SEO 101

A Guide to SEO, How it Works and Why Your Business Needs It

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Marketing a business in the modern age means staying on top of your digital marketing – and that means understanding and managing your search engine optimization (SEO).

The right SEO strategy is indispensable because it can push your business closer to the top of the search engine results. A higher rank means more click-throughs to your website, more leads, and ultimately more opportunities to land jobs. By contrast, ignoring, or not maximizing your SEO efforts, could be costing you work.

Here are five things to know about SEO, why it’s important and how it can benefit a company:

1. What is SEO and How Does it Work?

SEO stands for search engine optimization and refers to using organic search terms – that is, the words and phrases that consumers commonly use to find companies they want to do business with – to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website. The term “organic” simply refers to rankings that you don’t have to pay for – and that matters because those are the links people click on.

Being at or near the top pays off because:

  • 53% of American consumers research products or services online before buying, according to Google.
  • More than 53% of website traffic is a result of an organic search, according to a report by BrightEdge.
  • Between 70 and 80% of searchers focus on organic results and ignore the paid ads, according to the marketing agency
  • Close to 90% of web search volume happens on Google, according to Backlinko, but almost no web searchers – only 0.78% of them – make it to the second page.
  • The result that shows up in the number 1 spot is 10 times more likely to get noticed – and clicked.
  • The top three search results get 33% of all clicks, the digital marketing agency maintains.

So, what does a roofer have to do to get to the top position – or at least on the first page – of Google? Start with search terms and content.

2. Find the Right Words

The first step is identifying the high-ranking search terms – or keywords – that your potential customers are using.

Roofing Webmasters calls keywords “the foundation of SEO strategy”. First, roofing contractors must identify terms that attract the most relevant consumers to their website and other digital assets. Your business should note each keyword’s search volume and competition level—tools like Moz, SEMRush, UberSuggest provide volume metrics, with The Hoth website offers reverse SEO searching. Choosing the right keywords benefits all your subsequent digital marketing activities, such as developing a URL hierarchy, writing content and executing on-page SEO.

That means keyword selection plays a major role.

MarketKeep compiled a list of effective keywords for roofers. Among them are:

  • Roofers near me
  • Roof repair
  • New roof cost
  • Roof repair cost
  • Affordable roofing
  • Recommended roofers near me
SEO stock photo

Experts also advise:

  • Including your location and putting a map on your website, which puts you in a good position for local searches
  • Posting high-quality, up-to-date content on your site – such as articles with strong headlines, or clickable graphics with important keywords
  • Optimizing your Google Business Profile
  • Optimizing your SEO strategy by staying on top of your data with Google Analytics
  • Back linking to local HOAs and chambers of commerce
  • Keep people on your website longer with AWI api tool, making it more likely to close a deal

All of this information is picked up by Google crawlers, which is fed into an algorithm that ultimately affects where your site ranks.

Now your question is: do you optimize your SEO yourself or hire an agency to manage it? Both strategies have advantages.

3. Tips for Doing Your Own SEO

Some business owners prefer to keep all of their operations, including digital marketing, under their own roof.

Advantages of keeping your SEO in-house include:

  • You may already have internal resources.
  • Internal resources have a deeper knowledge of your business.
  • Your internal SEO person may be able to handle related marketing duties, such as blog writing, that support your SEO efforts.
    • Hiring a designated employee for this would also ensure keywords are constantly being updated.

4. When and Why to Outsource Your SEO

Roofing contractors always have to stay on top of their marketing but managing an effective SEO strategy can be exacting and time-consuming. Just as homeowners should call professional roofers for their roofing needs, small-business owners can benefit from hiring experts to oversee their SEO strategy.

Outsourcing can bring you higher levels of expertise for an affordable rate. Moz notes several other advantages, including:

  • A different perspective, which can enhance your digital marketing efforts
  • Training and tools of the trade to implement successful digital marketing
  • Ongoing expertise

Atlas Roofing discussed SEO details in a couple of recent deep-dive podcasts.

Greg Hoffman, president of Roofing Contractor Marketing, explained the benefits of using Google Business Solutions to generate leads.

Omega SEO founder Ethan Petroka discussed questions roofing contractors should ask before hiring an SEO provider, including:

  • Do you use white-hat methodologies – in other words, do you apply techniques and strategies that target actual consumers and follow Google’s guidelines for improving user experiences?
  • How well does the vendor’s website rank? “If they can’t rank their own site on Google,” Petroka says, “how can you expect them to rank your site? They can’t get you to a place they’ve never been.”
  • Do you have an in-house team doing the work?

5. Make SEO Part of Your Long-Term Marketing Plan

Experts, including Hoffman and Petroka, emphasize that SEO is not a short-term or occasional project, and you won’t see results overnight. But as part of an overall strategy, SEO can bring you:

  • Increased traffic and visibility
  • Higher quality traffic
  • A competitive advantage
  • Connection to customers
  • A positive online reputation
  • Business sustainability

“When you invest in SEO, you’re doing so knowing that you probably won’t see the benefit for six to nine months,” HigherVisibility notes. “However, once your efforts start to pay off, you’ll have free traffic coming in for the foreseeable future.”