Construction SEO (search engine optimization) is the process by which you optimize a web page for a specific keyword or group of keywords. The goal is to increase your search engine ranking for that keyword, thereby earning more clicks onto your page when people search for those term(s).
Phew. That was a mouthful. Let’s try it another way.
SEO for construction companies can be boiled down into 3 key steps:
- Find keywords people are searching for. These need to be related to what you offer, of course.
- Create & optimize pages to target those keywords. In general, one page targets one keyword.
- Build backlinks to those pages. A handful of good links can make a huge difference.
There. That’s better.
No matter what anyone says, construction company SEO isn’t rocket-science. It’s not some black-magic sorcery that mere contractors can’t understand or see with their own eyes.
It’s real and tangible.
When you hire someone for construction SEO services, you should see:
- The keywords they’re targeting.
- The pages they’re creating and optimizing for those keywords.
- The links they’re building to those pages (and how your overall digital footprint grows).
Today, I’m going to pull back the curtain to explain our SEO process and how we use it to get more phone calls and leads for construction companies of all sizes.
It’s how we were able to increase a custom home builder’s phone calls by over 98% in a 12-month span.
More importantly, I’m also going to give you all the information you need to do this yourself.
Remember: construction SEO isn’t rocket-science.
But it can be a pain in the butt. Let’s get started.
Organic/Local SEO For A Construction Company
Nowadays, SEO for construction companies has two different aspects: organic SEO and local SEO.
Organic SEO helps your website rank for keywords.
Local SEO helps your Google Business Profile rank for keywords.
Why does this distinction matter?
In order to get the most benefit from construction SEO, you need to optimize your website and your Google Business Profile. Furthermore, both optimization techniques vary greatly.
If you’d like to dive deeper into this concept, I wrote a guide to contractor local SEO here.
3 Steps to Traffic-Driving, Call-Boosting, Lead-Generating SEO for Construction Companies
When done right, SEO for construction companies can provide some of the highest ROI’s of any digital marketing strategy. When done wrong, it can burn a hole it your pocket – fast.
Today, I’m going to show you a three-step process that can turn your company’s website from a dud into a true traffic driving, call-boosting, lead-generating machine.
You can use this information 3 ways:
- To evaluate your current SEO provider. What are you getting for what you’re paying for? This article will help you determine what you should be getting for your monthly SEO fee.
- To evaluate a new SEO provider. What should an SEO provider do for you? After this article, you should have a better understanding of how to evaluate potential SEO partners.
- To do (most) of this yourself. This stuff isn’t rocket-science. This article will give you a firm understanding of SEO basics. If you have access to a few key tools and the ability to make updates to your website (not to mention loads of time), you should be able to do all of this yourself.
To make things easier to understand, we’re going to break the SEO process down into 3 major steps:
- Finding keywords.
- Creating and optimizing pages for those keywords.
- Building backlinks and a larger digital footprint for your business.
Obviously, you need an awesome website to make any of this work. Book a free strategy session to see how we can help, or take a look at the 41 best construction website examples in 2023 for some inspiration or to see how your current design stacks up.
1. How to find keywords.
All of SEO starts with keywords. Without keywords, you don’t have an SEO strategy.
To find keywords for free, you can use the Google Keyword Planner. Unfortunately, this platform doesn’t provide the most intuitive interface for doing in-depth keyword research.
Alternatively, you can use a paid platform like SEMRush which would make your life a lot easier.
Implicit vs. explicit keywords.
Remember earlier, when I talked about the difference between local and organic SEO? Here’s where that concept really starts to come into play.
Google is smart enough to understand the intent of keywords. If a keyword has local intent – meaning, if someone searching for that keyword is likely to be searching for a local business to contact – Google will show Map Pack results tailored to that person’s location.
That’s an implicit keyword.
- Implicit keywords have local intent and do not contain geographical modifiers. Examples of implicit keywords are “construction companies” or “home builders near me.”
Explicit keywords are more simple.
- Explicit keywords have local intent and do contain geographical modifiers. Examples of explicit keywords are “construction companies in Baltimore” or “home builders Baltimore MD.”
Why does this matter?
For a complete construction SEO strategy, you need a lists of both types of keywords.
I’ll speak more on “optimization” in the next section, but the concept behind it is doing a better job of letting Google know what a particular page on your website is about.
For that reason, you wouldn’t want a page dedicated to both commercial construction and residential construction on your page. Why? Because those are two very different keywords.
As you do your keyword research, you’ll want to create “groupings.” These will help us when we start creating and optimizing pages for those keywords.
A great way to do this is by starting with a very broad keyword. Then, you’ll want to include keywords that are both a) very similar to your main keyword and that b) match the intent of your main keyword.
- Main keyword: Construction company
- Secondary keywords: Home construction company, residential construction company, etc.
These three keywords would comprise one keyword group.
Notice that we didn’t include a keyword like home builder. Why? Because even though “construction company” and “home builder” can mean roughly the same thing (and have the same intent), they’re different keywords. You’d need a separate keyword group to target “home builder.”
In general, you’ll want to create and optimize a page on your website for each keyword group.
Speaking of which…
2. How to create and optimize pages.
Here’s what you need to understand: you can’t “optimize” a page that doesn’t exist.
Furthermore, you can’t “target” a keyword or keyword group without a page dedicated to it.
By this point, you’re probably thinking… crap. I need a lot more pages on my website.
And you’re absolutely right.
To win with construction SEO, you need wayyyyyyyy more content than you think. You need a page dedicate to each keyword grouping – that includes both your implicit and explicit keyword lists.
For information on the nuts and bolts of page-level optimization, check out this subsection.
Otherwise, I’m going to talk mostly about what types of content you’ll need.
Start with implicit keywords.
To start organizing all of this content we’ll be creating, we need a good jumping off point.
Luckily, your implicit keywords provide just that.
Generally speaking, most of these keywords will be service-based. They’re representative of the services you provide. Typically, these pages would all be within the main menu of your website.
As a construction company, you might offer the following services:
- Residential construction
- Commercial construction
- Remodeling and renovations
- Site grading, etc…
Start with this list. Go as deep as you can. Create a page for each.
Include explicit keywords separately (and only when they have volume).
Remember, explicit keywords have a geographical modifier attached to them.
No, you can’t target explicit keywords on the same pages as your implicit keywords. Not if you want to succeed, anymore. They need their own dedicated page.
Let’s say you’re located in Baltimore, MD.
A great way to find explicit keywords is by including your city in your implicit keyword search.
Keeping our idea of keyword groupings in mind, these four keywords can all be targeted with one page.
But not all explicit keywords will have volume.
A construction company in Baltimore would likely also service the nearby town of Dundalk.
Let’s take a look to see if we should create a new page for it…
Not a lot of volume. Not for that keyword, anyway.
Utilize blogs to strengthen other pages – not rank themselves.
Most construction company content marketing sucks. Why? Because they’re doing it all wrong.
Generally speaking, a blog should provide value to the reader.
The good news? You can also gain some immense SEO benefit while doing so.
Let’s look at an implicit keyword and see how we might strengthen it with blogging.
Main keyword: construction company.
- What to Look For in a Construction Company
- How to Evaluate Construction Companies
- How to Choose the Best Construction Company for Your Needs
Write those topics. Contextually within each article, link back to the main page targeting your implicit keyword. Not only will it benefit your website visitors, but it also creates relevance and authority in the eyes of search engines, strengthening the main page that you actually want to rank.
Here’s an interesting note: with enough content, you don’t really need backlinks.
Not for construction company SEO, at least.
Still, it’s useful to know how to get backlinks.
And for local SEO (read: implicit keywords), it’s mandatory to build a large digital footprint.
We’ll start there.
How to create a large digital footprint.
First… what is a digital footprint?
Well, it’s everywhere your construction company appears online. All your social media profiles, all the directories you’re on, all the maps listings and review websites… they all make up your digital footprint.
- Related reading: 267 Places to Promote Your Contractor Website For Free
How do you create a large digital footprint?
Start with data aggregators.
Data aggregators are companies that collect business information and distribute it to hundreds or thousands of websites. Certain directories only accept business information that comes directly from data aggregators. Furthermore, using data aggregators can save you dozens of hours of legwork directly submitting your business information to directories.
Here are four data aggregators you can submit your business to today:
Cool, is that it?
We’re just getting started. Now, we want to get some citations.
Citations are places where your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) appear in a listing format. You’re probably already familiar with some of these.
According to BrightLocal, these are the top 35 citations in the USA.
|maps.apple.com||Domain authority: 100|
|google.com||Domain authority: 100|
|facebook.com||Domain authority: 96|
|bing.com||Domain authority: 93|
|yelp.com||Domain authority: 93|
|local.yahoo.com||Domain authority: 93|
|foursquare.com||Domain authority: 92|
|bbb.org||Domain authority: 91|
|mapquest.com||Domain authority: 89|
|yellowpages.com||Domain authority: 87|
|here.com||Domain authority: 86|
|city-data.com||Domain authority: 85|
|manta.com||Domain authority: 81|
|tomtom.com||Domain authority: 78|
|merchantcircle.com||Domain authority: 77|
|nextdoor.com||Domain authority: 77|
|angi.com||Domain authority: 76|
|justlanded.com||Domain authority: 76|
|citysearch.com||Domain authority: 75|
|superpages.com||Domain authority: 69|
|company.com||Domain authority: 68|
|us.kompass.com||Domain authority: 66|
|local.com||Domain authority: 66|
|elocal.com||Domain authority: 66|
|brownbook.net||Domain authority: 61|
|storeboard.com||Domain authority: 61|
|chamberofcommerce.com||Domain authority: 60|
|infobel.com||Domain authority: 59|
|spoke.com||Domain authority: 59|
|yellowbook.com||Domain authority: 58|
|hotfrog.com||Domain authority: 58|
|insiderpages.com||Domain authority: 57|
|yellowbot.com||Domain authority: 57|
|botw.org||Domain authority: 56|
|ezlocal.com||Domain authority: 56|
But that’s not enough, either. Now, we need some unstructured citations.
Unstructured citations can be just as powerful as their structured counterparts. They still reference key details about your business – your NAP – but don’t group those details together.
- Press releases. These are great sources for unstructured citations. Services like PRNewsWire can distribute your release to hundreds of outlets.
- Web 2.0 properties. Back in the day, these were used to farm cheap, spammy links. Today, they’re great sources of unstructured citations. You can post articles on sites like Medium or HubPages for free, including your business information and Google Map for bonus effect. Just be sure not to spam – you’ll quickly get removed.
- Community organizations. The local Chamber of Commerce or Moose Lodge website likely lists other businesses associated with them. If you have any local affiliations, check their website to see if you’re listed. If you’re not, just ask to be.
Whew, that’s a lot of profiles.
But wait! What about social media profiles?
How many social media platforms is your business currently on?
Likely, the answer is “not enough.”
Of course, you’d be hard-pressed to give every platform the attention it deserves. That’s okay. Simply being on the platform is a benefit in and of itself. Backlinks, remember?
Here’s 35 social media platforms you can get on right now:
Fill out your profile completely. These profiles are great sources for backlinks and unstructured citations, both of which strengthen your online entity and your contractor SEO efforts.
How to get backlinks to your targeted pages.
Generally speaking, everything above is going to help your Google Business Profile rank in the Map Pack for implicit keywords. However, all of those links are going to be pointing to your home page.
What do we do if we want to build links to internal pages – perhaps pages that are targeting explicit keywords but which aren’t in the top 3 spots?
Well, we need some backlinks. And that generally means doing a little outreach.
Reach out to other local businesses.
You likely already have relationships with local businesses in your area.
Most likely, you know other subcontractors. There’s some restaurants you frequent. I bet if you thought hard enough, you could think of other businesses you have a relationship with.
Ask if they would like to include a link to your website – in turn, include a link to theirs.
Send out a couple dozen emails. Talk to the owners you know personally.
One good link is hard to come by.
Reach out to similar businesses with a good offer.
This is perhaps your best option, though it requires considerable more work.
Look for other construction companies that aren’t competitors. Send them an email.
Email marketing is a great way to help automate this.
The pitch is simple: offer to write a blog posts (with links pointing back toyour website’s pages, of course) for them to post on their website.
In exchange, give them money, or offer to let them do the same on your website.
Your mileage will vary, and you’ll likely need to send hundreds of emails.
But remember, one good link is hard to come by.
SEO for Construction Companies That Drives More Traffic, Phone Calls, & Leads
As a construction digital marketing agency, we rely heavily on SEO to get our clients lead.
While not an exhaustive guide to SEO for construction companies, this article touches on all the main aspects of SEO you need in order to succeed:
Of course, I could go on and on about website architecture, SCHEMA markup, website speed, bounce rate, sitemaps, and so much more… but that’s not the purpose of this article.
Hopefully by now you can:
- Understand what your current provider is (or isn’t) doing.
- Evaluate other SEO companies and what they offer.
- Do a good majority of this yourself.
If you’d like to learn more about the SEO process and the nuts and bolts of things, the Search Engine Journal is a great place to learn all things search engine optimization.
Or, you could book a free strategy session with us :)