SEO for Tradesmen: The 2024 Search Engine Guide
Why do tradesmen need SEO?
If you’re a tradesman looking to grow your business in 2024, it’s impossible to ignore the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO for tradesmen is a combination of techniques that will help your website climb the ranks of search engines for specific search terms and key phrases related to your business.
Everyone is always looking for that quick win with their website, but please understand that there’s no magic, overnight SEO hack that you can apply here, it’s a strategy you need to apply to your website and maintain for the long haul.
There are some quick wins to be had, but consistent, sustained, high-intent traffic is what you’re looking to achieve with SEO and with the right strategy in place, you can achieve this over time.
More of your potential customers than ever are turning to search engines like Google to find local businesses and services. As a by-product of this, it means that if your website isn’t optimised for search engines, you could be missing out on valuable, intent-led traffic and potential customers.
When we say intent-led, in this context, we mean capitalising on customers searching for something specific. For example:
- 💡 “Full house window replacement Bolton” – this customer is showing intent in this search
So, that being said, where do tradespeople begin with SEO?
SEO can be complex and is an ever-changing field, and many tradesmen may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available (so do a lot of SEO’s).
That’s why we’ve put together this 2024 guide to SEO for tradesmen. Below, we’ll cover some key SEO strategies and tactics you can use to improve your website’s visibility and attract more customers.
We’ll discuss a range of things, from keyword research and on-page optimization to link building and local SEO, we’ll cover practical tips and insights to help with your tradesman SEO journey and achieve growth for your website. Whether you’re just getting started or trying to take your existing strategy to the next level, this guide has something for everyone. So let’s get started with this guide to SEO for tradesmen.
How does this all work?
Google, as you’ll know, is one of the world’s most popular search engines, and the place where the majority of your trade customers will begin when they’re looking for a tradesperson in your area of expertise.
But how does Google actually interact with your website, and how does your site actually get onto Google’s results page?
Google is a search engine that uses software to browse the internet and locate websites that are added to a huge index. This index is sorted by the topics that each website focuses on, meaning that Google can present users with relevant search results for a huge range of different questions and search terms.
Obviously, there’s a lot more than just one website for every search topic out there, and that’s where your competitors are. That’s why you get pages and pages of results whenever you search for anything online. Google uses an indexing system to decide which websites are most relevant to different search terms by analysing what’s on these websites and then ranking them based on this information. An indexing system is a way to organize and categorize information so that it can be easily found and accessed when needed.
Think of it like a filing cabinet for your documents or a library’s card catalogue for their books.
When your website goes live on the internet, Google will ‘crawl’ this site and continue to do so regularly so that it understands what your website is offering and decide where it is going to display your website when people search for businesses like yours. If you want to ensure that your website is one of the first results that appear, there are a range of different things you can do to help.
When we say crawling, this is the process by which search engines like Google or Bing, discover and analyse content on the internet. Think of it like a spider crawling through a web, exploring and gathering information as it goes.
When Google crawls your website, it uses software aka a “spider” or “bot” to follow links and navigate through your website’s pages. This allows Google to analyse and index (or list on the results) the content of your website, which helps to determine where the site should rank in search results.
Crawling is vital and a huge part of the search engine optimization (SEO) process because it allows Google (and other search engines) to discover and analyse new content and pages. Without crawling, search engines would have no way of knowing that new pages or websites exist.
Strategies to Improve your SEO
SEO isn’t an approach that yields instant results as discussed, but there are some small changes you can make yourself that will pay off later down the line when it comes to how well your website ranks.
There are a variety of different factors that a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc…) uses to determine how well a website is going to rank. Some of these are difficult to control, but there are several different ways you can give your website the best possible chance to get well and be seen by as many people as possible.
I’m going to focus on three core areas for you to start focusing on.
Content, content and more content
Writing content on topics that relate to what your business offers and what your customers are interested in is very important for a successful content strategy. But if you want this content to get found and read by potential customers, you also need to consider how you can write content that is good for your website.
We touched upon keyword research in the previous section, which is an approach that involves finding phrases that web users search for that relate to your business. You should use these phrases in the text on your website, whether that’s landing page copy or the posts that you share on your blog.
An example of a website that’s used keyword research to its advantage is Droylesdon Glass, which is ranking for over 3000 different keyword phrases on Google in the UK.
They’ve taken the time to include every niche phrase that relates to their service offering, illustrated by the fact that they’re the top result for phrases like ‘cat flap in composite door’, ‘small orangery extension ideas’ and ‘1930s style UPVC windows’.
Once you’ve optimised the text on your website by fitting in key phrases, think about the kinds of keyword phrases that are known as ‘longtail’ by SEO experts. These phrases are usually asking a specific question or looking for something in particular, and are great for targeting with a long piece of content like a blog post that will rank well on Google and bring potentially interested customers to your website.
Some examples of longtail phrases that you can use to inspire your content:
- The best small garden room ideas
- The best small conservatory ideas
- Can new windows reduce energy bills?
- How much does it cost to fit french doors?
- The best energy-efficient home improvement ideas
- How long does it take to install new windows?
- How to reduce the cost of landscape gardening?
- Alternatives to Indian stone flags?
- Does replacing windows damage your walls?
- How much does It cost to install hardwood floors?
- How much money can new triple glazing save?
- How much does a new front door cost?
You can use dedicated keyword databases to create lists of these kinds of phrases that can then inspire plenty of pieces of content. Paid tools like Ahrefs and Semrush give you tons of insight into different metrics for each phrase, but if you’ve got a limited budget then free tools like Answer the Public and Google Trends will do the trick. If you do enough digging through keyword databases, you’ll find examples of longtail keyword phrases for all kinds of trade businesses.
Statistics show that longtail keyword phrases have up to 5% higher click-through rates than regular phrases.
- 💡 Backlinks = Getting another site to link to your website, from theirs.
We touched on backlinks in our “Tradesmen Marketing: How To Get Started” article.
Links or backlinks are a critical component of your SEO strategy. This is because backlinks play a huge role in helping Google establish the authority and relevance of a website. Links are like “votes” from other sites on the web. These votes help Google determine the quality and usefulness of the content on your site.
These votes are weighted based on the referring domain, and the type of backlink you have.
For example, a backlink from “The Times” will have more of an impact on your website, than a link from an unknown, new blog online.
When Google crawls and indexes the content on your trade website, they analyse the links between websites to determine which sites are authoritative and relevant (relevance is also key here) for particular search queries. As we touched on above, the more high-quality links your website has pointing to it, the more likely it is to rank well in search results for relevant keywords and phrases related to your trade business.
As we discussed here, a great way that you can build backlinks initially is to list your website listed on as many online tradesmen directories as possible. This includes the likes of Bark, Checkatrade, Trusted Trader, UK Listings, Age UK, Yell and Thompson, to name just a few.
Here are a few other ways you can start generating backlinks:
- Create high-quality, shareable content: As we discussed above, if you create valuable, informative, and shareable content, this will make it more likely that other websites will link to your content.
- Competitor Research: using a keyword tool like Ahrefs, you could research your competitors and other trade industry-related sites to cross-reference where they’re getting links from. Use this information and start outreaching those sites!
- Guest posting: Reach out to other trade sites, magazines, blogs, regulatory bodies, unions, and other publications in your industry and offer to write a guest post for them, this could be anything from thoughts on the current market landscape to discussing how to solve a problem that everyone in your industry will face (dealing with upset customers, generating new business, getting more reviews etc..)
- Industry communities: Join online tradesmen communities related to your niche and take part in discussions and start conversations. This will help to build your reputation and increase your visibility, making it more likely that other websites will link to your content.
- Use visual content and data: Visual content (maps, graphics) and data (research, internal insight, industry insight, poll data, data from industry bodies) are highly shareable and can be a great inroad to new links.
- Use broken link building: Find broken links on other websites in your niche and reach out to the site owner to let them know and offer a replacement with links to your own content.
If you have any further questions on building links, speak to our team who can guide you further.
The third cluster of the SEO strategy is more technical elements. These elements might not be that easy to implement yourself. You need to help of a web developer or SEO expert to help. If you get stuck with any of these, we’d be more than happy to take a look at your trade website for you. It’s kind of what we do!
Technical SEO, as per the sub-title, refers to the process of optimising the technical aspects of your trade website to improve your search engine rankings. This usually involves a mix of different things (I go into more detail below) such as making changes to the website’s structure, code, and server to make it easier for search engines like Google to crawl and index the website’s content on the search results pages.
Technical SEO is an important part of your SEO strategy because, as you’ll have heard, Google uses some pretty complex algorithms to decide which websites to display in search results.
These algorithms look for a bunch of technical factors, such as website loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and website structure. By planning your website and content around these technical factors, you can give search engines a helping hand to better understand your site which in turn will help improve your trade businesses visibility in search results.
Here are a couple of things you can start with:
- Your website’s structure: A well-structured website makes it easier for search engines. You’ll need to make sure your website has a clear and logical hierarchy, with easy-to-navigate pages and a sitemap. You can learn more about this here.
- Use HTTPS: HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secure version of HTTP that encrypts data. Google now considers HTTPS a ranking factor, so it’s important to make sure your website uses HTTPS. If you’re still unsure, you’ll get this from your hosting and domain provider and it’s that little lock icon in the URL bar. It shows Google and your visitors you take security seriously.
- Optimise loading speed: Yes, your website loading speed is a ranking factor for searches on both mobile and desktop. You will need to ensure your website loads quickly by optimising images, using caching, and minimizing code, potentially using a CDN.
- Optimise for mobile devices: Another biggie! Having a website that is optimised for mobile devices is a key factor. Mobile visits now account for the majority of internet traffic, so it’s vital that your website is mobile-friendly. Use a responsive design and optimize your website for smaller screens.
- Use structured data: Structured data, aka Schema Markup, helps Google to understand the content of your website. Use structured data to mark up your content and make it more visible in search results. This could allow your content to show up on FAQ’s, for example.
- Broken links and errors: Broken links and errors on your website can seem innocent but can hurt your website’s performance and search engine rankings. Regularly cross-check your website for broken links, 404 errors, and other issues, and fix them as soon as possible. You can use this tool here to check.
- Use a robots.txt file: A robots.txt file tells search engines which pages of your website to crawl and which to ignore. Use a robots.txt file to ensure that search engines are crawling and indexing the right pages and not indexing pages you want to remain hidden.
In summary, as you’ll have seen above, technical SEO plays a crucial role in the success of any tradesperson’s website. By optimising these technical elements of your website, things like structure, loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and server config, you can help Google better understand your content and improve its visibility in search results – win-win right?
This will ultimately lead to more traffic from potential customers and more enquiries.
So, it’s important to prioritise technical SEO in your overall SEO strategy to ensure your website is optimised. Again, if you’re struggling with any of this, speak to Ben for help.
So what next?
I hope that after reading this tradesmen SEO article, you feel better equipped to tackle your trade business website head-on! The strategies we have outlined are proven to help you improve your rankings which will lead to more traffic and more leads if done correctly.
Ultimately increasing your visibility in the local market.
It’s important to remember that these strategies work best when used together, as they complement each other and create an SEO strategy.
If you’re a tradesman looking for help with these bits – whether it’s SEO, content, email marketing or social media, our team can provide you with the skills and expertise you need to get started.
We pride ourselves on making the marketing process easy and understandable for our clients, so you can focus on what you do best – your trade business.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more information and start growing your business today!
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