Table of Contents
I. Introduction to SEO & AVAWING® Marketing
III. The Real Dollar Value of SEO
IV. The Importance of Keywords & Key Terms
V. The SEO Blueprint, Steps, & Checklist
VI. Concluding Thoughts
I. Introduction to SEO & AVAWING® Marketing
1. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Before we get too far into this guide, we need to understand the purpose. Why is SEO important and why are so many people talking about it? SEO is the process of making your website as important as possible to Google so that you rank highly in organic search, so people who are looking for your website can find you easily. In a nutshell, the organic results are the results that show up below the ads and they are FREE to the owners of those websites.
Whenever you need a service, you may go to Google and type something like “AC repair near me” or “AC repair Denver”. Google then gives you a list of companies that might meet your AC repair needs. The results contain paid ads combined with unpaid results that are known as organic results. So, how did these organically offered companies get displayed by Google? Why are they special and how come they don’t have to pay for ads?
The answer is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Google looks at all companies that perform AC repair services and ranks them according to how well these company websites match your search query and how well these companies have SEO’d their websites. This is BIG because these companies are essentially receiving FREE advertising. This is HUGE $. If your company is appearing high on Google search results you are getting more attention, more business calls, and more LEADS!
Understanding how to get your company listed on Google’s organic search engine results page (SERP) can make or break your company. The SERP is simply the results you get whenever you do a Google search. The key is to appear high on the SERP of the Google Results page. For a quick video explanation check out my, “What the Heck is SEO?” video. Let’s get started with a review of how many marketers sell SEO.
2. The SEO Marketing SCAM
How many calls do you get from “SEO” guys or “digital marketing experts” on a daily basis? I bet you’re getting a ton of email SPAM from them too. People from places like India and the Philippines are telling you that they can get you to the first page of Google. People from your own city and state are telling you that you need SEO and they can manage your construction company’s SEO for a fee. So what’s the problem?
Well, how in the world do we know they have the faintest idea of what they are talking about? We don’t. The truth of the matter is most of them have no idea what they are talking about. Many of these people were in the website building business and since that industry has gotten crowded, they have migrated to the Digital Marketing and SEO industries.
Most of them will provide no real results and will base their organizational strategy on getting many business owners to sign up on a contract where they can produce almost nothing, yet you are tied to them for 6 months to 1 year because you signed a contract.
So in essence, many of these “SEO experts” are simply salespeople that have no real training in SEO or digital marketing. Instead, they have extensive training in high-pressure sales. I have personally witnessed huge marketing firms use a tactic with the following formula:
- Hire salespeople
- Call, Email, or LinkedIn as many potential clients as possible as quickly as possible
- Get a contract signed for 6-12 months
- Do a minimum amount of work (see more about this “work” below)
- Collect the money and move on to the next potential target
- You are trapped into a long term contract that is a waste of money
This formula leads to poor reviews, minimal work, bad service, and little to no results. Some of these “digital marketing companies” have a reputation so bad due to this formula that they have to hire lawyers to get poor reviews hidden online. I found this article about such a case where a large marketing company had Yelp reviews removed.
Can you believe that some digital marketing agencies would rather hire a lawyer than actually do good work?!? This is bullcrap and it ticks me off! I can’t speak to the work of this specific company, but these reviews speak for themselves.
Many so-called “marketing companies” rely on the fact that you are consumed with building houses or installing home improvement services and that you’re too busy earning a living to do an extensive research project to find a good SEO professional.
Research is pretty difficult to do since many of the horrible reviews these imitation digital marketers get are hidden, and you simply do not have the time to scour the internet for every single vendor you come in contact with.
Much of the digital marketing industry has changed to this model in the past few years and I’m here to talk about the industry and to help YOU understand SEO so that you have a reliable resource and don’t get taken for a ride.
3. Meet Greg Moore, CEO of AVAWING® Digital Marketing & SEO for Contractors
My name is Greg Moore and I am a digital marketer and SEO expert. I’ve written tons of information about the world of online marketing, search engine optimization, & digital marketing. My SEO journey began in the home improvement sector when I ran a highly successful residential remodeling company. We sold over $50 million in home improvement projects over the course of a decade, so I have definitely been on the contractor side of dealing with solicitors and vendors.
Our company was successful because of one main reason, digital marketing. I learned quickly that if I could rank on Google organically, I could get FREE leads and I learned this fact from the first SEO guy we hired. Our initial SEO guy did an average job performing SEO for our company website, but I had to fire him due to the fact that he did some unsavory SEO tactics on the backend or code area of our website to help promote his own business. I won’t go into detail, but this involved link building, which we will discuss later.
Nevertheless, I realized that SEO was going to be key to my business success as a remodeling contractor. I learned everything I could about SEO and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing via Google. I read articles about the topic and experimented with a variety of strategies to get our website rolling for a multitude of keywords related to remodeling. If you’re unfamiliar with some of the terminology, don’t be concerned; I’m going to go into detail about all these terms soon enough.
I have now taken over 10 years of my experience with remodeling and refined my techniques in digital marketing & SEO specifically for the home improvement industry. Because of digital marketing, I was able to get our lead cost to $55/lead. I’m not talking just a phone call, I’m talking about a set appointment with all homeowners present. Wouldn’t you love to pay $55 for a set appointment!
We were knocking it out of the park in set appointments where all decision-makers were present. Of course, our low lead cost was also due to the other marketing strategies we had in place, and this was a different time where SEO was not as competitive as today. However, spectacular results are still achievable using the methods I talk about in this guide.
4. Balance is the Key to Success
My goal is to inform contractors and home improvement professionals about the digital marketing industry as a whole. I want you to know how SEO works so that if you choose to hire somebody to do your marketing duties you can confirm that they know what they are doing. Hopefully, you decide to hire our company AVAWING®.
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. I have included links, infographics, and tons of valuable information. Search Engine Optimization can be a little overwhelming, so take your time to understand that SEO is a process that takes months and years to master.
The first question everybody asks me about SEO is, “How long does it take?” The answer is not so easy to decipher. Various industries have various levels of competition online. This competition also varies geographically. For SEO to begin to take effect, time ranges can vary from a few months to years.
If you are looking for a quick fix to your marketing, SEO alone is not the answer. SEO alone is never the answer. If you are looking for a quick fix, Google Ads or a PPC campaign is a great possibility and we consider ourselves experts at managing these types of campaigns. Every company needs a well-balanced marketing plan that consists of many parts. However I will tell you this, it is vital to your online success that SEO is among these parts.
5. SEO is one Essential part of a Strong Digital Marketing Strategy
You may have heard of the digital marketing mix. This mix mainly consists of the subjects listed in the infographic below. I won’t go into detail about every segment, but it is important to note that all the parts are key to a successful digital presence. It is my belief that a solid & long-term SEO strategy is among the most important parts of the digital marketing mix.
Given the fact that SEO takes time to get rolling it’s important to use something like PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising if you need business now. PPC can also be turned on and off like a light switch depending on your needs. We’ll talk more about PPC later in this document because it is so closely related to SEO that they are often used in conjunction, especially when doing keyword research.
6. The Internet is Growing Quickly so SEO is Competitive
According to 2021 website research, there are over 7.5 million blog posts each day and over 500,000 new websites published globally every SINGLE day. Wow, that is some serious competition and as a contractor, you understand the competitive nature of your industry and the importance of standing out to potential clients.
These kinds of statistics make it difficult to build a successful blog because there is so much information on the web that your information will most likely be lost unless you follow some guidelines. Blogging is a great way to help with your construction company’s SEO but you have to blog often and your blog articles need to be interesting, informative and appealing to a very specific audience.
Many plumbers, roofers, landscapers, construction companies, and other home improvement professionals have dedicated vast resources to blogging because done correctly, the impact can be enormous.
For example, If you often spend 4-5 hours writing a blog post, then take the time to optimize your post to get the maximum mileage and exposure out of a specific article. It’s amazing how many bloggers do not optimize their posts, meaning they get little to no benefit for all of their hard work. We’ll talk about how to perfectly optimize a webpage a bit later.
7. Home Improvement and Construction Industry Google Results
People conduct more than 7.5 million searches every day, and thousands of people search for terms related to home services every month on Google. Let’s look at some examples of Google search results for contractor and construction services. These numbers are based on national search averages for the entire United States.
Search term for the United States – Approximate Searches per Month
“Plumbers near me” – 550,000
“Plumbing” – 368,000
“Roofers near me” – 90,500
“Roofing” – 165,000
“Landscapers” – 33,100
“HVAC” – 201,000
“General Contractor” – 60,500
“Remodelers” – 40,500
“Bathroom Remodeler” – 165,000
“Painters” – 673,000
“Gutter Installers” – 40,500
“Solar Panels“ – 201,000
“Window Companies” – 12,100
“Vinyl Siding” – 90,500
“Power Washing” – 165,000
“Decks” – 110,000
“Lawn Care” – 65,000
“Tree Service Near Me” – 110,000
“Mosquito Control” – 22,200
“Kitchen Remodelers” – 90,000
“Cabinet Resurfacing” – 27,100
“Fencing Company near me” – 135,000
“Garage Door Installation” – 27,100
“Outdoor Kitchens” – 110,000
“Swimming Pools” – 823,000
“Door Installation” – 14,800
“Concrete Staining” – 60,500
“Garage Flooring” – 33,100
“Epoxy Flooring” – 110,000
“Garage Cabinets” – 74,000
“Foundation Repair” – 33,100
“Sunrooms” – 40,500
“Turl Installation” – 2,900
“Grout Cleaning” – 49,500
“Concrete Installers near me” – 33,100
“Skylight” – 135,000
“Handyman” – 110,000
“Outdoor Lighting” – 110,000
“Basements” – 49,500
“Electrician” – 201,000
As you can see from the above Google Search traffic numbers, we are looking at some INSANE traffic nationally for the construction and home services industries every single month. As you may have noticed, some searches contain the term “near me” in the search query. What is the meaning of this and how do you rank for “near me?” Do I need to literally optimize my website pages for this term?
The “near me” result is based on how well your site is recognized by your physical address. Letting Google know where your company is located helps you get onto the Google Map and rank for the “near me” phrase that can be added to most search terms above. This is achieved with a strong Google My Business listing and online phone books known as Citations.
We’ll cover all this but first, let’s look at more search results. This time we are going to look at specific city results. This is known as local search and may be more applicable to you unless you are a larger company serving clients nationally.
8. Local Search Results for the Home Improvement Industry
With local search, many potential clients use a combination of the wanted service and a specific location where the desired home service is needed when conducting their internet research. This is most likely how people are finding your business since most contractors service a specific city or area. Below are some results in various cities of the type of Google traffic that we are seeing on average for various contractor businesses.
Local Search Term & City – Approximate Searches per Month
“Pools Houston“ – 1,600
“Basement Finishing Denver” – 320
“Plumbers Los Angeles” – 1,900
“Landscapers Fort Collins” – 590
“Landscape Lighting Miami” – 170
“Roofers Seattle” – 1000
“Roofing San Diego” – 1300
“Landscaping San Francisco” – 720
“Painters Austin” – 720
“Pressure Washing Denver” – 110
“Kitchen Remodeling Phoenix” – 720
“Bathroom Remodeling Dallas” – 480
“Bathroom Remodel Chicago” – 1000
“HVAC Pittsburgh” – 480
“Painters Austin” – 720
“Contractor San Antonio” – 480
“Roofing Companies Omaha” – 1000
“Handyman Tampa” – 880
“Roofing Atlanta” – 880
“Electrician Portland” – 1,300
9. Why do Local Google Traffic Numbers Matter?
It’s important to look at traffic results for various terms related to your business. We are going to go through ways to get your website found based on these search terms. These are the terms potential clients are typing into Google so it is important to have your business visible when these customers search these terms. We will see that these search terms actually have a dollar amount associated with them. I refer to these terms as key terms or keywords.
Looking at the above numbers, we can place a dollar value on the SEO position of a given contracting company based on the search term results. For example, if you take a look at this Search Engine Results page for Plumbers Los Angeles we have about 1900 searches per month for the term “plumbers los angeles”. There is a company that ranks #1 for this particular search query as the first organic or FREE result.
We show the plumbing company that resides in the first organic position indicated by the green arrow. Again, we know that people are searching for the term “plumber los angeles” about 1,900 times per month.
Now we must understand how many people are clicking on the first organic search result.
According to research conducted by https://avawing.com/, we see that about 32% of people will click on the first result.
So in essence, the first company that appears in Google’s Organic Search Results will get about 32% (rounded) of the traffic or clicks. We find that 32% of 1,900 will result in 608 clicks. Well, this begs the question, how much is this organic Google position worth to the owner of this company?
I can roughly figure this out by looking at the cost to place a Google Ad on the top of this page. According to Google Ads, an ad for this term on the first page of the search results would cost between $15.04 to $65.89. The higher you bid for this particular term, the higher your ad will appear on the Google search engine results page or SERP.
We have learned that the company we are looking at that is in the first organic position is most likely getting about 608 clicks per month based on their #1 position. 608 multiplied by the $65.89 dollar cost to place an ad near this position works out to $40,061.12!!! Holy cow, this is INSANE!
Even if we bid the lower amount for the key term of “plumber los angeles” of $15.01, the math works out to $9,144.32. These numbers reflect the value of placement for this company EACH and EVERY month! This really shows the importance and dollar value of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why companies are dedicating tremendous resources to appear on the first page of Google.
*Note – to get a local analysis for your industry in your city, contact AVAWING SEO & Digital Marketing.
10. We want to Get to the First Page of Google Search
It is crucial that in order to be a thriving company you HAVE to appear on Google’s front page. Google is the most popular search engine in the world with over 4 billion users and over 85% of search queries.
You may know what search engine optimization stands for, but what does “SEO” actually mean and what do you need to optimize for? Let’s take a deeper look at the different aspects of SEO.
As we know, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is the process of being at the top of the search engine’s unpaid search results or organic search results, hence FREE!
It is the process of optimizing your online content so that search engines can display it at the top of the results for a consumer’s search for a keyword. When it comes to SEO, search engines like Google look for the best search results, not just the most popular. Let’s translate this into English: “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process for optimizing online content in a way that search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Microsoft, etc.) search not only for your content but also for all your keywords”. This means that it is very important for your website to contain the keywords that people are searching for.
If you have an article about how to choose the best contractor for roofing, you want the search engine (which is Google in 85% – 90% of cases) to show this article to anyone looking for the term “choosing a roofing contractor”. SEO is all the magic you need for your article to be found and to make sure your post is at the top of the results when someone is looking for a specific keyword or phrase.
This same concept also works for web pages in addition to articles. For instance, if you are a remodeling contractor, you want to have separate web pages that are SEO’d for each service that you provide. For example, you may have pages on bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, and basement remodeling. All of these pages have the goal of being found on the first page of Google for their relevant searches.
If you ever want to remain anonymous, you can hide on the second page of Google search results. The vast majority of your prospective client’s online experiences start with a search engine, and as we know 85% – 90% of all searchers begin their search on Google. Combine that with the fact that Google’s first five results are hogging about 96% of the online traffic and you have a pretty good idea of why search engine optimization is so important.
To understand how to get to the top of the search engine results, first you need to know how Google search works. SEO has many components, so let’s get an idea of the basics of SEO, then we can take a closer look. While Google’s search algorithm is a closely guarded trade secret, we can make an educated guess by looking at websites that rank well and understanding how these sites operate and are put together.
11. Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat SEO
First of all, let’s be clear: SEO works differently than any other type of digital marketing. SEO power has two clear industries: Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO. One is more short-term and one is a more long-term proposition.
Black Hat SEO is punishable by Google because the techniques used in utilizing Black Hat SEO are, in essence, “cheating” and not recommended. Unsavory techniques may cause Google to remove your company completely from their SERP, which is a death sentence to any company.
White Hat SEO is the proper way to perform website optimization but it takes much more work and takes more time to see results. However, these results are long-lasting and free of the risk of being punished by Google. It is true that search engine optimization, in general, when compared to any other type of marketing is a long-term proposition taking anywhere from 6 months to several years to see noteworthy results.
White Hat SEO focuses on optimizing your content to take people into account, not just search engines or computers. If you want SEO to work in a lasting manner, you are wise to invest in White Hat SEO.
With Black Hat SEO, you have to be constantly on the lookout for search engine updates and finding new ways to circumvent the rules. This approach ultimately leads to spammy site links, which are often banned very quickly and again, leads to harsh penalties for marketers and webmasters.
If you are willing to bend and break the rules to elevate your website to higher ranks, you can use Black Hat SEO to rank more quickly. True SEO marketers need to build something sustainable for the future, not just for the moment. AVAWING® only recommends and performs White Hat SEO!
Black Hat SEO can be spotted quickly by people promising to get your website ranked fastly and cheaply. True SEO Marketers know that backlinks (more on backlinks later) are very important to SEO and should be generated organically. However, black hat backlink creation can be done by utilizing link farms buried in China and across other countries. Again, this is a temporary solution that Google will catch on to, sooner than later.
White Hat SEO is the way to build a sustainable online business, and if you do it this way, you will focus on your human audience. You try to provide the best possible content and to make your website easily accessible while following the rules of the search engines.
As we all know, life is not always black and white, and the same is true for SEO; but, unfortunately, it is not always that simple. Choose your side wisely, or Google will punish you dearly!
12. On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO
We just learned about the differences between black hat and white hat SEO. Another important distinction that we need to make is the difference between On-Page SEO & Off-Page SEO. The infographic below will list the key points about the differences.
Generally speaking, On-Page SEO is a bit easier to tackle because if you follow a given set of SEO rules you can incorporate these rules into your website structure. We will cover each of the rules as we go through the guide.
13. Keyword or Key Term Research
Now that you have some background about SEO and why it is so important to the digital marketing of your construction company, it’s time to dive in and get started.
Let’s say that you have an HVAC company; well, the first thing we need to know is how people are finding HVAC companies online. What words or terms are potential clients typing into Google to find an HVAC company?
The terms that people are typing into Google to find your company are known as key terms. We need to identify these key terms and we want to know how much traffic each of these key terms is getting. By this, I mean we want to understand exactly how many people per month are typing in certain key terms. If we can understand these numbers, then we know which key terms to target.
There are many ways to do keyword traffic analysis, but personally, I use either Google Ads or Keywords Everywhere. I’ll warn you now that with Google Ads, you won’t get exact numbers unless you are actually spending money with Google. Keywords Everywhere does charge, but the prices are extremely reasonable.
First, let’s take a look at Google Ads. If you do not have an account yet, you may consider getting one now. The problem is, however, Google Ads is going to try to force you to place a paid ad so just ignore all of their suggestions for the purposes of this exercise. I want to show you the theory behind how to research key terms so you can then take these principles and apply them to your SEO strategy, and even your PPC plans if you choose to do any sort of Pay-Per-Click campaign.
On another note, Google Ads has two versions; a simple interface, and an advanced interface. I will be using the advanced interface to conduct this research. This option can be toggled on the top of the Google Ads screen just under the dark gray area using the “Switch View” button.
In order to conduct our keyword research, we need to use the Keyword Planner within Google Ads. This is a great tool, and in order to access it you need to select:
TOOLS & SETTINGS >> PLANNING >> Keyword Planner on the left dropdown menu. Here’s what we are looking at:
Now that we are in the Keyword Planner, let’s run an example. Suppose we operate a landscaping company in Denver, Colorado. Let’s do the keyword research for this company.
Click on ”Discover new keywords”. I am going to search “landscaping denver”
Click on GET RESULTS. Here’s what the results look like:
III. The Real Dollar Value of SEO
14. Keywords have Real Dollar Value
Take note that you can scroll down to see more results. Google Ads also gives you the option to download your results (top right corner). I encourage you to research as many terms as you can think of that relate to your industry, in your location. Keep in mind that the search we are doing is targeted across the United States, but we are combining our search term of “landscaping” with the city Denver to generate geo-targeted results.
This is a very common way that people search and these numbers reflect some pretty strong traffic. We can see that “landscaping denver” is getting about 1,300 searches per month. If we choose to advertise with Google Ads, the average cost of an ad click would be between $2.91 and $10.88. Based on these ad costs we can again determine values for ranking positions on Google as we did earlier for the term “plumbers los angeles”.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 positions and assign a dollar value to those positions based on how many clicks these positions are likely to get. As you may remember from the infographic at the beginning of this guide, the first five Google SERPs get about the following percentages of clicks on a monthly basis:
Google Page Result Percent of Clicks Number of Clicks Dollar Range Value
1st SERP position 32% 416 $1210.56 – $4,526.08
2nd SERP position 24% 312 $907.92 – $3,394.56
3rd SERP position 18% 234 $680.94 – $2,545.92
4th SERP position 13% 169 $491.79 – $1,838.72
5th SERP position 9% 117 $340.47 – $1,272.96
Here is the layout of the organic SERP positions:
As you can see from the value calculations for the top 5 positions, these SEO positions are VERY valuable. Also, please consider that we are only looking at one search term. There are many other search terms that will rank very well for landscaping companies in Denver, Colorado.
From the Google SERP image, you can see that the first 5 local organic results for “landscaping denver” are mixed with national websites like houzz.com and homeadvisor.com. I have used both of these websites with mixed results. You definitely want to claim your free listing on houzz.com and upload some high-resolution images to their website.
HomeAdvisor is a lead gathering service that will charge you for leads that they generate. They then take these leads and send the leads to multiple contractors for a fee. At times they were okay, but many times we would call leads provided by HomeAdvisor to find that the customer had already booked with somebody else. You really have to be quick on the phone to use this service.
IV. The Importance of Keywords & Key Terms
15. Your Industry has many Valuable Keywords
As I mentioned earlier, keyword research is very important for SEO. We have only seen the results for one keyword in the landscaping industry. Let’s take a look at more key terms based on the earlier results from the Google Ads Keyword Planner:
Term Searches/Month Low Bid High Bid
landscaping denver 1,300 $2.91 $10.88
lawn care denver 390 $14.13 $39.00
denver landscaping companies 720 $3.40 $13.63
landscape supply denver 480 $2.50 $6.87
sod installation denver 140 $3.27 $13.58
landscaping denver co 480 $2.84 $10.68
landscape architect denver 320 $1.96 $8.05
I have included the bid information for these terms. With Google Ads, you can bid on certain key terms and your ad will show somewhere on the SERP. The placement of your ad depends on how much you bid. The more you bid, the higher your ad will be placed. Keep in mind that the bid is only good for one click, so if somebody is just tire kicking and clicks on your ad, you still have to pay Google. Believe me, these clicks add up quickly, therefore a Google Ad campaign can get expensive fast.
To get the full list of keywords that were found on “landscaping denver”, click here.
You may notice that all of the keywords in the list have the term “denver” in the search query. Many times people do use a geotag location like a city or zip code when searching, but oftentimes people conduct a Google search without doing any type of location tag. Searchers may very well be in your service area, but they may only be looking for a service like “landscaping” with nothing else tied to the search. It is important to take a look at these results as well.
16. Finding more Keywords Using the Google Keyword Planner
In order to look at the results for services without a geotag, we want to only search within our service area by using a map. Fortunately, the Keyword Planner has this functionality. Let’s go back to the main Keyword Planner Screen.
TOOLS & SETTINGS >> PLANNING >> Keyword Planner >> Discover new keywords
Notice that under the search area you can see a clickable area titled “United States.” Click this.
Now Google Keyword Planner will pull up a map where we can control the region where Google will gather search data. As you will notice the entire United States is colored blue, indicating that this is where results will be targeted. Experiment with different targeted cities, counties, and states. Be sure to remove the “United States country” targeted area so you can view your targeted area to get the proper results.
I’m going to target Denver by city.
There are many locations to type in to do this research. You may consider searching by county depending on the city or data needed. It would be nice if you could search by zip code or radius, but I have yet to find that capability within this tool.
Now Save your results and search for the term of your choice. I am going to search for “landscaping”
Now I get a new set of results:
You can see the full results here.
As you may note, there are 5,400 people searching for the term “landscaping” within our map search, the greater Denver area. Looking at the cost to bid on this term for the high range and low range we can see that this term is significantly valuable. If we again assume that 32% of Google SERP traffic will click on the first organic result we can place the value of ranking in the first organic position for this term between $3,922.56 and 10,903.68 PER MONTH!
5,400 clicks * 32% * $2.27 = $3,933.56
5,400 clicks * 32% * $6.31 = $10,903.68
Keep in mind that this value is based only within a local search area. These numbers are incredible, and help to illustrate the immensely high value of SEO.
Now that you can see the value of the key terms, we need to build a key term list.
These are just a few of the results given to us by the Keyword Planner, but in order to really get started with keyword research I would gather at least 25 terms. You then want to group these terms into groups based on categories. You should constantly be on the lookout for more key terms and long-tail key terms that you can build into your website as part of an SEO strategy. Long-tail key terms are longer combinations of words that may not have as much traffic, yet they may be less competitive to rank for.
17. Stripping Keywords from your Competitors (Key Term Finding Hack)
Keyword research can be a very tedious task, so I’m going to give you a hack that will save you some time and give you plenty of keywords to build upon. This hack involves spying on your competitors and using their websites to gain knowledge about how their keyword strategies are put together. The Keyword Planner allows you to strip keywords from a competitor’s website and to download these keywords for your own use. Let’s do this!
The first step in this process is to determine your main competitors. Take the term with the most traffic and search that term in Google to see who ranks on the first page. Take other terms that rank really well and search those as well. Track this research and find the top 3 companies that rank on a consistent basis. In my research, I am going to choose the company that ranks first for “landscaping denver” as a target competitor.
I challenge you to find the top 3 competitors for your industry. This is a chance for you to find out among your competitors who comes to the top of Google for a variety of key terms.
For the sake of simplicity I chose this company:
I will now return to the Keyword Planner and click on “Start with a Website”. Paste the website link into the search area and select “Use the entire site” and Get Results.
Keyword Planner now provides us with 717 keyword results based on the top-ranking organic listing research we did earlier. This is a nice way to start a keyword strategy quickly because we can get ideas and can see the Google Search engine traffic associated with these keywords.
Many of these keywords will be specific to the company we researched itself. Those results can be ignored. Focus on the keywords that are more directly related to your home service, construction company services, or industry as a whole. Here are the complete results for the 717 keywords that the Google Keyword Planner supplied for us from a competitor.
So now what? What do we do with all of these keywords and lists? Organize them into categories. Categorize them by service. Have a special category for the top keywords that you want to rank for on Google. Most importantly, get all of your keywords in one place.
I suggest using Google Drive and Google Sheets for this. I will give you an example of how to organize your keyword traffic terms. Remember, this should be an extensive list that also contains traffic numbers. You will be referring to this list for months and maybe even years to come. You can update this list periodically because as times change, so does traffic on Google.
Here is my Example Keyword List for a landscaping company in Denver.
Notice how I grouped terms into categories? There are surely more terms and categories available to this industry with deeper research and an understanding of a specific landscaping company’s niche services. There are also several opportunities to use competitor company names to gain market share. We will touch more on this later.
18. Website Naming
There are two schools of thought I consider when choosing a website name. First, I may want to consider a name that is easier to trademark. You can probably think of numerous brands that have a trademark name that are unique, like Nike or Panera. These names are nice because nobody can infringe on your name and services without legal recourse.
On the other hand, these companies have spent a ton in marketing dollars to earn the name association that you have when you see or hear their company names. This brings us to the second real naming option, which is to name your website after what you do.
Many people do this and try to use geo-targeting at the same time for maximum SEO results by using a name like sandiegolandscapers.com. This is fine, but you won’t have any way to brand your services so consumers will not be able to easily remember you.
A possible solution is to take the best from both worlds and use a brand name combined with your main service. Your brand name could also be your name, like moorelandscaping.com or joneslandscapers.com. This way you brand yourself at the same time as getting a key SEO term into the website name.
V. The SEO Blueprint, Steps, & Checklist
19. Website Hosting
I have used many different website hosts such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, and Siteground. I have found Siteground to be very reasonable while providing good customer service at the same time. They also will provide you with professional email addresses and website security certifications (SSL certificates). Some hosts will nickel and dime you for any extra services which can really add up, but it’s better when the host includes these necessary benefits at no cost.
There are other web services like Wix or Squarespace that enable you to build your own website on a specific platform that is self-hosted. These sites are okay, but you will have limitations on website design and functionality. This may be fine if you want to keep your website simple.
I use WordPress in conjunction with Siteground. I’ll warn you, though, that WordPress has a steep learning curve, and I would only recommend building a website on this platform if you are willing to commit to learning the ins-and-outs of the platform or if you hire a dedicated webmaster. I like WordPress because the platform has vast functionality and great SEO tools.
20. Building your Website Homepage
Now that you have an idea of how to get key terms, let’s take a look at how to use these key terms by looking at how they are incorporated into a website. Let’s first look at the homepage for a website. We are going to look at https://backeslandscaping.com/. This site belongs to a landscaper in Fort Collins, Colorado. According to our keyword list for Denver, the term “landscaping” is the most valuable and desired term in the world of the landscaping industry in Denver’s online search. The same is true for Fort Collins, as the term “landscaping fort collins” has about 590 searches per month.
Because of this, I am going to designate this term as our main key term for the main page or homepage. Be sure to note the top 3 terms for traffic related to your industry.
When planning how to build the homepage we will use this main key term, the other 2 tops terms, and our On-Page SEO strategies to address the following areas:
- Outline Overview
- Page Written Content
- Title and Description (also known as Meta Title & Meta Description)
- Headings (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6)
- Rich Content
- Image Naming, Image Sizing, and Alt Tags
- Internal & External Linking
- Google My Business
Don’t be concerned if the list seems foreign at this time, because it should. I will go into detail about all of these topics.
21. Outlining your Website
Initially, you want to come up with an outline of your services based on your keywords and services. Formulate a plan of attack on what it is that you want to talk about. Your content should read like a newspaper. A newspaper is filled with headlines and subheadlines. You need to designate one main heading on your homepage known as the H1 heading. Be sure and only have ONLY ONE H1 on each page because this is the main topic of the page.
For example, a landscaper in Denver would use a heading like, “Quality Landscaping in Denver.” The Google Search Engine will now instantly know the main service you offer and the location of where you offer the service. If you are unclear on how to notate H1 designation, look at your website platform. The designation can typically be made the same as if you were going to bold or italicize a sentence. You now also need to notate your subheadlines (H2s, H3s, etc.) It’s necessary to only have only one H1 and a few H2s and H3s. I will discuss all these designations further as you read on.
22. Website Page Content
Again, all of the above all fall into the On-Page SEO category. Now, we must begin the process of writing our page content. We need to write a minimum of 600 words about the main term in conjunction with the other 2 top terms. In these 600 words, we can talk about our company and our services.
It’s important to mention all of our main key terms in our content, as well as the locations that we service by city or town name. Use bold and italic in your writing as well as headings. Keep in mind that we don’t want to sound robotic or stuff the content full of keyword after keyword. Write for humans, and more specifically, write for humans that are looking for your services.
Notice that on the Backes Landscaping website we wrote content, then listed services and content related to those services. We combined all of this content with our headline designations, which we will discuss in the headings section.
Be sure that all of your content is unique and not borrowed from another website. I have had numerous people in the past steal my content, and I’ve had to write to them to ask them to take it down. To find out if anybody has taken your content, check out this plagiarism checker called Copyscape.
23. Title, Description, & Snippet
When people conduct a Google Search, the SERP will display the organic results in the form of what is known as a snippet. The snippet consists of a Title and a Description, and these are also referred to as the Meta Title and Meta Description in SEO speak. The title is essential to SEO, and the description is also just as important. Here is a snippet example:
If you notice, both the title and the description are packed with key terms and geographic service areas. I would definitely include my main services and service area in my title and description. Base these decisions on your keyword research.
It’s important to plan these snippets for every single page of your website. I use the SEO Strategy Sheet to do this and to keep track of all of my snippets. For best optimization, keep the title to under 60 characters and the description to under 160 characters.
Depending on your website platform, the title and description can be manually input in various ways. Also, take note of the auto-generated area below the snippet. This area is automatically created by Google, but we do have a little bit of control over this area. The best way to control auto-generated content is to have a perfectly optimized website.
Having perfectly optimized web pages will allow Google to understand your website better so the Google algorithm will automatically create the area below the snippet, as seen below for you. The result in the SERP is very appealing visually, largely in part to the amount of real estate being taken up on the screen when a consumer does a search for your company. See the example:
Notice how Google has taken certain pages of the website and extended the SERP result for this specific website to show more options. This not only gives the user a better UX experience, but it gives your company a large presence on the results page. This is always good, especially if you have competitors running ads based on your company name. You will dominate the results and dwarf your competitors’ ads with a snippet as seen above. This is yet another advantage to great SEO.
When we write or create web pages and articles, we want to show stimulating content and headings. Imagine reading a newspaper; we have content, headlines, and subheadlines. The same principles apply and are true with website pages. We need to break up all of our content into readable and more digestible parts for the consumer.
This means we need various headings, bullet point areas, and even table of content areas. These types of distinctions help the reader, and more importantly the Google search engine will understand your content clearer and which parts of your content are more important. Most of your page verbiage should be regular text and fall under the normal text or paragraph distinction.
On the other hand, headings have other distinctions classified as H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, & H6. These are codes that you assign your headlines to let Google know what your web page is about and what are the most important parts of the page. For example, the most important headline on a specific page would be assigned the H1 distinction. This would be equivalent to the main headline of a newspaper article.
Subheadlines can follow suit, whereas the H6 headline is the least important headline distinction of the group. I typically only use H1-H3 headline distinctions for my SEO. You are in charge of assigning these distinctions to your website editor when building a web page. Here is an example of the block editor for WordPress:
Notice that the word “Test” has been assigned the H2 distinction.
*NOTE – It is important to have only 1 H1 headline for any specific web page. This lets Google know the most important aspect of the web page. For the rest of the distinctions, assign them as you would an outline for a research paper.
For an example of these distinctions, I created a web page with only text and headings for you to model. Check out the Headings Distinctions Page.
25. Rich Content
Images and Video are known as Rich Content in SEO speak. It is vital to have at least one image on every page. I include at least three images on most of my web pages. They help with SEO, but also have the added benefit of giving the user a better experience by making the webpage more visually appealing. Photos are great because they can help break up your content into smaller portions. If possible, also include videos on every web page.
26. Image Naming
As mentioned before, we incorporate many images and videos into our website content. If we look at any image from any website I can quickly tell if the website is incorporating SEO strategies. For example, go to a few websites and right-click on an image. Use the “Save image as..” function to save the image. You can now view the name of the image.
Most people don’t take care in naming their online images so you may find strange image names like 423523.jpg or jones_job.png. We must remember that a website is computer code that is read by Google. Google views image names to try and understand websites. Vague image names do nothing for SEO and they confuse the Google search algorithm.
Online images need to be named with SEO in mind. Name your images after your key terms. Online Images also have a tag known as an alt tag. An alt tag allows people who might be visually impaired to understand the website through audio transmissions. These alt tags will be accessible on your website platform, but I see many people leave these blank which is a mistake. Be sure and fill out all of the alt tags for your images while keeping SEO in mind.
For example, as a Denver landscaper, I would name the following image landscaping-denver.jpg with an alt image tag of “man landscaping a yard in denver.” This name describes the image, gets a great SEO term with “landscaping”, and Geo targets my site. You need to mix up all your image names and alt tags by using all the key terms that we generated earlier.
You should have multiple images on your homepage and I would name them all in the same way to help SEO. You only can have one unique name per website so you will need to vary the .jpg names to keep each image uniquely named. Using .png images is also fine for website images.
27. Finding Images Online
If you use images for your website that you download from the internet, it is important to have rights to those images. There are many sites that sell images online, and other websites that have free images available. Pexels.com and Pixabay.com both offer free images that are okay to use commercially with no attribution required. However, it’s nice to recognize the photographer by giving them credit.
28. Sizing your images
Have you ever been to a website and witnessed the images loading slowly from the top to bottom? This is most likely because the images are way too large in size. Not only do all images on your website need to be named properly, but they need to be sized properly for the internet.
Typical internet image sizes range from a few kilobytes (KB) to a few hundred (KB). However, there are many times when I look at a website and I find images in the megabyte (MB) range. This means that the images on a site could be over 100 times too large. This creates a problem in loading the website, especially if you have a lot of images on your site.
Most phones these days take pretty decent pictures that you may consider using for social media posts. However, if you want great-looking images you need to use stock photography, a DSLR camera, or hire a professional photographer. Keep in mind though, all of these sources may provide nice images but they may be really large in size. I’m talking about pixel density and pixel height vs. width. This can get rather confusing so I will lay down some ground rules:
- For main header images or hero images on a website I make the width between 1200-1600 pixels and the height relative to those numbers depending on how tall you want your header image. This image also needs a density or screen resolution of 72 PPI.
- For other images on the site I recommend setting the width to a minimum of 800 pixels and keeping the height relative. These images also need a resolution of 72 PPI.
29. Optimizing Images
We are not done yet. Now that the images have been sized properly, they need to be processed for the internet. I use Photoshop for my image processing, I would highly recommend this program for your image processing. Take a look at these images on my website to get an idea of how processing images results in nicely compressed images.
Notice that the image on the left is compressed and processed. Its size is 61 KB. The image on the right is unprocessed and has a size of 3.7 MB. The processing by Adobe Photoshop results in a size savings of over 98%! The image on the right is 63 times larger than the image on the left. Also, take note that the images look almost identical to the human eye, so we are really sacrificing nothing in the way of online photo quality to optimize this image.
Imagine the amount of space savings if you have several images on your website. Multiple unprocessed images will result in poor site loading times. As you know, people are very impatient so a website that loads slowly means people will not wait for it to load, and they will leave. Furthermore, Google punishes slow-loading websites with poor ranking.
The great debate on having video on websites is whether to have them embedded with YouTube or to self-host the videos by storing them on your own server. In my opinion, it is easier to use YouTube for your videos. YouTube processes the videos for optimal size and performance for you. The downside to YouTube is that they tend to play irrelevant videos after yours finishes playing. This could be a big distraction to your customer and to your overall brand.
If you self-host a video like you do your images, make sure that it is optimized for the web. This can be tricky, but I have used Windows Movie Maker in the past with successful results. In either case, make sure the videos do not autoplay, because this can slow down your site. Have a placeholder image for each video and then name the videos in accordance with your keyword research. Your website platform should allow a placeholder image that should also be named in accordance with our SEO rules.
Lastly, there is an SEO benefit to having videos on your website. You could make videos for customer & client reviews or create videos that touch on individual projects and the challenges of these projects. People love to see that you have some social proofing to your services and company.
31. Internal and External Linking
It’s important to link on all of your website pages. Linking is the process of marking a word or group of words with the link distinction. The link distinction is typically signified by a chain-looking symbol 🔗. When a word or phrase is marked with this designation the words turn a different color, typically blue, to let the user know that if they click on these words they will be taken to another webpage within the current website or elsewhere on the web.
It’s also crucial to link key terms within your text. These specialized linked key terms are known as Anchor Text and they are great for SEO. As mentioned earlier, your homepage will list all of your services in blocks or sections. Within those sections, you will have your key terms. Be sure to link all of these key terms to the appropriate pages within your website. These links are known as internal links. They let Google know that your site is important and that it has useful information spread across many pages.
In addition to internal links, you should have one external link on each page. This is a link to a website outside of your own. Be sure to use relevant and authoritative websites for these links. For example, if you are a plumber you may want to link your state plumbing board or maybe the international plumbing code websites. These links do not help any of your competitors, but they give your website an SEO boost and more authority and trust.
Every website should have what is called a sitemap. This is a digital document that can be submitted to the Google search engine through the Google Search Console (more on this later). This document is important because it helps let Google understand how your website is put together. The document should be submitted in .xml format, and you can create a free sitemap at www.xml-sitemaps.com.
What is Schema, and why is it Important? Schema is code that you place onto the backend of your website to help search engines like Google or Bing see your website in a more refined way. By using certain vocabulary words, defined by schema.org, search engines are able to help users receive more informative results. This boosts the SEO of your website and helps users find you more readily.
There are numerous different types of Schema vocabulary that you can use to give your search results more meaning. For example, if I am a landscaper, I can use Schema to describe my business as a “Service” (landscaping). This gives more context and information to someone who may be searching online for a local landscaping company.
Other common schema categories are “Local Business”, “Address”, “Place”, “ItemOffered”, “Person”, and “Telephone”, but there are literally hundreds of combinations that you can use to help define your website. You simply add the scripted code to the header of your front page.
To generate the schema markup language, you can use an online Schema Generator, such as https://technicalseo.com/tools/schema-markup-generator/. Just enter the information that is relevant to you, and the generator will write the schema for you. Then you can test it out using the red Google button on the top right. Use the Rich Results test, not the Structured Data Test (it is being deprecated).
Just copy your code, enter it into the Rich Results test, and Validate. If the test passes, copy the code and insert it into the header of your website, and now you’ve created Structured Schema Data for your website!
34. Google My Business (GMB)
Google My Business is essential to any business owner. It allows Google a way to understand your website, and it provides a place for your visitors to get information about you and your services through the Google portal. In order to use GMB, you need to have a Gmail account. You may have a personal Gmail email account but I would consider creating or using a different account for your business. You can get a Gmail email account here.
If you are new to Google My Business, you can start by signing in to your Gmail account, then go to the GMB webpage. At the top right select, the blue manage now button. You should be sent to a “find and manage your business page.”
Now type in your business name and see if GMB can find your business. Google My Business may or may not find your existing business. You may have to enter your business information and follow the steps on the page.
After you have found your listing or created one you will have to claim it via mail. Yes, you actually have to have Google send you a postcard with a code that you will give GMB so that you can manage your listing. Google needs to know that you are the actual owner of this business so they use the postcard method to do a verification. Once you get the postcard in about a week, you will give Google My Business the code listed on the postcard, and now you can gain control of the business listing.
Once you have control of your Google My Business listing, be sure to fill out all the fields to the best of your ability. List out all of your services and service areas. Pop in photos of your jobs and videos as well. In the Home section under “Get More Reviews,” Google provides you with a link that you can use to get more reviews from your clients. This is an easy form that I have used to get tons of reviews that help to build trust with potential clients.
Once you complete your listing, it will then appear on the right-hand side of the SERP when potential clients look up your company. This makes your company look very legitimate and also allows people to get more information about your business and to see reviews in a quick fashion. People can even send you questions, see your business hours, and link to your website from your GMB listing. Be sure to maintain consistency with your business contact information.
Once you give Google My Business your address and phone number, make sure to use the EXACT same address and number for all of your contact information listed across the web. For example, if you use “Suite” never put “#” in place of that. If you use “Rd” always use this instead of “Road” when listing your business anywhere. I would copy my exact contact from GMB for any other place my business is listed like the BBB or Facebook, etc. For a tutorial on Google My Business check out How to Set up Google My Business.
Once you have set up Google My Business, be sure to claim your business on Bing as well. Bing gets about 10% of the traffic of Google and is a fantastic resource.
35. Building the Perfect Webpage
We talked about what we need to incorporate into our homepage and how this homepage will link out to the other pages on our website. In order to build the perfect webpage, we need to follow all of these rules. We also need to be sure to divide all of our key terms from our research into categories to build these web pages and designate one key term as the main key term for each page.
This key term should be in the URL, title, and description of the webpage. You should have this key term in your content at 1% – 2% keyword density. Be sure to use the key term in your heading and image naming. Make sure you also geo-target by using the names of service areas somewhere on your webpage. Lastly, be sure the webpage is informative and written for humans. Don’t just keyword stuff and sound robotic.
Perfect Webpage Checklist:
- Established main keyword
- At least 600 words of content
- Keyword Density of 1% – 2%
- URL with the main keyword
- Title and Description (also known as meta title & meta description)
- Headings (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6)
- Rich Content Image
- Rich Content Video if possible
- Key Word Image naming, Image sizing, & alt tags
- Internal & External Linking
36. How a URL Change Almost Ruined a Company
I recently worked with a company who had amazing website traffic, but found that it was time to incorporate a new website into its marketing plan. They found a web designer that built a nice site, but unfortunately they didn’t know much about SEO. Needless to say, NO SEO was done on any parts of the website so the site traffic dropped to about 10% of their previous numbers.
Upon investigation, we found that the new website was not only lacking in SEO, but all of the URLs were changed to fit the WordPress platform. For example:
Was changed to:
This was absolutely devastating to this business and almost caused the company to go under. We decided to fix this situation by performing what is known as 301 redirects. This is the process of letting Google know that the page address has changed permanently. I wouldn’t ever recommend changing your URLs unless you have a pretty new site or if you know the exact process.
Keep in mind that if you change any of your URLs without a 301 redirect any links to your website will be lost. This is really bad, as you will find out the value of backlinks in the “backlinks” section. Thankfully, this company survived and is now outperforming their highest past numbers due to proper SEO and modification of their website. This is a reminder that web design can be costly if not done properly by a true professional.
37. Off-Page SEO for Contractors
We’ve just talked a bunch about how to build your webpage according to the rules of SEO. We have total control over these rules and how they are applied. The rules are known as On-Page SEO because of the control we have over our own web pages. We mentioned Off-Page SEO earlier and now it is time to discuss this further.
Off-Page SEO consists of everything you need to do to get others to recognize your website and link back to you. This can be done in a variety of ways from backlinking to creating content. Off-page SEO is vital to your SEO strategy, but can be a bit more difficult to incorporate as it is very time-consuming and requires a high level of internet networking. We will discuss the following in the next section:
- Guest Blogging
- Press Releases
Citations are online directories similar to a traditional phone book. They list your business and contact information. One important aspect of citations is that these listings get picked up by other online programs known as aggregators. The aggregators take the information that the citations have stored and they spread your information to other citation sites across the internet.
Initially, this has kind of a cumulative effect. Be sure to list your business address and phone EXACTLY as it is listed in Google My Business for all of your citations so that Google recognizes your business as the same business listed on GMB. Here is a brief list of online citations; some may not be applicable to your business, but this is a great start:
Domain Authority (DA)
You may notice the number to the right of the citation website titled Domain Authority (DA). Domain Authority is a metric developed by a company named Moz.com that helps to identify the SEO ranking score of various websites. This metric is assigned to every single website based on the strategies that we have implemented.
You can check your website DA with the domain authority checker tool on the moz.com website or on the ahrefs.com authority checker website. Don’t fret if your website DA is very low. For local search, we are aiming to get the DA into the high teens to low 20’s. The metric is very slow to increase progress, but you will see a rise in the Google SERP after implementing these strategies and a much slower improvement with Domain Authority over time.
Another key advantage to using your citation listings is getting on the Google Map. A large number of searchers use the map to search for service companies near their place of business or residence. Many people will take a service and add the term “near me” to the end of their query in an attempt to find a service that is close. They will then use the map to find a company that they like, most times using positive reviews to help. Here is an example of a search for “office cleaning near me”. Notice that the first map result is shipshapeoffice.com, a company that has taken advantage of my citation recommendations.
Also notice that the above company has four 5-star reviews. It’s important to get reviews by using the GMB resource I mentioned earlier in the Google My Business Section.
We talked about internal and external linking in the On-Page SEO section. When we discussed external linking, I spoke about how we link to an external resource on our own website web pages. This external resource thus receives a backlink from our website. That backlink is essentially a vote for the external website saying, “This website has good information and is legitimate.” In our efforts, we would like to be the external website for other websites. We want other websites to link to us due to our own website credibility. We want this to happen as many times as possible and we want to “receive votes” from websites that are credible with higher Domain Authority Scores. A backlink is good in any case, but it is much better to get a backlink from a website with a high DA.
This begs the question, “How do I get more backlinks?” The answer is to first list your business with all of the citations that I have given you in the previous section. The next step is to register with as many social media platforms as possible. You don’t necessarily need to post to all of these platforms; I would only recommend a few to actually be involved with. However, we do want those backlinks!
You can also list your business with your local BBB. The BBB will want to get your business accredited for a fee, but that decision is yours to make. If you opt-out of the accreditation, just ask for your business listing and confirm that your business gets listed with the backlink to your website. I have used the BBB in the past for leads with mixed results depending on your services and business location.
One way to help generate content and backlinks for your website is to start blogging. If you decide to do this, try to be consistent. Try an article once a month at first, then move to every other week. Blogging can be difficult and coming up with 600 words of unique content is no easy task. Trying to come up with ideas for articles can be a challenge. When I find that I am struggling to think of content ideas, I use a website called answerthepublic.com to generate ideas for my blog articles. This website is great because I can take general terms related to my business, enter that term into the website, and then the site will spit out ideas based on user searches related to the term that you input.
For example, go to the website and enter a term related to your services. I will choose “landscaping” as my term for the purposes of this demonstration. Once you submit your query, the website will research your term and give you two visualization images with related terms, in addition to some other information. If you scan the visualizations you can find numerous relevant topics to discuss in a blog article. These terms are questions or queries that consumers are asking Google. If you answer or speak to these terms in an informative fashion, it is a GREAT way to market and SEO your own website. Here is an example image:
This one search literally gives us dozens of ideas on what to blog about. I can choose a topic like, “landscaping for beginners” and can then generate an article that will be helpful to anybody researching that topic. This information is now linkable so others may see the article and link to it from their websites. This type of consultative marketing can be very effective when done properly and consistently.
I love blogging because of all of the great possibilities. My articles have even been picked up by Google News and other media outlets. These are incredible backlinks! I also use these blog articles for social media. A blog article is typically broken up into sections; I take these sections and produce numerous social posts with them that I then link back to the article. This is another way to generate buzz and possible backlinks to your website. Social Media is an additional great way to stay in front of your clients and to even generate new clients.
41. Guest Blogging
While blogging can generate backlinks over time, you may want to move a little quicker. This can be achieved by guest blogging. By this, I mean you write articles for other websites that have a high Domain Authority in exchange for a backlink. This is quite an on-taking, because as you know writing articles takes tremendous effort. Now we are taking that hard work and publishing our content on another person’s blog for their readers. On the surface, this may not seem like such a good idea; however, it is a great way to get some very high-quality backlinks. Of course we need to work to publish our content on established blogs with a good DA, in a relevant field, just be sure to stay on topic.
In order to find such blog sites where guest blogging is allowed, I use a service called bigguestposting.com. This is a paid service, but they have a great database of 1000’s guest posting blogs sites in various industries. I can search their database by category and Domain Authority. I then get information on how to contact the admin for various blog websites. Contact these webmasters and see if they are open to collaboration. Most of them are very willing to work with outside writers if your content is relevant and informative.
42. Press Releases
The main reason to issue a press release is to let the public know about something newsworthy involving your company. Maybe you have a new and innovative product or service. Regardless, a press release is a great way to get a quality backlink and to generate some interest in your business. I have found that in order to get a news site to publish my content, I have to write the content for them in the same manner as they speak to their audience. This process takes time and only some news folks may respond to your requests, but this is well worth the work as news sites typically have extremely high DAs and can be a great resource for your company once a relationship is built.
VI. Concluding Thoughts
43. A Note on Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Coming up with all of your keywords and a great keyword list takes significant work, but this work is an absolute must for SEO. However, keep in mind that you will find some opportunities to advertise after conducting this research. For example, when using the Keyword Planner inside the Google Ads Platform we found terms and relative bids for these terms. Odds are that you found some great terms that have relatively inexpensive bids associated with these terms. These are great terms to take to run a PPC campaign. I use PPC all the time to supplement SEO efforts, especially at the beginning of an SEO campaign. Over time, once SEO starts to take off, you can adjust your marketing spend accordingly.
44. The Google Search Console
The Google Search Console is a great place to grab key information about how your website is performing. I view this site as a simpler version of Google Analytics (GA). GA can be very overwhelming and if you are only looking for some basic metrics, is not the best place for beginner research. With the Google Console, I can see the clicks and impressions that my website is getting overtime. This is an important place to visit to evaluate how well your SEO strategies are working. If you are using the methods I’ve laid out, you will see a noticeable difference in your site traffic. Take a look at this screenshot showing the amazing impact of proper SEO implementation:
The Google Search Console is also where you can submit your sitemaps as mentioned in the “Sitemap” section. If you add a page or change your website, be sure to generate a new sitemap so that Google can index or find these changes.
45. The Landing Page Grift
As I mentioned at the onset of this publication, there are many “SEO” people trying to act as if they know how to get your website to rank, yet they have no real talent other than signing up people on contracts. I’ve noticed many strange methods and tactics that I find unsavory.
I have noticed one tactic in particular that I refer to as, “The Landing Page Grift.” Suppose you reach out to an “SEO Company” for help with your website. Many unsavory companies will instead point in the direction of a landing page as opposed to helping you with SEO. They will advise you to spend money on PPC and will send the traffic to a specific page they build to try to get leads. I am all about landing pages and PPC, but this is only a short-term solution.
Eventually, it would be nice to build some equity in your own website and back off the PPC fees. With the above method, I can build a quick and dirty website where the company does not own the domain and drive traffic. The business owner has no real control of the landing page website and this process never has an end. I have seen this used many times by “marketers” to avoid the hard work involved in building a successful SEO campaign with very mixed results. You could end up paying thousands for a campaign that will have zero longevity.
On a side note, landing pages are extremely valuable when used properly. They can be built in such a way where you will achieve SEO benefits. However, they need to work with your PPC campaign in a very specific manner to be effective.
46. A Note about Competitors
In any business, you are going to have your fair share of competitors. Competition makes you better and forces you to up your game and become a better business person. Many of your competing businesses will also be incorporating search engine optimization into their digital marketing strategies. You can only work harder and outperform the competition by having a solid SEO strategy, better content, and more backlinks.
Many of these competing companies will name their companies for SEO terms such as “Best Bath”. In the SEO world this term ranks and this company may gain an advantage in rank strictly due to their name. This situation happened to me and I was losing big on this term and other similar terms in my territory.
My solution was to create web pages that addressed the term “best bath”. Since a person cannot trademark these terms, they are fair game. Needless to say, I was able to rank very high for this term due to my SEO strategies. Now when a consumer was searching for the company, “Best Bath”, my remodeling company would appear at the top of the search. There is no recourse for this strategy because it is perfectly sound and legal. This is why it is important to have a trademarked name as part of your company, as I mentioned in the “Naming your Website” section.
47. SEO Tools
There are numerous SEO tools out there that you can use to help you track your performance, view the competition, and find keywords. Many of these tools can be installed as a plugin into a WordPress platform such as Yoast or Rank Math. These tools can be helpful for on-page SEO, and I use Rank Math myself.
There are other tools out there such as Moz, Ahrefs, and SemRush that can perform site analysis and give you key terms, but they can be a bit pricey. Using Keywords Everywhere and the Google Ads Keyword Planner can give you the same information if used as I explained. These tools can be valuable to digital marketing agencies and SEO experts for more intensive SEO study; however, I would finish the exercise that I have laid out and then experiment with various SEO tools. This way you will have a leg up and get more out of the specific tool.
48. In Conclusion
SEO reminds me of building a campfire; you have to start small and get a tiny flame going. As your website builds momentum and you get more comfortable learning about the tactics used, the flame gets larger and your site traffic begins to pick up.
Search Engine Optimization is a constant process that should be done weekly, like exercise and lifting weights. Proper use of these techniques, discipline, and dedication to learning this craft will absolutely make a difference in your website ranking, and therefore your website traffic.
I have dedicated my life to the study of digital marketing and understanding how people make decisions to buy services and products. I find this field fascinating. Perhaps you don’t have the time to dedicate to learning all of these strategies. If this is the case and you need help generating leads for your organization please contact us here at AVAWING® Digital Marketing and SEO.
Thank you for taking the time to read this manual, and good luck in your business journey!