Running a small business isn’t a walk in the park, is it? Finding clients, managing projects, keeping up with the bills — it’s all in a day’s work.
But what if there was a way to make at least one part of your job a tad bit easier? I’m talking about finding clients, the lifeline of your business.
You might’ve tried flyers, word-of-mouth, or even local newspaper ads. Those methods are all well and good, but it’s time to add a powerful tool to your arsenal: Local SEO.
Now, don’t let those three letters scare you away. Local SEO is neither complex nor expensive. In fact, it’s a way to get your business in front of the people in your community actively looking for your services.
No more cold calls or knocking on doors. Imagine people in your area searching online for a contractor and finding you right at the top. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
So, what exactly is Local SEO? In plain English, it’s about making your business easily findable when people in your area search for the services you offer. Think of it as the online version of waving a big sign saying, “Hey, I’m here, and I’m exactly what you’re looking for!”
This isn’t just about getting your name out there. It’s about connecting with the people who need you. It’s about community. It’s about trust. And, most importantly, it’s about growing your business the smart way.
Ready to jump in? I’ve got 5 top tips that’ll guide you through the ins and outs of Local SEO, whether you’re tech-savvy or a complete beginner. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a clear roadmap to land more clients as a contractor.
Let’s get started!
Tip 1: Understand Your Local Audience
First things first, you’ve got to know the folks you’re serving. Your local audience isn’t just a collection of potential clients; they’re your neighbors, your community. And every community has its unique needs, preferences, and pain points.
So how do you get under their skin and understand what makes them tick? Here are some steps you can follow:
1. Research Your Community’s Needs:
Survey Your Customers: Consider conducting short surveys after completing a project. Ask what they liked, what they didn’t, and what they wished you offered.
Attend Local Events: Be a part of local fairs, exhibitions, or community gatherings. Listen to what people say, and observe what they need. It’s not just good PR; it’s valuable research.
Study Local Trends: Keep an eye on local news, forums, and social media. What are people in your area talking about? What issues are they facing that you could solve? Use tools like Hootsuite (or Hootsuite alternatives) to post updates to your social media accounts and watch for re-shares and replies on your posts to see what people who engage with you are interested in.
2. Tailor Your Services:
Offer Solutions for Local Problems: If your community faces specific problems like seasonal flooding, structural issues, etc., tailor your services to solve those.
Create Localized Content: Share content that resonates with local experiences on your website or social media. It could be a blog post about a local project or a video tutorial addressing a common local issue.
3. Connect and Engage:
Build Relationships: Don’t just sell your services; build relationships. Engage with local clients, ask for feedback, and show genuine interest in their opinions.
Support Local Causes: Whether it’s sponsoring a local sports team or participating in community clean-up, your involvement shows you care.
4. Monitor and Adapt:
Ask for Testimonials: Encourage satisfied clients to share their experiences. It boosts your reputation and gives insights into what you’re doing right. To do this, you can make a QR code to share with clients that links to a testimonial page.
Stay Open to Change: Keep an open mind. If something’s not resonating with your local audience, be willing to adapt and change.
Understanding your local audience isn’t a one-off task; it’s an ongoing process. Your community evolves, and so should your understanding of it. Stay connected, stay informed, and above all, stay genuine.
You’re not just running a business; you’re serving a community. When you truly understand and embrace this, the connection you build becomes more than just a marketing strategy; it becomes a part of your business’s heart and soul.
After all, in a world full of impersonal transactions, a personal touch goes a long way.
Tip 2: Optimize Your Website for Local Searches
You’ve got a website, and that’s great, but is it working hard enough for you? When someone in your community looks for a local contractor, you want to be the one they find.
Making that happen is all about optimizing your website for local searches. Don’t worry; it’s not as techy as it sounds. Here’s the step-by-step process to get it right:
1. Nail the Basics:
Use Local Keywords: Think about what people in your area might type into Google when looking for your services. Include those phrases in your website’s content, titles, and meta descriptions.
Add Contact Information: Make sure your name, address, and phone number are prominently displayed on every page so people don’t have to guess where your contact information might be hidden. Make sure to utilize a VOIP phone service to create a business phone number that you can check and answer from your laptop. Consistency is key!
2. Focus on Local Content:
Write About Local Events and Projects: Share your insights on local happenings or showcase your work in the area.
Create Useful Guides: If your community has a common issue, create how-to guides or videos that offer real value.
3. Mobile Optimization:
Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Friendly: Most people search on their phones, so make sure your site looks and works great on mobile devices.
4. Use Structured Data Markup:
Add Schema Markup: This might sound a bit technical, but it’s just a way to help search engines understand your content better. There are tools online that can automate this process for you. Do a Google search for Schema Markup and research your options.
5. Build Local Links:
Connect with Local Businesses: If there are non-competing businesses you work with or local directories, make sure you’re listed and linked to. It helps search engines see you as a local authority.
6. Monitor and Analyze:
Track Your Performance: Use tools like Google Analytics to see how people are finding you and what they’re doing on your site. It helps you make informed decisions.
Optimizing your website for local searches is like putting a big, bright “Open” sign on your front door. It’s about making sure the people in your community can find you when they need you.
And remember, this isn’t just a one-time thing. Regularly update your site and keep an eye on how you’re performing.
Tip 3: Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Alright, let’s talk about something that’s incredibly valuable for any local contractor: Google My Business (GMB). If you’re not already on this, don’t worry; you’re about to learn how to make it your best friend.
GMB is like a digital storefront. It’s the box that pops up on Google search results or Google Maps when someone searches for a local business.
It’s one of the first things potential clients see, so you want it to look good and be packed with all the right information. Here’s how to claim it and optimize it:
1. Claim Your Listing:
Find Your Business: Search for your business on Google My Business. If it’s there, claim it. If not, you can create a new listing.
Verify Your Business: Google will want to make sure you’re legit. They’ll usually send a postcard with a code to your business address to ensure you’re not a “stealth” business or a potential scam.
2. Fill Out Your Profile Completely:
Add Your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number: This should match exactly what’s on your website.
Choose the Right Category: Are you a plumber? A carpenter? Make sure you pick the right category for your business.
Add Your Operating Hours: Let people know when you’re open and available.
3. Add Photos and Videos:
Show Your Work: Add high-quality photos of your projects. Before and after shots can be powerful.
Introduce Your Team: If you’ve got a team, show them off. It makes your business feel more human and trustworthy.
4. Use Posts to Share Updates:
Share Special Offers or News: Got a special deal or big news? Share it right on your GMB listing.
Provide Updates: If applicable, keep your clients informed about any changes due to holidays or other special circumstances.
5. Monitor Questions and Answers:
Answer Questions: People can ask questions right on your GMB listing. Answer them promptly.
Ask and Answer Your Own Questions: If there are common questions, go ahead and add them yourself, along with the answers.
6. Track Insights:
Analyze Customer Interactions: Google provides insights into how people interact with your listing. Use it to see what’s working and what’s not.
7. Keep It Fresh:
Do Regular Updates: Don’t set and forget your GMB listing. Keep it up to date with new photos, reviews, and information.
By claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, you’re putting your best foot forward right where people are looking for you.
It’s like a virtual handshake, welcoming potential clients, and showing them what you’re all about. And the best part? It’s completely free!
Tip 4: Encourage and Manage Online Reviews
You know as well as anyone that word-of-mouth can make or break a business. But in today’s world, that word-of-mouth often comes in the form of online reviews.
Whether it’s on Google, Facebook, or specialized review sites like Yelp, what people say about you online can greatly impact your business.
Here’s how to encourage positive reviews and manage them like a pro:
1. Encourage Satisfied Clients to Leave Reviews:
Ask at the Right Time: Right after you’ve completed a successful project is a great time to ask. A simple “Would you mind leaving a review online?” can go a long way.
Make It Easy: Provide links to your review profiles in follow-up emails or even on your business cards.
Offer Incentives: While you shouldn’t buy reviews, offering a small discount on future services or entering reviewers into a monthly draw can be a fun incentive.
2. Create a Process for Gathering Reviews:
Set Up Automated Requests: There are tools out there that can automate the review request process. It saves time and can increase the number of reviews you get.
Include Links in Your Emails: Whether it’s in a thank-you email or your regular newsletter, include a gentle nudge and a link to leave a review.
3. Respond to Reviews, Good and Bad:
Thank Every Reviewer: A simple “Thank you for your feedback!” shows that you value all opinions.
Handle Negative Reviews with Care: If someone wasn’t happy, respond with empathy and offer to make it right. Sometimes, a negative review can turn into a positive one with the right handling.
4. Monitor Reviews Regularly:
Use Tools to Track Reviews: Tools like Google Alerts can notify you when new reviews are posted.
Schedule Regular Check-ins: Make it a part of your routine to check your reviews regularly.
5. Share Positive Reviews:
Show Off Good Reviews on Your Website: With the reviewer’s permission, consider showcasing positive reviews on your site.
Share on Social Media: Share glowing reviews on your social channels. It’s not bragging; it’s letting your work speak for itself.
6. Learn from All Reviews:
Look for Patterns: If multiple reviewers mention the same issue, it’s time to take a closer look.
Celebrate Successes: If clients consistently praise something, recognize it and keep it up.
Online reviews are like digital referrals; they’re even more powerful in many ways. They’re visible to anyone and everyone looking for your services. And while you can’t control what people say, you can control how you handle them.
Tip 5: Utilize Social Media to Connect with the Community
Social media is not just for teenagers and cat videos. It’s a powerful tool that can help you, as a local contractor, connect with your community and showcase your work.
Whether you’re already a social media pro or just getting started, here’s how to use it to your advantage:
1. Choose the Right Platforms:
Identify Where Your Clients Are: Facebook and Instagram might be great for homeowners, while LinkedIn could be better for business clients. Research and find out where your audience spends time.
Start Small: You don’t have to be on every platform. Pick one to begin with, then expand from there.
2. Showcase Your Work:
Post Photos of Completed Projects: Show off what you can do. Before and after photos can be especially compelling.
Share Videos of Your Process: People love to see how things are made. A time-lapse video of a project from start to finish could be a big hit.
3. Engage with Your Community:
Share Local News and Events: Show that you’re part of the community by sharing 7local stories or upcoming events.
Join Local Groups: Participate in local Facebook groups or online forums to engage with your community.
4. Offer Value and Education:
Share Tips and Tricks: You’re the expert, so why not share some of your knowledge? Offer seasonal maintenance tips or how-to guides.
Host Q&A Sessions: Live Q&A sessions can provide real value and help establish your expertise.
5. Encourage Customer Engagement:
Ask for Feedback: Post a photo of a recent project and ask what people think.
Run Contests or Giveaways: Everyone loves free stuff. Run a contest that encourages people to engage with your page.
6. Respond to Comments and Messages:
Be Active: If someone comments on your post or sends you a message, respond promptly.
Stay Positive: Keep your responses friendly and professional, even if you encounter negative comments.
7. Collaborate with Other Local Businesses:
Build Relationships: Partner with complementary local businesses for shared promotions or content.
Cross-Promote Each Other’s Work: Share each other’s content and celebrate local business successes.
Social media is all about connection, and as a local contractor, that’s what you want with your community.
It’s more than just advertising; it’s about building customer relationships, showcasing your work, and becoming a trusted part of your local area.
Well, there you have it — a full roadmap to boost your local contracting business using the power of Local SEO!
It might seem overwhelming at first, but take a moment to think about the possibilities. Imagine waking up to new inquiries from folks in your area, building a reputation as the go-to contractor, and creating a network of satisfied customers who refer you to their friends and family.
That’s what Local SEO can do for you.
And the best part is, you don’t have to do it all at once. Start with one tip, get it right, then move on to the next. Bit by bit, you’ll see changes — more calls, more clicks, more clients.
Remember, Local SEO isn’t a one-time deal. It’s a continuous effort that pays dividends over time. Keep experimenting, learning, and adapting.
Your community is evolving, and so should your approach. Stay connected, stay engaged, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Hailey is a guest blogger. She is a digital PR and SEO consultant for B2B SaaS and e‑commerce companies, helping brands increase their visibility, search rankings, and organic traffic. In her free time, you can catch her attending self-growth events or traveling the world.