Today I want to discuss how I get endless roofing leads for a client in Nottingham.
You can see this client by typing in search terms like “roofers Nottingham”, “roofers in Nottingham” and so on. We are often only second to Checkatrade which have completely smashed most organic ranking…
As you can see above…
Corona is affecting recent clicks massively, but this year, a lot of clicks have been coming in simply through Google Search (doesn’t include Google My Business or Google Ads).
Also as you can see, this roofing estimate website is not yet at the top of Google or generating a whole lot of leads from Google.
However it will soon as I am going to follow a very similar blueprint created these results in the other city. I’ll run through the exact strategy in this article for you to follow along with, whether you are an advertiser or even a roofing firm who wants to implement the strategy themselves.
These days, you don’t need to be a computer scientist to run a website or get to the top of Google. There are endless resource on YouTube; websites are easy to make through WordPress and site builders like Divi (this was made on Divi!) and everything is just generally easier.
Importantly, I will be discussing more strategy rather than exact ‘how-to’s’. This is simply because the information is all out there. There are a million ‘how-to’s’.
You often don’t know WHY you are doing what you’re doing. Or which of the endless strategies to implement for something like a local joinery or roofing website.
So in this article: I am going to lay out the exact WHY and WHAT of how to dominate Google locally and create a load of good, consistent leads every single month.
Yes, it will take money upfront and the best results will take time (but you can get fast results). This is BUSINESS and nothing good happens over night without either time or monetary investment – or both.
How is it done?
So what are the three core components that generate all these leads through Google each month? And it’s worth noting that these leads are generating tens of thousands of pounds worth of sales each year for the client. A high percentage of his sales are coming online.
Sure, leads that are created through recommendation and referral are generally more preferable and convert better – but these are often finite and random, whereas Google continues spitting out roofing enquiries day after day, week after week and month after month. In turn, these new customers then create more referrals, recommendations and reviews. It’s a never ending positive feedback loop for the business and its sales system.
Part of me thinks I shouldn’t give out HOW and WHY we sit at the top of Google for a good amount of search terms and make good money from it. But anyone is welcome to compete with us and see if they can do it better.
Thankfully, the beauty of SEO that you can experience in your local area for your local service is… Once you get ahead, it’s hard to catch up. Especially if you are continuing to work on the business every week and further solidifying this positive sales feedback loop…
Okay! So, we will split our strategy between:
– Google My Business and
– Google Ads.
Here’s a look at our Google My Business results last month (one of the three facets we’re going to be working on. It’s not that hard either! Or through using any weird techniques).
Brief Description of each & why we’re using them:
Google Ads – fast, get results quick and allow you to test keywords which generate a lot of leads and are profitable. Pay for each click onto your site… See below.
SEO – great long-term value and affordability. You can really hit a gold mine with good SEO. It takes time, but when you get to where you want to be for the correct search terms, it can deliver a lot of leads over time. Eventually get to position one for a popular search term in your area, like roofers Cambridge and the reap the rewards without continuously paying for each click.
Google My Business: Good for proximity and capturing local clients that are nearby. While Google My Business and SEO are similar in that you don’t pay per click, they also differ slightly. Appear at the top of google for roofing related searches by people who are near you. Google My Business uses the ‘map pack’ as shown in the image.
I will get into the ins and outs as I cover each of the three facets, but they all have their strengths and eventually compliment each other totally. A strategy which leaves out any of the three main facets is a failed strategy, because, as mentioned – they all compliment each other perfectly…
Let’s jump into it with Google Ads
Google Ads should indefinitely be part of your strategy to gain more leads as a roofer.
We will not go into all the technicalities of setting up and running a Google ads campaign as it is relatively straightforward.
There are plenty of guides and tutorials online which show you how to set up a Google ads account and campaign.
Even if you, yourself the roofer, set this up – it is a skill you have for many years that will greatly enhance this business or any other trade business you wish to run.
Should you not want to get involved, you can hire people for a reasonable sums of money per month to run these campaigns for you.
We will go into a bit more detail on the other strategies.
However, we feel Google Ads is quite bespoke per campaign and location. You simply need to know the basics – then you navigate from there.
So, essentially, you will set the keywords you want to go after – then keep track of your ad spend, as well as ensuring you are getting good clicks that are conceivably people who want what you offer.
It’s your job to manage the campaign, striking off bad clicks from occurring more than once (e.g. a search term like “roof from 1932” is probably some sort of history/research search than for your service). You use negatives to stop this from happening, but again, this is all covered in the how-to run Google Ads videos.
Running a local Google Ads campaign for a trade business isn’t that hard. It gets hard when you are utilising a massive budget, selling a competitive product or advertising a competitive service like law.
Your ad spend will be relatively low as it would be a cop out if we said “how to get endless roofing quotes through Google”…
And the answer was: spend £5,000 a month on Google ads! Haha. No.
Our client in Nottingham only spends about £200 on his ads a month at the moment and we didn’t start with that much. Also, COVID-19 is even disrupting that much spend lately as everything has come to a standstill.
Hopefully this virus gets gone SOON! Anyway, where were we…
So why Google Ads?
Google ads is good because we can get straight to the top of the Google for search terms which we think will be profitable.
Here is an image of somebody running an ad and being at the top of Google. Page one for Cambridge roofers. Every time somebody clicks that advert the roofing company will be charged a fee, probably in the region of 1 to 5 pounds.
If you are new to this space you might be thinking: “oh wow 5 pounds just to get a time waster on my website!?”
Yes, there are time wasters but there are also plenty of people who actually need roofing services typing in things like “roofers in Cambridge.”
Obviously, you make money through Google ads by getting cheap clicks and good clicks. So if you can get 100 people onto your website for £300 and roughly 10% are legitimate people who enquire.
You only need to convert a few of these 10 in order to make a profit. That is the basic mathematical understanding of how you are going to make it work.
You as the tradesmen need to decide how much you can afford to spend, how much your average job is worth and what percentage of your enquiries convert into customers.
Investing in these ads without knowing the numbers involved is a recipe to get this wrong and not be profitable.
There are some cool things you can do to track the amount of calls that come through Google Ads so you can calculate the profitability of them. We would use Twilio to create numbers, which can then be tracked or even recorded. You can run your Ads to a specific page with this recorded number, for example. Then you can increase your ad spend and scale as necessary if you are profitable.
Check your Roofing Keywords through Google Ads
This is the second benefit.
Remember how we said that you can get straight to the top of Google using Google ads?
Well, this is important for our SEO and Google My Business strategy.
We have found that each city in England and each tradesman service varies a lot.
So for one trade, for example roofers, going for search terms like “[trade] + [city]” have generally been more effective than going after individual services, like “roof replacement + [city]”.
There would certainly be more enquiries through the first example, but the second will obviously give you a specific type of enquiry.
However, this is not a stead fast rule. Sometimes people just search the type of trade as a search term. Sometimes they type in the specific service they want from that tradesmen – so this is why it requires testing and a bit of a bespoke approach. Maybe one day we will do an article on navigating a new tradesman Google Ads campaign…
So, running Google Ads allows us to see which search terms are worth getting in front of for our more long term SEO strategy. For example, you might want to run ads across roof repair search terms, roof replacement search terms and general search terms which include the word roofer and your city within them.
I would guess the most searches all come through things like roof repair Cambridge and roofer Cambridge. However it can be beneficial to try things like garage roof replacement, flat roof replacement etc. where people aren’t really competing. Healthy balance between common roofer style terms and specific services is generally the best way to go.
To conclude this section your Google Ads should do two things for you after a few months:
1. You should now have a system set up which continually drives leads into your business as you optimise your campaign, find out which keywords are converting and profitable, and remove those keywords which only waste your budget, and don’t bring good enquiries.
Then YouTube or the internet will teach you how to do this pretty simply.
It isn’t rocket science.
We are more teaching the way rather than the how, as the how is out there.
Remember, why > how > what.
Also, the maintaining of the campaign isn’t a whole lot of work.
So you aren’t going to be in front of a computer for 5 hours a day managing the campaign.
2. Number two is, you should now be able to identify which kind of keywords have been profitable for you.
So, you may have had a disproportionate amount of metal roof enquiries.
You had as many clicks for metal roof search terms as you did garage roof and flat roof, however, many more of the metal roof enquiries converted.
Google Ads will give you clues like this to drive your long term SEO plan to get your website and Google my Business dominating these profitable keywords. Remember to think about sample size.
You may have just been having a hot streak with metal roofs.
Although it is likely to be accurate, don’t forget the garage roofs might start to come in disproportionately next.
So don’t fall in love with your findings, but they are certainly a good indication. Google Ads is all about testing. Keep testing!
Let’s move on…
As we have mentioned Google Ads can be really effective in directing your search engine optimisation strategy.
Making your Google ads campaign profitable might take a few months so in the meantime we should still be doing something.
However we might not get our results from Google Ads for a few months, so we will bear this in mind during the article as we run through what to do.
We don’t want to be doing nothing. But before we tailor our campaign to go after a particular set of keywords, there are good basic fundamentals we can opt for.
Also, we have found that [service e.g. roofer] + [city/area] has never gone too far wrong.
So if you are at first optimising your site to rank like that, perhaps in a few months you might see that you are getting loads of metal roofing or commercial roofing enquiries. Then you can expand the campaign to start dominating those keywords too.
SEO mostly comes down to on page SEO and off page SEO. Let’s look into both.
Rather than going extremely deep on every single thing you need to do, we will instead touch on each thing you need to do so you can research each individual points and go deep on it if necessary because the information is already out there and easily accessible.
What is not out there is: which strategies to implement.
HOW to do it is out there, but which ones to actually implement – when and why are not out there or particularly clear/convincing.
You will see a million strategies online right now but all they will do is make you think… Where do I start? What is correct?
With this guide, you are at least following what worked in a city as large as Nottingham, which is one of the larger cities in the UK.
On-page / off-page SEO
Okay let’s touch on the basics first.
- A key concept is that we are generally going to mirror those who already rank well in keywords that we want to get to the top of Google for. Like [service] + [city] as we have already described, like roofers Norwich etc.
- This means, if we are trying to get to the top of Google for things like “roofers in X city”, we should generally be looking to copy what the people at the top of Google ALREADY are doing. Obviously, we then want to improve upon what they are doing. But so that you understand – we are doing this to let Google know that we are like these websites and that we are in the same category and the same ballpark as them.
- This is why the advice online can be tricky. There are 1000’s of different strategies put many failed to mention that we do not need to reinvent the wheel. In fact, that can hurt us. Simply building on what is already working is the very best approach to get to the top of Google for trade related local search terms. Trying some weird, wacky wonderful new technique is not a good idea. To illustrate further – a software company would behave differently on Google to the trade niche. Perhaps they would have more pages, perhaps they would sign up to less local website directories and so on. So although my advice will hold pretty strong, the only thing you should let override something I say is if your competition are clearly implementing that strategy… An example of this could be extremely low word count pages. Our pages are generally at least 400-800 words long. However, if all of the top competitors had 100 words on their page, we would definitely shorten our word count to be more atypical of those particular search results’ strong candidates…
Now let’s look at on-site technicalities…
- Your site needs to be secure. This means having an SSL certificate. Look it up. Most hosting sites will give you this for free, like SiteGround.
- You must have your H tags organised sensibly. This means, generally, you have the more important titles as H1’s 2’s and 3’s, and less more important as the higher numbers. You only want one H1 and not many of the others. Again, you can go see what people are saying on this.
- You must have good site architecture. This means, if you are a roofing firm, Google would expect you to have various roofing service pages. It would not expect to see one page or 1000 pages, but it would expect to see a reasonable 5-10 roofing related pages with appropriate titles. Again, refer to the competition.
- Look how many words the guys ranking top for attractive search terms are using on each page. If there a mean average of 400 words – you would do well to right in the 400-600 word range. Don’t start writing thousands and thousands if they aren’t.
- Have your pages interlink with each other. This means from a guttering page you can link to an emergency roofing page. You can simply mention a few other services on each service page.
- Use LSI keywords where relevant. Simply go onto LSI graph, type in your keywords and suggested words will come up. When it makes sense, use the words LSI graph recommends.
- Download Yoast if you’re using WordPress. And you SHOULD use WordPress or some variation of WordPress. It is the most simple to use and we don’t want to be faffing around with coding. As you can see from our site, the design is fine and does the trick with no effort. WordPress themes give you pre-built designs. Then you can use softwares like Divi (what this was made on) go drag and drop in order to make your site. Yoast allows you to see if you are making fundamental errors, like paragraphs being way too long, readability and so on. It also makes our particular theme easier to edit things like the meta description, which is convenient.
- Be mobile responsive. This has been spoken about too much so we’ll leave it there on this topic. If you use a modern theme and page builder, your site will work well on mobile and be designed to use on desktop, tablet and phone sizes.
Blogging for your roofing site
This is still part of the on-page strategy, but it deserves its own little section. Blogging is something you will continuously do every week or every two weeks. We would recommend 500 – 1500 word articles and 500 is just fine if that’s all you want to do.
Blogging is great for a few reasons. For one, we are adding unique content to our site about our service and our area. This strengthens our knowledge on the topic and area in the eyes of Google.
When it comes to writing your blog, it doesn’t have to be particularly well thought out. Just make sure that it doesn’t HURT your business. Most people are not going to be too interested in what you have to say anyway (there’s endless information and entertainment at our finger tips these days) so we are mostly doing this for Google’s benefit. But sure, if you are passionate about your job and can write some great stuff – that will only help your blog. Maybe I am just sour because I can’t write engaging content for the different trade businesses I work for…
Anyway! Another benefit of the weekly article is being able to power up our ‘digital brand’ through including a little list of our social accounts at the bottom and linking out to those. We can then also post the article across our social channels. This helps to boost our digital brand. We are simply reinforcing our digital footprint on the internet. We are saying to Google: “hey, we’re here, in fact, we’re everywhere!”
You can also write your NAP (name, address, phone) at the bottom. There is speculation that this strategy is less effective than it used to be, but we don’t think it can hurt. Keep it consistent across all postings and channels.
A super power of blog writing is LINKING. Think about Wikipedia. Why does it rank so well everywhere? Two reasons. Content and linking. This builds authority. Google wants authoritative sites at the top of Google. So Wikipedia gets to the top. Simple.
You want to do the same in your content.
You want two types of links, really.
Outbound links that go to areas related to your topic/service/area – like The Cambridge Dictionary, MyBuilder and ThreeBestRated. This is giving Google more information about what you are writing as well as citing other sources to make your content more engaging/relative/informative etc.
The other is inbound links. This is important. Really important.
We generally post one link back to the homepage.
If you look back at this article, you will see the link we used.
Other sites generally link their blogs back to all sorts of pages throughout their sites. We haven’t really tested that but assume it would work too.
For now, you should just stick to our strategy, because it’s tried and tested.
Importantly, you want to link back to your homepage using the keywords you want to rank for.
Don’t use the exact same phrase. Mix it up. For example, you might say “[service] in [city]” or “trusted [service] in [city]” etc.
This link back to your homepage is powering your homepage up and telling Google that your article is deep in content, relevancy and points back to your homepage. We would say to do this once a week, every week, for at least 3-4 months. Then you can taper down to one or two articles per month. You can quite easily outsource this through sites like iWriter but keeping it readable, relevant and real is probably best for longevity. Anything that is spammy can bite you in the butt later down the line. So keep it real and avoid spam… Even though this link strategy is SOMEWHAT spammy, it’s still mostly legit too. So it will be fine.
Also, after posting each article, you can submit a sitemap to Google so that it knows you have updates your pages, rather than waiting for however long it takes Google to scan your site.
That’s a lot of the on-page work you need to do. There could probably be more. And you can read around online to see things which you think might be useful and even contact us about them… But that’s the majority of what we think about for our strategy.
Our off-page strategy basically revolves around getting links from sites that our competitors get them from. This basically just means signing up to a load of local directories and making social accounts.
The best way to figure out how to do this is by typing in the brand name of your top five competitors. See which websites come up other than obviously their website and companies house etc.
You can go ahead and copy that by signing up to these sites, making sure to keep your details the same throughout.
Remember, the main objective is to get the website link on our account, so sometimes you can make your account without adding a website link, in which case you go back to your account settings and add a website link. Fill out as much as you can without burning hours and hours of time.
After you’ve joined all that your competitors have, you can look on a site like Invoice Berry to find say 10 more that your competitors aren’t on.
Again, doing what our competitors do, but beating them at the same time.
Create all social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube etc.
Then you can also create channels like Tumblr etc.
Another strong site is YouTube. Remember, they are under the same umbrella as Google, so it is a powerful site in Google’s eyes. Create a video about you and your services, post it to your homepage and link from the video description back to your website. Get some keywords in there (should happen fairly naturally when describing your roofing business).
That’s it for now on off-page. There could be more but this seems to be the bulk of it for now. We will update this post if anything significant changes.
To finalise this section…
Look, don’t stress.
Although you should try and hit on all of the points mentioned, making a few errors here and there isn’t going to banish yo to the shadow realm of page 8.
We have broken supposed ironclad rules and still sit at the top of Google. Most of what is going to see you get to the top of Google is doing the basics: lots of content; not making massive errors; only having 200 words on your site; H tags all wrong; no links to your site from social accounts/directories and no blogging.
Keep plugging, keep posting articles and refining the basics, and you should eventually get to the top of Google.
If someone is not at the top despite doing all of the things we describe here, I will personally get you to the top.
But I imagine you will have slipped up on one of the action items.
We are not dealing with a super competitive, expensive product search term, nor are we hopefully dealing with super competitive local search (however, in an area like London it might be. But even then, you can go more granular to your part of the city rather that trying to dominate the keyword ‘London’ itself. Like South London, then inner cities there. We are at the top for some South, South East and Greenwich style search terms).
In terms of progress, you should start to see results relatively quickly. If starting from a brand new domain this can have benefits as you are performing best practises straight away – but expect to wait a few months for the number one spot.
If you are working from an aged domain, we have kicked them onto the first page really quickly, especially in less competitive spaces. Some other trade services are very easy, whereas roofing can be a bit more crowded and a few players in each area have a bit of money, meaning a budget to compete with you.
For any questions on this part, just drop us a message.
Google My Business for roofing businesses
Google My Business (GMB) is certainly less complex than the last facet as it’s a smaller entity. With search engine optimisation, we’re dealing with a lot of components to do with the website. Your GMB is far smaller.
So firstly, you’ll want to fill out everything the GMB gives you. This means making sure the info page is accurate and up to date. This means adding the description, short name, logo, opening hours, profile picture etc. – we want to be at 100% complete on this page.
Also on this page is your category. That should be relatively straightforward though as you can pick Roofing Contractor.
This brings us to the services page. We do not know the exact science for what is optimal in terms of adding services, we but we generally add all of our services and leave it at that. Make sure to fill out the description.
We essentially want to be making use of everything Google is giving us and showing Google that we are making the most of everything. Google must be taking into consideration what we do and do not fill in, so that’s the logic behind using everything.
Next you can add some pictures of you working. They don’t have to be particularly good, but again, we’re filling everything in.
Next make your website. There’s a tab on the right hand side that says website. Here you are going to have to do more writing and write a ~500 word description of the business. Again, naturally getting the kind of roofing terms you want to rank for in there.
Next is posts. Add a post (what’s new) every day or every few days. Include your NAP at the bottom consistently. This means company name, address, phone, then a link to your website and a link to your roofing business on maps.
Write about genuine topics as you’ll eventually get keywords in there and not have to spam it. Include pictures where you can.
You have a link option at the end, we alternate through our social channels. So one day you can link to your site, next your maps listing that we put at the bottom of each post, next your Facebook, then a directory etc. … Again, we just want to show Google we are interacting with everything and building a ‘digital brand’.
That’s about it with your Google My Business. You can embed your Google Maps listing into your blog articles at the bottom.
Also notice the review button you can get from your home page and send to every customer you ever have.
When you eventually do rank well through your Google My Business and it says twelve 5 star reviews next to your name, that’s going to be really powerful.
We believe that search engine optimisation and GMB are symbiotic. We simply kept posting and kept writing articles, then our clients’ roofing business just started appearing in the map pack, especially as his website got closer to the top spots.
There probably is some more voodoo magic you can do – but that starts to get quite technical and possibly spammy. All these techniques are more than accepted and should be a lot more than our competition on the GMB front.
A GMB is powerful for when people just type in a certain service, like replacement roof. While in the main search results, roofing suppliers and various other international companies will show up – but if there is a map pack, you could very well show up if you are well optimised, always posting pictures and adding posts daily or every few days.
So that’s it for now on how to dominate Google as a roofing business. It isn’t rocket science, it won’t cost a boat load, but you can make a boat load of money off the back of it.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about any specific parts of the guide and I can clarify personally.
Thank you for reading and good luck out there.