As a contractor, you rely on word-of-mouth for many of your leads and jobs. Word-of-mouth referrals are great, but they’re often inconsistent, because they can come flooding in for a few weeks and then totally drop off for weeks at a time.
That’s why you should rely on your website to bring in fresh leads. After all, not every homeowner in your area has heard of your business.
When they’re looking to make home improvements or start a construction project, they might talk to their friends– but they’re also likely to do online research.
They’ll read reviews on Yelp or Houzz, but they’ll also want to visit your website to see what you’re all about. How do homeowners find your website among thousands of other search results? How do you make your website visible among the copious amounts of websites each Google search returns?
The answer is links.
How Links Increase Your Search Engine Visibility
You’re trying to grow your business with more leads, and that requires getting your services in front of more eyeballs. Your website is the perfect vessel for that. As long as it’s easy to use, features quality content, and includes your contact information, you should be good to go, right?
Not always. What happens if a homeowner never even sees your website in Google’s search results?
Inbound links are the “currency” of the internet, and a website rich with inbound links will naturally [be more visible] in search engines . Great! So should you haphazardly link to yourself in random directories, plead to your grandma to link to you from her cat photo blog, and call it a day?
No. All inbound links are not treated equally. Instead, you should focus on getting good, healthy inbound links from authoritative sources.
Also known as backlinks, links to your site from other, relevant websites are essentially votes of confidence for the search engines. Good, relevant links show Google’s search algorithms you’re a trusted expert in your field.
Once a few good, relevant domains are linking to your website, it shows Google your site should be visible in its search engine results. There are other factors too, of course, but healthy links will help homeowners find your website so they can research you and your services.
Good Links and Bad Links
As HubSpot said, not all links are created equal. Links from high-authority, relevant domains are great for your website. Links from spammy sites and directories no human has ever laid eyes on are bad for your website. They might even get your website penalized.
- Come from relevant websites. That could mean your local chamber of commerce, a construction blog, a home design blog, a building materials manufacturer’s website, or a local real estate company’s website.
- Come from websites that are maintained and updated by humans. If you don’t see an ‘about’ page or contact information page on a website, chances are you don’t want a link from that site. Those are strong indicators a website is spammy and not meant for human consumption.
- Are earned or requested, not purchased. To put it in simple terms, Google frowns upon most forms of ‘link buying.’ Banner advertisements and paid search don’t qualify, because they don’t pass PageRank, but backroom deals and under-the-table link exchanges are frowned upon.
- Are about quality, not quantity. Great links are hard to come by. Bad links can be bought by the dozen. A few relevant, healthy links are better than a thousand spammy links. Much better.
- Are links a human being would actually click on. Think about your own web browsing habits. When you’re reading an article or visiting a website, how often do you click links? Fairly often, right? Any link to your website has to make sense– it needs to be something an actual human being would click on. A link to your contractor business from an article about artisan soap or a kale salad recipe doesn’t make sense, right? A link to your roofing website from an article about the art of metal roofing materials? That makes better sense.
- Come from irrelevant websites. If you’re a roofer in Miami, a link from a pet shop in Amarillo, TX wouldn’t make much sense in most cases.
- Come from spammy websites. The internet is littered with garbage websites. They don’t exist for humans to read or interact with. They exist to make their owners money, usually in nefarious ways. You do not want links from these websites.
- Don’t make sense. If you were reading an article about solar panel installation and you saw a link for payday loans, how would you feel? You’d probably close out the article and stop trusting that website, right? A link has to naturally make sense with the web content it’s embedded in.
- Are created by the thousands. In the past, spammy links used to help websites gain search engine visibility. Google is constantly fighting against spam for the good of your search results, but links can still be purchased from shady websites in huge quantities. These are bad links.
Any link that tries to manipulate Google’s search results instead of pointing to other, relevant websites is also a bad link. Google outlines these manipulative practices in their link schemes guidelines.
How to Get Good Links
By now, you’re probably wondering how you come across these good links. As you grow your business, you want more homeowners to find out about your services, so greater search engine visibility sounds good, right?
The process of attaining links to your website is generally called link building.
Link building (alternative spellings include linkbuilding and link-building) refers to the process of getting external pages to link to a page on your website. It is one of the many tactics used in search engine optimization (SEO). Building links is a difficult, time-consuming process as not all links are created equal. A link from an authoritative website like the Wall Street Journal will make a greater impact on a [search engine results page] than a link from a newly built website, but high quality links are hard to come by.
WordStream is right. Link building is time consuming and difficult, because it requires brainpower and precision. You have to find the right websites, start the right conversations, and have something to offer on your own website.
You’re a contractor, not a professional link builder. You might not have the time to build those links, but there are two things you can do to earn some good links for your site:
- Create something worth linking to. Answer common homeowner questions, start a series of short videos that give home improvement advice, interview another expert, or create a gallery of beautiful before-and-after job site photos. Produce something for your website that people will actually want to read and share.
- Ask for links. Don’t spam anyone and don’t expect anyone to link to a rotten website, but know that it’s still okay to ask for links. Google says so. Find local businesses and other local entities with websites. Ask them for a link to your site. Do you know a realtor who calls you when a home needs a little work before it goes on the market? Ask them for a link. Think about your real life connections and ask them, politely, to link to your website.
Search engine visibility is important for any growing business. As a contractor, you want homeowners to find your site when they’re doing research for their next construction or home improvement project. If your site is in the top results for “Miami roofer” when a homeowner does a Google search, you’re apt to get more leads and more jobs.
Links are an important part of search engine visibility, but you have to get the right links and get them the right way.
If you have any questions about link building for your contractor business, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to help.
To your inbound marketing success!