So you’ve got the machinery, and you’ve got the expertise. Now, it’s time to figure out how to increase your visibility online so your customer can actually find you. Every day, homeowners and contractors are trying to find the best local excavation contractor using terms like “excavation business near me.” If they’re not finding your company, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers for your business.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to not only rank your business in local search, but how to blow your competitors out of the water and rocket up to the top three positions in your area. Ready? Let’s do this.
Let’s start at the beginning. You’ve heard the term ‘SEO’ thrown around but maybe you’re not completely clear on what it means. SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’, which is basically optimizing your site to make it easier for Google to find you, and recommend you as a result for a search.
There are two different types of SEO
Local SEO is the process of ranking a business for specific terms within a geographical location. This could be a small town, neighborhood, large city or some combination of these. Local results show up in the ‘map pack’ which looks like what you see below. Google has picked the companies that it thinks are the most aligned with what the searcher is looking for, and highlighted them on a map of the area.
General SEO is the search results that appear below the local map pack, or in any search that doesn’t have a geographical element. This is still a great place to rank. For example, even if you’re not in a certain area, you can still rank for that term on your website, rather than in the local map pack.
Google’s goal is to give the searcher the best, most relevant search results. SEO is the process of optimizing your website and Google Business Profile to make sure that your business is the best result for relevant search phrases.
Below I’ll dive into how to make that happen
It’s important to set up your Google Business Profile properly. This means filling out all fields, adding as much relevant information as possible, and staying active on your profile. While I won’t deep-dive into how to completely optimize a business profile here, I’ll give you the top things that you should pay attention to when setting up a Business Profile for your excavation company.
Here’s a quick checklist that you can follow:
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, it’s likely that your excavation company has a business listing on Google, even if you haven’t put it there. You need to create and claim your business listing before you can go any further. This process is a little bit time-consuming as Google makes you wait for a postcard in the mail to verify your company’s address.
Fill out your company’s primary business category. This will likely be ‘Excavating Contractor.’ You should also add as many other business categories as you can. There are many other relevant services you can add as categories. Some of these are:
There may be more. The point is this – you want to add as many business categories as you can to show up in local searches. Don’t overdo it or add things that you don’t actually offer.
This can be up to 750 characters so you’ve got a bit of space to play with here. Include something about who you serve, the types of work you do and the locations you work in.
Opening date can be estimated if you do not know the exact day you started business. Ensure that your phone number and url are correct. The best way to enter your url is to copy it directly from your browser when your site is open and paste it in. It’s a good idea to check it after by clicking the link on your business profile.
If you’re new in business, you may not have a company address yet. If this is the case, you can either use your home address, or you can set up your business as a service area business. Service area businesses can still rank in local searches.
Potential clients want to know when you are and are not open. Even if you work on a flexible schedule you should enter business hours in the interest of completing your profile. It’s a good idea to update this over holidays or any other time when you’re not operating on your usual schedule. You can do it from your phone and it only takes a minute.
Fill out as many things in this section as you can. If you’re veteran-led for example, any specific health or safety items etc. Under ‘service options’, you can add things like ‘on-site estimates
This could be your office, your work, your machinery etc. I typically try to upload no fewer than 10 photos of a business including photos of their excavators, trucks and other equipment, a couple of exterior and interior office photos if you have them, and project photos.
Positive reviews are a signal to Google that your business is a good choice. Often, clients don’t think to leave reviews for excavation businesses or other construction companies but it can benefit you a lot
There are many ways to get more reviews for your company. That said, I suggest copying and pasting the review link from your business profile to a notepad on your phone. When you’re wrapping up with a client, ask them if they would be willing to leave you a quick Google review. They will likely say yes. Text them the review link right then and there. They’re more likely to actually do it as they’ve told you to your face that they will.
I rarely see business owners responding to their positive reviews. Often they will go on to tell their side of the story when there is a negative review but positive review replies are another way to engage with the platform and offer customers a positive experience while improving your SEO.
When you have a negative review, you can use it as an opportunity to show potential clients that you’re reasonable, even when things have gone sideways.
When responding to positive reviews, it’s good practice to thank the client for their business, and mention the type of work you did for them. For example:
“Thanks so much for the positive review Tim. We enjoyed building your pond and look forward to working with you again in the future.
Citations are mentions of your business on the web. Some citation sources that you’re likely familiar with are Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Yellowpages etc. There are hundreds of them. You want to have your business listed on as many of these sites as possible to help show Google that you’re legitimate and trustworthy.
Some of these you can do yourself such as Facebook and Instagram, and others you may want to hire a service to complete for you.
The most important thing when gathering citations is that your business name, address and phone number be exactly the same in every single one. This means that if you’re set up in Google as being on Front st., don’t put Front Street in other listings. Copy and paste and you’ll be fine.
If you’re looking for free ways to advertise your business, SEO should definitely be on your list. Whether you choose to do it yourself, or hire a professional, there’s no substitute for being on top of local search.