Why is My Contractor Website Not Ranking on Google?
You’ve done everything the guides and “gurus” told you to. You made a website, you created content, and…nothing. It’s frustrating because it feels like your time has been wasted on a dead-end marketing strategy.
This is a common frustration from trade business owners. It’s true you need a website and content to rank on Google – but there’s more to this strategy than slapping a blog on your site and waiting for leads. Find out where you’ve gone wrong (hint: keywords, competition, and link building) and how to get your rankings moving.
If you’ve spent more than 7 seconds learning about SEO you’d have heard the expression “Content is King”.
You know that content is what connects your potential customer’s search on Google with your website, so you’ve spent some time knocking up a couple of articles. Maybe you’ve been trying to boost your rankings for months and your contractor website is STILL not ranking on Google.
When this happens it’s easy to think SEO is a scam and that whatever agency you end up paying is just sending you fancy reports without your content doing, well…anything.
This is a familiar story for too many trade business owners.
You’ve done what every article and guide tells you to do – you created content. And still, months have gone by and there’s no increase in clicks to your site, no extra quote requests blowing up your phone, and certainly no more money in your bank account.
Before you hit “delete” on your content and go back to letterbox flyers, make sure you’re not making any of the mistakes listed in this article. These include:
- Your website is too slow
- You’re targeting the wrong keywords
- You don’t publish content regularly
- You don’t earn backlinks
If you’ve been wondering why your trade website isn’t ranking well on Google, these are the most common pitfalls to avoid. Read on to discover how to spot these SEO flaws and fix them.
#1 Google ranking issue: your contractor website is too slow
We’re not going to deep dive into every feature Google looks for in a website worthy of higher rankings.
But one of the key factors all ranking sites have in common is speed. Put simply, you won’t rank if your website is slower than rush hour traffic.
Whether people are searching for a local handyman, colour schemes for a new laundry, or how to repair a cracked window, they want results FAST. And since Google wants to give people the best possible results for any query they have, they reward fast websites.
Your customers won’t hang around if your site doesn’t load fast – with 37% of people bouncing if your site isn’t ready to browse within 5 seconds.
All the content in the world won’t make a difference if your home improvement site is a slow mess that leaves people looking at ‘loading’ screens constantly.
“How can I fix a slow website?”
It’s easy to measure how fast (or slow) your site is.
Enter your URL in Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool for a speed score and practical tips to speed up your site. A slow contractor website may be caused by technical problems, a bad website host, or issues with your website architecture.
One of the most common ways for tradies, contractors and home improvement businesses to accidentally slow down their sites is by uploading photos with large file sizes. These look great in project galleries, but the larger your photo file sizes, the slower your site loads.
Worried your photos are slowing your site? Discover how easy it is to update photos.
#2 Google ranking issue: you’re targeting the wrong keywords
We don’t need to remind you about the importance of keywords. You already know that the keywords your customers use to search on Google can trigger your content.
But there are the keywords YOU want to rank for and the keywords your audience is using – and these can be miles apart.
If you’re wondering why your website is not ranking for keywords, the most common problems come down to:
- Monthly volume
The right keywords are being searched by enough people each month to make them worth your while.
Let’s say you’re a 24/7 locksmith.
You have zero call-out fees, and everyone in your surrounding suburbs knows you’re the guy to call in a pinch. But outside of your referral clients, you’re getting no leads through Google even after you created an entire page about your 24/7 locksmith service.
That’s because it doesn’t matter how well written that content is, if it’s not using the keywords your potential customers are using, it won’t rank.
Your content might be written around the keyword phrase ‘24/7 locksmith’ but people don’t describe their problems the way you do. They use all sorts of phrases from ‘how to pick a lock’ to ‘how to open a locked door’.
Your content needs to be optimized to include the keywords people are actually using, not the keywords you think you should use.
It’s worth pointing out you’ll need keyword research tools to figure this out. If you’re looking to find the right keywords for your content, scroll to the bottom of the page.
“Have I wasted hours writing content about the wrong topics?”
Not at all.
SEO is constantly in a state of flux, and what ranks today might not rank tomorrow, so you can update your content with new keywords to make it more likely to rank.
If you start optimizing your content around the keywords people are searching each month, you’ll have a shot at getting your existing content to move up the rankings.
It’s easy to get frustrated with the whole “Content is King” line that salesmen and agencies keep pulling out.
When you do EXACTLY what they suggest and nothing changes, it feels like everyone in marketing is in on a joke except for you. And that’s because the advice “Content is King” leaves out a crucial point – your competition impacts your rankings.
Some trade, contractor or home improvement industries are going to be easier to rank in than others. If you’re a plumber in Anchorage (population 293,531) you’ll have less competition for keywords than a plumber in New York (population 8,419,000).
The more competing tradespeople you’re up against, the more content you’ll have to outrank, and the slower your progress will be.
#3 Google ranking issue: you don’t publish content regularly
Ever landed on a site that hasn’t been updated in years?
Websites without fresh content look stale and out of business. You wouldn’t walk into a store that’s covered in spiderwebs and without the lights on – and your home improvement site is the same.
Publishing a 300-word blog every other Sunday isn’t going to cut it. You don’t need to be staying up all night writing blogs each week either, but a regular posting schedule will lead to better rankings.
Your customers will eventually get used to your weekly blog post and come to your site to read your content.
This builds valuable loyalty that translates to more enquiries and quote requests. It’s not rocket science, but the more helpful content you put out, the more people will look to you as a thought-leader and the type of skilled business who can help them around the house.
#4 Google ranking issue – you don’t earn backlinks
Sometimes the problem with your website isn’t a problem on your website at all.
Content that ranks needs backlinks pointing to it. This seems confusing at first but think of it from Google’s perspective. If you’ve written a great article about your business, filled it with helpful tips and stats, and optimised for keywords your target audience is using, the ONE thing that can prove to Google your content is better than anyone else’s is if other people link to it.
There are plenty of people with the gift of the gab to be able to write a solid blog, but earning backlinks from other websites isn’t something you can convince most websites to give you by sweet-talking them.
They need to see your content and find it so valuable they choose to build a link to it.
When that happens, Google is impressed, and your rankings go up.
Looking to learn more about link building? Find out how many links Tradie Digital builds.
“Why invest my time writing content if I’m going up against big companies that can outspend me?”
It’s a myth that bigger companies can’t be outranked.
As a smaller home improvement business, tradesman or contractor, whether you’ve got 10 staff or it’s just you on the tools, you’ve got the advantage of flexibility.
If you want to deep dive into the strategy to beat the big boys at SEO we’ve written the definitive guide.
The goal isn’t to bang your head on the wall trying to compete with bigger companies for broad keyword phrases like ‘Sydney Pest Control’.
That keyword phrase has over 10,000 monthly searches which are going to attract PLENTY of competition. Instead, opt for more niche keyword phrases – known as long-tail keywords.
These phrases, made up of 3 or more words, are used less often but drive qualified traffic. For example, the long-tail keyword ‘Paddington German Cockroach Control’ won’t attract the same competition as ‘Sydney Pest Control’, but it will still bring potential customers who have a roach problem that you can help them with.
“How can I improve my Google rankings?”
It’s easy to feel frustrated when you’re constantly asking yourself why your SEO is not working.
If you’ve launched a custom SEO-friendly home improvement website, or if you’ve had your own website for 5 years and you’re looking to make a positive change, the steps you need to take can feel overwhelming.
Every time you head to Google to look for tips you find articles like ‘438 Ways To Improve Your SEO Rankings’ and it feels like overkill.
And you’re right.
Improving your rankings once you’ve already got content comes down to three key factors:
Step #1 – Improve your website: Making sure it loads fast and is full of helpful content
Step #2 – Improve your content: Using the right keywords, with sufficient monthly volume, without unbeatable competition
Step #3 – Build backlinks to your content: Earning backlinks from quality websites related to your industry
Whether you use an agency to handle these crucial steps for you or find time to manage these steps yourself, is up to you. But your website rankings will improve when you focus on these three steps.
Looking for help to speed up your SEO results, find the right keywords, or build links?