Are you trying to figure out how to keep your business growing in the digital age? Maybe word of mouth has been enough until now, but you’re noticing fewer calls from new customers. If you’ve been in business for years, but you’ve never established an online presence, now is the time. Even if you have already had your business online for some time, and you find that you aren’t getting the results you hoped for, we can help. People are never going to stop searching for plumbers and their services. Make sure they can find your business when they do.
At Affordable Contractor Websites, we can equip you for success by leveraging our intimate knowledge of the plumbing industry and plumbing SEO to optimize your website, social media presence, and SEO strategies. Your success is our success, and as you reach more potential customers and grow your plumbing business, we are ready and excited to grow with you!
Auditing Your Business Footprint
If you already have an online presence, it’s a good idea to see what marketing tools you’re using that are working, and what keywords or strategies may need to be retired. A good marketing agency can look at a complete list of indicators of site and SEO health that you may not even think of. Things like:
- Who is linking back to your site? Who is referencing your content? Is it other high-quality sites, or is it spammers? Search engines take the content you’re associated with into account when determining your ranking.
- Does your site have any encryption, loading, or hosting issues? As fraudulent activity increases online, search engines are looking at site security as a factor in rankings.
- Are your site’s meta descriptions and tags on your site optimized for search results? Are they unique, brief, and linked correctly to individual page content?
- Are your keywords stacking up against competitor businesses in your area? Are they optimized for the target customers you’re trying to reach?
- How visible is your NAP (name, address, phone number)? Does your business show up in a Google search when searched in conjunction with your location? If so, is the information given accurate?
Skipping this step and missing any of the things above could ground your efforts at better marketing before you even get started. Don’t take the risk. A professional marketing firm can review your site information and keywords, identify gaps in lead generation and conversion, and design your marketing strategy.
Principles for Good Website Design
If you are going to utilize digital marketing, it is critical to have a professional, engaging website. While there are many aesthetic options to make your site stand out and give potential customers a great feel for your business, there are proven fundamental principles for web design to ensure success. When we design a plumbing website at Affordable Contractor Websites, we always deliver a that site is on-brand for your company, user-friendly, clean, and optimized with relevant content to drive growth for your company.
- Keep information relevant and concise, and don’t overwhelm users with information. Use white space on you site as breathing room, which gives visitors time to digest what they’re reading. Make sure critical information – such as your business name, address and phone number – are easy to spot. A good rule of thumb is to keep you site clean enough that it takes less than three seconds to load. Consumers have a short attention span, and a long load time can cost you a phone call or site inquiry. Amazon estimates that $1.6 billion in business is lost annually as a result of slow-loading pages. Don’t be a part of that lost profit.
- Make sure your call to action is focused and highly visible. Whether its setting up an appointment, contacting your team for a quote, or making directing site users to sign up for an email list, be sure your language provides clear direction and your call to action is in a memorable position.
- Embrace selectivity with your outbound links. You don’t want site visitors to think you traffic in spam. Users will judge your website (and you) by the content with which you’re associated.
- Make pages mobile-friendly – the average person in the US spends 3 hours, 35 minutes of their day on their mobile device. 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from Google Search, and 70% of mobile searches result in action being taken within an hour. Making sure users can access your information on mobile as well as desktop will provide a better user experience and more conversions.
- Highlight any special services you offer – these services can be valuable plumbing SEO terms that will direct people to your website.
- Avoid gimmicky or low-quality site components. This one is simple; stay away from flashing or blinking text, make sure your any images are sized appropriately to maintain high quality resolution, and be consistent with a minimal number of professional fonts (i.e. avoid Comic Sans!).
- Build more than one page, and link content. Having separate pages on your website dedicated to specific content gives the user’s eye breathing room, and allows you to target more keywords over more pages.
Once you have a well-designed site, you’re ready to begin your new internet marketing journey. As with websites, there are some principles that are essential to a successful marketing strategy that will grow your business.
Do’s of SEO Marketing
- DO focus on local SEO. You can find more information on local SEO campaigns near the end of this piece, but does it surprise you to know that 46% of all Google searches and 40% of all mobile searches are local? That’s a lot of people looking specifically for services in their area.
- DO make sure you’re ranking for region-specific keywords. As online marketing advances, technology like the Google local search display has allowed companies to focus their searches on keywords that are popular in their area, enabling them to tailor their service descriptions and site content.
- DO analyze your keywords before you use them. Before you invest time and money in an SEO campaign, it’s important to score your keywords for difficulty, search volume, return rate, and clicks. Getting these scores will make sure you are using the most relevant keywords to direct traffic to your site. One of our services at Advance Contractor Websites is an initial audit to help you optimize your Google keywords for maximum impact.
- DO invest time in social media. It’s a great FREE way to market yourself to local customers, and with visible positive interactions on your social media pages you can set yourself apart from other plumbing companies. You can also share user reviews, blog posts, and other content relevant to your business to generate new site visits. If users see your content as especially relevant or useful, they may even share it themselves.
- DO consider investing money in social media advertising. Tools like Facebook marketing and Twitter Ads can help make your business part of the conversation for potential customers by inserting your business into user feeds. Good social media management is critical; to launch a successful social media campaign, you need to know who your ideal customer is and target them specifically.
- DO maintain a blog – providing quality content shows people that you know your craft, and that you want them to be informed consumers! Upload new blog posts regularly, and share to your social media platforms to generate traffic. Be careful with your content – plagiarizing won’t make you any friends and can damage your credibility and your search rankings.
- DO keep adapting – the internet is changing, target markets are changing. Your marketing should be adaptable too. YouTube, for example, is the second most trafficked site on the web after Google. You can use video content to reach your target base, and with long-form content videos (typically five minutes or longer), YouTube is willing to pay if they can add advertisements to your video. Google specifically offers a YouTube search function on Google Trends, so you can compare keyword relevancy for videos, just like you can with site content through Google Search.
Don’ts of SEO Marketing
- DON’T use black hat marketing techniques – buying links, plagiarizing content, or otherwise trying to trick search engines. You are likely to get caught, and penalties for these tricks can get your site penalized with a lower ranking or even banned from an SERP. As discussed above in the ‘Dos’, there are plenty of above-board strategies that will yield increased website traffic to your site.
- DON’T overuse keywords in content on your site – quality over quantity! The key to successful SEO efforts is making sure your keywords appear organically and help your target users make informed decisions. Big firms such as Google are now able to recognize fluff pieces, and they can hurt your site rankings. Don’t underestimate the importance of quality content; in the long run, it will pay off with SEO rankings and with your users.
- DON’T start paying for a service until you understand who you are targeting in your initial campaign. Your target market may change over time, and that’s okay; you can adapt your platforms and keywords. But getting started without a clear idea of who you’re trying to. Reach will make it harder to correct later on.
Easy, right? Understanding how NOT to handle your SEO campaigns can be just as important as knowing what you should do, especially since bad SEO practices can have long-term consequences for your search rankings and site traffic.
The good news is that there are qualified SEO specialists who live and breathe SEO. They can recommend the best marketing plan for you and make sure these tips and tricks are used to your advantage. At Affordable Contractor Websites, we make it our business to understand your business and its SEO needs.
Organic and Paid Searches
So now you have some guiding principles for success with SEO marketing, but how do you go about achieving that success? First, it’s important to know that there are two basic types of search results: organic (or non-paid) search results, and paid search results.
Let’s start with organic searches, which allow searchers to filter out ads, since only search results containing the string of search terms will be returned. These searches are typically the most relevant to the exact search terms, and the user can access the site without any cost to the site owner. The ‘do’ strategies for successful SEO marketing are especially important in getting your site to the front page of organic search results; that means strategizing the most relevant content and on-page optimization.
You’ve already seen some very effective ways to improve your site’s organic search ranking. Blog Posts, quality content, and very simply a well-designed website with a quick load time can boost your ranking and eventually get you to the front page of a search. That’s why the importance of a well-done site with relevant, informative information can’t be overstated. And, in the age of clickbait and spam, users are more trusting of non-advertisement search results.
Organic searches are great, because once your site reaches the front page of organic results, it is easier to keep it there. But it takes some time to get there. Reaching the front page can take months, or even years, which can equal a lot of lost revenue.
Luckily, there’s an alternative in the form of paid search results.
Paid ad searches, when done right, can feel like natural search returns to the user. As soon as the ad is paid for, it will appear at the top of user search results, and if you have built your site well, over time those top paid search results can become top organic results.
Paid ads also allow target segments, based on location, income range, industry, and a host of other categories. So if you offer specific services to users in one area, or special contracts with other businesses, you can break down your budget to allow different advertisements to those groups.
What are Users Actually Seeing in a Search Result?
In both organic and paid searches, there are two pieces of site code that get displayed for users in the search result. They are:
- Title tags, also known as the headline in an SERP link. Content may be king, but title tags are queen. A title tag is the second most important piece of your site when it comes to search engine optimization. It has to be eye-catching for users, and rank-able for search engines. Most search engines will cut off tags after 50 – 60 characters, but the more brief you can be the better. Use title tags to your advantage by briefly including your location or a special or unique service you offer. If you do the latter, be sure the page you link back to is optimized to highlight that service!
- The meta description is like the closer for a title tag. The tag may catch a searcher’s eye, but the meta description has to seal the deal and entice the user to click in 160 characters or less. No small task! Although meta descriptions are not included in search engine rankings, any words that match the search will be bolded in the meta description, which can increase a searcher’s confidence in the relevance of your site as a search result, making meta descriptions incredibly value factors in conversion from search traffic to site traffic.
It’s always a good idea to use tools like SERP Simulator to see how your title tag and meta description will look in search results.
Many companies, including major search engines like Google and Bing, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, offer paid advertising packages. Any of them can yield high lead and conversion rates if used correctly, and a marketing agency can help you determine how to allocate funds to reach you target audiences.
The Rise of Local SEO
There is a shift happening towards focused, local SEO campaigns. After all, it is much easier to get to front page for people in your area, which is who you want to service anyways! When it comes to a local search, Google is invaluable; it is home to a whopping 87% share of local searches. Don’t discount other search engines like Bing ads, Yahoo, and Apple Maps, but in this case, it makes the most sense to focus your attention to the search engine your potential customers are using.
Google makes it incredibly easy to put yourself on the map, literally. With Google My Business, you can enter your location, which ensures accuracy in Google Maps (so people can find you with no hassle if needed!). You can also enter your business hours and emergency hours to let people know when they can expect to reach you and if you’re available for those late-night or holiday disasters. Claiming your business with Google My Business is a no-brainer, but 56% of local businesses have yet to do it. They’re missing out; with a local campaign and accurate My Business information, you can see a higher conversation rate as quickly as the first 30 days.
Getting your business set up is a huge step, but you’ll still need to practice good social media and keyword management. No matter where you are, Affordable Contractor Websites can use SEO auditing tools to see how you compare to other plumbing businesses nearby and give you a customized plan to make your brand a household name in your area.
Marketing with Google
Clearly, Google is a pioneer in the world of search engine optimization. With regular updates to its algorithms to make sure users are getting the most relevant results in their searches. This commitment to better searching has been profitable; since 2011, Google has hosted an average of 64% of all US internet searches every year.
When you register your business with Google, you gain access to a suite of apps like Google Analytics. You or your web designer can embed Analytics into your site, and from there it can track specific actions that happen on your site, such as specific button clicks or page views. More importantly, using Analytics can help you understand the collected data and use insights gained to make more informed advertising decisions.
In real terms, you can see things like what content people are most interested, which of your services are most-requested and researched, how long people are spending on your site, and how many times users have visited your site before. Analytics will gather all of that information into regular reports, which you can review with your marketing agency to see if adjustments are needed to your site content or marketing campaigns.
You’ll also have access to Google Trends, which allows you to filter and compare keywords searched in a specific region over a specific timeframe. See what types of products and services people needed after a major weather event, or what types of maintenance and repair is needed seasonally. Understanding what people need allows you to tailor your marketing to meet those needs.
While these services are free and can help boost your search rankings, Google also offers paid advertisements in the form of…
Google AdWords is Google’s pay per click service. Instead of paying outright for an ad, your business is only charged if the ad results in a click. On average, businesses bring in about $2 for every $1 they spend with AdWords, an incredible 200% ROI. No matter what size your business is, you can start seeing traffic right away when you begin using AdWords, and since it’s a performance-based service, if you’re paying it’s because you’re also benefitting in the form of increased site traffic.
AdWords isn’t foolproof. Pay per click ads require regular review and refinement to be sure that people are clicking on paid links that are a relevant fit to their search query. Good pay per click management is the difference between seeing a return on your advertising investment and losing money to clicks by users who weren’t a good fit for your company and/or services.
Our primary services for businesses in plumbing are website design and marketing strategy. That may sound simple, but in the digital age your online presence can be life or death for your business. As a local or franchised business, you can measure your marketing strategy’s success not just by increased site traffic and phone calls, but by sales from customers in your area. Our goal is to do more than generate traffic to your site; it is to direct people in your area to your brand and make a lasting business connection.
As a business owner, you should be free to focus on making sure your customers are satisfied and your business is running smoothly. Let us design your website and put together comprehensive marketing campaigns so that people in your area can find your plumbing services. We’ll analyze your existing business footprint and search rankings with an SEO audit, then we’ll develop a marketing strategy to increase your business visibility in search engine results.
We pride ourselves on presenting you with a website design that is easy to navigate, fully SEO optimized, and integrated with Google analytics to help you get a complete picture of who’s visiting your site and provide insights on how you can convert those visitors into customers. We embrace the principles of good website design to ensure that you can turn site visits into phone calls, and phone calls into loyal customers. We are so confident that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on websites!
But we don’t stop there. Affordable Contractor Websites can maximize your plumbing & HVAC SEO results for the greatest return on your investment. As a Google Partner, Qualified Adwords Professional, and Accredited Bing Ads Professional, and as a company with years of experience in SEO for plumbing contractors, we know what you need in an SEO firm, and we know how to deliver quantifiable SEO results.
Whether you are in the market for a new site, a new marketing strategy, or both, you deserve the best for your business. Contact us today for a free quote and see how we’ve been able to generate over 18,000 leads and boost more than 4,600 pages to a first page ranking.