If you’re a kitchen designer or remodeling company looking to optimize your website for local search, you may have heard the term “local SEO for contractors.” In the past, local SEO was primarily focused on incorporating specific keywords or phrases into your website and building links from other relevant websites to improve your position after a Google search.

These tactics were believed to be effective in helping businesses rank higher in local search results and attract more customers. However, the way that search engines and Google in particular evaluate and understand websites has evolved well beyond just looking at keywords and links. In this blog post, we’ll delve into how local SEO has changed and how organizing your website’s content around topics, rather than just keywords, can actually be more effective in helping you rank in local search results.

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Do keywords help search engines understand the topic of your website?

Organizing your website’s content around topics, rather than just keywords, can be more effective in helping you rank in search results. Keywords can reveal different terms used to search for similar results, but they do not capture the semantic relationship that topics can. In fact, John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, has recently stated that “search engines will get better over time at understanding more than just the words on a page.” This shift towards understanding the context and relationships within content, rather than just individual keywords, highlights the importance of organizing your website’s content by topic and interlinking that content into clustered pages.

Changes in search engine algorithms

Throughout the 2020’s, Google algorithms have undergone many changes and updates in order to provide users with more relevant and accurate search results. One area that has seen significant changes is kitchen and bath marketing. With the rise of Google’s local service ads and the increasing importance of online sales for businesses, it has become more important than ever for kitchen and bath companies to have a strong online presence and optimize their marketing efforts for search engines. To this end, search engines have implemented a number of algorithms specifically designed to better understand and rank the content related to home services, including factors such as the quality and relevance of GBP company descriptions, on-page content, user reviews, and bounce rate on a company’s website. These changes have had a significant impact on how kitchen and bath companies approach their online marketing strategies and have helped to level the playing field for small and large businesses alike.

Increased emphasis on content quality and context

At the end of the summer of 2022 Google rolled out their helpful content update that prioritizes websites offering answers to common questions. This is an excellent new avenue to quickly improve website search results. Think of it as the modern day “FAQ” page. It is important to focus on providing helpful content, rather a bunch of articles with thin content that are stuffed with keywords, in order to gain an advantage over competitors and make your website rank higher in local search results.

Furthermore, Google has placed a greater emphasis on content quality and context, which includes considering the intent behind a user’s query. When optimizing for local search results, it is important to consider topics related to your business/industry within your website content and ensure that you are providing clear and accurate answers to any questions posed by users regarding your services or products.

As mentioned previously, search engines are now focusing on understanding the context of a website rather than just looking at individual keywords. This means that businesses must create quality content that is focused around specific topics related to their industry and common questions from their target audience. Additionally, having an organized site with interlinking content can help search engines better understand the context of a page and assist in ranking it accurately.

The role of topics in search evaluation

Crafting your website content and internal linking into individual, distinct topics or categories is integral in communicating to Google the overall purpose of your company’s website. Siloing or clustering content into buckets can be leveraged for SEO purposes, helping search engine crawlers make sense of the relevance of a site to particular subjects.

By organizing content into silos, a website can better signal to Google the depth and breadth of its coverage on a particular topic, which can help to increase its overall relevancy and improve its search rankings. In contrast, a website with poorly siloed content or one that simply sprinkles a few targeted keywords onto a landing page without any clear organization may be seen as less relevant to Google and may struggle to rank well for those keywords.

Examples of how local businesses can optimize their websites using topics

To illustrate the advantages of topical clustering on local SEO efforts, just consider a Google ranking report. Upon inspecting it, you may notice that some keywords and articles are not performing well and consequently decide to delete them although they bolster your website’s overall relevance. Frequently this will lead to an unexpected decrease in rankings for pages with similar topics – even when no modifications have been made – as Google discerns that there is less content or natural language regarding those targeted web pages. This is a prime example of Google looking at the complete website and the topics that it discusses rather than one very well-optimize landing page or blog post.

Researching and identifying relevant topics

There are several ways to research and identify relevant topics for a website that promotes kitchen and bathroom remodeling services:

Keyword research: Use a keyword research tool such as ahrefs to identify the most popular and relevant keywords related to kitchen and bath remodeling. Look for long-tail keywords that are specific to your services and location.

Competitor analysis: Look at the content on other websites which appear in the Google Serps for the keyword phrase you want to rank, particularly what content is in the H1 headings and H2 Headings of the landing page for your local competitors that rank well in search results. This can give you an idea of the topics and keywords that are most important in your industry to Google.

Customer feedback: Send off an email survey to ask your customers what questions they have about kitchen and bath remodeling, or what topics they would like to see covered on your blog or in a podcast. This can give you valuable insights into the information that your audience is looking to consume.

Industry events and news: Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the kitchen and bath remodeling industry by attending NKBA webinars and reading industry publications. This can help you identify new and emerging topics that may be of interest to your audience.

Engage with your audience on social media: Use Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok to connect with your audience and get a sense of the topics and questions they are interested in. You can also use social media to promote your content and get feedback on its relevance and value.

Incorporating topics into website content and structure

Once you have identified the topics that are important to your target audience, it’s time to incorporate them into your website content as well as your guest posts that link back to your site and GBP profile. Start by creating local landing pages for each of the services or products you offer that incorporates local points of interest and local terminology. This will allow search engines to more easily recognize the relevance of these pages to local searches.

You should also consider creating content that covers the topics you’ve identified as important to your local audience. This content can take the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts, or even local events and promotions. Whatever format you choose, make sure it is localized.

The benefits of a topic-based approach to local SEO

By writing more long-form topic based content, you can increase your expertise value in your site’s E-A-T score. It should be noted that in November, 2022, Hyung-Jin Kim, the VP of Google Search was quoted as saying, E-A-T is used in every single query, it is applied to everything Google Search does. “E-A-T is a core part of our metrics“. In addition, a topic-based approach can be more engaging for users, as it allows you to provide them with more comprehensive and useful information, which only feeds into Google’s helpful content update. This can help to improve the user experience and increase the likelihood that users will interact with your website, such as by making a purchase or contacting you for more information.

Improved search engine rankings

Instead of optimizing for a specific keyword or phrase, you can create content that covers a particular topic in depth and targets a variety of related keywords and phrases. This can help you increase your website’s rank for a wider range of relevant searches, which can increase the visibility of your business and drive more traffic to your website.

In addition, a topic-based approach can be more engaging for users, as it allows you to provide them with more comprehensive and useful information. This can help to improve the user experience and increase the likelihood that users will interact with your website, spend more time on your site thereby reducing the bounce rate and improving time on site. Most importantly, this can help drive consumer confidence in your offerings and lead to them making a purchase or contacting you for more information.

Enhanced user experience and engagement

Mike Goldstein
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