Building your way to the top: SEO for the construction industry
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Establishing an online presence is vital for any business in today’s digital environment. The majority of companies within the construction and manufacturing industry will have a website, but are these sites actually visible to potential customers? Just having a website may not be enough. If your website can’t be found in the results of the main search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, then your business will quickly fall behind. This is where search engine optimisation, or SEO, can play a part.
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the term used for a set of strategies to help your website rank in the top results of search engines, for keywords and phrases that are related to your business. When a potential customer searches, the search engine will use a series of algorithms to present the resulting website content they deem most appropriate.
Why is this important for the construction industry?
Working in the construction industry, your business has probably relied heavily on word of mouth and an outbound sales strategy to obtain new clients and grow your business. Therefore you are probably wondering how much it actually matters that your business is visible in search engine results?
Word of mouth will always be the most valuable business development tool for construction businesses, but, just like other industries, customers are more and more turning to their own research to find what they are looking for and even to review the company they have been recommended.
How can I ensure my website ranks well?
There are an abundance of strategies that can be employed to help your website rank well. Search engines take into account many factors which collectively contribute to overall ranking of a site. Some of these factors include:
User experience - the page loading speed, user interface and ease of use
Crawl accessibility - the ability of a search engine to find, crawl and index your site
Content and keywords - whether the content within the page contains the relevant keywords being searched
Authority - whether the page has earned links, citation and accreditation from external sources
These ranking factors carry different weighting but overall they work in combination with one another. Let’s break some of these down in more detail.
The main goal of a search engine is to provide value to their searchers and therefore user experience is key to ranking well. You may have great content on your site that provides exactly what the searcher is looking for, but if the page is too slow to load, or is in a format that is undesirable to the reader, this may negatively impact the webpage’s position in search engine results pages.
Crawl accessibility and indexability
Probably the most significant factor for any website is the ability for a search engine to be able to crawl the content on a webpage as well as index the page itself.
Search engines use crawlers to access and crawl the content on a page, much like how a searcher browses content on a website. If a site has crawlability issues such as broken links or dead ends, the search engine will not be able to access the content on your site. Indexability refers to the ability to analyse the page and add it to its index.
There are several factors that affect crawlability and indexability, some of these include:
Site structure – if your site’s pages are not linked to from anywhere, crawlers will have a problem accessing them
Broken page redirects – if your site has broken page redirects, the search engine will have nowhere to go next
Internal linking – if your pages aren’t linked to from anywhere else on your site, a search engine will have difficulty finding and crawling these pages which may result in missed content
Gated content – although there is value in adding content behind forms for lead generation, crawlers won’t be able to access and crawl the hidden content. Making sure the landing page that contains the form has relevant keywords and is optimised for search engines is one way around this
Ensuring all the pages on your website are easily accessible through optimised site navigation is therefore important to ranking well.
Content and keywords
Another highly weighted ranking factor for any website is the actual content. Search engines want to provide the most valuable result for the search. Therefore, good quality content containing relevant keywords is very important to ensure high rankings in search engines.
Content needs to be written in the language of your customer.
Keyword research is a vital part of content creation; understanding the words and phrases that your potential customer is searching, and creating content around those keywords, will help your site move to the top of search results pages. However, just stuffing a short paragraph with relevant keywords will not work; in fact thin and weak content can actually harm a website ranking.
The frequency of newly published content will also help your site grow in authority, and search engines love new content!
Content creation can be a laborious process and often falls to the bottom of to do lists, but putting in the time and effort, and creating a strong content plan, will really benefit your ranking.
The authority of a website refers to the relevance of a site to a specific area or industry. In addition to this, page authority refers to the relevance of a specific page on the website. Authority will directly impact ranking within search engine results but the exact factors that are used to attribute authority are not fully understood and therefore can often be out of the control of the publisher. However there are some ways that you can help improve authority of your website and pages including:
Earning links from other authoritative/trustworthy websites
Building your brand within the industry
Nurturing your audience to help share and amplify your content
Search engines, especially Google, place a lot of emphasis on the expertise, authority and trust of a website in their overall ranking, a result of their aim to provide the best value to online searchers.
As your business grows your brand will naturally acquire links as other websites within the industry reference your content. Therefore by building excellent quality, valuable content, you are more likely to increase your chances of external linking to your site and your authority will naturally grow.
Results take time
There are many other ranking factors that work in combination with the above, such as using keywords in the header or title tag of your site, ensuring your images use alt tags, and checking content is not directly duplicated elsewhere on your site.
By putting in the time required to meet the expectations of a search engine, you will be on the right track to being found by your target audience online. However, results from search engine optimisation are not instantaneous and it can take time to start seeing the benefits. It’s therefore vital to get ahead of your competitors and ensure your business is not left behind.
At SWW Marketing we realise that although many businesses within the construction industry will be keen to grow their online presence, time and resource is often a limitation. Find out how we can help grow your business’ online presence here, or contact us to find out more about our SEO and content services.