Why Do Home Builders Need SEO?
As a custom home builder, your top priority is creating homes that will make your customers happy. But you know that if you can’t reach new customers, you’ll never be able to sustain your business. Over the course of researching online marketing methods for home builders, you may have encountered SEO, or search engine optimization, and may be wondering if this is a viable method for you.
If you’re looking to acquire new leads and customers by increasing the visibility of your website, yes, search engine optimization is the way to go. It’s more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods, and has a higher ROI. But SEO for home builders isn’t easy, and trying to do it yourself can be difficult if you’re not at least somewhat educated on the subject.
Let’s take a closer look at how SEO looks, how you can use it to improve your custom home construction company’s website, and why home builders should hire an SEO company—despite claims to the contrary—to help them manage their online presence and reach more potential customers.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, refers to the practice of improving any given website’s content, code, and authority so that it has a better chance of ranking highly in search engines. SEO is multi-faceted in that there’s not any one thing you can do to improve your site’s ranking; rather, there are many things you can do, and the effects may range from moderate to very noticeable.
Some of the things you may do as part of SEO could include:
- Researching the words and phrases potential customers are using to find your company’s website and adding them to your page titles, headings, content, and navigation or menus
- Redesigning your website so it is responsive and mobile-friendly
- Making your pages load faster
- Asking other websites to link to yours
- Add your business to Google+
These are just a few examples. Because Google’s ranking algorithms are so complex, there are many things you can do to improve your site’s SEO. And because these algorithms are always changing, new opportunities for improvement are always being discovered.
Why Do Home Builders Need SEO?
Ultimately, your goal with SEO is to increase your visibility so that your home builder website ranks #1 for the phrases potential leads and customers are using to find you. Without SEO, it would be very difficult to show up as a result in these searches, much less in the very top position.
As an example, let’s say you wanted to rank #1 for a phrase like “custom home builder in Arizona.” You would ultimately want to use SEO so that your website is optimized for this specific phrase as much as possible. If there aren’t many other companies targeting this phrase, you could probably take the #1 position by including this keyword on your homepage and in some page titles.
On the other hand, if this is a very competitive phrase—that is, if there are ten to twenty other companies also going after this phrase—you may have to use advanced strategies like link building and content marketing to achieve this #1 spot. This brings up an important point: SEO for home builders can be both simple and complex depending on the competition and area.
SEO Strategies for Home Builder Websites
Let’s take a closer look at some of the SEO strategies that you may want to use to promote your home builder website and get closer to the top spot in searches.
Keyword Research and Optimization
Keywords are one of the most important components of SEO. They are the words, phrases, and sometimes even full sentences and questions that your customers type into search engines when they are trying to find something specific.
While search engines like Google have become highly complex, and use dozens of automatic algorithms to deliver instantaneous, highly customized search results, they still can’t “read” content in the same way that you and I can. Because of this, the best way that Google can determine relevancy is to look for keywords. So if you expect to rank for a specific term, that term should absolutely appear on your website! If it doesn’t, how do you expect Google to know your site has anything to do with it?
Optimizing your website for keywords can be tricky. The key is to add these words and phrases naturally—not to simply dump them at the bottom in a pile, or bury them in your footer. One of the best ways to do this is to write a few paragraphs on your homepage about your business, inserting these keywords naturally as you go.
For example, if you have that custom home company in Arizona we mentioned, you might write something like “X company is a custom home builder in Arizona, offering high quality custom homes for families in the areas of...” and then go on to name cities or neighborhoods. It takes practice, but you can get some great, highly searched keywords in your content, which can then greatly improve your ranking for these queries.
Did you know that a reported 57% of mobile visitors will leave your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load? And have you also heard that Google is beginning to label mobile-friendly websites in search results, indicating which sites will display best on phones and tablets?
If your custom home construction or remodeling website is not already responsive or mobile-optimized, it’s time to make a change. Responsive websites aren’t just easier on the eyes and better for the user experience. They can also have a big impact on SEO. Google takes user factors like bounce and abandon rates into consideration, and the higher these rates are, the lower you might rank.
It’s true that optimizing your website for mobile could require a full redesign, and there is time and expense associated with this project. However, as more and more consumers begin to rely on their smartphones to look up information on the go, you are increasingly running the risk of losing more than 50% of your leads if your website takes too long to load!
Ranking #1 on search engines, especially for very competitive terms or in competitive markets, isn’t all about using keywords well on your website. Google also takes the authority of websites into consideration. The authority of a website is determined based on a few factors, including its age, how visitors respond to it, and how many people link to it.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your site’s authority—and rankings—link building is a great way to do this. While difficult for those new to SEO, link building can both improve your ranking and drive traffic to your site from other locations, so it’s a two-pronged marketing method that can help you acquire new leads like never before. A couple of good sites that allow for free home listing submissions are Trulia, Homes Just Listed, Zillow, Postlets, and Craigslist.
For home builders, link building often involves reaching out to partners—like suppliers, clients, businesses you may have partnered with, sponsors, and so on—and asking for a link from their website. You may also do a reciprocal link, in some cases. The more links from reputable websites you have, the more authoritative your site will be, and the better you will rank.
You can also engage in link building by creating unique, engaging content—like blog posts, infographics, articles, how-to videos, and customer stories—that others want to link to. For example, you could write an in-depth blog post answering a question about how a custom home is designed, or produce a time-lapse video of a custom home being built. These pieces could attract links from others even outside your industry, also boosting your authority.
Should Home Builders Hire an SEO Company?
If you’re hard at work building homes or directing the operations of your custom home construction company, you may not have time to worry about your website, online marketing, or how you rank on Google. So you may be wondering if hiring an SEO company is a good investment, and if an SEO firm can help you increase your rankings and attract more leads.
You may have read some articles online claiming that custom home builders shouldn’t hire SEO companies because they won’t help you meet your goals, or because they’ll take too long to deliver results. You may have also read some articles from other companies stating that SEO will do exactly what you want it to, and that it will deliver more leads than you could have ever imagined.
The truth is that many of these articles were written by companies who are looking to drum up new business for themselves. Here’s what we think: you should seek out a partner that listens to your needs and develops a plan to fit you. Rather than look for a cookie-cutter SEO plan, your custom home building company should have a custom Internet marketing plan to match.
If you’re considering hiring a partner to help you with your SEO or website, look for one that has experience in the industry, can create a custom plan suited to your unique needs, and is open and honest about the methods they use to improve your rankings and leads.
WebpageFX is a Leading SEO and Internet Marketing Company
Want to know more about the difference WebpageFX has made for construction, real estate, and custom home development companies just like yours? Check out our portfolio or contact us today to find out how we can help you meet your SEO goals. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Need help reaching more customer home buyers online? Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to learn more about how WebpageFX helps companies with their SEO challenges.