The construction industry is at a pivotal moment in the United Kingdom.
In London alone, the Mayor stated in his 2017 draft London Plan that the capital needed to build 66,000 homes per year, with 65% of them being affordable in order to combat the housing crisis.
With demand for housing higher than ever, the opportunity for the design and build industry is profound. But amidst this flurry of demand comes more and more competition and standing out has become difficult, whether it be for residential or commercial construction project leads.
So, how exactly do you get more leads and where should you start? It may not come as a surprise, but our recommendation is to start by mastering the internet’s most powerful search engine, Google.
Here is our guide on how to use Google to drive more construction leads for your company.
Looking for something in particular? In this guide, we cover:
Google My Business
If you are to start anywhere, we recommend setting up and optimising your Google My Business account first.
This is a free and easy to use tool that allows businesses to have a strong presence on Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) and Google Maps at a time where the user will most likely have an intent to buy.
Furthermore, having a Google My Business listing is an opportunity to showcase your shining reviews to the world. According to The Drum, around 93% of consumers use reviews to influence their buying decision. This is even more so in the construction industry where reviews and word of mouth are one of the key lead sources for many businesses.
Having an optimised Google My Business account also helps SEO (search engine optimisation) and will encourage people to visit your website, increasing the likelihood of lead generation.
To set up an account, take the following steps:
- Head over to www.google.com/business and click ‘Manage Now’
- Enter your business name and address
- Enter your service areas
- Select your business category
- Enter your phone number and website
- Complete your verification - this will either be by postcard or by phone
That’s it! Setting up an account is simple and will help you make your mark on the map, Google Maps that is.
Although this ties into Google My Business, it deserves it’s own category because sometimes, brands only fill in the necessary information about their business. As a result, Google Maps will prioritise others with more up to date and engaging information.
Showing up on Google Maps is important, as many people will be searching for local companies to help with their project using Google Maps instead of the normal Google search bar.
Here are some of the ways to optimise your Google my Business account for Google Maps:
- Use complete USPS approved address information (i.e. the same address that the platform recommends, as it is pre-approved)
- Specify all the areas that you service, not just the one you are located in
- Optimise your introduction to give a nice overview of who you are, what you do, and any accreditations that might instil trust
- Include images in your listing to make it look more engaging
- Get more happy reviews, as Google Maps will prioritise listings with higher numbers of positive reviews (also Google looks at frequency and recency of reviews so don’t just get a few and leave it, regularly ask your clients for reviews once projects are completed).
Utilising Google Ads is perfect for brands that want to appear highly on the first page of Google, but don’t necessarily have a high domain authority (how well a website ranks organically).
Google Ads allows you to ‘bid’ on certain keywords, such as ‘Single-storey rear extension in Hackney’ or ‘planning permission consultant in South London’ that may be too competitive from an SEO perspective but will allow you to appear in the top three spaces of Google, which are dedicated to Google Ads, if you play your cards right.
This platform also allows you to track conversions through their conversion tool, which makes it possible to understand what is working, what isn’t and where to focus your budget. It also allows you to target based on area, age, and even can target audiences with an intent to buy, making your efforts much more effective.
Taking Precautions with Google Ads
We do recommend familiarising yourself with Google Ads before setting it up, as it can be easy to spend money with little return if you don’t set up and manage it correctly. This is especially true when it comes to which keywords you bid on.
For example, the CPC (cost per click) for the keyword ‘Architects North London’ can be as high as £7.15 per click! However, if you bid on ‘Islington Architects’, the CPC comes down to around £3.15 per click. It’s important to identify similar keywords that aren’t as competitive yet still relevant for your business.
Another common mistake when using Google Ads is not using keyword modifiers. A keyword modifier is a rule that you apply to your keywords to tell Google Ads that you want to display your ads based on certain conditions.
For example, by adding square brackets to your keywords, like ‘[loft conversion companies]’ you are telling Google Ads that this is an ‘exact match’ keyword and to only display your ads when someone searches this exact term.
On the other hand, if you use a broad match modifier, (leaving it open for a wider variety of keyword matches) for the keyword +loft +conversion +companies, Google may choose to display your ad to someone searching ‘jobs in loft conversion companies’. Needless to say, you probably don’t want someone clicking your ad after searching this if your goal is to drive more leads.
If this is something you want to apply to your account, you can learn more about the different keyword modifiers here.
If you plan to run your own Google Ads account without the help of an internal marketing team or digital marketing agency, we recommend taking a few online courses in the Google Skill Shop. They have many certifications to help you understand the platform and create effective campaigns.
This is another one of Google’s free yet powerful tools that can help businesses keep track of what is happening on your website, allowing you to make educated decisions about where to focus your time, effort, and budget.
A very useful metric that Google Analytics offers, is the ability to track visits to certain pages on your website. By optimising and adding more call to actions on high traffic pages, you are increasing the likelihood of gathering more leads.
For example, if you notice a high amount of traffic on a page about your product or service, then it would be a good idea to add a call to action taking the user to a page where they can submit a brief about their design and build project or add a pop-up for them to request a callback so you can learn more about their needs.
To see the amount of traffic your pages are getting, click on Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages in your Google Analytics account.
You can also track the path that a visitor has taken on your website to see where drop-offs are happening most frequently. This means that you can fix certain pages to help the user continue their journey and eventually, lead them to a page where they can easily convert into a lead for your business.
To see this path, you want to take a look at the behaviour flow, which is located under Behaviour > Behaviour Flow.
Another useful metric in Google Analytics is ‘Referrals’ (located under Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals), which allows you to see traffic coming from other websites. It’s helpful to check this regularly, as there might be a website that is recommending you that you were previously unaware of, or it might also give you ideas of where to advertise.
Finally, it’s also good to keep an eye out on the location of your traffic, which you can see under Audience > Geo > Location, as you might notice that a high percentage of your traffic is coming from areas you don’t service.
If this is the case, you will be able to take the educated decision to run some ads in the areas you do, or ensuring that your Google My Business/Google Maps locations are displaying the right address and service areas.
There are several other metrics that are useful to monitor in Google Analytics and we highly recommend taking advantage of it. If you want to learn more about its capabilities or if you are new to the platform, this Google Analytics Course for Beginners is a great place to learn more and to find out how to set up an account.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Google
Before we dive into SEO, it is important to understand exactly what it is and why it is important.
If we are to define SEO on a higher level, it is improving overall relevant traffic to your website, both in quality and in quantity, based on the organic (or non-paid) rankings of a search engine.
These days, the most common search engines are Google, Bing or Yahoo, but for many years Google has been the dominating force. In fact, this year, around 89% of all searches are carried out on Google according to Statista.
This is why it is important that you ensure that when building or updating your website, you always keep SEO in mind, especially for Google. By doing this, you will increase the likelihood that you are found by the right people at the right time without having to pay for advertising.
Here are some simple ways of maintaining your website’s SEO:
- Page Titles
When Google analyses (or crawls) your page, one of the major things it looks for is a healthy page title. This means that it is in between 50 and 60 characters, it is classified as a header (or <H1> if you are looking at it in HTML) and it includes one of your keywords that is both searchable and relevant to your page and business.
Here is an example in a recent blog we wrote. The header is clearly defined, relevant to our business, and is less that 60 characters.
Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing to make Google notice your content. In fact, they now mark this as spam and may penalise websites that do this. These days, you need to ensure that you are being smart about the keywords you are using by using those that are only relevant to the page they are on and to the industry that you are in and organically utilising them throughout the content of your website where relevant and using related terms as Google is now much better at understanding semantics.
Whether creating a brand new site or updating your existing one, always make sure that you are thinking mobile-first. Google favours sites that have a good user experience when viewing a website on mobile devices. A key focus should be the speed of how your site performs on mobile performs, we all know the feeling if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load we’re off onto the next one.
- High-Quality Inbound Links
Inbound links, by definition, are links from 3rd party websites that link to your website directly. This is an ‘old but gold’ technique when it comes to SEO. However, over the years, Google has changed the way it views strong inbound links.
Previously, it was good enough to get inbound links from as many sites as possible, despite their ranking. Now, it is more beneficial to get only a few high-quality links from credible websites than several from unknown websites with poor user experience.
- Update Content Regularly
Maintaining a healthy blog is an easy way to keep your website active. If you build your website and then leave alone for a long period of time, Google may push it down the rankings, as it believes it won’t provide any value to users. By keeping it fresh and active, Google may display it more often, keeping your traffic numbers healthy.
Other (more technical) tasks you can do to improve your SEO include updating ALT Tags on your images, building a sitemap for your website to help Google crawlers, optimising your URL structure, and more.
Needless to say, SEO is a never-ending task of updating, optimising and following Google’s announcements to check that you are complying with the latest updates. A great way to do this is by checking Google’s blog page regularly for updates and helpful resources.
Google Search Console
Google search console is a widely underutilised tool in the construction industry, but highly useful if implemented. Its core function is to help you understand how Google views your site when it analyses (or crawls) it and identify issues when and if they arise.
Just a few of the tools and reports that Google Search Console offers include:
- Confirmation that Google can find and crawl your site
- Troubleshooting issues with your mobile site
- The ability to see how often your site appears in a Google search
- Showing which websites are linking to your site (inbound links)
- Alerts that tell you when Google has identified indexing or spam issues on your website
By maintaining a healthy website and staying aware of technical issues, you will be one step ahead of most companies in the construction industry. Plus, this is another way to help monitor SEO, as you will be viewing your website from Google’s perspective.
Using Google to its Full Potential
Navigating Google is no easy feat. Like many things in the digital world, there are constant updates and changes to their algorithm that can make mastering it difficult.
If you are looking to drive more leads for your construction businesses but don’t know where to start, we can help.
As one of the few Inbound Digital Marketing Agencies who specialise in the design and build environment, we will work with you to understand how you can be found by the right people and at the right time and as a result, grow sustainably as a business.