Why Search Engines Are Gaining Ground Over Social Media for Driving Traffic (and How You Can Benefit)

search engine marketingSocial media has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, but as the social space becomes increasingly crowded, search engines are regaining their importance. Invest a little time in optimizing your website for search and you might be surprised how quickly you can outmaneuver less savvy construction companies online.

Why Search Engines Still Matter

Far from an outdated marketing channel, search engines are a rich source of hidden opportunities. By over-focusing on social media, many companies have neglected search engine optimization (SEO) and let their rankings slip. That leaves the door open for those willing to go after lucrative search terms.

Search engine optimization also makes it easier to target your ideal construction clients. When someone’s looking for a construction company specializing in urgent care clinics, they won’t browse social media, but instead will go to the search engines to find exactly what they want.

Simple practicality is another factor. The never-ending need for fresh content means social media can be a real time sink for a business. While SEO might take several months to produce results, maintaining those results requires relatively little time and effort.

The Benefits of SEO

To take advantage of the search engines’ recovering popularity, first make sure your website looks good and works correctly on mobile. This is especially important if you target property developers, real estate investors, and other busy professionals who search on the go.

Consider your would-be clients’ most frequently asked questions and create content that provides authoritative, in-depth answers. Content like this attracts backlinks and shares that help you gain higher rankings and has the staying power it takes to hold those rankings for the long term.

Earn Your Audience’s Attention – Create Outstanding Content

onlne contentBecause planning a construction project is no small undertaking, your prospects come to your blog and website looking for information that will help them through the process. Shallow, generic content won’t cut it. Give your audience clear, in-depth, actionable guidance, though, and you’ll hold their attention while gaining their trust.

Useful, Original Content Stands Out

Focusing on your prospects’ interests is the first step to creating content that stands out in their minds. Keyword research, social media research, browsing your competitors’ blogs, and asking your prospects directly are all effective ways to find out what you should be writing about.

Once you know what questions your prospects want answered, set out to provide in-depth answers. To do that, you might need to conduct your own research, collect and analyze data or interview multiple experts.

By investing this kind of effort, you can give your readers valuable, unique information they can’t find on your competitors’ sites. If your commercial construction prospects want to know which office building features garner higher lease rates, your independent research on the topic is bound to attract their attention.

Develop an editorial calendar that gives you plenty of lead time to create your content. Even if you’re writing from experience, taking time to tap your memory and organize your thoughts will give you better results.

Clarity Keeps Your Readers Interested

Construction is a complex topic, so the easier you can make it for your prospects to grasp the concepts they need to know, the longer you’ll hold their attention.

For each blog post, create an intriguing headline that makes it clear what your visitor stands to gain by reading. Think from your reader’s perspective and clarify any ideas they might not be familiar with. Write in a conversational, yet professional tone and keep industry jargon to a minimum.

Good formatting also helps your readers stay focused. Use plenty of white space and keep your paragraphs short. Break up text with subheaders, bullet points, text boxes, graphics, and photos.

Optimizing Customer Experience: Ask for Feedback and Make it Easy

get feedbackNo matter how much experience you have running a construction company, there’s always a chance to gain valuable insight by listening to your clients. The easier you make it for them to share their opinions, the more you stand to gain.

Ask at the Right Times

Before you start inviting feedback, get clear on what parts of your business you want to improve. Are you trying to shorten your prospect conversion time? Do you want your clients to stay with you longer? Clients at different stages can give you different types of insight.

New clients – You can learn how to make it easier to start working with your firm by asking your new clients about their experience getting started.

Satisfied current clients – After you complete a project, ask your client what they thought went well and what didn’t.

Departing clientsDissatisfied clients are one of your best sources for ideas on how to improve your business. Pay attention to signs that suggest a client is about to leave and step in to ask for feedback. Even if you can’t salvage the relationship, you can learn what not to do in the future.

Make Sharing Opinions Easy

The less time and effort your clients need to spend providing feedback, the more likely they’ll be to do it. Simple surveys work well if you keep them short. Two to five questions with space for comments is plenty.

To get more specific feedback, closely tailor your questions to the client’s interests, such as remodeling, new home construction or multi-family residential construction.

For new clients, include a short survey in your welcome package. For current clients, combine a feedback survey with a referral form.

A quick phone call can give you even better results. You’ll be able to clarify your questions when needed and ask for more detail when a client’s comment piques your interest. Dissatisfied clients won’t always feel comfortable coming to you with their complaints, but a phone call can re-open the lines of communication.

Using Online Reviews Correctly to Increase Visibility

online reviewsBlogging and using social media aren’t the only ways to bring more online attention to your construction firm. By leveraging good reviews, you’ll get more eyes on your business while also making a great first impression.

How Reviews Get You Seen

While it might seem the only job of your online reviews is to convince prospects of your expertise, the benefits start long before that. Reviews are part of what help those prospects find your business in the first place.

On platforms such as Google My Business and the BBB’s website, business profiles with the most reviews and the highest ratings tend to rank better in the search engine results than less active profiles. When your prospect searches for “office building construction,” on Google or another search engine, they’ll see a profile with 10 reviews of 4 stars or higher before one that’s written to target that phrase, but lacks reviews.

The amount of activity your profile sees also helps boost its search engine ranking. The more reviews your profile gets, the more people will see it and later leave reviews themselves, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of online popularity.

Making Reviews Work for You

First, choose one or two review platforms to focus on. Google My Business is one of the most reliable options.

To maximize your business profile’s visibility, you’ll need to actively encourage your clients to leave reviews. After you solve a problem for your client, do them a favor or complete a project they’re happy with, directly ask for a review. Send a short email with a link to your preferred review site. To make their job even easier, offer ideas on what to comment on, such adherence to schedule and budget, quality of workmanship, and ease of communication.

Add review site buttons to your website as a reminder for your existing and returning clients.

Avoid the temptation to buy reviews. Review platforms can often detect fake comments and will penalize your profile for them.

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