Okay, so you’ve created (or paid someone to create) a website for your targeted keywords, but it’s still not ranking? What’s the deal? Why aren’t you getting more restoration leads and growing your company?
SEO is tough. We get it.
But while it can be hard, you know SEO can also be extremely valuable for the growth of your restoration company, and ultimately, your bank account.
We’ve reviewed hundreds of water damage websites and created many ourselves that are extremely successful at making money, generating leads, and helping homeowners in disaster situations.
If your website isn’t performing as well as you’d like, then maybe you’re making these common, but easily fixable, search engine optimization mistakes.
Google likes quality content that’s relevant and easy for the user to read. What they don’t like are sentences like this that are stuffed to the brim with target keywords:
If you overuse keywords in an attempt to manipulate your rankings, Google might penalize you and flag your website as spam.
The best rule of thumb is to write naturally. Focus on creating useful, relevant, content for your audience and use your keywords within the right context.
2.Forgetting to Optimize Your Images
You have to remember search engines don’t have eyes, so they need a little help understanding what an image is. Alt tags describe what an image is and are an essential place to put your keywords.
Alt tags were originally created to provide an alternative text description of an image, instead of displaying the image itself. This is handy for people who may be blind or for people with non-graphical computer browsers.
Because you’re providing a description of an image for users who can’t see it, make your alt text sound natural, but also make sure to fit a keyword in there.
For example, if it’s a picture of a water extraction vacuum and your keyword is ‘water extraction’ you should describe the image as, “restoration technician using a water extraction vacuum”. Don’t just say “water extraction” or overstuff the alt text with keywords.
Google also scans image property attributes, such as image file names, so make sure to save your image file using a keyword.
3. Not Having a Secure Website
Have you ever noticed while you were on a website, that there’s a little, closed lock icon in the address bar? That means the connection you’re using is secure and trustworthy.
Remember, these potential customers are still deciding whether or not to let you into their home, so developing a sense of trust is crucial to their first impression, and could help you secure their business.
How Does HTTPS work?
Websites with an HTTPS connection use encryption to scramble the code that two parties are sending over.
This guarantees that no one can intercept your data, and is especially important if you’re transferring sensitive information like your bank account or social security number.
But what role does HTTPS play in SEO?
Even though your restoration website likely doesn’t collect sensitive information, it’s still important to get an SSL license. Over the past few years, Google has been pushing for more websites to switch over to HTTPS, and in 2014 it even gave a small rankings boost to websites that were using it.
Another added bonus is that HTTPS websites load a lot faster, and faster sites are likely to rank higher.
4. Not Linking Properly On Your Website
Your website’s structure can either be easy to navigate or can be a disorganized tangle of web pages pointing in all different kinds of directions.
Websites with a poor linking structure can create a frustrating user experience and negatively impact your SEO.
Internal links are the building blocks of your site’s structure. Internal links are hyperlinks that point to other pages on the same website and help users, and search engines, find their way around.
If search engines can easily crawl through your pages, they can index them and display them in the SERPS quicker.
You should prioritize links by what your customer is looking for first. This is especially important in our industry because customers are often in an emergency and don’t have time to waste navigating your site.
Your restoration website should prominently list your most important services in the main navigation menu. You can add extra sub-services to the footer menu, side-bar menu, or in the body text of a particular service page.
When creating service pages, you should link to other related services pages. For instance, a water extraction page should be linked to a wood floor drying or carpet drying page, because customers are also likely needing these services as well.
Surprisingly, many restoration companies fail to put enough internal links on their website. Follow these do’s and don’ts to ensure you build a good site structure.
- Do put keywords in the anchor text.
- Do make sure you’re linking to a page that’s relevant.
- Don’t overdo it and place a link on every occurrence of the keyword.
- Don’t bury links in the footer or sidebar. While these links are important for navigation, they aren’t given as much ranking weight as links in the body of a webpage, so make sure to place links within the appropriate paragraphs.
Linking externally from your website is helpful to users who are looking for more references or information on a particular subject.
It has it’s SEO benefits too.
Good outbound links can also help Google decide your site’s relevancy and can even become a pathway to earning more backlinks.
For instance, if you’re writing a case study about a disaster restoration job and link to a tornado safety guide webpage, they might notice that you’ve linked to them. If they like your content enough they might link back to your site or contact you to write something for them in the future.
While outbound links are good, you don’t want users to navigate away from your website and affect your bounce rate.
You can fix this by setting your external links up so that they open up in a new tab. This ensures the user stays on your page, while also accessing a new site if they need to.
When finding external resources, you should avoid linking to sketchy websites or your competitor’s websites.
In the SEO world, backlinks are the most valuable currency, because the more links that are pointing to your website, the higher you’ll rank. You don’t want to give your competition a search engine boost, or worst, direct potential customers to their page and lose the job to them.
Try to find trustworthy external resources that aren’t written by your competitors.
5. Not Localizing Content
According to a study by Go-globe, 60 percent of American adults use smartphones to search for local service information and 18% of those local searches lead to a sale within one day. So if you’re not localizing your content you’re missing out on a huge market and potential leads.
Here are some quick local SEO tips to follow that will help you rank in the local search packs.
Claim your business listing on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Fill the profile sections out completely, add important target keywords to your business description, and add as many relevant photos as you can.
Make sure your name, address, and phone number or (NAP) is the same across all listings.
You’ll also want to make sure business hours and the URL to your website are the same across all business listings. These inconsistencies can confuse Google and they might display incorrect information or not display your business at all.
Reviews are a great way to boost your SEO and your click-through rate. Reach out to old customers and have them write reviews for you.
It’s also a good practice to respond to reviews. This not only shows that you pay attention to your customers, but it’s a great way to sprinkle in some relevant keywords.
Optimize Your Service Pages.
Titles, <h> tags, meta tag descriptions, content, and URL slugs should include the city area and target keyword your writing the service page about. Here’s a guide we’ve written that can help you create city-specific service pages.
Add your business to review sites and local directories.
These sites include Yelp, White Pages, Foursquare, Angie’s List, and Home Advisor. An easy way to find local business directories is to google “city + business directories”.
Also, see if local newspapers have business directory sections on their website.
Remember, keep NAP information consistent across all listings or this could hurt your SEO.
When it comes to backlinks, work smarter and not harder.
Applying to directories is a time-consuming process. First, you have to search for them, upload all of your info, triple-check it to make sure you’re information is correct, and then usually you’ll have to wait a couple of months for your listing to show up.
You would probably have to dedicate somewhere around 20 hours a week over a period of a couple months to get this done on your own.
If you’re looking for an easy way to apply to virtually every directory on the web, try using Yext.
When you use Yext, all you have to do is fill out your business information, and then it uploads it to about 50 directories all at once.
Yext listings usually show up instantly too, so you don’t have to wait for weeks or months to receive the backlink.
6. Having a Site That Doesn’t Work on Mobile Phones
In this day and age, people expect to access everything instantly and on-the-go from their cell phone. Google recognizes that, and that’s why in 2016 it announced it was rolling out a mobile-first index.
This means it will rank search listings based on the mobile version of websites, even if users are searching on their desktop.
This is a problem if your website isn’t mobile responsive and loads less content that the desktop version of your site.
If the mobile version or your website has less content than the desktop version, it means fewer opportunities to rank in Google’s index.
You can see how the mobile version of your website is rendered by going into Google’s search console and using the Fetch tool.
You ever wait longer than 3 seconds for a website to load? No, probably not. You probably hit the back button and went on to the next website. And guess what? Your customers do the exact same thing.
Research has shown that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Google decided to reward websites that give their user’s a faster, better experience, which is why they started using site speed as a ranking signal.
Here are some tips that can help you trim the fat and speed up your website:
Compress Your Files.
When you visit a web page, there’s a couple of things that need to happen in order for it to load.
Your browser (chrome, firefox, etc.) asks the web server (a computer where a website’s files are stored) to send the files for the web page. The server then reads through all its files and says “here I found it” and sends that webpage to your browser so you can view it.
The faster the server can find the webpage, the faster you can see it. The larger your files are, the longer it takes for the server to read, and thus the longer it takes for the page to load.
Redirects are when you tell the server and search engines “hey this page doesn’t live here anymore, go to this new URL instead”.
The more redirects you use, the more instructions the server has to read, and therefore the longer it takes for your page to load. Delete any redirects that are not necessary.
Use Browser Caching.
When you visit a website with browser cache enabled, it stores files on your computer. It then remembers these files, so when you go to another page on that website, things like logos and stylesheets don’t have to be reloaded all over again.
Enabling browser caching requires you to alter the .htaccess file of your website, so it’s best to consult a professional. For more information on caching, consult this google page.
Optimize Images & Videos.
Try to keep images under 100kb and make sure they’re in the correct file format (PNG for graphics and JPEG for photos).
There are many free image compression sites out there that will shrink the image file size down without compromising image quality. Our favorite is Tinypng.com.
Video files can be terabytes in size, so if you’re going to add a video, make sure to shrink it down as much as possible. For videos, a good compression software that works on Mac, Windows, and Linux, is Handbrake.
After you’re done adding these enhancements, you can see go to Google’s page speed tool to test the speed of your site.
7. Not Tracking Your Performance
As a restoration company, your biggest source of income comes from the telephone, so it’s important to understand how your customers are reaching you.
Google analytics is one of the main tools you can use to measure your restoration website’s performance (and it’s free).
With Google Analytics, you can use phone call conversion tracking to discover the path your customers took to contact you. You can also track your users on a keyword level to discover what search query the caller typed in to get to your site.
This information is invaluable if you want to understand what specific keywords are leading to conversions and how callers are interacting with your site before picking up the phone.
In order to set up phone call conversion tracking, install google analytics on your website and set up an event to track. An event can be any kind of user interaction on your page, such as a phone call or a form fill.
Once you do this, you can trace phone calls to their exact source (from the device, search engine and keyword used, to whether they accessed your website organically or from a paid ad).
Phone call tracking does require a bit of coding, so consult this Google event tracking tutorial for more help.
The restoration industry is extremely competitive, so setting up conversion tracking is essential if you want to gain an edge over the competition.
Without tracking, there’s way to tell how customers are reaching your site and which keywords are bringing in the most money.
SEO is tough and there’s a lot of pitfalls you can accidentally fall into that will hurt your site’s rankings.
While there’s a lot of mistakes you can make, there are also some tried-and-true practices that will help you perform well.
At the end of the day, all Google cares about is its users.
If you want to attract visitors and lead in the search ranks, then you need to create a website that’s secure, fast, mobile-friendly, and built with the user experience in mind.
You also need to implement conversion tracking, so that you have the data to make better marketing decisions, and ultimately, more money.
If your website isn’t performing well, try implementing these SEO techniques so that you can increase your traffic and generate more leads.
We provide restoration leads for water damage contractors. Click here to learn how your restoration company can get more leads.