Plumbing services tend to have very short sales cycles. If someone’s water heater breaks, they generally don’t spend a lot of time researching the competition, checking on licenses, and checking warranty terms before they call around. They just want their hot water back.

At Contractor Calls, we separate our clients into two big groups: service-focused companies and design-focused companies.

Service-focused companies, like plumbers and HVAC contractors, have comparatively short purchase cycles. You figure out the keywords, you rank for them, and then you get calls. The competition can be fierce, but the goal is clear.

Design-focused companies, like remodelers, general contractors, and landscapers, tend to have a very different sales cycle. These jobs can be much more expensive, take much longer to complete, and aren’t as time-sensitive. As a result, consumers spend more time shopping around, understanding their options, getting second opinions, considering DIY solutions, and more.

So if you’ve tried ranking your business for “custom homes near me” or “landscape design near me” and haven’t been happy with the results, you’re not alone. In this guide we’ll talk about a few of the ways design-focused contractors can use SEO to complement their sales cycles.

1. Don’t push for conversions too early

If customers need to take in a lot of information before they call you, then one of the worst things you can do is push for a conversion too early. Instead, lead users on a journey through your site that lets them see what you do best, so they’re already halfway sold by the time they call.

When we started working with Viking Pavers, one of the very first things we did was to add photo links to their gallery, throughout their site.

While it’s important to install paver patios on a generous sub-base of decomposed granite and aggregate, that kind of information will make most visitors’ eyes glaze over. Instead, we push them to visit the gallery and see Viking Pavers’ work for themselves, since that helps express the quality of their work better than a wall of text ever could.

A photo gallery is just one option, though. Consider video content, in depth-guides, and more.

2. Treat Every Page as The Only Page They’ll See

While we typically want visitors to hit as many pages as possible, that’s not always the case.

Many times, when a customer hits a landing page, they won’t go back and read your home page afterwards. They’ll go through the page they’re on and either continue on the journey, become a lead, or leave. That’s why it’s important to expose them to important information that they would have seen on other pages, even if it’s redundant.

For companies like Andrew G construction, that means showing visitors their general sales pitch on every landing page:

Don’t worry if the information is redundant. You can even use global sections to copy them across pages with minimal effort.

This supplemental content isn’t going to make or break your SEO, but it can help clients warm up to you in general, and the repeated exposure can help the message stick. Be sure to include any unique selling points here, such as warranties, guarantees, and financing options.

3. Make social media a part of your website

Many design-focused businesses look at social media as a tool that’s supposed to lead visitors to their website. And many more of them try to avoid sending users away from their website.

But the truth is that your social media can be a powerful way to build social credibility and keep your site more up-to-date.


Embedding an Instagram feed on Feifers Interior Designs’ website means that they can update customers with the latest installations and showroom items without having to go through us. That means faster, more frequent updates are possible, which can also create a sense of urgency for customers. Visitors can also click through to see (and follow) their feed, which helps tell the story that they’re a living, established, and popular business.

4. Make reviews a core part of your site

For services with longer purchase cycles, it’s basically inevitable that shoppers are going to check out your reviews. But instead of leaving it up to chance, you can direct that journey.

The first step is to build a reviews page on your site, and make it ridiculously easy to find. For design-focused clients, we make “see our reviews” as big of a priority as “contact us for an estimate. That means adding a link to the main menu and treating it as a CTA throughout your site.

Once they hit your reviews page, here’s what they should see:

  1. A heading and intro that makes it clear that they’re in the right place, and that you care about reviews as much as they do.
  2. A link to leave a review, which points to your preferred platform
  3. Links to each of your review pages, in order of priority.
  4. Embedded reviews from clients.

Next, go through your landing pages, embed a BIG review on each of them, and link back to your reviews page:

Needless to say, you actually need to claim your review pages, earn good reviews, and hopefully do some good work along the way too.

5. Expand Your Channels

Ranking first for your target keywords always helps, but it’s not your only option by a long shot. And for design-focused clients, only focusing on your target keywords can be a big mistake.

Service-focused companies tend to have shorter purchase cycles, less shopping around, and inflexible demand. If your air conditioner breaks, you don’t sit around asking “do I really need to get that fixed?”

Design-focused companies tend to have more flexible demand, and that’s a unique challenge. Someone in Orange County might not even realize that replacing their old aluminum railing with stainless steel cable railing is a worthwhile upgrade for their home, so companies like Orange County Cable Railing have to find new opportunities to introduce them to the idea.

Developing local content is a great way to help bridge that gap. Articles like “6 Breathtaking Rooftop Bars in Orange County” accomplish this in a few ways:

  1. It appeals to a significantly larger audience than articles about cable railings themselves.
  2. It narrows down the audience to people in, or interested in, Orange County.
  3. It appeals to people who have good disposable incomes to spend at swanky rooftop bars.
  4. It appeals to people who enjoy a good view.

Get the idea?

Of course, plenty of unqualified visitors click on it too, but as long as they can help make the article more popular through engagement, then they still help push the goals.

Overall, the trick is to focus on content that earns high engagement from a marginally-qualified audience. There’s only so much you can try to engineer this approach—overall, try a bunch of content types, social media networks, and other channels until you find a combination that clicks for your business. Then go for broke.

And if you need a little more guidance, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.