When you run a roofing company, you know how important quality leads are to your bottom line. What is one of the best ways to acquire quality roofing leads in today’s digital age? Organic traffic to your website. Why? Well, it’s quite simple. Organic traffic is FREE traffic to your website from search engines. However, there is a challenge in acquiring this traffic. In order to get lots of organic traffic, your site has to be optimized for buyer-focused, relevant keywords. This local guide to roofing SEO elucidates the key elements of roofer SEO in a step-by-step, easy-to-understand manner. Let’s get started.
Planning the Website
Step 1. Perform Keyword Research
The first thing you need to do is perform keyword research. An excellent tool for keyword research is Google Keyword Planner. One issue with Google Keyword Planner is that it no longer provides exact monthly search volume data for keywords unless you have a pay-per-click account with a regular budget. This means you will have to make do with imperfect search volume data (i.e. “100-1k”) if you don’t have access to a paid account.
Another tool that excels at generating keyword ideas is KeywordTool.io. The keywords you generate from KeywordTool.io can then be entered into Google Keyword Planner to find out their monthly search volumes. While keywords with larger search volumes will be tougher to rank, they will bring in more visitors to your site.
For a roofing business, the primary keyword that you should target will be something along the lines of “roofers in [city]” or “[city] Roofing” or “[city] roofers.” The keywords carry purchase-intent which means you will be bringing in visitors to your site who are close to the bottom of the purchase funnel and are looking to select a roofing business in their city.
Google Keyword Planner and KeywordTool.io are also spectacular tools for finding research intent keywords related to your business. Research intent keywords are words or phrases that are related to, but not necessarily directly about, the services you offer. Ranking for these keywords bring visitors to your site who are further up the purchase funnel in the awareness stage. When they land on your site, they may be hearing about your brand for the first time. These research intent keywords are great topics for blog posts. For example, “what to expect from a roofing contractor” is an excellent research intent keyword phrase that you could write a blog post about, targeting visitors in the awareness stage.
Step 2. Determine the Site Hierarchy
One distinct primary keyword or key phrase should be selected to be the focus of each page on your site. If your roofing business is located in one city, then you should use the homepage as the main page to optimize for your main target keyword (i.e. “[City] roofers”).
The secondary pages on your site should include service pages, blog index, About Us, FAQs, and any other relevant pages that you think your customers will be interested in viewing. Some sample services that you could create service pages for would be:
- Commercial Roofing and Roof Repair
- Residential Roofing and Roof Repair
- Roof Inspections
- Custom Design Roofs
- Energy-efficient Low-Slope Roofs
- Low-slope Roofs
- Steep Slope Asphalt Roofs
- Steep Slope Specialty Roofs
- Built-Up Roofing
- EPDM Rubber Roofing
- Clay Tile Roof System
- Concrete Tile Roof System
- Metal Roof System
- Slate Roof System
- Synthetic Roof System
- Wood Shake Roof System
If your business serves multiple areas (not just one major city), it is essential to have separate location pages optimized for each city or area served.
Step 3. Plan the Internal Linking Structure
The main navigation of the site should link down to the secondary pages. This will send link authority from the homepage, which is usually the most authoritative, powerful page on the site, to these secondary pages. For businesses that serve multiple cities or locations, you can include a ‘Locations’ tab in the primary navigation with a dropdown that includes links to the separate city pages.
Interlinking relevant blog pages with internal links that have keyword-rich anchor text is a very good idea. This works to spread authority and relevance throughout the site’s pages. However, it is important to not include too many internal links on a page as that can be a spam signal to search engines and this could hurt your rankings.
Optimize your homepage and service pages toward purchase intent keywords derived from your keyword research. Then, optimize your blog pages and other content pages with your research intent keywords. Here is a step-by-step guide to optimizing the on-page elements of your webpage for your selected keywords:
Step 1. Optimize the URL Structure
It’s best practice to have short, keyword-rich URLs. When writing URLs, it’s also best to use lowercase letters and dashes, not underscores.
A sample service page for commercial roofing might be:
Step 2. Optimize the Title Tag
One of the most powerful ranking elements on a page is the title tag. The title tag should include the primary keyword or key phrase. In order for all the words to display correctly in the search engine results pages, title tags should be less than 65 characters in length.
A sample format for the homepage of a roofing business would be:
[Your City] Roofing | [Name of Your Business]
Step 3. Optimize the Meta Description
The meta description is a longer description of the main focus of a webpage. To ensure that it displays correctly in search engines, it should be less than 156 characters.
The meta description should: 1) summarize the content of the webpage, 2) include the primary keyword, and 3) end with a call to action (when relevant).
This meta description format works well:
[Name of Business] are the premier roofers in [your city]. Contact us today for a free roofing inspection!
Step 4. Optimize the H1 Heading
The H1 heading should be placed at the top of the webpage and should summarize what the page is about. The H1 heading should include the primary keyword or key phrase and there should only be one H1 per page.
A good format for a roofing webpage H1 heading would be:
[Roofing] in [City, State]
Step 5. Optimize the Body Content
The copy on each page of your site should be at least 400 words, but preferably more. The copy should be extensive and cover the topic completely. The homepage copy should provide background info about your business, including the services offered, and it should end with a call to action.
The primary keyword should be included at least once in the initial paragraph of the body content and variants of that keyword should appear a few times throughout the rest of the copy. In order to optimize the number of leads you receive, be sure to include a contact form or a call to action (with a phone number or email address) at the bottom of each page.
Step 6. Optimize the Alt Text of Images on the Page
Each page should include at least one image, because images are a quality signal for search engines. The alternative text attribute of an image (aka “alt text” or “alt tag”) appears in the HTML of the page and is a brief description of the image. Having at least one image with alternative text that includes the primary target keyword for that page is a good idea.
Utilize Structured Data, such as LocalBusiness Schema Markup
What is Structured Data? It is “machine friendly” data that is added to the HTML of a webpage in order to help Google and other search engines better understand the content on that page. Structured data, such as Schema markup, can help search engines understand particular parts of your content, such as phone numbers, addresses, reviews, events, and more.
If you have a multi-location business, each location landing page should include LocalBusiness Schema markup in the HTML. This will allow you to mark up important elements like the business name, address, and phone number and will help the webpage appear higher in Local Search results.
Ensure the Site is Mobile-Friendly
Mobile is the future. Google has launched a new ‘mobile-first’ index which means it orders its rankings based on the mobile version of the webpage, even for listings that are shown to desktop users. They have also launched a page for testing the mobile speed of a webpage. Clearly, Google is heavily focusing on providing search results with good mobile experiences to its users.
With this in mind, it’s best to view all of your site’s pages on a mobile device to ensure they are mobile-friendly and load quickly. Check your website on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing page. This test will tell you if your site’s pages are compatible with mobile devices.
Make sure the Page Speed is Fast
In order to quicken your page speed, test your website’s pages in Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Mobile Speed Test and follow the recommendations given.
Reduce Crawl Errors
Ensuring that crawl errors are remedied with 301 redirects to their most relevant page can improve the search engine visibility of a website. 404 errors occur when web pages have been deleted or a website redesign has taken place without redirecting the old URLs. Putting in place 301 redirects of old URLs to their most relevant current URL, allows the link authority (or link juice) that the old URLs collected over time to be passed on to the new URL.
Go over the list of 404 errors in Google Search Console for your website and implement 301 redirects to their most relevant live URL counterparts, when appropriate.
Implement an XML Sitemap
To be sure that search engines are crawling your website properly and indexing all of your site’s pages, implement an XML sitemap for your website. An XML sitemap is a map to help search engines find all of the site’s most important pages by listing them out in XML (Extensible Markup Language).
Implement a Robots.txt File
Implementing a robots.txt file will quicken the crawling of your website. This is a text file that tells crawlers which pages should not be crawled on the site. It typically exists on your site with a URL like ‘example.com/robots.txt.’ Disallowing pages that do not need to be crawled (e.g. login pages, disclaimers, etc.) will stop crawlers from getting caught in spider traps and increase the efficiency of search engine crawls. It also best practice to provide a link to the XML sitemap in the robots.txt file.
Claim and Optimize your Google My Business
To best optimize for Local search results, be sure to Visit google.com/business and claim your Google My Business profile. A verification process follows where Google will send a postcard with a PIN to the physical address of your business you listed in your profile. Enter this PIN into your Google My Business account to verify the business.
Next, optimize your Google My Business profile. This involves filling detailing as much about your business as possible in your profile. Add your business’ logo, a complete description of your business, hours of operation, relevant categories, types of payment accepted, and any photos of your business and its services or products.
Acquire Citations in Online Directories
A significant ranking factor in local search listings are citations in online directories. The more citations the business has and the more consistent the business’ name, address, and phone number is across these listings, the higher the business listing will appear in local search. It’s also essential to remove any duplicate listings of your business when you come across them, because duplicate citations hurt local search rankings.
Here you will find a list of the top 50 citations for local businesses in the US and here is a list of the top local citations for building and construction companies.
Encourage Online Reviews
According to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors, review signals (review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) are one of the top factors in Local Pack/Finder ranking.
You can send emails asking for customers to check out your Google My Business page where they can leave a review. This allows you to be acquiring reviews on a consistent basis.
Backlinks are hypertext links from other websites that point to your own website. Backlinks that point to your site from trusted, authoritative websites may be the strongest factor in whether your website ranks highly in search engines. Unless it has a ‘nofollow’ attribute, a link to your site from another website will pass authority (or ‘link juice’) to your site. You can think of links as votes for your own site. The more useful your own content is, the more websites link to it, or ‘vote’ for it, increasing your site’s authority and rankings.
By acquiring more backlinks from relevant, authoritative sites you can increase your own site’s domain authority, which will make it more likely that your site’s pages will rank highly for their targeted keywords.
To Increase the Number of Backlinks from other Websites:
- Acquire links by claiming listings in your local Chambers of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau
- Mention other industry-specific businesses, events, or people in your blog and let them know that you have mentioned them
- Contact websites that you have a relationship with (your equipments’ manufacturers sites, associations, etc.) and ask for a link to your site
- Answer relevant queries on HARO or SourceBottle
- Guest post on industry-related websites
- Monitor your competitor’s backlinks with backlink monitoring software and replicate them (check out these SEO tools reviews)
- Submit your site to online directories that are related to your industry
- Promote your content on your social media properties
In order to acquire free organic traffic from search engines, make sure you follow the steps we talked about. Plan your website ahead of time and adhere to the best practices of on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. Follow the principles laid out in this Local SEO guide for roofers and you will be well on your way to acquiring many more customers for your roofing company.
Need Help with SEO?
I am a Chicago SEO consultant with a wide breadth of experience helping small businesses, like roofers, attract more visitors from search engines. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact me today.