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Search Engine Optimization Website Design

How To Get Your Contracting Business On The First Page Of Google

Website Design

How Google and other search engines work.
First things first. Google is not the whole internet. Google is a directory of discovered website links that it algorithmically ranks in order of perceived relevance and trustworthiness.
Just because your site doesn’t show up on Google doesn’t mean it’s not accessible. Your website may be live and have great content, but unless it is structured in the right way it may never rank for the terms your customer is searching for.

Google works like this: They have automated searchers running 24/7 that discover and follow links on websites to discover other websites, then they store that information in their database and assign a ranking value to each link depending on its authority score. Google then uses this data to determine which websites are most relevant to a searcher’s keywords, which is then displayed in order of importance and relevance. The resulting list of sites is known as a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

So, now that we have a broad understanding of how their algorithm works, how do we improve our site pages so that Google ranks them higher than our competitors?

Establish Your Baseline

lighthouse seo performance We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.
1. Check your site speed

Your website should load quickly on all devices. Time to Load is a critical ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.
Website speed has a considerable effect on conversion rates. Studies have shown that fast page speed results in better conversion rates.
Pages that loaded in less than 2.5 seconds had a 1.9% conversion rate, but at 3.3 seconds, the conversion rate was only 1.5%.
Now that may seem like a small delta, but if you consider that it means that you will get a 27% higher client conversion rate (1.5% vs 1.9%), which ends up as a big difference on your bottom line.
Nobody likes to wait several seconds for any website to load, so most people exit out of a page if it’s taking too long.
You can conduct a free page speed test on Google’s Page Speed Insights or use the free tool GTmetrix to test your website page speed, page health, and find optimization opportunities.

2. Check your site health

After you have analyzed your page’s speed, assess the overall health of your site to see which factors are most important.

There are lots of great and free tools to identify opportunities for health and speed improvements.

  • MxToolBox Domain Health Report: Free tool to check for multiple major site issues.
  • Pingdom.com: Enter your URL to test the page load time, analyze it, and find bottlenecks and improvements.
  • KeyCDN Tools: The KeyCDN Speed Test tool can be used to evaluate the health and speed of your website to see where improvements can be made.
3. Assess your current Google ranking

To measure the effects of your modifications and improvements, establish a baseline of your ranking and save the information for future comparison.

Use tools like TheHoth SEO Ranking Checker to see how you are ranking for search terms and which are currently leading to the most traffic.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are 3-5 keyword phrases which are very specific to the service or product you are offering. Specific and long-tail keywords are easier to rank for and tend to match better with your intended customers.

1. Pick 3-4 long-tail keywords to own

The most valuable keyword strategy for producing more leads is to focus on long-tail transactional keywords. Transactional keywords are the search terms a person uses when they are looking to purchase something.
Informational keywords are usually searched by people that want information, and are not ready or looking to purchase anything.

Example: A person that is looking for information on how to install light fixtures may search “how to install kitchen spotlights”, while a person looking for a contractor to do the work may search “kitchen spotlight installer” or “light fixture electrician”.

Creating and ranking for informational posts are great for building authority and driving traffic, but they are not high-converting resources.
On the other hand, ranking for transactional keywords is valuable because the searcher has already decided that they are ready to purchase. They just need to find the right contractor (you!).

Keywords that have the words below as a prefix or suffix to the rest of the keyword phrase indicate a searchers buying readiness:

  • Buy
  • Review
  • Order
  • Purchase
  • Shipping
2. Review competitor analysis

If your competitors are ranking higher than you in search results, you can find out why and by how much they are outranking you.
Seeing what your competitors are ranking for is a great opportunity to find keywords missing on your site, and which keywords they are ranking for that you can target.

2021 05 12 05 59 10 SpyFu SEO and PPC Competitor Keyword Research Tools ericsson.com We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.

Use a tool like SpyFu’s Competitor Analysis or UberSuggest to learn more about your competitor’s ranking.

3. Analyze and decide on your keyword strategy

Once you have identified your highest value keywords, start planning your content around them and strategizing on how that content can convert into a paying customer.

Identify your main keywords by doing keyword research in a tool like UberSuggest.
Prioritize keywords by their potential, because you will generate thousands of keywords. You have to be selective about what you want to rank for and decide which are most important to you and your business.

It’s critical that visitors to your site can do two things as soon as they land: know what the page is about, and easily find the information they are looking for.
These are indicators to search engines that your page is meeting the searchers intent, which boosts your rank higher and drives more traffic.

4. Plan your content based on the highest-value keywords and tailor your content to those keywords

The best content is useful content that is shareable and easily digested. Optimize for informational as well as transactional keywords and improve your search ranking by writing resourceful and detailed content that helps the searcher in their search intent.

After you have optimized your content for your chosen keywords, you can return to tools like SpyFu’s Competitor Analysis and UberSuggest to see how your new content is affecting your page ranking. Please bear in mind that search engine optimization and ranking take time, and older content is valued more than newer content. You can expect to see improvements in your ranking typically 3-6 months from your publishing date. These timeframes are accelerated by social sharing, traffic, and backlinks.

5. Generate content that is useful and captivating

The main content marketing strategy today is writing useful blog posts for your potential customer, but there are multiple types of content you can have on your website.

Some of these are:

  • Blog posts, informational (how-to) or transactional (leading to a sale).
  • Product page (a page about your products)
  • Category page (a page showing multiple products or services)
  • Landing page (a page pitching a product or service)
6. Optimize your pages

If you have multiple products, services, or client types (also known as buyer personas), you should have separate landing pages and service pages for them. What may appeal to one client may not be relevant to another.
These pages should have different keywords that are tailored to their needs.
Having content that aligns with search intent is the first step, but your pages also need to be deserving of a place on the first page, where Google shows the most relevant and useful results.
After analyzing your client’s search intent, you should know what information they are looking for and how to provide useful answers.

Backlinks

Backlinks are considered the most important factor in having a high-ranking website. Backlinks are essentially “votes” from reputable sites. If you have more votes than your competitors, you will usually rank higher than them in search results when the search intent and keyword matching are the same.

1. Complete competitor analysis and find backlink opportunities

2021 05 12 06 26 57 Backlink Checker A Free tool to check backlink We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.

You can use a free tool like SmallSEOTools Backlink Checker to find which sites link to the one you’re interested in.
The backlink checker should list the domain rating of the linking site, which is an estimate of the score that Google would assign to the link. The higher the score, the more valuable the link.

2. Find the most valuable backlinks and strategize how to get linked

The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your odds of ranking among the first few search results.
So how many backlinks do you need?
There’s no exact number to reach, as not all backlinks are equal. Having links from industry-specific and high-authority sites like associations, chambers, and suppliers is the best strategy.
Some backlinks can be considered “toxic” if the linking domain has been flagged for spam or “black-hat” practices.

3. Add internal site links

Internal site links are a great way of leading your customer around your site, and it provides a useful map to search engines on how your pages are related.

Google’s crawler follows links throughout the internet to find and index websites. If your website has proper internal linking, the crawler has an easier time finding the new content that you create and link to. As a result, indexation happens faster, and your content is rewarded by improved search engine rankings.

4. Review potentially toxic backlinks and remove them

There are backlinks that are considered being bad for search ranking, or ‘toxic’.
These links come from spammy sites or are gained by trying to game the search engine algorithm.

From Google’s Quality Guidelines:

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

Use Google’s Disavow Links guide to remove toxic backlinks from your search ranking.

Content

Content ages like fine wine. The longer your content has been active and shared, the more valuable it will be when it comes to your search ranking. Research from Oracle reveals that on a per dollar spent bases, content marketing generates more ROI than paid search ads, so for the startup company it makes sense for the owners to generate their own content, and for larger teams it makes sense to have someone in-house.

1. Define the purpose of your content

Smart marketing isn’t just about being a good writer, speaker, or media generator. It’s about being strategic about your production and understanding your buyer personas. Knowing exactly what your desired outcome is from an article is the first step to producing content.

Is it to generate brand recognition and industry authority? Or specifically to generate leads for a service or product in your business?

Your ability to take a piece of published content and get it to thousands of readers, within a specified time frame, will determine your success. Your readers will find you with an effective long-tail search, ideally in an organic way.

2. Focus your articles on data

If you back up your content with accurate data, people will see your content as more authoritative and will possibly share it on social media, thereby expanding your organic reach.

Essential to a successful content marketing strategy, which will produce accurate, high-conversion traffic is the creation of relevant, true, and quality content.

3. Tell a story

Your content should ideally connect with your audience’s pain points. perhaps you begin the introduction by describing the pain or questions that your customer is experiencing or asking.

It’s generally accepted that short content has a harder time ranking over a page with more substantial content, so you’ll want to have a content length of at least 400-500 words.

Use story telling to guide your audience from point to point.

4. Write a captivating headline

Google has made a lot of changes to their search algorithm, but one element has stuck around: the headline.
Writing a killer headline for your content is one of the most important factors in getting your customers attention, and getting them to share it with their network.
Even if you are ranking first for your desired keywords, it’s the headline that converts a view to a click. Clicks lead to sales.
The key to writing a captivating headline is to invoke curiosity. Curiosity is what makes your customers click on your headline before moving further down the search result list.
Some tips for creating a captivating headline include:

  • Know your audience. 
  • Add numbers to your headlines. “5 Ideas To Remodel Your Kitchen” is better than “Ideas to Remodel Your Kitchen”.
  • Ask questions. Use what, why, how, or when.
  • Create a knowledge vacuum (combined with numbers). “These Are The 5 Best Ways To Remodel Your Kitchen”
5. Use numbers, images, and multimedia to illustrate your point

Written content is important, but it’s not for everyone. If you find a medium that works well for you, try to specialize and excel in it.
Some people can’t or won’t write, but they do well in speaking engagements and interviews. Perhaps podcasting or videos are the way forward for them.

Here’s a list of possible mediums for content creation:

  • Helpful Informational Videos
  • Guides, How-to’s
  • Infographics (great for social media)
  • Checklists
  • Webinars and Demos
  • Podcasts

Ads

Google Ads are the linked text ads that show up at the top and bottom of Google’s search results pages.
Google’s search results are like real estate, you can either own (by having great SEO optimized pages) or rent (by buying ads).

1. Understand what Ads are and when they are appropriate.

Google Ads are great for lead generation and for converting transactional searchers, but not, in my opinion, very valuable for informational content or building brand recognition.

Contractors typically use Google Ads to get new customers, but there’s another audience that could see your ads and help grow your business. Industry partners.

Construction companies rarely provide every solution that their customer requires. For example, you are a mid-size general contractor doing work for a local development firm. That development firm also needs services for engineering, permitting, legal services, and surveying. Companies offer those complementary services are potential partners.

2. Understand how Pay-Per-Click (PPC) works and how to structure your ad.

Also known as cost per click (CPC), PPC is a method that Google charges based on the number of times a searcher clicks on an ad.
Another metric is cost per thousand (CPM), which is the number of views in thousands, regardless of whether the view results in a click.
If you’re just getting started with your business, ads are a great way to generate traffic and sales quickly. You can give your site an immediate boost as you wait for your organic ranking to increase. This makes Google Ads an appealing strategy for new businesses to acquire leads and grow sales while building their content strategy.

Conclusion

From my personal experience, it’s easiest to integrate construction-related long-tail keywords in case studies and project profiles.

This serves two purposes. It creates useful content for both searchers and search engines, and it provides potential buyers with your track record of successful projects.

Search engine optimization is no longer about keyword stuffing or creating useless content. It’s about continually developing your understanding of your customers pain points and needs, then creating high-quality content that will help them.

Following the guidelines in this article will set you on the path to long-term success and organic traffic for your business. Write and speak naturally, as if you’re communicating with your customers one-on-one, and focus on answering the questions they are asking.

Want To Boost Your Business Today?

We help Canada's commercial and industrial construction companies succeed with expert web design, estimating automation, and sales optimization.

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Search Engine Optimization Website Design

3 Market Forces Driving Construction Online

Website Design

1. Online payments are becoming the norm

Online payments address one of the worst problems we are facing in the construction industry: Late payments.
In every business, especially construction, where we have fluctuating revenue and upfront project costs, cash flow is king.
If your cash flow is disrupted by multiple non-/late-payments, it could be disastrous for your business. Being unable to fulfill financial obligations, make payroll on time, and fund vital parts of your growth, can be the start of a downward spiral that is difficult or impossible to recover from.

In a report by PWC (2019/2020 Working Capital Report), PWC outlines that it took an average of 83 days for a contractor to get paid.
According to Glen Anderson, vice-president of Finance and Administration for Buildings at Edmonton-based PCL Construction, not all late-payments are for the same reasons, and it hits the subcontractors the hardest.

“GCs have historically had a very heavy hand to get their way with subcontractors.
To give you an example, a contractor may withhold a million dollar payment on a subcontractor for a $50,000 issue just to get their attention. But that creates immense cash flow issues, and can force smaller businesses into bankruptcy for unfair reasons. So prompt payment is really to add a degree of fairness to the treatment of subcontractors by generals, and also by owners.”

While we won’t be paying off $50,000 invoices with our credit cards any time soon, homeowners are incentivized by rewards, ease-of-use, and deferred payment to pay off their $5,000 painting job or roof repair using their credit card, which allows us to have the funds settled in 1-2 days at a small fee.

A time-value exercise is appropriate here.
What would you prefer?
A. $4,900 tomorrow
B. $5,000 1-3 months from now. (Or the risk of not getting paid at all.)

It makes sense that we are one of the slowest industries to adapt to digitization and technological changes. Everything we build is tangible, in the real world.
This is not a reason for us to stay on this path.

How many hours are lost in your business due to the lacking technological infrastructure to automate the hundreds of repetitive tasks your team is tasked with?
Without automation, invoicing and payment approval wastes dozens of hours in your accountant’s day. Time that could be better spent growing your business. Adopting digital invoicing technology and online payment solutions help streamline your entire process and ensures your cash flow stays strong.

How can I get started with online payments?

There are several ways to start accepting online payments for your services.

Here are three options:
1. Digital Invoices: Most modern ERP and accounting suites have an option for digital payment. All you need to do is enable payments by credit card and connect it to your bank.

2. Stand-alone Payment Gateways: Stripe is our gateway of choice. They have state-of-the-art payment integrations and allow you to create recurring payments (for rentals, subscriptions) and have a host of analytics that will help you optimize your revenue strategy.

3. Online Order Forms: By far the most effective way of gathering leads and converting them to paying customers. Your customer often knows exactly what they are looking for, and a simple calculator on your website will allow them to order your services and pay a deposit or in full.

Stairtower Calculator – True North Scaffold We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.
Scaffold Stairtower Calculator for True North Scaffold + Insulation.

2. Automation is accelerating business and information transfer

The impact of a strong economy on a construction business is two-fold: as business volume increases, so does the need to keep up with the growing demand by hiring more employees, expanding retail and office space, and implementing innovative ways to reduce overhead costs.

Over the past decade, practically every industry has been experiencing fast, unprecedented, and industry-defining change in reaction to mobile devices and the internet, and they all benefited consumers with a reduction in price, increasing ease-of-use, and a better service experience.

For example, look at what Airbnb has done to the hotel and accommodations industry.
Beyond the brilliance of taking a privately-owned, underutilized asset and turning it into a revenue generating asset for the owner, the costs for lodging and accommodation have plummeted for consumers.

Another clear example is what Uber has done in the transportation industry.
They provided automated payments, frictionless and informative ordering, and a cheaper price.
When was the last time you took a Yellow Cab?
As technology evolves, so do the industries that surround us.

The only way to stay ahead of the competition today is to leverage technology to your advantage. Smaller construction companies have an advantage over larger competitors when it comes to adapting to new technology and economic changes. They are more agile and able to adapt to changing market conditions and new technology.

Automate repetitive tasks within your operations using API (Application Programming Interface, how different software communicates) connectors, reduce friction for your customer when it comes to ordering services and payments, and increase your service quality by providing lightning-fast response times and dispute resolution.

What the assembly line did for manufacturing, API’s and automation will do for modern businesses.

How can I automate my operations and prepare for growth?
Here are a few examples that we use in our business:
 

1. Software & Communications Automation: Zapier lets you connect your independent software so that an action in one application triggers and action in another. Zapier has a staggering amount of connections and the possibilities are nearly endless.

2. Website Automation & Digital Forms: Typeform turns clunky PDF forms & surveys into a powerful communication tool for your business. Create forms, surveys, quizzes to communicate with your customers and audience, customize anything, and validate your best ideas with your team and customers.

3. Automate Customer Support Workflow: With Zendesk, you can easily integrate key information from customers, business applications, and backend systems. And that makes it easier to collaborate and resolve customer inquiries quickly.

Construction websites sales automation We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.
This Zapier integration sends me a message whenever a payment is processed in my Stripe account.

 

3. People are going online first to find answers

People are increasingly expecting to control their interaction with businesses through on-demand orders, payments, and scheduling. People are spending more time and money online than ever before, and this trend is increasing.

Why? People love frictionless interactions.

Just about anything can be ordered through an app today. From food, to lawn care, to cleaning services, to mobile auto repair and cars. Why should construction be any different? You may say because of project complexity, or intangibles that are difficult to automate.

We are not going to build a skyscraper through an app anytime soon, but what about having your roof redone? Your house framed, drywalled, and painted? Your condominiums snow removed?
These types of projects are easily estimated and automated, and will be the first to benefit from these new technological tools.

 

How can I best provide the answers my customer is looking for?

1. Map out your customer journey and figure out how to answer their questions to the point that they are ready to order. Every customer takes a similar journey before engaging with your business. Defining what that journey looks like and how you can guide the customer from the time they identify their need, to the time that they agree to your services is essential to eliminating as much friction as possible.

customer experience map

You can use this free template from Bright Vessel.

2. Automate the provision of answers as much as possible, without sacrificing the customers ability to personalize their request. Now that you have your customers journey mapped out, you need to think about which questions they are asking as they are browsing your site. The big three questions are:

Can you solve my problem?

How much will it cost me?

Do I trust you?

3. Provide a service guarantee and make sure your presentation is polished. If you are engaging with potential customers, you will need to answer the trust question before closing the sale. One of the best ways of doing this is by providing a service guarantee, and having your deliverables defined with precision.

Consumer confidence and trust is heavily based on a company’s online presence and how they are presenting themselves.


In 2004, a research group in the UK studied what inspired trust among visitors of websites.
They were trying to understand the impact of web design (layout, branding, user experience) vs. the actual content (articles, verbiage) on the website. What they found was surprising.
When respondents rated a site as distrustful, 94% of participants reported that they distrusted the site due to its poor layout, confusing labels, and other design elements of the site.
On the other hand, only 6% of people in the study reported that their distrust of the site was based on the content and verbiage of the site. This shows that web design is by far the most important factor in establishing trust with your potential customers.

 

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We help Canada's commercial and industrial construction companies succeed with expert web design, estimating automation, and sales optimization.

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Website Design

Construction Website Design Tips

Construction Website Design Tips

Table of Contents

Are you looking for the ways to increase your construction website leads?
Many people are now using the Internet to search for the services that they need in all walks of life, even something as “concrete” (pun slightly intended) and complex as construction and trade services. Thousands of construction companies, electricians, plumbers, landscapers and other contractors are starting to use websites as part of their marketing campaigns. They use these sites to increase their customer base and get the name of their business known.

Let’s dive into the top 5 ways of optimizing your website for lead generation.

1. Start with a great design that highlights your specialties.

One way that construction services companies market themselves is by creating a good website that attracts the eye of visitors and keeps them engaged. To create the best construction websites, it is important to hire a professional company that knows how to design a good looking, easy to navigate site. The design firm should specialize in creating sites that cater to your specific market, as too many design firms focus on trying to please everyone.

When designing your site, you will want to keep in mind that you DON’T want to appeal to everyone. You want to attract the right customers suited for your business.
Everyone has different needs when it comes to these services, so you need to think about who your target audience is.
If you target too broadly, you might not attract the right customers.

If you are a medium-sized commercial plumbing contractor specializing in 3-8 story apartment buildings, which search terms would you rather match for?
A. “toilet and plumbing repair services”
or
B. “apartment building plumbing contractor”

Search term A may be a total waste of your time and resources, while search term B may be your next best client.

2. Use social proof and testimonials to your advantage.

Another way to draw in potential clients is to include contact information and reviews on your website. You may want to include this information in both the home page and within the About Us section. This is why it is important to update your website regularly. If you aren’t updating information online, you aren’t going to get much traffic in the first place. If your information is outdated, you aren’t going to retain the customer.

You should also try to include videos with past clients that have benefited from your services. They can talk about the project in a way that customers are able to understand what you can do for them, and the past customers can give you an insight into what kind of experience they had when working with you.

3. Simplicity over complexity

Your new website should make it easy for your customers to access the information they need.
When designing your website, you want to keep it clean and include easy-to-use navigation features. This makes it easy for people to navigate through your site and will keep them engaged.

Use categories to make it easier for customers to buy what they are interested in. For example, if you sell woodworking plans, you want to include categories for the types of plans, instead of having one big page for all of your plans. 

Sometimes you want to use graphics in place of text. These items can be used to improve the look and feel of your construction website, and it breaks up the monotony of long paragraphs of text.

4. Stay updated and modern.

Visitors don’t like sites that are old and outdated. By keeping your updates to date, you will keep your business ahead of its competitors.
Keep adding new projects, post things on your blog, add videos, and link to your social media.

You don’t need to write 10,000 word behemoths. Most people just want to see that you’re still engaged with your online audience and that your website wasn’t a “one-and-done” project.

5. Be useful

The best thing that you can do when it comes to construction website design is to create an interactive site. When you do, your audience will be able to interact with you and get to know you. People will feel more comfortable renting or purchasing from you if they feel like you have already helped them with a problem.

This content should discuss important issues that your audience may not have knowledge about. This can be through the use of How-To guides, building estimating and fee calculators, by explaining industry terms, keeping a solid FAQ page that can address peoples concerns ahead of time, etc.
By providing this type of information, you will give your viewers a place to go if they want to learn more and you will become an industry authority.

These tips are a great place to start if you’re a beginner to the process. But we cannot forget that the ultimate goal is to answer the customers three questions. The three questions they subconsciously ask anytime they search for a service provider or are looking to purchase something.

  1. “Can they solve my problem?”
  2. “Do I trust them to solve my problem?”
  3. “How much will it cost me to solve my problem?”

After we have answered these questions, we need to guide the customer to a place where they can contact us and include relevant information about their project.

To do this, you should provide an easy-to-use contact form and, if you want to go the extra mile and save your estimator some time, develop calculators to give the customer an answer to the cost question, and your estimator/sales rep some insight into the customer.

If you follow these construction website design tips, you will be able to attract a large number of the right customers who will greatly appreciate your work.