Plumbing is an extremely competitive industry. Whether you’re a large company servicing a whole region or a small business working in your local area, the level of competition is high.
With that being said, it shouldn’t be impossible for a local plumbing business, or even a regional company, to start generating more traffic to their website using Search Engine Optimisation.
Now, if you’re anything like me you’ll want to know why SEO is so important to growing your plumbing business.
So let’s take a look.
Why SEO Should be Used by Plumbers
There was a time when Yellow Pages and newspapers, or directories like Thompson Local, were the go to channels for marketing your local business, And what was great about these was that people could use them to find a specific product or service they needed (like plumbing).
But the hard copy methods of the past are just that, outmoded and outdated. In the 21st century, whether it’s a 20 year old student or a 70 year old grandparent, the likelihood of someone searching for a company in Yellow Pages is slim to none.
Of course, you will always have the odd few who are determined to hang on to their old ways.
But, in 2019 the number one place for incoming business is Google. And when it comes to Google, the only place to be is on the first page. And what’s more, even on the first page, 60% of clicks go to the top 3 Google results.
Surprised? Then check out this article from the Search Engine Journal.
Someone told me this joke once:
I say, I say, I say, where’s the best place to hide a dead body?
On the second page of Google.
So, now you’ve understood why it’s important to be ranking on Google, I want to talk about how you use SEO to grow your plumbing business.
SEO for Plumbers
There are 5 main components that we look at when it comes to SEO in any market, regardless of whether it’s big or small. These are:
Let’s take a look at each element and how we use it when it comes to SEO for plumbers.
Keyword Research is potentially the most important factor when implementing an SEO campaign. That’s because keywords are words or phrases that Google uses to understand what a page is about.
It’s important that you search for keywords that not only have search volume but that you can actually rank on the first page of Google for.
Secondly, you need to ensure that the keywords you are using are meeting your objectives. The right keywords produce the right results. For example, writing an article with a keyword such as “how to unblock a toilet” isn’t likely to convert into leads. Whereas a keyword like “emergency plumber in Reading” will have a much higher conversion rate when people land on your website.
Recently I wrote an article that describes why keyword research is important and how you can go about it. Check it out here.
This is something that a lot of people won’t include in their SEO strategy because of the additional costs involved. However, an optimised website design could serve to make the SEO process both faster and easier.
Over the past few years Google has begun making changes to their ranking formula. SEMrush recently published an article that found the top four ranking factors to be 1) direct website visits, 2) time on site, 3) pages per session and 4) bounce rate.
Ultimately, what this means is that the more people who visit your website, the longer they stay on it and the number of different pages they visit, the more likely you are to rank higher on the search engines.
Something else that Google has begun to track is the kind of actions people take when they visit your website. For example, with the increase in mobile searches, people can call your company with just a single click on the website phone number you’ve included. Google will monitor this.
Additionally, when it comes to website designs for plumbers, the first thing you want people to be able to do is either to call you, or to fill out a contact form. And this tells Google that, in your case, people are finding what they’re looking for.
If you have a business address, phone number and email that you are happy to display on your site, then always opt to include these. Later, I’ll go into this a bit further.
Technical SEO is arguably the most complicated component for anyone without a background in Search Engine Optimisation. However, using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress can make it easier to accomplish. These are the main areas you want to ensure are taken care of when optimising your website:
‘HTML Tags’ refers to the titles and content of your page. If you are trying to rank for particular keywords you must ensure you place them in your H1 Tags. For example, a plumber in Reading may opt for the page title to be “Plumber in Reading”.
In addition, you should opt for H2 and H3 tags that contain related keywords such as “plumbing services”, etc.
‘Title Tags’ refers to the title that is displayed when your website shows up in the search engines. Like the H1 Tags, these should be optimised for the keyword phrase that you are trying to rank for. Check out Ahrefs article, How to Craft the Perfect SEO Title Tag.
A meta description is like your opening sales pitch. The meta description should ideally include two things: 1) a brief description of what the page is about, 2) a compelling reason to click through. And you have only between 155 to 160 characters to achieve these two things. Hmm…. This article by Shopify explains in detail how to write great meta descriptions.
Images are there for two main reasons. Google likes images, and so do people. Images provide visual representation of the point you are trying to make. Plus they can be handy to break up the text a little, like this randomly placed image of a cute little puppy in a tea cup.
On the other hand, Google cannot see images in the same way that we can. Therefore, we have to add an ‘Alt Tag’ to describe, for those creepy crawler robots that Google sends out, exactly what the image is about.
So, how do you do this? Good question.
Luckily. I wrote an article detailing exactly how. You can find it here.
There’s a misconception that you only need an SSL certificate if you take payments via your website.
An SSL certificate demonstrates to Google that your website is secure, and Google loves security.
A responsive website is a website that adjusts itself based on the device being used. Due to the high number of searches being performed on mobile devices, Google massively favours websites that are mobile responsive. Ensuring you have a responsive website is imperative for successful optimisation.To find out if your website is responsive, try using Google Mobile Friendly Test.
You should see something like this.
These are some of the main technical elements, and easiest to fix when it comes to optimising your website.
However, if you’re still struggling, our SEO Services cover these and a lot more ensuring your website is optimally setup to build out the rest of the SEO campaign.
How should you write content for a plumber? The first thing you need to look at is which pages should be optimised, and what should they be optimised for?
For a plumber, your website’s main pages will require content. These pages generally include:
Some basic rules of thumb when it comes to these types of pages are as follows:
Aim for one keyword per page – Do not try to optimise multiple pages for the same keyword. Google will not know which page serves the topic better and, therefore, is likely to rank neither.
Aim for a minimum of 300 words – It has been shown that longer content typically fairs better in the search engines. However, this doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality for quantity.
Have multiple services pages – Having multiple services pages means that not only can you target different keywords, but you can target more niche keywords. For example, where your homepage is optimised for “plumber in Reading”, you could have a services page optimised for “boiler installations Reading”.
Optimise for search intent – Search intent pertains to taking into account the intention the user has when looking for a particular service. Like the last example, someone searching for “boiler installations Reading” is looking, obviously, for someone to install their boiler.
Optimise technical seo elements – As I said earlier, when you are writing content for these pages, ensure that the H1 tags, title tags, meta descriptions and images are all optimised for the specific page and keyword you are targeting.
When carrying out an SEO campaign it’s important to write content in the form of blogs or articles. What these articles allow you to do is target additional niche keywords that people may be searching for.
Blog pages are typically used to target keywords which have an informational intent. Often these will be in the form of questions. For example, someone may be looking for information about their blocked pipes. Therefore, they may search something like “how to unblock my sink” or “why is my tap not working’.
How can you find these keywords? One place to start is by using tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest. Alternatively, you can try websites such as Quora or a tool like Answer the Public to find out what questions people are asking.
People searching for blog style content may not always be looking for a service or product. But, as I mentioned earlier, the more people that visit your website, and stay on your website, the more Google is going to trust it.
Longer, good quality articles are more likely to rank higher in the search engines than shorter ones. They are also more likely to continue gaining links to your website because other people writing content are more likely to link to your article providing a contextual backlink.
You may want to add pages such as FAQ’s in order to demonstrate your professional credibility by addressing your potential customers’ plumbing problems.
Link building is possibly the most useful element of SEO but also, potentially, the hardest. Link building refers to gaining links from other websites back to your website. When Google sees other websites linking back to your website, it deems your site as popular and trustworthy.
This contributes to something called Domain Authority. You can find out your domain authority using the Moz SEO Toolbar. The greater your domain authority, the more likely you are to successfully compete for higher value keywords.
Additionally, the greater the domain authority of the website that the link is coming from, the higher the value it holds.
There are three main ways that you can acquire backlinks
Citations are links to your website from free or paid directories. Citations are beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, they allow you to add a link to your website from the directory website. Secondly, people visiting your website from the directories will increase the number of your potential customers.
You should sign up to local directories as much as possible as these will help to reinforce the location of your business.
Important note: make sure that you always enter the Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) of your company in exactly the same way across all business listings. Google may not recognise the links as being for the same business if the information is incorrect or different in any way.
Guest blogging requires you to reach out to bloggers within the plumbing sector and country if possible, by writing articles that they can publish on their websites. The best way to do this is to make sure you are prepared. Brian Dean, from Backlinko, has written a great article about guest blogging and the most successful ways to go about it.
By analysing your competitors’ backlinks, and where they come from, you can reach out to the same people and ask if they will provide a link to your site as well. In a sense, you want to reverse engineer what your competitors have done, in order to understand how they have built links to their sites.
But before you do this you need to be clear about which pages you are trying to link to. For example, if you want to link to your homepage, then analyse the homepages of your competitors who are ranking above you.
If you want to rank a certain blog post, then analyse the pages that are ranking above you for those specific keywords and domains. Robbie Richards provides a great breakdown of the process in this article.
Additional SEO Tools
So, I have covered the main areas that you should focus on when it comes to SEO for plumbers. But here are a few additional things you can do to enhance your SEO campaigns and build higher authority in your local area and profession.
Google My Business
Ensure that you have a Google My Business (GMB) listing, especially if you are a local business. Having a GMB listing can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Google Maps, Local Finder and organic traffic in general.
Post on Social Media
Engaging people on social media doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to generate a ton of traffic to your website or drastically improve your search engine rankings. However, as Neil Patel discusses here, Social Media can impact SEO.
Reviews can be collected in numerous places. They can be collected on business directories and on social media sites as well as on Google. In terms of SEO, the most powerful reviews you should target are Google reviews.
The best way to collect reviews for your GMB listing is to ask for authentic reviews. You can ask your customers for a review after you have finished providing your service. Or you can add a link when you email them with an invoice for the works. Ensuring you provide a quality service will always enable you to capture positive and authentic reviews.
Are You Ready to Start Your Plumbing SEO?
Not many people are providing SEO for plumbers. Or if they are, they’re not doing it very well.
Plumbing is a trade that people are always going to need. A lot of people out there can’t even plumb a washing machine. These people are your potential customers, but they are also your competitors’ potential customers too.
SEO can be an extremely profitable form of marketing and the earlier you start, the more likely your business will remain ahead of the competition for years to come.
I’ve tried to keep this article as simple as possible whilst including all of the most important information. SEO is a complex process and, if not done right, will not achieve the kind of search engine ranking you need in order to be competitive. It can also be a time consuming process and, for many professional tradespeople, not something they can make time for.
That’s why we, at DigiPlix Ltd, specialise in helping local and regional plumbers increase their target customer base, leaving you to focus on what you do best, which is run your plumbing business.