It may be ironic that just as I was to review the excellent Means-of-Production Blog, I received an email from Sarajean Fritsch at Steelsmith, Inc., telling me about problems with some of the blog listings in our directory — including the Means-of-Production blog. It seems there had been a change in the URL from its original submission, which I never updated. So if you had gone looking for this blog you would have ended up in the wrong place (at least until just before I write this story!)
This is a reminder of course that things change, and we need to be continuously up-to-date on trends and the details and to never assume that links work forever. They don’t.
I’m not faulting Means-of-Construction blogger Michael Conway for this mistake. It seems when I was updating the list of entries from 2015 to 2016 for the competition, I didn’t notice the change — and so just replicated my old entry. So, for months now, we’ve been directing readers to the ether.
The relevance of these observations is that Conway’s blog provides a truly useful resource for anyone thinking of SEO, blogging, and communication — especially if you work in the residential construction area.
There is some really useful information under the blog’s rubric: Marketing Advice for Architectural, Interior Design, landscape and Design-Build Firms.
As an example, consider this post: Search Engine Optimization Services are a Waste of Money: Here’s Why.
He points out that it is becoming increasingly difficult for small, individual businesses to achieve prominence, in a part because of the dominance (and budget) of large-scale aggregators and review websites, and because, realistically, individuals won’t find much value generally in discovering single firm listings if they are conducting widespread, generic searches. The answer is to build attention and catch readers through the long-tail keywords relevant to your business, and you can do this through effective blogging and content marketing.
Search engine optimization is the foundation for attracting built environment leads. As long as Google search continues to thrive as a research tool, search engine optimization will be necessary. Here’s the caveat, one service page will not do much. Multiple pages with long tail keywords used in context are your best first option. This means blogging frequently. We like to start with one blog per week and more if the marketing budget allows for it. The key is to create value with your blog articles so that your readers share them on social media and organizations link back to your website.
There are other strategies, he advises.
Google may dominate your prospective client’s first step when looking for home improvement services, but even Google has research that shows people look at a company 30 times on average before signing a contract. Houzz is an example where people skip Google altogether and fish where the fish are. Google would be an extra step that does not need to be taken.
Search engine optimization is not just optimizing your website for Google. Know where your buyers spend their time online and build an organic presence. To use Houzz as an example once again, conduct keyword research, write descriptions and titles for each image you post to your project portfolios and make certain to create ideabooks and comment on the work of other Houzz members. Don’t wait around until your competitors do this first. This is the future, and you need to follow this strategy or keep overspending on traditional advertising (With limited results.) Using search engine algorithms to your advantage is so much smarter than spending money on tactics that no longer work.
This is solid advice, and another reminder of the importance of really thoughtful blogging. Thankfully, after fixing my mistake, you’ll be able to find Conway’s blog — and vote for it — in this year’s Best Construction Blog competition. It is a worthy entry.