As a small business owner you always want your website to attract customers for your business. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. How and when to implement SEO for a local service area business website is an important decision to make and this article will help you better understand when to start working on your SEO strategy.
If your customers come from a fixed radius this article is for you. This article is for businesses like landscapers, paving contractors, roofers, siding companies, windows companies, cleaning companies, etc. or, if you own a brick and mortar store that attracts customers from your area.
If you are a local service area business then a well-thought out SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plan could be a great strategy for you. The key is timing.
SEO can be a great strategy to get you more customers from the Internet. But, exactly when you should start SEO requires some careful thought.
Where Your Website Fits Into Your Overall Marketing Plan and When To Work On Your SEO For A Local Service Area Business
Your website is the online home base for your small business. Any business owner serious about their business should have a website and, just because you have a small business website doesn’t mean you will all of a sudden start getting calls and leads for your business from it. If your website is buried on page 23 of Google no one will ever see it and you won’t get any business from it.
Getting your website ranking on the front page for relevant keywords that could attract customers is what SEO is all about.
SEO is a great tool to grow your business but when to use that tool is important in the grand scheme of things. It’s important to understand that SEO takes a long time to work and could take months, to over a year, to get your website ranking on the front page of Google. It does work, but you must be patient when doing SEO. For that reason, we don’t recommend using SEO as an initial strategy to grow your business
A Cautionary Example Of Why Starting With SEO First Is A Bad Idea
Our team recently had a meeting with a paving contractor who started his business a couple years ago. As one of his first actions, he hired an SEO agency to get his new website ranking higher in the Google searches. It seemed like a good idea at the time but one year later he had received no business from the efforts. Our team analyzed his business website and his SEO team was, in fact, making progress on improving keyword rankings (paving contractor Charlotte, NC, driveway paving Charlotte, NC, etc) but he had a long way to go to see the fruits of his labor.
The problem was that after a year of paying his SEO guy $1,100/month he was still on Page 3 of Google for many of his focus keywords. When someone does a search for a service area business like this they ONLY look at the results on Page 1 of Google. They don’t go to page 2, 3, 4 etc.
SEO is an all or none game.
You are either ranking on the front page of Google for focus keywords and getting website traffic and leads or you are on page 2 or beyond and not getting anything out of it.
Zilch, Zero, Nada.
It’s not that SEO was a bad strategy, it's just that his timing was bad.
SEO Is A Great (But Slow) Marketing Tool
SEO is a great tool for many businesses. There’s a lot to gain by getting your business ranking on the front page of Google and other search engines. But you shouldn’t start working on it until you have other faster-working strategies in place.
By now, you’re likely wondering what we recommend starting with if you’re trying to get a steady stream of new leads and customers for your business.
That’s a great question. And the answer is simple
Google Ads - The Quickest, Fastest Way To Get New Customers
When we talk with a service area business that sells high-ticket services, a Google Ads lead generation system is our top recommendation. It works immediately to get your business on the front page of Google and can magnetically-attract customers who want to work with your business. A well-run Google Ads lead generation campaign is an investment that can translate into new customers quickly.
When done properly, a marketing system is created that attracts new customers and gets your business more money on the backend than what you put into the system. Making it an investment, not an expense.
When speaking to the paving contractor who invested $1,100/mo into an SEO program and hadn’t gotten anything out of it, our team explained why his plan of doing SEO was a good one but that timing was wrong. He understood that SEO should be done AFTER he had a proven way to get new paving leads quickly. A Google ads lead generation campaign was what he needed at this point in his business growth.
He paused his SEO efforts and signed up for a Google Ads lead generation campaign with us instead and that will serve him well to get leads immediately (not a year plus from now)
Google Ads is where we recommend starting with growing a service area business. After that’s in place, then the next “tool in our toolbox” is to work on a Local SEO campaign.
Local SEO is how your business shows up in the Google Maps listings. The goal here is to get your business ranking in the coveted Google Maps 3-Pack, which are the top three listings that show before the user has to click “see more.”
When you combine a Google Ads campaign AND Local SEO work that is a great combination as it gets you showing up in multiple spots on the front page of Google.
Optimizing your Google Business page for your business gives you a great shot at attracting more local clients from Google. For most of our service area business clients we start with a combined strategy of paid Google Ads and Local SEO as it’s the most effective way to get business now while also building a long-term asset for your business.
Google Ads First, Local SEO Second, Then Website SEO
Once you have that in place, and you’re getting customers from it, then it makes sense to invest in your long-term asset of your website. At this point your business will be growing as you get new customers from your paid advertising and local SEO efforts. Once your business has a reliable flow of inbound leads it makes sense to start investing in your website SEO program.
Timing is everything and it’s important to understand this is a long term investment in your business that will take some time to pay off. Success generally depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed. This is very, very true with SEO. So if and when you do this the key is to have the right expectations in mind before you start.
With that understood, we can continue on with the mission of getting more spots on the front page of Google
It Starts With Identifying The Right Keywords
Before anything else is done it’s important to start with the right keywords. The important work of identifying the right keywords is crucial so you can attract the right people. You can’t hit what you don’t aim at, so knowing what you’re going for on the keyword front is crucial. Our team of digital marketing experts can help you identify the right keywords so you will attract the right people most likely to turn into paying customers.
We have specific strategies we use to identify these keywords that we want to get your business website ranking for. Once we have those, then we can move onto the next steps.
Build It On The Right Platform. (WordPress)
What’s “under the hood” of your website matters. It matters a lot. There are a lot of different platforms you can build your website on, but WordPress is our preferred platform. The reasons are simple. It’s very SEO-friendly and when you add in some of the other ingredients below, it can help get your website ranking more effectively.
If your website isn’t currently built on WordPress then we’ll likely recommend rebuilding it on this platform.
A well-built WordPress website with good technical SEO will set you up with the best foundation to improve your site’s rankings in the future. Not building on WordPress isn’t a deal breaker, but it does make the job harder
Have Good On-Page Content With The Right Keywords Included
One of the critical pieces of improving your website’s chances of ranking the front page is having well-written content on the various pages of your website. When the little Google bots crawl over your website, they don’t look at the pretty graphics, they look at the words. The written content matters and it’s important when writing this content you write it for two different audiences
Audience 1 To Write For: The Google Robots
When you write content for the various pages of your website it is important to strategically weave core keywords into that content. An important piece of that on-page written content is to make it easy for Google to understand what your business does, the services your business offers, and what geographic areas you serve. In order for Google to understand all that you must include content arranged in specific ways into the pages of your site.
Audience 2 To Write For: Your Ideal Customers
It’s not enough to just write your content for the Google robots. Getting Google to understand who you are and the services you offer is critical, but you can’t just have a page full of illegible content stuffed with keywords that a human won’t understand. You have to write for both the Google bots AND the humans you want to work with.
It needs to make sense, it needs to be easy for real people to understand and convince them you’re the business they want to get to help them with their project. The website content not only needs to attract people but also convince them to choose you.
Build Quality Backlinks To Increase Your Website Authority
Ok, so now you have a well-built website with great written content on the pages of your site. You have the pieces for Google to understand who you are, what you have to offer, and what keywords they should be ranking your website for. That’s part of the equation but it isn’t enough in and of itself.
It does no good to rank for keywords on page 2, page 4, or even page 30 of Google.
Here’s how we help solve that.
We build links to your site from other relevant and higher authority websites. A backlink is like a “vote of confidence” from one website to another. Some votes carry more weight than others because Google trusts certain websites more than others, therefore they value links from those sites more.
We can thus help improve the ranking potential of your focus keywords by getting quality links from other sites to your site. This will help to improve your rankings and move you closer and closer to the front page of Google.
This takes time and it’s a slow process. With consistency of building links and increasing your website authority over time, it will move you towards your goals of ranking on the first page for those keywords. Once you’re ranking on the front page, it will generate leads for your business. The higher up the page you rank the better as you’ll get a higher percentage of potential customers to contact you.
The End Goal - Google Front Page Domination
We describe our approach of “owning” as many spots on the front page of Google for focus keywords as “Google Monopoly.” Just like the board game we played as children, the way to win the game is to own as many properties on the front page of Google as possible. Our recommended plan for starting to win customers from the Internet is to start with Google Ads, then improve Local SEO, then work on improving your website SEO.
With that strategy you can have 3-4 spots on the front page of Google for a given keyword.
This is the strategy we recommend to own as many spots on the front page of Google as possible. The order in which we win the game matters but our clients that we work with have seen amazing growth in their business by following this exact plan.
Time To Meet With Kyle Battis
Kyle Battis has been involved in advertising and marketing since 1999. He has a background in Website Design, Direct Marketing, Online Media Buying commanding $150,000 per Month Ad budgets, Live Presentations, and he has extensive experience designing Marketing Campaigns that make money for small businesses.