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Food For Thought

Custom GPTs for Contractors

Custom GPTs for Contractors

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction to Custom GPTs
  2. The Role of Custom GPTs in the Construction Industry
  3. Benefits of Implementing Custom GPTs for Contractors
  4. Case Studies: Success Stories in the Construction Sector
  5. How to Integrate Custom GPTs into Your Business
  6. Overcoming Challenges and Limitations
  7. Future Trends: AI and Machine Learning in Construction
  8. Conclusion: The Road Ahead for Contractors
  9. FAQs: Common Questions About Custom GPTs in Construction

Introduction to Custom GPTs

The construction industry is on the brink of a technological revolution, and Custom General Purpose Transformers (GPTs) are leading the charge. These AI-driven tools are not just reshaping the way contractors work; they are redefining the future of the industry.

The Role of Custom GPTs in the Construction Industry

Custom GPTs in construction serve various purposes, from optimizing project management to automating customer interactions. These AI models can handle tasks like design analysis, cost estimation, and even provide on-the-fly solutions to on-site challenges. The adaptability of GPTs means they can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any contractor.

Benefits of Implementing Custom GPTs for Contractors

  1. Enhanced Efficiency: Automating routine tasks saves time and resources, allowing contractors to focus on more critical aspects of their projects.
  2. Improved Accuracy: AI algorithms reduce human error in calculations and estimations, leading to more precise outcomes.
  3. Data-Driven Decisions: GPTs provide valuable insights by analyzing large datasets, enabling more informed decision-making.
  4. Customer Relationship Management: AI tools can streamline communication with clients, offering prompt responses and personalized interaction.

How to Integrate Custom GPTs into Your Business

To integrate Custom GPTs, contractors should start by identifying areas within their operations that can benefit from automation and enhanced data analysis. Collaborating with AI experts and investing in staff training are critical steps to ensure successful implementation.

Overcoming Challenges and Limitations

While the benefits are significant, integrating GPTs comes with challenges. These include the initial cost of implementation, the need for ongoing maintenance, and ensuring data privacy and security. Contractors must also be ready to adapt to the evolving nature of AI technology.

Future Trends: AI and Machine Learning in Construction

The future of construction will see an increased reliance on AI and machine learning. Technologies like predictive analytics, 3D modeling, and drone surveys will become commonplace, offering even more opportunities for efficiency and innovation.

Conclusion: The Road Ahead for Contractors

The integration of Custom GPTs is not just a trend; it’s a necessary evolution for contractors looking to stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry. Embracing these technologies will lead to more efficient, accurate, and profitable operations.

FAQs: Common Questions About Custom GPTs in Construction

  1. What is a Custom GPT? Custom GPTs are AI-driven tools specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of a business, in this case, the construction industry.

  2. How can Custom GPTs improve project management in construction? They can automate routine tasks, provide accurate cost estimations, and offer data-driven insights for better decision-making.

  3. Are there any risks involved in using Custom GPTs? Challenges include the initial setup cost, data security concerns, and the need for continuous updates and maintenance.

  4. What future AI trends can we expect in construction? Predictive analytics, AI-assisted 3D modeling, and drone technology are some of the upcoming trends.


Custom GPTs represent a significant leap forward for the construction industry. By adopting these AI-driven tools, contractors can enjoy enhanced efficiency, accuracy, and profitability. While challenges exist, the future of construction with AI and machine learning looks bright, promising innovative solutions and improved project outcomes.

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Food For Thought

Artificial Intelligence in Construction

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Construction

The potential applications of AI in construction are endless. RFI’s, rework, and change orders are standard in the industry. Machine learning is like a smart, hyper-focused assistant which is able to scrutinize mountains of data. It can alert project managers about the critical things that need their attention. Several applications already use AI in this way. Its benefits range from mundane filtering of spam emails to advanced safety monitoring.

AI is currently being used to plan and design the routing of electrical and plumbing systems in modern buildings and design new framing systems. AI is being used to track the real-time interactions of workers, machinery, and objects on the site and alert supervisors of potential safety issues, construction errors, and productivity issues.

Despite the predictions of massive job losses, AI is unlikely to replace the entire human workforce. Instead, it will alter business models in the construction industry, reduce expensive errors, reduce worksite injuries, and make construction more efficient.

 

Artificial Intelligence Will Make Construction Workers Safer

Many accidents are the result of human errors and deliberate accidents. With AI, operations managers are able to analyze and filter huge quantities of data to identify potential problem areas. For example, in the construction industry, workers often work in tight spaces, use heavy equipment, and operate large equipment. These high-risk activities can be derisked with the right IoT applications and monitoring. Many companies already have a first responder app that provides information on construction sites. In the future, AI will be integrated into these systems to quickly identify problems and inform human decision-makers before they turn catastrophic.

Artificial Intelligence Will Make Construction Sites More Effective

To improve construction effectiveness, AI can be used in many ways. It can provide an optimal construction schedule and reroute critical tasks in the event of a disruption. It can monitor activity on a job site and create a set of guidelines for safe practices. It can provide risk assessments for individual jobs, determine the best means of preventing accidents, and use predictive models to warn managers about high-risk tasks. AI can help with building management, control work process automation, and track construction activities..

For example, IBM and Cisco are working together to create construction zones with sensors and cameras that can be used for remote management and site supervision. These sensors can detect how many people are on site, if they are wearing proper equipment, and if any crews are operating outside of their scheduled area. It can also detect construction defects and inform the construction team if a build requires correction.

 

Artificial Intelligence Will Make Construction Designs More Efficient

Up to 90% of errors in design involve not updating basic information on a design, such as weight, density, and measurements of materials.

AI is now able to control these parameters accurately by directly linking data sources from the manufacturer, even for very complex designs. AI is also able to increase productivity and quality by refining designs with minimal human intervention. It can recommend the most cost-effective way to build each building based on the market conditions, building requirements, and construction priorities.

 

Artificial Intelligence Will Make Construction Estimating More Accurate

Many tedious parts of construction estimating can be eliminated with the power of AI.

AI gives construction estimators a better prediction model of what will be required on-site, allowing for a greater degree of efficiency, reduced costs, better scheduling, and improved profitability.

Smart contractors can go in-depth to understand what the project requirements are, allowing them to offer construction plans that meet the needs of their clients more effectively. Companies that employ AI will gain new levels of accuracy and precision when it comes to building estimations.

 

Artificial Intelligence Will Make Construction More Modular

In one of the most under-reported developments in the tech space, prefabricated units are on the cusp of a revolution. Prefabrication is quickly becoming a cost-saving tool for governments and businesses. Facilities that used to cost up to $100 million can now be constructed for as little as $20 million. In an effort to streamline design, construction, and maintenance, modular construction aims to reduce waste and ensure quality construction at a cheaper price. By using pre-manufactured units, modular construction essentially cuts the time needed to construct a building down by up to 50%. It’s also safer as contractors don’t have to worry about constructing multiple units on-site as in traditional construction.

AI will assist in process planning and manufacturing design to allow prefabricated buildings to be built faster, cheaper, and safer.

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Analytics & Dashboarding

Guide to Productivity-Based Compensation in Construction

As technology has improved the productivity of construction contractors, it has also contributed to the disparity between the top producers and those at the bottom of the production ladder.

In every team, there are usually several employees who seem to have a natural ability to work more effectively and produce more with their time.

Under traditional compensation models, the top producers frequently express their frustration at carrying the brunt of the weight but still earning pay equivalent to the least productive team members.

This is where a properly implemented productivity-based compensation (PBC) program can reward top-performing employees, encourage smarter work, and guide team members towards a more entrepreneurial style of operating.

What is Productivity-Based Compensation?

With the advent of a highly modernized and tech-savvy construction industry, contractors have a new challenge in balancing the relationship between innovation, safety, team morale, and profitability.

Productivity-based compensation (or Results-based compensation, Piece-work, Pay-for-performance, etc.) is an alternative to traditional compensation (hourly or salary).

It uses performance analytics, department scores, and project reports to determine payouts for completed work.

In other words, the business only pays based on what has already been accomplished, and how well it was accomplished.

Productivity Based Compensation Contractor Websites

Many owners are looking for key strategies to keep their company on the top of their game, and productivity-based incentives are one of the best ways to maximize your company’s success. 

Rewarding employees on a performance basis is a proven way to motivate them to continue performing at their best. Yet, it’s important to incentivize them in ways that are meaningful, safe, and make sense for the company’s long-term goals.



How Productivity-Based Compensation Works

The traditional compensation system of salaries and hourly rates has resulted in the construction industry rewarding time spent on work over effectively producing work.

This doesn’t match the compensation structure of the business, where productivity, quality, and safety performance are the most critical in ensuring project profitability.

If a contractor performs well, they thrive financially.

If they perform poorly, they earn less profit or record a net loss on the project.

PBC aligns the employee’s compensation structure and incentives with the employers, and improves employee performance.

Profit sharing KPI Contractor Websites

 


How to Implement Productivity-Based Compensation

New pay structure systems can be met with resistance, especially from long-term employees who are used to receiving pay increases based on years of service.

This can be challenging to overcome, but in most cases, it provides an incentive for top-performing employees to take more ownership of their projects, excel at their craft, and increase their earnings.

PBC must be a win-win situation for the employer and employee, and you need to put yourself in your employee’s shoes (or work boots) and empathize with how they approach their work.

Focusing only on productivity, instead of looking at the plan holistically, is the first and most common mistake. You need to look at the entire cycle of your employee’s involvement in a project or product. From designing, crafting, to finishing, and from their first day on site, how they interact with the client and other trades, to their last day on site.

Building a system that encourages employees to consider the company’s long-term goals and values, while giving your employees the chance to take advantage of their abilities and earn more income as a reward for their refined skillset and quality output, is the ultimate goal of the implementation.

Companies Successfully Using Different Types of Creative Incentive Plans

Type of IncentivePercent of Companies Reporting Success
Skills-based compensation89%
Earned time off85%
Gain-sharing plans81%
Small-group incentives75%
Individual incentives73%
All-salaried workforce67%
Lump-sum bonus66%

Rice University, OpenStax

 

PBC has been shown to promote efficiency as well as quality, as the employee is held responsible for a properly completed task as a condition of their bonus pay.

Pros and Cons for Employers

  • Increased productivity

    By nature of this compensation system, employees who contribute more to the company and team are paid more, encouraging higher productivity.

  • It reveals opportunities for improvement

    PBC affords businesses the insight to find the areas of their business that needs to be improved. First, identify the low performers, and then analyze why they're performing below expectations. This process will discover areas in your business that need improvements, such as inventory control, shipping, estimating, and just about every other aspect of the business.

  • Increased employee retention and overall workplace morale

    High-performers want to understand what's expected of them, and understanding how they can achieve or surpass those expectations to earn higher pay incentivizes them to stay.

  • Attractive to high-performers and improves hiring quality

    The HR team should analyze the qualities of your high-performers and then identify those traits in hiring candidates to build the ideal team.

  • Company revenue & employee compensation alignment

    In companies without a PBC plan, employees may have trouble understanding what leads to a raise. Linking compensation and performance will provide clarity and a clear path towards career advancement.

  • Entrepreneurial mindset adoption

    Employees compensated on a PBC model gain the power to increase their wages by rethinking their approach to the work. They may conceive of a better execution plan than the one provided by management and will help deliver the project faster and more profitably.

  • Defective incentives with unintended outcomes

    Poorly thought-out incentives can lead to secondary outcomes that are undesirable (see Perverse Incentives in the Best Practices section below). Businesses must be aware of the consequences of incentivization and how employees will react to different measurements.

  • Internal resource constraints

    Operating on a PBC plan definitely adds stress to the business operations if incentives, departments, or managers are not aligned, which may cause friction between crews and/or departments. It can negatively affect collaboration and teamwork, as PBC tends to focus on an individual’s or crew’s achievements over the team's wellbeing.

  • Difficult to reverse

    Once a team has adjusted to the PBC plan and is seeing the benefits it provides, it can be difficult to revert back if it’s not working. If you find another compensation structure that would work better, you will face resistance and may even lose some of your highest performers.

Pros and Cons for Employees

  • Higher compensation

    Employees that are highly skilled, effective, and that work well in a competitive environment will thrive, and likely be the highest-paid people in their trade.

  • Task focus instead of time focus leads to better engagement

    When you provide employees with the objectives they need to meet to receive compensation, they have a much clearer idea of your expectations. It also shifts their mindset from “How much time is there left in the workday?” to “How many more sheets/walls/widgets until I’m done?”

  • Adds flexibility

    Employees that are evaluated on their results and performance are allowed more flexibility in their workday. You won’t need to focus on how many hours they work, how long their breaks were, or what time they got to the site. As long as they operate safely, deliver a quality product/project, and have a happy client, they have autonomy in their day.

  • It may demotivate lower-performing workers

    Not all people are meant to work on a performance-based compensation plan. Some employees may be demotivated by the success and results of the higher-performers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You want the best employees on your team, but not all performance is measured the same. Some low-production workers may have brilliant design skills, or are able to communicate effectively with a client.

  • It can create tension among co-workers

    Some crews may be jealous of the rewards and compensation of the high-performers. This can create difficult situations where bonuses can create resentment between crews, where low-performers feel pressured to operate at a level that they aren’t capable of.

9 Best Practices in Productivity-Based Compensation

1. Define a set of standards by which the work must be delivered.

PBC encourages efficiency, so the crew may cut corners to expedite the work. Therefore you need a set of standards by which you will accept a finished project or product. You will need modifiers for things like client satisfaction, internal team satisfaction (Did the shop foreman feel respected? Was all documentation to payroll submitted on time?), and you will need non-negotiables that will wipe out any performance bonus entirely, such as missing safety documentation, negligent actions, and mistreatment of other employees.

 

 

2. Start small with a pilot crew and experiment with different variables.

By starting small, you can test the new program to get data on important metrics, incentive flaws, and that compensation is fair to all employees.
Some companies only incentivize the foreman of the team/crew and let them decide how the rewards should be distributed. Greedy foremen rarely last for long, and the generous ones garner the respect and admiration of their crew.
Other companies may pay out a percentage of profits to the whole crew, relative to their hourly wage, based on project performance.

Not every employee will view higher pay or performance bonuses as the ultimate reward. The company needs to recognize what drives engagement and productivity in its top performers and experiment with their system and rewards.

Productivity Tracking Contractor Websites

 
3. Make it fun.

If you want to implement PBC in order to motivate your teams, it helps to make it fun and exciting. Put up leaderboards that track performance, client satisfaction, safety ratings, quality ratings, and other metrics you find important to share.
(Tip: Read the Great Game of Business)
Include non-monetary rewards, such as lunches and dinners on the companies dime, or gifts and gadgets (e.g. a tablet, smartwatch, headphones, gift cards, sports tickets) that you display in the office that are awarded based on certain criteria. Ask for prize recommendations and requests. This gets employees excited and gives them something to work towards.

 

 

4. Include your team from the start.

Building an effective PBC model relies on both the employee’s and the employer’s ability to agree on what good performance looks like. When your employees are involved in the planning of the model, their ability to understand and adopt the model increases greatly.
Your employees are also the best source of knowledge on how to effectively measure good performance.

 

 

5. Think of best and worst-case scenarios.

Planning for extreme events, however unlikely, is critical to maintaining the plan during stressful events. Having a pre-defined process for dealing with extremes will prevent rash decisions from damaging your relationship with your employees.
For example, ask yourself the following questions:

If we severely underbid a project, how do we rectify that with the employees to ensure they are fairly compensated?

How do we compensate employees that resign/quit/are laid off before completion of a project?

In the event of an accident or safety infraction, how do we determine negligence? How does it affect their pay-outs?

On the bright side, your employees have the chance to become the highest-paid tradespeople in the country and feel more engaged in their work.
What does extreme success look like for you and your employees?
If one of your employees knocks it out of the park and is making +$100/hr, is that fair and equitable? If not, why not?
Figure out if it’s because of your existing beliefs about compensation, or if it’s a miscalculation in your system.

Trades for PBC Contractor Websites

 
6. Consider second and third-order consequences.

Familiarize yourself with the concept of Perverse Incentives.

A perverse incentive is an incentive that has unintended and undesirable results that is often opposite to the intentions of its designers.

A famous example is the “Cobra Effect”:
The term “cobra effect” was an anecdote of perverse incentives in India during British rule.
The British government offered a bounty for dead cobras. Initially, this was a very successful strategy as large numbers of snakes were killed for the reward.
However, enterprising people began to breed cobras for income.
When the government became aware of this opposite effect, the reward program was scrapped, and then the wild cobra population exploded when cobra breeders set their now-worthless snakes free.

Work to understand the cause-effect relationships of your decisions to the point where you can create decision-making rules in the form of “if/then” statements.
I.e. if X happens, then Y will happen.
Chaos increases the further you move from the first-order consequence. The more knowledgeable you are of a system will allow you to predict further down the chain of events.

Simple examples:
“If we solely incentivize productivity, then safety, quality, and documentation will deteriorate.
If safety, quality, and documentation deteriorate, then our reputation will suffer.
If our reputation suffers, we will lose work.
What can we implement to counter these effects?”

 

 

7. Make the system transparent.

Visibility into the payment structure should be readily available and easily interpreted.
Every employee should be able to see how their performance on a project affected their earnings, what modifiers were applied, and how they could have performed better.

The Expectancy Theory states that employees exert effort comparable to the reward they expect to achieve.
Accordingly, managing time to maximize productivity without a correlating increase in compensation can reduce employees’ motivation and job satisfaction.
Expectancy Theory states that employees will think of time-management improvements and boost their output to the extent that their compensation will increase as a result.

 

 

8. Keep it simple.

Most work can be classified into one of two categories:

Quantitative Performance: This is where productivity tracking is applied to observe metrics such as pieces installed per hour, square feet of drywall installed, paint hours, repair orders completed, etc.

Qualitative Performance: These are more intangible measurements that are difficult to nail down an exact measurement system for, but it’s not impossible. These metrics include customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, job quality reviews, and department-to-department reviews to ensure collaboration.

Identify key metrics for each position under the PBC plan and categorize them accordingly. Ensure you have counter-metrics that prevent a key metric from being abused.
E.g. if you’re tracking productivity, you need to track safety, quality, customer satisfaction, and team satisfaction.

 

 

9. Err on the side of over-compensating your employees.

It’s absolutely imperative to hire and keep the best employees possible, so don’t scare them away by being too demanding of their results. You should base your productivity metrics on the LOWEST performing crew, and build from there.
Never make changes to the plan without consulting the crews (or leaders of the crews e.g. foremen).
Most companies pay as little as they can get away with paying, but this results in employees who will do the bare minimum, and this ultimately cripples performance and damages the long-term prospects of the company.

 

 

Conclusion

PBC aligns the employee with the employer in terms of objectives, as a skilled, motivated employee can thrive financially under a PBC system and only gets bonuses if their project is successful, which in turn makes the project successful for the company.
Also, it takes the mystery out of running a contracting business, as you know exactly how much profit each project will net.

Some would argue that the burden of program administration may overwhelm the benefits, but that depends on your metric collection system. The estimating department provides the data needed to calculate how much can be earned from a project, and the estimating department should also have a feedback loop that gathers post-project productivity metrics, which can then be supplied to management/payroll for disbursement.
This productivity tracking will in turn provide better resources for your estimating department to bid on projects.

As an employer, you have to be vigilant of the hazard that employees may excessively prioritize quantity over quality, so you have to implement a rigorous QA process and have a way to subtract compensation from an employee delivering low-quality results, presenting safety issues, or getting complaints from stakeholders.

Every company is different, and you can’t apply a cookie cutter to compensation. Instead, owners and managers need to create a compensation system that pays employees based on their overall performance and results that are specifically tailored to their business, their culture, and their industry.

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Website Design Search Engine Optimization

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

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.

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Search Engine Optimization Website Design

10 Free Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Construction Website in 2024

10 Free Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website in 2024

Tips and tricks to get your website ranking higher.

You know what the internet needs?
It’s 2,515,918th article on improving SEO and website conversions.

While I say that tongue-in-cheek, what the internet really needs is an SEO-guide written specifically for construction companies and tradespeople.
I’m going to list 10 ways you can increase your SEO for free, with not a nickel spent, other than some time and writing skills.

1. Use specific landing pages with a clear value proposition

A value proposition is a quick summary that promotes the unique value of your products or services.

Too many companies focus on themselves and get too technical on their services or products. People want to know your solution, not how the sausage is made.
This is why a solid value proposition is at the core of all marketing communication. You are speaking to a person with a problem you can solve.

This is a great example from Everlast Vinyl Fencing in Edmonton, AB:

construction website

Everlast goes straight to the point of addressing the customer’s desire.

YES = “… the perfect fencing style to complement your home and landscape design.”

NO = “… thousands of fencing styles in our inventory.”

YES = “featuring materials that protect against the sun and stay durable against impact.”

NO = “featuring materials that are UV 400 rated and coated with durable polyethylene.”

Three quick tips on creating a strong value proposition:
  • It should explain how your product or service best solves a customer’s problems or needs.
  • It should describe what specific benefits your customer will receive.
  • It should explain why you are the right choice to solve that problem.

2. Improve on-page SEO

First off, what is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization refers to the practice and system of optimizing your web pages to improve a page’s search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic to the site.

Search engine results are like real estate.
You can pay an advertiser like Google to list your company at the top for your desired search terms, and rent that top space, or you can put the work into owning that space by implementing good SEO practices.

A strong SEO strategy is focused on useful content creation, as well as best practices when it comes to site loading speed, social media engagement, and development best practices.

Three quick tips on building your on-page SEO:
  • Test your site speed and optimize deficiencies. Use GTMetrix or PageSpeed Insights by Google
  • Get an in-depth SEO analysis done. Use Moz Free SEO Metrics or SEOptimer
  • Don’t forget to engage with your audience and customers. Frequent posting and engagement with your community is a vital part of building your domain’s authority and trustworthiness.

3. Build backlinks

nW9G4quSDd0AAAAASUVORK5CYII= We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.

What are backlinks?
Backlinks are links from one website to another. Google and other search providers use backlinks as a sort of vote on how trustworthy a site is.
Good sites usually have lots of people linking to them, bad sites usually don’t.

The pages that rank highest in search results are usually the ones with the most backlinks and engagement, especially for high-volume searches.

One best practice is to build links to useful assets. If you want people to link to your page, you need to create or share something useful.
A great asset can be a blog post, guide, useful video, calculator, quiz, etc.

Three quick tips on building more backlinks:
  • Focus on high-quality links (local associations are great) over low-quality but high-quantity links.
    Spammers link to other spammers and will reduce your domain authority.
  • Build more linkable assets such as blogs, tools, and useful content.
  • Search Google for posts in your industry that are already ranking well, and build upon it. Many articles are overview only (like this one) where each category or topic can be expanded and improved.

4. Optimize your Google Business profile

Having a Google My Business page is THE MOST IMPORTANT factor in ranking well in search and getting more customers.

Google’s algorithm for search ranking does not just consider keywords, domain authority, and trustworthiness, but relevant locations with highly optimized profiles.
Optimizing your Google My Business profile is the first thing a business should do when focusing on improving SEO as it allows you to be the first result even when searching for broad keywords like “edmonton electrician”.
Here are a few examples:

THE GOOD
2021 01 30 10 18 49 colz electric Google Search We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.
 
THE BAD
2021 01 30 10 25 33 rite on electric Google Search We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.
THE UGLY
(No GMB profile at all, even when searching for the actual business name)

2021 01 30 10 24 22 taylored electrical services Google Search e1623850317423 We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.

Three quick tips on optimizing your Google My Business Profile:
  • Register your business at Google My Business and add your business information.
  • Start gathering reviews from your customers. Every business should have at least 5 reviews, and a great score is anything above 4.4.
  • Add a Call-to-Action similar to the first screenshot. Do you want customers to contact you before requesting a quote, or can you send them straight to one of your estimating forms?

5. Get social

Links from Social Media do not contribute much to your websites page ranking, but it does one thing better than any other medium. It spreads useful and viral content by incentivizing people to share it with their networks.

People can’t link to content they don’t know about, so you could be creating tremendous value on your site, and no one would ever know.
Someone much wiser than me once said, “It doesn’t matter what you know if nobody knows you know it.”

Three quick tips on engaging with Social Media:
  • Maintain a list of your best-performing content, update it, and share it regularly. Don’t feel bad about sharing old content. Remember that most social shares do not reach the full audience.
  • Don’t treat social media as a chore. Engage with your audience in an active and helpful way, and they will become your biggest fans.
  • Create more partnerships with the industry.
    Consider using your platform to elevate other businesses that you enjoy working with.Your goal here is to build real relationships and useful partnerships with people in your community. It’s not enough to just like every post they share, you need to engage, ask questions, and be useful to them.

6. Create high-quality infographics and imagery

contractor website design We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.

We live at high speed these days, and much can be communicated to our short attention spans with a well-designed infographic.

What is your customer searching for, or what is their unknown unknown? (i.e. what do they not know that they do not know?)

Infographics for home and car maintenance routines have been a home-run. Everyone needs a reminder once in a while to clean their dryer lint trap, replace their furnace filters, and de-ice their freezer.
How does this apply to your industry?

Three quick tips on creating useful imagery:
  • Use a site like Canva to quickly create images that can be directly shared to social media. Small, frequent, and useful images are more effective than once-per-year supermassive infographics.
  • Do something that someone did before, but do it BETTER.
    You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and you can use existing content to build yours. Just don’t plagiarize.
  • Make sure you tell a story that is interesting and useful to your audience. Random information and statistics about your industry are not engaging unless you are posting to a forum specific to your trade.

7.  Submit your site to search engines

This is so simple that I wasn’t sure if I should include it, but too many site owners believe that they can “build it and they will come”.

Google will index your site if somebody else is linking to it, but how will someone link to it if they can’t find you? And how will Google find you if no one is linking to you?
Submitting your site to Google also verifies the ownership of the domain, which increases your domain authority.

Three quick tips on connecting your site to search engines:
  • Connect your site with Google Search Console. They will also give you useful information on which keywords are best for bringing users to your site.
  • If you want to go the extra mile, also submit your site to BingYahoo, and Yandex.
  • Make sure you sign up for interruption-of-service notifications. If your site goes down, you want to be the first to know.

8. Host or participate in a podcast

Do you like to hear yourself talk?

Do you often go on long and intense monologues?

Well, then podcasting may be for you.

Podcasts are one of the best ways to engage with your audience these days. The podcasting platform is still new enough that there are giant market gaps, especially in construction and trades-related categories.

Look around for podcasts that you can participate in as a guest, or start your own if you have the voice and personality for it.

Three quick tips on using podcasts to your advantage:
  • Search Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts for relevant shows in your market. Reach out with a topic in mind and ask if you can be a guest host. Remember to sell yourself and your story.
  • Getting started with your own podcast show takes little more than some time, about $100 in recording equipment (a decent microphone), and some editing skills.
    Here’s a great guide by Buffer on starting your own podcast.
  • If you’re set on starting your own podcast, see if you can find a good co-host or partner. If you don’t have the editing skills, maybe find someone that does.

9. Optimize for longtail keywords

Popular shorttail keywords like “edmonton electrician” might generate the most traffic, if you manage to rank for them, but targeting competitive keywords like that is not that useful for finding the right customers.

image40

Why?

Let’s say you’re a local commercial electrician, and you specialize in new commercial construction and high-rise buildings.
What you really want to rank for are keywords like “commercial electrical contractor edmonton”, because Google will only place so many links to your page on their first page of search results, and using highly competitive keywords is crowding out your niche long-tail keywords.

If your page is optimized for “edmonton electrician”, you’re going to get a ton of people looking for someone to fix their breaker box or install new outlets in their house. This is a waste of your time.

On the other hand, the “commercial electrical contractor edmonton” longtail keyword will not have as many monthly searches, but because it’s longer and more specific than the shorttail keyword, you will more easily rank in the search results and generate more qualified leads.

Here’s a screenshot of “edmonton electrician” and how many searches are done per month:

w+NZR6CRA5S+AAAAABJRU5ErkJggg== We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.

And here’s a screenshot of “commercial electrical contractor edmonton”:

We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.

What are we seeing here? Way less volume for the second long-tail keyword, but these are the exact customers you want.

2021 01 30 13 30 52 Keyword ideas Standard Scaffold Insulation Google Ads We create high-performing websites for the construction industry.

Three (longer) quick tips on using longtail keywords:
  • Think about your ideal customer. What problems do they have and how are they looking for a solution?
    In the example of a commercial electrical contractor, they may go to Google and search for “edmonton commercial electrical contractor wcb cor”, because they’re looking for a qualified and experienced contractor with all of their safety requirements in order.
  • Write for the modern-day search algorithm. Google no longer ranks the sites with the most keywords or exact phrases on their site. We have progressed to user intent searching instead of keyword targeting. This means users are becoming more accustomed to typing in their exact problem into search instead of keywords.
    E.g. They used to search “edmonton electrician”, but now they are starting to search for “electrician to fix my breaker panel”.
  • Create useful content (ABU!). In our experience, we discovered that it’s easier to rank for longtail keywords in long-form blog posts and case studies.
    Instead of creating just another blog post, focus on actionable guides and data-driven posts that are helpful to your audience.

    SEO has evolved from strictly keyword targeting, so it is absolutely essential to have content that is highly specific and niche.
    Constantly study your customers, gather feedback, engage with them on social media, and understand what problems they are facing and how you can help them.


10. Optimize your highest traffic source

Google Analytics is a powerful tool when used properly. Unfortunately, most people don’t use it properly. Pulling useful information and valuable insights can be tricky, especially if you have a low-traffic site, but there are a few tricks to it.

You need to familiarize yourself with two areas of Google Analytics: Acquisition and Behavior.

Acquisition breaks down the data on where your visitors are coming from, and Behavior breaks down how they interact with your site.

Acquisition – How your customers are finding you.

Behavior – What your customers are doing on your site.

On the Behaviour page of Macsson Snow Removal, we can see that most people land on the homepage and then click on their Request A Quote form. After that, they return to the homepage and go to the About page or Contact page.

This is extremely useful because you can find out what your customers are after and how they look for it. Sometimes it’s just a quick quote, and sometimes they want to know more about your company.

Three quick tips on using Google Analytics:
  • Find easy and low-effort opportunities to boost traffic. Does one of your blog posts get 10x more traffic than the others? Use it to link to your other posts and update it as often as possible.
  • Look for your high-converting pages and improve their SEO.
    Our goal with SEO and content marketing is to drive potential customers to our site, and to engage them in a way that they trust us with their business.
    One of the best ways to do that is to capitalize on one of your best pages and use it to drive traffic to other parts of your site.
  • Find new keyword opportunities by tracking your internal site search. Does your site have a built-in search bar? If you do, you can analyze all of the inputs to gather information on what your customers are looking for.
    If you have a large search volume for “products”, it may mean that your products page is not visible or obvious enough for people to find.

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Website Design

Construction Website Design Tips

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.