Effective SEO for Landscapers
Landscaping SEO Video Overview
What is SEO?
SEO for landscapers is the process of getting a website to rank higher in the search engines for a specific set of keywords. It is a highly competitive kind of marketing across all industries – including for landscaping and lawn care professionals.
Succeeding at SEO is very hard work, but it can lead to big returns if the process is done properly.
Anatomy of a Search Engine Results Page
Here, we’re conducting a search for “Landscapers Near Me” from Houston, TX.
Below is the screenshot of what the user sees – mostly ads and a portion of a map. Google generates the majority of its revenue from ads, which is why ads have a tendency to dominate the search engine results page.
Despite this, many more people click on the organic results instead of advertisements, even though have to scroll down to see those free search engine results. Despite questionable reasoning, many people just don’t trust ads and will jump right down to the free results. Our usual approach is to employ both a mix of ads and organic SEO to see what works best for our clients.
Here’s another look at the search engine results page. You’ll notice that Ads are on top of the listing, followed by the map listing – followed by the free (organic) search results on the bottom of the page. The map is heavily influenced by your Google My Business listing. More about that in an upcoming article.
Try it Now
Go to Google (or Bing). Type in Landscapers in (your location). See if your website appears on the first or second page of Google.
Try different variations of the services you offer and the locations you serve.
If you don’t appear on that first page for your main services and locations, you’re losing out on business to the companies who do appear on that first page of results.
Benefits of SEO
Even though the organic listings (free search results) appear at the bottom of the search engine results page, there are huge benefits to landscapers who appear on the organic listings on the first page of search results.
- Your Customers are on Google – Having your website rank high in the search engines for desired terms (like “Houston Landscaping” if you’re a landscaper in Houston) is the best form of advertising you can have for your business, as most people go online first when they need landscaping professional.
- Your Customers Trust Organic Search Results – Appearing high up in search engines through SEO techniques can increase trust and credibility with potential customers. While there is a time and place for using Google Ads, many Google users don’t trust ads. In fact, users are approximately 15x more likely to click on an organic (free) search result as opposed to clicking on an ad. (SparkToro 2018 analysis)
- Return on Investment – If you can generate business from the free search results (as opposed to ads), that obviously results in more leads being generated at a lower cost, which in turn will provide you with a greater return on investment for your marketing budget.
With the correct landscaping SEO, you can attract local customers who will be more likely to use your services.
SEO Keywords for Landscaping & Lawn Care
There are two important considerations to finding the perfect keywords for your landscaping business:
1) Relevant Keywords that You Can Rank For – You obviously want to find keywords that you can – with some work – get your website to rank for on Google. The keywords also must be relevant to the searches you provide
2) Search Intent – You want keywords where the searcher’s “intent” is to hire a landscaping company to solve their problem. A keyword like “retaining wall contractor” is a much better keyword to target than “DIY Build Your Own Retaining Wall”. You’ll want to avoid do-it-yourselfers, and in many cases people who are just looking for information – rather than a a solution to their landscaping troubles.
There are many keyword tools available for you to use to find suitable keywords for your landscaping business. Brian Dean at Backlinko has put together an exhaustive guide on keyword research – including tools – that you can take a look at for more information – but here, I’m going to highlight three tools that you can experiment with.
Google Ads Keyword Planner (Free for Google Ads Users)
Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool for finding great SEO Keywords. Here is a screenshot of the keyword planner in action.
The keyword planner shows search terms for you to consider along with monthly estimated searches.
Note that for all keyword tools, you should take the search volumes with a grain of salt.
Ubersuggest (Free to Try)
You just enter a keyword, and it will show you hundreds of related keywords. You can then order the list by the monthly search volume. This is great for finding long-tail keywords that Google sometimes doesn’t show.
Ubersuggest shows how difficult it might be to rank for a keyword – along with the anticipated cost per click if you’re going to run paid ads on Google.
KWFinder is a keyword tool that is part of the Mangools Suite, and is a personal favorite of ours at FlexLeads. Enter a search term or domain, and the tool will find a ton of keywords – along with an estimate of how difficult it might be to rank for those keywords. As you can see, the tool provides a huge list of keyword suggestions for the search term entered.
Try it Now
Brainstorm your the list of landscaping services you provide and the locations that you serve. Plug variations of these services into one of the keyword tools to get an idea of the search volume of your potential keywords, as well as how difficult it might be to rank for those keywords.
One of the key components of SEO is having great content on your website. Content Marketing is the process of growing your site by creating a rich foundation of high-quality information for Google to rank.
Note: You Must Have Original Content
It is important to have content that is original. Plagiarizing or “borrowing” content from other websites won’t help you with search engine rankings and will obviously create ill will with whoever the content was taken from.
For your content to rank, it must be completely original. Google won’t rank copied content in search engines. Adding fresh, original content regularly will help to boost your ranking and give users a site that they want to visit.
What Kind of Content Should a Landscaper Have on Their Site?
Content for Landscapers is actually easier than it would be for most professions.
Think of your keywords – which are related to your services. The content for your website can be all about the jobs and landscaping installations that you’re performing for your customers. Take tons of photos and video – describe the painstaking process that you and your crew perform to deliver your customers the yards of their dreams.
Before and after shots work great – as do testimonials from your landscaping customers. You can even create text transcripts from your videos and create new website pages with the video, text and images. All of which work great for ranking in search engines.
Structuring Your Website Content: Services
To effectively structure your website content, you’ll want to have each of the landscaping services that you offer on its own page on your website. Ideally, you’ll have photos and videos of all the projects of a particular service type on that service page – or linkable from that service page.
For example, a french drains page might contain the following informative sections for your website visitors (from an actual FlexLeads client)
- French Drains Introduction – What Are They?
- French Drain Installations in Your Service Area
- Each of these leads to its own project page complete with photos describing the French Drain installation process
- How French Drains Work
- Frequently Asked Questions about French Drains (maintenance, requirements, etc)
- Your Process
- Call to Action (Contact Form)
By describing your process and showing your previous projects, you’re establishing credibility in your website visitor’s eyes that you’re an expert at providing them the landscaping service that they’re looking for.
Structuring Your Website Content: Locations
In addition to rich content website pages for each of the services that you offer, you’re also going to want to have dedicated location pages for each location that you serve.
This is especially important as many residential customers who contact landscapers don’t even know that the landscaper does jobs in their area. By having a dedicated location page, you make it clear that you do service their location.
Here is the general recommended layout of your location page:
- Services – Go in-depth about all the services that you provide to that location. Each should link out to the relevant services page.
- Recent Projects in their Location – This further drives home the point that you have successfully completed many projects in their location.
- Map – A map with pins representing the locations where you’ve completed projects also makes it clear that you’re frequently in their area and have done great work in their neighborhood.
- About – Give an intro of you and your background and how you’re active in their community
- Testimonials – Show testimonials from residents in that location
- Contact – All pages on your website need to have a very clear call to action.
A Search Engine Friendly Website Google Will Love
Your website must also be designed and built with search engines in mind.
Google only wants to promote websites that provide a good user experience in the search engine results. One of the major requirements of a good user experience is that the web page loads extremely quick for the user. There are many ways to measure page load speed, but 2-3 seconds is a good benchmark for most websites.
With Google’s announcing that Core Web Vitals are a ranking factor as of May 2021, speed is more important than ever.
There are three main things that we do at FlexLeads to make sure that our client websites load fast. This helps to convert prospects into clients, and also helps with search engine rankings.
Pay for World-Class Server Hosting
We only use WPEngine and its world-class hosting platform. Wpengine is famous for their great support and fast servers. You can pay much less with a budget host like GoDaddy, but your site will be much slower as a result.
Optimize Your WordPress Website with Plugins
Most websites run on WordPress – yours probably does as well. We use the NitroPack WordPress plugin. The plugin makes our sites lightning fast, and makes the sites more likely to be compliant with core web vitals. We recently did a video and a writeup about NitroPack here.
No Bells and Whistles
Make sure your website isn’t bloated with unnecessary bells and whistles. All content on your website should serve a specific purpose – which is generally to provide just enough information to the website visitor to call you about your landscaping services. Avoid the “cool” factor and focus on giving your prospective customers exactly what they want.
Your website must load quickly and properly on mobile. Google actually uses the mobile version of your website for determining rankings. As a result, how your website looks and functions in mobile is at least as important as how it appears and works on a desktop computer.
Modern, Easy to Navigate Design
Your landscaping website must have a modern design that is easy for users to navigate. Having a design that looks old or amateurish will reflect poorly on you as a business owner. Website visitors will likely leave your site and go to a competitor who has a more contemporary, updated website.
CTA on each page
Your website must have a single call to action (CTA) on each page. A CTA is a way for someone to respond to something you ask them to do. In the case of your website, it would be to pick up the phone or fill out a form to learn about your services. Having a single CTA also makes it easier for customers to make contact, rather than being distracted by a ton of different links an images that are all competing for their attention.
Website Technical Considerations
Your website pages should be structured so that it is easy for search engines to know what each page is about. Your title tags appear on the search engine results page for your page listing and should be a good description of the page content to encourage click-throughs.
You should also make sure that your meta description tag gives an in-depth description of what your page is about. The headings and content on the page should be logically structured so that a search engine that is crawling the page will find it easy to digest and “understand” your content.
Getting Links to Your Landscaping Website
Well you’ve chosen the right keywords, written great content, optimized the pages of your website for search engines, and your website is super fast and readable on all devices.
Why don’t you have any visitors?
Probably because you don’t have any backlinks.
Backlinks are links from other websites. They are like votes for your site. The more backlinks you have pointing to your website from quality, relevant websites, the more popular your site may be viewed by search engines.
Google says to build great content, and the links will come. Unfortunately, that isn’t always possible, especially for smaller landscaper sites.
Let’s talk about a few ways that landscapers can get links to their website:
- Buying Links – Buying links is prohibited by Google and to avoid any penalty, it is strongly recommended that you don’t buy links for your landscaping website. Doing so could potentially result in your site getting penalized and perhaps even completely removed from the search engine listings.
- Professional Organizations – Many organizations will provide links to your website as part of your membership. Local Chambers of Commerce, and even professional landscaping organizations (like the National Association of Landscape Professionals) may provide links from a directory as part of your membership.
- Existing Customers – If you’re doing great work for HOAs, property managers, or municipalities, they may put you on a preferred landscaping contractors list with links out to your website. These links are extremely valuable as they are a vote of confidence for your services – and they’re viewed by your target customers.
- Citations – Most citations are free and easy to get. Getting your site listed in local directories or landscaping directories is logical for small business owners like landscapers. Citations are usually very simple listings that contain your NAPW (Name, Adress, Phone Number, and Website), along with a brief description of your landscaping business. Sometimes you’ll get to include a few images or a logo as part of the citation link. The links are usually free, and they give you a chance to claim your brand and protect it from competitors. Whitespark.ca has a list of some of the citations that you should definitely list your landscaping business.
These are just a few examples. Getting links is extremely hard and usually requires doing extraordinary work or producing world-class content – AND getting recognized for it. The good news is that the hard work is sometimes rewarded with quality links from good websites.
Measuring Your SEO Efforts
Fortunately, there are ways to measure the impact of all of your SEO efforts to know what is working and what isn’t. Use the following tools and techniques to make sure that your efforts are paying off
You need to install Google Analytics on your website so that you get an understanding of the kind of traffic (visitors) that you are getting on your website. It will tell you things like how many visitors you have per day, the average time spent on your pages and bounce rate (where visitors leave after only browsing one page).
This is really important for SEO as if you don’t know how many people are visiting your site from SEO efforts, it would be hard to determine what is working and what needs improvement.
When properly implemented with some of the other tools mentioned in this section, you’ll have a robust conversion tracking system in place. You’ll know the exact path that many of your paying customers took in order to do business with you.
Google Search Console
You need to get your website registered with Google Search Console so that you can keep track of where your visitors are coming from – as well as how they arrived on your website. In some cases, Google will provide you with the actual search that the website visitor used to arrive on your website.
Call tracking services are used to assign specific phone numbers to individual marketing campaigns.
For example, if someone calls you after finding you on the search engine results page, they will call one number – if they clicked on a Google ad, they will call a different number.
A call tracking number is a virtual phone number that forwards all calls to a real number. When a potential customer calls the call tracking number, his call will be forwarded to the actual phone number of your business, where an employee will be able to answer the call.
This allows you to know exactly which marketing efforts are working – and what aren’t. This way you’ll be able to properly determine the effectiveness of your SEO campaign.
Two call tracking providers to consider are CallRail and CallTrackingMetrics.
Hotjar is a wordpress plugin that allows you to see how your users interact with your website. The data. It records the visitor’s actual journey through your website so that you get a visual idea of what is working with your website and what you could improve.
Rank Tracking Software
Rank Tracking Software allows you to track your keywords and see how well you are ranking in the search engines. Rank Tracking Software takes the hassle out of checking your own rankings by doing it for you.
Having a way to view all of your marketing data in one location is a huge timesaver. We use Google Data Studio as it pulls data from various sources and provides us with a way to easily evaluate our marketing efforts.
Landscapers FAQ About SEO
Can I Get Instant Results With SEO?
Seeing results with SEO Marketing can take time. Unlike paid search where you can get clicks and calls the very first day you start running ads, SEO requires patience because it takes longer to get your website to rank high in Google and Bing.
Depending on how competitive the landscaping market is in your location, it can be a few weeks to a few months before you start seeing results with SEO efforts. A competitive analysis prior to launching a campaign may be able to provide a better idea about what to expect.
Can I Do SEO Myself?
Landscapers should be focused on the day-to-day operations of their business. Most landscapers don’t have the time or resources to develop the skills needed to manage their SEO campaigns properly and should strongly consider hiring an agency. SEO agencies focus on SEO and will almost certainly do a much better job than landscaper doing it themselves. The landscaper should be focused on delivering high quality landscaping jobs to clients, while the agency helps to deliver those clients to the landscaper.
What Can I Expect to Pay for SEO Services?
SEO costs vary based on customer requirements. As with most things, you get what you pay for. It is difficult for anyone to determine SEO campaign costs without knowing the specific needs and requirements of your landscaping company.