With millions of searches occurring on Google, Bing and Yahoo everyday, it’s no wonder why people have been investing thousands of dollars to rank on the front page for their industry terms. In fact, the phrase “plumber near me”, in the United States, is searched 105,000 times a month!
So how do you rank on the first page for your target keywords? How can you use increase your service calls with SEO? In this plumbing SEO guide, we’re going to cover everything and give you insight into concepts that no other home service SEO agency is willing to share.
But first, let’s start with the basics…
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply the process of tweaking your website to make it relevant for a specific phrase. That’s it, plain and simple.
The tricky part is that, unlike TV and radio advertising, you are trying two feed to audiences: the prospect, and the Google bots.
You see, at the end of the day Google is a robot, and robots like structured data. Sure you might be the best at hydro-jetting, or replacing sewer lines, but Google doesn’t know that! It can’t see what a great job you do, it can only read the data that it’s given. That data is written in code (technically a markup language),
The process itself is straightforward enough that even an elementary school kid could understand it, but the balance and care that is required to achieve the ideal results is what throws so many business owners off.
Disclaimer: We are not going to talk about the benefits of search engine marketing, because quite frankly it should be a no-brainer why ranking on the first page of Google is beneficial. There are many other articles that go over the benefits of local SEO, and our goal is not to reinvent the wheel.
Outsourcing vs DIY SEO
If you have the budget, you should definitely consider outsourcing your SEO/online marketing campaign to a professional agency.
Why? Because they’re the experts! Would you recommend someone replace their sewer line, or would you recommend they hire a plumbing expert? Exactly. The same principle applies here.
How much you should spend is the big variable. Your SEO cost will vary from company to company. Some will charge you $10,000 upfront, others will charge a monthly fee of $1,000. It all depends on your needs, and the agency’s pricing model.
to learn more about the cost of local SEO, read our article “How Much Does SEO Cost“
Whether you’re looking to outsource your work or do it yourself, you’re going to want to consider the following topics to help you get a solid understanding of the whole process:
- Keyword Research
- On-Page & Content
- Google Maps
- Link Building & Citations
Content is the Golden Ticket to Higher Rankings
If my pipe bursts in the middle of the night and I’m looking for an emergency plumber in my area, who am I going to choose? The company that has 2 pages “Home” and “Contact” or the company that has pages for all types of needs and services “Emergency Sewer Repair”, and “Emergency Drain Repair”? Probably the latter.
That’s because content is the king of a good SEO campaign. Why? Because content, especially well written and thought out content, establishes trust and transparency. It shows the prospect that you are going the extra mile for them, to provide them with answers to questions they have.
It can be as simple as adding your service hours, adding your emergency line number, or adding a page that breaks down price. Remember, Google wants to give users a good experience, so if you answer their questions you will win the trust of Google as well!
What Type of Content Should You Publish?
Before starting with SEO, you must consider “what are the most common questions people ask me and my team?” You should aim to create 500-700 word articles addressing each topic, create videos, and mak infographics summarizing each point as well.
Some questions include:
- How much does sewer repair cost?
- How long does hydro jetting take?
- What is your price structure?
- Do you offer any warranty for your work?
Of course, there are probably dozens, if not hundreds of questions people have asked you over the years. So why not answer them? If you provide these answers on your website and explain them thoroughly, not only will Google favor your website because you’re adding relevant content, but you will earn the trust of your prospects and in return, receive more service calls.
Keyword Research for Plumbers
Keyword research is a tricky subject to explain because there are a few terms you need to know in order to perform this task properly. However, the main terms you should know are: Search Volume (Vol, Volume, Monthly Search Volume), Keyword Difficulty (KD, Difficulty, Competition), Keyword (Keywords, Keyphrase, Search Phrase), CPC (Cost-Per-Click, Cost)
- Keyword(s) – A particular word, or phrase that is entered into the search bar. Sometimes referred to as “Keywords”, “Keyphrase”, or “Search Phrase”
- Search Volume – An estimate or average amount of times a particular phrase is searched every month. Sometimes referred to as “Vol”, “Volume”, “Monthly Search Volume”
- Keyword Difficulty – An estimate of how difficult it is to rank for a specific search term. Sometimes referred to as “KD”, “Difficulty”, or “Competition”
- CPC (Cost-Per-Click) – The average amount it will cost in order to receive one-click when running a Google Ad.
click here to learn more about SEO terminology.
How to Find The Right Plumbing Keywords
Now that you know some of the basics of keyword terminology, you can begin searching for the right keywords for your plumbing business.
If you’re doing this yourself you will want to find tools that are going to helping you identify profitable phrases for your business. Below are a few tools you can use, some are paid (affordable) and some are free:
- Keywords Everywhere (Paid)
- Wordtracker (Paid)
- Google Keyword Planner (Free)
- Ubersuggest (free)
- Answer The Public
- Also Asked
Some of these tools will give you the monthly search volume, and others will simply give you the specific questions people are asking about your topic. We use a combination of these tools here at JCSURGE to help create a mix of content that has a high demand (e.g., “plumbing maintenance tips”), and content that may not have a huge search volume, but is specific and easy to rank for (e.g., “what to know about trenchless sewer repair cost”).
Get Specific With Your Keywords
If you’re trying to rank for “plumber Orlando” and don’t know a lot about SEO, or aren’t ready to make a big invest of thousands of dollars… good luck!
Instead what you want to do is look for low-difficulty keywords. Keywords that are easy to rank for, but specific in nature. For instance instead of “plumber Orlando” you may try “sewer repair Orlando” This is more specific and most likely going to be a lot easier to rank for (you can find this on Google Keyword Planner’s “competition” column)
One major advantage of dominating a smaller pool is that people who are looking up “sewer repair Orlando” are likely property owners in Orlando who actually need sewer repair service. This leads to a higher conversion rate!
Take Photos of Your Team and Trucks and Tag Them
Most plumbing SEO guides will not mention the important little details necessary to rank. For whatever reason they like to keep it a secret sauce of some sort. But here’s another major tip to help you rank higher in the Google listing, as well as Google Maps: Take photos with your team and trucks, and tag them!
Taking photos of your team builds trust. When I’m hiring someone to come visit my home I want to see what the person looks like before they enter. It’s the little things that make property owners feel more confident when hiring your company over your competitors.
The next big thing is to take photos of your trucks. Why? Because your truck (most likely) has your company name, keywords and phone number already on it. “John’s Plumbing Company” along with “Sewer Repair” “Drain Cleaning” and “Toilet and Faucet Service” plus “Call (222) 222-2222” or something along those lines.
Finally, you want to make sure they are tagged. Make sure you embed your logo on the photos you want to upload, as well as a few keywords and your address. This is going to help you rank in the Google Maps section.
Below is what your image should look like. (Bonus points if you GeoTag them!)
Check Your Site Speed
The next major step in getting your website ranked on Google is checking your site speed. If your site takes too long to load, then people are going to go to the next plumbing company they see. Not only do you lose out on this prospect, but you’ll also lose your standing with Google since everytime a user leaves your site (we call this a bounce), it send a bad signal to the bots that your site is not user friendly.
There’s a big debate as to what the “optimal” site load time is. Some say you should aim for a load time of less than 3 seconds, some even go as crazy as to say it needs to load within 1 second. However, if someone is in need of a plumber they are likely willing to wait a couple of seconds (this might seem contradictory but homeowners who need a plumber are looking for the person who can get the job done right, and if that means waiting up to 5 seconds they’ll do it).
The ideal site load time for plumbing companies would be less than 5 seconds, this is based on our SEO experience. However, you should aim for a load time of 2-3 seconds, this will put you in the ideal time. Anything less and your ROI might diminish, and anything else will hinder your ranking.
Optimize Your On-Page SEO
As we mentioned before, Google is a robot. It needs to be fed the proper information in order to trust you. So if your website is structured in a way that makes it difficult to crawl then you are going to have a hard time ranking in a timely manner.
Submit a Sitemap
A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a map of your website written in code to tell search engines what to index and what not index. If you’re using a WordPress hosted website you can download various sitemap plugins and submit them to Google Search Console.
Make sure you include a meta description that summarizes your content, and make sure you include a proper slug that is a quick snippet of your content with your keywords in them.
Be sure to also fill out the <title> tag properly and include your keywords.
Hire JCSURGE for Plumbing SEO
If you’re looking to get started with plumbing SEO, give our agency a call or email and we’ll be happy to set up a 15-minute consultation to go over your company’s web traffic and compare it to your top competitors. We’ll even send over a complimentary video audit showing you exactly what our process will look like with your business.