Do you want to get your plumbing company ranked in Google’s map pack and local search results? This guide covers everything you need to know about Local SEO For Plumbers!
It’s not enough to just have a website. Go to Google and search, “plumbers near me” or “plumbers in [your city].
If your plumbing company’s website doesn’t show up on the first page of local search results… guess who does?
Your competitors… and you’re losing business to them.
Luckily, Google wants local businesses to enjoy the benefits of local SEO.
Using the resources and strategies in this guide, you can ensure that your plumbing company will be found when your target customers search online.
What is Local SEO for Plumbers?
Local SEO for Plumbers involves optimizing your website and online properties to make it easier for nearby customers to discover your business.
In order to deliver the most relevant local results to users, search engines rely on signals like Google My Business, Links, Citations, and proximity to the searcher.
To clarify, when I talk about local SEO, I’m referring to any searches that are localized.
Local searches usually focus on a specific location, such as:
- “Plumbers Near Me”
- “Plumbing Services Near Me”
- “Emergency Plumber Near Me”
- “Plumbers in [City Name]”
- “Plumbing Services in [City Name]”
- “Emergency Plumber in [City Name]”
The primary aim of Local SEO is to show up in Google’s Map Pack (a.k.a. “Local 3 Pack”) or the localized organic search results.
Most searchers ignore the ads that Google places above the organic results.
Unfortunately, the visible results are all Ads.
Here is what it looks like after the Ads:
Commonly referred to as the “Map Pack” a.k.a. “Local 3 Pack” – This sits above the organic results in the majority of local searches.
In addition to the map pack and organic results, Local SEO also comes into play when people search in Google Maps:
As you might expect, Local SEO has a significant impact on Mobile Results:
As well as the “Knowledge Panel”:
With Local SEO the search term doesn’t have to include a geo-modifier (specific location).
Google uses the GPS in your phone to identify your location in order to return the most relevant results in the local area.
What Influences Local SEO For Plumbers?
When a user searches, how does Google determine which businesses to show in the map pack and organic results?
According to Moz’s local SEO study, the map pack and organic results are influenced by different factors.
Map Pack Ranking Factors:
As you can see, at 19% Google My Business is the most important factor in determining who shows up in the Map Pack.
Following closely behind are: Links, On-Page, Citation, and Review Signals.
Localized Organic Ranking Factors:
Coming in at 28%, Link Signals are the most important ranking factor of the organic results.
Keyword research for local SEO hasn’t changed much, however, there are certain aspects that are evolving.
The ubiquity of smartphones and the increasing popularity of devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have led to an increase in Voice Searches.
As the number of devices increases, the number of people conducting voice searches increases as well.
The hands-free nature of voice search means it’s likely to become the primary avenue for executing local searches.
For a lot of people, typing on their smartphone is a hindrance.
It’s easier to say “Hey Google, find a plumber near me” or “Hey Alexa, find an emergency plumber to fix a burst pipe.”
Thus, it isn’t surprising to see a rise in local queries based on conversational voice searches.
As a service-oriented business, plumbers should target keyword variations that include questions.
This is an excellent way to target keywords that have local intent.
I cover keyword research in more detail in Plumber SEO: The Definitive Guide To Ranking #1 
Google My Business Optimization
Google My Business is the most important listing for your business.
This is where Google gets information about your business to display on Google Maps and the Knowledge Panel.
Google also uses your GMB listing as a reference point to compare with your other listings across the web.
Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
To claim your GMB listing, go to Google My Business > Click “Manage Now”
Step 1 – Enter the name of your business.
Step 2 – I recommend saying “Yes.”
Step 3 – Say “Yes.”
Step 4 – Enter the address.
Step 5 – Add your service areas.
Step 6 – Choose the category (Plumber) that best fits your business.
Once your GMB account is verified, you can add additional categories.
Step 7 – Enter the contact details that you want Google to show customers in the Map Pack and the knowledge panel.
Step 8 – Click “Finish” and Google will send you a postcard with a verification code that you’ll use to complete the signup process.
Complete Your Google My Business Profile in Full
When filling out your Google My Business listing remember to incorporate relevant terms specific to plumbing.
Include descriptions of the plumbing services you offer and provide answers to any questions Google asks about your business.
An easy way to set your profile apart from other plumbing companies it by including videos in your listing.
Google is likely to boost the rank of listings that include videos because it delivers a better user experience.
Utilize the Google Posts feature
You can publish Google Posts similar to social media.
GMB Posts can include a Call-To-Action (CTA) to encourage users to contact you for a free estimate on plumbing services.
Google My Business – Question and Answers
As a business owner, I’m sure you’ve had to answer the same question over and over.
Google My Business can help put a stop to repetitive questions.
The platform allows you to add a “Questions and Answers” section where you can address the most common questions asked by customers.
Local Citations (NAP)
Once you’re done setting up and optimizing your Google My Business, you should start getting Local Citations (NAP).
What Are Citations?
Citations are any mentions of your business details online and are commonly referred to as NAP: Name, Address, Phone Number.
Citations can be Structured or Unstructured.
Structured Citations: Yelp, Angie’s List, Home-Advisor, Foursquare, Facebook, etc.
Unstructured Citations: A mention of your business in a blog post, news article, etc.
Having the correct NAP is extremely important for Local SEO.
Why Are Citations Important In Local SEO For Plumbers?
- Google – In order to learn more about a business, Google references plumbing and home-service directories. Google wants to see:
- Correct Contact Info
- List Of Your Services
- Customers – Your target customers look for the best plumbers in their area using local directories and other sites with business listings.
Ensuring that your NAP+W is consistent on your website and across third-party platforms is essential to a successful Local SEO campaign.
If there are several variations of your NAP scattered across the web, it’s difficult for customers and in turn, Google, to trust your information.
How To Check Your NAP Consistency?
One way to perform a citation audit is manual. I do not recommend it though.
To conduct a quick assessment of your NAP Consistency, I suggest using Moz Local.
Moz Local is a Free tool that can check for incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate listings across the web.
The results provided by Moz local consists of the top indexing platforms such as Facebook, YP, Yelp, Google My Business, etc.
How Many Citations Do Plumbers Need to Rank?
According to BrightLocal, Local Businesses have an average of 81 citations. The median number of citations for Local Businesses is 108.
There is a strong correlation between the number of citations a business has, and how high it appears in Google’s search results. Local businesses that rank in positions 1-3 have an average of 85 citations. Source
How To Build Local NAP Citations
The best citation sources differ depending on industry and location.
I recommend checking out Moz’s list of top citations for plumbers.
The following image shows the best citations for plumbers.
Another good place to start with is Moz’s Top Local Citations By City.
The image below shows Whitespark’s Best Local Citations By City.
When building out Local Citations for your plumbing company, make sure that you’re filling out the profiles completely.
Remember, consistency is key, so ensure you’re entering the same information in each profile.
Local On-Page SEO For Plumbers
In order to rank for the keywords your potential customers are searching, you need to optimize your website.
With Local SEO there are a few areas that are extremely important to rank your site locally.
Deliver a Positive User Experience
Your website is often the FIRST impression people will have of your plumbing company.
Google looks at how users interact with your website in order to determine the quality of your content.
Users rely on your website to get in touch with you, get a quote, or schedule you for plumbing services.
Plumbers face A LOT of competition online.
When a potential customer arrives on your website, obviously you want them to stay.
The best way to ensure that users stick around on your website (“Dwell Time”) is to deliver an amazing user experience.
What Is Dwell Time?
Dwell Time refers to how long a user spends on a page from the search results before returning to the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
For example, let’s say a potential customer searches “Plumbers Near Me” on Google.
The business at the top of the Map Pack looks good. So they click on it.
But when they arrive on that plumber’s website, they discover that it’s NOT user-friendly. The content isn’t helpful, and the PageSpeed is slow.
So after 7 seconds, they click back to the results.
Their Dwell Time was 7 seconds.
And their very brief visit is a clear indicator to Google that they weren’t satisfied with that result.
Let’s say they then click on the 2nd business in the Map Pack.
This time, the website IS user-friendly. It’s Fast easy to navigate, and the content is helpful.
And they spend 5 minutes and 9 seconds reading the content… then click back to the results.
That long Dwell Time tells Google that the user had a positive experience.
As this pattern is repeated, with other people spending a long time on that page, Google will boost its rankings.
How To Improve User Experience
By making your website SEO-friendly, you’ll also be improving the areas that negatively affect user experience.
Optimize for Mobile
If your website is difficult to use, visitors will NOT stick around.
They will leave your site in search of a better user experience.
The best way to prevent this is by ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly.
Why? Because: 61% of mobile users will be more likely to contact you if the site is easy to use on their mobile device.
To find out if Google considers your website mobile-friendly, you can test it using Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test.”
The tool will tell you if the webpage you tested is mobile-friendly and what you need to fix to improve it’s mobile-friendliness.
Another option is to head to Google Search Console:
On the left click on “Mobile Usability”.
It will tell you which pages (if any) Google considers to offer a bad mobile user experience:
Optimize Your Website For Speed
We live in a fast-paced and impatient world.
Which means people don’t like waiting around for a webpage to load.
Google is in the business of delivering high-quality and valuable content to searchers.
Your site might be full of amazing content, but if it takes forever to load, users won’t stick around long enough to find out.
One option that will improve your site’s speed and mobile-friendliness, is to implement Google’s AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages.
And that’s why you need to make sure that your important web pages are optimized for PageSpeed.
Once again Google provides tools for testing your site’s speed.
Set-Up Service Area Pages
As a service area business (no store-front), plumbers must go to the customer.
Because of this, you might serve a 30 miles radius around your city.
If you want to rank in Google’s localized organic results outside of the city where your office is located, you’ll need to create “location pages” or “city pages.”
These are unique pages of content that revolve around a different city and the services you offer.
For example, your locations pages could look like this:
Keep in mind, it’s 2019, and Google is smart. You cannot just copy your content over and over and over and change out the city each time.
It just simply doesn’t work anymore.
Each location page needs to have unique and original content about your plumbing services and the city.
This is why listing the cities you service is important as it allows your website to rank for several locations.
Set Up Individual Service Pages
In addition to the location pages described above, your plumbing company’s website needs to have individual pages for each plumbing service you offer.
Not only will this allow you to create more content, but it will make for better user experience.
Cramming every service you offer onto a single page forces users to spend time trying to locate the service they’re interested in.
Create individual pages for each service and include them in your site’s navigation.
This will make it easy for users to find the service they’re looking for and to access the page to learn more about it.
Individual service pages will also allow you to provide users with an in-depth explanation of each service you offer.
Create location-based service pages such as “Phoenix Water Heater Installation” to rank for both the location and service you provide.
Using your primary keyword, as well as synonyms and LSI Keywords in specific areas of each webpage is extremely important.
Title tags are the most important part of on-page optimization.
They appear in the search results as the blue link above the URL and Meta-Description.
Your title tag should be between 50-65 characters.
Below is an example of a well-optimized title tag.
Meta-Descriptions appear in the search results as the grey text under your Title Tag and URL.
Keywords in your meta-description are bolded in the search results.
If you aren’t sure what to write for a meta-description, perform a Google search for the keyword that you’re targetting on that page.
Check out the meta-descriptions in the search results to see what other people are doing and make some improvements.
URLs appear in green and are sandwiched between the title tag and meta-description in the search results.
Google uses your URLs to help determine what your page is about.
SEO-Friendly URLs are so important that Google dedicated an entire section of their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide to them.
Structure Your Content
Headings and Subheadings should be used to structure your content in an informational hierarchy.
Depending on how many headings you have, remember to include your primary keyword, in at least one of your headings.
Schema Markup helps search engines understand your content.
Make sure to display your NAP (Name/Address/Phone Number) on your website.
Your NAP should be on your Contact page at the very least. An easy way to ensure that it’s displayed across your site is to include it in your Footer.
Implementing schema markup on your website will enable you to appear as a “Rich Snippet” in the search results.
Displaying reviews in the search results will improve your click-through rate by making your website stand out.
To find out more about Schema, and what type is most relevant to your plumbing website, visit Schema.org/Plumber.
Embed A Google Map
Embedding a Google Map on your website helps improve the user experience and Google’s understanding of your location.
There are a few places you can embed a Google Map on your site:
- Your Site’s Footer
- Contact Us Page
- Service Area Pages
Optimize For Conversions
Display Certifications and Partner Logos Prominently
If your business has been recognized by trusted and reputable organizations incorporate it into your website.
Industry-Specific badges and badges from prominent review sites are a great way to provide social proof.
Include certifications and/or awards received by employees as well.
Visitors to your website are looking for signs of credibility.
The logo of a well-known and trusted 3rd party will serve in establishing credibility.
Penguin Air & Plumbing have their certifications and logos from their partners displayed prominently on their homepage.
Use Photos & Videos
A great way to convey trustworthiness to prospective customers is through photos or videos of you, or your employees working.
This gives people a sense of what to expect when they hire your company.
Deer Valley Plumbing has a gallery of photos of their recent projects.
As you can see they take very high-quality photos, which has its benefits but isn’t necessary.
Your average smartphone camera is plenty powerful to take great photos of your plumbing jobs.
Service-based businesses such as plumbing require a good amount of trust in you or your employees by the consumer.
You or your employees will be going in and out of a customer’s home.
Including a picture of you and your employees on your website can help humanize your brand, and will help increase customer trust.
Go beyond a simple picture and include a short biography about each employee.
Penguin Air & Plumbing has a video on their homepage that talks about the company and the values they uphold.
Include Clear Calls-To-Action (CTA)
Getting website visitors is great, but you want them to convert!
Make it as easy as possible for visitors to take the desired action.
Display your phone number as a clickable link clearly and prominently.
Anyone visiting your website on their phone can tap your phone number.
Use CTAs to tell visitors what to do (call you, request a quote, etc.)
Display Reviews & Testimonials
Reviews are the single most powerful source of social proof you can display on your website.
91% of 18-34 yr old consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Source
Including reviews from third-party websites will help establish trust and improve conversions.
Consumers rely on reviews, reading an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
Acquiring reviews is one of the most important aspects of an effective Local SEO strategy.
According to Bright Local, it’s estimated that:
92% of consumers read online reviews and 68% state that positive reviews influence their feelings of trust in a business. Source
How Do Reviews Impact Local SEO For Plumbers?
Reviews great for establishing trust and credibility.
They’re essentially the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendations.
More importantly, they can positively affect your Local SEO.
Surprisingly, only 13% of small businesses ask for reviews while 75% of customers reported being willing to write a review.
It’s pretty clear from those numbers to get more reviews for your plumbing company… you just have to ask!
Unfortunately, consumers aren’t chomping at the bit to write reviews for plumbers.
How To Get More Reviews For Your Plumbing Company
1. Ask for Reviews in Person: This is the best time to ask for a review. Give them a business card with the steps for leaving a review.
2. Ask for Reviews in a Follow-Up E-Mail: After completing a job, you can send an email thanking them for their business and asking for a review of their experience. Include a link to your Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
Getting links from other websites that point to your website is almost as important with local SEO for plumbers as it is with conventional SEO.
What Are Local Backlinks?
Regular Backlink vs. Local Backlink?
Local links differ from regular backlinks in that they are specific to a particular city.
With local SEO for plumbers, acquiring backlinks from high-authority websites isn’t as important as it is with organic SEO.
For example, a plumber in Phoenix, Arizona might have some local links from a local Phoenix newspaper, a local plumbers association, and a few other businesses in Phoenix.
Those local backlinks would provide more local SEO value than several links from non-local websites.
Why is Local Link-Building Important?
The majority of local small business websites don’t have any backlinks, other than a few directory links.
This means that by acquiring a few locally relevant links can have a significant impact on your ranking in local search.
The primary reason for building local backlinks is to build relevance for your website towards its locality.
How To Build Local Backlinks
1. Business Associations
Links and citations from industry-specific business associations are not only valuable but also easy to get.
Links from business associations like the “Greater Phoenix Chamber” in the image below provide a powerful, trustworthy, relevancy signal that will boost your local SEO.
2. Local Meetups
Local meetups are a great way to establish business connections and find highly relevant local backlink opportunities.
Look for groups that are looking for a location to host their meetup and offer your place of business.
3. Host A Local Community Event
This is a popular strategy for car dealerships around holidays, but it can work for plumbers as well! It’s pretty simple… throw a party and invite the city.
It could be a cookout for the 4th of July or an Easter Egg Hunt for kids. Hosting an event that’s open to the community is a great way to get links as well as social mentions.
4. Sponsor A Little League Team (Any Sport Works)
It’s pretty obvious why this would be beneficial. For a small amount of money, you could sponsor a local Little League team.
Not only will this make your business look great to the community, but you’ll get a really great link from a hyper-local website.
5. Discounts (Military/Senior/Teacher/Etc.)
Offer discounts or coupons to Military, Seniors, Teachers, Etc.
Add a page to your website that explains the discount, and then reach out to local veteran organizations, the teachers union, etc., to get added to their sites.
I’m a veteran, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I hear “Oh, we offer a military discount!”
6. Local Resource Pages
This can take on a number of forms. You’re simply compiling a list of resources or providing information that would be helpful to anyone visiting your city.
If you’re an avid hiker that loves spending time outdoors with your kids, you could put together a list of the best kid-friendly hiking spots in [your city].
7. Create “Link-Bait”
This is simply a matter of creating a piece of content that’s good enough for other people to want to share it with their audience.
Some examples are:
- How-To Guide
8. Leverage Current Relationships
Assuming your plumbing company has been a part of the local community for at least a little while, you’ve probably built relationships with other local businesses.
It’s best if the business is in the same or a similar industry (i.e. remodeling contractor).
That said, links from businesses completely unrelated to plumbing are still valuable because of their local relevance.
A friend that works at a local news station could be a great way to get a hyper-local backlink.
Now It’s Your Turn
So that brings us to the end of Local SEO For Plumbers.
Now I’d like to turn it over to you: Which aspect of your SEO strategy are you going to focus on first?
Are you going to begin by setting up Google My Business? Or work on improving your website’s user experience?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now!
To find out how we can help you to grow your plumbing business, please Contact Us.
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