Finding traction in the online marketplace takes time, money, and patience. SEO for plumbers is a highly competitive environment, after all. There comes a point however, where prudent business owners should start wondering about the effectiveness of their current marketing strategy. Since the company website serves as the foundation for plumbing SEO, that’s where your diagnostic should begin.
Today, we’ll discuss the process of self-auditing your company website, the goal behind this action, and how you can utilize the research to enhance your search engine marketing results. If your team believes a brand new website design may be in the near future, pay especially close attention to our optimization guidelines! Let’s get started.
Why Should You Self-Audit?
Audits create awareness. Business owners should be closely acquainted with the nature of their company website. Unless you outsource design and maintenance to a third party, no one will spot dropping performance faster than you. Plus, it’s cheaper to handle the initial work within the company. Self-audits aren’t about nitpicking minor problems or simply creating a list of everything wrong with your website.
The ultimate goal of self-auditing your company website is to…
- Identify weaknesses that could be hindering performance and lead growth.
- Discover opportunities for improvement in content quality, navigation, and user experience.
- Forge a game-plan for ongoing site enhancement.
One important note before starting your audit: write down everything. Not only will this help you process information faster, it will also help during your planning phases later on. Again, website optimization takes time. There’s a good chance that you won’t be able to complete all your changes in one sitting. Keeping everything well-documented ensures that your hard work doesn’t go to waste!
Step #1: Analyze Your Website’s Performance
It’s easy to look at slowed lead development and automatically blame the company website. Starting with basic site analytics allows you to confirm whether your site is indeed to blame, or if the fault lies with another aspect of your team’s marketing. You’ll need 3 digital tools for this phase: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Ubersuggest (or a similar tool).
Again, we’re looking for weak areas of site performance. Think of this as a doctor’s visit for your website. Thankfully, these tools won’t cost you anything to use!
Google’s Free Tools: Analytics and Search Console
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to set up your Analytics account. Hopefully, you completed your registration when your site was first launched. Brand new businesses may need to wait until the platform gathers enough data on their company website. Make sure to go ahead and arrange your Search Console profile too!
For those experienced businesses with years of performance data, Analytics provides incredible reporting tools that make it easy to spot underperforming pages. Begin your analysis by opening the overview tab under Acquisition. You’ll need to expand your results to wider period of time; the platform automatically starts with the last 7 days. To draw any realistic conclusions from the data, you should at least widen the period to the last 3 months (or longer).
In the Acquisition tab, you’ll be examine a breakdown of your website traffic sources. You’ll also receive valuable metrics on user behavior, including…
- Bounce Rate,
- Average pages per user session,
- and Average session duration.
Don’t be afraid if your bounce rate rests in the 60-70 percentile range! That’s a fairly normal spectrum for plumbing contractors and other service professionals. Higher percentages may indicate a problem with your site’s content or loading speed. Ideally, average pages per session should rest around 2. That means that your site users typically examine your services beyond the homepage. Deeper engagement (also indicated by longer session times) typically leads to stronger lead development.
If you’re a more visual thinker, try taking a look at the Behavior Flow chart in the Behavior section. This visually outlines user journeys from page to page. Select source to also see where the traffic originated from. While your looking at Google’s free tools, make sure to examine your site through Search Console too! This platform identifies many of the same behavioral traits as Analytics, but it does more to point out errors. Errors may arise in mobile optimization or in page coding. Either way, the console can help you locate problem spots in your website that could be bleeding traffic.
An Outside Perspective: Ubersuggest
Want another convenient tool for examining website performance? Try Ubersuggest, a favorite of some our content writers at Plumbing Webmasters. Simply input your homepage URL into the search bar to produce insightful reports on page performance and keyword rankings. Below, we’ve plugged in our website so you can see how it works!
See which keywords your business ranks for! You may find that those lofty primary keywords (ex: “emergency plumber”) might be ranked as well as you want. Perhaps those dozens of secondary keywords are adding up to produce some real business for your plumbing contractors. Find out which pages are driving traffic for your website, and which need serious plumber SEO!
Once you’ve analysed your website from the outside, you’ll be ready to start your interior examination.
Step #2: Assess Your Website’s Core Design
“But I’m no graphic designer!” you might say. Thankfully, most website designing platforms make it fairly simple to render changes to your structure. For now, don’t even worry about it! Simply focus on identifying which areas of your design need real improvements. We can begin with the most visible portion: above the fold.
According to consumer research, it takes the average site user approximately 0.05 seconds to form their first impression about your website (SWEOR). That split second is way too little time for a detailed read-through of your homepage. That means that visual elements are playing a heavy part in that initial “Wow!” or that tragic “Ew!”.
Start by examining your…
- Company Logo
- Color Scheme
- Contact Information
- and Call to Action (CTA)
Visuals: Color and Spacing
We don’t have to tell you have essential a professionally designed logo is for a business, but many companies shockingly choose color schemes that clash with their logos. This instantly puts a bad taste in a visitor’s mouth. Considering the high-stress, heavy-investment nature of plumbing solutions, such a negative first impression could result in an instant bounce from the website!
The best plumbing websites carefully blend a simplistic palette of colors that soothe the eyes and enhance the visibility of text. Even minimalist design can ease the user experience. Of course, there are other crucial aspects when it comes to helping users reach their desired destinations. Spacing out the elements of your homepage (Calls to action, contact details, logos, etc.) makes it easier for users to read and absorb information.
Navigation: Menus and Calls to Action
Dropdown menus are many things: concise, convenient, and simple. It’s no wonder both professional and amateur website designers love them! However, many DIYers make the mistake of cramming in as many pages into their menu as possible. When the menu drops, an extensive list blocks the entire screen and muddles the search experience. As your website grows over the years, there’s a good chance that additional services could start to overwhelm your menu.
How many service categories does your site currently have listed on the front page menu? At the Plumbing Webmasters, we generally recommend sticking with four or less to conserve space. Treat the menu as a finite space, and you’ll notice better interaction from you site users.
Finally, examine how well your site incorporates calls to action throughout each page. Ideally, there should be CTAs in the both the top and the bottom, even on seemingly unimportant pages. Most plumbers stick with phone call prompts, while others like to save space for email or messaging. Do your CTAs stand out from the rest of the page, or would the average user have a hard time seeing them? How well do they work on mobile devices? These are the questions you’ll want to ask during the self-audit of your company website.
Step #3: Investigate Your Website’s Page Content
Content comes into tight focus during the final phase of the self-audit. Content quality heavily impacts user engagement and conversion rates, but it also plays a role in your site’s overall visibility. That’s because keyword optimization ultimately makes or breaks a site’s rankings in search engines. We’ve already mentioned how Ubersuggest offers great opportunities for examining your keyword strategy’s effectiveness.
Because keyword strategy is a huge topic in it’s own right, be sure to check out our guide on the topic: “Plumbing Keywords to Target“. Some high-level guidelines for creating a balanced keyword plan…
- Mix in long-tail keywords (such as city, state additions).
- Don’t depend solely on primary keywords. Gather a bunch of secondaries to supplement traffic.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. If it doesn’t sound natural, don’t include it.
- Use keywords in non-text items (such as image attributes), plus headers.
Formatting and Spacing
Natural text flow allows readers to peruse your content without getting overwhelmed or tired out too quickly. Giant “walls” of text discourage people and make it all too easy to lose one’s place. Formatting also plays a huge role in plumbing SEO, more than most contractors realize. For instance, Google typically awards featured snippets to businesses that present their richest content in bullet form. These prestigious listings enjoy more real estate in the front pages of search engine results.
The user experience is the most important reason for updating your content, but the SEO benefits are certainly exciting too! If you really want to knock your users’ socks off, include some pro-grade, original images in your pages to space out your text. These images offer even more places to sneak in your keywords.
Key Content-Related Questions for Your Self-Audit
- Does the site effectively spread out text for relaxed reading?
- Are the images classy enough for a professional site?
- Have we effectively optimized the images?
- Are pages overly crammed with keywords, or do they read naturally?
Final Thoughts for Your Audit
Remember, change only comes when you make the change! If you perform a site audit but never make any updates, your traffic isn’t going to improve. Start by writing down every area of your website that needs improvement, then make a plan. Even if you have to have another employee or a third party perform the work for you, it’s worth making the effort!
In the meantime, our team at Plumbing Webmasters would love to help you create a fresh, heavily-optimized company website. Our experienced design and writing teams touch on over 200 points of SEO for plumbers! As a result our contractor clients earn fantastic rankings in local search, better site traffic, and more leads. We’d love to serve your business too.
Call and get a free consultation with one of our seasoned SEO professionals at (877) 388-9884!