Complete Guide to Home Services SEO in 2021
This is the Ultimate SEO Guide for Home Services. Written for home inspectors, landscapers, electricians, carpet cleaners & all home service companies.
SEO for Home Services: Everything you Need to Know
If you want to know all about SEO for home services and you're ready for actionable tips, this guide is for you. If you want to learn how to use a few tools and put them to work, this guide is for you. If you want to know about the new rules and the latest updates affecting the world of SEO, you guessed it, this guide is for you.
We’ll go over the basics and then get straight into step-by-step methods used to rank on the first pages of Google. This will help beginners and anyone ready to put their knowledge to the test.
If you're looking to hire an SEO for home inspectors, electricians, plumbers, carpet cleaners, landscaping, or any other home service—use this guy to understand what the pros are doing. It can cost anywhere from $700 to $10,000 on average to hire an SEO professional. It depends on how much proven experience they have and how much work you need to be done.
- SEO - What is it and why is it important?
- How Do Search Engines Work?
- Keywords and Topics: Getting Started With Research
- Keyword Research: Step-by-Step Walkthrough
- What is Competitor Research?
- Competitor Research Walkthrough
- On-Page SEO Checklist
- Types of Content to Publish
- Local SEO for Home Services
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SEO for Your Home Services What is it and why is it important?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is everything you do online to drive traffic to a website and promote your business. It's one of the staples of online marketing and at its core, it's about visibility. Gaining and maintaining visibility takes some know-how and some effort. With the right tools though it's not as much work as you may think.
Now, it's not easy to get to the first page but the fundamentals are the same for everybody. After you learn the basics it just takes some practice and consistency. SEO is important because it's one of the most cost-effective ways to drive traffic to your website. SEO for home inspectors is a great way to get a solid stream of traffic to your site and hopefully the right traffic.
Essentially you want to get your ideal customer or customers to purchase your products or services. It doesn’t matter what business you are in. The following section is for those who need info on:
- SEO for home inspectors
- SEO for landscaping
- SEO for plumbers
- SEO for electricians
- SEO for carpet cleaners
- Local SEO for home services
Everything you do to modify your site that doesn't involve paying for ads. It also includes things you do off-page. Including social media networks, newswires, business directories, and other websites.
Page search engine optimization involves optimizing paid promotional efforts PPC (pay per click) campaigns. An example of a PPC campaign is if you start a Google AdWords account and spend a few thousand dollars on ads that will show up on the first page of Google to relevant customers or on other websites that run ads.
Social Media SEO
This involves both paid and organic SEO. It's the things you do to show up in the social media search engines as well as drive traffic back to your website or anywhere else online that you want people to follow you.
Local SEO is things that you do locally. It's known as off-page SEO. It doesn't matter what you call it, SEO is SEO. Local SEO involves putting your business on maps and using strategies to draw locals to your business. We'll talk more about that a little later because it's one of the most important things to do if you have a physical location.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engines use a crazy amount of math and a crazy amount of input to index websites and spit out results. They are incredibly complex algorithms that are always changing but the good news is that SEO is not very complex but it does take some creativity and insight to figure out a strategy.
That's half the battle. After you figure out a good plan you'll need to execute it which is a little more difficult. Let's take a look at a few concepts that explain how search engines (known as crawlers) discover and analyze web pages on the internet.
24/7 crawlers are going from link to link to discover a new website. When a link to a page is published on the internet and is discovered by a crawler; it will analyze that page and follow any other links on that page. Crawlers look at the structure of your website, the content on your website, and other data based on how users are interacting with your site.
Indexing is the process of a crawler adding your site to a search engine database.
When you buy hosting you can register with Google and you will be put in the index. You won't show up if you don't have any links to any other sites. That doesn't necessarily mean you will show up in the search engines if you do have links though.
After a page indexes your site into its database it will analyze the pages based on a variety of factors. These factors judge the ”quality” of a web page. This involves things like user experience, how popular the page is, the pages that a page is associated with, the structure of the site, loading time, and other criteria. Nobody knows all the ranking factors, maybe not even the developers who work on the search engines but we can get a good idea of how to rank just by playing the game.
How is SEO Different Today?
SEO is a growing discipline that started with just keywords in written content. Now there are many branches of SEO and many of the responsibilities of an SEO professional overlap with other areas of digital marketing, user experience (UX), Target marketing, branding, web development, and other areas.
There have been many changes in the past two decades in the techniques in this tutorial that reflects modern SEO strategies. More and more SEO is looking like branding except it involves the technologies of today along with traditional kinds of promotion. Every week, search engines are updated thousands of times. These are relatively small updates and every few months there are major core updates that make major changes.
- Today SEO is all about user experience and mobile-first techniques.
- Today SEO is still about how popular your site is and the site it's related to.
- Search intent is still one of the most important factors.
- Another thing that hasn't changed for a while is that long-form content is very popular and keywords are more relevant than ever. Highly relevant keywords that targeted specific audiences.
- Local SEO and Social Media SEO are more important than they used to be. This is where branding comes in.
Keywords and Topics: Getting Started With Research
Research discovery will be the foundation of your strategy. It's not a rule but there's no reason to reinvent the wheel. SEO usually starts with keyword research. Keywords are the terms that people are searching for any time they need a product or service. Here are some examples that may have landed you here:
SEO for home services may be the reason why you are on this page. we rank for this page because we optimized for these keywords. If you're not familiar keywords can be a little confusing, because they can be one word or several words.
A single word like “plumber,” or a string of words such as “SEO for plumbers in the United States.” Finding the right keywords to Target is one of the most important things to do or else you might wait 6 months of effort using the wrong keywords.
These are super important because you need to be highly relevant. longtail keywords simply mean the longer phrases as we mentioned. Good longtail keywords to target if you are a company that rents out cranes and other heavy equipment would be, “Where can I find heavy equipment rentals in Nevada.” Yet, it might not be a good word to target that's why you need to research keywords.
Like the question above it needs to be very specific to your industry and very specific to what people are looking for. You want to make sure that the products or services on your site match the ones that your ideal audience is looking for.
In the SEO business search, intent describes the person's motivations behind their search. This is huge, if you can satisfy search intent and give people what they want or what they need you you must be doing something right.
- SEO for home inspectors – Where can I find a home inspector in Maryland?
- SEO for landscaping – Cheapest landscaping companies.
- SEO for plumbers – DIY plumbing tutorials.
- SEO for electricians – Electricians for commercial projects.
- SEO for carpet cleaners – Carpet cleaning companies.
- Local SEO for Home Services – Where can I find a home services company near me?
Keyword Research: Step-by-Step Walkthrough
Whether you read the previous sections or not now it's time to get on with the tutorial. You should know which keywords you need to focus on and which topics you should cover. It doesn't take very long but it might if you are a newbie.
Using Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
Ahrefs is a freemium SEO application that allows you to do everything you need to do as far as keyword research. It doesn't want your other things but it's not important at this point so let's get into the tutorial.
Note: if you are just starting maybe try a small list of 5 to 10 keywords to focus on. The more targeted the better because there are so many pages online if you're all over the place you might not score for anything. If you're talking to everybody you're talking to nobody.
We want to rank for certain keywords on this page so we're going to use them in the tutorial so you can see what's going on. We are going to try a batch search with these keywords:
- SEO for home inspectors
- SEO for landscaping
- SEO for plumbers
- SEO for electricians
- SEO for carpet cleaners
- local SEO for home services
After the search, we are taken to the results page that gives us some important information.
An estimate of How difficult it is to rank for certain keywords. It doesn't mean you're going to rank right away, you're still going to have to do a lot of legwork if it’s low.
This is the number of monthly searches for the keyword.
This gives you information on the topic of the keyword. If it's the more obscure word it may have many different topics. Will cover topic research a little more later with a different tool.
The search results are for a certain area. The global volume represents all of the regions Google is used (countries, states, municipalities).
Easy Windsor high volume and low competition. If you already have a website an easy win would be something you already rang for despite higher competition in some cases. It depends on what you're doing
Give you the most return on your investment and they're harder to score for. It might have a difficulty score of 60 or even 100. Maybe if you're starting fresh don't go anything over 60.
More Keyword Ideas and Topic Research
After you explore a few options you want to look at the topic. First, we're going to take a look at a specific keyword to get more information and more keyword ideas.
We want to know more about “SEO for home inspectors.” There is some interesting info we can use. It gives us some topics and other keywords to look at. It also shows which websites rank for it. You can take a look at them and see what kind of content is working. Basically proof of concept.
More Topic Research
You can find some other ideas for topics with Google Trends. This will help you build a list as well as figure out what’s popular. Enter in a topic. The autocomplete function will give you a few other ideas. If you want you can also just go straight to Google search and look at the autocomplete function for a few ideas as well.
Home Depot Is a suggestion so we're going to try that topic out and see where it leads. You get a bunch of more useful information about how popular it is. The range is from 1 to 100 and these scores are relative, not the number of searches.
It looks like It's been consistently popular for a while although it's not as high as it used to be. This might be good to focus on if you have a blog and you are looking to inform people about new products.
Also, you get some relevant information about what region these are popular in. At the bottom of the page, It gives you more keywords to take a look at and some related topics.
It's sacrilegious to use a Lowe's and Home Depot bucket on the same project. Lowe's and Home Depot are mortal enemies and it looks like Lowe's is right up there. Maybe write about that.
You can get more specific, searching by country, state, or city. This is part of local SEO for home services that have physical locations which we’ll cover in the next sections. Here is the data for Florida.
What is Competitor Research?
So now that you found something to focus on you can do competitive research. You may even want to do this first because you can find out where your opportunities are and where they aren't. There are some keywords that you aren't going to ever be able to score because they're on some massive site like Wikipedia or Home Depot.
One tool that's geared towards competitor research is SpyFu. Spyfu allows you to spy on your competitors and figure out a good strategy. It shows you your direct competitors, your indirect competitors, and your substitutes
Competitors that are in the same business as you, sell the same services or products and they are on a similar level as far as position in the search results pages.
Indirect competitors are competitors that are out of your league whether they're below you or above you in terms of position and dominance in the search engine market.
Substitutes are alternatives to your product. If you sell bacon a bacon substitute would be an alternative. If you are selling goat's milk cheese, nut cheese would be a substitute.
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Competitor Research Walkthrough
You may have already known what competitor research and targeting is but we put that in there anyway just in case you need a reminder or you didn't know. Next, we're going to get into it and do some competitive research in a matter of minutes with SpyFu a free tool.
We saw some URLs that showed some of the top-ranking websites for the keywords that we searched. Now let's kung fu! It's time to do some competitor research and see what the landscape looks like.
All these apps are crawlers as well. After we enter the URL we’ll get some data. Remember, the data isn’t always 100% correct but it gives us an idea of what’s going on. You can see they are doing pretty good with this keyword but they are beatable. Scroll down and you can see more info.
It shows their competitors and it looks like they don’t have any direct competitors. It wouldn’t be hard with a smart strategy and some hard work to take the lower spots. There’s even more info if you scroll further.
You can spend quite a while looking at the data and entering different sites to see how they stack up against each other. Explore tools like these and check out what's going on. Missing keywords or a helpful feature because it shows which keywords are missing. This is a good way to scope out competitors but it's not one of the most popular tools for things like keyword research.
On-Page SEO Checklist for Home Services
Let's talk about everything you can do to optimize your website so it's easy for people as well as for crawlers—so you can be found and rank at the top of the search engine results pages. On-page SEO involves making sure your site is technically sound, which means nothing on your site is blocking crawlers from indexing your site. It also affects your quality score. Many things can block your site and you might not realize it. After you set up your website you can start with the technical SEO audit.
The robots.txt is a text file located in your directory “example.com/robots.txt.” It gives crawlers instructions on pages to block. It needs to be formatted correctly and it should also be in your XML sitemap. The site map is good too because it tells crawlers all of the pages on your site which helps them determine the structure.
This file should include instructions for crawlers not to look at certain pages. Some pages you don't want to show up in the search engine. This may include things like admin pages or dashboards for users on your website.
If you create a separate URL but it generates the same content by accident you can solve that with a canonical link. Duplicate content will also affect rankings. One example of this is if you have an e-commerce store and you sell sweaters. If you have one page for all the sweaters but there are different colors it might register as duplicate content. Here's an example of how to fix that.
This is better than example.com/product/blue-t, example.com/product/red-t because those pages might have the exact same text and other elements.
If you have a redesign or you move a page to a different area a redirect will let the search engines know that it's permanently moved. If not the link may show up in the search engine results pages and lead to an error page. That will affect your ranking as well. So you can use a 301 redirect to let the search engines know that the page is moved. You can use screaming frog, an auditing tool, to find and fix errors.
Most people are searching on mobiles. A little more than half and that number is growing. So you'll want to make sure your website looks good on every device. It's good to have a responsive website. If you resize this site or look at it on any other device it will change. It's best to specifically design your website for different types of screens.
New screens are coming out on flip phones which have dual-screen functionality. If you are taking care of the users on the latest devices you'll be off to a good start. But that's more something you should do later on or if you have time and are a good designer. Plain responsive is just fine as well.
Loading Time (Page Speed)
According to Google, the page has to load within 2.5 seconds. If not Google scroll will lower your quality score. Another factor is how fast the interactive features on web pages load. If someone clicks a video and it takes too long to load or someone tries to fill in a contact form and it's slow it will also be a factor. Scrolls and interactive elements like that should respond within 100 milliseconds.
If your page is slow you might need to optimize the code or get a faster server. Sometimes if you use a content management system like WordPress and you have too many plug-ins it will cause your site to slow down. If you have a good server it makes a big difference. So does a customized theme.
Types of Content to Publish
When where and how you are going to publish content is going to have to tie in with your marketing plan. It always depends but some solid strategies have been working forever and some new ones are becoming more popular.
Types of content you can publish include:
- Written Content: make sure that it's well-written with minimal mistakes and it appeals to your audience. If you write for a highly educated audience you probably will want to use more technical terms and not worry. But even then, it depends, typically you want to write for an 8th grade to high school reading level. You can check the reading level of your written content with tools like Grammarly.
- Images: images like photos or illustrations should be compressed so they load quickly and are optimized for search. You can use keywords in your image names and in alt image names. Consider a CDN, (content delivery system) for images. CDNs shorten the physical distance between servers images are stored on, decreasing loading time.
- Video: video is great to post but it can slow downloading time. If you have a YouTube channel it's a good idea to put the video on a page. Ideally, you'd like the video on your site as well because YouTube owns and controls that content, and YouTube is not forever, they can take your videos down.
- Audio: audio is something like a podcast or text-to-speech so those who are not able to see can hear the written text. Or so people who prefer audio will stick around. Audio works great especially if youwant to use podcast and then repurpose a podcast as a written blog.
- Interactive Media: interactive media are things like quizzes or games or anything people can click and interact with. These can be fun things or they can just be practical stuff like surveys from radio buttons.
Although short visual-centric content is doing well right now it's still not as effective as long-form content like this guide on SEO for home services. You probably searched that term because if you wanted to learn about it or find a company that can help you out. Or maybe you are just looking for information because you're a marketer that needs to perform a CEO for plumbers or other services in your niche.
Long news-style pieces are a great return on your investment and they can last quite a while. If the information gets stale you can always update it. Long-form content has been around since the beginning and it's still the most effective and preferred content for more complex subjects. You can add images, videos, or other things to mix it up and offer more.
The goal is to do stuff to outdo your competitors. All you have to do is do better than them but it doesn't hurt to go above and beyond. Give people the information they want, answer their questions, or give them something eye-opening.
Short-Form Content and Social Media SEO
This is great for social media SEO. You can put some blog articles out on your and get people to share them or share them yourself on social media. Always put sharing links on every page to your social media profiles. Instagram and Tik Tok are more popular than ever and it's nice to have a profile where you can post gifts, images, and short videos. These kinds of networks give your business a human face.
Social media SEO involves using keywords in hashtags, videos, or text in the descriptions. You should have snippets of code that inform social media websites that your page is related to them if you have a post linking back to your site. This helps the social media search engines figure out what your site is and makes it easier for people to find your content.
Each social media network has different snippets of code that you can use on pages. There are different protocols but they are all using similar ones now. This doesn't matter as much as it did a few years ago but it's still very important because it will boost your technical SEO score as well.
Landing Pages and Blog Articles
Landing pages are any page that people land on from a link on another website or from the search engine results pages. You should be designing specific landing pages for your specific products or for specific promotional campaigns. This is a landing page, another example of a landing page would be a special giveaway that lasts for a limited amount of time.
How often should you publish? It depends really but the more the better because things are very competitive. Everyone has a blog and it gives people good information or news about your industry or your products. It's a good idea to publish once a month. It's a better idea to publish every week. If you have a magazine site or a monopoly on the information you are going to want to publish probably every day.
The problem with long-form content and publishing every day is it's quite time-consuming and it can cost a lot of money as time goes on. So make sure and do quality over quantity—maybe just two large pieces a week is a great way to score for keywords on your list. Do that for six months and you'll be good but you have to measure everything and make sure you're on the right track otherwise you could be wasting time.
Local SEO for Home Services
Last but not least is local SEO. This is critical and every SEO professional will probably take care of this first. Local SEO and setting up your site for engines are the main things that you need to focus on first. Local SEO involves getting yourself in front of the people that live near your business or are near your business.
This includes putting your business on local listings so you show up on map apps. It also optimizes your site for certain regions. This means creating special content geared towards people who are in your target areas. Here are some things that you can do to get a better local presence.
Create a Google My Business Account
Claim your business on Google my business by starting an account. You might already be on there but you can still claim it as your business. You'll have to verify your account and make sure to fill out your profile completely. Here are a few tips for Google my business.
- Fill out the profile completely
- Use professional images if you can
- If no one's asking questions have someone you know ask a question and answer it
- Interact with the customers who give you reviews
- If you're not getting reviews, have someone in your network give you a review or encourage people to give reviews with a simple call to action.
Other Map Listings
Add the business to the other popular map listings as well: MapQuest, OpenStreetMap, Here WeGo, Apple Maps, Yandex Maps, etc. Make sure your Name, Address & Phone (NAP) are consistent across listings. While a small detail it's an important detail to take note of.
Use listings like yellowpages.com or City Search. There are hundreds of them and probably at least 50 that are worth putting your business on. You can use an integration tool like Monday to handle all of your listings at once. It will probably be less expensive than manually. If you don't have a big budget just start with a few and work up from there.
Now you are ready to get started. Most of all just get your website setup and technically sent technically sound. Then work on making some decent content and having a regular strategy. It's better to have a plan than just jumping in. Look at blogs on SEO app websites, like the Moz blog, which have stats on what’s working at the moment.
Hiring an SEO agency or working for an agency is the best way to learn more about the business. People are willing to show you the tricks if you are willing to work hard for them. And if you hire a consultant they'll tell you more about what they do. We couldn't cover everything here—there's much more to learn but more and more, SEO is looking like branding. It’s great because even a one-person marketing team can do it well with 40-60 hours of solid practice and research.