Website design may feel like an artsy fartsy, technical world, but the best websites are always grounded in practicality. That’s doubly true for plumbing company websites, which serve the needs of visiting homeowners and commercial clients before the needs of the plumber. If you feel like your website still leaves something to be desired, there’s plenty of opportunities to start fresh.
Today, we’ll explore how to tackle web design the right way. No one knows how to craft a practical, revenue-driving website better than Jason Ingram, the Creative Director at Plumbing Webmasters! We recently sat down with him to answer some questions. Grab a pen and paper as you listen in, and make sure to check out our guide below too!
Key Takeaways for Plumbers
Keep your design goals simple. Focus on providing key details in an easy read.
Make sure calls to action (CTAs) are clearly visible, especially phone numbers.
Make an optimized page for every category and each individual service.
Use original images of your crew, staff, and/or family. Google knows stock photos.
Don’t sweat originality or visual fluff. Stick with practical and familiar design!
Table of Contents
The Two Pillars of Web Design
People tend to overthink web design. It’s true, thousands of styles, colors, and widgets produce a fantastic array of diversity and branding. The core precepts of web design, on the other hand, keep things refreshingly simple. As Creative Director Jason Landry puts it, “Web design really boils down to two parts: information and presentation.”
When it comes to creating a productive (profitable and popular) site, the best developers determine what sort of information the typical client needs and works hard to present it effectively.
This is where industry experience proves invaluable! In the case of the plumbing world, a designer who knows his sump pumps from his grinders can make all the difference. At the same time, you need a professional who can put themselves in the shoes of frantic homeowner or business owner and craft a website that meets their needs.
Providing the Right Information
Homeowners do not need a step by step manual of how install a well pump. Neither do they desire constant reminders of your plumbing team’s skills. In reality, your clients only require a handful of details from your website:
The exact services your company provides.
Your operating hours (including emergency services).
How to contact your business.
What to expect when they schedule a service call.
Whether or not their situation warrants calling your business.
If you’re popping up on search results, you won’t need to spend much time explaining qualifications for fixing their home’s pipes. While those prospects will certainly feel glad to know you’re qualified, you can easily communicate that with a simple license number and/or badges. Instead, think about the questions that clients are always asking. Spend time digging into those topics and providing helpful answers.
Each of Your Services Should Have a Dedicated Page. Otherwise, Google Won’t Rank You For It!
Nailing the Presentation
Now, simply wadding up all those details into a ball of information and throwing it at your homepage will not produce the results you desire. Countless plumbers fall to the bullet service list trap, so we’ll just say this once:
Putting services into bullets, dumping them on the homepage, and calling it quits won’t work.
There are a handful of tools you’ll need to properly share the information your clients need most. First, get that office phone number and address big and bold at the top of your homepage! If a prospect decides to call your company, they should be able to instantly locate and click on your number.
Second, make sure every single one of your services has its own service page. A healthy serving of keywords will allow your business to earn a wider variety of listings, increasing your brand’s ability to generate leads. Group these pages under a handful of category pages, and house it all under your navigational menu.
Closing Thoughts on Design
Don’t sweat the visual details! Many plumbers think that pretty makes perfect, but visuals rarely drive revenue. The only exception is your photos. Take as many quality images of your team, staff, family, and projects as possible! Google knows the difference between a photo of your master plumber and the familiar face of a stock photo model from another country. It rewards optimized, original photos with better SEO status.
If you decide to hire a professional to design your site, remember that plumbing industry experience makes all the difference! Our team at Plumbing Webmasters would love to be your custom web design team. Our original content, smooth graphic design, and original coding make for fantastic results in local search results.
To learn more about our web design services, call us at (877) 388-9884!
Family holidays are a fantastic time for residential plumbing professionals. With all the festive meals and grease goop going down the drown, it’s no wonder that homeowner calls shoot through the roof! In fact, it’s estimated that “Brown Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving), produces a 50 percent increase in plumbing leads for garbage disposals and sink clogs.
Not every plumbing professional however, is in a place to take advantage of that surge in leads.
If your website and GMB account haven’t been properly optimized, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars in service calls throughout the holidays! Thankfully, that’s what we’ll be covering today in our latest podcast. Listen in as Jason and Nolen explain how to capture more leads through the season.
Key Plumbing SEO Lessons
Make sure your GMB profile covers each of your major services.
Keyword-optimized services pages will almost always outperform simple service lists.
Talk with your marketing service company about optimizing for seasonal surges.
Make sure your PPC ads each link to a related service page.
Seasonal SEO Opportunities
As with many home service industries, plumbing experiences seasonal spikes in demand. That’s especially true during family holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Because this season represents such a considerable windfall for plumbers, it’s also a period of strong online competition. The winners earn premium placement in local map packs, plus the traffic that comes with it.
So how can your business work towards earning these exceptional local listings?
It all starts with plumber SEO, your website, and your GMB account. We’ll dig into some of the most impactful tools to enhance your online marketing performance, both now and in the coming 2020. Ultimately, we’re looking to create a sustainable strategy that offers big dividends for years to come.
The Tools You’ll Need
A Strong Keyword List
What’s the first task you think about when developing a high-performance page? A strong, diverse assortment of keywords not only makes it easier for Google to rank your content, it also creates a better user experience for your site visitors. Each service page should have a high volume primary keyword mixed in with a variety of similar phrases and synonyms.
Where you can you find these premium keywords?
Answer the Public
Moz Keyword Explorer
People also ask (Google SERP feature)
Blue phrases at the bottom of search results
A Completed & Verified GMB Listing
Considering how crucial the listing is to your local search, it’s remarkably easy to claim, complete, and verify your Google My Business account! If you haven’t done so already, take an hour. Fill out everything and request your postcard verification. Upload those pics and videos. Neglecting your GMB account only hurts your business, so don’t put it off!
Moving forward, make sure to check your GMB on a monthly basis for potential updates. The address you pick for your GMB should match the one you use for all your other citations, including abbreviations. Google continues to update the listing program with additional service categories, so be on the lookout for ones fitting your plumbing solutions.
A Google Ads Account
PPC advertising is a great channel for supplementing your organic leads. They also enable your business to quickly adapt your marketing tactics for seasonal opportunities. While Google Ads is the most recognized and comfortable advertising option for many plumbers, Facebook and Instagram both offer some cost-effective solutions.
When you create a new campaign for Brown Friday, Christmas, or another holiday, make sure you have dedicated service pages to divert that ad traffic to. If you’re going to take advantage of the upshift in drain clogs, have a “Drain Clog Removal” page ready to go! Plain landing pages are better than simply directing users to your homepage, but service pages generally offer the best SEO power for your website.
A Collection of Client Reviews
No one supports your business better than happy customers! Client reviews are one of the most important resources for your local search marketing, but they don’t grow from trees. You need to have a system in place to request feedback after service. Whether that comes in the form of employee training sessions on how to ask for reviews or an automated program, consistency is key.
For more information about automated review platforms, be sure to see our podcast on Righteous Reviews!
Five Steps to Boost Local SEO
Keep in mind, this plan hinges on a solid company web design. If your company doesn’t have that yet, here are 15 amazing plumbing websites to get inspiration from. They incorporate the tips we’re about to reveal.
How to Improve Local SEO Performance
Step #1: Create three to four primary service category pages.
Step #2: Write keyword-optimized pages for more focused services, and arrange them by those categories.
Step #3: Take original pictures with your staff members, then post them in all your pages (as well as your GMB account).
Step #4: Embed your client reviews into your website. Search for reputation management software, such as Righteous Reviews.
Step #5: Run service campaigns of Google and Facebook Ads ahead of peak seasons.
Righteous Reviews Enables Job Site Checkins and Geotagged Reviews.
Need an SEO Consultation?
Want to get professional input on your plumbing company’s local SEO strategy? Our seasoned experts at Plumbing Webmasters would love to talk with you! Call us anytime for a free consultation at (877) 388-9884. You’ll see why so many of our plumbers earn premium ranking in local, organic, and paid search!
Many plumbers swear by their PPC company, while others complain of lackluster results. No matter what sort of strategy you have in play for pay-per-click, there’s a chance you’ve been missing out on valuable business opportunities. This week, Nolen and Jason discuss the real story of a seasoned plumber who grew disillusioned with their PPC company. Be sure to listen closely if your campaigns have started to stagnate!
Key Points to Listen For
PPC offers dependable, but frequently diminishing returns for businesses.
PPC companies generally have no incentive to improve your organic SEO efforts.
Paid ads work best when partnered with a solid plumbing SEO foundation.
The Story of Pay-Per-Click Bob
Recently our team at the Plumbing Webmasters received a call from a frustrated plumber in the Northeast. His name was Bob, and you could hear the subtle, but certain anger in his voice. Bob’s business has supported his local community (a sizeable metropolitan area) for over a decade. He has very little discernible organic presence online. Instead, he pays a PPC company to run his online advertising for him, primarily out of Google Ads.
Here’s the kicker: Bob pays up to $12,000 a month for his PPC work.
To be fair, Bob informed us that the advertisements from the PPC company are producing very consistent results each month. However, the prices of his keywords seem to be rising (sometimes going as high as $100 per click). He also noticed that the rate of return for his PPC efforts also seem to be slowly dropping each month. Any plumber finding themselves in the same situation would have real cause for concern, so we agreed to take a look at his website analytics.
A Disappointing Situation
We found Bob had more reasons to be disappointed in his PPC company than he realized. They had almost completely neglected his website, diverting all their attention to managing the pay-per-click campaigns. The PPC ads simply directed Google Search users to custom landing pages, which didn’t really help the rest of his site metrics. Granted, the advertising efforts seemed to be producing real business for Bob’s plumbing business, but even those returns were diminishing.
Since Bob had been in business for so long, any sort of organic plumbing SEO on this marketing team’s part could have produced some outstanding results and cut down his monthly costs. But our findings clearly indicated that was not a priority to this PPC company. What was the ultimate summary of our analysis?
Bob was missing out on serious lead opportunities, and (quite literally) paying for it.
It’s Easy to See the Results for PPC Advertising.
Key Lessons for Your Marketing
First of all, we need to make something clear. Bob isn’t a bad guy. His PPC company isn’t evil, but there is widening gap between Bob’s potential growth and where he is now. Let’s explore some facts that could help explain this situation.
Be sure to read closely if Bob’s situation feels all to similar to your plumbing SEO situation!
Lesson #1: PPC Isn’t the Problem…
Advertising gets results. While it may not produce the long-term results and branding benefits of SEO for plumbers, PPC offers fairly consistent results. The reason Bob continues to spend thousands of dollars every month is that he can easily see their return.
When it comes to PPC platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, accountability plays an instrumental part in their success. Every campaign operates on a set budget, geographical area, and a target market. SEO rarely offers such precision, instead working towards appealing to a broader volume of people. Of course, PPC campaigns come at a price!
They can get expensive.
Operating exclusively through PPC means that you are essentially every new customer that contacts your plumbing business. Once contractors ignore plumbing SEO for so long, they start to feel locked into the cycle of paid ads. Your PPC company won’t complain, but your profit margins will!
Facebook Ads Offer Quite a Variety of Targeting Attributes.
The Best Uses for PPC Campaigns
If you want to extract the most value from your pay-per-click efforts, diversity is often the key to success. Most plumbers stick with Google Ads (formerly Adwords) because that’s what they’re most familiar and comfortable with. However, there are numerous ad platforms that offer convenient ways to connect with your target market. Some even provide a better return on your investment!
Powerful PPC Company Tools
All of these tools/platforms provide exceptional customization on your ad campaigns, and quality base conversion rates. It may take a little work to set up a Facebook Business account, but the 99.9% of plumbing professionals should have one anyway. Retargeting ads are particularly effective for connecting with interested consumers your website may have missed otherwise.
Lesson #2: Lack of Organic SEO Is.
As mentioned before, Bob’s PPC company put little to no effort into improving his organic online search results. This made it tremendously harder for people find and engage his team. Considering the extensive experience and skill, Bob could have easily created a lead-generating website at minimal cost. Once his website took off, he could even have tapered off his PPC spending and maintained the same volume of traffic.
Even a Simply-Designed Website Can Offer Great Results if Optimized Correctly.
There is no valid reason to operate online and not invest time into organic plumbing SEO. Organic search results consume far less of your marketing budget, thus producing a higher rate of return. That doesn’t mean you have to drop all of your PPC immediately! In fact, search marketing principles teach us that organic SEO and PPC work best when partnered together.
What Can Bob Do?
So what sort of options does Bob (and businesses like his) have to start taking advantage of plumbing SEO? First, he’ll need to take some time to analyse the health of his website. There are many elements to examine during this process:
Service Categories and Hierarchies
Visual Element Spacing
Page Keyword Optimization
General Keyword Strategy (Primaries and Secondaries)
These website facets heavily influence the exposure of your brand through Google Search. Of course, there are a few key off-site activities to execute that have powerful impact on your marketing effectiveness. If you haven’t claimed and completed your Google My Business account, do so immediately. This profile can make or break your Google Maps strategy. Be sure to get your business listed on other citation sources (such as the BBB), and start asking your customers for reviews!
Lesson #3: PPC Companies Shy Away From SEO
This may be one of the hardest lessons to absorb, for clear reasons. Your PPC company makes money through ads. SEO for plumbers generates leads organically through local search, minimizing the need for PPC campaigns. If a company specializes in PPC, they have no reason to help you grow organically (and subsequently save thousands of dollars).
Which Channels Provide the Most Traffic for Your Business Website?
Bob was starting to feel the effects of diminishing ad returns, but his PPC would do little to fix the problem. How could they without cutting their own profits? While this marketing agency operated with applaudable transparency, so many others work to take advantage of their clients by exploiting their marketing inexperience. It’s possible that your PPC company doesn’t even have the capabilities necessary to enhance your website’s search results.
PPC is a perfectly valid solution for many plumbing companies. It provides dependable results, especially during periods of heavy online competition. However, organic search traffic provides a far better rate of return on your investment. It also grows your brand, whereas PPC campaigns and purchased leads grow the prestige of those platforms. With the right management, your organic SEO efforts will create fantastic, long-term results for your business.
Team Up With the Plumbing Webmasters!
At the Plumbing Webmasters, we know that plumbers earn the best results when they combine PPC strategy with strong, organic SEO efforts. That’s why we always start with custom-coded and highly-optimized website designs, and our clients feel the difference! Not only do our plumbers consistently earn higher rankings, they also enjoy better quality leads. We’d love to help your business grow too.
Call us at (877) 388-9884 for a free consultation with a seasoned plumbing SEO pro!
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.
Taking Time to Regularly Examine Your Website is Always a Smart Idea!
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).
Search Console Also Provides Useful Data for Those Looking to Rank Higher.
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…
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.
Examine Both the Origins and Destinations of Your Company Website Users!
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
Clean Design is Essential for Mobile Search!
“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…
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
Don’t Get to Greedy With Pages in the Dropdown Menu.
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.
Dozens of Small-Volume Secondary Keywords Add Up Over Time. Source: Ubersuggest
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?
Don’t Forget to Open and Close Company Website Pages With a Call to Action!
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!
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