Climb Google’s rank

  • Get calls from more customers

  • Be found locally and over a wide area

  • Enjoy working for the customers you really want


In this article we cover everything you need to know about how tradie SEO helps tradies market their business.

This article is designed to explain different SEO strategies and how they can help your business. It’s not a to-do list of what you should do – it’s more of a detailed primer so that you can understand how it will help your business.

By the end of this article you’ll understand how SEO works and what to look for when trying to find an SEO company that will get you results.

Fact: Search Engine Optimisation is the best
marketing tradies can invest in

We’ve been working with tradies for more than 10 years and know, as an absolute fact, that Search Engine Optimisation
(SEO) is the best way to grow your business.

It’s more cost-effective than any other digital marketing strategy and is the best and most sustainable strategy you can invest in.

Additionally, SEO gets you the customers you really want – not the ones looking for multiple quotes from a service seeking website.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.

  • Google is a search engine

  • We ‘optimise’ your website to be found by search engines, just like Google, when someone searches for your services

  • This process is called Search Engine Optimisation

We optimise your website by:

  • Identifying what services you want to be found for

  • Researching what people are searching for in relation to the services you provide e.g. “hot water service”

  • And then we create content on your website that matches these services

  • Once your website has been optimised we then grow your rank by creating ongoing content, generating links and other continuous improvements

iFormat Expert SEO for Tradies

What does SEO for tradies do?

If you’re not too sure about what SEO does for you, these are some of the basics.

There are three main ways to get to the top of Google.

When someone searches for a service or product in Google, they normally get three types of results. They appear in this order on the Google results page:

  1. Google Ads
    • You pay when your ad is clicked
    • This is not an SEO strategy
  2. Google Maps
    • This is ‘organic’ and based on your location (but you can also pay for to be seen in locations you’re not found in)
    • This is SEO
  3. Google’s ‘organic’ results
    • This is SEO

A Google Ad is paid and is not related to SEO / organic strategies.

This is an example of a Google Ad. Here we have searched ‘electrician Melbourne’. And the first results people see are the paid ads.

Tradie SEO & Google Ads

If someone clicks on this ad, the company that is advertising pays a fee to Google. This is called pay-per-click (PPC).

In our experience, this is difficult for Tradies.

It’s high cost and can often result in a lot of wasted clicks (and cash!)

We have found that in many cases, people who click on Google Ads are price shopping. So they will click on the first thing they see to get quotes.

This is generally not the best strategy for tradies we work with.

The next set of results that are displayed are commonly known as Google Maps or the Local Pack.

This shows Google My Business listings and is a big part of SEO.

Effective SEO for Tradie's Local Search Visiblity

After the Google Maps results we then get the ‘organic search’ results. And this is where the gold is for tradies!

Here we see Briggs Electrical (our client) in position #1 for ‘electrician Melbourne’.

Rank 1st in Google

Position 1 gets the lion’s share of the traffic and is, ideally, where you want to be.

We also see great results for clients who rank between positions 2-5.

In our experience, the best way for you to find business is through Google Maps and Google’s organic or local search results.

All of which are ‘organic’ and therefore FREE. And these strategies are part of SEO.

Local SEO and organic SEO… is there a difference?

As a tradie, you have likely heard the terms ‘Organic SEO’ and ‘Local SEO’. And maybe you have
wondered if there is a difference.

Technically there is a big difference. But it’s all semantics really.

The same strategies are used – but you are targeting slightly different things.

What is Local SEO?

The main difference between organic and local SEO is that local SEO has a geographical component.

Take the search terms ‘Plumber Brisbane’ or ‘Painter North Melbourne’ as an example.

  • Someone searches for a specific trade followed by a location or suburb

  • This is a local search

  • And the strategy to rank for those phrases is called Local SEO

What’s great about local SEO?

Local SEO phrases imply genuine intent. People are looking for a trade in a specific area. And if you rank for it, this can mean you will receive a lot of phone calls!

And it is slightly different from organic SEO.

tradie advertising

What is Organic SEO?

Putting it as simply as possible: organic SEO is the same thing but without a ‘location’ part.

It has less to do with location and more to do with broader phrases. A common example of this might be someone searching ‘back stretch exercises’.

This does not mean that someone is looking for a physiotherapist. It just means they want to find out about some good exercises that they can do at home.

But this is where things can overlap. And this is why I say that it’s semantics.

Choosing the right keywords

Here’s an example of Local SEO and Organic SEO overlapping

In the following example, local SEO crosses over with organic SEO – and the results are similar.

In this screenshot you can see Google gives me plumbers near my location: Cleveland, QLD. But I did not add
a location to my search.

Example of Local SEO Rank
  • If someone searches just ‘plumber’

  • They will get results displaying plumbers that are nearest to them

  • This is because Google assumes the user wants a plumber and shows them local ones, because Google believes this is the best solution for the user

An example of Organic SEO for Tradies

We created a blog post for one of our tradies based in Melbourne’s Bayside, Watermaster Plumbing Solutions:

6 reasons a clean toilet still stinks – our Bayside plumber explains!

This blog generates more than 1000 visits per month on its own.

The table below shows that they get found in position 2 for the search phrase ‘why does my toilet smell bad’. (And it ranks for many more phrases too.)

SEO For Tradies

So whenever someone searches for the four phrases in this table – our client’s blog ranks #2.

And this particular blog gets more than 1000 visits.

This is organic SEO!

  • There is no location included in the search term

  • There is no clear intent to find a local tradie

  • It could be that people just want information – so Google shows this blog in the results as it is useful, helpful, relevant content

This blog is not specifically intended as a conversion tool – it is designed to help build ‘authority’ for the website. It is designed for the website to be found organically.

And because the content is great quality, it does a really good job of it.

So the net effect is the same as a ‘local’ search. Whether I search ‘plumber cleveland’ or simply ‘plumber’ I get similar, locally based results.

But you need to do SEO to be found for both types of phrases.

So this is an example of Organic SEO giving me Local SEO results without me adding a location to my search. As you can see, sometimes the difference between Local and Organic is blurred.

Targeting specific tradie services with SEO

So we have looked at targeting suburbs and cities and also being found on Google Maps. But what about targeting specific services?

Most tradies have certain services they enjoy doing or that they well are set up for and therefore they want to focus on these.

Let’s look at some data and services related to ‘electricians’ – which is an extremely competitive area for SEO.

Target Tradies SEO Keywords

This image shows that:

  • ‘Electrician Brisbane’ is searched 2,900 times per month

  • Has a Keyword Difficulty (KD) rating of 34 – which is ‘Possible’ (this is a rating determined by our SEO software called SEMRush.)

  • The cost per click for Google Ads is $11.75 (This means the business that is advertising would pay approx. $11.75 each time a user clicks their ad)

This tells us that:

  • This would be great for an electrician company in Brisbane to rank organically

  • This will be quite challenging and will take some time to rank

I would recommend targeting this for certain companies that either already have some established rank, or have a good budget to focus on this.

For a new company that is just starting SEO, we would recommend starting with other SEO phrases that are perhaps less competitive and more niche.

Let’s look at more specific search phrases:

Target Tradies SEO Keywords

‘Security cameras Brisbane’ and ‘security camera installation Brisbane’:

  • Are searched 390 times and 260 times / month, which is less than ‘electrician Brisbane’

  • These keywords are much easier to target, as they have a lower KD rating of ‘easy’

So if you’re an electrician who provides this service, you enjoy it, and it makes a decent return, then it becomes a no brainer to target!

Here’s another example:

Target Tradies SEO Keywords

The phrase ‘smoke alarm installation Brisbane’:

  • Is searched 210 times per month

  • And has a very low KD rating

We could then take this and mix it in with local SEO:

Target Tradies SEO Keywords

Here we can see that ‘Cleveland security cameras’ is searched 90 times per month and has a very low KD rating. So this could be great to target for a new business located in Cleveland.

So what would be the best SEO strategy for tradies to go for?

Choosing the best strategy usually depends on quite a few different factors but here’s a look at how we might make recommendations:

Keyword New Business Established business but with no existing SEO strategy Established business with a decent SEO strategy
Electrician Brisbane

  • – 2900 searches / month
  • – High competition
  • – High search volumes
No… for a new business we would not recommend targeting this. Maybe… if you can afford to invest in SEO. Definitely… If you already have some rank and want to grow this is definitely what you should target.
Security cameras Brisbane

  • – 390 searches / month
  • – Lower competition
  • – Good search volumes
Not recommended… It would take a while to rank for and it would depend on your budget. Recommended… if you can afford to invest in SEO. Definitely recommended…
Smoke alarm installation

  • – 210 searches / month
  • – Easy competition
Recommended… Any phrase like this is great for new businesses as it is easier to rank for. Recommended… Any phrase like this is great for established businesses who want to start SEO as it is easier to rank for. Maybe – but this would not be a big focus. We’d be aiming for the big stuff!
Cleveland security cameras

  • – 90 searches / month
  • – Easy competition
  • – Very low search volume
Recommended… Any phrase like this is great for new businesses as it is easier to rank for. Recommended… Any phrase like this is great for businesses starting SEO as it is easier to rank for. Maybe – but it would not be a big focus. We’d be aiming for the big stuff!

If you operate in Cleveland you’d be found anyway.

Targeting cities with SEO

Generally speaking, the ‘big cities’ are the most highly searched and competitive phrases to target.

This is an example of some searches within cities:

Targeting cities SEO

We can see that:

  • They all have a high search volume

  • The trends stays steady all year round (which is good as the demand for these searches is not seasonal)

As you would expect however, the competition is higher than the suburbs we looked at earlier. Let’s look at some more smaller suburbs searches below. Here you can see:

  • Lower volumes

  • Lower competition

Local SEO Strategy
Local SEO Strategy

So what is best SEO target for tradie:
local suburbs, big cities, or organic SEO?

We could write a whole blog post on this itself but we’ll try to keep it as
simple as possible.

The shortest answer is it depends on you:

Where are you at with ranking now?

  • If your site has just started then you should focus on local suburbs first

  • If you have been doing SEO for some time – then you might want to start on the big cities

What is your goal?

  • Do you want to grow as much as possible?

    • Then targeting the cities is a great thing to do
  • Do you want to stay quite small and keep it simple?

    • Targeting the local suburbs is enough
  • Do you want to work on corporate, commercial, or industrial jobs?

    • Here, targeting the cities might be great
  • Do you want to focus on small quick jobs – in and out for cashflow?

    • Then targeting domestic and local suburbs might work

What budget do you have?

  • Can you sustain an investment in SEO before getting a really good ROI?

    • Then targeting cities or more competitive phrases would be good for you in the long term
  • Is your budget limited?

    • Maybe you’ve just started or maybe you have just taken on a new Tradie and had to pay for tools and a vehicle?
    • If so – let’s keep it simple with the suburbs


  • You

    • An SEO strategy won’t work for you unless we really know what you want to achieve
  • Your business

    • An SEO strategy should work with where your business is now – and where you want to take it
  • Your team’s skills

    • From what we’ve seen with our clients, employing tradies and keeping them is the hardest thing to do. We try to find the jobs you and your team really want and that tends to keep everyone happy!
  • Your goals

    • We want to be with you for the long-haul so we need to know, and work with your short, medium and long term goals
  • Your budget

    • Depending on where you are in your business we may need to work with a budget that suits you. This can change what phrases, and how many we target.

And once your SEO agency knows this, they should tailor the most effective SEO strategy for you.

What you should look for when choosing an SEO agency for your trade business:
4 questions you must ask

When looking for an SEO agency for tradies (in fact for any industry) there are a few questions
you should always ask.

Question 1:
Can you show us some examples of good SEO rankings you have for different trades?

There’s lots of tradie marketing companies that you can find by doing a quick Google search. But do they actually get results for their clients? And can they show you examples?

Usually not.

If you’re looking for SEO, you want to get into the top positions on Google.

And an SEO agency should be able to show you tradies they have worked with that they got into the top 3 for some of the most important and competitive phrases such as:

  • Electrician Melbourne

  • Metal roof installation Melbourne

  • Auto locksmith Melbourne

There are all ‘city’ phrases and are usually the most competitive phrases to target but they always have great search volumes.

next for seo

Question 2:
Can you show good ranking results for high competition phrases?

Did you know that different phrases have different levels of competition or difficulty?

For example, a phrase like ‘electrician sydney’ is rated, by our SEO software, SEMRush as 35/100. This search term difficulty is deemed ‘Possible’.

Electrician Sydney Difficulty

This means you’ll need to work hard to get to the top positions for this phrase. But it would be worth it as it is searched 2,400 times per month.

Usually phrases with high search volumes (the number of times the phrase is searched every month) are higher competition. This is because everyone wants to be found for them!

On the other hand, ‘electrician Bondi Beach’ has a Keyword Difficulty score of 0. This means it is very easy to rank for. However, the search volume is low, too.

Electrician Sydney Keyword Difficulty

A good tradie SEO agency will be able to show you good rankings for competitive phrases.

Question 3:
Can you show us good Local SEO rankings for tradies?

As you can see above, suburb / local phrases can have lower search volumes than city-based phrases, but it is still very important to target suburbs.

In our experience, the best conversions you will get are from ranking in your local suburbs.

Customers like to use local tradies and usually search for a tradie who is close by to them. Most tradies we work with want this too, as it means less time spent on the road between jobs, and more time spent with clients! This is a win-win situation.

The agency you choose must be able to show great ranking results for a range of trades across a range of suburbs.

And importantly, they must be able to show you that they have tradies being found in suburbs where the search volumes are good.

Let’s look at those ‘electrician Bondi’ phrases again.

Local SEO Tradies Keywords

Low volume, low competition… it’s good to be there but it won’t grow your business on its own.

Now let’s look at something more highly searched:

Local SEO Tradies Keywords

‘Electrician Northern Beaches’ is searched 590 times per month, which is a great search volume. Better yet, it also has a KD of “easy”.

This is fantastic: high volume teamed with low competition. This is what we call SEO GOLD!

And here is our client, Sydney-based electrician Plateau Electrical, ranking #1 for it.

Local SEO Tradies Keywords

‘Electrician Manly’ has a decent search volume of 170:

Local SEO Tradies Keywords

This is much better than ‘electrician Bondi Beach’ and therefore a much better suburb to target.

And this is part of our SEO strategy – making sure that we analyse and choose the right suburbs that will get you business.

Local SEO Tradies Keywords

‘Electrician Fairlight’ is a suburb near Manly. But this specific term is only searched 10 times per month.

So the better strategy is to go for ‘Manly’.

Did we mention our electrician ranks #1 for that too?

Local SEO Tradies Keywords

So remember to ask your SEO agency to show you good rankings for local suburbs.

Question 4:
Are your tradie websites well-built?

Many agencies build websites for tradies.

But there is a question we need to ask:

Are those websites built for SEO?

A well-built website is critical for good SEO. And just as you know, not all tradies do great work like you.

There will always be cowboys who do a good-looking job but not one that works well under the hood that adheres to correct practises.

So here’s our top 5 elements your website must meet in order to succeed in SEO.

Your website must be:

  1. Secure
  2. Fast (on both desktop and mobile)
  3. Mobile-friendly
  4. Well-built with low technical errors
  5. Easily ‘indexable’ by Google and other search engines

You can find out more about this here but always ensure you are getting a well-built, optimised website.

If an SEO Agency can’t answer these questions well, then you need to consider other options!

In summary:
what you should have learned

If you’ve read to the bottom of this article, firstly, well done! Secondly, we hope you found it useful.

Hopefully now you have a good idea of:

Choosing the right keywords
  • How SEO works

  • Why SEO is great for tradies

  • How local SEO is an important strategy for tradies

  • Some of the subtle differences between SEO, Local SEO, and Google My Business

  • An understanding of how these different types of SEO all work together

  • What phrases you can target depending on what kinds of business you have and services you offer

  • What you need to ask an agency before signing up with them

If you have any questions at all, please call us – we are always happy to chat!