Many landscapers that have been around for a while generate their business from a client list they’ve developed over the years. Word of mouth is something they’ve relied on-which is ultimately the best type of lead money can buy. So why bother with SEO for landscapers if it’s working out the way it always has?
The world has changed drastically over the last 20 years. People don’t seek out referrals as often as they used to because we all have the answers in our pockets now. Need info? Google it.
A couple just moved into a new house. They’re thinking of what trees to plant on which side of the house. They’re planning their entire property and feel a little overwhelmed.
Some people will research ideas. Some people will seek the help of a professional so it gets done right.
In both cases, they pull out their phones or jump on their laptop and search Google.
As a landscaper, it pays to have an optimized website to capture these leads. There’s no avoiding the fact that without landscaping SEO, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Where does the bulk of landscaping leads come from on Google?
3 main sections on the search engine result page contribute to lead generation. Local 3-pack, organic results, and paid ads.
The local 3-pack is the top 3 Google Business Profiles you see on the first page of Google. This is the prime location on the search result to get the most phone calls to your business.
For local searches, the local 3-pack averages 44% of the clicks on a search results page. That’s the lion’s share of searches and the most lucrative position on the SERP.
The organic results are all of the blue links underneath the local 3-pack (in most cases). 29% of the clicks go to this section of the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
Paid ads often take the top spot for the most commercial keywords (except in the example below). It’s one of the ways Google makes its money. Having said that, they are not the most lucrative method of lead generation. You have to pay for every click that’s made to get to your website.
As of 2023 paid ads average a 4.80% click-through rate for the home improvement industry. That means that for every 100 searches, 4.8 people will click on your ad (good luck getting the lead from the 0.8 people!).
That doesn’t mean you get the business from each of the 4.8 people! You have to convert those people from leads to clients. This is why local SEO for landscaping becomes more lucrative.
How to get your landscaping website to the first page of Google using SEO
There’s no denying that each of the areas on the SERP contributes to leads. A complete and effective marketing strategy would be to have your business in all 3 spots! This way you dominate your market. However, all three sections are slightly different methods of ranking.
In this article, we’ll focus on the landscaping SEO side of things and touch upon how to optimize your website and local presence to make the greatest impact. If you’re in a very competitive area you will likely need more fine-tuning and professional SEO services to help you achieve the top spots.
That being said, if you ace the following essential optimization tips you will jumpstart your SEO and generate leads for your landscaping business.
Generate leads immediately with a Google Business Profile
One of the easiest ways to get on the first page of Google is to claim and optimize your business on the Google My Business platform.
This is where the prime real estate is on the search results page. The beauty of this platform is you can start generating phone calls right away if you optimize your profile correctly.
Some of the key aspects are this:
- Fill out every detail you possibly can when it comes to providing information about your business.
- Make use of the 750 words you get in your business description
- Aim to add over 100 photos. Businesses get way more leads when they have more images than the competition
- Choose every category your company falls under
- List all the services and products you offer
- Include a detailed list of service areas you cover
Plant the right seeds with your keyword selection
Keywords are the beginning of a masterful SEO campaign. You can’t be successful without selecting the right keywords. The best keywords are the seeds that grow into money trees!
Choose specific phrases to target a specific audience
The keywords you choose cannot be one-word generic phrases. Landscapers operate in specific areas and offer specific services.
For example, if a person typed in the keyword “landscaping” they could have so many different reasons for doing so. It might be a kid doing a school project. It might be someone looking for a job. Identifying the user intent of a keyword is essential before using it as a target.
Use long tail keywords
To eliminate the possibilities, you DON’T want and zoom in on the audience you DO want, use a phrase that’s 3 words or more. If you’re in Plano TX, then “landscaping company Plano TX” is a phrase that’s going to make your website appear in front of the right people.
(Scroll down below to see a real-life example of what a top-ranking landscaping website ranks for in Plano TX).
Use a keyword tool to make informed decisions
Picking keywords without knowing the monthly search volume or difficulty is like playing Russian roulette with your SEO. On one side, you must choose keywords that are commonly used. On the other side, you have to pick keywords that you have a chance of ranking on the first page of Google.
Here’s a guide to help you more on this topic: “How to Find Keywords for Your Website”
Publish service landing pages and location pages
The core of your business is the services and products you offer. This means that your keyword targets will represent the services you provide. For every service you offer, you must have a separate landing page to target that keyword.
For example, sod installation will have its very own page and will be optimized to cover an entire keyword group. Here is a list of keywords this Landscaping company in Plano ranks for on their page about sod installation.
Create a unique and informative landing page for your service
One of the biggest ranking factors for Google is content. If your service page is 200 words and leaves a lot of questions unanswered it will be much harder to rank. The sod installation example above ranks for 102 keywords. Many of those keywords are not on the first page BUT the most IMPORTANT ones are! The ones that rank for Plano.
Here are the positive attributes that were included to make this page a top-ranking website:
- YouTube video embedded in the page
- Definitions of sod
- Recommended types of sod for north Texas
- Reviews and testimonials
- Outbound links to local citations
- Multiple calls to action
- Contact form
- Location page options (links to service areas)
When you operate in multiple cities, you must publish location pages to appear in those cities. Location pages are like service pages but optimized specifically for a city. The content you post may be very similar to the pages but it’s important to be as unique as possible for the best results.
Always include some details about the city. Whether it’s mentioning a landmark, embedding a map, or links to city-specific websites-all these things play a contributing factor in ranking highly in cities where you don’t have an address.
The “must-have” on-page optimization essentials
There are hundreds of things you can do to enhance your on-page optimization but there are some things that absolutely must happen on every page you publish. The most important metadata you can implement on your pages is the title (H1 tag), optimize the URL, post your meta description, and tag your images.
Why? Here’s what people see in the search results:
If you’re using WordPress, this is very easy to accomplish these things. Make sure you have a plugin installed like Yoast or All in One SEO to help guide you further on your on-page optimization.
Title and H1 tag
To add your H1 tag to your page, simply fill out the title box in your WordPress editor. You want to include your target keyword in the title-preferably as close to the beginning as possible. If your title ever gets cut off people will still see the keyword they searched.
Keep your title under 60 characters to avoid it being cut off on smaller screen sizes.
The H1 tag tells search engines and users what the page is about. This is why it is extremely important to use the target keyword here. You rank higher in search engines and attract more clicks from the users who just typed in that keyword.
Optimize your URL by including your keyword
This area is also optimized for people and search engines. The URL should include your target keyword or get very close to it. When search engines evaluate your page the URL is a major indicator of the content of your page.
Write a meta description that attracts clicks
This is SERP marketing 101. As one of three things a person sees in the search results, your meta description plays a role in your click-through rate. If you don’t have a meta description, Google pulls content off of your page to fill it in.
Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it looks terrible. Here’s an example of a meta description that’s been filled by Google:
Write a meta description that adequately describes your page. Summarize the content (using your target keyword) within 160 characters.
Keep in mind, the more exciting and inviting you sound to the user, the more likely you can win the click.
Add Image Alt tags for better accessibility
Accessibility is a big movement to include those with physical impairments. The image alt tag is a description of the image that’s posted. It informs search engines what the image is about in terms of the context of your page.
It also is the only thing that appears if the image doesn’t load.
It’s also the text that is read to a visually impaired person to tell them what the image is.
Try to work your target keyword into at least one image alt tag. Here’s where you do that on WordPress:
Here’s how you add an image alt tag in HTML:
<img src=”img_girl.jpg”alt=”Girl in a jacket“width=”500″ height=”600″>
Now you have no excuses for missing tags!
Off-page website promotion
One of the most difficult aspects of SEO for landscapers is link building. The problem is it also happens to be a crucial part of ranking highly-especially in competitive areas. The key is to get relevant links from reputable sources.
Local links are the holy grail of Landscaping SEO
When you want to rank highly in specific regions, getting links local to the area are the most effective way to get to the top of the search results. This is especially true for getting in the local 3-pack.
The easy links to promote the local presence
The easy links are getting structured citations. A structured citation is a mention of your business and/or business information on a website that has specific areas to fill this information out. These are easily found by listing your company in local directories, niche directories, and well-known national directories.
An incredibly good local directory would be your Chamber of Commerce. Those links are usually $500. You can also find the smaller free ones that are local to your area. For example, Planomoms.com has a business directory for Plano businesses.
A niche directory would be a directory that’s made especially for a trade or contractor. For landscaping this would be ideal: https://www.ecolandscaping.org/member-directory/
And the well-known directories are easy. Yellow Pages, Super Pages, Angie’s List, Yahoo Local, etc.
Find the hard-to-get links that move the needle
Getting other local businesses in your area to link to your website is the best type of link you can get. It takes convincing and some creative methods but when you have the support of local businesses-it’s worth gold!
Most important technical aspects of landscaping SEO
One of Google’s recent updates was to address the page experience users have when interacting with a website. Although we never actually know the exact ingredients of Google’s algorithm, we know that this aspect of SEO is pretty important when they announce it will affect ranking.
The easiest way to stay in Google’s good favor when it comes to page experience is simple. Make sure your pages load quickly and make sure they’re responsive and mobile-friendly on all screen sizes.
One big tip on how to increase page speed
The biggest killer of page speed is the file size that images take up. To increase page speed instantly, use an app called Squoosh to compress your files to a fraction of their current size. You can get up to 90% compression on most files just by fitting them to the size you need (adjusting the pixels) and using the MOzJPEG or Webp settings.
Of course, images aren’t always the reason your page is slow. Test your pages here on Google’s Page Speed Test. The results will give you an explicit list of the items you need to correct on your page.
*Keep in mind every page on your website will be different.
How to make your site mobile friendly
This can be complicated if you already have a non-responsive website. The good news is most themes that were made in the last 10 years are already responsive. Other things may be affecting your mobile friendliness though like the font being too small to read, or buttons being too close together.
You can check the mobile-friendliness of your website right here on Google’s Mobile Friendly test.
SEO for lawn care companies isn’t easy
At the end of the day, if you can nail what’s been covered in this article, you will have a big leg up on the SEO of your landscaping website. It’s not easy and it’s time-consuming but anyone that’s dedicated can make all of this happen.
The problem with DIY SEO is the learning curve. While you’re trying things out and making mistakes, you could be focusing on making money while one of the guys on our team gets you on the first page in less than half the time!
At Austin Bryant Consulting, we take your business seriously. Schedule a strategy session with one of our consultants and we’ll show you what opportunities are waiting for you on the other side.
Christian Carere heads the SEO team here at Austin Bryant Consulting. After building an SEO agency in Toronto (Digital Ducats Inc.) Christian was hired by founder Keith Hunn who has created a full-service digital marketing agency in Plano, TX. Christian has been published on Search Engine Watch, Venngage, Small Biz Daily, Grasshopper, Data Box, Socialnomics, and Mention.