industry-specific construction directories.

    Many directories provide free listings, but some offer only paid citations. Before spending money, use Google Analytics to find out if that site drives traffic and conversions.

  • Links: High Google rankings require you to have top-quality inbound links from credible sites. Build relationships both online and offline with companies that provide complementary services, such as subcontractors and realtors. Then ask to trade web links. You can find out where your competitors’ links come from with a tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer.

Step 4: Ask for Reviews

Online reviews play 2 very important roles in your local SEO campaign: they convince prospects to use your services, and they assure Google that yours is a legitimate business. While all review sites are important, Google My Business reviews drive the fastest boost in Google rankings. Send your satisfied customers an email containing a link, and ask them directly for a review. If you do this regularly, you will soon have an ongoing flow of reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

You can only learn whether your campaign is a success, and discover those areas that still need a bit of help, if you track your results. A lot of information is out there, but it is important to focus on these 3 core metrics:

  • Rankings: Google customizes its search results based on past browsing behavior, so the only way to know a page’s true ranking is with a tool. The free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is easy for your webmaster to install and is a great place to start. Check your rankings at least once per month.

    To dig a bit deeper, consider moving to a paid tool, such as the one available through RankRanger.com. You can track your Google My Business page as well as your webpages, and see automatically updated information from all of your SEO campaigns.

  • Traffic: Google Analytics is the best way to track your traffic, or website visitors. You can view your overall traffic, find out which page draws the most traffic, and even learn what percentage of your traffic is from Google search. Read your reports at least once per month, and be on the lookout for any long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a specific action that you want your website visitors to perform. For example, you might want them to contact you for a free estimate. Google Analytics can track both phone and web conversions, and show you which pages have the lowest and highest conversion rates.

Let’s Get Started!

Now you understand why a comprehensive local SEO campaign is critical to driving more prospects to your general contractor services. To put your plan into action, work through these steps in order. Finish each one before going on to the next. Here’s a quick recap of the 5 steps:

  1.    Keyword research
  2.    Keyword optimization
  3.    Citations and Links
  4.    Reviews
  5.    Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping general contractors attract more local customers through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

Click here to request a Free SEO Quote

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