What is Link Building and Why Is It Important To My Contractor Business?
It’s practically impossible for an SEO salesperson to speak to you about growing your business and NOT mention the word “backlinks”. And although they’re trying to land a sale, the value of backlinks can’t be understated.
Conversion-Inspiring and Engaging Content is Step #1 if you want to get more jobs through Google, then Quality backlinks are Step #2. More than tech mumbo-jumbo, backlinks build the “authority of your website” in Google’s eyes, bring more people to your contractor site, and improve your rankings. And the more eyeballs you get, the more chances you’ll have to earn a new customer.
Imagine driving home from your next call-out and you hear a funny noise coming from your engine…
Your car, truck, or van is crucial to your trade business and the noise does NOT sound good.
So you ask your friends for mechanic recommendations. They all say the same thing, “You HAVE to check out this mechanic I know. He’s an expert, he’s qualified, and I trust him”.
With so many votes of confidence, it’s a no-brainer. You visit the mechanic, he fixes your car, truck, or van and you get on with your day.
Why are backlinks important?
More than a technical term that gets thrown around every time you’re speaking with a marketing salesman, backlinks are the internet’s word of mouth. The stronger the backlinks pointing to your site, the more trusted, qualified, and expert you look.
Only, you’re not trying to impress your friends. You’re trying to impress Google. That’s why backlinks are a MAJOR ranking factor you need to get right unless you want your SEO effort to go to waste.
It’s not enough to publish awesome content on your site. You need to pair great content with a strong link-building campaign. This will help you build links across four primary categories:
And we’ll show you how to earn all of them.
The four types of links for contractors
|Local Citations||Social Media Links|
|Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc||Facebook, LinkedIn, etc|
|Niche Directories||Editorial Links|
|Home Renovation Directories, etc||Websites in related industries looking for expert content|
In this article we’ll explain how to build your own local citations and place your website on niche directories, as well as earn links from other websites.
TRADIE DIGITAL TIP: A professional link-building campaign will deliver the best bang for your buck, but you can help generate links by creating the best content possible. If your blogs are industry-leading, packed with facts and stats, then other sites may link to you organically and create editorial links without you lifting a finger.
You’ll also want to use internal links to connect pages on your website. For example, if you have a page about bathroom renovations, and a page about the price of bathroom tiles, it makes sense to link the two so customers can learn everything possible about a bathroom makeover.
What are the benefits of link building for contractors?
A website without content won’t rank on Google or solve people’s problems (which is how you land customers).
It’s once you’ve got content that backlinks can take your SEO to the next level.
Every trade, contractor and home improvement business wants to be on the first page of Google.But with tens of thousands of businesses competing for a handful of spots, Google needs a way to figure out which sites are trusted, qualified, and experts in their field. Once they can determine these characteristics it’s easier to pick the most deserving websites.
It’s not enough for Google to just read the content on each business website. Great content is an indicator of quality, but plenty of websites have helpful content that solves people’s problems.
So Google also uses its own metric of trust, quality, and expertise – backlinks (especially ones with a high “Domain Authority).
The benefits of link building include improved rankings, greater visibility, and sources of referral traffic
“How do backlinks help my contractor SEO?”
Let’s say you go to a trade show to connect with other home improvement business owners.
You might walk around for 30 minutes mingling with people, but everyone else is doing the same thing so you haven’t stood out. But if Richard Branson walks into the trade show and makes a beeline for you, suddenly you’ll be the centre of attention.
Richard Branson is an expert in his field, people trust him, and he’s more than qualified. Because Richard Branson went to connect with you, everyone around you will start to see YOU as worth their time and attention too.
Backlinks work in the exact same way.
When a website creates a backlink to your website (in the form of a one-way hyperlink) they’re saying “I value this content”.
If that content is a blog, then the chances of your blog ranking on Google will go up the more backlinks it earns. If your content is the homepage of your website, then the chances of your homepage ranking on Google will go up the more backlinks it earns. You’ll still need to optimize these pages with the right keywords, but once you’ve done that then backlinks are the secret sauce to higher rankings.
Keen to learn more about keywords? Discover the RIGHT and WRONG keywords to target.
This all comes down to Google wanting to show people the very BEST results for every keyword.
They couldn’t judge the best results on content alone, but if you’ve earned backlinks from 1, 10, or 100 other websites, then that tells Google your content is trusted by other websites, and worthy of higher rankings.
Why local citations are crucial to your contracting business
A local citation is any mention of your business’s name, address and phone number (known as your ‘NAP’) online.
These can appear on local directories like Yelp, the Yellow Pages, even Google My Business.
They can also appear on niche directories that list specific industries only, like a Home Improvement Directory or a Roofing Directory.
Local and Niche directories are great because potential customers can go searching and find your contact details, which helps bring traffic to your site and keeps your phone ringing. At the same time, 90% of experts rate local and niche citations as critical or very critical to SEO rankings.
So by adding your site to the right directory you can bring in traffic AND boost your SEO.
Wondering which directories are right for your contractor, trade or home improvement business? Click here for 80 (yep, EIGHTY) of the best directory sites for contractors, tradies and home improvement businesses
Let’s get one thing out of the way – social media links do NOT have a direct effect on your SEO rankings.
In other words, being mentioned 100 times on social media won’t improve your position on Google. But that’s not where the story ends. It’s true social media links aren’t a ranking factor on their own (likely because they’re too easy to manipulate), they can bring traffic to your website.
If those 100 x social media links bring 10 people each, you’ve now got 1,000 people on your website. As these people explore each page, click on your internal links to move around, and spend time reading your content, Google will see your user signals trending the right direction.
We’re talking about a lower bounce rate, longer session times, longer dwell times, etc.
And these DO contribute to your SEO rankings.
In a roundabout way, that makes social media links a powerful SEO tool, so ignore anyone who tells you they’re not valuable. And to earn those social media links there are a few tried and tested strategies you can follow, including:
- Publish high-quality content: The better your content, the more likely people will share it on their Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
- Add social sharing buttons to your blogs and articles: An option to ‘click here to share this article’ makes it easy for people to share your content.
- Get active on social media: The more you engage with your followers, the more likely they’ll be to share your content. It is called SOCIAL media afterall.
How to create quality backlinks to your contractor website
“Does it matter where my backlinks come from?”
You already know there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ contractors.
One plumber might arrive on time, diagnose your problem quickly and clean up after himself before he leaves. Another plumber might arrive late, misdiagnose your problem, and leave dirty boot marks all over your white carpet.
Backlinks can also be ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
And when it comes to link building, quality trumps quantity. It’s better for your SEO to attract a smaller number of good links over tons of bad links.
The features to look out for when you’re building links are:
- Authority of the PAGE linking to you
- Authority of the WEBSITE linking to you
- RELEVANCE of the website linking to you
Read on to discover why these features are crucial to your link building strategies in 2021.
Every backlink pointing to your site passes on a little bit of “link juice” which boosts your tradie SEO.
One backlink might not be enough to pull you ahead of the trade, contractor and home improvement businesses ranking above you, but with each link, you earn more link juice, and over time that’ll help you climb up the rankings and attract the clicks that come at the top.
The authority of the page linking to you helps determine your ability to rank. Google doesn’t want to see businesses earning links from hundreds of crap, spammy websites – which was an SEO tactic in the past.
So they take into account the authority of the page creating the link. This isn’t a metric they release publicly, but plenty of SEO software companies have created numerical systems to accurately judge a page’s authority.
Using these scores you can see how much authority a given page has on a scale of 1 to 100. If the page linking to you has a high authority score, that’s a great start.
It’s not just the authority of the page linking to you, but the overall site. This is helpful when you attract links from major businesses, brands, or publications.
If you managed to earn a link from the New York Times you’d benefit from their overall website authority, even if the page linking to you was relatively new and didn’t have the same authority as the website itself.
Without getting too technical, individual pages on a website have their own authority scores, and the website’s URL as a whole has an authority score. These scores are between 0 and 100 and are calculated by SEO software providers like Ahrefs (which uses a ‘Domain Rating’ score) and Moz (which uses a ‘Domain Authority’ score).
For example, the BBC News website has a Domain Authority score of 95, or a DA of 95. This means their website has a significant SEO advantage over a brand new news site with a DA of 5.
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to boost your authority scores. Instead of focusing on your score out of 100, focus on keeping pace with your competition. If you want to outrank a website with an authority score in the 60’s, you’ll know that’s your benchmark.
It’s worth noting that Google does NOT use these scores to rank businesses. Instead, these scores have been calculated based on currently ranked businesses. By reverse-engineering top-ranked sites it’s possible to figure out their authority, and apply the same formula to your site too.
In short, Google weighs the authority of an entire site as well as a single page, so the higher authority your links, the better.
Google prefers to see links from websites either in your industry or in a related industry because this is a signal of trust.
If you’re a builder it’s better to earn a link from the ‘Australian and Building Construction Commission’ website rather than the Toys ‘R Us website.
This is a way for Google to stop shifty businesses from earning links from random websites that have nothing to do with their specialty. At the same time, more links from websites in your niche tell Google you’re a trusted expert in the field and deserving of higher ranks for more industry-related keywords.
In short, you want links from websites related to your industry. The less related the linking website is, the less value your backlinks have.
“What are the advantages of link building?”
The major benefit of link building is to show Google your site deserves higher rankings – and higher rankings on Google is a pretty powerful benefit on its own. At the same time, that can feel like a technical win rather than a ‘business’ win.
Luckily, a strong link-building campaign does help you attract more customers.
To save you hours of mind-numbingly dull SEO research, Google uses links to “crawl” the internet. This is SEO speak for “find new pages”. With new content being published every day, Google doesn’t magically know where every piece of content is.
Backlinks provide ‘bridges’ for Google to cross to find new pages. And since your content can’t rank until it’s been found by Google, this is a pretty important step.
In short, the more websites linking to yours, the more ‘bridges’ for Google to cross and the better chances of being found. Once you’re found you can rank for the keywords you’re targeting, appear when potential clients use those keywords and get more traffic to your website.
More people equals more chances to earn a lead and acquire a new customer.
Oh, and as a reference, 92% of the WORLD’S content gets zero backlinks.
This means you can likely outrank your competition by building regular backlinks from relevant sites,and take their traffic from them.
Start using link building strategies to grow your contractor business
With every new “bridge” to your site comes the potential for people to cross those bridges and end up learning about you.
Let’s say someone in the market for a new bathroom was reading an article about the latest bathroom design trends. Halfway through the article, they find a clickable link to YOUR bathroom renovation business. Since they’re already keen to get the ball rolling, they’re on your website in one click.
Not only has that link showed Google your content is worth ranking, but it’s provided a one-click way for people to get onto your site.
When relevant traffic comes to your contractor, trade or home improvement website, your chances of a quote request, call-out or sale go up.
Looking to start building quality links to your trade, contractor or home improvement website?