Working as a tradesman is about as far as you can get from the sedentary tech jobs so many people are in today — your work gets you out and about, while meeting and working with all manner of people along the way. But although you’re not stuck behind a computer screen day to day, you still need to think about digital marketing. And for many tradesmen, a website can really help maximise the business they’re bringing in.
However, creating a website will only be worth your while if potential customers can find it. And this is where SEO comes in. You need to make sure potential customers can find it so you can reap the benefits.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, a practice which helps to determine where your website appears in Google search results when users look for terms related to your business, like “builders in London” or “best loft converters near me”. If your tradesman website ranks highly (on page 1 ideally), people looking for your services are more likely to spot it and click through – and get you on the blower and in for a quotation! So, an SEO-friendly website is one of the most important ways of generating more business online.
There are more SEO techniques out there than we can count, but as you’re a newbie, we’re not going to overwhelm you with too much technical lingo. Here are six simple SEO tips any tradesman can follow to give their website a boost.
Choose and use relevant keywords
Your tradesman website will only rank on Google if it contains keywords — the words and phrases potential customers are typing into a search engine. If your site doesn’t include these terms, how will users know that you offer what they’re looking for, let alone Google itself? Start brainstorming a list of terms linked to your industry, like our earlier example of “builders in London”. It’s a good idea to include your business’s location, as most people will be searching for tradesmen in their local area.
Your keywords should also cover specific services you offer, like “air conditioning installation” or “conservatory roof replacement”. If you’re not sure where to begin, look at any of your competitors’ sites that are ranking well, and see if they can offer any inspiration. Keyword research tools like the Google Ads Keyword Planner are also helpful.
Once you’ve decided on your keywords, you need to make sure they appear on pages across your site. Overdoing it is not a good idea though — this is known as “keyword stuffing”, which Google will punish your site for if its algorithms suspect you’re doing this. Not only will it tank your rankings, but keyword stuffing will probably put customers off too. You’re not going to look very appealing if you write things like: “Are you looking for a builder in London? Look no further because we are the best builders in London. Our builders in London are qualified to deal with every building job in London.” Whenever you’re adding keywords, check that the content reads naturally.
Write enticing metadata
Metadata is the information that appears under a website listing in Google search results. There is a title summarising what the page contains, and a short description providing more information. The title has a direct impact on your rankings, so make sure these always include the keyword which is most relevant to that particular page. The description alone doesn’t affect your rankings, but it does help encourage users to actually click through to your website. This is important for SEO, as the more people visiting your site, the more likely you are to rank well, so your descriptions need to be as enticing as possible.
Make your metadata concise and attention-grabbing, while still including keywords to show your potential customers that the page will meet their needs. Indeed, you should bear the length of both your titles and descriptions in mind, as Google will typically shorten titles longer than 60 characters, and descriptions longer than 160. It doesn’t really matter if you lose a couple of words — just make sure you prioritise the most important information.
Have a simple site structure
Potential customers will expect to find all the information they need on your site quickly and easily. If they can’t, odds are you’ll lose their business. This is why you need to pay attention to the navigation menu, and make sure all of the content on your site is organised clearly. Ideally, a visitor should be able to reach every page of your website in a single click. This also helps Google find and scan all of your pages — your website’s structure effectively offers its algorithm a map, and pages that can’t be located won’t rank well. Content-heavy sites can be difficult to be organised with a simple structure, and in these cases, you will probably need the assistance of a web developer to help you lay everything out most effectively.
Update Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool enabling searchers to get all the information they need about your company quickly and easily. For example, they can find details such as your working hours, contact information, and address on Google itself, saving them the trouble of actually having to go on your website.
This might sound a bit counterproductive — why wouldn’t you want people visiting your site? Well, anything that makes it simpler for customers to find and contact you can only ever be a good thing. If someone can see a competitor’s phone number immediately, they’ll probably be less likely to click through to your website to find out how to contact you.
On top of that, Google My Business is crucial in making your website visible to potential customers who live nearby — this is called local SEO. Having an up to date Google My Business profile verifies your address so you appear on Google Maps. If someone searches something like “scaffolders near me” and your company fits the bill, you could be listed under a map of the local area at the very top of the search results. Therefore, for customers in the local area, your business will be one of the first they see.
Start a blog
Barely maintaining your website won’t bring many SEO benefits. Google rewards sites with regularly updated content, so it’s well worth starting a blog. After all, you’re an expert in your field, so who better to write interesting and informative posts about your trade? Blogging also provides another opportunity to use those all-important keywords, and you can also share this must-read content on your social media channels to attract more visitors. If you’ve got writer’s block, just check out the subjects your competitors typically cover for that all-important inspiration.
Think about links
Links pointing users to your website will boost your authority in Google’s eyes, as they effectively act as sources vouching for your expertise, so the more links you have the better. It is possible to get these organically — for example, if another website did a round up of the best plumbers in your local area, they might decide to include your business on that list as they were impressed with your services. That would mean a link to your website that Google would deem valuable.
However, you may also like to take a more proactive approach to this. One thing you can do is check that links to your website are included in your online directory listings. Alternatively, you could offer to write a sponsored blog post for another platform in exchange for a link back to your site. Make sure you only do this on websites potential customers are likely to visit, like specialist platforms dedicated to your trade, as readers will ideally click through to your site, increasing your traffic. You should also keep in mind that you may have to pay to do this, so consider this an investment in additional advertising.
Additionally, think about the links within your own website (also known as internal links), as these help both users and Google navigate it. If you write content that is relevant to another page on your site, remember to include a link back to it.