April 25, 2018 | Sarah Danks
Search Engine Optimization: Does it Work?
In a word — yes!
Does it work for contractors and others in the construction business, though? You might think, “No, that can’t possibly help me, all my best business is through word of mouth.” Well, that’s an important source of leads, to be sure.
But, what about those people who hear about you from a friend and they want to do a bit more research into your projects, how you operate, and just general information? They’re going to head to the Internet to do so — and most likely they’ll search for you on Google.
You might think, “Well, they’ll find my name when they search so that’s fine.”
Wrong! What if there’s no website online to show up in the search? What if they forget your full name and can only remember where you’re located or that you’re a general contractor?
Having a website optimized for your services, geographic area and, yes, even your name will ensure you’re showing up at the time when a potential client is looking for you.
Are you interested in getting leads?
If the answer is yes, then keep reading. You know business is easier to close when leads come to you, versus you chasing after them.
That’s the beauty of search engine marketing: it connects the dots between people actively searching for your services and your online web presence. Not only that, once we get visitors to your website, we then want them to take some type of action — most notably, contacting you.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to construction; it’s the same with internet marketing. That said, there are some key components we incorporate when working to optimize a website.
SEO Best Practices for Today
Search engine optimization practices have changed dramatically in the last few years. Gone are the days of “gaming” the system by purchasing spammy links and keyword stuffing your content.
Some of the main SEO tactics we focus on include:
- Custom content: We write content that appeals to users and the search engines alike.
- Incoming links to your site: The type and quality of links you acquire from other sites affects your site’s domain and page authority, which correlates to visibility in the search engines.
- Site architecture: How the pages on your site are organized can help — or hinder — its performance in search engines.
- Meta data: Creating descriptive, keyword-rich title tags and meta description tags that outline what each page is about is important for visitors and search engines.
- Local search: Optimizing your online presence so you can “own your backyard” is a major aspect of local search. We focus on Google My Business, reviews and other relevant aspects in this geo-centric marketing strategy.
The Internet is where people go to find information — whether they’re just beginning their research on building a new home or want to check out a subcontractor after being handed a business card. A well-optimized web presence will work for you 24 hours a day, reinforces your word-of-mouth marketing, and makes it easy for people to contact you.
These days, search engine optimization is more nuanced, takes knowledge beyond the old-school techniques, and is, therefore, more user-friendly. Our strategies involve a variety of on- and off-page tactics designed with your users’ best interests in mind, that also boost your website’s visibility in the search engines. Which is the whole point, obviously.
See, the search engines — especially Google — want to please their users first and foremost. So, if your website is easy to read, easy to navigate, and easy on the eyes, well, then the search engines will like it, and will want to send traffic to it.
Well, it’s a bit more involved than that. But don’t worry, we’ll do the heavy lifting in our end so you can focus on your business: construction.
Search Engine Optimization Components
Just as you wouldn’t build a 2-story, 3-bedroom/2-bathroom home in the suburbs for every person who wants a new house, there’s no cookie-cutter, works-for-everyone approach to SEO. That said, there are standard elements that form the base structure of any strategy.
Here’s a quick run-down of the basic ingredients we expound upon when optimizing websites.
Choosing the Right Keywords
Any SEO strategy begins with keyword research. The keywords we find will help your website show up for those who are searching for the products and services you offer. Plus, they’ll also help people who have previously engaged with your brand find you again.
While we want to focus on keywords that are important to what you do, we’re not worried about accumulating massive amounts of any type of keyword to “rank” your website. Instead, we focus on those search terms your ideal audience is using to search for you.
If your main goal is to show up at the top of a search engine results page (SERP), we can always discuss PPC marketing with you.
Regardless, we want the right keywords that speak directly to your potential clients.
Writing Optimized Content
After we’ve come up with keywords and phrases commonly used by people who want your services, we then incorporate them into easy-to-read content.
When we’re creating well-optimized content we adhere to some basic rules:
- Keep it simple. Whether people are reading about construction projects or complex physics, on the Internet they want content that’s easy to digest. Plus, they might be reading on their phone or a tablet with limited screen space (and they’re probably multi-tasking, to boot).
- Make it visually appealing. Bullet points, subheads and bold face type can break up a big block of text. Content is far easier to read when it’s broken up into a pleasing, easy-t0-scan layout.
- Speak to the reader. Online content may be seen by millions, but it is read by one person at a time. Each person who reads your copy should feel that it’s directed to him or her.
- Encourage action. The copy we write is organized for intuitive navigation and directed toward conversion. I.e., we want your visitors to take the next step and contact you. Calls to action are clear, compelling and easy to find and use.
- Write for humans. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines specifically state “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”
Good content doesn’t just happen; it’s a subtle blend of science and art to massage each page into a place a web visitor can get the information they need.
Creating Smart Metadata
Metadata is one of those words that sounds odd, but it really just means “data about data.” In the case of search engine optimization, we’re talking about <title> tags, meta descriptions, and Schema markup.
In order to tell search engine visitors — and, ipso facto, the search engines themselves — what each page of a website is about at a glance, the <title> tag is arguably the most important tag we write. It’s the first content search engine users see on a search engine results page (SERP), and it’s also the clickable link to get to that page.
Working in concert with the <title> tag on a SERP is the meta description — while not a factor in search engine rankings, per se, it’s very important in further describing a page and can entice users to click through.
Since you want to take any advantage to get a click, you need to be sure your meta descriptions are well-written and succinct.
Schema markup is another handy tool at our disposal to help click-through from the SERPs. You’ve probably seen this type of result on the right-hand side of Google after performing a search:
These aspects all come from Schema. This toes the line between meta data and local SEO, but if you really delve deeply enough, all aspects of web marketing work together and lines blur between them all.
Suffice it to say, we focus on the important aspects to get you the website traffic you need.
Acquiring Relevant Backlinks
Backlinks — incoming links from other websites pointing to yours — continue to be an important part of how search engines determine relevance and credibility for a query.
According to Moz,
“Generally speaking, the more high-quality websites that link to you, the more likely you are to rank well in search results.”
Over time, a website with relevant, well-written content will naturally accrue incoming links. But, there are ways to seek out backlink opportunities to speed up the credibility process.
No, we’re not talking about link farms or link schemes. There are “holistic” ways to acquire 3rd-party links.
Designing a User-friendly Site
You can have a website with the most helpful content on the Internet — but if people land on your pages and are turned off by your design, or they can’t figure out how to navigate it, they’ll bounce right back out again (and likely head to one of your competitors).
Therefore, user friendliness (UX) is an important aspect of SEO. These days, UX is almost synonymous with “works on any and all devices that could ever be used to access the website.”
PS: mobile-friendliness affects search engine visibility. So, once again, catering to your users offers a win for visitors and online performance.
It’s not enough to “just” make sure your website shows up and is usable on a mobile device; designing a truly mobile-friendly site entails much more behind-the-scenes work. But don’t worry — we take care of all that, so you can focus on what you do best: construction.
Monitoring Site Performance
Every website has a purpose — in this case, getting visitors to contact you about your services. But, how do you keep track of all that? You know that every click online is trackable, but HOW, exactly?
Again, leave that to us!
We not only take care of all the SEO tactics, we set up tracking to monitor the website’s performance so we know exactly how it’s benefitting you. We can give you the best website in the business, but if we’re not tracking how it’s doing its job, then we’re not doing ours.
Google Analytics is a robust — and free! — tool we rely on to monitor our clients’ websites. We can set it up for you if you don’t already have it.
In addition to tracking your Goals, we keep an eye on all the supporting key performance indicators (KPI) that lead up to your goals being met…
…by analyzing how visitors are getting to your site, when they’re converting, etc., we gain insight into how to make your website even better. SEO is an ever-evolving process, after all, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it form of marketing.
Ready to Optimize Your Website?
So you see, there’s more to marketing than just hoping people will talk about you to their friends. (Don’t get us wrong, that’s an important aspect, too!)
If you want to be able to pick and choose from the leads that come to you, then you need to put some effort into your online presence. That’s where we come in.
By focusing on key aspects of search engine optimization, we ensure adherence to best practices that make your website informative, relevant, and easy to use for your visitors.
- Thorough keyword research to farm the best words for your construction business.
- Easy-to-scan content that aptly communicates your message.
- User-friendly design that keeps visitors on the page.
- Natural link-building tactics that help your site’s online credibility.
- Conversion-oriented focus that entices your users to reach out and contact you.
Search engines — especially Google — love it when a site caters to its user base, so they reward that effort with more visibility. Everyone wins!