Darren Slaughter, CEO of DarrenSlaughter.com and Slaughter Media, has spent 20 years in advertising and marketing, focusing on the home improvement industry. He specializes in helping companies capitalize on the power of company websites and social media, and can also be found on Twitter. Slaughter explains why field service organizations need to drive not just traffic to their company websites, but high quality traffic that will boost sales.

When it comes to company websites run by construction or field service companies, what do you think they’re missing?

I think what most contractors, companies whether they be sole proprietors or companies with 50 to 100 people, are coming to realize is that in 2011 your website needs to be more than a brochure holder. As you’re creating more of a destination site or an online showroom, everything on that site needs to be set up to convert that customer to a lead. The site has to be a conversion tool in order to book new business, driving the kind of people to your site who are ready to spend money.

With the economy shrinking in the last five years, guys who’ve had sites up for two, or even five, six, seven years, whatever it may be, are realizing they need to change their site because they might be getting traffic but they aren’t converting that traffic. For the most part contractors are doing a good job of that, but there’s some room for improvement by improving SEO, the quality of the content on your site and how often it’s updated.

You say that it’s important to update company websites, and that a way to do that is blogging. What do you say to people who don’t feel confident in their writing skills, or don’t know what they’d write about?

I have this conversation a lot, and if you don’t have the wherewithal to actually do a blog or the skill-set or time to create content, then don’t do it. Don’t start a blog. The worst thing you can do is start a blog and then a couple weeks later you abandon it, because the worst thing you can do is have a blog on your site that hasn’t been updated in a long time. Don’t do it if you don’t think you can come out the other end with solid content that you can put up there a couple times a week month in and month out that’s informative.

For someone who’s a total newbie, what are some things that you can do to boost SEO for your field service company’s website?

It really comes down to the content you put on the page these days. Google has gone through a number of changes in the way they deliver results algorithmically. They’re looking for quality content that goes through a couple tests from a trust factor. Would I give this site my credit card number? Would I let my grandmother read this site?

Your content has to be as defined and as targeted to that customer’s search as you can make it. Customers are looking for sites that provide high quality information on how you can help them, and that will be rewarded in search. What a lot of contractors fail to realize is that Google and the other search engines rank individual pages on your website. So while your home page may not rank for the dominant keyword you’re looking for, there’s no reason it can’t rank for a 5-word long tail keyword and bring in quality business for a contractor.