7 Ways to Boost Your Contracting Company’s Onsite and Offsite SEO
Date: June 7, 2021
Whether you own an HVAC installation business, a roofing company, or a full-service contracting firm, you know how important it is to establish your credibility and gain your customers’ trust.
Just like glowing word-of-mouth referrals from friends and clients make potential customers more likely to check you out, appearing at the top of a Google search makes people feel more comfortable calling you when their AC dies in the middle of a heatwave or they’re finally ready to remodel their avocado-green 70s kitchen.
Unfortunately, high SERP (search engine results page) performance doesn’t just happen by itself. If you have a website, you’ve probably at least heard of search engine optimization, or SEO, the techniques digital marketers use to help websites rank.
Most folks are pretty confused by SEO for contractors, and that’s okay. After all, as a contractor, your job is to build houses and install electrical systems, not optimize web copy. But even without experience in digital marketing, there are things you can do with your onsite and offsite SEO that will help your ranking.
“What was that?” you say. “There’s more than one type of SEO?”
We know. Just when you thought SEO couldn’t get more complicated, we turn around and tell you there are onsite and offsite SEO strategies. Don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds!
Onsite SEO vs. Offsite SEO for Contractors
Onsite SEO includes anything you do on your website to improve its performance in search results. All the things you’ve probably heard of when it comes to SEO—keywords, titles, website descriptions—are part of onsite SEO.
Offsite SEO, also called off-page SEO, is harder to manage. It refers to actions and endorsements that happen outside your website to help improve your rankings. Obviously, you don’t have a lot of control over the rest of the internet, but there are things you can do to boost your offsite SEO performance.
How to Use Both Types of SEO to Improve Your Rankings
Onsite SEO optimization is by far the easiest to control, which is good because it accounts for about 70% of your ranking score. But even though offsite optimization isn’t something you can always direct, it can help you establish your reputation across wide swaths of the online jungle.
Here are our seven tips for optimizing both areas of SEO:
1. Keywords and Titles
You can improve your onsite SEO just by using your main keyword in the title of your page and in your website description. But it will be more effective if you do some keyword research to make sure the keywords you’re using are the right ones.
If you’re a cabinet maker and the only keyword in your title is “cabinets,” chances are high that your site isn’t ranking well. Using key phrases, also known as long-tail keywords, in your title and website description makes it much easier to rank your page. Using the keyword phrase “custom kitchen cabinet maker” instead will instantly push you up the SERPs.
One more note: Google algorithms use indexing standards to rank pages, so optimizing the number of characters in your title and description (60 and 160 respectively) will give you another boost.
2. Optimize Your Graphics
Because quality sites are more likely to use custom graphics and photography, you should give your image file a name that describes it when you upload graphics to your website (rusted pipes photo, for example). And remember—your file size needs to be big enough that it isn’t pixelated, but small enough that your page can load quickly. Slow page loads will hurt your onsite SEO every time.
Search engines take accessibility seriously, so adding alt-text that describes your image will also push you further up the page. This hack can help your site look more legitimate to search engine bots even if you’re using stock images.
Don’t forget to add videos too. Whether it’s an employee talking about how to change door locks, an HVAC tech talking about regular furnace or AC maintenance, or a filmed walkthrough of a major build, a video posted on your site can help increase your credibility with search engines.
(Bonus points if you cross-post the videos on YouTube and your social media accounts to help your offsite SEO. More on that below.)
3. Internal Links & Indexing
Linking to other pages on your website will give your user more information about you, but it will also improve your SEO rankings. Include one to three links that direct to a mix of the following:
- Service pages
- Old posts with relevant information
- Photos of recent remodels
- Contact information
One step that most people forget when they’re running a DIY SEO operation is to make sure your site is indexable. If it’s not, search engines won’t be able to send a bot to read your page, a process known as crawling, and if your site can’t be crawled, it definitely won’t rank.
4. Content, Content, Content
It should go without saying that you need to update your content regularly. Your content will be even more effective at improving your rankings if it’s optimized, which means you need to incorporate those long-tail keywords we talked about earlier.
If your SEO isn’t outsourced, you can get great ideas for what types of keyword phrases you should be using by looking at the “people also searched” and “searches related to” results that come up on the results page when you type your keyword into a search engine.
Whether you do it through a blog, updated testimonials, or new graphics, new content acts as a giant, flashing neon sign to search engines that says, “Look over here!”
Because search engines assume a site that’s linked to often has quality content, the most important thing you can do to build your offsite SEO is to increase the number of backlinks you have.
Backlinks are categorized by how they were created:
- Natural links happen with no effort on your part, like when an interior design firm or architect posts about a project you worked on together and links to your site without you asking.
- Manual links are links you have actively requested from customers, influencers, or partners.
- Self-created links, the least powerful type, are created if you link to your site in your own press release, in forums and blogs, or in online directories. Search engines are getting better at detecting these attempts to game the system, so these types of links shouldn’t play a major role in your SEO strategy.
Not all backlinks are created equal. A recent link from a popular website that’s reliable and trustworthy will help you more than a link from a random home renovation DIY WordPress blog. For example, consider pitching a post about common mistakes people make when selecting a contractor to a respected blogger or editorial outlet.
6. Social Media
Likes, comments, and shares on your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts can help improve your offsite SEO by driving traffic to your website, so it’s important that you keep your content fresh and engage with your audiences across your social media platforms.
Activities like guest posting on influencer accounts and writing guest blogs on industry and news sites that link back to your pages also help increase your relevance and credibility in the eyes of the all-powerful search engine.
Whatever your construction expertise is, start partnering up with people to sell it. Find a home decor influencer on Instagram and ask if they have any projects they want help building. Pitch posts about the five most common mistakes people make when trying to rewire lights to a popular blogger. Submit articles about how to increase the longevity of your rain gutters to your local homeowners’ Facebook group.
Then watch the likes and shares turn into top-tier rankings as more traffic is directed to your website from social media channels.
If you haven’t claimed your Google Business page yet, stop reading right now and go do it. And then, when your customers tell you how much they love the job you did on their roof, tell them, “Thanks! It was my pleasure. I’d appreciate it if you left me a review on Google. It really helps my business grow.”
While you can’t pay people for good reviews or post fake ones, reviews play a key role in offsite SEO ranking for local searches. You should be encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and have a “review us” button on your website that links to your Google and Facebook Business pages.
Can We Build It? Yes, We Can!
To quote a nephew’s favorite contractor, Bob the Builder, you can use these onsite and offsite SEO techniques to build the scaffolding that will help your website reach the top of the search engine page.
If you measure twice (do your keyword research, optimize your graphics, encourage reviews, etc.) and cut once (partner up with influencers and launch social media pages), your construction business will deliver the same type of quality online as it does at the worksite.
Need a little help with SEO for your contracting business? Reach out to us at 9Sail – we’re a search marketing agency based in Fairfield, NJ that specializes in SEO for roofers and contractors around the country.
See how we helped grow this client’s organic traffic and leads with a tailored SEO campaign.