SEO to Get More Customers: A Guide for Contractors, Home Services, and Construction | Constant Contact

Contractor and construction friends! I have outstanding news for you! You ready? People all over your community need your services. Lots of people. Wondering why they haven’t called you yet? Well, it might because they called your competitor instead (sorry). But it’s also entirely possible, even probable, they simply don’t know you exist. 

That is what we, in the digital marketing industry, call A Big Problem. Fortunately, it’s also an Entirely Solvable Problem — using the magic of SEO, or search engine optimization.

In this post, I’ll:

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What in the world is SEO for contractors? 

SEO stands for search engine optimization. In a nutshell, SEO is behind-the-scenes magic that increases the chance (optimizes) that Google (search engine) will display your website among your potential customers’ search results.

Here’s how an online search works:

Google's search engine results page
Here’s a familiar sight: Google’s search engine results page (SERP). This example uses the phrase “Servicemaster” as a search term.

SEO is the process by which you make it super easy for Google to find your business, so it can tell people looking for you: Check out this one! Looks like they can help!

Here’s another way to say it: Websites are full of little homing beacons — words and other elements (which we’ll get to in a minute) that “light up” when they match search signals. The key to SEO is making sure you have your homing beacons configured correctly so they respond at the right time in the right way.

Fortunately, SEO is more science than art — which takes away all of the subjectivity on Google’s end and a good bit of the guesswork on ours. Unfortunately, to the average business owner, it can feel like a PhD-level organic chem lab. But don’t worry! This post will demystify the whole thing (as much as it can be demystified, anyway).

First, though, let’s talk about how SEO is different from paid advertising.

What’s the difference between SEO and PPC?

SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) are different advertising means to the same end: getting more prospective customers to your website. The major difference between them? SEO is “free.” PPC is not. (The official language is “organic” and “paid.”)

Now, here’s why I put “free” in quotation marks. Doing SEO effectively is tough, so to do it right, you’ll have to invest either time or money. In other words, you’ll either spend gobs of time reading and trying to implement SEO tactics recommended by experts like these, or you’ll spend some money letting someone else do it for you.

Which brings us to the second major difference between PPC and SEO. PPC is comparatively simple: You write Google Ads (with plenty of help from Google itself), you set a budget, and you launch the ads. If your budget is more attractive to Google than your competitors’, you win; your investment will launch you to the top few options on page one of the search engine results page (SERP).

SEO, on the other hand, can be ridiculously complicated and nuanced. It’s slow, and best practices change constantly. If you don’t pay attention, your website will — before you can say keyword stuffing — drop to page two of the SERP. That’s bad. That’s no-man’s land. As we marketing nerds like to joke, page two of the SERP is the perfect place to hide a dead body. No one will ever go looking for it — or for your home services or construction company — over there.

If you’re thinking, “OK, seriously: How complicated can it possibly be?” Ridiculously dang complicated. Currently, there are 210 known SEO attributes that affect your search rank. Some are obvious (keywords) and some are super obscure (poison anchor text and Easter egg results). Not all of those attributes have equal weight, but Google is tight-lipped about what matters most. And while it’s possible to game the system by using black hat SEO techniques, it’s not recommended. No one likes to get played — especially Google. If you want to win in the long run, you have to go about it the right way, with good strategy and honest, thoughtful tactics.

Improve your SEO by using keywords correctly

Keywords are the terms, phrases, and questions people type into the Google search bar. If you use those same terms, phrases, and questions on your website, Google’s more likely to find it and include you on the SERP. 

Seems simple enough, right? Yes. Except no. Here are some tips for playing nicely with Google when it comes to keywords:

Improve your SEO through HTML analysis

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is how websites are written. It dictates what fonts are used, where things show up on the page, how big the words are, what color they appear in, and more. To optimize your HTML:

Improve your SEO through content analysis and site architecture

Google likes websites that aren’t just covered in words. It’s looking for images and videos, too — properly tagged ones. It analyzes the number of words on a page, the number of pages on a site, and more. 

At the moment (remember it changes all the time), Google seems to care most about:

You can discover these site metrics and more using Google Analytics.

Get our free guide to online marketing for home & building services

A solid SEO strategy is only part of a comprehensive digital marketing plan. Be sure to check out The Download: Making Sense of Online Marketing for Home & Building Services! This free, step-by-step guide will help you connect the dots in online marketing so you can move forward with confidence. You’ve got this!

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