Many plumbing contractors ask the question: “What is the best way to advertise my business locally?”
Unfortunately, there is no single, correct answer. When it comes to marketing locally, especially if you are a plumber, a remodeling contractor, a mechanical contractor, etc., the most recommended way to advertise is to create a solid marketing plan that includes local search engine optimization, or SEO.
Local SEO is a strategy that supports your business’ efforts to become more visible in local online search results, such as Google or Bing. Most of these efforts take place on your website’s online business directory listings.
This article offers eight SEO strategies tailored to plumbing and mechanical contractor businesses to improve their local SEO rankings.
1. Create and maintain a Google My Business page
Google My Business (GMB) is a free directory service that allows a business to promote itself. A company can share its contact information, directly link to a website or physical location with Google Map directions, as well as interact with potential customers and manage its online review reputation
In addition, GMB allows a company to share images, videos, posts and reviews. As a matter of fact, search engines highly regard the information on a GMB profile. It is important to make sure your information is complete and accurate and updated regularly. An important step is to optimize your GMB content by considering your SEO keyword strategy.
Even if you do not serve customers at your business address location, which most in the plumbing and construction industry do not, displaying your business address helps potential customers find your business in their area.
2. Use local directory listings
Local online directories are websites dedicated to listing business profiles. Listings typically include basic information: Business name, phone number, physical address and website address.
The intent of creating local listings is to make your business visible on the internet. Each new listing you create increases your chances of being found by customers.
Like GMB, these directories hold a great deal of weight in terms of organic SEO. Search engines will crawl the internet and look for the terms a user typed in. If you do not list that you are a plumber offering plumbing services, emergency repairs, remodels, new construction, etc., your business could miss out on a big opportunity.
3. Embrace all customer reviews
Customer reviews, even negative ones, are essential to a business. Not only do they build trust and authority with customers, but they also do so with SEO rankings.
According to the SEO software company Moz, roughly 9% of Google’s entire search algorithm is driven by review signals similar to the ones you’ll find in a business’ Google reviews. Actively responding to reviews helps build trust and authority, which are determining ranking factors.
If the search engines’ love for reviews isn’t enough, customers love them, too.
4. Optimize your website for voice and mobile search
In July 2019, Google prioritized search rankings for websites that were optimized for mobile search. A mobile-optimized website includes a layout design that is easy to read on various mobile devices (smart phone, tablet, iPad, etc.).
Many website-design programs allow you to preview your website on a “mobile” device. That way, you can make the necessary adjustments to ensure an optimal viewing experience for your visitors.
More recently, voice search is becoming more important than ever. With AI (artificial intelligence) assistants such as Siri or Alexa, many individuals rely on the results provided by voice search. The simplest way to ensure your website is voice-search-friendly is to optimize your content with targeted keywords.
Understand exactly what your customers are looking for. Be sure to include those words and phrases throughout your website. You want to speak with your website designer to include section headers.
For example: “Siri, find me a mechanical contractor with emergency welding services near me.”
If your website has a dedicated page or section for emergency welding services, properly tag it with both a strong meta description, header tags and your location. Then, your website will be more likely to show up in the search results.
5. Develop optimized content
Content on a website designed to support business services and goals while educating the audience is a practical digital marketing practice and a strong tactical approach to organic SEO. Search engines look for regularly updated and meaningful content when crawling search ques.
Below are some of the most impactful user and organic SEO content:
- Regardless of the type of content on your website, be sure to include relevant keywords, header tags, meta descriptions and business location(s);
- Take advantage of what customers are searching for and what your competitors' websites look like. If they are sharing their plumbing tips, it may be beneficial for you to do the same; and
- Choose content to support your business services and goals, such as:
- Blogs help customers understand more about your business and services. They also provide solutions to problems your audience may be facing, along with preventative maintenance. For example: “What not to flush down a toilet.”
- Case studies showcase how your business solved a problem for a particular customer. Be sure to include the specific problem, the solution and the outcome,
- FAQs (frequently asked questions) are important additions to any website. If you were to ask Google, “Why is my toilet running?” you would get 223 million results. Google’s search algorithm is now giving more weight in rankings to pages with strong FAQ sections. With a well-optimized website, your business could be among those results.
6. Concentrate on local keywords
If your business serves customers in only specific towns or states, you must choose relevant keywords for your business area. Thanks to keyword-planning tools, you can research location-based keywords to target. These tools provide monthly search volume, estimated cost per click, budget forecasting and more.
What’s unique about this approach is you can tailor your content to what customers are searching for. Suppose you believe they use terms such as “mechanical contractor near me,” but then you discover they use more precise locations; e.g., “mechanical contractor near Chicago.” In that case, you can more accurately target potential customers.
Be sure to include local keywords in your website copy, header tags and, most importantly, meta descriptions. This helps improve your Google Ad Quality Score.
A higher Quality Score means that your Google ad and landing page are more relevant and useful to someone searching for your keyword, compared with other advertisers.
7. Create individual service pages
Each service you offer should have a dedicated web page with a unique URL. Search engines do not like to crawl pages that have loads of different information. The latter can hurt your ranking.
However, before you ask your web developer to start building your pages, be sure (1) you have enough content for each service, and (2) that you have conducted keyword research.
Quick Service Page Tips:
- Copy should be a minimum of 300 words;
- Incorporate relevant photos and videos;
- Write targeted meta descriptions; and
- Add a call-to-action button such as a "Contact Us" form.
If you do not have enough information to meet the above criteria, try to combine two similar services on one page. Remember: Too little information per page can also negatively impact your ranking, especially when directing paid traffic to your page.
Example: Let’s say you are a mechanical contractor that offers a wide variety of fabrication services. But it may be hard to describe each type of service you offer on a single, separate page. In that case, all types of fabrication services may go onto one page; e.g., pipe fabrication, stainless steel and alloy fabrication, plumbing and piping systems, structural steel, etc. Just be sure to separate each fabrication type with the appropriate headers.
8. Strategize for link signals (and backlinks)
Thanks to Moz’s study, we know that “link signals” are the most important ranking factors for organic SEO. Link signals tell search engines how important your website is. The website that is linked to yours creates a backlink. These backlinks provide a domain authority score, telling search engines how powerful a particular website is by all of the search engine-ranking factors.
Link signals may sound complex, but to put it in more relatable terms: Think of these links as a referral from a friend or an industry partner. As a plumbing or mechanical contractor, you frequently work with builders, general contractors, electricians or other building trades, etc. If another business was to share a link back to your website, that is a backlink.
Building products and installation techniques inevitably evolve over time. So do search engine ranking factors. However, the foundational tips in this article are some of the most important that will likely remain constant over time.