The #1 Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Construction Leads
At ToolCrowd, we regularly get called to the rescue of websites that look great at face value.
We’re talking about sites that offer handyman services or general or specialist contracting services that have strong technical SEO foundations, clean designs, and content that’s second-to-none.
Despite this, though, they still fail to pull in a worthwhile number of leads. Why?
They don’t rank for the keywords they’re targeting, and unfortunately fail to bring in a sufficient amount of relevant traffic as a result.
Put simply, they’re being outranked by their competitors.
There’s usually one reason and one reason alone for this:
Google views the competing sites as being more authoritative.
And the source of this additional authority?
More specifically, quality backlinks.
To illustrate why these are so important, you first need to understand that Google is (quite rightly) a little bit paranoid.
They understand that if they show poor-quality, or irrelevant, results over and over again, they risk damaging their position as the dominant search engine.
There’s no denying that on-page factors like technical SEO and excellent content are essential.
But the problem for Google is that these factors are too easy to manipulate to be trusted at face value.
Because these changes happen on your site, there’s no need for any input, or endorsement, from someone else to approve the changes you’re making.
A good comparison would be writing and publishing a blog post on a particular topic, versus spending the time publishing a peer- reviewed research paper on the same issue.
Which do you think would garner more trust?
And when it comes to assessing the authority of websites, Google views quality, relevant backlinks from authoritative sites as ‘seals of approval’.
They are a very effective way of assessing other people’s endorsement (or lack of) for your site.
The more ‘seals of approval’ you have in Google’s eyes, and the higher quality they are, the higher your site will rank.
It’s that simple.
It hasn’t always been this way, though.
Several years ago, it was the sheer quantity of backlinks that matter when it came to ranking, regardless of their quality.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case.
Nowadays, gaining loads of backlinks without considering their relevance or quality could be viewed as ‘negative SEO’, potentially leading to penalties from Google and dips in your rankings.
So, to prevent this, and to help you massively boost the authority of your site in Google’s eyes, let’s look at the types of backlinks you should be targeting…
What Makes a Good Backlink?
There are six things that you should look for from every link that you build to your website, and we refer to these as your backlink foundations.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a handyman, a general contractor, an electrician, a plumber, or a landscaper; the same formula applies.
Basically, if a backlink doesn’t meet at least the first four criteria here, it’s unlikely to be doing your SEO any real favours.
There’s no point reinventing the wheel here, so feel free to steal these and use them to massively improve the effectiveness of your SEO campaign…
1. A ‘dofollow’ link
There are two main types of link, ‘nofollow’ and ‘dofollow’.
The one we’re interested in from an SEO perspective is ‘dofollow, as these links help your search engine rankings whereas ‘nofollow’ links do not.
The only real difference between the two is that ‘nofollow’ links have a specific HTML tag added to them (rel=”nofollow”), but the repercussions of this are huge from a ranking perspective.
Without getting too technical here, Google uses an algorithm called PageRank to rank search results.
Google have openly admitted that using the rel=”nofollow” tag stops the transfer of PageRank across the link, providing little to no benefit to ranking.
So, to boost your site’s authority, it’s essential that you focus on getting ‘dofollow’ links.
2. A link from a high-quality web page
Bear with us here.
If you were to ask questions like, “How can I measure the quality of a web page?“, and, “Isn’t this a bit too subjective?“, you’d have some legitimate concerns.
Clearly, to help us, we need to find an objective way of measuring the quality of a web page.
One of the easiest ways to do this without paying for expensive online tools is by using Moz’s Page Authority (PA) metric.
PA predicts how well an individual page will rank in the SERPs, as scored from one to 100, with the higher the score, the better you can assess the quality of the web page to be.
It’s worth noting that the PA scale is logarithmic, meaning it’s much easier to grow the score from 25-35 than it is from 75-85.
So, when link-building, look for sites with as high a PA score as possible, because the higher the PA of linking page, the more reputable the linked-to page on your site, and your website as a whole, will look to Google.
3. A link from an overall high-quality website
It isn’t enough to only target high-quality web pages.
You want links from overall high quality domains too.
When it comes to assessing the quality of a website as a whole, Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) metric is a good option.
DA is similar to PA in that it predicts rank-ability; however, in this case, it assesses the website as a whole rather than the individual page.
Again, as with PA, the higher the DA of the linking site, the better, and the more this additional authority will contribute to helping you outrank your competitors.
4. A link which is relevant
The fourth foundation of a strong backlink is relevance.
An irrelevant backlink isn’t going to do you any favors. Back in the day, it used to be the quantity of links that counted rather than the quality or relevance. In a bid to combat spam and mass link-building schemes, though, Google has been paying a lot more attention to how relevant a link is to your website.
There are a few different ways to gauge the relevance of a link, including:
So, for example, a link to a plumbing contractor’s website from an organization that holds the details of certified and assured plumbers would be very relevant. In contrast, a link to a landscaper’s website from a knitting forum isn’t going to do much to boost your site’s authority.
Aim for as many of the above relevance indicators as possible for each link you build, as the more there are, the more benefit that link is likely to provide.
5. A link with a keyword in the anchor text
It’s very beneficial from an SEO perspective to have your primary keyword included in the anchor text of your backlinks.
This has been shown to boost rankings.
If you’re confused on what anchor text is, it’s the specific text that someone clicks to follow a link on a website.
A word of warning though…
Google’s algorithm is more than smart enough to spot shady tactics.
One of the things it penalises websites for again and again is the overuse of exact-match anchor text.
Let’s pretend you run a graphic design business that specialises in infographics, and you wrote ten guest posts that all link back to your site.
If all ten links used the words ‘infographic design’ in the anchor text, for example, Google would get suspicious because this starts to look spammy.
If all ten links were added naturally by different site owners, there’s almost zero chance of them all containing the same keyword.
When this happens, it looks unnatural, and this raises a flag which could lead to a penalty.
6. A link from a site that hasn’t linked to you before
It’s essential to understand the law of diminishing returns when it comes to backlinks.
It isn’t the sheer number of backlinks that necessarily matters, but rather the specific number of domains that link to your website.
From a ranking perspective, it’s generally better to get backlinks from two different websites than it is to get a second link from a particular domain, for example.
You’ll get less and less ranking benefit from the second, third, fourth, fifth link, and so on.
Because of this, it’s better to target new domains in your link building campaigns.
Doing so will help you grow your site’s authority by as much as possible.
How to Build Backlinks to Your Construction, Contracting, or Handyman Website
Now that you know what to look for, the next step is to go out and start building quality links to your site.
Be under no illusions here, though, building links is hard.
And building links with sufficient quality to move the traffic needle is harder still.
Because of this, you may be tempted to settle for a link that meets one, two, or even three of the ‘foundations’ we mentioned above.
However, that would be a mistake.
You need to avoid ‘quick fix’ solutions like the plague, and things like paid link-building schemes and swapping links with a stranger’s crappy website are complete no-nos.
They aren’t worth the risk.
Yes, you’ll probably see from benefit in the short-term, but Google will figure out what you’re up to and penalise you accordingly. They always do.
There’s a reason why proper link-building and boosting your site’s authority are critical factors to SEO success. They take vast amounts of time and effort!
Adding an H1 tag to your site is simple, whereas getting a backlink from the likes of Houzz is extremely difficult.
Take solace in this fact though, because if quality link-building were easy, all your competitors would be doing it – and the truth is, they aren’t.
Sure, they may build the odd link here or there, but most sites still focus on quantity versus quality, and very few have the commitment to consistently build links over the long-term.
That’s your in.
Focus on quality, and make link-building a priority that you focus on continually (not something you do now and again when you remember or when it’s ‘flavour of the month’).
Trust us; this is the number one strategy to turn the tables and start stealing the traffic from your competitors’ sites.
We hope that you’ve found this article interesting and valuable.
The key takeaway here is that you can’t expect to outrank your competitors, get more traffic, and ultimately get more leads if you aren’t focused on building relevant high-quality backlinks.
We’ve given you everything you need to get started.
There’s no point reinventing the wheel here, so feel free to steal our backlink strategy to massively improve the impact of your content marketing, and to boost the number of leads you get from your website.