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Business has changed in the age of the Internet, and not just for the people and companies you’d think. You might expect that service businesses, such as plumbers and contractors, would be less affected. It just isn’t so: even if you had a successful small business before the spread of the Web, you might not be seeing the same type of customers and the same revenues now that the Internet dominates commerce so much.

If you’re interested in using the Internet to your advantage, you need to understand SEO, and why it’s important.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation and represents a wide range of techniques used to amplify a website’s presence online. The primary goal is to achieve higher rankings on SERPs, or search engine results pages, for targeted keywords. To break that down, that means SEO experts start with one or more keywords that are related to your company (like “plumber in Sydney”) and take steps to make it so that your site is near the top of the results when people search those keywords.

Why SEO Matters

Before they purchase anything, be it a product or service, more than four-fifths of consumers check the Internet. Only half as many people use a phone book every year. The Internet is the primary reference that people use to learn about potential purchases, and they often place implicit trust in what they find there. And just because people are using the Internet before they spend money doesn’t mean they’re researching every single option available.

The majority of people won’t go beyond the first page of search results before settling on the one that they’ll end up using. That means that even if you’ve paid for a fantastic website, your plumbing or contracting business could languish in obscurity on the second page of search results if you don’t invest in SEO.

Since so many people use Google Maps to find businesses, bad SEO might mean people literally can’t find you. If you don’t have your phone number listed, don’t expect to get many calls, either.

Why SEO Is Particularly Important for Plumbers and Contractors

With the knowledge that people use the Internet before they buy things as insignificant as toilet paper, it should be clear why SEO is an especially dire concern for plumbers and contractors. People are very particular about their homes, and the people they allow to work on them. Since plumbers are entrusted with the major responsibility of altering someone’s plumbing, which they depend on to hydrate and clean themselves, clients are very likely to do their research before choosing someone.

Contractors have the potential to either greatly improve someone’s residence or completely wreck it; meaning they’re also subject to a lot of scrutiny from potential clients. Not only can SEO experts elevate you to get more attention on SERPs, but they can also target keywords that will help you appear trustworthy, and many can help you boost positive reviews and other good user feedback to help your image.

How SEO Differs from Traditional Advertising

While you might think you could circumvent SEO efforts by spending money on web advertisements, studies show that users are much more likely to trust and engage with results that appear “organically” (i.e., through SEO efforts) than “artificially” (via paid advertisement). SEO is a much better investment than traditional advertising.

How to Get Started

SEO is not something you can master on your own, particularly if you still have a business to run. If you’d like to improve your SEO and increase your profits, get in touch with us or seek out a local SEO firm with a good reputation, and make sure they understand the market you work in.