If you’re a home professional—such as a construction contractor or a mover—you’ve considered creating a website. If you have a website but don’t seem to be getting the traffic to drive work orders, you might wonder what else you could do to get traffic to your site.
Unfortunately, with websites, it’s not simply a case of “build it, and they will come.” Increasing a site’s visibility to your target audience takes a fair amount of specialized marketing, called search engine optimization (SEO).
This article discusses practical ways to use an SEO strategy to drive traffic to your site and grow your client base.
Understanding how Google decides what to offer on a search query
There are a few key components that the Google search algorithms consider when you run a search. The meaning of search terms, the relevance of sites to be returned in a query, your location, and the location of search results all play a vital role in what Google returns in a search.
Several other conditional factors play a role in search results as well. For instance, if you’re searching for top-ranked restaurants in your area, the search engine will consider the freshness of the content you’re searching for. Google is less likely to include the search results date if you look up dictionary definitions.
Google weighs the meaning of your search. For example, if you’re searching “weight of a semi-tractor,” but a page references “tonnage of a semi-truck,” Google’s contextual algorithms will match that page up with your search terms.
Google algorithms compare your search terms with keywords that are present in published content. They also use nuanced signaling methods to determine whether a potential site contains value compared to your search terms.
Keywords drive an SEO strategy more than any other element of web content. Keywords are words and phrases that Google focuses on in a web search to match with articles, blogs, and advertisements across the internet.
The more often searchers use a specific word or phrase when looking up certain information, the more important that word or phrase becomes to Google. By clicking on a page containing the search terms you used, you validate the keyword and make that page more relevant to Google when others use the same words you did when running a similar search.
Keywords in the content don’t have to be in the same order as what you type to return results. Google also ignores up to 15 characters of additional text between words within the content it searches.
The more often other users click on pages that contain the search words you used, the more weight those pages carry with Google.
Creating content 101 using keywords
Creating content begins with selecting topics that touch on your specific product or service. If you’re a construction contractor, you might consider writing posts related to the best wood to use for which purpose or an article about finding the right home inspector in your area. Create a spreadsheet or a list with topic ideas.
Once you land on a topic to write about, it’s time to select some keywords. You begin by using a keyword tool, like Moz, to gather some search terms to add to your content.
Sprinkle your chosen keywords throughout the content. Many writers prefer to write the article first, then go back and see where keywords will fit naturally. Sometimes they’ll naturally end up in the post during the initial writing process.
Keep in mind that Google doesn’t like the overuse of keywords — whether you’re filling up your page with various keywords or repeating the same ones repeatedly. Writers and SEO professionals refer to this practice as “keyword stuffing.” A good general rule about keywords is to use one unique word or phrase per 500 words of an article, though some content agencies may prefer to use more or less.
Long-tail keywords are combinations of words often used in searches. For instance, “collars” is a simple keyword, and “blue leather dog collars” is a long-tail keyword. When researching keywords, include at least a few long-tails for your content. They tend to have fewer searches per month, but the more specific the search terms a person uses, the closer they are to considering a purchase.
Creating a blog for your content so people can find you
A blog is one of the best ways to use a keyword-driven SEO marketing strategy to make your site — and your business — visible on the internet. A blog is a series of articles that a creator or a company puts on their site to provide an array of information to their readers that relate to the creator’s or business’s specialty.
Showcasing your expertise
When you begin your blog, you’ll want to start by letting the world know what you can do and why you’re the best at what you do. If you run a construction business, write about notable buildings your company has built. Offer advice to people looking for a construction company, and tell them what they need to look for. Write about the challenges that people starting might face, whether technical difficulties, worker issues, zoning policies, or any other factor that can impact completing a project.
The trick is to use the content and add links that direct them to at least consider your business without shamelessly waving a banner that says, “Pick me! Pick me!” Readers genuinely looking for helpful information pick up on empty self-promotion and tend to quickly move on to a different page if all they get is advertisements and promotions from their site.
Hiring someone to make a website and blog for you
If building a website and writing blogs doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you’re in luck. There are countless qualified individuals with the knowledge and experience to build beautiful and professional-looking websites. These professionals know how to create linking trees and make aesthetics that appeal to target audiences across various industries. Many web builders began with blog writing and have tremendous experience arranging and writing web content so you can do less work behind the scenes.
Hiring someone to write for you
If you’re not a writer or have no interest in writing, don’t worry. Many web builders have connections with SEO companies and content agencies that you might use to create blogs and a marketing strategy on your behalf.
SEO agencies know how to dig into key aspects of your industry. They’re experts at developing topic ideas and techniques to drive business to your website and your business.
Content writers are experienced professionals skilled in creating engaging content. They know how to produce articles and blogs that point to your business in subtle ways that won’t drive potential customers away with disingenuous promotion.
Do a web search for “SEO company needed” or “blog writer needed.” You’ll get a bucketload of Google hits, and one of them is bound to offer what you need.
Getting to know Moz
Moz and tools like it are tremendous content-writing resources. Moz enables you to look up keywords and determine how they rank on Google. You can dial in your target audience by knowing how to balance the ranking metrics that these resources offer. Moz also contains a veritable library of helpful articles jam-packed with advice and information to help improve your SEO strategy.
Tools to identify your Google ranking
Keyword ranking tools return two primary metrics — search volume and competition (also known as difficulty).
Search volume refers to the number of times people search for a keyword or keyword combination per month. Rankings of more than 100 searches per month are pretty uncommon because the internet is a big place — with a lot of people searching for a lot of different information.
High search volumes aren’t necessarily a desirable characteristic for a keyword. The more people search a keyword, the higher the competition for the top spot in Google is when using that keyword.
Result competition or difficulty is another critical measurement when considering what keywords to use. Low or medium difficulty indicates a better chance of your site turning up in a SERP when someone uses that word or phrase in their search.
SEO vs. Traditional Marketing
SEO marketing has a strong advantage over traditional strategies. Old-school advertising and sales employ a nebulous broadcasting approach to marketing. They do this in one of two ways.
- Direct sales — We’ve all had that call right as we sit down to eat or had someone knocking on our door as we settle in to watch our favorite show — only for someone to try to sell us something. These are prime examples of direct sales. This is the oldest form of marketing and has been on the decline for decades.
- Broadcast advertising — Broadcast advertising is another form of marketing finding its way into the “has” bin. Billboards, radio, and television commercials are prime examples of broadcast advertising. Though a lot of research goes into where to place ads, how to word them, or what timeslot or show to sponsor, it’s all still an indirect form of marketing. Advertisers send out a message to everybody, hoping their target customers will see the ad.
SEO works in the opposite direction. When people search the internet for the service or product you provide, they’re looking for you. SEO strategies ensure that they’re more likely to find you, instead of someone else in the same business line, when they hunt for their contractor, home inspector, or dog-collar store.
The best strategies will employ both broadcast advertising and SEO. SEO helps people who are looking for you to find you. Placing ads on websites or — if you have the budget — TV or radio gets your message out and builds brand familiarity with potential customers.
Doing it yourself vs. hiring an expert
If you’ve decided it’s time to put up a website and begin creating content to drive traffic to your site, it’s also time to consider whether you want to do it yourself or hire someone with expertise in the field.
Creating web pages and writing content takes up a lot of time and expends a lot of mental energy. If your current business already hogs up all your bandwidth, chances are you won’t get a workable SEO strategy off the ground — at least not until you can find time to focus on it.
Consider offloading the work and mental expense and leaving it to a team with expertise in building websites, building SEO strategies, and writing content. Though it will be an ongoing expense, a good crew will end up pushing more clients toward your business — ultimately paying for itself many times over in the long run.
The bottom line is a good SEO content strategy will help build your business. You can do it all yourself, but it will take immense work and research. Hopefully, this article is a good starting point for that. In the long run, you might be better off hiring experts in the field or even creating a web and social media marketing division in your company. However you plan to undertake this essential business practice, your company will be better off once you do.