In the last five years, IBIS World records that due to the growth in property sale both domestic and commercial, the demand for landscaping products and services has increased tremendously. The annual revenue of landscaping business is around $76 billion, with a yearly growth of 3.4%. In fact, landscape design, especially residential topography and neighborhood development plans account for almost 40% of the total landscaping industry revenue.
Over the years the landscaping industry has flourished, bringing in new ideas to embellish natural spaces with softscape and hardscape elements. The landscape business covers all geographical locations from urban settings to the highlands and suburbs.
A 1790 survey suggests that the landscaping business at the time heavily relied on the 95% of all American population that lived in the countryside. Most people, even now, live in villages; while many like settling in places like New York City or Boston.
This suggests that the sky is your limit! The sprawling land of American soil is a plus point for any landscaping company. The availability of landscaping projects ranging from residents and offices to universities and government properties is marvelous. Remember that where there is opportunity, there is competition.
So how can you reach out to all these clients before your competitors do?
Marketing Landscaping Business Online
We are in a digital epoch – a time when internet plays a major role in everyday life. Despite the demographic and geographic differences, everyone unites at one place: the web. In such a scenario, if your landscape design and maintenance company doesn’t have an online presence, then you are purposely slaying the growth of your landscaping business. So how do you plan your online strategy? (+)
Tom Cochran, in his article The 4 Building Blocks of a Strong Digital Presence (2014), has written, “If you don’t have a digital presence today, you don’t exist.” This is the sole truth of the 21st century and beyond. He further emphasized on the four building blocks of digital presence, which are:
The above are surely, what you need to focus on when branding and marketing your landscaping business online. As suggested by Moz Blog, in an all-encompassing way, the core of your business’s digital existence is determined by three things:
- Social media
However, this is not all that you need to know. At the end of the day, all your efforts and investments work towards attracting strangers to your website and converting those visitors into leads and customers, and then even promoters. This is what HubSpot defines as the model of inbound marketing. In this you, as a landscaping company, don’t have to run after customers. Instead you entice your target market into looking at your services and availing them by providing solutions to their problems.
The Hub of Your Digital Presence
I will focus on your website because that is the online hub of your business. Your blog and social media platforms connect easily with your site, and work towards ultimately bringing traffic to your landing pages. Whether you are a startup, a small business or an enterprise belonging to the landscaping industry, you need a website for the following reasons. (+)
Store And Share Your Portfolio
You can display your landscape design sketches as well as the final execution. Your online portfolio can be as interactive as you want. It can be in a form of a presentation, slideshow or video. You can group your projects into categories such as landscape lighting, drainage and irrigation, planting, and water features etc.
Extend Your Business Reach
Not having a website in this digital age is equivalent to isolating your landscape business to a limited region. This is a wrong strategy unless you want to remain a small-scale company. A website is like all your marketing material in one place. You can reach clients across the U.S.A faster than word-of-mouth and print marketing. Even if you wish to be local, you need to extend your arms.
Why Optimize Website For Local Search?
At the end of the day, you want to allure customers enough to buy your various landscape planning, designing and development services, plus maintenance products and equipment. No matter what kind of a landscape corporation you are, you should optimize your landscaping website for local search. Why? (+)
- 40% of all online users search by location
- 18% of local searches lead to sales
- 80% users focus on organic results not paid
- 94% of users only look at Google’s first page
Optimizing your website for local search has several benefits for your landscaping company, the search engine and the user. When you optimize your website using search engine optimization techniques, you are opening the gates of your website.
For example, if you had a physical store for providing planting services and prospective clients came to visit. You wouldn’t stand at the door or further away from your office to talk to them about your business and services. You will invite them in and show them around, show your portfolio and the way you plan landscape architecture.
This is what you need to do online. A website is like your office or shop. You need to make it accessible for search engine bots and users to reach it and then enter it to explore all your content.
In optimizing your landscape corporate website, Google plays a major role. It is a dominant search engine in the world and the most sophisticated one. It is smart and leaves no stone unturned just to help online users find their answers and solutions in a jiffy. Moreover, it may seem that Google is restricting you in many ways, but in fact, it is somewhat a blessing in disguise. It challenges web designers, web developers, HTML and CSS coders and marketers to make your landscaping website as good as it can get.
Things To Know About Google
How is Google the most popular search engine? On an average, it processes more than 40,000 searches in a second up until 2012. The number of search queries rose to 100 billion per month, as compiled by DMR. The search engine giant enjoys 70% of the total market share.
In a year, Google makes changes to its algorithm around 600 times. These are mostly minor, but at times, it rolls out major updates like Google Panda and Google Penguin. These alterations affect the search results in many important ways.
Google has become all about ‘local’. This means that if a user searches for ‘backyard design ideas for spring’ then the results will focus around that country, state, city or town.
For your landscape business marketing, it is a great idea to keep a track of these changes. It can help you plan your strategies to rank higher in SERPs and be in the top ten organic search results. It will also help optimize your landscaping and landscape architecture company website.
With the Google Pigeon release in 2014, Google Maps results underwent major changes affecting local businesses within the landscape industry niche. Although the page ranking factors have changed, Google My Business still gets you free leads from 97% of customers finding local landscape planning, designing and maintaining services and products.
To get meaningful traffic to your website, get listed on reviewing sites such as Google My Business. Travis Pflanz, a digital marketing and SEO strategist, highlights that “With more than 90% of consumers researching online before ever contacting a business, positive public business reviews are very important for every small business”. Google displays ratings and reviews prominently on it’s search results page.
Change Location Option
Users don’t have the opportunity of changing their location to receive different results on this search engine. This is a great news for local businesses, as international companies will not overtake their target market. Search is becoming local day-by-day.
Ways to Optimize Your Landscaping Company Website for Local Search
Optimizing your website for local search will help you reach local markets for both business to business (B2B) marketing and business to customer (B2C). There are many ways to optimize your landscape business website for local search. (+)
Make Good Web Content
Your web page ranking heavily depends on the content of your corporate website, and its subsequent landing pages. Rich Missey, SEO Consultant and Manager, in Does the current traffic of a website affect the rankings in SEO? says, “A website’s traffic does not have a direct impact on its rankings within organic search results.” You should remember this point for your landscaping website as well. There are chances that your traffic is high but so is the bounce rate. You need to make sure that you engage your visitor so much so that they become your customers. Thus, make relevant, interactive and credible content for Bing, Yahoo, Google or MSN spiders to notice you.
What is good content? The answer to this, from an SEO perspective, depends on:
Supply The Demand
In the landscaping business, clients are searching online mainly for services. People in the United States are searching for solutions regarding ploughing, mowing, gardening, tree cutting, backyard designing, DIY lawn care projects, fertilizing, seeding, mulching, pruning and Spring/Fall cleanups etc.
The demand for services, products and content change with the season. In winter, people are looking for ploughing services and in summer for mowing.
When you are selling your house to a potential customer, you do a lot of marketing. You connect the front lawn with the backyard, or the kitchen with the dining room then to the bathroom. When you do the same for online web content, it means you’re linking one page to another. While external link helps you in proving your customers that you’ve done research, you need to do internal linking.
For example, if visitors reach the homepage of your landscaping website. You will link this page to the one where you have defined the services you offer. Then you direct your visitor to one of your landing pages where they can make a purchase.
Humans process visuals 60,000 times more than any written content. Erik Newton, Senior Director of Marketing at BrightEdge explains in his article Image SEO and Marketing – Visual Content Marketing and Conversion that “Brands that already use custom visual content see conversion rates that are about 7 times higher than other sites. This makes sense when one considers that for most people, 83 percent of their learning is visual.” Visual content such as videos, GIFs, images and infographics are a great way to engage your visitors in order to reduce the bounce rate of your website, and attract them towards your offers.
Focus On Local Keywords
In order to make your landscaping business website local, you need to use local words. This means that in your website pages you must add a local address, area code and number. You can use the city name to emphasize that you offer landscape design and maintenance services to a specific local market.
In fact, you can use geo-targeting on your location-based landing pages. If you are a company providing landscaping products and services to different local markets across America, then this strategy will work for you when visitors from a corresponding geo-location search for similar content as in your web pages.
If you are a landscape design online website, or an e-commerce online store focusing on selling machines, gadgets and products related to landscape designing and nurturing, then linking each of your landing pages to a single different location will help with what Google calls relevancy in local search.
Keyword Quantity And Quality
At a time, you could flood your web page with a single most popular keyword. However, since search engines have become smarter so you can’t simply expect to be ranked higher if all you have used is the words ‘landscape’ and ‘landscaping’. You have to extend your research on keywords valuable search engine optimization. You can refer to the landscaping industry glossary and take help from Google Trends.
While doing this, make sure that you use long-tail keywords.
Example: Mrs. Robinson, a middle-aged woman from Pennsylvania is finding it hard to maintain her garden on a low budget. She wants a way to find a solution for her problem. So, she uses her Android phone to search for an answer. She types in ‘cheap garden maintenance services’ or ‘affordable ways to maintain my garden’. Either way, for a target market like her you know that three words are key, ‘garden’, ‘maintenance’, and ‘low-budget’.
In order to make long and relevant keywords for SEO for your business niche, you need make a buyer persona. Once done, you will know the kind of people searching for services and products you provide.
Optimize The Nitty-Gritty
The Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide by Google gives an overview on how anyone can optimize your web further with title tags, description and URL. For landscape planning and designing companies, this knowledge is important. It will help your local target customers find you easily online.
A title tag is the topic of a particular web page of your website. Each page of your site should have a unique title. In the HTML code, it is defined by the <head> tag. For your clients to find you, it is important that you use landscaping industry keywords. These words and phrases should match your the nature of your business.
What do you think of this title?
<head>Find Out Some Secrets</head>
It is vague, incomplete, and tells visitors nothing about what “secrets” they will find.
A better title is…
<head>Find Out The Secrets To Sustainable Gardening</head>
In this example, not only are you enticing strangers to visit your website, but you are telling them about what’s on the page.
However, the title is still general because there is no ‘local’ feel to it. It should then be:
<head> Welcome Floridians! Find Out The Secrets To Sustainable Gardening</head>
*Remember: Google displays only the first 55 to 60 characters of the title tag.
The page’s description, offers you more character space than the title tag. It too should be relevant, local and captivating. Some examples are as follows.
- Make sure you summarize the specific web page, concisely.
- Each page must have a unique meta-description.
- Use suitable keywords that match your business.
- Add local words (city names, demonyms of U.S.A states).
You must somewhat follow the same strategies to develop a URL, as you used for meta-titles and descriptions. Just make sure your URL is short, befitting the page’s theme and uses the target keyword. For example ‘/landscaping-techniques-for-urban-settlers.’ Since Google holds much of the market, make a URL suiting its requirements. It will only benefit you.
Schema is a kind of micro data that will make it easier for assorted search engines to analyze and interpret information (visual and written) on your landscaping website. It is an effective way to help spiders categorize your web pages on relevant search results page based on the search queries of users.
The Kissmetrics Online Marketing Blog shares that “Schema tells the search engines what your data means, not just what it says.” For example, if I only write ‘Iowa landscaping’, search engines will detect that this is all about landscaping in Iowa but how will it know that this is in fact a name of a company. Here you use the Schema tag to define the two words.
Schema.org is a website created for schema markup by a joint venture by Yahoo, Bing and Google. It is a collaborated project by the three competitors only to make it easier for coders to follow a standard set of rules.
*Bonus Tips For Local Search*
While on-site SEO is very important, you must do some off-page search engine optimization.(+)
Get Listed and Reviewed
Nicole Martin in How to Optimize Your Site for Local SEO (2016) writes, “Reviews help build confidence in a brand’s products and/or services, which helps accelerate the path to conversions.” More than an advertisement, a word-of-mouth counts even in the online world.
By offering customers the ability to review and rate your business regarding horticulture per say, you are making your company appear credible to the search engines and to other prospective clients.
How can you do this? Send e-mails to customers, who have used your services, for feedback. Ask them questions regarding your customized pricing packages for gardening, or the quality of your backyard maintenance products. This way you’ll know your strengths and weaknesses. Another way is to be present on all the review sites to increase the chances of firstly getting reviews, and secondly getting a higher ratio of good comments. All this time, make sure you respond and engage.
Nigel Edelshain in Why You Will Probably Need Help with Online Directories writes, “Directory listings are the number one factor in determining ranking in local search, accounting for as much as 30% of “Google juice” per Moz’s 2015 local SEO study.” So now, you understand why ratings and reviews matter.
Share Consistent Information
The job of all search engines, especially Google, is to provide users with the best solutions for their queries. To make it easier for search engines and customers know about you, you need to make sure that your basic information is consistent on all local directories, such as on Google My Business, Info USA, Acxiom, Experian, Super Pages, Yelp, Foursquare, Yahoo Local, City Search, eZlocal, Yellow Pages, Alexa and Dex Knows etc.
Put accurate information (URL, company’s name, address and phone numbers) in your various social media accounts. It doesn’t matter what is the size of your company, and no matter if it’s a physical office or a digital service like Plowz & Mowz, you need to specify authentic information online as part of your white-collar SEO.
Now it is time to practice what you have learned.
Look at the infographic below to find visual hacks to optimize your landscaping website.
Embed this Infographic on your site using the html below: