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Search Engine Optimization vs Paid Advertising for Home Contractors

If you are a carpenter, painter, plumber, roofer, or general contractor, you understand the need to promote yourself in order to generate leads. Your website is one of the most powerful tools to reach your audience. The question is, what’s the best way to get people to visit your website and learn all about you? Two of the most popular methods are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC). There are endless online debates about which is more effective. This article will explore how these two strategies compare when it comes to promoting your business.

Search Engine Optimization

It’s essential to optimize your website for search engines. When you provide a service such as roofing they will most likely start with Google. Here are some of the ways to make your website more visible to search engines.

• Google listing. You need a listing with Google My Business, which is connected to Google Maps. Make sure you include all relevant and accurate information about your location, hours, phone number, and services provided.
• Local search terms. When people need repairs or any type of contracting service, they want to find someone nearby. You need to rank for local search terms, such as “Minneapolis roof repair,” or “Dallas electrician.” You should also include keywords for your neighborhood or any landmarks that people might associate with your area.
• Content. Creating a blog or series of articles is one of the best ways to get your site ranked for important keywords. These posts might be on topics such as “Tips to make your roof last longer,” or “How to spot evidence of termite damage.”
• Links. One of the ways Google ranks websites is by looking at other websites that link to you. A local business might get links by being mentioned in a local newspaper or on another blog or website, or by writing guest posts for other blogs. Link building can be a complicated and time-consuming task, which is why many businesses let a qualified agency do this for them.
• Reviews. Positive reviews are essential to build trust and get more customers. Google also looks at reviews as a sign that a business is trusted, so they’re also an SEO factor. People are especially likely to seek reviews before investing in costly home maintenance services.
• On-page SEO. Google considers certain factors on your website as ranking factors. These include page loading speed, user-friendly navigation, and internal links (one page on your site links to another).

SEO is not a quick fix for a business. The actions you take, such as creating blog posts or accumulating links and reviews, take time to produce results. However, it’s still worthwhile to do everything you can to make your site more attractive and noticeable to the search engines.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

There are some definite benefits to using PPC ads on platforms such as Google and Facebook. This kind of advertising can be especially effective to help local businesses quickly find leads and customers. As noted, SEO can take time before you see results. With PPC, however, you can start generating traffic to your website within minutes of placing an ad. Here are some of the ways to use PPC to promote your contracting services.

• Create a sensible budget. You can manage your daily and weekly budget so that it’s affordable yet effective. When you see results, you can always scale up your advertising budget.
• Target local customers. Google now lets you create sponsored ads on Google Maps. Geofencing lets you target prospects very precisely. You can, for example, test different areas within your city. Facebook also provides options for targeting a local audience.
• Call tracking. People seeking a roofer often call rather than sending emails. Google Call Tracking lets you track which of your calls are the result of PPC ads.
• Advertise on Facebook with coupons and special promotions. The Facebook Coupon App lets you create promotions for any purpose. You can, for example, create special coupons for new or returning customers or for specific services.
• Send traffic to a landing page. If you cover a wide region, you could create several landing pages for different areas. Aside from getting direct business, you can build a mailing list and send out a newsletter or special promotions.

SEO & PPC Pros and Cons

Both SEO and PPC have their advantages and drawbacks. Here is a summary of the pros and cons of each.
SEO Pros

• A low-cost way to get traffic and leads.
• You often get high-quality leads.
• You can generate more clicks as people often trust organic listings more than ads. Moz found that organic results generate 8.5 clicks for every paid search result.

SEO Cons

• It takes time to see results.
• The rules of SEO often change when Google changes its algorithm.
• It requires consistent attention to maintain your rank.

PPC Pros

• You start getting website traffic immediately.
• Platforms such as Google and Facebook offer many different types of ads, giving you the chance to identify what works best. Ads also offer very precise targeting (SEO does as well but, as noted, it takes more time and effort)

PPC Cons

• You need to invest money in paid ads.
• You have to keep advertising if you want to continue getting leads.
• You need to manage your campaigns (or have someone you trust monitor them). PPC campaigns need to be constantly tweaked based on factors such as the cost of bids, clicks, and conversions.

The Benefits of a Combined Approach

There are benefits as well as drawbacks to both SEO and PPC. Don’t feel, however, that you have to choose one or the other. If you want to get as many leads and customers as possible, you should consider an integrated solution that combines the best of both worlds. Local SEO is getting increasingly important for businesses. Remember that people use Google not only to search for goods and services but also use Maps and check out reviews. Many SEO tactics, such as link-building and blogging, help you build credibility with your customers as well as search engines. PPC, meanwhile, is a powerful way to generate website traffic quickly. Used together, you can both short-term and long-term traffic to your website and enjoy a steady supply of qualified leads.

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