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Plumber SEO: Everything You Need To Get Leads & Win Business In 2020

By Cody Warren
Updated August 19, 2020
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Cody Warren
Cody Warren

Cody is an SEO specialist here at Hook. While it's easy to get bogged down in technical SEO fixes, Cody specializes in finding practical ways to win Hook's clients more business with SEO.

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Researching Plumber SEO feels like hunting for lost treasure inside a treacherous rainforest.

There’s a treasure trove of tips & tricks out there, but there’s also tons of BS made to waist your precious time.

Finding sources you can trust and agencies concerned about more than their bottom line is flat out hard.

The goal of this post is to help plumbing small business owners navigate this delicate topic, and equip them with the knowledge to make informed marketing decisions moving forward.

We’re going to cover some common questions, practical SEO tips for plumbers that win business, and discuss when you should and shouldn’t consider hiring an agency.

If reading isn’t your thing, I cover all the information in this video 👇

6 Common Plumber SEO Questions, With Straightforward Answers.

Because way too many agencies beat around the bush when you start asking the tough questions…

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1) Do plumbing websites need to do SEO?

In short, no.

You dont NEED to do SEO. It all depends on what the purpose of your website is. Is it primarily a form of professional validation? Plenty of businesses use their website as a tool legitimizing their business, and that is just fine. Frankly, validating your business is one of the primary purposes of having a website – but it can do so much more.

However, if you want to be found on Google for more than your brand name – SEO is a must. Even if you build the best plumbing website on Earth, no one will find you for anything other than your business name unless you implement some level of SEO.

2) What can SEO do for my plumbing business?

The goal of SEO is to bring in ‘free’ plumbing leads online.

SEO isn’t FREE, but in comparison to paid ads, a sponsored Google My Business profile, or most other forms of digital marketing, SEO is very low cost in the long run. It does require a substantial investment up front, but over time the payoff will increase exponentially. SEO allows you to spend less time on marketing while earning organic, quality leads from Google.

3) How long does SEO take for plumbing businesses?

Anywhere from 3-12 months.

However, we typically see serious results between 6-9 months after kicking off an SEO strategy. Looking at the technical performance of your site before starting SEO, how much content you have on your site already, and how good (or bad) your site design is, will clarify a timeline.

A technically sound, modern site, with content already on it, COULD see serious leads and closed business as quickly as three months out. On the flip side, a site that needs to be rebuilt and has no content on it could take as long as 9-12 months to see similar results.

Fortunately, SEO in the plumbing industry is not overly competitive, like real estate or healthcare. Moving the needle in those industries takes significantly longer.

4) What ROI should plumbers expect on their SEO?

Plumbers should expect a 300% – 500% ROI throughout their SEO strategy.

And that’s just while you are implementing your plumbing SEO strategy. Similar to compounding interest, SEO continues to work on your behalf long after you stop the process. Search Engine Optimization is about more than ranking in the SERPs. It’s about winning the trust of search engines by convincing them you are a subject matter expert. SEO is a long term strategy.

Accrued credibility with Google doesn’t just disappear once you stop writing keyword-optimized content. You’ve already become a reliable source, and it will continue to channel intent oriented traffic to your site long after you stop SEO. While the average given above is solid, nailing down a hard ROI is difficult because it depends on the duration of your SEO strategy.

5) Can plumbers do SEO effectively without an agency?

Absolutely, yes.

You don’t need an agency, and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to get money from you. Some agencies like to throw around jargon, talk about reading algorithms, and make other technical comments to put pressure on businesses to purchase their SEO package.

The truth is, SEO is easy. You can find free SEO education all over the internet. Publish a blog post once a week, do some linking outreach, and make some minor technical tweaks on the backend of your site and call it a day. The hard part is keeping up with the time investment.

You’re a business owner who doesn’t have the time to come up with a content strategy, write 1k words a week, do linking outreach, and learn to navigate the backend of your site. Agencies simply give you time to do what you do best: run your plumbing business.

6) How can plumbers track their SEO growth?

The easiest way for plumbers to track SEO growth is through Google Search Console.

Search Console isolates search data making it much easier to digest than raw data from Google Analytics. It even gives you the ability to filter by specific pages, queries, and your average position on the SERPs.

Search Console does take some time to get acquainted with. However, it’s relatively easy to use and is a powerful tool for monitoring your SEO growth. Before long, you’ll be extracting all kinds of useful data, coming up with future content ideas, and tracking specific wins from your SEO efforts.

Local vs. National Keyword Targeting For Plumber SEO

Local SEO targets the geographic area you service, usually specified at the city/county level. National SEO targets lofty keywords that have demand across the entire country (or world). SEO for plumbers should combine both into one strategy, with a slight emphasis on local search.

Before diving into the strategy behind local and national SEO campaigns, let’s define each, and give a few examples for plumbing businesses.

National keywords are general queries that can be answered by any subject matter expert regardless of their location. Someone searching ‘Plumbing Tips’ doesn’t need someone in their city to answer the question, because plumbing tips remain the same irrespective of your location. Since demand for national keywords is not tied down by local intent, these keywords typically have a higher search volume and can be easier to rank for.

plumber seo keywords

Localized keywords work a little differently.

Almost all keywords with local intent break down into this formula: SERVICE/BUSINESS + LOCATION= Local Keyword. A good example would be ‘Plumber In Woodbury MN.’ As I’m sure you can guess, this keyword is far more likely to win business than a generic national keyword. Consequently, it’s more challenging to rank for this keyword, and fewer people are searching for it.

Both local and national keywords are vital for any SEO strategy. Local keywords bring in business, while national keywords pull massive volume, boosting the credibility of your site in the eyes of a search engine.

If you are taking a DIY approach to your plumbing SEO, we recommend starting with a focus on local SEO and working in some national keywords as you grow.

Building A Local SEO Strategy For Plumbing Companies

Local Optimization is all about connecting your services and expertise with people in your geographic area. Therefore, you already have a lot of the info you’ll need to build a local SEO plumbing strategy. What are the everyday plumbing needs in your area? What do your customers usually ask you? Answer these questions and use them to build out these three elements of a local strategy:

1. Create localized plumbing service pages.

Service pages are the anchor of any decent SEO strategy.

They tell users precisely how your business can meet their needs and give them the ability to connect with you. You could give them a simple contact form to fill out, a number to call, or an email to inquire further. You need the user to take a valuable action on these pages, or they’re gone.

Here’s an example of a localized service page we made for ‘Fargo SEO.’

plumber seo landing page example

Every service page should have the following:

  1. A headline that confirms the location and the service.
  2. 3 – 4 bullet points covering your value proposition and why you are different.
  3. A Contact form above the fold.
  4. Call to actions that complete the sentence: “I WANT TO … Get a free estimate, schedule an appointment, etc.”
  5. Include key trust factors like associations, awards, etc.

2. Setup and optimize your Google My Business listing.

This is one of the most manageable and essential steps in building out a local search strategy.

It’ll take you less than 30 minutes to set up, and can easily be your number 1 tool for bringing in quality local leads. You can start setting your GMB profile up here, learn how to optimize it by watching this short video:

If you don’t feel like taking the time to watch the video (I get it, you’re busy running a business), make sure to define your service offerings and a service area within your GMB profile. Simply enter the cities you work in, and explain the service you offer.

Once again, do not skip this step. It is the most critical aspect of local search optimization.

3. Become a local expert, and invest in your community.

This last step takes time – but should be on your radar from the get-go. You need to be creating content centered around your local area. What are other good businesses around you? Good restaurants? Fun things to do? Any cool historical facts? You can write about these topics and use them to improve local rankings.

The post ‘Best restaurants in Coon Rapids, MN’ isn’t going to win you any business directly. But it does position you as a local expert and someone who is invested in community growth. Over time, this boosts local awareness, endears you to the community, and positions you as a local expert for search engines.

This type of content should be fun and light. Think creatively, use a little personality, and be authentic. No one is going to read a dry post about parks in your city if it isn’t at least a little entertaining.

Targeting National Plumbing Keywords For SEO

As I said before, national plumbing keywords usually have higher search volume and are typically easier to rank for. This is because they aren’t money-making keywords. Most customers aren’t looking to make a purchase when searching ‘DIY Plumbing Repair.’ In fact, the intent is precisely the opposite – they’re looking to save money by fixing their own plumbing.

So how do you choose which national keywords to target?

Keyword research.

Sign up for a tool like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, or SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. They’ll help you determine the most valuable keywords to target in your national strategy. You can find countless keyword research tutorials on YouTube if you are looking for a step by step keyword research guide.

The rest boils down to creating content that correlates to the plumbing keyword research you just did. Answer questions, add value and satisfy searcher intent by writing good content.

Paid Ads vs. Organic For Plumber SEO: Pros & Cons Of Each + Our Recommendations

We get this question all the time: Why invest in organic if I can pay to have ads on page one of Google?

In short – because the ROI on Google Ads is significantly lower than organic. Sure, you can get granular with your paid ads, and make sure you only show up for precise terms. Ultimately, you’re still spending every time someone clicks on your listing, and that gets old.

Pros & Cons Of Organic Plumbing SEO:

+Higher ROI +Left with a long term asset +Continues to bring in users after SEO work is done

-Takes 6-9 months to begin seeing results -Requires a lot of work to build properly -Some know-how required

Pros & Cons Of Paid Plumbing Search Ads:

+Starts working right away +Can specify what terms you want to rank for +Clear analytics & attribution reports

-Costs every time someone clicks on your listing -No long term equity, stops when you stop paying.

As you can see, both have distinctive benefits. Unfortunately, paid and organic are often chalked up as two sides of the same coin. It shouldn’t be one or the other. Both are valuable assets in a search engine marketing strategy, and a blend of the two often works the best.

Leveraging Local Service Ads Alongside SEO For Plumbers

Arguably the most valuable form of paid ads for plumbers is Local Service Ads by Google.

These ads verify you as a local service provider by Google, place you at the top of the search results, show your 5-star reviews, and provide users with your phone number.

plumber seo verified ads

The verification process is quite thorough and can be overbearing at times. Among other things, verification requires background checks on each of your employees and additional private company info. They typically take a couple of months to get up and running. Once live, these ads can bring in serious, qualified business.

Core Elements Of SEO For Plumbers & How To Grow Organic Traffic

This section is for the plumbing business owners out there who want to take on SEO without an agency.

There is a ton of handy information on SEO implementation available for free online. However, navigating what information is trustworthy, and learning what you should prioritize can be a daunting task.

My goal here is to briefly break down the core parts of a solid plumbing SEO strategy, and provide you with some useful resources you can tap online.

At a very base level, the formula for SEO results is as follows: CONTENT + LINKS + Technically Sound Site= Good Rankings. But let’s take a closer look at each of those.

Create Plumbing SEO Content

If SEO is your engine, content is the fuel. You have to release content regularly (ideally weekly) that is keyword optimized and adds value to your users. How? By building a content calendar.

Using tools like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, or SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool allows you to analyze search demand for your plumbing keywords. They will tell you the average monthly search volume and how difficult it will be to rank on the first page of Google for them.

Simply think about what plumbing topics your users could want to read. It could be as simple as the keyword ‘Best Plumbing Tools.’

plumber seo keyword example

Write up a blog post that’s 750 words or longer, and publish it to your site. There’s a bit more to it than that, but if that’s all you do, you’ll be in a good spot.

For the sake of time, it helps to bulk your plumbing keyword research, and build-out a series of keyword-focused topics. Schedule them out over the next couple of months, and BAM, you have a content calendar. Here’s a quick list of other great topics you could write on:

  • Best Plumbing Tools
  • Plumbing Tips
  • How To Unclog A Sink
  • When To Call A Plumber
  • How To Fix A Frozen Pipe
  • How To Stop A Burst Pip
  • DIY Plumbing

Earn Links From Credible Websites In A Plumbing Niche

Everyone makes link building sound complicated and dangerous. There are risks associated with link building, but for the average business owner or SEO – if you follow a few simple rules, you’ll be A-Okay.

For starters, there are two basic ways to earn links to your site: by manual outreach, or by purchasing them outright.

Manual outreach almost always boils down to asking to guest post on other credible blogs in your industry. Outreach is by far the safest way to build links back to your plumbing website. These are 100% natural links from hand-picked sites that add value to readers in the form of a guest post. These links are the cream of the crop, but they can be painstaking to land.

With manual outreach, you’ll burn up a lot of time reaching out to appropriate sites. Then you have to write a blog post they approve. To top it all off, they might decide to charge you for the guest post anyway. The inconvenience associated with guest post outreach has lead to numerous link buying marketplaces, some of which are pretty dang good.

Purchasing links, on the other hand, is pretty straight forward. I list several very reputable link vendors in this post on the best link building services. Just make sure the links you purchase are from sites in a similar niche to yours.

Ensure Your Plumbing Service Website Is Technically Sound

‘Technically Sound’ is a relative term. Ultimately if your site is using a cheap theme on WordPress or if you built it poorly, you’ll run into issues. Inevitably, these issues will negatively impact your SEO performance.

Most of you reading this won’t need to spend that much time here. At the very least, I recommend optimizing your site speed. You can test your speed by using GT Metrix. Your website should load in no more than 4 seconds. Ideally, you’re sitting below 2 seconds.

If you need to make up some time, try setting up caching, and compress your image files. If you are on WordPress, we recommend using WP Fastest Cache (caching), and Short Pixel (image compression). These plugins should knock a couple of seconds off your load time.

When (If Ever) Should Plumbers Hire An SEO Agency?

Short answer: When you have the money and don’t have the time.

Too many agencies push for small business owners to sign with them. They’ll use technical SEO jargon, talk about algorithm updates, and make you FEEL like you need them to get the results you want. Some people call it sales. I call it bullying.

You don’t need an SEO agency to rank on Google. You can accomplish the 20% of SEO that earns 80% of the results without them. So if money is tight, or if you feel like you haven’t found the right agency partner – hold off! Don’t get pressured into buying, and don’t believe the lie that you need an agency.

All that said, for some plumbing businesses, hiring professional SEO services is a healthy option. If you dont have time to do SEO and can afford to spend $2k+ on an agency, I’d look into it.

What Kind Of Agency Should I Hire If I Am Going To Hire One?

This sounds simple-minded, but there are two types of agencies out there:

Some that provide FLUFF, and others that give you STUFF.

Silly play on words, I know. The truth is, many agencies make the bulk of their money from consulting, delivering ‘Technical SEO Audits,’ and talking about how you can improve your search results. You own a plumbing business. You don’t walk up to a homeowner, tell them where the problem is and how to fix it. YOU fix it – and your agency should do you the same courtesy.

Hire an agency that commits to specific deliverables every month. You want a specific word count, links, and technical improvements each month. A content calendar should be apart of your engagement. Ask about their keyword strategy, how they earn links.

Expect specific answers. Be wary of any company beating around the bush or trying to sell you a bucket of hours.

If you have found a couple of agencies you think could be a good fit – test them on Google! Search ‘Minneapolis SEO.’ Do they come up?

An agency worth their salt practices what they preach and should have a strong presence on the search engine results page.

Is SEO Right For Your Plumbing Business?

Every plumbing company can benefit from SEO.

However, priorities play a significant role in kicking off an SEO campaign. Some owners would benefit more from building referral partnerships, growing their social media presence, or merely building processes within their business.

If you are considering kicking off an SEO campaign, ask these questions?

  1. Is my current lead generation strategy stable?
  2. Am I okay waiting for 6-9 months to get a return on my SEO
  3. Do I have a functional website?
  4. Is my business healthy and growing without SEO?
  5. Do I have the time or money to invest in this?
  6. Am I using other marketing tactics, and are they reasonably effective?

If you can answer yes to all 6 of those questions, I’d seriously consider investing in SEO

It’s important to remember that SEO should not be your only marketing effort. It won’t be the foundation of your marketing strategy, but it will magnify the success you are currently experiencing.

Hook Agency Loves To Help Plumbing Business Owners Take Control Of Their Marketing!

I hate to be ‘salesy’ – but what kind of SEO would I be if I didn’t give a little pitch?

Hook Agency is passionate about partnering with plumbing business owners to turn their SEO into a lead generation machine. We focus our effort on hard deliverables that move the needle, not arbitrary hours or flimsy metrics. We talk in simple terms: ‘visitors on-site,’ ‘leads,’ and ‘closed business’ and expect you to hold us accountable to for them.

We are proud of our work and would love the opportunity to work with your plumbing business. Drop us a line if you’re are interested. 👇

Frequently Asked Questions

Does SEO work for plumbing businesses?

Yes! SEO works very well for plumbing businesses and most home-service companies as a whole. When launching an SEO campaign, it’s essential to consider what other marketing efforts you are currently applying. We do not recommend starting an SEO campaign if it is your only marketing avenue. SEO works best when it serves as a complement to your current marketing efforts.

Do I need to hire an agency to do SEO?

Absolutely not. Agencies do not have a monopoly on SEO. Any business can in-house their SEO if they have the time to take it on. You should only hire an agency if you don’t have the time to do it yourself and if you have the money to afford one. Unfortunately, many businesses fall into the lie that they need to hire an agency to rank on Google. It simply is untrue, and we provide multiple sources for you to learn SEO from in this article!

What ROI can I expect from SEO as a plumbing business?

300% – 500% ROI over 9-12 months. If you are hiring an agency, they need to be held accountable for specific metrics that define success for your SEO engagement. Metrics like ‘visitors on-site,’ ‘leads,’ and ‘closed business’ define success, and should be a core part of any reputable agency’s process. Be wary of agencies talking in terms of hours, with little to no reference to key, business-winning metrics.

How long does SEO take?

Anywhere from 3-12 months depending on your industry and your starting point. For plumbing businesses, we typically expect results between 6-9 months after launching a campaign. If your company has been creating content prior, you could see results in as early as three months. However, that is the exception, not the rule. You should not invest in SEO unless you wait up to 9 months for results.


 

Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads:
 

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Cody Warren
Cody Warren

Cody is an SEO specialist here at Hook. While it's easy to get bogged down in technical SEO fixes, Cody specializes in finding practical ways to win Hook's clients more business with SEO.

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