As simple (yet impactful) as SEO for general contractors is, it is often overlooked for its quick-fix alternative – Google Ads (PPC).

Although it takes time to nurture results, general contractor SEO has long-lasting benefits that can significantly increase your bottom line. And the best thing about it is that it can get a ranking of just about any business at the top of Google.

It has a killer return on investment too.

contractor leads from SEO

This post will give you an insight into an SEO strategy, its benefits, and how to boost your contracting business.

What is SEO for General Contractors? 

An SEO strategy is about ranking you on top of Google and getting all the juicy traffic. 

organic SEO vs paid ads

There are a lot of ways to achieve it.

For instance, proper on-page optimization, keyword research, and competitor analysis. You can see the basic SEO workflow below.

keyword research for contractors

For general contractors, this means getting more targeted visitors that turn into leads, which ultimately convert to booked appointments. 

Why do general contractors need SEO? 

Millions of people need your services. Many of them are searching for solutions on Google. Your job is to appear where they’re looking and be a service provider for them.

why do contractors need seo

Are you up there in the SERP? I don’t think so…

Yet, 53% of website traffic comes directly from organic search. 

53 percent of website traffic comes from search engine optimization

Here are some of the biggest benefits of SEO for general contractors: 

Increased traffic

The higher a website ranks on the search page, the more traffic you’ll get. The first result for a keyword receives a 28.5% click-through rate, while the tenth result falls to 2.5%. 

click through rates

A well-thought-out SEO strategy can get your page ranking for a wide variety of short and long-tail keywords.

The more keywords ranked, the more traffic you drive to your site. 

Higher ROI than other marketing channels 

SEO-generated leads, on average, have a 14.6% close rate, while Google has a 3.48% conversion rate, and direct mail receives a meager 1.7% close rate.

contractor leads through SEO have a 14.6% close rate

That’s why 49% of marketers believe organic search marketing is the most profitable channel. 

Higher quality traffic 

Potential customers are looking for your products and services online. Incorporating SEO allows every page to be an entry point for buyers.

The more targeted your SEO efforts are, the more likely you will attract the right visitors.

contractor sales pipeline

A well-developed general contractor SEO marketing strategy lets you reach potential buyers from every stage of the sales funnel, ensuring you’re their choice when they’re ready to purchase. 

Cost-effective marketing 

SEO marketing is the most cost-effective marketing channel for contractors. 

You don’t have to spend a penny to put your content in front of people. Instead, people who are already interested in your products, services, or information will find you. You just have to be able to rank for it and give searchers what they want.

Very few marketing channels can offer the same benefits as SEO. 

How to do SEO for General Contractors

Let’s now dive into the practical applications of building one for your business. 

1. Create a website

Having a website is the first step for people to find you online.

You’ll want a website with multiple pages to share your services, have a blog, and house other pages like Contact Us. 

We recommend using WordPress to host your site since it’s the easiest one.

When setting up your website, complete the following tasks to ensure your website is SEO-friendly. 

Set up Google Search Console (GSC)

GSC is a free tool that lets you identify website errors, submit sitemaps, view page metrics, and find UX improvements like page speed. 

And you’ll also see which keywords you’re ranking for. 

Add an SSL certificate 

Google wants to provide users with a great experience. 

And one factor in that is the website’s security. This requires sites to have an SSL certification – to use HTTPS protocol. 

SSL certificate

The easiest way to obtain it is through your hosting. 

Create a silo structure for proper Google indexing 

It’s important to index your site and create separate pages for each service you serve.

The best way to go about this is to create a silo structure. Basically, it’s a website architecture where you group and interlink content about a specific topic.

contractor silo structure

For instance: if you provide plumbing services in Florida, you want to break it down into all the cities you serve. 

That way, you can rank for “plumbing in Orlando”, “plumbing in Miami”, etc. 

Here’s what the pages may look like for a plumber: 

You can see that Rapid Rooter is a plumbing company with an SEO-friendly site. They’ve organized their services into separate pages with internal links. 

plumbing contractor website

They’ve also created subpages for all areas. 

plumbing contractor service areas

No wonder they rank so high – and so can you.

Conduct a technical SEO audit

Technical SEO is simply ensuring that search engines can find and understand the material on your website. The better your technical SEO, the higher you rank. The first thing to perfect it is conducting a technical SEO audit.

For that, you can use many popular SEO tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, or Website Audit.

technical SEO audit for contractor websites

After that, you can start fixing all the errors.

Let’s now look at some of the most common technical SEO issues and find ways to fix them.

Slow loading speed

Visitors will bounce from your site if it doesn’t load quickly (usually 3 seconds or less.)

It is important for the UX and Google that pages load quickly. 

page load time

In 2021, Google announced it had updated the Page Experience report in Search Console with metrics from Core Web Vitals.

Core web vitals

You can use PageSpeed Insights to identify speed issues on your site. Ensure you check both desktop and mobile performances.

(don’t forget, most people surf the web via smartphones, where speed seems slower.)

plumbing website page load speed

Slow page loading can be solved in a variety of ways by improving: 

Take your time and perfect all of them to get a super-sonic speed.

Broken links 

The links tell search engines a lot about the quality of your content. 

Page rankings can be affected by broken links, which interrupt the user’s journey and reflect lower-quality content.

404 error

Although internal links should be verified whenever a page is removed, changed, or redirected, external links must be monitored regularly. 

Regular site audits are the best and most scalable way to address broken links.

broken backlinks

Using internal link analysis, you can find pages with broken links and replace them.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content is content that’s a similar or exact copy of the content on other or the same websites. 

duplicate content on contractor website

Google doesn’t like that because it looks spammy and won’t rank you.

The easiest way to fix it is by using the rel=canonical tag and telling Google which of the duplicate pages is the original version.

So it can rank it and ignore the other ones.

404 response code

The response code 404 basically says that the page you’re trying to reach is not there.

This might be because the link is broken, or you have entered the wrong URL or removed the page that you’ve been linking at.

Either way, make sure you find these pages and fix them for the best user experience.

2. Target commercial intent keywords 

When performing keyword research, focusing solely on keyword volume isn’t optimal. Traffic isn’t important unless you’re attracting visitors who are likely to buy. 

Commercial intent keywords are phrases or search terms aimed toward these searchers.

keyword search intent

Let’s now look at some of the easiest ways to go about using commercial intent keywords;

Seed keyword + keyword modifier

Your seed keyword is basically a short-tail keyword describing your business, such as “plumbing” or “electrical.”

For the construction industry, you’ll also want to consider keyword modifiers like:

Let’s now look at some of the examples of using these modifiers with your seed keyword.

Local modifier

Suppose you are a general contractor in Florida.

If so, you will want to first list out all of the cities you provide your services. And then use them as modifiers to your seed keyword.

In practice, it looks like this:

Service & industry pages

Another modifier to add to your arsenal is service and industry.

This is where you can be more specific and give more information about what it is you do. It will look like this:

You can push it to another level and combine the two, which can result in keywords like “preconstruction services in Miami,”

Informational content questions

You should also target users researching informational content with questions such as: 

Even though these searchers are looking for information, they are just one step from becoming your next customer.

You can see the various keywords and questions users ask by using tools like SEMRush

construction management services keyword

3. Optimize for on-page SEO 

On-page SEO involves optimizing pages to improve search engine visibility and traffic. The most common SEO techniques for on-page SEO are meta tags, structure, images, and more. 

on-page SEO vs off-page SEO

Here are a few ways to master your on-page SEO.

Include keywords in the right places

Choosing the right keywords is important for ranking high.

But the place where you include them can make the difference too. Here are some of the best places to include keywords: 

Write better SEO-friendly content that converts website visitors into customers

SEO for general contractors differs from generic SEO advice because most consumers aren’t simply looking for informational content. 

The content for general contractors should focus on converting website traffic into leads using the following statements: 

Add internal links

All service pages and city pages should be interlinked together. Internal links provide depth to additional information on a given topic. 

contractor website internal linking structure

For instance, a contractor looking for home remodeling may continue down the rabbit hole by clicking on the bathroom or kitchen remodeling links.

4. Perform a thorough SEO competitive analysis 

SEO competitive analysis identifies competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 

If your competitors are better, you’ll struggle to gain visibility. This is where an SEO competitor analysis comes in.

To start, make a list of your competitors. 

You can easily do that by typing a phrase like “contractors in Chicago” into Google and looking at the top results.

general contractors in Chicago

Focus on website ranking for your main target keywords and additional keywords.

With the keyword gap tool, you can see a detailed comparison of a given keyword’s search landscape against its competitors. Identifying any gaps in the landscape can help you close or exploit them. 

For instance, let’s compare two contractor businesses in Chicago. 

comparing general contractors in Chicago

Using the SEMRush Keyword Gap tool, we can find the common, missing, and gap keywords. Missing keywords allow you to find keyword ideas that you may want to consider. 

Common keywords give you an idea of which keywords your competitors outperform you in. 

Consider keywords your competitors are ranking for, but you are not.

Once you answer these questions, it’s time to take them down.

The Skyscraper method

Find weaknesses in competitors’ content and create a better version of it.

SEO skyscraper method

It’s as simple as that. When Google sees that your post is better than competitors, it will rank you above them. 

Also, this method can help you get backlinks (one of the most crucial ranking factors.)

That’s because you will be producing high-quality long content. And guess what, on average long content receives 77.2% more backlinks than short articles.

(we’ll cover more link-building strategies later in the article.) 

Competitor backlink profile analysis

Competitor backlink analysis is about reverse engineering your competitors’ backlinks.

You will basically use tools like Ahrefs to find places where your competitors are getting their backlinks and then steal them.

ahrefs backlink tracker

And guess how you are going to steal them… 

By creating better content with the skyscraper method.

5. Implement Local SEO

Local SEO is all about increasing online visibility in local searches. This is especially important for contractors with a physical location. 

While it’s similar to organic SEO, it features a geographical component. Specifically, you’re ranking high in the search results for local searches. This is great because your competition goes from worldwide to a few local businesses.

local SEO for general contractors in NYC

When it comes to local rankings, Google My Business, local SEO keywords, and proximity are the top ranking factors. 

It’s also vital to optimize your site for mobile.

Think about it, most searches you conduct are on your smartphone, especially the local ones.

Here are a few ways to improve your local SEO rankings.

Create your Google my business account

Completing your profile on Google My Business is a great place to start. 

This profile lets you manage your presence on Google. As you collect positive reviews and ratings, Google will start boosting your rankings. 

Ensure NAP details are consistent

The next step which is critical for your local business success is consistent NAP.

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number – three of the most important contact details for the business.

There is nothing worse than taking a whole day trip to a business and then finding out that you are at the wrong address.

Be sure this is also correct on all directory sites. 

Create local citation profiles

Next, you want to claim your business on the platforms like Facebook, Yelp, GMB, etc. Here are other area places where you can claim your business or create a profile:

Association links

Ensure your site is linked to any industry associations you belong to (Plumbing associations, Networking groups, etc.)

chamber of commerce for contractors
Directory links

List your site in as many directories as possible (Yahoo Local Directory, Yellowbook, Yelp, Houzz, etc.) These websites let you list your company name, address, phone number, and website link.

Additionally, they can improve your Google Maps ranking because they give you citations. 

Search for “your company type – business directory” or “your city – business directory” to find other online directories. 

contractor directories

By doing this, you’ll be able to find some great directory sites to submit your company to.

Add local schema to city pages

Searchers want to see and learn more about the business directly from SERP. And by using schema markup, you can allow them to do so.

Schema markup will add more information to your search results like open hours or discounts.

This will make your search results more appealing and help you get more clicks.

HVAC brand name google search results

Just look at the example of Pro-Tec Plumbing above.

It’s also one of the most effective ways to rank in local searches besides claiming your Google My Business account.

6. Build Backlinks to your site 

Backlinks are hyperlinks from one website to another. They establish trust and authority in the eyes of Google. Think of it as a website vouching for another, like you vouching for a friend or family member.

Sites with the most backlinks usually rank higher on Google. In fact, it’s one of the most important ranking factors.

That’s why sites ranking #1 on Google have 3.8X more backlinks than the rest of the sites. 

Links from websites indicate to the search engines that your content is valuable and worthy of links. As a result, your website’s visibility and rankings will improve.

But not all backlinks are equal. The quality of backlinks is more important than quantity.

So be sure you always strive to get relevant links.

Here are several techniques to obtain high-quality backlinks: 

Guest blogging 

The guest posting strategy has been proven to be excellent for getting backlinks.

Search Google for contractor blogs or construction news websites. Use one of the following google search queries:

guest posts for contractors

You should then pitch your topic and describe the article. Just be sure to explain the benefits and how it will benefit their readers.

See where your competitors receive their backlinks 

First, identify who is in the top ranking for your desired keywords and reverse engineer their link profile. 

Start by finding your competitors by typing “your service + your city” to Google.

Then, enter their URL into Ahrefs to find their backlinks. 

competitor backlinks

Analyze their links, mimic them, and get the exact links to your site. 

7. Conversion rate optimization & Lead nurturing

SEO for general contractors can help you generate massive traffic to your website.

But only a fraction of these visitors will turn into loyal customers. And if you want to maximize your efforts, you’ll need to invest time into CRO. 

Conversion rate optimization

CRO increases the rate of website visitors who complete a form, become customers, or take the desired action. 

General Contractors can utilize this CRO strategy to turn their visitors into paid customers. 

conversion rate optimization

Here’s what a sequence might look like: 

All service, industry, and city pages should include email form call-to-actions, quote requests, intake forms, and appointment scheduling. Additionally, blog content should lead to various forms of next steps. 

You may want to offer lead magnets or assets that relate to the blog content.

lead magnets

This can include things like pricing information, plans, case studies, tools, checklists, templates, etc. 

And before they can download the lead magnet, they have to fill in the form with their name and email address.

After that, it’s time to nurture the visitors you’ve captured.

Lead nurturing

Not all visitors are ready to buy immediately.

In fact, 97% of people who visit your site for the first time leave without buying anything. And that’s where retargeting comes in handy.

Retargeting

Retargeting is setting up an ad campaign that will follow your visitors throughout the Internet

So even after they leave your site, they’ll see your dope offer everywhere.

retargeting

And finally, make the right decision to purchase.

Marketing automation

You, as a general contractor, don’t have time to manually send your lead magnet to each of your visitors who filled in the form.

It’s super time-consuming and inefficient.

And that’s why you need to invest in marketing automation and create an email sequence.

marketing automation for contractors

Email marketing has the highest ROI of all marketing channels, and every business should have an email marketing strategy in place.

It doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be as simple as this:

8. Track SEO metrics and KPIs 

SEO metrics should be aligned with your business goals. 

There are no universal KPIs for every business. This is because a website’s SEO goals will vary depending on its type, goals, objectives, and opportunities.

Here is a list of some of the most common KPIs to track:

We’ll cover a few of these KPIs and show you how to track them. 

Keyword rankings 

Monitoring your keyword positions allows you to see how you rank for specific search terms. Additionally, you can see how you compare to your competitors.

There are many keyword tracking tools that can help you with that, like SEMRush or Ahrefs.

Organic sessions

Organic sessions refer to users who found your website via an organic search. 

This means that they found your website after clicking on your website’s link on the search engine results page – not including paid ads.

This can be a great indicator of how successful your SEO strategy is.

Also, it can tell you if your SERP result is properly optimized. If you rank high, but nobody clicks on your result in SERP, you’ve got a problem.

You can easily track it with Google Analytics.

Google analytics

Referring domains

Referring domains are websites from which the target website or web page has one or more backlinks.

In essence, this means how many individual websites you have backlinks from.

You can easily track it with the Ahrefs Backlink checker.

Ahrefs Backlinks

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is one of the most important KPIs to track.

It tells you how profitable your strategy is or whether there is something wrong with your site. There are many tools that can help you track it.

The easiest one to use is Google Analytics.

The best thing is that you can also track additional metrics like impressions, clicks, and more to get a better understanding of what’s going on.

MQLs

Marketing Qualified Lead is a lead who has downloaded your offer or interacted with your marketing team.

It’s a metric that you want to continuously improve since these visitors convert at higher rates.

marketing qualified leads

You can use various tools to track it, like HubSpot, Engagio, or SalesForce.

construction leads

Value of conversions

Conversion value is a value that each conversion will bring you.

This metric is critical because even though your conversion rate might be lower with your new offer, you can still earn more. Let’s say your conversion value used to be $10, and the conversion rate was 10%.

You’ll get the same revenues even if your conversion rate is 1% with a $100 conversion value.

You can easily track it with Google Analytics. 

Ready to launch your general contractor SEO strategy? 

SEO for general contractors is vital for those who want to acquire new customers with a marketing channel that operates in the background 24/7/365. 

Our general contractor seo guide allows construction firms to stand out in the marketplace, catch customers’ attention and start conversations. 

But this is not a one-time forget-all-about-it task.

The key to long-term success is to continue to monitor and evaluate the metrics while analyzing your competitor’s positioning.

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