Written by Tiffany Bonasera
Many tradies in business are paying lots of money to SEO (search engine optimisation) and digital marketing consultants with the aim of getting a higher organic search ranking on Google and more client leads through the door.
While SEO remains a powerful marketing tactic and website traffic source for tradies in 2020, there’s still confusion about what it actually is and how it can help your trade business. In this article, we’re going back to SEO basics to make it clear.
So, when you’re looking to hire an SEO or digital consultant, you won’t be left bewildered by any jargon or sidelined by shady practices. Instead, you’ll be armed with the right questions to ask before you get an SEO on board.
Importantly, remember this: Google is a mystery – to everyone. It’s reported Google makes an average of nine improvements to search every, single day. This means an SEO consultant doesn’t have Google superpowers and can’t give you any guarantees.
Organic search versus paid search
SEO influences organic search results, where a business’s ranking is earned. Paid search is where you pay to appear at the top of search results. It’s like getting an editorial write up in the media versus paying for an ad.
While paid search can provide quick wins for trade businesses in the volume of leads it generates, organic search results tend to be the most trusted source for people researching a purchase online – it just takes longer to get traction.
Before reaching out to an SEO consultant, there are some SEO basics which are helpful to understand. The potential of SEO to increase the visibility of your business online is only as high as the quality of your business or website.
- Is your website mobile friendly (responsive)?
- Does your website have an intuitive navigation?
- Do you have a great brand?
All too often, tradies are rush to throw money at expensive search campaigns, without nailing the basics. Firstly, you must have access to your business website’s content management system (CMS). You may find the following information hasn’t even been applied in your website CMS.
Here’s key elements that should be sorted from an on-page SEO perspective:
Your title tags determine your display title in search engine results. Each page on your website will have its own clickable title tag, in this format:
Primary keyword | Secondary keyword | Brand name
This is the copy that shows up in the search results, under your clickable link. It’s often the first experience a potential client has with your brand.
Include the primary keyword phrase in the file name.
Image alt tag
Also include the primary keyword in the image alt tag.
URL (website address)
Use a short, meaningful URL (preferably with your primary keyword phrase)
Have you checked to see if your on-page SEO is up to date?
4 steps to hiring an SEO
SEO should be part of your general business operations. It’s not a set-and-forget thing and works best to compliment your other marketing activities. While it’s possible to DIY SEO, hiring the right SEO is a big help.
Step 1. Conduct a two-way interview with your potential SEO. Check they seem genuinely interested in you and your business.
Step 2. Do your due diligence by checking referees.
Step 3. Ask for (you’ll probably have to pay for) a technical and search audit.
Step 4. Decide if you want to hire.
Finally, a good SEO won’t just focus on your search engine ranking, but how they can help your business. In terms of reporting, a good SEO will report on deliverables, based on the agreed scope of work. To provide you with a scope of work, for consideration, a good SEO should be asking you these questions:
- What makes your business valuable to clients?
- What does your target client look like?
- How do your clients currently find your website?
- How does your business make money?
- What other marketing channels are you using?
- Who are your competitors?
- And ultimately, what are your business goals?
SEO is not dead for tradies in 2020. It’s alive and well. Is your website SEO-friendly?
- Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
- Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.