Contractor SEO: A Step-By-Step Guide To Rank On Google (Full Guide)

Contractor SEO-How to rank your website number one on Google

This is the most complete guide to Contractor SEO on the planet!

If you want:

More traffic.

More leads.

More sales.

Then you’ll love the actionable contractor SEO tips, techniques, and strategies in this guide.

Let’s dive right in.

Google SERPs with Contracting Website Ranked 1st

What is Contractor SEO?

Regardless of your specialty, contractor SEO is the process of optimizing your website, and presence online so that you show up in Google’s search results for relevant searches.

Put simply, Contractor SEO is about getting your website to show up when people are looking for a Contractor. 

The higher your website is ranked on Google, the more people see it.

If you’re interested in ranking for local searches, I recommend checking out Local SEO For Contractors.

Prefer video? You’re in luck.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization consists of three distinct areas: Technical SEO, On-Page SEO, and Off-Page SEO.

Technical SEO-On-Page SEO-Off-Page SEO Venn Diagram

Why Is SEO Important For Contractors?

In short, because everyone uses Google to answer questions, solve problems, and most importantly, to find and research businesses.

81% Of People Perform Some Type Of Online Research Before Making A Large Purchase.” Source

Search Engine Optimization ensures that Google knows that your website is SEO-friendly and ranks it according to the value it provides to users.

Let’s take a look at just how valuable Contractor SEO is with an example…

Every month, “General Contractor” is searched 49,500 times. 

Monthly Search Volume for “General Contractor”

That’s quite a bit.

On Google, the first result receives at least 20% of all clicks.

That’s 9,900 potential website visitors each month if you show up at the top.

Click-Through Rate For Ranking First On Google

But, how valuable are those visitors? 

Let’s break it down.

For the keyword “General Contractor,” advertisers spend an average of $11.16 per click. 

What this means, is that the web traffic of those 9,900 visitors is worth around $110,484 a month.

Estimated Monthly Traffic For Ranking 1st on Google

And… that’s just for that keyword. 

Properly implementing Contractor SEO means you could rank for hundreds (if not thousands) of keywords.

In other industries, like insurance or law, the value of search engine traffic is a lot higher.

For example, the search term “Auto Insurance Price Quotes” fetches $83 per click! 

Cost Per Click of “Auto Insurance Price Quotes”

Organic Results vs. Pay-Per-Click Ads

When you enter a query into a search engine and hit “Enter,” you’re shown the “SERP” (Search Engine Results Page).

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) consist of two distinct sections: Organic Results and Paid Results or Pay-Per-Click Ads.

Position of Organic VS. Paid Results in Google SERPs

Organic Results

The organic results are “earned” placements that are determined by Google’s algorithm to be the overall best, most relevant results for a given search.

Google uses over 200 different factors to determine the organic search results.

In general, websites appearing in the organic search results have been deemed by Google to be the most relevant, trustworthy, and authoritative on the topic.

Organic Results Are Generally Higher Quality than Paid Results

SEO” or “Search Engine Optimization” is about ranking your website higher up in the organic search results.

Pay-Per-Click Ads

Pay-Per-Click Ads are from advertisers bidding on keywords via Google Ads. 

Although Google Ads take ad relevancy into account, their placement essentially goes to the highest bidder.

Google Pay Per Click Ads are ranked by the amount paid

The paid ads are completely separate & independent of the organic listings.

How Search Engines Work

When you perform a search on Google (or any search engine) an algorithm works in real-time to return the most relevant and helpful results.

Google scans “hundreds of billions” of indexed pages to find results that best answer your search.

So, how does Google determine the “best” result?

While Google’s algorithm is a closely guarded secret, based on filed patents and statements from Google, we know that rankings are largely based on Relevancy, Authority, Usefulness.

Relevancy

If a user searches for “how to hire a remodeling contractor,” they don’t want to see web pages about teddy bears.

That’s why Google looks first-and-foremost for pages that are closely related to your keyword.

However, Google doesn’t simply rank “the most relevant pages at the top”. 

There are potentially millions of pages that are considered “relevant” for any given search.

For example, the keyword “building contractor” brings up 1.3 billion results in Google:

"Building Contractor" – SERPs 1.3 Billion Results

To ensure that the best results rise to the top, they rely on the other two components of their algorithm: 

Authority

Authority is Google’s way of assessing the accuracy and trustworthiness of content. 

So, how does Google know if a page is authoritative?

They look at the number of other pages that link to that page:

Authority judged by number of pages linked

(Links from other pages are known as “backlinks”)

In general, the more links a page has pointing to it from other websites, the higher that page will rank.

More backlinks=higher ranking

Usefulness

If a piece of content is relevant and authoritative, but, not useful, Google won’t place it at the top of the search results. 

Google has publicly stated that there’s a distinction between “higher quality content” and “useful” content.

For example, let’s say that you search for “home improvement guide.

The first result you click on (“Result A”) is written by Bob Vila. 

Bob wrote a great guide full of quality content, and a lot of people have linked to it. 

“Result A” - Unorganized content

Unfortunately, the content is unorganized and full of jargon that only the most experienced contractors would understand.

Contrast that with another result (“Result B”).

It’s written by someone relatively new to home improvements, and it only has a few links pointing to it.

However, this home improvement guide is well organized and easy to understand. 

“Result B” - Useful content

“Result B” will be considered more “Useful.” 

Even though Result B doesn’t have the same level of Trust & Authority as Result A, it will still do well on Google. 

(It may even rank HIGHER than Result A)

Usefulness is determined largely by “User Experience Signals.”

In other words: how users interact with the search results. 

If Google sees that people really like a particular search result, it will get a significant rankings boost:

Positive user experience boosts ranking

Keywords For Contractor SEO

Keywords form the backbone of your entire contractor SEO strategy.

What are Contractor SEO Keywords?

Contractor SEO keywords (a.k.a. “keywords” or “keyphrases”) are words people type into search engines when performing a search. 

What Are Contractor SEO Keywords?

Most keywords are discovered during the keyword research process and are chosen based on a combination of search volume, competition and commercial intent.

Why are Keywords Important for Contractor SEO?

When you optimize your content around words and phrases that people search for, your website can rank higher for those terms.

Before you can begin optimizing your website, you first need to identify the best keywords to target.

Enter: Keyword Research.

Keyword Research For Contractor SEO

This is THE most important part of your contractor SEO Strategy.

Keyword Research For Contractor SEO

Keyword research can make or break your entire SEO campaign.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research involves identifying the words and phrases that people use when searching for a contractor. 

This helps your site rank in search engine results for those keywords

Why is Keyword Research Important for Contractors?

Keyword research is a foundational step of any SEO strategy, and it impacts every other SEO task you perform. 

By first identifying the most important keywords for contractors, you’ll be able to create valuable and useful content that search engines will love.

How to Find Keywords for Contractor SEO

There are plenty of techniques and strategies for finding keywords.

If this is your first time doing keyword research, I suggest keeping it simple.

Brainstorm a List of Starting Points

Come up with a list of “Head” keywords.

Ask yourself: ”What topics do people search for that are related to contracting?”

A few that come to mind:

  • Contractor
  • General Contractor
  • Bathroom Remodeling
  • Kitchen Remodeling
  • Damage Restoration
  • Residential Contractor
  • Contractor Services
  • Commercial Contractor
  • Building Contractor

Note: These are not your keywords. 

They’re very broad topics that you’ll ultimately use to drill down to specific keywords.

And that’s exactly what you’re going to learn how to do right now…

Use Google Suggestions to Find Keywords

Google is GREAT for finding long-tail keywords. 

Now that you have a list of “Head” keywords, type each one into Google. 

Google Search For "Kitchen Remodel Contractor"

The suggestions will appear automatically.

Google Suggestions for  “Kitchen Remodel Contractor”

The suggestions are based on what people are searching for right now. 

So you KNOW they’re popular.

Find Keywords Using Google’s “Searches Related To”

Another great way to find keywords on Google is in the “Searches Related To” section that appears at the bottom of the search results. 

For example, let’s say one of your topics is “Kitchen Remodeling.”

Search for that on Google, and scroll to the bottom of the search results. 

You’ll find “Searches Related To.” 

Searches Related To:  “Kitchen Remodel Contractor”

“Searches Related To” consists of 8 keywords that are related to your original search.

As with Google Suggestions, these come straight from Google.

Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research tools are not required, however, it’ll make your job a lot easier. 

The following are my favorite keyword research tools.

I use each of them and recommend giving them a try.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is the best Free option for keyword research.

It’s also really easy to use. 

Keyword Research Tool: Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest works by generating keyword ideas from Google’s search suggestions. 

It also provides important metrics on each keyword like search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC, and more. 

Ubersuggest Keyword Search Results for "Home Remodeling"

Answer The Public

Answer The Public is great for generating long-tail keywords and questions. 

You just enter one of your head keywords and let the tool do the rest.

Answer The Public Search for Contractor

KWFinder

KWFinder is my favorite tool for keyword research. 

I use the “Pro” version, which is around $50/month. 

KWFinder Keyword Research Tool

KWFinder is very user-friendly.

It generates a ton of keyword suggestions and enables you to dig deep to find long-tail keywords pretty quickly.

KWFinder Search Results for "Kitchen Remodeling"

Aside from the keyword suggestions, KWFinder provides a “Keyword Difficulty” rating that makes it easy to quickly disqualify keywords that are too competitive. 

You can also look for the keywords your competitors rank for by simply typing their domain.

KWFinder Competitor Domain Analysis

Without getting into too much detail, when doing keyword research focus on keywords with a lower monthly search volume, as there will be far less competition.

How To Analyze Keywords

How do you know if you’ll be able to rank for a particular keyword?

That’s a good question.

The answer is to find a keyword with little to no competition.

Long-Tail Keyword vs. Short-Tail Keywords

If your website is brand new and therefore has no authority, you should focus on long-tail keywords.

You may be wondering…

What the hell are “Long-Tail Keywords”?

What are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are highly-specific words and phrases that search engine users type to find businesses like yours.

Long-Tail Keywords vs. Short-Tail Keywords Graph

Technically, any keyword made up of three or more words is considered “long tail,” but the most effective long-tail keywords are even longer. 

They’re much more specific than short, general keywords, and they’re more valuable to your SEO strategy.

What Are The Benefits of Long-Tail Keywords for Contractors?

There are several benefits to using long-tail keywords.

  • Less Competition
  • More Qualified Traffic
  • Increased Conversions
  • Better Content Ideas

Keywords can be divided into three main categories: head, body, and the (long) tail.

Important Keyword Metrics

Once you have a bunch of potential keywords to target, it’s time to narrow down your list.

There are three metrics to consider – volume, difficulty, and relevance.

1. Search Volume

Search volume refers to how many people search for a keyword on average during a given month. 

Monthly Search Volume for the keyword "Kitchen Remodeling"

2. Difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a metric that estimates how hard it is to rank for a certain keyword. 

The value is usually indicated on a scale from 0-100. 

The higher the score, the harder it is to rank for that keyword.

Keyword Difficulty in KWFinder

The difficulty metrics used in keyword tools take into consideration the authority of the websites ranking in the 1st SERP.

3. Relevance (User Intent)

One of the best ways to evaluate how difficult it will be to rank for a particular keyword is to check out the search results. 

If you’re going to target a keyword, first, see who is already ranking for it.

For a website to rank at the top of Google, they have to be doing something right. 

Google’s search results will also help you identify the “User Intent” behind a keyword.

You can then tailor your content to fulfill the user intent. 

Fulfill User Intent = Boost Your Ranking

A keyword may be topically relevant to your page, but not relevant in terms of the user intent.

What is User Intent?

User intent represents the user’s purpose for the search. 

It’s what the user is likely to do when searching for a particular phrase. 

To be more precise, it’s what we think the user is likely to do since we cannot always be sure.

There are four types of user intent:

  1. Navigational – User is searching for a specific website or brand.
  2. Informational – User is searching for information. 
  3. Transactional – User is ready to make a purchase.
  4. Commercial – User wants to perform research before a purchase.
The Four Types of User Intent

Your Contractor SEO Strategy should be focused around keywords with Transactional Intent.

That said, it’s also important to target keywords with Informational Intent. 

These can be great topics for blog posts, and you can use them to establish your expertise as whatever type of contractor you are. 

Contractor Keywords With “Transactional Intent”

Keywords with Transactional Intent are the most likely to convert and generally include terms that revolve around price, brand, and location. 

Transactional Intent "Hire A Kitchen Remodeling Contractor Near Me"

Contractor keywords with transactional intent might look something like:

  • how much does a [contractor service] cost
  • [contractor service] in [location]
  • Hire [type of contractor] in [location]
  • [Type of contractor] near me
  • affordable [type of contractor] near me
Transactional Intent Keyword Structure

In general, localized keywords structured like this: “Contractor Keyword + [Service Area Location]” is indicative of someone looking to hire a Contractor.

Contractor Keywords With “Informational Intent”

Keywords with informational intent are often used when trying to learn about a subject.

For example, “Where should I start when remodeling a bathroom?” or “How do I plan a bathroom remodeling project?”

Informational Intent "How To Plan A Bathroom Remodel?"

These keywords make for great content topics that you can cover on your site’s blog or in a FAQ section.

Google Suggestions for Informational Intent Keyword

Providing helpful information to users that helps them solve their problems will build trust, as well as your authority.

Technical SEO For Contractors

Just as a house can’t stand without a solid foundation, your website can’t stand without a solid technical foundation.  

Technical SEO For Contractors

Technical SEO is the underlying structure of your website.

Without it, everything else falls apart.

The primary aim of technical SEO is to ensure that the search engines can find and crawl your website without issue. 

Google Search Console

The Google Search Console is a dashboard of your site’s health and performance in Google.

Verify Your Site in Google Search Console

To use the GSC, you’ll need to verify that you’re the owner of your site (Google calls sites “Domain Properties”).

Once you’ve verified ownership, you’ll have access to a powerful free tool that provides a ton of information about how your site is performing on Google. 

Google Search Console Start Screen

But that’s just scratching the surface.

Google Search Console (formerly “Webmaster Tools”) enables you to do the following:

  • Analyze Keyword Rankings
  • See Click-Through Rates (CTR) 
  • Check For Possible Google Penalties
  • Submit your Sitemap Directly to Google
  • See how many Pages are Indexed
  • Check Mobile Usability
  • See Site/Crawl Errors
  • See Structured Data Errors
  • Check Links (Internal & External)
  • And More

Google Analytics – Track Your Results

How do you know if all the effort you’re putting into SEO is actually working?

You can largely answer that question with a single tool: Google Analytics.

Google Analytics-Track Your Contractor SEO Results

Google Analytics looks at the searches that bring people to your website.

You can see information about:

  • How you acquire users
  • Click-Through Rate
  • Where your users are located
  • What pages users visit
  • Session Duration (How long users stay on your site)
  • Bounce Rate
  • Top devices visitors are using

Robots.txt

In order to rank your website, search engines spiders first need to crawl and index the content.

There are certain pages of your website that you don’t want to show in the search results.

For example, downloads, thank you, or login pages.

These pages need to exist, but you don’t want people finding them in the search results.

You can use robots.txt to block search engine spiders and other bots from crawling them. 

Blocked access=no indexing

Unless you know what you’re doing, I don’t recommend messing with your robots.txt file. 

It’s easy to make a mistake and if you block access to the wrong page, it will hurt your search engine visibility. 

Poor accessibility lowers visibility

How To Check Accessibility

You can use the “URL Inspection” feature in Google Search Console to check if a page can be accessed by search engine spiders.

URL inspection feature – Google Search Console

XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps play an important role in helping search engine spiders access and crawl your website.

What’s A Sitemap?

A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like, a map of your website that helps search engines find, crawl and index all of your content.

Sitemaps also tell search engines when you’ve added new pages, and which pages on your site are most important.

How To Create A Sitemap

Creating a sitemap isn’t as hard as it sounds.

If you use WordPress, you can have the Yoast SEO plugin create an XML Sitemap for you.

Install Yoast SEO (WordPress)

The Yoast SEO plugin is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress.

It automatically takes care of some technical tasks that would otherwise be a pain in the a**. 

Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

The main benefit of using Yoast to create your XML sitemap is that it updates automatically (dynamic sitemap).

This means that whenever you add a new page to your site (whether it’s a blog post or a product page), Yoast automatically adds a link to that page to your sitemap file.

Submit Your Sitemap To Google

Submitting your sitemap is as simple as this: Login to your Google Search Console Account.

Then, go to “Index” → “Sitemaps” in the sidebar.

GSC - Click On "Sitemaps"

If you already submitted your sitemap, you’ll see a list of “Submitted Sitemaps” on this page:

GSC – Submitted Sitemaps

To submit a sitemap enter the URL and then click on “Submit.”

GSC - Add New Sitemap

And if everything is all set up, you’ll start to see information on your sitemap on this page under the “Submitted Sitemaps” section:

GSC-Sitemap Information

Use the Sitemap Report to Spot Errors

Once Google has crawled your sitemap, click on it under “Submitted Sitemaps”:

GSC - Submitted Sitemaps > Click On The Submitted Sitemap

If you see “Sitemap index processed successfully,” then you’re good to go.

GSC-Sitemap Index Processed Successfully

Optimize Your URL Structure

URLs are easy to overlook or write off as unimportant for SEO. Don’t make that mistake.

If you’re using WordPress: Go to > Settings > Permalinks > Set to “Post Name.” 

WordPress Permalink Settings - Set to "Post Name"

An SEO-Friendly URL structure is extremely important for SEO.

SEO-Friendly URLs = Better CTR

Best SEO practices dictate the following about URLS:

  • Use lowercase characters
  • Use hyphens to separate words in the URL
  • Short the descriptive
  • Avoid using unnecessary characters or words
  • Use your target keyword

In general, once you define the format of your permanent link structure, the only thing you will have to do is to optimize your URLS when publishing new content.

SEO-Friendly Website Architecture 

Website Architecture is how a website’s pages are structured and linked together. 

An ideal Website Architecture helps users and search engine spiders easily navigate your site to find what they’re looking for.

Keep your site architecture simple.

If you have a tangled mess, Google is going to have a tough time finding and indexing all of your pages.

Complicated site architecture

On the other hand, architecture like this makes Google’s job A LOT easier.

Simple site architecture

An SEO-Friendly website architecture is easy for Google to crawl and index.

SEO-Friendly Website Structure is easy for Google to Index

Why Does Website Architecture Matter?

An SEO-Friendly website architecture helps Google & users navigate your website.

Internal Links Improve Your Websites Crawl-ability

Internal Linking

“Internal Linking” is the connecting of two pages on the same domain with hyperlinks.

Use Internal Linking

A good internal link structure creates an informational hierarchy, indicating to search engines which pages are the most important.

Internal Links Are Your Sites Structure

That said, you don’t just want to add a bunch of random internal links. 

To get the most out of your internal links, I recommend you do the following:

1. Use Keywords In Your Anchor Text 

Google uses your anchor text as a clue to what a page is all about.

For example, the anchor text in these links helps Google understand what each page is about.

Descriptive anchor text helps Google understand what the page is about

Use anchor text that includes your main keyword.

For example, this internal link is linking to my post about “Local SEO For Roofers”.

Cre8tive Digital Media – Internal link to “Local SEO For Roofers”

My internal link’s anchor text has that exact term in it.

2. Send Authority to Pages That Need It

In general, you want to internally link to pages that don’t have much (if any) link authority.

Flat website architecture allows link authority to reach all pages

When you do, you’ll send much-needed authority to that low-authority page… which can boost its Google rankings.

Mobile SEO For Contractor Websites

More web searches are conducted on mobile devices than on desktop or laptop computers.

Mobile-Friendly Website Features

Which is why Google implemented “Mobile-First Indexing” back in March 2018.

Mobile-first indexing — means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our –  primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for. Source

This means that the mobile version of your website is the “main” version that Google looks at. 

Google's Mobile-First Indexing Prioritizes Mobile-Friendly Websites

Therefore, if your site loads quickly on desktop, but is slow on mobile, Google will consider your site slow. 

Google Search Console provides information about your sites mobile usability and reports any issues.

Google Search Console Mobile Usability

Mobile-first indexing ensures that searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results.

61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. Source

To find out if Google considers your website mobile-friendly, you can use the Google “Mobile-Friendly Test.”

Google's Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool

Not only will the tool tell you if your website is considered mobile-friendly but also what you need to fix to improve your site’s mobile-friendliness.

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Results

If you’re truly serious about making your website mobile-friendly, you should consider implementing Google AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages.

To find out how to install and set up Google AMP on your Contractor website, check out this video I put together walking you step-by-step through the process.

Measure and Optimize for PageSpeed

Measure & Optimize for PageSpeed

One of the most important aspects of your Contractor website is user experience.

Good user experience begins with a fast website.

This is especially true for website visitors on mobile devices.

To ensure that your website is fast on mobile, test it using “Test My Site” by Think With Google.

Test My Site - Mobile Page Speed Test

This is different from Google’s Page Speed Insights tool because it tests your page speed on a mobile network.

You can test your site on 3G & 4G networks.

You’re provided with recommendations to improve your mobile page speed as well.

Why Does PageSpeed Matter for SEO?

PageSpeed matters for Contractor SEO because people are impatient.

No one wants to wait around for a webpage to load. 

It’s easier to just hit the “Back” button and return to Google.

When this happens, it’s called “Bouncing.” 

Avg. PageSpeed Graph-Helps Prevent Users From “Bouncing”

When a user bounces it signals to Google that your website didn’t provide value or didn’t fulfill the user’s intent.

Your site could be full of amazing content, but if it’s slow, users won’t stick around to find out.

Half of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or under, and if it takes more than 3 seconds… They’re gone. 

In 2018 Google announced a new “Speed Update”.

Fortunately, Google doesn’t make you guess whether or not your site is slow.

You can test it out using the “PageSpeed Insights tool.”

PageSpeed Insights - Score of 96

Not only does it give your page a 0-100 speed rating.

PageSpeed Insights - Improvement Recommendations

…but a laundry list of things you can do to speed things up.

Website speed is one of the ranking factors so you should always aim to improve it.

How Can You Improve PageSpeed?

Page speed matters… a lot.

So, how can you improve my page speed?

Optimizing page speed is different for every website, so there’s no “one-size fits all” solution.

That said, here are a few easy wins to improve your site’s speed.

  • Compress Images
  • Setup Browser Caching 
  • Lazy Load Images
  • Upgrade Hosting
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Compress Images

This is any easy way to quickly improve your site’s speed.

You can do this using Free online tools like “tiny.png” or “Optimizilla.”  

Optimize Images by compressing them before uploading

Setup Browser Caching

Browser caching basically means that once someone has visited your site, their second visit will be a lot faster.

This allows users to store parts of your page in their browser cache.

Use Browser Caching To Improve SiteSpeed for return visitors

Unfortunately, this won’t help your page load any faster for first-time visitors. 

But it’s great for improving your loading speed for people that have visited your site before.

Lazy Load Images

Lazy Loading prioritizes the visible portion of a webpage.

This will delay loading images until a user scrolls down the page.

Upgrade Hosting

Upgrading your hosting provider can have a massive impact on your site’s speed.

When it comes to hosting, you get what you pay for.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Content delivery networks (CDN) improve page load times by storing your site’s resources on servers around the world.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Your website’s assets are then delivered by the server in the closest proximity to the user.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content occurs when the same, or appreciably similar content, appears in more than one unique location or URL. 

Duplicate content comes in varying degrees, two pages can be exact duplicates where all of the content is the same or partial duplicates where some of the content is the same.

Use Canonical Tags To Deal With Duplicate Content

In some cases, several different pages on your site will have similar content.

This is confusing to Google because it doesn’t want to index pages that are basically identical.

Canonical Tags will tell the search engines which version of the content to apply all equity and ranking metrics.

For example, let’s say you sell hammers on your website.

You have a product page for every color and size hammer.

Avoiding duplicate content penalty

You could write unique content for the grey, blue, red, and green versions of the hammer, but it’s not necessary. 

To avoid duplicate content issues, there’s a simple solution.

The canonical tag.

Canonical tags tell search engines:

“Index THIS Page. The rest are just variations of that page”.

Example of Canonical Tag on Contractor Website

Website Security

Google gives a slight edge in the search results for websites that are secure with HTTPS.

In fact, according to Mozcast, 93.6% of first page results are secured with HTTPS encryption.

Setup HTTPS (SSL Certificate)

Beginning in July 2018, Google began identifying non-https sites as “Non-Secure” which impacted their ranking in the search results.

Website Without SSL Installed

So if your site isn’t secure, I recommend setting that up ASAP.

Rich Snippets & Structured Data For Contractors

Google has been pushing Rich Snippets pretty hard recently. 

If you’ve Googled anything recently, I’m sure you’ve come across a Rich Snippet in the search results. 

Rich Snippets & Structured Data for Contractors

What are Rich Snippets?

Rich Snippets (also known as “Rich Results”) are Google search results with additional data displayed. 

The extra data comes from Structured Data which is found in the HTML code of a page. 

Common Rich Snippets are reviews, recipes, paragraphs, how-to’s, and events. 

Why Are Rich Snippets Important?

The majority of snippets in Google search results consist of the same three elements.

  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • URL

Here’s an example:

Regular Snippet in Google SERPs

That’s a boring old “Snippet.”

Rich Snippets take normal… And add to it.

Here’s an example of a Rich Snippet:

Rich Snippets - Aggregate Review Rating in Google SERPs

Rich Snippets are more eye-catching and can increase your organic click-through rate.

Rich Snippets Are More Eye-Catching

Google gets Rich Snippet data from Structured Markup (like Schema) in your page’s HTML.

Schema Markup isn’t a requirement for your website.

That said, I strongly recommend adding it to your contracting website.

What is Structured Data?

Structured Data helps search engines better understand your content.

For example, let’s say you just put the finishing touches on a blog post about “DIY Bathroom Remodel.”

Structured Data For Contractors

Without Structured Data, Google wouldn’t be able to understand things like:

  • How long the remodel takes
  • What the individual steps are
  • What the required materials are
  • Which images correspond to which steps

Enter: Structured Data.

When you add the proper markup to your page, it tells the search engines:

  • “The Bathroom Remodel Takes X Hours”
  • “These are the Materials Needed”
  •  “This Picture is of the Completed Bathroom Remodel”

With any luck, Google will display this information in the search results in the form of a “Rich Snippet.”

Rich Snippet for Contractors

To learn more about Structure Data, check out:

Once you’ve added structured data to your contractor website, test it using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool

On-Page SEO For Contractors

Now that we’re done with the “behind-the-scenes” technical SEO, next up is on-page SEO.

On-Page SEO For Contractors

What Is On-Page SEO For Contractors?

On-page SEO for contractors involves ‘optimizing’ web pages to help them rank higher in the search engines. 

The end goal of on-page SEO is to increase organic traffic to your contracting site.

When Google’s spiders crawl your site, they scan each page for specific words and phrases.

Google Looks For Keywords Throughout Your Content

After seeing the same term over and over again, Google says: “This page must be about this keyword!”.

That’s why it’s important to use your target keyword on your page… without going overboard.

Traditionally, SEO rankings in search engines like Google have been dependent on keyword placement. 

Traditional page-level ranking factors

In the not so distant past, it was relatively easy to rank for a particular keyword.

You could simply repeat the same keyword a bunch of times throughout a page. 

In order to better serve searchers, Google has regularly improved and updated its algorithm.

Google used to only look at keyword

In the past, rankings could be manipulated by stuffing a page with the target keyword. 

That’s no longer the case.   

You could rank by repeating keywords

Now, Google doesn’t just look for a single keyword. 

Instead, Google tries to understand the overall topic of a page.

Google tries to determine the overall topic of a webpage

Essentially, this means that you don’t need to worry as much about keyword placement.

Instead, focus on providing answers to the questions that prompt users to search for a contractor in the first place. 

LSI Keywords

What Are LSI Keywords?

Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI for short, are keywords semantically related to the primary keyword.

Simply put, they’re strongly associated with the page’s topic.

LSI Keywords help Google understand content

Let’s say “Contractor” is your primary keyword, “Remodel” or “Nail Gun” are LSI keywords.

Not to be confused with synonyms, LSI’s are topically relevant keywords.

LSI Keywords for Contractors (word cloud)

How To Find LSI Keywords

To find LSI Keywords I recommend using LSI Graph.

LSI Graph is an LSI Keyword Generator. It works just like the tools we used during keyword research. 

Enter a broad keyword (topic), and the tool will return a list of recommended LSI Keywords.

LSI Graph - LSI Keyword Generator

Be sure to incorporate LSI keywords throughout your content. 

These will help Google better understand the overall topic of a particular webpage. 

Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR)

What Is Organic Click-Through-Rate?

Organic click-through-rate (a.k.a. “Organic CTR”), is the percentage of searchers that click on a search engine result. 

It’s primarily influenced by your ranking position.

That said, your title tag, meta-description, URL, and presence of Rich Snippets also play an important role..

For example, let’s say that you rank #3 for a keyword that’s searched for 300 times a month. 

Rank 3 for a keyword searched by 300 people per month

And 30 people click on your result.

30 people click on your result per month

Your organic CTR for that keyword would be 10%.

Your Organic CTR is 10 Percent

Why Is Organic CTR Important?

Two reasons:

The first being a higher click-through rate = more traffic.

Increase your CTR from 10% to 20%, and you just doubled your traffic… without higher rankings.

Increase in Click Through Rate (CTR) means more traffic

The second reason is that CTR is a key search engine ranking signal.

According to Larry Kim, there’s a strong correlation between “Expected CTR” and Search Rankings.

Expected CTR vs Search Ranking

Install Yoast SEO Plugin

I mentioned using the Yoast SEO plugin earlier in this post to set up an XML sitemap.

Yoast also makes it easy to set up your page titles and meta-descriptions.

Yoast SEO – Title + Description

It also has a ton of other features to help optimize your site as a whole.

Yoast SEO – Features

Page Title Optimization

Page titles tell both visitors and search engines what they can find on the corresponding pages.

In the search results, the most prominent aspect of your listing is the “Page Title”, appearing in blue just above the small green URL.

Page Title of Contractor Website  in Google SERPS

Include Your Target Keyword In Page Titles

If you could only do ONE thing for on-page SEO, it would be this:

Use your keyword in your page title.

Keyword appears in Page Ittle Graph

Why is this important?

Well, when it comes to on-page optimization, your page title is the most important part of your page.

Include Your Target Keyword in your Title Tag

Page Titles provide a summary of what a page is about.

I created a page about SEO Services in Arizona, and the page title begins with my target keyword: “Arizona SEO Services.”

I do the same thing on our pages about “Phoenix SEO Services” and “Scottsdale SEO Services.”

Using your keyword in your page title sends a STRONG signal to both users and Google that your page is about that keyword.

Keyword in Page Title of Google SERPs

In general, the closer the keyword is to the beginning of the page title, the more weight it has with search engines. 

In the above and below images, my post on “Roofing SEO” begins with my target keyword: “Roofing SEO.”

Here’s an example from my blog archive.

Keyword In Page Title Example

As you can see, I put my target keyword at the beginning of each title.

The title of my post on “Local SEO For Plumbers” begins with my target keyword: “Local SEO For Plumbers.”

My post on Local SEO For Small Businesses and my post about The Benefits of Local SEO each begin with the keyword I’m targeting.

Page Title Best Practices

  • Keep Page Titles under 60 Characters
  • Use Main Keyword at the beginning of Page Titles
  • Every Page has a Unique Page Title
  • Don’t Keyword Stuff

Meta Descriptions

What is a Meta Description?

The “Meta Description” is an HTML attribute that summarizes the content of a web page.

Google displays the meta description beneath the page’s URL.

Meta-Description of Contractor Website is SERPS with Keywords Bold

Although meta-descriptions aren’t a ranking factor, they’re still very important.

Meta Description Best Practices

  • Limit Meta-Descriptions to 160 characters
  • Using an Active Voice
  • Include a Call-To-Action (CTA)
  • Include Main Keyword

SEO-Friendly URLs

We touched upon URL structure briefly in the section on technical SEO. 

Now we’re going to look at SEO-Friendly URLs, and why they are critical to SEO success!

What Are SEO-Friendly URLs?

SEO-friendly URLs should meet the needs of users and search engines.

They should be short and keyword-rich.

Why Are URLs Important For SEO?

Along with your title tag, link anchor text, and the content itself, search engines use your webpage’s URL to understand what your content is all about.

URLs appear below the page title in the search results.

SEO-Friendly URL in SERPs

The section at the end of a link known as the “slug” can be customized to indicate what a page is about.

SEO-Friendly URL Best Practices

1. Use Keywords in URLs

Your URL should contain a keyword that you want your page to rank for.

(Preferably, that page’s target keyword)

Why?

Because including your target keyword in your URL tells Google: “This page is about this Keyword.” 

Keyword in URL Example

2. Use Hyphens to Separate Keywords in URLs

Use hyphens to separate words in your URLs.

For example, in the image below I use the URL: website.com/kitchenremodelingservices/.

I use a hyphen “–”, to let search engines know that “Kitchen,” “Remodeling,” and “Services” are three separate words.

Using Hyphens to Separate Words in URL

3. Short URLs

Short URLs will make it easy for users to understand what a page is about without having to visit that page.

For example, this URL is long and confusing.

Long and Confusing URL Structure

Short, descriptive URLs are also more aesthetically pleasing.

Example of a short URL Structure

Optimizing your URLs plays a role in:

  • Improving your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPS)
  • Aid the potential customer in knowing what content the link will guide them to.
  • Attract new customers as the link is more attractive than a standard URL.

Image Alt Text

As smart and ‘all-knowing’ as Google might seem, it can’t really identify images very well.

Google recommends that you: “Provide a descriptive filename and alt attribute description for images.”

Examples of Properly Optimized Image Alt Text

The alt text is what appears in the image placeholder in case an image fails to load or loads at a slower rate.

Alt text also helps visually impaired people that use screen readers to browse the internet.

It should describe the image to users as well as to search engines.

Ultimately, image alt text needs to be specific but also representative of the topic of the webpage it’s supporting. 

Publish Unique and Original Content

In order to keep your website current and relevant, keep it updated by regularly publishing new content to a blog.

In the screenshot below is Republic West Remodeling’s Blog, which they update regularly.

Example of a contractor Website with a Blog

By publishing great content you’ll incentivize visitors to return to your site. 

For example, you could write a blog post explaining “How To Plan A Bathroom Remodel?” or “How to avoid being overcharged for a kitchen remodel.”

Creating high-quality, unique, and original content will also attract backlinks from other websites.

High-Quality and Well-Structured Content Ranks Higher

Off-Page SEO For Contractors

Now that we’re covered technical SEO and on-page SEO, we’re on to Off-Page SEO. 

Off-Page SEO for contractors involves marketing efforts that you do away from your website.

Off-Page SEO For Contractors

The primary aim of off-page SEO is to increase your site’s authority and raise brand awareness, both of which play an important role in your search engine rankings.

Backlinks

A Backlink (a.k.a. “Inbound Links” or “External Links”) is like a “Vote” from another website to your website.

Search engines view backlinks as a sign of Trust and Authority, which can improve your site’s ranking in the search results.

Backlinks are like a vote of confidence

Search engines like Google and Bing measure these “Votes.” 

Each “Vote” (backlink) essentially says: “Hey, Google! This content is great! It’s high-quality, useful and trustworthy.”

In general, the more backlinks a page gets, the better it will rank. 

Graph of Total External Backlinks For Positions 1-10 on Google

A recent study found that links are still Google’s #1 ranking signal

Google has confirmed that links are among the top three ranking signals.

So, how do you get backlinks?

More importantly, how do you get backlinks that will get your site on the first page of Google?

What Are Backlinks?

I mentioned above that more backlinks = better ranking.

That said, what is actually more important than the number of backlinks, is the Quality & Relevance of the links.

There are a LOT of low-quality websites online.

Not surprisingly, backlinks from low-quality sites offer little to no value.

On the flip-side, backlinks from high-quality websites can be more powerful than 1,000 low-quality backlinks.

But how do you know if a backlink is high-quality… or low-quality?

High-Quality Backlinks tend to have a few things in common.

#1: They Come From Authoritative & Trustworthy Websites

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Would you rather a backlink from The New York Times… or some random website?

Guess what, Google feels the same way.

In short, the more authority a website has (a.k.a. “Domain Authority”), the more authority (a.k.a. “Link Juice”) it can pass on to your site

Domain Authority Passed As “Link Juice”

#2: They Include Your Target Keyword In The Anchor Text

Anchor text is the visible text part of a link.

Anchor Text

In general, you want your links to have anchor text that includes your target keyword.

Use a Descriptive & Keyword rich anchor text

#3: The Topical Relevance Of The Page & Site Linking To You

This is extremely important.

Google wants to see links that come from websites that are Topically Relevant to yours. 

Think about it like this:

Imagine you just published an article about “How To Plan Your Kitchen Remodel Project.”

Google will view links from sites about contractors and DIY home fixes much more favorably vs. links from websites about women’s fashion, or video game reviews.

Contextual Backlinks

Bottom line? Build links from sites in your industry… and closely-related industries.

#4: The Link is a “Do-Follow” Link

There are two types of backlinks:

Do-Follow Backlinks – These are the most important type of links, as they pass some of the authority (a.k.a “Link Juice”) of the linking page to the linked page.

No-Follow Backlinks – These don’t pass any authority because of the rel=”nofollow” HTML tag that tells search engine spiders not to count it.

Do-Follow vs. No-Follow Backlinks

In terms of SEO, no-follow links offer no value. 

#5: Links From Domains That Have NOT Previously Linked To You

Let’s say Website A links to you.

That’s great news.

Then, Website A links to you again. And again. And Again.

Are the additional links as valuable as the first?

Nope.

Links from the same website have diminishing returns.

Backlinks from a single domain have diminishing returns

To put it another way, 50 backlinks from 50 different websites is better than 500 backlinks from 5 websites.

Why is Link Building so Important?

The more backlinks I get pointing TO my website from high-authority sites; the stronger the signal is that my site contains valuable content and is trustworthy.

Why is Link-Building so Important?

The bottom line?

Getting backlinks from high-authority websites doesn’t happen on its own.

“Link Building” is the process of earning backlinks from authoritative websites and is an essential part of an effective Contractor SEO strategy.

Link Building For Contractor SEO

The best way to build backlinks to your contractor website is to create great content.

47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a company before talking to a salesman from that company. Source

Create High-Quality & Engaging Content

The content you publish on your website needs to be high-quality!

It should answer users’ questions or help them solve a problem.

Create High-Quality & Engaging Content

If it doesn’t provide a ton of value to users… what’s the point?

Reach Out to Industry Experts & Influencers

Research the top people in your industry and find their contact information. 

Reach out to these industry influencers to see if their audience could benefit from the content you created. 

If you create content that’s valuable enough, they’ll want to share it with their audience.

Guest Blogging on Relevant Industry Websites

Guest blogging has been a popular link-building strategy for a long time, and for good reason. 

Getting an article published on an authoritative website will help in establishing your expertise and authority. 

Find contractor industry websites and read their blog to see what type of content they publish. 

Look for content with a lot of “Shares” and then create something better.

Make sure the website you’re writing the guest post for includes a link back to your website.

Press Releases

This is a tried and true link-building strategy. 

When done properly, press releases can get you a backlink on a very authoritative website.

I recommend hiring someone to write and submit your press release. 

Be sure to set aside a budget for this and make sure they are truly relevant.

Use Social Media to Promote Content

Sharing your content on social media is a quick and effective way to get your content in front of your friends, family, and business associates.

The more you can get other people to share your content… the better.

Social Media Marketing for contractors

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’re aware of social media and how important it is for business.

Not sure where to start with social media?

Check out: 

As a business on social media, it’s important that your social media profiles are properly set up and optimized.

This isn’t a post about social media marketing for contractors, so I’m not going to go in-depth.

Facebook Marketing For Contractors

Facebook is the largest social media platform by far.

It should lie at the center of your social media presence.

On Facebook, you can reach the largest audience of any platform in the world.

As if that wasn’t enough, Facebook Ads provide insanely targeted advertising capabilities.

Facebook Advertising For Contractors

The targeting options Facebook enables you to laser target your ads so they will only be shown to the people most likely to become a qualified lead or to drive traffic to your website.

Instagram Marketing for contractors

Instagram has been growing in popularity year over year.

It’s the perfect place to showcase the projects your contracting company has completed.

Setting up a “Business Page” on Instagram enables you to include a link to your contractor website in your biography.

Because Facebook owns Instagram, you can run ads on the platform through Facebook’s advertising platform.

The image below shows the Instagram profile of Luster Custom Homes.

Instagram Marketing for contractors Example Profile

They post high-quality and visually appealing photos and include a link to their website in their bio.

YouTube Marketing Best Practices For contractors

YouTube has exploded in popularity.

Owned by Google, YouTube can also play an important role in your contractor SEO strategy.

Videos often appear in Google’s search results like in the image below.

YouTube Videos in Google Search Results

Videos that take users “Behind-The-Scenes” at your company are a great way to increase brand awareness and establish trust with potential customers.

Contractor YouTube Channel

They are also easy to make using the camera on your smartphone.

Another popular format is “How-To” videos, which are relatively easy to create.

Wrapping Up Contractor SEO

Getting a website set up for your contracting business is a great first step towards attracting new customers online.

However, creating a website is the easy part.

It’s essential that your website is properly optimized so that the search engine spiders are able to crawl and index it.

With the SEO industry constantly changing, it’s imperative that you keep up with the latest SEO Trends.

You should consider working with an Arizona SEO Agency to implement your contractor SEO campaign.

We offer solutions that are customized to fit your unique business needs, and goals.

To learn more about our services and how we can help you to grow your contracting company, contact us to request a Free Consultation today.

Now It’s Your Turn!

So that brings us to the end of Contractor SEO.

Now I’d like to turn it over to you: Which aspect of your Contractor SEO strategy are you going to focus on first?

Are you going to begin with keyword research? Or work on improving your site’s speed and mobile-friendliness?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now!

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