As online marketing continues to outperform traditional, outbound marketing, the pool industry has adapted to digitization better than many. Yet, curiously, the industry faces many of the same problems as it did in past decades. One such problem lies less with finding customers and more with meaningfully communicating with them. Still, as COVID-19 starts to retreat and a brighter future lies in wait, competition, as regards both, may only spike. Fortunately, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) does much more than its name implies, including addressing these concerns. With this in mind, we have compiled 7 SEO tips for pool and spa companies to help you get started.
What is SEO?
First and foremost, let us very briefly define SEO. SEO is a series of practices that optimizes pages and content for search engines, and in turn, for humans too. To do so, it comes in three main subsets:
- On-page SEO: this subset optimizes on-page elements, such as images and layouts.
- Off-page SEO: in contrast, off-page SEO addresses off-page activities that benefit your website, such as link-building.
- Technical SEO: finally, this subset focuses on your website’s technical health.
These aside, a notable category of SEO is local SEO. This one focuses on Google My Business (GMB) and specifically caters to local audiences instead of general ones. In turn, it spearheads many local marketing efforts — and continues to be embraced by pool companies for this reason.
Aligning Your SEO With Customer-Centric Strategies
With the above in mind, we may next briefly touch on the overall purpose and benefits of SEO. For the pool industry, the primary concern is often not to find customers but to focus on your customers. For this reason, you may prefer to focus your efforts on providing an impeccable User Experience (UX) through it, as the two overlap significantly.
To illustrate this, let us cite some relevant research:
- Customer-centricity boosts your SEO: A customer-centric strategy undeniably helps satisfy your customers. At the same time, Hubspot finds that satisfied users produce better user engagement signals, which boost your SEO in return.
- Both enhance customer acquisition: Similarly, SEO generates leads, as WebFx confirms, which constitutes the first step toward acquiring customers. Then SEO and customer-centricity help satisfy potential customers and synergies toward that end.
- The two synergies toward customer retention: Finally, a customer-centric, SEO-friendly website produces a better UX and thus helps retain customers. Semrush echoes a wealth of research that agrees retention is crucial, as it costs less than acquisition. Moreover, existing customers make higher and more frequent purchases across all industries, naturally including the pool industry.
7 SEO Tips for Pool and Spa Companies
All that said, SEO is very expansive at its core. Backlinko identifies over 200 ranking factors, which take considerable time and resources to cater to. Moreover, each industry has its unique characteristics that inform cost-efficiency, scope, and so forth.
With that in mind, let us cover the basics of SEO and how they address the pool industry’s specific needs.
1) Build your database and segment your audiences
The very first step toward any successful marketing strategy of almost any kind comes with personalization. That is why customer-centricity remains a prevalent principle and why each SMART goal session begins with pinpointing one’s audiences. Put simply; marketing outreach works best when you know exactly who you are reaching out to.
To address this, you may begin by building your database. You may do so by consulting your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, and segmenting your audiences based on criteria like:
- Demographics: your audiences’ demographics, such as race, sex, age, education and income.
- Psychographics: your audiences’ psychographics, such as values, interests and perceived needs.
- Behavioral segmentation: your audiences’ behavior patterns, such as purchase and interaction history.
Of course, such insights will offer invaluable help toward crafting buyer personas and customer journey mapping. But in regards to SEO, they will inform your content strategies.
2) Focus on local SEO
With your segmentation in place, you may then begin to work toward SEO. The pool industry, however, typically values local audiences more than general ones. Even if that’s not the case for you, local SEO offers the unique, ever-valuable benefit of local visibility, so SEO tips for pool and spa companies cannot exclude it.
So, you may begin with the fundamentals of local SEO, as highlighted in our aforelinked article. Namely, in brief:
- Create or claim your GMB listing.
- Optimize it by adding photos and crucial information, such as contact information (NAP), working hours and services.
- Add links to your social media profiles and website to let general SEO take over.
- Encourage local reviews and citations.
- Add local keywords to posts, file titles, and so forth.
3) Pick your keywords carefully
On the subject of keywords, both general and local SEO require utmost attention to keyword choices. Building content around keywords serves to satisfy the search intent of your audiences, as our SEO tips for pool and spa companies will cover next. It thus doesn’t serve to satisfy Google’s algorithms — on the contrary; it hinges on actually offering value to your customers.
A quick Google search will return many keyword lists, both general and industry-specific. Marketkeep offers one for the pool industry, for instance. However, keyword value changes all the time, and strongly relies on your own strategies and brand identity as well.
Thus, you may wish to rely on keyword research tools instead. Some of the most popular and powerful ones include:
- Google Keyword Planner
4) Match your users’ search intent with excellent content
Ultimately, putting your keyword research to use means matching your users’ search intent through them. In simple terms, search intent is exactly what the name suggests; what your audiences expect their search to offer them.
The primary reasons why you should strive to do so are equally simple:
- Your audiences care for it. Visitors who don’t find what they’re looking for will leave your website, denying you a potential customer.
- Google cares for it. Google deeply cares for search intent too, and Moz finds they treat it as a ranking factor that fuels SEO.
- Your marketing benefits from it. Finally, as Moz notes too, search intent can help your content marketing bridge sales funnel stages.
SearchEngineJournal helpfully explains the 3 types of user intent:
- Informational. Such searches seek information, and constitute the overwhelming majority of searches.
- Navigational. These searches seek to navigate to specific pages or websites, and primarily come from existing prospects.
- Transactional. Finally, these searches carry transactional intent; local searches often belong to this group.
So, you may explore Google search results, People Also Ask panels, and other places to determine search intent behind your chosen keywords. As you do, examine the pool industry’s trends for additional insights. With this knowledge, you may better satisfy both potential and existing customers by offering them the exact content they’re searching for.
5) Optimize your website
With the fundamentals in order, we may now delve into simpler SEO tips for pool and spa companies. Starting with universally useful optimizations, you may now begin implementing the basics of website optimization.
Between on-page and technical SEO, consider the following:
- Compress your images. SEO holds that your images should have a file size of less than 100kB. Indeed, images are among the primary reasons for slow loading speeds. Google/SOASTA research finds that slow loading speeds directly correlate with bounce rates, so doing so will ensure you lose fewer potential customers.
- Cull unneeded plugins. The second common factor that slows down websites comes with unneeded, heavy plugins. Examine yours carefully, and determine whether their benefits outweigh their site performance impact.
- Secure and monitor your website. Finally, you may secure your website through such means as switching to HTTPS, upgrading your firewall, and more. Search engines and visitors alike deeply appreciate secure websites.
6) Delve into social media
Next, you may rightfully consider delving into social media. While the choice to do so ultimately depends on your unique position and circumstances, social media too can benefit SEO.
That said, they don’t do so directly. A popular SEO myth holds that social signals directly enhance SEO rankings, which Google’s John Mueller has debunked many times. Instead, what social media activity does is it fuels SEO by helping gauge its effectiveness. At the same time, it funnels more potential customers into your website, letting its SEO handle conversions.
Ways to leverage social media effectively include:
- Employ social listening. Software for this purpose helps you keep tabs on discussions that don’t explicitly mention you or your operations. Such assets can help you gather insights on your audiences’ interests, search intents, complaints, and so forth.
- Engage often and meaningfully. With or without social listening, it’s always crucial to engage with your audiences often. Respond to their questions, address their complaints, and assist them as you can. These meaningful interactions will help bolster your brand image and build trust.
- Align social media outreach with your website. Finally, you may align your visual identity and tone with those of your website. This will ensure a consistent customer journey and increase the likelihood of conversions. As you do, remember to always promote your website through your social media whenever appropriate.
7) Monitor your efforts
Finally, no marketing efforts can remain successful without constant monitoring and adjustments. For this final step, you may gather insights from many sources, and have them inform your SEO.
The most notable sources for this purpose include:
- Google Analytics. Google Analytics offers an invaluable overview of your website’s performance; traffic fluctuations, traffic sources, and so forth.
- Your CRM. Your CRM specifically seeks to enhance customer relationships, and likely does so very well. Examine interaction histories, purchase records, and all other actionable data to measure your efforts’ success.
- Website heat maps. Finally, website heat maps offer insights into how visitors behave on your website. This includes how far down they scroll, where they click or tap, and where their cursors hover. Understandably, such insights can very meaningfully inform your strategies, SEO or otherwise.
In summary, our 7 SEO tips for pool and spa companies all hinge on customer-centricity. First, build your database to facilitate personalization, and then use it to address local SEO. Next, refine your keyword research, and match your users’ search intent through them. As you do, continue to leverage your insights toward optimizing your website, and align your social media activities with it. Finally, dig into your analytics tools to measure your efforts’ success and continue to adjust appropriately. Each of those steps will bring you one step closer to satisfying existing and potential customers, centering marketing around them.
Russel Francis is a blogger and avid SEO practitioner. He often writes articles about SEO, PPC and other forms of digital marketing. When he isn't at his desk, you can find him cycling or in his favorite coffee shop.