Local SEO for Landscapers: A Crash Course

Get Your Landscaping Website Found. Here's How:

Everybody knows how to do a Google search. Input a word or phrase and get results. Easy. That's why we like it.

But what if you want to be a result? Not so easy. Showing up on Page 1 won't usually happen without some effort on your part. Sure, some towns are so small that all you need is a website. But if your market is even a little bit larger you need to do more than just show up.

The key is to understand, and then put into practice, local SEO.

Disclaimer: Being on Page 1 is not enough. You have to be worth hiring in the first place. And your website has to convey why you are worth hiring. These are discussions for another post though.

Local SEO is not complicated. You don't need a high IQ to be good at it (I am proof). It is, however, complex. There are a lot of moving pieces. My goal here is not to discuss all of them, or tell you everything there is to know.

This post is only what you MUST know to take the next steps, whatever that is for your business.

After reading this you may decide to hire someone to help you with SEO. The basics outlined below will help you choose a pro wisely.

Or (and this is my hope) you may look at this and say, “I can do this.”

If that is how you feel I will be happy to help you dig in deeper in future posts. And my marketing resources page is full of SEO tools you can start using right away.

Let's start really basic: What is Local SEO?

SEO is setting up your online presence for discovery by search engines and people. “Local” SEO is doing the same thing, but specifically targeting people who live in your area (or are searching about your area).

There are 3 main players here:

google maps screenshot

Google Maps. Your business can be found when someone searches Google Maps on their computer or in the app.

But, and this is even more important, Map results are also displayed on Google's main search engine result page (SERP). These results are often displayed above the traditional results with an accompanying map. This display (usually 3 listings) is known as the “Local Pack”.

Organic Results. If you take away the Local Pack and all paid advertising you are left with the organic results. Sometimes there are 1 or 2 of these above the Pack, but often they are all below. However, studies have shown that the #1 organic position gets the most clicks (somewhere between 30% and 40% of all the clicks!)

Everyone Else. Besides Google you can get your business found on Bing, Yahoo, Houzz, Yelp, Angie's List, etc. You don't want to ignore all of these, but most businesses find that Google's traffic will dwarf all of these other sources put together.

There are 3 main tools to use:

local seo advice

Your Website. It all starts here. Google's bots scour the internet, adding new sites to their index. Once you are in the index (happens very quickly!) you can, potentially, be shown in a SERP. More than any other factor your website's content will determine if that happens.

The work you do on your website is referred to as “on-page” SEO. The words, pictures, and (to a limited extent) the code you use will tell Google who you are, what you do, where you do it. If you convey that effectively you will start showing up online.

My very next post will get into the specifics of on-page SEO, but if you are adventurous and want to dive in I suggest you start here. (Warning! That's a meaty article.)

Business Citations. A “citation” is an online listing that includes your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). Many of these will also include your website address. If you Google “Ross NW Watergardens” and click through the pages of results you will see hundreds of these. Why put all that effort into listings, many on sites that get little traffic (and never send us any)?

These citations tell Google that your business really exists, and exists where they think it does. This matters to them. A lot. Why?

A quality map has to be accurate. Google wants to be sure that if they send a person to your business that it will really be there. They want to be sure that the phone number they display will be answered by you.

Want to start building listings for your landscaping company? Use this list to guide you.

So, if you want to show up prominently in Google Maps, including the Local Pack, make sure you have a bunch of accurate citations. And be sure to make them as accurate as possible. The more business listings you have, with the exact same NAP, the better.

Links. When a website links to another Google views that as a vote of confidence. (There is more to it than that, but it is helpful to look at it that way.) The right kinds of links can be very beneficial. In fact, I can pinpoint my jump to Page 1 with Ross NW Watergardens to one specific link.

But here is the thing: a link is like fertilizer on a lawn. It can be great, promoting growth. But if you use it improperly? You get burned.

The important thing to know is this: You want links that are (1) natural and (2) relevant.

“Natural” means you don't buy links (just like you don't buy reviews or Facebook likes, right?) It also means that dozens (or more) do not appear in a short period of time.

“Relevant” links are related to your business in some way. For example, our Portland-based landscape company has (several thousand) links from a variety of sites. Some are relevant to our industry, other to our location. Some are related to niches we serve, like Mid-Century Modern homes and Japanese gardens.

How do you go about getting links? For now, don't. Focus on the citations at first. Many of them double as links, so you will really be killing two birds with one stone. Once your on-page SEO is killer and your citation profile is clean and deep you can dive into link earning.

Really want to get a couple links now? Leave me a comment below and I will email you 3 places to get a safe and valuable link today.

That wasn't so bad, was it?

Local search and local SEO is something you can do. It's easier than running multiple lawn mowing crews, easier than creating a quality koi pond, easier than raising kids while running a business.

Ready to tackle this? My next post will help you optimize your landscape or lawn care website.

In the meantime head over to the "Resources" page and get familiar with the tools we will be using.

Not interested in doing this yourself? Shoot me an email and I will recommend a professional who you can trust to help. Then you can go back to what you really know: landscaping.