According to a study by GE Capital, 80% of consumers say that they perform some type of online research before making any type of large purchase. Additionally, a study by Demand Gen Report says 47% of consumers say they view between three and five pieces of content created by a company before they’ll even consider picking up the phone and talking to a sales representative from that organization.
Stats like these are why search engine optimization (or SEO for short) is so important for construction businesses.
Unless you have incredible visibility offline and everyone already knows your company’s name, most people are searching online to find a company that offers your products and services. Statistics show 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine (most prevalently Google), so it’s easy to see why this is one element of your digital presence that you need to pay attention to.
In my experience, many company owners aren’t paying attention to SEO at all, and, if they are, they are focused on the wrong things. Search engine algorithms change every year. If you aren’t keeping up, then you are likely still focused on yesterday’s SEO techniques. While some are still effective and can help your rankings soar, just as many are mistakes that can torpedo your rankings if you’re not careful.
Mistake No. 1: Ignoring Your Mobile Customers
These days, approximately 52.2% of ALL website traffic across the world comes from the exact same place: a mobile phone. We’ve all searched for a site on our iPhone or Android before, only to discover a terrible experience because nothing about that domain was optimized to work well on a smaller device with a touchscreen interface. So, at that point, what do we usually do?
We slam the “back” button on our browser and never return.
A lot of people don’t think about design and aesthetics when it comes to SEO, instead choosing to focus on things like keywords and backlinks. While those things are important, if your site isn’t optimized to display well on a mobile device, all you’re doing is giving someone an excuse to go elsewhere to find the information they want.
Not only that, but in 2019 Google started mobile first indexing. Essentially what that means is it is ranking websites based on the mobile version instead of the desktop version. Many developers, rather than making elements work on mobile, will hide items. If your mobile website is a slimmed down version of your desktop website, you could be hurting your rankings without realizing it.
To tell if your website is mobile friendly, look at your website on your phone. If the print is really tiny and not easily read without making the content bigger, it’s likely not mobile friendly. If you have to scroll the page from left to right because the text goes off the screen, or you have a difficult time clicking on links, it’s definitely not mobile friendly.
Mistake No. 2: Not Paying Enough Attention to Your Local Customers
Another one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make when it comes to SEO involves focusing their sights on the largest possible audience, instead of the right audience: meaning those people who actually live in the same communities that you operate in.
If your business is based in Seattle, it doesn’t matter if you’re ranking highly across the country if your competitors are still outperforming you in your own backyard. Consider the fact that 46% of ALL Google searches being performed involve people looking for local information. They’re not opening up Google and searching for “construction company.” They’re searching for “construction company near me.“
Therefore, you must make sure that you’re focusing on attracting the largest local audience that you can—as those are the people who are most likely to pick up the phone and give you a call. You can still rank highly for certain noncompetitive keywords by taking a broader approach, but one thing you won’t have is a steady stream of new leads coming right to your (virtual) door.
Mistake No. 3: Failing to Recognize That ‘Content is King’
Along the same lines, in my experience, far too many organizations make the mistake of either not having a blog because they don’t understand the value it brings, or they have one and they are producing low-quality content that isn’t helping the cause.
Low-quality and otherwise “spammy” content won’t just rank poorly, it can drag the ranking of your larger domain down right along with it. Likewise, you need to think about the impression you’re giving to visitors if you’re just haphazardly writing something quickly or spinning a piece that you found elsewhere on the Internet.
If your blog is filled with nothing but low-quality content, you’re harming your ability to build trust in the people who view it, which will only send them right into the arms of your competitors. If you take the time to write original articles that offer something of value to readers, you are establishing authority and bringing more potential leads to your website.
Mistake No. 4: Only Playing the Short Game
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes that I often see people make when it comes to SEO involves focusing exclusively on those short-term gains when what you really need is an approach that will stand the test of time.
What I mean by this is that people often think they can somehow “buy their way to the top.” All they have to do is litter their site with keywords, purchase huge volumes of low-quality backlinks, or use any one of the other “black hat” SEO tactics that are so popular these days and they’ll rank at the top of Google and won’t have to worry about a thing.
Or so they think.
While these techniques may improve your ranking in the short term, they WILL get you penalized when Google discovers them. If you’re hit so hard that you no longer appear on the first page of results, you may as well not exist on the Internet at all.
In the end, doing everything possible to strengthen your SEO efforts as a construction business will bring with it a host of advantages, all at the exact same time. In addition to increasing visibility for your business, you’re also doing your part to help stand out from your competitors—something that will only get more important as time goes on.
But what you’re also doing is proving to others that you’re the authority in the field that you always knew yourself to be. You’re showing people that yours is a voice worth paying attention to—all while building (no pun intended) a significant amount of trust and loyalty at the exact same time.
That’s not just how you help create a steady stream of new leads for your construction business in the short-term. It’s also how you reliably and consistency generate the new business necessary to scale your organization over time, which is an excellent position for any services professional to be in, no question about it.