How much attention does your company pay to your website?
Company websites are now a vital part of attracting electrical clients. Around 97% of consumers look online for local businesses. With smartphones and access to the internet now almost ubiquitous, online is often the first place they look.
What does this mean for electrical contractors? Well, your website had better be doing a good job of attracting people. The minimalist, thrown-together website circa 2003 is now well out of date.
Website optimisation is something that has the potential to give you an edge over competitors. Here’s what we mean:
What is website optimisation?
Website optimisation is the process of putting strategies in place that help your website to rank well in search engines. It is closely linked with the term “search engine optimisation” (SEO).
Optimisation itself is a huge topic. Google (the most dominant search engine), has around 200 “ranking factors”, some weighted more highly than others. Google doesn’t reveal exactly how their algorithm works, but they have confirmed some things, and SEO experts have put others to the test.
What this means for businesses is that optimisation becomes about testing out ideas and seeing what works. There are services out there that you can hire to help with activities such as A/B testing of website elements. Maybe you have someone on your team who is familiar with how these things work.
Why should electrical contractors care?
The bottom line is, when someone Googles “electrical contractor in (your town)”, or similar search terms, you want your business to show up high in the search rankings. Surveys show that around 95% of web traffic goes to the results on page one, with 67% of all clicks going to the top five listings.
You might have a great, long-standing reputation, but people often aren’t picking up the Yellow Pages anymore. Being found online is about preserving the longevity of your business.Electrical contractors should pay attention to website optimisation as it can boost visibility Click To Tweet
What can you do to optimise your website?
Most electrical businesses are what can be described as “local businesses”, so focusing on local SEO is important. Companies that have a national or multinational market will need to take a broader approach to website optimisation.
It’s important to note here that SEO itself is a specialist field. There are experts out there who have been studying it for years and keep themselves updated, constantly reviewing changes and testing ideas. This makes them a good first port of call if you want to optimise your website, because hopefully it will be done well.
Here are a few SEO basics that companies may be able to do internally:
Claim local listings
Local listing pages are usually free to set up, and tend to rank well in searches. In fact, you will usually see these local listings displayed higher in search than the actual business website. See for example the result below, which came up from a Google search of “electrical contractors London”:
The image shows companies that have claimed their “Google My Business” listing. You can see that, at a glance, the searcher can already find a lot of information about the business, including being able to see on the map how close they are to them. Helpfully, these listings also direct people to the company website.
A general tip for all local listings is to ensure that profile information is completely filled out. There are many sad examples of companies that don’t include their website, or their phone number on the listing. This simple action makes those things immediately clickable, particularly important to mobile users. You’ve just saved them a step, and potentially got in ahead of a competitor who didn’t include those things.
Some local listings to claim include:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places for Business
- Yellow Pages
- Apple Maps UK
- LinkedIn Company Directory
You might wonder what claiming these listings has to do with your own website SEO. As SEO authority Moz puts it; “Local business listings and citations play a vital role in reputation, rankings, and revenue.”
Use appropriate page titles and descriptions
Each page on your website has a title and a meta description which can show up in search results. You can customise these so that they are compelling to the audience you are trying to attract. The text really is advertising for your business in a way – people won’t click unless it seems relevant.
At the moment, titles can be 50-60 characters, while meta descriptions can be 160 – 200 characters.
Note that the listings above have all used words in their title that people might search for on Google, which brings us to some basic tips:
- Make sure titles and descriptions always provide useful information. Page names like “home” are wasted space.
- Include your city or area in the title to improve searchability for local customers.
- Use target keywords in the title and description (more on that below).
- Test out how your title and description appear, using a tool such as Yoast.
Use and manage online reviews
Online reviews matter because they are important to your potential customers. 85% of consumers say they read up to 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a company. (We recently wrote about how to get good testimonials or reviews from electrical clients here).
Using testimonials or reviews can help to make your website more attractive to visitors, hopefully ensuring they stick around a while to check them out. “Time on site” is just one signal to Google that your website is delivering what people want, and therefore should rank higher. Of course, reviews can also mean that they pick up the phone or make contact with you sooner. People want to know that others have used your services and had a good experience.
The second part about reviews is those sites such as Yelp, Facebook and Google My Business where they become a predominant feature. You may have noticed that on the “Google My Business” image above, two of the businesses had reviews. This is more attractive to people searching for an electrical service than a business with no reviews at all.
Some businesses worry about these third-party review sites, but there is nothing you can do to stop people from reviewing you, so you might as well get ahead of the game. Stay involved, know what people are saying, and be prepared to respond. Here is Google’s advice:
“Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Conduct keyword research
Keyword research is an entire topic on its own, so we’ll keep this brief. Basically, it’s about knowing the keywords people use when they’re looking to solve a problem you can help with.
For example, if your business is in Hammersmith, what will people type into Google when their thought is “help, I need an electrician!”
As Moz puts it: “What you want here is a primary keyword and hopefully a set of related secondary keywords that share the searcher’s intent.” You then ensure that your website content (titles, descriptions, blogs, tags …), uses those keywords.
The key to using keywords well is to use them naturally. A few years ago, people commonly tried to “stuff” keywords on web pages, hoping to game the search engine. Google and other search engines have since cracked down on this, and websites are now penalised for stuffing. The practice of stuffing often lowers the value and readability of the content, and search engines aim to deliver content that is useful.
First of all, let’s quickly define what “crawlable” means. Basically, a search engine is made up of a crawler, an index and an algorithm. The crawler arrives at your website, reads your content, and saves it to the index. The crawler is also known as a bot or spider.
You want the crawler to come to your site and to update the index every time it finds a change. You also want the crawler to readily understand your page, so that it indexes it correctly. This means that text, and any metadata for images or video embeds should contain words that provide good context.
Note: There are also factors that can block a bot from crawling your pages. Sometimes this is intentional if there is something you don’t want indexed, but sometimes people do this unintentionally. This is a good case for an SEO expert to check over your website.
Website optimisation now plays an important role in attracting more electrical clients to your business. We’re in an age where everyone is using their phones or other means of internet search as their primary search tools.
For businesses, optimisation means that you show up high in search results, and your information is easily accessible to potential customers. That in itself is often a key – reduce the number of steps that people need to take if they want to get hold of you.
Finally, SEO and website optimisation are actually huge topics, which we’ve only scratched the surface on here. It is definitely advisable that any business wanting to take steps to improve their visibility seeks the advice of an expert in the field.