Instead of building your website on a very large scale, with local SEO, you are able to advertise your products or services in specific areas.

And that’s how you create a niche for yourself.

For instance, if your clientele is based in Richmond Hill, you build your site, online marketing campaign, and SEO strategy to specifically target Richmond Hill residents. This obviously entails extensive market and topic research for this particular area.

But first things first, have you claimed your Google My Business listing yet?

If you answered yes to this question, great job! You’re doing something right.

If you answered no, everyone in the SEO industry is face-palming for you right now. But that’s okay, we’ve got you covered. Read on.

Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing is the first step of any local SEO strategy.

Suppose that you offer residential HVAC services in Oakville, your best bet at being contacted by an Oakville homeowner is when they look up HVAC near me. What a GMB listing does is notify this homeowner (Google allowing, of course) that your company provides HVAC services in their area. This way, you increase your chances at being contacted and hired by local customers.

And guess what, setting up a GMB listing is totally free!

RELATED: How to Promote Your Business Locally for Free 

Now, onto local SEO for contractors

Zoning bylaws and building codes differ from one Toronto suburb to another. Therefore, when we create a local SEO strategy for our trades clients, we bear these municipal differences in mind.

Did you know that Markham’s regulations on legal second suites are A LOT stricter than those in other cities in the GTA? … Just a little something to chew on for your next post about that.

But check out the following example.

If you’re a basement finishing contractor operating mainly in Vaughan, a big part of your local SEO strategy is putting yourself in your customers’ shoes to have a better understanding of how they think and what they’re looking for. In this case, you have to immerse yourself in the thought process of a Vaughan homeowner looking to finish their basement.

Some of the questions a Vaughan homeowner might have when considering a basement finishing include?

  • “What am I trying to get out of finishing my basement?”
  • “How much am I willing to spend on my basement finishing project?”
  • “What can and can’t I compromise in this project?
  • “When is the best (cheapest) time to hire a contractor?
  • “What materials, finishes, and features do I want in my basement?”
  • “What are my city’s basement requirements?”
  • “Do I have to register my basement with the city to rent it out?”
  • “Where can I find an honest basement finishing contractor?”

And so and so forth.

Local SEO requires a great deal of empathy

…and even more so when you’re in the home improvement industry.

A house is one of the most important purchases people make in their lifetime. It’s a long-term investment that’s also pricey after all. So when it comes to making major alterations to a house, homeowners take their sweet time researching the nitty gritty of things.

This is fantastic and obviously expected. But it does raise the stake when you’re a renovation professional because it means your site, online marketing efforts, and local SEO have to be that much more precise and meticulous.

It’s much easier to rank for a broad keyword such as “basement finishing ideas” than it is to rank for “basement finishing near me” or “best basement finishing in Vaughan.”

And that’s a daunting thought for many contractors.

But if you put the right effort into your local SEO (and are actually good at what you do in your line of work), you’ll be watching your numbers go up, guaranteed.

Once you’ve asked yourself the questions above, you’ll be able to provide relevant answers that are directly aimed at your audience.

Understanding user intent and its impact on local SEO

What local SEO boils down to is user intent. So, before you launch a local SEO campaign for contractors, you must have a clear idea of who you’re trying to reach. This can easily make or break your customer conversion rates.

User intent (also known search intent) refers to what online users want (and expect) to find when they type something into Google.

So, going back to the list of questions above, knowing what Markham homeowners are interested in allows you to address them through your site in two different ways:

  1. Visual cues that your audience will experience first-hand such as images, content, CTA buttons, fonts, colours, and overall page design.
  2. Alt attributes that are primarily meant for search engines and SEO purposes. This includes meta descriptions, SEO titles, slugs, alt tags for images, etc.

Alt attributes aren’t typically expected to be noticed by users; rather, they are a way for search engines to acknowledge what a site or page is about. Search engines then deliver those sites and pages to the appropriate audience, which is basically the whole point of local SEO.

SEO and site localization

Have a look at the following example. Let’s say you’re adding an H1 to the homepage of your Basement Finishing website:

  • #1 basement finishing contractors
  • #1 basement finishing contractors in Markham

The first heading, “#1 basement finishing contractors,” is very good. It contains a relevant keyword that introduces what the company is about.

However, in a field as competitive as basement finishing, the first option isn’t ideal. The only way you can compete with basement contractors that are much more established than you is by refining your site. This includes headings among many other website elements.

Refining the content on your site in this manner is known as website localization.

The second H1 option, “#1 basement finishing contractors in Markham,” is a lot more concise, making it much better for local SEO than the first heading. A phrase as short as in Markham directly speaks to your audience and also helps Google understand who you’re trying to reach.

Although an H1 may seem trivial to you, the success of your SEO endeavours is all in the details.

All in all…

Just like every other industry, local SEO for contractors has its own challenges. Whether you want to grow your online presence, increase your revenue, or improve your branding, at the end of the day, it’s quality over quantity.

Ignore the short-term gains. Build your site for long-term success as it’ll prove to be a lot a more lucrative endeavour.