Plumbing SEO: Tips on Keywords and Local Search Engine Strategy
How to start getting better rankings in Google’s search results.
The SharkBite team is dedicated to supporting plumbing contractors and companies by sharing the things that have helped us. We have an awesome team of marketers, managers, engineers, designers — hundreds of people with actual experience in the plumbing field. Why not share our knowledge with our customers in the chance that it can help them move the needle on their business?
Today we’re taking a deep dive on SEO for plumbers with our in-house SEO specialist, Lauren May. Lauren is a part of the RWC marketing team and has over 7 years of experience in SEO.
SEO for Plumbers Explained
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the practice of updating your online assets, like your website, business listing or directories, in hopes of showing up in front of customers when they search for certain words in a search engine like Google or Bing.
Why does SEO matter for plumbers?
When you Google the phrase “plumber” and the name of your city, what appears? Are you showing up? 75% of searchers only look at the first page of results, according to HubSpot. If your plumbing company isn’t on the first page of the search results, there is a lot of opportunity to improve.
If you’re willing to put in the time, you can implement some basic SEO tactics to improve your online presence and capture the attention of potential customers.
Do I need a plumbing SEO agency?
While it may be beneficial to hire an SEO specialist or agency in the long run (and we’ll share some tips at the end for that) you can use the five strategies below to build a foundation and start to win more business in your area.
1. Research plumbing keywords related to your services.
Make a list of words and phrases a potential customer might use to find your business and incorporate them into your website’s copy. Keep in mind that a homeowner who is looking for plumbing services is not likely to search specific company names if they don’t already have a trusted plumber.
Instead, they’re searching generic phrases like:
- Plumbers near me
- Plumbers in [city]
- How to fix a running toilet
Short Plumbing Keywords
For example, someone with a running toilet in Chicago might search:
- Plumber in Chicago
- Plumber Chicago, IL
- Chicago plumber
- Plumbers near me
- Plumbing services near me
- How to fix a running toilet
If you have a specialty, such as repairs or repiping, you can include relevant keywords related to that too, such as “Chicago repipe plumber” or “sink repair plumber in Chicago.”
Long Plumbing Keywords
Because some customers will first try to solve the problem on their own, add longer keywords to your list, such as:
- How to fix a backed-up toilet
- Sink pressure low
- Repair leaking pipe
Pro Tip: For short keyword phrase ideas, try a bulk keyword generator tool or keyword planner. For longer keywords like questions, ask your team the top questions they receive via phone or email. These may provide clues to what a customer might search before they call to schedule an appointment.
2. Engage in local SEO for plumbers.
After figuring out which keywords you want to target, setting up local listings in Google and Bing should be the very next thing you do. These listings are essential for local search results, especially if you have a website that may be outdated or if you don’t have a website at all.
Google My Business
Google My Business profiles can help plumbers appear competitively on the right side of Google search results when someone looks up your company. You’ll need to ‘claim’ and ‘verify’ your listing to begin the process and then update the listing information. Make sure to give Google as much information as possible in your listing, such as:
- Phone number
Showing up in Google Maps
Your Google My Business profile enables you to show up in Google Maps results when someone searches for a plumber in their area.
If you have multiple locations, you can set up each of these as separate listings in Google. The content on these pages can be similar, but you should avoid using the same content on each page. See more tips on improving your local listing here.
Pro Tip: Don’t ignore Bing. While less used overall than Google, we’ve found that for SharkBite and our other plumbing brands, Bing has lower cost and healthy metrics. It’s not worth spending all your time here but you can easily cover the Bing space by creating a Bing Places listing.
3. Optimize your plumbing website for relevant keywords.
Optimizing keywords simply means adjusting the content on your website, social media, online business listings (think Yelp and Yellow Pages) and more to reflect the terms that best describe your business.
Optimizing Website Pages
First, find natural ways to incorporate keywords into your existing site content, such as the home page and other pages in the top navigation menu.
On your homepage, you may say…
‘Our company provides great service for local homeowners.’
You might optimize that by changing it to…
‘Our plumbing company provides great service for homeowners in the local Atlanta area.’
Meta Title & Description Optimization
If possible, include keywords in your site’s meta title and meta description, which is the text that appears in the search results for your website. Your developer or website manager should be able to help you locate where to change these.
Here’s what a meta title and description look like in search results:
Create Content About What You Know
Don’t overthink this one. Our most successful content is often about what we know best. Consider creating blog posts to answer common questions customers may have, such as how to fix a leaking pipe or a clogged toilet. This shows them you are both knowledgeable and helpful. and may help you rank higher in the search results if customers near you search for these types of keywords. After reading your blog post, they may discover that it’s easier to call a plumber – and you’ve already proven your expertise to them.
Submit Your Sitemap to Google & Bing
Work with your website development agency or team to create a sitemap of all the pages on your site. Then, submit the sitemap to Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools. This will prompt search engines to crawl your content and serve it to relevant users.
Pro tip: If you don’t have a website, you should look into getting one. The online game isn’t going away and it’s probably time to get on board. #toughlove. In the meantime, put content on social media, LinkedIn, Houzz, or YouTube. All of those platforms adore unique content and videos.
4. Join local plumbing directories to build links.
Building links means getting reputable sites to add a link to your website on their site. These are like popularity votes for Google.
- Consider building links based on your city, like the Chamber of Commerce, to build credibility. It shows you are a part of the local community, allows you to network and has the added benefit of helping you build links back to your website.
- Join local listings based on your category. So for plumber link building this could mean adding your business to Yelp or Angie’s List, even Houzz. This list is a good place to start.
Don’t Buy Links
Some people take things too far and pay for links or engage in linking schemes that violate Google’s terms. Research ethical ways to build links, such as providing your expertise in news or how-to articles on others’ sites. Don’t ever pay for a link. Google will know and penalize you for it. #googleknowsall
Pro Tip: Create a list ahead of time with your company’s information so you can copy and paste it into your profiles. This will make the tedious process of filling out membership and directory listing forms quicker.
5. Ramp up your customer reviews.
Collect reviews on platforms such as Facebook, Google My Business and Yelp to show Google and potential customers that people trust your business.
Reach out for Reviews
If customers aren’t leaving reviews on their own, personally ask customers to share their experience online when they get a chance. Tell them how important reviews are to local businesses and how their feedback helps others find your services. If you have their email address on file, you can message them links to your profiles to make leaving a review even easier.
Respond to Reviews
When you receive a review, thank them for their feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, and address any concerns they may have. This shows that you’re listening and care about their feedback.
Pro Tip: Don’t have time to manually check for reviews periodically? Consider signing up for a review management platform that pulls your company’s new reviews together and allows you to respond in one place.
6. Track your progress.
Ask your website manager or developer to set up tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track site traffic over time. SEO performance trackers like these will help you see if your efforts are paying off and whether you need to adjust your strategy. The goal is to see if your site traffic and leads are increasing over time.
And if you don’t already track customer calls and website form fills, now is the time to explore your options. You may think that calls have increased, but it’s helpful to verify the facts with hard numbers.
Pro Tip: It’s easy to get lost in all the numbers in Google Analytics. I recommend starting small by looking at organic sessions, or how many visitors you’ve received from search engines, to keep things simple. Next, set up a goal to measure meaningful interactions onsite, such as calls or contact forms. You can find a report that shows both of these by going to ‘Acquisition’ > ‘All Traffic’ > Channels.
Getting Plumbing SEO Help
There are many SEO strategies available to plumbing businesses. It may feel overwhelming at first, especially since you have many other aspects of your company to juggle. But once you have a basic understanding of what SEO is and why it’s important, consider hiring a specialist or agency to manage it for you.
Questions to Ask Your SEO Agency
When evaluating SEO service providers, ask them questions like:
- Have you ever worked with a plumbing business before? If so, what results did you achieve?
It’s important that the service provider has experience working with other local businesses, since local SEO strategy is really important for your plumbing company.
- What would your strategy look like for my business?
Before working with them, understand what the first few months to a year might look like. Know what will be expected of you, what strategies they plan to implement and how long they expect to see results.
Watch out for guarantees. If they promise results in less than a few months, it’s time to keep looking. SEO takes months or even years to be successful, depending on factors like how competitive your market is and whether you are starting from scratch.
- How do you approach link building?
Be wary of a firm that participates in link schemes. They could get your business penalized by Google, which would negate all your hard work.
- Do you handle technical site changes and copywriting?
If you don’t have time to write blog posts or the technical background to make changes to your website, make sure your specialist can provide these services for you or refer you to another reputable agency they can vouch for.
- How often will I receive a report? And can I see a sample report?
Know ahead of time when you can expect an SEO report and make time to review it so you are involved in the process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. SEO is technical, and it’s 100% OK to not know what something means or why it's important. A good specialist will make it a priority to help you understand. If they can send you a sample report, you'll see how thorough their reporting is.
Get More Support from SharkBite
Adding SEO to your marketing toolbelt can help get more users from search engines, which can add up to more customers. SharkBite is here to help. Reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn and tell us – what’s your biggest challenge with plumbing SEO?
Looking for more plumbing marketing ideas? Check out these six ways to use social media to support your plumbing business.
Lauren May is the web marketing specialist for search at RWC – a market leader and manufacturer of water control systems and plumbing solutions for residential, commercial and industrial applications.