SEO for Contractors: How to Rank Your Site #1 in Google

Climbing the search rankings with contractor SEO is one of the most effective ways to grow your home service business. Learn why!

seo for contractors guide
Table of Contents

    What’s the best way to market a contractor company in 2024? It depends on who you ask.

    Paid media experts will tell you that Google Ads is the only way to go. PR firms will say their services are the only way to build a strong brand. A videographer will tell you that YouTube’s the only way to spread the word about your business.

    There isn’t just one way to grow your home service business.

    I’ve been in the digital marketing space for 16 years now. My teams have worked with $500M+ corporations and small mom and pop shops. I have grown businesses multiple times over using every marketing channel there is.

    In all my years driving traffic, leads, and revenue, there’s only one channel that consistently drives the highest return.

    Organic search.

    There is no better way to grow than ranking on page one of Google. And I know because I’ve helped tons of contractors climb the search ranking to get free traffic and leads.

    There are thousands of searches every month on Google for your services. Securing that top spot will give you a significant boost to your inbound traffic. And, you’ll start passively earning high value leads from homeowners that need your services.

    Let’s dive in.

    Why invest in SEO for contractors vs. other marketing channels?

    Before we cover our contractor SEO strategy, let’s review why other channels aren’t worth the time or money.

    People throw away flyers, postcards, & door hangers

    Door hangers, flyers, postcards, and business cards on door frames used to be a great way to spread the word. You’d send the printer your design, get 1,000+ copies, & have the new guy to put them on people’s front doors.

    In a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, the calls would start rolling in and you’d get more jobs.

    Img Credit: Formax Printing

    However, for most homeowners these days, you’re just giving them something to throw away. They’ll take it off their door, toss it in the garbage, and forget about your company 5 seconds later.

    Your response rates might differ, but these print ads typically get a 1% – 3% response rate. Even with a well designed flyer, you might creep up to the 5% range, which isn’t enough. And with the cost of direct mailers skyrocketing in recent years, the ROI gets really dicey.

    You’re better off subscribing to my newsletter (coming soon!) to get free ideas every week to grow your business. No spam. No garbage. All gas, no brakes.

    Google Ads can be expensive

    If you aren’t familiar with Google Ads, it basically works like this. You type what you’re looking for into Google & you’ll get a list of websites on the search results page (SERP). At the top of that page, there are the Local Service Ads (LSAs) and paid search ads.

    ppc ads results hvac example

    Companies run campaigns to show their ads here and only pay each time someone clicks on their ads. And, it’s a great lead generation strategy for contractors. However, clicks are expensive for contractors. Most keywords in this space can cost $20, $30, and sometimes $50 per click.

    If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can easily waste thousands of dollars without driving any results.

    But, if you do, it’s absolutely worth the investment.

    Want to learn how to do PPC the right way? Check out our complete PPC for contractors guide!

    Organic social takes too much time

    Not all organic marketing will have an impact on your business. Organic search on Google and Bing? 100%. Organic social? Not so much.

    Now, you should absolutely be on social media. It’s a great tool to publish content, engage with clients, and build your brand. You can also showcase your project with hashtags to highlight your build quality.

    But, should you spend a ton of time trying to actively build a large follower count? Absolutely not.

    Social media platforms have been throttling your organic reach for years. When you post an update, only 1-2% of your followers will see it naturally in their feed. You’d need tens of thousands of followers to reach enough people to make it worth your while.

    For national brands, that’s no big deal. They have a bigger pool to pull from. For local businesses, that can 100% be out of reach. And there might not be 10k+ people willing to follow a contractor on social media.

    The juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.

    SEO traffic is free & passively grows your business

    There are hundreds, possibly thousands of searches for your services every day. And that traffic just keeps growing as more people turn to Google to find a local contractor.

    Organic traffic isn’t like paid advertising where the faucet shuts off when you stop paying. You’ll continue to passively attract more visits and get more high value leads while you have the top spots.

    In the right hands, your website will see major lifts in organic traffic from your target keywords. And with so many possible target keywords, your organic traffic can keep growing along with your growth goals.

    The really amazing part about investing in SEO is that your return on investment (ROI) is practically limitless.

    organic traffic growth

    Which is because you don’t have to keep paying for SEO after the initial investment. Once you’ve climbed the rankings and earned those tops spots, your level of spend stays locked in. It’s all free traffic from that point on. So, every new visit that leads to a new project keeps pumping up your ROI.

    It isn’t uncommon to see 100x, 200x, or even 500x ROI from investing in SEO.

    We’ve helped national multi-location home service companies earn millions of organic visits across their partner network. And we’ve also helped plenty of local contractors grow their business multiple times over with just organic search.

    contractor organic traffic growth

    And this isn’t just a one off success story either. We consistently see outstanding results from our contractor SEO strategies to drive thousands of visits to our customers’ sites.

    roofer organic traffic growth example

    It isn’t a walk in the park though. If you aren’t familiar with the latest trends and best practices, you could do more harm than good. So, it’s important to know what actually moves the needle so you don’t accidentally sabotage your business.

    Let’s dig into our strategy.

    Our simple 7-part SEO strategy for contractors

    Here at Hearth Marketing, we focus on keeping things simple and straightforward. There’s no reason to complicate your site’s SEO. We only use proven tactics and strategies to move the needle for our clients. This way, everything we do drives clear, measurable results and grows revenue.

    And here’s how we make it happen.

    #1: Optimize your Google Business Profile listing

    Google treats local searches differently than those for general informational searches or for large national brands. The local search algorithm has different ranking factors so local businesses can rank higher in the search results.

    One of those ranking signals is your proximity to the searcher. And the best way to optimize for that is to build your Google Business Profile listing.

    This is the section that shows up next to the search results when you Google your company’s name. It also has all of the important information your potential clients need to learn more about your business.

    elevated roofing GBP listing example

    Claiming and verifying your Google Business Profile is also what puts your company in the local map pack. When you search for “fence company in Allen”, it triggers this map pack:

    You’ll see three companies that match your search query next to a map of the local area. Ranking in the map pack’s top spot should be one of your top priorities. Your listing will show your company’s name, contact info, rating, link to your website, and more. Most homeowners want to hire a local contractor so this is the perfect place to rank. Not one that’s three cities away.

    To rank here, you need to create or claim your listing, get it verified, and then optimize for local searches.

    How to optimize your Google Business Profile:

    • Verify the address of your physical location (postcard, call, video, email, etc.)
    • Fill out as many fields as possible (business name, phone number, address, services, etc.)
    • Select your business’ most relevant category (industry), i.e. plumber, electrician, roofer, etc.
    • Add relevant images to your profile (projects, team photos, images of your location, etc.)
    • Build automated outreach campaigns to ask satisfied clients to leave a review.
    • Ask yourself & answer the questions your clients most commonly ask.
    • Link to your GBP listing from your website, and make sure your information matches.

    You can do more with your GBP listing to boost your local visibility, but this builds a solid foundation. Google will use this information to figure out your ranking in both the local search results and the map pack. If you want to build your online presence, check out our full guide on how to rank higher on Google Maps for advanced tactics to help you climb the rankings!

    #2: Build a clear website structure

    Local businesses typically ignore their technical SEO and website structure. But that doesn’t make it any less important! Slow load times, wrong site structures, and bad sitemaps can make it harder for Google to crawl & index your site. Which makes it even harder to rank and start getting traffic from ideal clients in your service area.

    You may not have the technical experience on staff to handle this, but it’s important to be aware of it. Since it could be preventing you from ranking in the search results for the keywords that matter to your business.

    Let’s start with an easy one that’s completely in your control, your site structure.

    What pages do you need on your website?

    • Home page
    • Service pages: One for each service you provide to your clients.
    • Location pages: One for each city in your service area.
    • Reviews & testimonials: Highlight your satisfied clients’ experiences.
    • Completed project pages: Before & after shots of your work.
    • Project estimate request page
    • About Us
    • Contact Us
    • Blog

    These are the pages that you absolutely must-have. Your clients are either going to specifically search for these pages, or they’ll help drive leads.

    Other “nice to have” pages:

    • FAQs: Frequently asked questions
    • Financing options
    • Deals / offers
    • Spanish versions of those pages

    You can see a very similar structure with most of these pages on contractor websites like this one. You’ll see links to them in the primary and secondary navigation bars.

    website navigation structure example

    And here’s an example of a completed projects page. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but this is a critical page to have on your site. The goal is to showcase the quality of your work so your clients know what to expect.

    contractor completed projects portfolio example

    Don’t overlook building out these additional pages. The more pages you have on your website, the more chances you have to rank and earn traffic.

    #3: Create relevant content that educates and informs

    To drive serious traffic to your website, you need to consistently post relevant content. This behavior tells Google that your website is fresh and relevant. And, it also tells them that you have great content that people want to read. All of which helps you climb the rankings and start earning more traffic.

    But, not everyone is ready for your services. There are people looking for answers and doing some research before they decide to hire a contractor. These folks are just as important to your business as those who are ready to hire you.

    It’s important to remember that content marketing isn’t a straight path to conversion. Most people don’t read a blog and immediately become a customer. The goal here is to get multiple pieces of content to rank, spread your online presence, and drive more traffic.

    Question is, “What type of content should contractors make?”

    There are three different types of content that contractors should make to guide people through the customer journey.

    Marketing funnel stages

    • Upper funnel content: Awareness stage. Searchers may not need your services right now, but are looking for information related to them.
    • Mid-funnel content: Consideration stage. Searchers need your services, but don’t know who you are.
    • Lower funnel content: Conversion stage. Searchers are actively looking to hire a contractor.

    Publishing content at each stage builds a pipeline that educates, informs, and pushes readers closer to becoming customers.

    Upper funnel content

    People at this stage most likely don’t need a contractor or have an issue that would require one. They’re doing high level searches that aren’t related to your business. This makes them very unlikely to convert since they aren’t looking for your services.

    However, they might look up “when is hail season in Dallas” or “how long does a wooden fence last”. Why? They could have an older fence and they’re curious if they need to start thinking about replacing it. Or, they likely have an older roof and aren’t sure if it can take another beating.

    roofer blog article example

    By publishing these higher level content pieces, you’re introducing these people to your home service business. And, planting the seed so when they do need your services, they’ll think of you first.

    Mid-funnel content

    People at this stage of the customer journey know they have a problem and are looking for help. This changes the intent of their search. They’re getting closer to being ready to convert, but aren’t quite there yet. They want to find the right solution to their problem before they whip out their wallet.

    For example, if they’re looking for different types of roofing materials, they know they need a new roof. Now, they’re looking for what type of roof they want.

    roofer blog article example

    You can see how they’re warming up to hiring a roofer. At this stage, they know they have a problem and they’re looking for solutions. In this example, it’s what type of material they want to use on their new roof. It’s a serious investment, so they want to be happy with the result.

    Most people here are also just one step away from converting. So, you want to make sure the majority of your content targets this part of the funnel. It isn’t about getting traffic, it’s about driving more phone calls to your office.

    Lower-funnel content

    Now that the person knows they have a problem and what the solutions are, they’re ready to hire a contractor. You can capture some of them in your mid-funnel content by driving them to lower funnel pages like:

    • Service pages
    • Location pages
    • Contact pages
    • Completed project pages

    This can give them the nudge they need to call your business or complete a form to get an estimate.

    For other people, they’ll do searches containing keywords like “allen roofing company” or “roof replacement in Allen”. You can see how the search intent shifts from research to finding a local contractor.

    Here’s how a roofing contractor’s content funnel could look like:

    • Upper funnel topic: “hail season in DFW”
    • Mid-funnel topic: “types of roofing materials”
    • Lower funnel topic: “roofing company in Allen”

    Repurpose your existing content

    There’s more to content marketing than writing high level articles and posting them to your blog. Most agencies are still stuck in this content treadmill. And then they wonder why traffic is going up, but leads are staying the same.

    plumbing blog article example

    Let’s use this article as an example. This is piece of seasonal content that’s completely dependent on there being a hard freeze in your area. Here in North Texas, we get one, maybe two, hard freezes a year. So, winterizing pipes might not even be on your clients’ radar. And they probably don’t even know what to do.

    So, how do you get your clients to see this content?

    Repurpose it for other channels.

    Companies make unique content for every channel, every time and get stuck in this time-consuming cycle. You don’t need to do that, and shouldn’t. Distributing repurposed content is the best way to maximize your visibility and reach people on new platforms.

    A single blog article could easily become 10+ pieces of content. You could turn it into:

    • A YouTube video
    • YouTube shorts
    • Social media posts, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Threads, Instagram, etc.
    • An email newsletter update
    • An image carousel on LinkedIn
    • A Google Business Profile post

    This article is a great way to send the right message to the right person at the right time. You’ll build a ton of goodwill giving your clients a heads up so their home doesn’t get damaged. It’s also a great way to stay top of mind, so if something does go wrong, they’ll reach out.

    #4: Optimize your pages for local searches

    Your potential customers are trying to find a local contractor, and they’re going to use Google to find one. You want to be the first company they see when they search for your services online. However, you need Google to understand that you’re a local business and rank your site for those important searches.

    So, you need to optimize your content to rank for local searches in your service area.

    local seo for contractors rankings example

    What is a local search? A local search is when a user’s query includes some form of location modifier, i.e. city, county, state, etc.. Think of any search phrase like “roofing contractor in Dallas” or “Allen fence company”. This type of search tells Google that the user wants to find something in that specific area.

    How to optimize your pages for local search

    • Use your target keyword and location everywhere, i.e. page title, meta description, URL slug, image alt tags, h tags, etc.
    • Have your NAP data (name, address, & phone number) on all pages of your website, i.e. the footer.
    • Make sure to wrap your NAP data in schema or add the microdata sitewide.
    • Localize your content by conversationally mentioning the city name, local landmarks, etc.
    • Write localized upper funnel content that shares more info about the local area.

    When you’re pushing these optimizations through, remember that there are three things Google looks at to rank locally.

    • Proximity: The distance between your location and the searcher.
    • Authority: Whether or not you’ve built the ranking signals to prove you’re a reputable company.
    • Relevance: Whether or not your business and/or content is relevant to the search query.

    #5: Clean up your site’s content

    Where good content can help your website rank, bad content can prevent it from ranking. You want your website to be full of valuable content to earn more traffic. But, sometimes, low quality content goes live and acts as an anchor, dragging your site down the search results.

    Regular content audits can be a phenomenal way to separate the wheat from the chaff. And get rid of those pieces of content that are hurting more than they’re helping.

    Most of the time when we deploy SEO for contractors, we’ll start with housecleaning to build a solid foundation. And part of that is a comprehensive content audit to find and defuse these landmines.

    seo for contractors content audit diagnostic

    What types of content to avoid / fix:

    • Remove pages with thin content, less than 500 words, or add more content to them.
    • Consolidate pages with duplicate content / topics to a single page.
    • Find orphaned pages without any links and either link to them or remove them.
    • Fix broken links that point at the wrong page or to pages that don’t exist.
    • Missing pages (404 errors)
    • 301 redirects

    You want Google to trust your content and view you as an authority since it boosts your ranking potential. Having low quality content, thin / duplicate content, broken links, missing pages, etc. tells Google you aren’t. This will make ranking, and earning new business, an uphill battle.

    #6: Make sure your page URLs aren’t spammy

    Google hates spam. And one of the most common forms of spam is keyword stuffing. This is basically when a site jams too many keywords on a page or URL to manipulate search rankings.

    And, it’s super easy to identify. You don’t need a fancy algorithm to see it. How do you know it when you see it? It’s unnatural, difficult to understand, and obviously over-optimized for a single keyword.

    Let’s look at this URL as an example:

    This is just a bad URL. There’s nothing redeeming about it whatsoever. It’s:

    • Stuffed with way too many keywords. Some of them are redundant and spammy.
    • It’s difficult to read and, for some people, understand.
    • The keyword targeting is all over the place.
    • You can’t tell what the page is about at a glance.

    For service pages, your URL structure should be similar to:

    • domain.com/services/roof-repair/
    • domain.com/services/plumbing/water-heater-replacement/
    • domain.com/services/tree-care/stump-grinding/

    Your location pages could follow a few different formats:

    • domain.com/service-area/allen/fences
    • domain.com/locations/allen/
    • domains.com/fence-company-in-allen/
    better page url structure example

    What’s important about these examples is that they aren’t going to hinder your ability to rank. Also, you won’t get dinged for using one instead of the other. We’ve seen solid success with the first example and have made that our standard template for page URLs.

    Your URLs need to be easy to read and understand so when someone sees them, they know what to expect. This is also true for both search engines and people.

    It also creates a clear hierarchy that tells Google:

    • The page is about a service your company provides, i.e. /services/.
    • The overall type of service you’re providing, i.e. /plumbing/, /tree care/, etc.
    • The specific service itself, i.e. /stump-grinding/, /roof-repair/, etc.
    • Where you provide that service, i.e. /service-area/allen/, /locations/allen/, etc.

    #7: Build relevant backlinks to important pages

    Your Google Business Profile puts you on the map and makes you easier to find. Site structure helps Google crawl your website and index your site. Content targets the keywords that matter to your business and gets more pages to rank. And good housekeeping, i.e. content audits, URL structure, etc., keeps your site in Google’s good graces.

    Now, it’s time to build your site’s authority ranking signals with Google. Backlinks are still best way to show Google that your website deserves to rank higher in search. They are the most weighted factor in Google’s primary search algorithm, and they carry weight in the local algorithm too.

    Think of each backlink you earn as a vote of confidence in your content. The more votes you get, the more like it is for Google to look at you as an authority.

    But, the question is, what backlinks should you try to get?

    The great news is that you don’t need to go after uber high authority and super expensive backlinks from Forbes. What qualifies as a “good link” in the local algorithm is different than the main algorithm. So, the links most companies wouldn’t bother with are exactly what you want. But, you shouldn’t chase after low-quality spam links though.

    Types of good backlinks for contractors

    • Local meet ups: Share your conference room or become a meeting sponsor. Most of these come with a local backlink that’s quick and easy to get.
    • Local blogs / articles: Contact these publications to see if they’d like to run a story on you. These content pieces will net you a backlink and a good number of mentions as well.
    • Local community: Build relationships with other businesses in your community. These contacts can be a great way to write relevant guest blogs and earn local backlinks.
    • Sponsor an event: There are always local events that need sponsors, i.e. golf tournaments, little league teams, 5k races, etc.
    • Local organization websites: Neighborhood watches, HOAs, Chambers of Commerce. These local organizations typically have their own websites and are in desperate need of content.
    • Out of state competitors: Don’t get stuck in your own strategy. Check out some competitors in different states to identify backlink strategies you can use.

    We use a combination of these six to help contractors quickly scale their backlink profiles. And as you earn more links in these areas, you’ll start to climb the search rankings.

    SEO for contractors takes a lot of work – and we can help you rank #1

    You run an incredibly busy business with an almost endless to-do list. You don’t have time to learn and stay up to date with the latest local SEO best practices. There are projects to plan, materials to order, schedules to organize, and countless other tasks demanding your attention.

    You know that SEO can help your business scale. However, you just don’t have time or the ability to make it happen.

    Which is why we recommend partnering with a contractor SEO that understands local marketing, your industry, and can drive results. It gives you all the benefits of investing in SEO without any of the overhead or leg work.

    Contractor marketing is what we do. It’s our bread and butter. Our team can help you climb the search rankings and start earning more free traffic and leads. If you’re ready to learn how we can make it happen, reach out to talk to our growth team. And find out how we can help you crush your growth goals.