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With winter on its way, we’re heading into the busiest time of years for plumbers and engineers. In this article, Jonathan Birch takes a look at what your business needs to get right to stand out for those online searches.
Jonathan Birch is creative director at digital marketing agency Glass Digital.
As we enter the colder months of the year, households up and down the country will be firing up their boilers after a long period of inactivity. And, if the experts are to be believed, we could be in for a big freeze, with the worst winter in thirty years on its way (Metro). This could put even more stress than usual on heating systems, leading to even more callouts.
However, while this may mean an uptick in business for the industry, you still need to ensure your services are as visible as possible — especially online, where Google is the first place that people turn to for help finding assistance. With this in mind, I’m going to cover the key areas you need to focus on in order to boost your online presence.
One of the most important things you can do to boost visibility online is to make sure your business’ website is professional looking, easy to navigate, and runs smoothly. When someone searches for a plumber or gas engineer, they’ll probably end up looking at a few results — by ensuring your site offers a positive experience and they can get key information quickly and efficiently, you’ll be best placed to win their custom.
Beyond that important first impression, a website that works well will help you rank well on Google too. This is because the search engine places great value on user experience, so it will scrutinise your site when deciding what position to place you in its results, with those that meet user needs doing much better. If Google thinks you’re prioritising your customer experience, that’s a big plus.
You should also bear in mind Google likes sites that are mobile-friendly — unsurprising when close to 80% of searches are made through mobile devices (Quartz) — so you need to make sure yours is streamlined and optimised for this traffic. You can take Google’s mobile-friendly test to see where you’re currently at, as well as getting advice on how to improve.
With a website that clearly sets out what you offer and how to get in touch, you have the ideal base to begin building up your presence. The best way to do this is by creating relevant and useful onsite content that will enrich your customer experience even further. Think about the type of questions you regularly get asked by customers about boilers and gas appliances, then create resources that answer these queries clearly and concisely.
Search engines like authoritative sites that are jam packed with useful advice from experts, and that’s why this type of content will do wonders for your website rankings. Google is clever enough to judge the value of your advice and will prioritise your site if it thinks the content is helpful. There’s also the added bonus that, once you start ranking for those commonly asked issues, you may see some conversion where those looking for information are impressed enough to become your customers.
Remember that, while what you have to say is valuable, your content needs to be well written and presented in a helpful way — again, Google is sophisticated enough to spot this. If you don’t think you can produce this standard of work yourself or you simply don’t have time, consider hiring the services of an external copywriter or digital agency to do it for you.
With a quality website under your belt, you can start to think about getting your business’ name out there. One of the best ways to do this is by guest blogging, which involves sharing your expertise by writing articles that are featured on other websites. The benefit of this method is that you’ll be demonstrating your expertise and earning some exposure for your business.
Start by thinking of your customer base and the other websites they might visit, then come up with an idea that you think readers will be interested in. For instance, many of your clients may be 50+, so you could target retirement sites with a piece around heating the home through the winter, or you might operate in a student-heavy area, so heating efficiency tips on a money saving site would work.
If possible, include a link to your own site in the article — you’ll need to agree this with the host site first. While this guarantees customers can find your business, it also has additional search value. This is because Google often views any site linking to another as a recommendation, so it places more value on the site that has been linked to. This may help to boost your performance in rankings.
Follow my advice and you’ll be able to make your business’s website stand out from the crowd on search engines, helping you to maximise the number of customers who choose your service.