Your website can be much more than an online brochure — you can turn it into a lead generation machine. The two keys to making this happen are having a website that does a great job of persuading visitors to inquire, and then to use effective online marketing techniques to drive qualified traffic to your website. This article will discuss the second part of the equation, driving traffic. Here are three ways to do it that are proven winners in the construction industry.
1. Local SEO
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is a set of techniques that make your web pages rank well organically when users in a defined geographic area are searching for a construction company on Google.
Because both commercial and residential customers generally want a construction company that is nearby, local SEO is a natural and effective tool for driving qualified website traffic. Local SEO involves a great many specific tasks, and usually requires outside guidance or campaign management. Among the most important ways to improve local SEO results:
- Make sure your “NAP” information — company name, (physical) address and phone number — appear consistently on all pages of your website.
- Obtain listings of your business on reputable local business association websites, as well as local and national construction industry websites/blogs.
- Cultivate positive online customer reviews of your business on reputable review sites such as Yelp, BBB and those within the construction industry.
- Set up and continually add content to a Google My Business (GMB) page dedicated to your business. You can set up a separate page for each physical location of your business, if desired.
The cost of a local SEO campaign will vary depending on the size and competiveness of your focus geographic market(s). However, the value of local SEO is high because of the vast number of searches with local intent on Google. Most commercial and residential customers are likely to use Google to search for and research construction firms, and the two places they are sure to check out are the company website and customer reviews.
2. Expand and/or Refocus Your SEO Target Keyword List
For local SEO and SEO in general, targeting the right keywords is essential. Keywords are the phrases people use in their search queries — the idea is to incorporate keywords in your web pages that match the keywords of relevant users. If you are a small construction business competing against large competitors, they may be able to easily outspend you on SEO and dominate the rankings for very popular, high-volume keywords.
Don’t let this faze you. If you can’t compete on the top keywords, refocus on other, lower-volume and less-competitive keywords with a high likelihood of generating an inquiry. These are known as “longtail keywords.” For instance, instead of targeting a very high-volume phrase such as “construction companies”, consider:
- “commercial construction companies”
- “residential construction companies”
- “local construction companies”
- “industrial construction companies”
- “home construction companies”
- “new home construction companies”
- “landscape construction companies”
- “construction framing companies”
- “major construction companies”
- “top construction companies”
In the construction business, a new customer may represent a considerable amount of revenue, so even a handful of conversions from longtail keywords could easily pay for an SEO campaign. An experienced SEO specialist can assist you in identifying the right keywords to target.
If you already have good traction on your SEO campaign, the next logical step is to expand your keyword focus. For instance, if you are a residential contractor getting good organic traffic from keywords including and relating to “residential contractor”, you can add keywords for specific services you offer such as:
- “kitchen remodeling”
- “basement remodeling”
- “roof repair”
- “foundation repair”
The most important thing to do is to make sure you have a separate website page dedicated to each primary service keyword you target. So, if you were to target all four keywords listed above, you would want to add and optimize four website pages for kitchen remodeling, basement remodeling, etc.
If you’re already having success with your SEO campaign, the new keywords should advance in the rankings relatively quickly, since Google already regards your site favorably. Nevertheless, be patient, because SEO is never an overnight success.
3. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
If you are looking for an overnight success, consider pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. PPC, which we can limit to Google AdWords for the sake of discussion, is a type of online marketing that displays ads on Google when users are conducting search queries for the keywords your ad campaign has targeted.
Unlike SEO, which makes your relevant web pages move up in the organic rankings over time, PPC ads appear in top position immediately, if your bid is successful. The more construction companies using AdWords to bid on a keyword you’ve targeted, the more expensive the ad is. Again, considering the value of a new customer, construction companies often generate positive ROI even when keywords are pricey.
PPC ads entail selecting target keywords, creating ads, and creating landing pages visitors are taken to when they click on the ad. Landing pages are ultra-relevant to the ad, and are mini-sales pages designed to generate a phone or form inquiry.
In addition to the cost of the ad, you will also pay a management fee to a PPC agency/freelancer who manages the campaign. DIY campaigns seldom work unless you have an experienced PPC specialist on staff — paid search is very complex and takes a great deal of knowledge. But the payoff in terms of website traffic and conversions can be tremendous. PPC is definitely worth a test. If it’s not working, you can pull the plug immediately; if it does work, you can expand it as results and budget allow.
|Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, a national SEO agency
headquartered in the Chicago area.