Is SEO Worth The Money For Contractors, Plumbers, HVAC?

By Patrick McDaniel | Small Business

Is SEO worth the money if you are a remodeler, plumber, HVAC, Pest control contractor, etc.? Find out the pros,cons for your lead generation.

“It seems like I used to get a lot more leads offIs SEO Worth The Money For Contractors, Plumbers, HVAC? image SEO contractorIs SEO Worth The Money For Contractors, Plumbers, HVAC? the web for my remodeling business. 3 years ago I paid some SEO company and after a few months started getting a fair amount of phone calls. But now I spend the money and the calls just trickle in. Is it still a good idea to do SEO for web leads?”

SEO (search engine optimization) has been one of the most popular options used by contractors over the last 5-10 years to get leads from the internet.

SEO is the process of doing certain things on your website (on-page) and linking to other websites (off-page) to get your company’s listing to show up in the organic search results for keywords related to your products/services.

But… is it still a good option for home contractors?

Should you use SEO to get more leads for your home improvement/services business?

This discussion assumes using a professional SEO company or individual. Considering the every changing complexity of this process, it is the only one I recommend.

There are a number of positive things about using SEO, as well as several cautions.

A. Pro: SEO helps you get positioned and visible in the organic (free) traffic listing section for searchers looking for your services. That designation is used to contrast it with the “paid” listings in the search results. Note: “free” is a funny word. You spend $300-700/mo to push your visibility up… so it isn’t really free traffic.

B. Pro: Searchers typically click on the organic listings more than the paid listings, so you have access to higher search volume (potential for more leads).

C. Con: SEO takes awhile to gain full traction and visibility on the search engines. For the higher volume search terms contractors are found on, it can be a year long process to see results.

D. Con: Changes in the Google algorithm in 2011, 2012, and 2013 have made it more difficult to get (and especially) maintain rankings and visibility. That makes the investment in SEO a bit riskier than it used to be. You risk sinking a lot of money to get found only to have it disappear overnight as Google changes its formula for ranking sites.

In addition, many SEO companies continue to do things based on the old algorithm (the same way they have for years), which (at best) may get you some initial visibility but it isn’t sustainable based on the new algorithm. At worst, they could get you banned from Google. You typically “get what you pay for” in this area. Cut rate SEO can often mean cutting corners.

E. Caution: This is more of a caution to you than an across the board negative for SEO. Some companies use deceptive tactics to make their results look better than they are. You may have heard the offers before: “We can get you ranked #1 in 30 days!” What they don’t say is they are talking about a low volume, uncompetitive keyword. What is the point of being #1 on a search term that get 7 total searches all month and maybe one website visitor? There are several reputable SEO companies, but a number have tarnished the reputation of the whole industry.

F. Caution: Not all keywords to get ranked for are equal. Some companies sell their services per keyword. You could end up paying for 5-10 keywords that might get visitors to your website but are not good quality searchers who turn into leads and new business. It is important to determine what the real “money keywords” are (terms searchers use that result in more leads and new business)… then optimize for those.

G. Caution: This is another caution so you are fully informed. Some SEO companies focus far too much on getting traffic to your website, as though that is THE key to getting business off the internet.

In reality, traffic is just ½ of the equation. The other half is converting those website visitors into inquiries (calls, emails). What good is it to have a million visitors come to your website if you can’t persuade them to call you?

Just make sure you employ “conversion rate optimization” (CRO) on your website in addition to getting traffic to your website. Doing CRO can double or even triple your lead levels… without increasing your traffic. Click this link to learn more about how you can increase the persuasiveness and response rate of your website and get more leads.

Summary assessment. SEO is an important option to consider, if done properly, in the right order, and by reputable providers. It can be an important source of traffic to your website.
But (and this is a big but)… make sure you determine your return on your marketing dollars (ROI). Compare the cost to acquire a customer vs. the actual gross profit you generate from that customer. No use feeling good about all the traffic coming to your website if you aren’t making a solid profit.

Your Turn

What has been your experience with SEO for getting leads for your contracting business? Leave a comment below how it has worked (or not worked) for you.

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