What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
January 23, 2023
A great way to define SEO for painting contractors is – all of the actions taken to get your website to show up at the top of Google search results when somebody searches for the services you provide in your service area.
Building on that definition – some things will be done when building the website while others will be done afterword. Some things are done once and others need to be a continuous effort.
And to continue to stay at the top of the search results you have to stay tuned in to changes that Google makes in what they want to see. And I’m going to stay focused on Google because they carry such a massive amount of search volume. Google’s changes often will make things more difficult for you, but sometimes they do work in your favor if you’ve worked to give them what they want.
A great way to think about the foundation of SEO is to use the acronym ABC. A stands for Architecture – the structure and technical aspects of the website. B represents Backlinks or Links as they are more commonly thought of now. The focus here is on the links coming into your website. C is for Content. You may have heard the term “Content is King.” This is the words and information you have on your website.
In this blog I’m going to break down each element of ABC without getting too technical. I’m also going to include action items where possible to help you in your efforts.
But first, a note – no human knows exactly how Google’s algorithms work anymore. They have turned the final results over to AI. It is also a moving target as they make adjustments consistently. However, if you want the most recent thoughts from SEO experts on what matters most, check out our blog from last year – Top 10 Organic Search Ranking Factors for Painting Contractor Websites in 2022.
Here’s the good news – almost every system, provider or platform you will use for your website is built to achieve the success factors for architecture. If you decide to use WordPress, Wix, Squarespace or another similar platform, you will have everything you need to achieve almost all of the architecture best practices built right in. They are almost, but not completely, failproof.
You will want to look for plugins that could give you an additional boost. You’ll also want to be aware of changes Google makes.
In the early days of SEO, Architecture was a big differentiator. Before Google built up the ability of the algorithm to use content as a top factor, Architecture was nearly everything. That enabled some SEO experts of the time to completely game the system and dominate the search rankings. That is no longer the case.
Things to Consider
Menu navigation – Plan out every page on your website. Where should they be placed in the menu navigation of your website? Is your navigation easy to follow for people who get to your website? Will they know right where to go if they are looking to see what services you provide? Will the Google spiders that crawl your site understand how to categorize your business and your services?
URLs – URLs are the web addresses for the pages on your website. You should be able to adjust them to be what you want them to be. You will want your page on House Painting to include house-painting in the URL. You will also want to be sure your location or serving area are included, for example – memphis-house-painting.
Depending on which experts you listen to or read, links are either the most important element of SEO or the second most important element, right behind content. Think of it this way, Google wants to understand the credibility of a website. The more inbound links that exist to that website the more credible the website appears. The more inbound links the website gets from websites that have already proven to be credible, the more credible the website appears. The more inbound links the website has from other websites in the local area, the stronger the credibility that website has in the local area.
Google sees links as endorsements for the website. They are like actionable reviews. So your goal is to get as many quality inbound links as you can for your website.
Things to Consider
Quality industry links – you want to get inbound links from other websites that have proven authority and credibility in the painting industry. That might vary slightly depending on your specific mix of services. But for most painting contractors that means organizations and associations, paint providers, painting media and other painting-related sources. The PCA (Painting Contractors Association) is a great link to have to your website. If you have a profile on platforms like Porch, Angi or other sources, you’ll want to be sure it has a link to your website. Industry publication websites like American Painting Contractor and inPAINT are a great source of quality links.
Local links – local search is more significant to you because of the nature of your business. You don’t want a homeowner five states away to find your website, you want homeowners in your service area to find your website. Local search works differently from basic search because it is tuned much more for local signals. A national website will get very little juice from a link from the website of a small church in a small town, but a painting contractor who does work in that town can get a solid lift from a link from that church website. Great local links include chambers of commerce, not-for-profits, other businesses, community events, local media. If you do work for a local business, asking them to include a link to your website on their website can pay off in a big way. It’s important to note that even if you are using a provider to manage and optimize your website, this is one of your action items that is necessary to make it search well.
Content is King! Google has continued to fine tune it’s algorithm to understand content and be able to rank it’s value. While it’s not perfect, it has come a long way. Having rich descriptive content throughout your website will significantly help you in SEO. You especially want to focus on content that shows expertise, authority and trust.
How do you do that? It’s pretty similar to links – the more quality content you have, the more credibility you will have in Google’s eyes. Showcase your expertise in the field. Include a significant amount of detail about the services you offer. Demonstrate authority by writing about your years in the business. Highlight any accolades or recognition you’ve received, and don’t forget to mention your contributions to the community. You can prove trust by featuring customer testimonials and reviews – the more specific the better.
Things to Consider
Home page – in most cases this will be the page that Google considers for most searches that occur in your immediate area for services you provide. Be sure to include details about your services. Tell the story of your business. Highlight your accolades and community organizations and events you’ve been a part of. Showcase reviews. Review the page to ensure you are focusing on expertise, authority and trust.
Service pages – you should have a separate web page for every service that you offer. Be detailed and specific about the service. If you can, cover your process, what the customer can expect, how long it usually takes and any other details that will demonstrate your expertise.
Areas served pages – in Google’s eyes, painting contractors are considered service area businesses. That basically means that you work in a broad area instead of having a brick and mortar location where customers go to get work done. Because of the wide coverage area, it can be difficult for painting contractor websites to show up in more than two or three towns or cities that they serve. By creating specific pages for each town or city you serve you can give yourself the best chance to search well in that town or city. Include some highlights of your services on those pages. Of course, the more specific details you can include about the town or city the more likely that page will search well there. If you can, include photos of work you’ve done there, as well as reviews from customers.
With this solid understanding of the foundation of SEO and what you can do to help your website perform well, I hope you’ve taken some action items that can help you dominate search in your area. Like with nearly everything, there is more you can do but it all starts with a strong foundation.
It is important to note that when it comes to the overall success of your website you also need to factor in design, user experience and calls to action. Even a website with stellar SEO will be a failure if a visitor clicks away every time they get there.
If you have questions about anything I covered here, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com or 919-600-5166. If you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business with a fully-optimized website and other web services, please schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!