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Every single time we onboard a new contracting client for contractor digital marketing, this question comes up almost immediately:
“How do I improve Google rankings for my company?”
Good question, and props for you for asking—your website is your number one sales representative and 81% of B2C shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. If you aren’t showing up for searches like “contractor near me” and “fix a leaky roof,” then your business is likely to suffer.
Below are ten secret strategies we teach our junior SEO strategists to help contracting companies rank higher in search engine results. Put these tips in your online marketing toolbox, and give us a call if you need a partner to help you craft a compelling growth plan for your Google search rankings.
Note: All of these examples are part of a greater SEO strategy. Pop over to this resource on SEO to learn more about our approach and what it is, or contact us to get started on SEO for contractors >>
10 Foolproof Sneaky Ways Contractors Can Improve Google Search Rankings
First Things First: Google’s Top 10 Ranking Factors for 2019
While there are more than 200 influences that determine where your website ends up in the search results, we’ve identified the top 10 ranking factors for 2019:
- Secured sites (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
- Websites that are mobile-friendly
- Page speed
- Schema markup
- Webpage content quality and search intent
- Webpage content length
- Social and local signals
- Quality backlinks
- Optimized images
- Domain age
SEO Ranking Hack #1: Identify Your Top Search Key Phrases and Long-Tail Keywords
You should already know about using keywords for SEO. And I’m not talking about those dinky, vague, simple keywords. I’m talking about key phrases—those long-form questions or detailed keywords. For example;
- “Roofing company”
- “HVAC contractor”
- “Office hammock”
Are all keywords. Key phrases, or long-tail keywords, look more like the following:
- “Galvanized steel roof installers”
- “How do I fix a leaking roof”
- “Buy a freestanding office hammock”
These are the heavy-hitting questions and phrases that indicate a more specific intention from customers. Think about it, someone searching for “HVAC company” probably has less of a commercial buying intent than someone who searches for “Lennox furnace replacement company.”
The best way to find your long-tail keywords is by using a keyword tracking or planning tool like Keyword Planner in Google AdWords, Moz, WordStream, or any of the hundreds of other paid platforms. Blue Corona uses our own proprietary software to identify, track, and flag both current keyword rankings and opportunities.
SEO Ranking Hack #2 Clean up your Local SEO and NAP citations
Most contracting companies are local companies. Regardless if you’ve got one mom-and-pop shop on Main Street or are the owner of a corporate Franchise—the number one way your contracting company will improve rankings in Google search results is by getting your locations into Google’s local pack (photo above). The best way to do this is by ensuring every. single. location. has SPOTLESS NAP citations (name-address-phone number) and is well-optimized for local search.
SEO Rankings Hack #3: Optimize Your Headings
The best way to explain how Google reads headings is by comparing it to how your brain subconsciously reads news articles.
First, your brain recognizes the headings, which tell you what the article is about. You then may zoom in on a few key phrases like “debt limit” or “Kim Kardashian.” Then you might flick your eyes over the images.
All of this happens almost instantaneously in your subconscious without your knowing, and through those collective bits of information, you decide whether or not you want to keep reading or move on.
Google does that too, but instead of deciding whether or not to read about raising the debt limit or Kim’s new baby, it’s looking for signals that best describe what your article is about and then indexing it in a huge invisible filing cabinet. Optimization is when you write your content in a way that’s easy for Google to “read” and understand.
The first step to optimization after keywords: you need to make your headings clear, keyword-rich, and ordered correctly with H1, H2, and H3 tags on every. single. web page.
SEO Ranking Hack #4: Optimize Your Content
Remember when we chatted above about finding your long-tail keywords?
Now let’s put those suckers to work by optimizing your on-site content for those perfect, high-commercial-intent-key phrases by incorporating them throughout the body of the text.
Since you and I are buddies now, I’ll let you in on a top-secret hack we use at Blue Corona to improve Google rankings (shhhhhhhhh…… don’t tell anyone):
At the bottom of the search results page are a number of “searches related to…” your key phrase. Incorporate those related phrases into your content.
BOOM. The secret’s out.
We covered how to optimize the content for improving SEO rankings, so we’ll move onto the more technical bits, starting with images.
SEO Ranking Hack #5: Optimize Your Images
Yes, you can optimize images.
Quick-and-dirty: When you upload an image into WordPress, you have a few options that can help skyrocket your content to the top of the search results. Be sure to do the following:
- Choose a descriptive file name. No, don’t go with the auto “2018-09-13_11-39-59” or whatever your software does. Rename it something like “red-GAF-timberline-shingles” or “blackmail-for-kids-teenage-years.”
- Add an image alt-tag. This is what the image is about and gives Google (as well as the blind) a picture of what the photo is of. (Remember, Google can’t see things. It’s an algorithm.)
- Reduce the file size: a huge file makes your web page slow, which is no bueno. Keep it under 100KB.
SEO Ranking Hack #6: Add in Advanced Schema
This is not something for you to DIY.
Schema is a type of website code we put on your page that gives Google more context and information about your page, and there is a specific type for contractors: local business Schema.
While simply having local business schema markup on your website doesn’t mean your site will automatically shoot to the top of Google, it makes it easier for search engines to interpret, making it more likely to be included in the search results. It can also add features like review rating to your search results listings:
SEO Ranking Hack #7: Manually Submit your URL for Indexing and re-crawl
For your page to show up in search results at all, it needs to be indexed by Google. Think of an invisible file cabinet that holds every single page on the internet EVER. Google runs regular crawls of all of these pages to identify updates, alterations, new relevancy, etc.
Bad news☹: Google doesn’t run on your schedule.
Good news😄: You can manually get Google to re-crawl your site or page.
This hack isn’t too difficult, but you need to know your way around Google Search Console.
Log into Search Console and select your company’s URL. Then:
- Navigate to “crawl” on the left-hand navigation column
- Click “Fetch as Google”
- Enter in the URL you want to be re-crawled
- Click “Fetch and Render”
- Click “Request Indexing”
You can also submit new pages/blogs here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url
SEO Ranking Hack #9: Gain External Links
Google ranks pages based on a number of factors, including authority. Links from other websites back to a specific webpage are like positive reviews. The more authoritative the website that links to you, the more weight it has.
Note: Beware of link-building scams. Do not buy links. Google will catch you, penalize you, and it will take a considerable amount of time to recover from their wrath.
SEO Ranking Hack #10: Utilize Social Media
Yes, social media does have an indirect impact on SEO. Remember three seconds ago when I mentioned authority? Google takes certain landscape indicators from social sites to identify content that is heavily shared and cited. Think of each and every social media post as its own little web page. Google crawls each one, and the more relevant and authoritative you are, the more Google will notice.
The Big Secret on SEO for Contractors: SEO Is the Best Way to Increase Google Rankings for Free
I can sum up this entire post in one sentence:
If you continually include the best and latest SEO practices in your contractor digital marketing strategy, you will increase where and how often you show up in search engine results.
Give Blue Corona a call—I’ve got a bunch more secrets for how to get your company ranked in the #1 spot, and I’d be happy to use them on your website.
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's in-house Digital Marketing Specialist. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod