Are you having trouble breaking into your local market as a plumber? Having trouble figuring out what SEO is? You're not the only one.
In the plumbing industry, competition is fierce — and simply having a website isn't enough to get your plumbing business in front of new customers.
When homeowners in your service area search for "plumbers near me,” and your website doesn't rank on page one, you lose business to your competitors.
In this article, you will learn:
- What SEO is
- The goal of local SEO for plumbing companies
- How to rank in the Google Local Pack; and
- Much more
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and is a set of practices designed to improve visibility and ranking of web pages in organic search results.
In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business on Google, Bing, and other search engines. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you will garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
The most common way people discover and access online content is through organic search. Hence, a good SEO strategy is critical for increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a marketing technique that involves optimizing your online presence for better visibility within local search results.
Enhanced visibility is achieved through a variety of tasks, such as:
- Managing your Google Business Profile
- Developing your reputation
- Optimizing your website
- Building citations
- Monitoring your competitive search landscape
- Monitoring and exploiting changes in Google
- Local link building; and
- Spam fighting
Over the last decade, local SEO has become increasingly critical. For example, among the top industries for local SEO are plumbing services.
Because Google has integrated location data such as geo-coordinates into their search algorithm, they can now display results dynamically based on a searcher’s current location.
In addition, mobile devices and WiFi internet access have made it easier for people to search more frequently and with more relevant results.
Local SEO for plumbing companies includes the following four components:
- Google Maps — Verified business location
- Google My Business — Business page verified on Google My Business
- Reputation Online — Branded and optimized profiles across the web, preferably with reviews
- Online Reviews — Found on Google, Facebook, and other websites
What Is the Goal of Local SEO for Plumbing Companies?
The main goal of local SEO is to increase …
- Phone calls
- Leads; and
… by increasing local visibility on Google.
SEO for plumbing companies helps you get in front of this target audience. Ranking organically for valuable keywords on Google will yield a much higher conversion rate than a social media ad with a short campaign lifetime.
When Your Target Audience Searches for Keywords Like ‘Plumbing Company Near Me,’ Here’s What Shows Up
Try to imagine yourself in your target audience's shoes. For example, how would you search for a plumber?
Most likely, you'd use your smartphone to search for something like "plumbers in my area.” You will immediately see a map area called Google Local Pack. SEO professionals call it "beachfront real estate.” Plumbers who show up here will "win" the most website clicks and phone calls.
50% of users typing in localized searches will click on one of three businesses listed here.
Additional keywords for plumbing companies popular for ranking in Google Local Packs include:
- Water heater repair
- Plumbing companies
- Water heater replacement
- 24-hour plumber
How to Rank in Google Local Pack
Your target audience is also likely to search for keywords such as “best remodeler near me” or “best remodeler in [city].”
Again, Google Local Pack will be the first section to pop up on the results page, and those businesses in Google Local Pack are likely to receive the most website clicks and phone calls.
How do you rank in Google Local Pack? The following will help you find out.
Create a Free Google Business Profile
You must have a Google Business Profile to rank in Google Local Pack.
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) allows small businesses (and nonprofits) to promote their business information on Google Search and Maps for free.
Google Business Profile lets you:
- Connect with your customers
- Post updates to your profile; and
- See what your customers are saying about your business
It’s super important to be as comprehensive as possible when filling out your Google My Business listing.
Almost every Google My Business makes sure to take care of essentials, like listing:
- Phone numbers
- Hours of operation
- Main category; and
- Website link
But if you want to out-rank your competition, you need to go above and beyond the basics.
Have you added descriptions of your services? Are all the applicable secondary categories for your business listed? Have you added all the relevant attributes to your company? If not, add this information!
Perhaps you have five photos posted on your Google My Business. Take it to the next level and post 20. Take a picture of the outside of your business and parking lot. Want to be extra comprehensive? Add a video explaining what your business is about and what makes it unique.
Google LOVES seeing as much information about your business as possible. And clients do, too!
Be as Descriptive as Possible
Comprehensiveness is one of Google's favorite things. So take advantage of every opportunity to maximize the number of characters in your business description and include as many relevant attributes as possible.
Having as much comprehensive information as possible is the best way to optimize your Google My Business listing.
Here’s a quick crash course on what is considered comprehensive and what isn't:
For your main description, you may have written a sentence along the lines of, “We are an experienced team of plumbers ready to make your remodeling as painless as possible.”
This is just ONE sentence. Google allows 750 characters for your main description. Use every amount of that character space to share as much information about your business as possible. What types of home remodeling projects do you do? How long have you been in the industry? What communities do you serve?
Add Service Areas
Google Business Profile allows you to add up to 20 service areas (make sure you are willing to service all areas you add). Adding service areas will help you rank for more localized searches for multiple cities.
For example, let’s say you service multiple cities in Oregon. You want to rank on Google for keywords like:
- Plumber in Portland
- Plumbing company in Lake Oswego
- Plumber near me
- Residential plumbing in West Linn
- Commercial plumbing in Troutdale
- And dozens of variations for multiple service areas
To rank in the Google Local Pack for local keywords in a specific city, you must add it as a service area on your Google Business Profile.
It is essential to add as many as possible when adding services and categories.
For example, your first category should be “Plumber.”
In addition, you’ll want to list as many services as possible on your Google Business Profile. This will help increase your chances to rank for service-related keywords, like “faucet repair in [city].
Make Sure Your Name, Address, and Phone Number Are Consistent With Your Website
Ensure your business's name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across Google and other local directories.
NAP inconsistencies can adversely affect your local SEO because search engines won’t be confident about the information you are providing. Basically, search engines won’t trust you.
You must prove to Google you are who you say you are. To establish authority and trust with Google, NAP consistency is crucial.
Get Frequent, Consistent Google Reviews — And Respond to Them
In December 2021, Google released an algorithm update that stated Google reviews would now have a more significant impact on visibility and ranking.
What is the reason for this? Simply put, Google trusts the power of word-of-mouth marketing. It considers the quantity and quality of reviews when determining a search position. Consumers use online reviews to validate their purchase decisions and search engines such as Google. Search engines and users have similar objectives, so it should not come as a surprise. The goal of Google is to provide you with the correct:
- Service; or
… as quickly as possible. This aligns with our goals as users! User reviews function like crowd-sourced recommendations.
Here’s a plumbing company with 100+ reviews!
Overall, star rating alone doesn’t determine your search ranking. A high overall star rating shows customers value your business, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. For instance, a company can have an overall rating of 5 stars but only three reviews. That’s not a very big sample size, so it’s hard to tell if this business provides excellent services or if those three reviewers are just outliers.
That’s why it is so important to add more reviews continuously. Remember, Google uses reviews to understand the quality of your services. The more reviews you have, the higher likelihood your overall rating accurately depicts your customer experience.
How can you get Google reviews? First, you can get your technicians to leave postcards with clients (or happy clients). As another option, ask contractors you regularly work with (i.e., roofers, etc.) to leave positive reviews.
5 Tips on How to Rank in the Search Engine Results Pages
Now that we’ve discussed how to rank in the Google Local Pack, let’s go over some tips to increase your ranking performance in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
#1: Your Home Page and Landing Pages Are Gold — Focus on Those
First things first; what is a landing page? A landing page, also known as a “lead capture page,” “static page,” “squeeze page,” or a “destination page,” is a standalone page in your website explicitly created for a marketing or advertising campaign.
While a homepage encourages exploration and tries to lead the visitor towards many different goals, a landing page is designed with a single focus or goal, known as a CTA (call-to-action).
The magic happens on your homepage if you're a "single location" plumber (meaning you have just one Google Business Profile, whether it's a legit office or a home address).
Multi-location plumbers (those with more than one Google Business Profile, for example, Portland, OR, Beaverton, OR, and Vancouver, WA) should make their homepages more conversion-driven and their local landing pages more powerful.
In the case of a multi-location plumbing business, and one of your locations is Portland, your Portland landing page should rank for "Portland plumber,” etc. But, again, it would be best if you started with your homepage. It should have sections for "our locations/cities" with links to those pages and sections for "our services" with links to those services.
#2 Optimize Your Website With Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to behind-the-scenes elements that power your organic growth engines — such as site architecture, mobile optimization, and page speed.
The technical SEO process includes optimizing your website and server to make search engine spiders more likely to crawl and index your site (to improve organic rankings).
In search results, search engines prefer websites that feature specific technical characteristics. For example:
- Secure connection
- Responsive design; or
- Fast loading speed
Technical SEO is the process of making sure your website meets these criteria.
You can use the following checklist to ensure your technical SEO is good. This checklist will help you ensure the security and structure of your site meet expectations of search engine algorithms and are rewarded accordingly in search results.
- Secure your website with SSL
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Boost your website's speed
- Resolve any duplicate content issues
- An XML sitemap should be created
- Enabling AMP is a wise decision
- Structured data markup should be added to your site
- Your website should be registered with Google Search Console
#3: Infuse Your Website With Local Keywords
On-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) is a practice of optimizing web pages to improve a site's search engine rankings and increase organic traffic.
Besides publishing relevant, high-quality content, on-page SEO involves optimizing your headlines, HTML tags (title, meta, and header), and images. It also implies ensuring your website has a high degree of authority, trustworthiness, and expertise.
On-page SEO aims to help search engines understand your website and its content and identify whether the content is relevant to a searcher's query. So it’s important to conduct keyword research and creative, comprehensive content.
Local keywords contain location-specific phrases and produce results specific to that location. Therefore, local SEO strategies can be optimized by using these keywords to drive people in your area to your business.
#4: Create Service Pages to Ensure Google (and Users) Know What You Do
You should ensure all services available in your local market are listed on your service pages.
Are you a plumber who offers emergency services? Can you provide AC service? Make sure to include this.
Having a service page about "Bathtubs" that mentions "leaks" will give you an edge when someone searches for "plumber in Portland for bathtub leaking" if they're looking for that.
#5: Create a Killer Blog Content Strategy
Creating high-performing, comprehensive blog content helps increase organic traffic and exposure on Google and increases website authority.
Here is where things get fun. Remember people searching for remodeling services type thousands of questions into Google every day.
Some searchers are local, such as:
- Best plumbers in Portland
- Best plumbing company in Portland
Some searches are more generic:
- How to fix a leaky faucet
- How to fix a clogged drain
- Why should I hire a plumber vs. DIY?
Answering these types of questions through comprehensive blog articles will do two things:
- Increase your opportunity to rank well for these keywords that people are searching for, therefore increasing your organic traffic.
- Increase your authority status with Google for producing valuable, comprehensive information related to your industry.
SEO Keywords for Plumbers — Here Are Likely Some of Your Most Important Keywords to Target
For plumbers to gain extra performance from your search phrases, you must put some thought into your SEO and specific keyword phrases you want to target.
Creating content around keywords like these lets you rank in the SERPs when people type these questions into their preferred search engine.
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