Greetings! If you are a general contractor seeking to enhance your online visibility, you have landed on the right page. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can seem intricate, but it is crucial if you intend to draw in more customers in today’s digital landscape. Stick with me over the next few thousand words and I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about SEO for general contractors like yourself. We’ll cover all the basics, from keywords to content to link building. I’ll share plenty of tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years optimizing websites in the construction industry.
By the time you reach the end, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to SEMrush your competition and start outranking them in local search results! Does that sound good? Great! Let’s get started then.
Why SEO Matters for General Contractors
In the past, general contractors could rely on word-of-mouth, print ads, and being listed in the Yellow Pages to get business. But now that so many people use the internet to find local services, not having an online presence can really hurt you.
According to statistics, 82% of home improvement customers search online for contractors. How are customers supposed to find your business if you don’t show up on the first page of Google? You may as well not exist in their eyes.
SEO is what gets you found organically in search engines like Google so you can capture that business instead of losing out to your competitors. Optimizing your website brings in qualified leads looking for services you provide in your local area. The ROI from the business SEO brings in far outweighs the cost of implementation.
I know you’d rather be building and renovating than worrying about Google algorithms. But looking at SEO as an investment in your business, not as an extra chore on your plate, is the right mindset.
Now let’s dive into the strategies and tactics you can use to get your website ranking higher and phone ringing more!
Start With Research – Know Your Audience
Jumping straight into tactics without understanding your customers and the competitive landscape is one of the biggest mistakes I see contractors make with SEO. You wouldn’t start building a house without blueprints, would you?
Begin by getting very clear on who your ideal customers are. Location? Budget? Specific needs? Be as detailed as possible when defining your target audience. This helps you create content that truly appeals to their interests and fits their search queries.
After nailing down your ideal customer, conduct thorough keyword research to identify exactly what terms and phrases those prospects are using to find services like yours.
I recommend using Google’s auto-complete feature and Keyword Planner for this, as well as checking out what keywords your competitors are ranking for. SEMrush is a paid tool that makes competitor research super easy.
Once you compile a list, refine it by including only keywords aligned with services you offer, your location, and searcher intent such as “kitchen renovation contractors San Diego” rather than just “kitchen designers.”
Having clearly defined targets and knowing the precise language they use makes optimizing much simpler down the road. It ensures you’re playing the right game to get found.
Just remember – specific, long-tail key phrases tend to convert better than overly broad ones. I’ll explain why a bit later!
Optimize Your Website
With thorough keyword research completed, it’s time to apply what you learned to start optimizing your website for both search engines and visitors!
Focus on your homepage, “About Us,” services, and location pages first. These tend to be the most important for rankings and conversion. Make sure to optimize elements like:
Usable Link Internal Structure
Having links between relevant pages helps search engines crawl and interpret page content more intelligently.
Your title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. Keep them under 60 characters, with your most important keywords closer to the beginning.
Proper use of H1, H2, and H3 header tags indicates to search engines what content on the page is most important.
Image File Names/Alt Text
Descriptive image file names and alt text provide context to search engines.
URLs with keywords tell Google what specific page content is about and help generate snippets in search results.
This one is key! Unique, valuable content optimized with your target keywords (in moderation) demonstrates expertise and relevance to what users are searching for.
No need to completely rewrite all existing content right away. Start by optimizing new blog posts and pages first, then update old material over time.
I’ll go deeper into SEO content best practices a little later on. But first, let’s talk technical optimization.
The Nuts and Bolts of Technical SEO
While content is king for SEO, getting the technical elements correctly implemented vastly improves crawling and indexing.
It can be overwhelming since there’s so much to technical SEO – site speed, structured data, XML sitemaps, rending, indexing, etc.
I’ll cover a few of the most vital areas to focus on. Making these improvements early on will give your SEO a nice boost!
Optimize Page Speed Site speed is a ranking factor now. Quick page load times keep visitors happy and on your site longer, reducing bounce rate.
Use caching plugins, compress images, and minimize HTTP requests to improve performance scores. Test with free tools like Google Page Speed Insights and GTmetrix.
Improve Your Link Profile
The quality inbound links pointing to your domain positively influence rankings and indicate trust.
An effective long-term link building strategy combined with website optimization is what propels businesses to the first page of Google.
Start by building profiles, getting published as a source, and events listings/citations to accumulate some foundation links.
I’ll expand on link building more a bit later on!
Leverage Structured Data
Introduce schema markup to make things like your business info, opening hours, address, and reviews machine-readable.
Google supports schema for contractors, products, FAQs, events and more. This enhances listings and snippets to stand out in SERPs.
The Key Ingredient – Optimized SEO Content We touched briefly on the importance of content earlier. Now let’s explore which elements make content truly effective for conversions and rankings.
Remember those long-tail keywords we found in our research? Use them strategically throughout your site’s pages. These super specific phrases tell Google exactly what each page focuses on.
But don’t just cram posts full of keywords. Quality content is about balance – rich information search engines understand, written for users with a common need or question.
Strive to create content only your business can. Share experience, behind-the-scenes imagery, expertise around your services, company history or anything else competitors can’t replicate. Demonstrate thought leadership!
Helpful, Informative & Engaging
Aim to educate, not sell. Answer the questions website visitors have around home services and renovations. Entertain them or tap into motivational hooks. Valuable content earns links, social shares and conversions!
Multimedia Videos, infographics, photos, charts, etc. break up dense text and keep visitors engaged longer. Different formats also cater to different learning styles.
Optimized for Local Intent
Incorporate your location prominently. Get listed on Google My Business, include your full address, link to contact/booking pages, etc. This signals relevance for anyone searching for contractors in your area.
This one is mutually beneficial for both users and SEO! Link to related posts to guide visitors to more helpful information on your site. It also passes “link juice” to give those pages a rankings boost too.
Promote Your Content
Just publishing great content unfortunately isn’t enough anymore. Actively promote it across social media, PPC ads, email newsletters, and even via old fashioned word-of-mouth! This amplifies reach and sends signals that other people find it useful.
Triple down on promoting newly published pages since Google weighs social signals and engagement heavily for relevance in the beginning before enough organic data is available.
Alright, those are the essentials of On-Page optimization. But SEO success requires thinking beyond just your website.
Link Building for Lead Generation
Remember earlier when I said content plus links are what propels businesses to the first page? Let’s discuss link building now – one of the most crucial pieces of ranking well.
Google uses links to evaluate how trustworthy and authoritative websites are. More high-quality sites linking to you signals overall expertise in your field to search engines.
Not all links are created equal though… Random directories or spammy sites can actually hurt your rankings.
Focus on earning legitimate links from industry resources, local sites like newspapers and chambers of commerce, other reputable contractors, and home improvement blogs.
Outreach for guest posts and contributor spots on these domain authority sites overtime earns extremely valuable backlinks. Just make sure guest posts remain relevant and genuinely help publishers’ audiences rather than blatant advertisement.
Pro Tip: Broken link building works wonderfully too. Identify reputable pages with broken resource/information links relevant to your business and offer up some of your content as replacements! Resource pages related to home services on sites like Home Depot and publications like Dwell could have broken links to pitch.
Citations & Directories
While citations and directories don’t directly earn backlinks, they do reinforce to Google that your business exists in the real world.
Consistent and accurate NAP (name, address, phone number) details across key sites demonstrate trust and authority on a very basic local level.
Start claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing if you haven’t already. This serves as the foundation.
Then expand to top specialty listings for contractors like HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List as well industry-specific ones like Bio Construction Directory. Don’t forget popular aggregators like Yelp too!
Reviews & Social Proof
Positive sentiment publicly shared by past customers provides social proof of quality work and expertise. This earns trust with potential new customers starting their buyer’s journey.
Reviews influence conversions even more than rank for service area businesses like contractors!
Make reviewing you easy across multiple platforms like Google, Facebook, Yelp. Then feature them prominently on your website.
Keep Things Fresh and Updated
Search algorithms and ranking factors evolve constantly in response to spam techniques and shifting user behavior. What works to get page 1 rankings today likely won’t keep you there forever.
Set reminders to analyze your metrics and website at least quarterly, if not monthly. Check rankings for target keywords, traffic to key pages, conversion rates, etc.
Refresh underperforming content, update page speed elements as web standards change, and expand your link profile.
Ongoing maintenance is crucial for maintaining and improving SEO results long term!
Master These SEO Fundamentals, Then Expand Alright, we’ve covered a ton of ground laying the SEO foundation! Here’s a quick recap of the basics we went over that you should master first:
- Know your ideal customer and their search behavior
- Research and select effective keywords
- Optimize website content for search visibility
- Improve technical elements like site speed and structured data
- Build high-quality link profile
- Gain local citations and reviews
Once you implement these core elements, you’ll likely see your organic traffic and leads pick up. But there’s always room for improvement, right?
As you move up in the SERPs, gap analysis against sites ranking above yours helps identify where you still fall short. Common expansion areas include conversion rate optimization, paid search ads, advanced link building tactics, and personalized outreach.
Wow, that was a lot of information all in one go, huh? Let’s wrap up with the key takeaways:
Conclusion & Main SEO Takeaways If you only remember a few things from this behemoth of a post, let it be these core SEO insights:
- Keyword optimization across all website elements is central to being discoverable by your potential customers. Do thorough research, then apply what people search for strategically throughout your content.
- Creating pages that precisely answer the questions and meet the needs of home improvement searchers is how you’ll beat competitors ranking above you. Offer value first through education and expertise sharing.
- Earning links from local directories, partners, and relevant sites over time earns trust and authority. This is what propels you to search visibility just as much as on-page optimization.
- Don’t treat SEO as a one-and-done task. Maintain your presence through site updates, new content, ongoing link building and reviews generation for sustainable traffic growth.
- Master the fundamentals before expanding efforts – they lay the foundation for SEO success. As you climb rankings, gap analysis exposes new areas for improvements.
I know that still seems like an awful lot to digest. But just tackle local SEO for auto repair shops one step at a time, starting with the basics we went over today. Over the coming months, as you optimize your online presence, you’ll start noticing your website traffic, leads, and phone ring more thanks to higher search visibility in your local market.
Q: How much does contractor SEO cost on average?
A: Depending on complexity and current standings, average investment ranges from $500-$2,500 initially for professional assessment, strategy development & foundational optimization. Then roughly $750-$1,250 monthly for content creation and link building.
Q: How long does it take for SEO efforts to reflect in Google rankings?
A: You’ll likely see minor movement upward within the first 3-6 months as you build momentum. But SEO is an ongoing process, not a quick fix. Generally plan for 12+ months before reaching page 1 rankings consistently.
Q: Is SEO a worthwhile investment for small contractors?
A: Absolutely! Local search visibility leads directly more qualified website traffic that converts to phone calls and form submissions far better than inefficient ads. Just focus on core elements with the biggest bang for buck. Start with self-implementation, then get pro help scaling efforts once momentum builds.
Q: What’s better – hiring an in-house SEO or agency?
A: We definitely recommend starting in-house, then bringing on an external team for specialized skills like link building at scale. In-house SEO generally costs slightly less but agencies provide expansion capabilities not feasible internally early on budget-wise or resource-wise. Do a cost comparison of options for your current business size and goals.
Q: Should I just hire someone to update website copy with target keywords?
A: Definitely not! Effective SEO requires an integrated strategy across content, technical elements and off-site linkage. Just jamming keywords randomly into existing copy rather than creating valuable, conversion-focused content will likely do more harm than good.