Many contractors, especially those in the Midwest and out East, know they have a set time frame in which they can work. They assume their marketing program should run prior to their busy season and that it won’t have much value to them when their schedule is full or their season is ending. Yet, this is a critical mistake and not just for people in construction. SEO is a full-time project, no matter what your season is.
Although the main topic of this blog relates to contractors, it really applies to many seasonal businesses. Instead of this being about construction SEO, simply remove construction and insert gift shops, tourism, or any of a number of industries that have seasons.
First, SEO takes time to show results. It’s not something you can simply turn on when you need it. Often it takes three months to show results, even more if your market is competitive.
I was contacted by one roofer who covered a pretty big territory and he was interested in SEO for his site. It was the winter, however, and he decided to hold off until it closer to his busy season. I explained to him that SEO takes time to show results so the sooner the better, but he said he’d stay in touch. A couple months later a surprisingly early storm hit in his area, doing tremendous hail damage to many homes and businesses. He contacted me right away and while we couldn’t do much with SEO and expect immediate results we could do pay per click. Unfortunately, many of his competitors, and many businesses that came into the area to do roofing, were also doing pay per click. The cost per click was tremendous and his marketing budget was quickly depleted with only a couple of jobs to show for it.
It wasn’t just the additional cost involved with his last minute pay per click campaign that cost him business. It was the fact that most people searching for his services wouldn’t be clicking on his ad anyway. Studies show that 70% of people searching for something won’t click on pay per click ads. They have more confidence in the natural listings. This means 7 out of 10 prospects won’t click on an ad and depending on the size of their market; this could eliminate a lot of potential clients for a contractor.
Second, Google and Bing constantly change the algorithms they use to rank web sites. Now if you’ve gone with a legitimate SEO firm, this shouldn’t be much of a concern. Yet, many contractors looked to save money by going with the cheapest offer available. These firms, many of them from overseas, relied on questionable tactics to get sites ranked and when these are found out, sites could plummet in the rankings. One of the biggest changes was the Penguin update, which first rolled out in February, and took full effect in April. According to Google trends, this is the prime time for people looking for construction companies. I was contacted by many businesses that were negatively affected by it and while I could help them, it would even take more time to show results.
Finally, it’s not just SEO that is constantly changing its how people search for services and products. In the past, a construction company, like many businesses, could get by just having a few photographs and some contact information. One construction company I’ve worked with for a few years maintained its rankings through all of Google’s changes. Yet, while the traffic and rankings remained consistently high, their submissions began to drop. I looked at the data and one of the pages that visitors seemed to gravitate toward was one page that showed just a few floor plans. They also often left from this page. This page only showed a fraction of the floor plans the company could do, so we decided to add them all. Not only did this result in visitors staying on the site longer, the number of submissions increased as did the number of projects.
SEO has evolved into content marketing for construction companies and this is a perfect example. It’s not just showing what your business has done or providing testimonials from customers. It’s also about providing answers for many of the questions prospects might have. For contractors it might be floor plans or if they use green products. What this does is result in less time on the telephone answering questions and more time finding out their needs.
Whether you’re looking for SEO services or better yet, content marketing for your construction business you need to think of it as a full-time activity. Even if your business has an ebb and flow it doesn’t mean your marketing should.
If you’re in the construction industry or any field in which you market online then contact us for assistance. We’re experience in SEO and content marketing and can help you reach your prospects.