What is SEO and how can it help my plumbing business?
A few decades ago when people needed urgent or routine plumbing services they opened the Yellow Pages or another business directory and called the companies listed there to get a quote. Today, however, all of that is in the past – when most people need plumbing services, they simply go to Google, type in their search inquiry and call or visit the first few businesses on the list. Just look at the statistics:
- Over 95% of people search for plumbing services online.
- 50% of people who search for local services online follow up the search with a call or a visit to the business within 24 hours.
This is why one of the main goals of your business should be not only to provide a great service but also to create an attractive website and get it to the top of Google’s search results. This is where SEO comes into play.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and it’s a set of techniques that are used to optimize a website’s content and technical characteristics in an effort to promote that website to the top of search results on Google and other search engines.
Benefits of using SEO
The plumbing business is incredibly competitive and if your company doesn’t have a website or if that website is not on the first page of Google search results for relevant queries, you’re missing out on dozens, if not hundreds, of jobs every month. Unlike ads, which require continuous investments to bring results, investments in high-quality SEO will continue to give results and bring business long after they are made.
The way this works is simple: you invest in SEO and your website moves up in search engine results. Once it gets to the desired position, the website will stay there even if you’re no longer actively investing in SEO. This means that you can invest once and continue getting free traffic and leads from your website for many years to come. This is one of the biggest advantages of SEO over PPC advertising.
Google Maps results vs Google search results
You may have noticed that when you search ‘plumber near me’ or something similar on Google, there are two types of search results displayed (note that to see actual search results you first need to scroll past PPC ads located at the top). First, you will see a map that indicates the names and locations of businesses with details about those businesses located below the map. Underneath the map, you will see regular Google search results. Not everyone realizes this, but Google Maps and Google Search are actually two different search engines and the results produced by both for the same search query can differ dramatically.
Generally, it is much easier to promote your website in Google Maps results since it only lists actual businesses (not directory websites like Yelp or Angie’s List) in your local area. However, Google Maps will display your business only for keywords and phrases that have a hiring intent (such as ‘plumber near me’). On the other hand, regular Google search results can show your website for a much wider range of keywords, including research intent keywords (for example, ‘how to fix a toilet’).
Create and optimize your Google My Business page
Create a Google My Business listing
To promote your business on Google Maps, you first need to add your company to their directory and claim your Google My Business listing. First, go to the Google Maps website or app and enter your company address. If it appears in the results together with your company name, then you’re set. If not, you need to open the drop-down menu, press ‘Add a Missing Place’ and fill out the necessary information.
Once your business is on Google Maps, you need to claim it. To do this, you need to create a free Google My Business account, log into it, open your Google Maps listing, press the ‘Own this business?’ button and follow the prompts to confirm your ownership of the business. Once you’ve claimed your business listing on Google, you need to add as much background information to it as possible. This is the main method for promoting your business on Google Maps and ensuring that it’s ranked higher than your competitors in the area.
Promote your business on Google Maps
To add more information about your business, open your Google My Business account. In the menu on the left, you will see a number of categories. For instance, in the Info tab, you can fill out your business address, phone number, hours, website, products, description, etc. To maximize your chances of getting ranked highly on Google, use a local phone number, keep your company name and address consistent across all websites and social media profiles, include your main number in addition to your tracked number if you use one and keep your business hours up to date, including holiday hours.
Next, you should add real photos of your business to your Google Maps business listing. This can include images of the exterior and interior of your store or office, photos of your products or the results of your services, etc. Adding photos of your business shows Google that your listing is active, so you should try adding new photos at least several times per week.
Business owners also have an opportunity to post updates on their Google My Business listings, just like you’d post on Facebook or Instagram. Regularly posting on your Google Maps business listing will help your business rank higher than its competitors.
Encourage people to review your business
People love reading reviews before choosing a service provider, so Google loves businesses with lots of reviews as well. When you create a Google Maps listing for your business, it automatically allows people to review your company but this doesn’t mean you will actually get reviews. This is why you should encourage your customers and followers on other social media platforms to review your business on Google. However, keep in mind that Google prohibits business owners from giving out discounts and other perks to people for leaving positive reviews.
Use your company website to promote your business on Google Maps
There are a few steps you can take with your website to help your business rank higher on Google Maps. First of all, since almost all people who open your website using the link on Google Maps will do so on their mobile device, make sure that your business is optimized for smartphones and tablets. Secondly, make sure that your website includes location-specific keywords and phrases in the titles, meta descriptions, body text, image captions and tags.
Finally, you should embed a Google map on your company’s website, this is usually done on the Contact Us page. This will show Google that the location of your business that’s specified in the listing on Google Maps is accurate.
Promote your plumbing company in organic Google search results
In this section of the article, we will tell you how to promote your plumbing company in organic Google search results.
Build your website
If you don’t yet have a website or if you want to swap your old website that doesn’t get any search traffic for a new one, you need to build a site yourself or hire a professional to create a plumbing website for you.
Essentially, there are two ways to create a website: you can use a website builder service, such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace or countless others, or you can use a CMS, or content management system, such as WordPress or Joomla!.
Website builder vs CMS
Both options for website creation have their own pros and cons, although using a CMS is recommended by most SEO specialists and webmasters. For instance, website builders are great for people who don’t know anything about website creation, as they don’t require any special skills to build your website. Plus, using a website builder is much cheaper than hiring a web developer to create a website for you. On the downside, sites built using website builders have limited technical capabilities and are much more difficult to promote with SEO than websites built using content management systems.
The upside of CMS is that they offer great flexibility and allow you to tailor your website to the exact technical specifications you and search engines require. The downside of these systems is that you need a high level of skill to create a website using CMS, so you will most likely need to hire a professional to complete the task for you.
Choose the right plumbing SEO keywords
One of the most important aspects of SEO is choosing the correct keywords for promoting your website. These are keywords that are directly related to your business and services, keywords that people will enter in Google and other search engines to find plumbers. For instance, ‘plumber near me’, ‘24/7 plumber’ and ‘drain cleaning NYC’ are all phrases that people might use to search for a plumber.
You should also know that there are two types of keywords depending on searcher intent: some keywords have a hiring intent and some have a research intent.
Research intent keywords
Research intent keywords include phrases like ‘how to fix a clogged toilet’ and similar examples. People who use these phrases are most likely not looking to hire a plumber at the moment, so you should place a low priority on these keywords. At the same time, you can use keywords like this in topics for your blog posts, FAQ sections on your website, etc. People who search for articles on these topics will find your website, bringing in traffic and helping your website move up higher in search rankings.
Hiring intent keywords
Keywords that signal hiring intent include phrases like ‘emergency plumbing’, ‘plumber open near me’ or ‘how much does it cost to unclog a drain’. People who search for these keywords are looking to hire a plumber quickly, which is why you should prioritize these keywords on your website. You can include hiring intent keywords on your website’s home page, the page that describes your services and pricing, etc.
Tthe technical side of SEO
Once you’ve created a website and started filling it out with relevant content, you need to take care of the technical condition of your website. There are dozens of things that you need to evaluate, consider and even fix to give your website the best chances of ranking highly on Google. You can read about all the technical aspects of website SEO in this article, or you can read a short overview below.
On-page SEO for plumbing companies
On-page SEO generally comes down to making sure that all the pages on your website adhere to a few rules and standards. This includes having an adequate short URL that describes the topic of the page, keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions, H1, H2, H3, etc. headings, optimized Alt Text for images on each page and page body content that has the right keywords in an optimal quantity.
Technical optimization of a plumbing website
The technical aspect of SEO for a plumbing website ensures that the website is mobile-friendly, fast and uses LocalBusiness Schema Markup. Additionally, you need to implement an XML Sitemap and a Robots.txt file on your site and use a crawler to identify all the technical issues, such as server errors, 404 errors, etc. on your website.
Frequently asked questions about SEO for plumbing companies
What is SEO for plumbing businesses?
SEO is a set of techniques and methods used to promote your website in search results on Google and other search engines.
Does my plumbing business need a website?
Yes! If your business doesn’t have a website yet and relies solely on directories to bring in new customers, you need to create a website and start promoting it on Google ASAP. If your plumbing company doesn’t have a good website, you’re missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.
Does my plumbing company need SEO?
Unless your plumbing business’ website is in the #1 spot on Google for all the relevant search keywords, then you can definitely benefit from SEO. Investing in SEO doesn’t simply bring immediate results – it sets up your business for many years of success, free website traffic and countless new organic leads that your company will get without any ad expenses.
Can I do SEO myself?
You can try to do SEO for your own plumbing company but you will get much better results if you hire a professional SEO company that has wide experience in the industry. Hiring SEO specialists will also significantly decrease the amount of time needed to see positive results.
When should I expect to see results from SEO for plumbers?
High-quality SEO takes time and patience. If you hire a professional SEO company, you can expect to see first results in a couple of months, with significant progress taking 6-12 months. If you choose to do SEO yourself, it will most likely take longer for you to see any positive movement in your site’s Google search rankings or an increase in the number of leads.
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