T: 01228 318068 M: 07576 893178 hello@climbhighseo.agency
Search engine optimisation for civil engineering consultancies in Cumbria

In the heart of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Furness, in what was Cumbria, there’s a vibrant community of civil engineering consultancies. Each of these companies has a unique blend of expertise and experience in civil and structural engineering. 

Their expertise ranges from planning out humble sewage networks to consulting on the growing infrastructure on the energy coast. And that’s just within the old county of Cumbria.

This very simple study aims to shine a light on these companies, highlighting opportunities for them to enhance their online visibility and improve their market reach through implementing more effective SEO strategies.

Which civil engineering consultancy won the contract for setting up this windfarm?

The Importance of Online Visibility For Professional Services Businesses

It was while conducting keyword and competitor research for a civil engineering contractor in West Cumbria that I noticed a lot of consultancies appearing. I revisited the search results and discovered that there was a significant disparity between the online visibility of local, Cumbrian consultancies compared with larger national companies who seemed to take up space in the search results (that should be dominated by local firms).
Despite the relatively low monthly search volume for “civil engineering consultants” (around 320 per month across the UK), the cumulative searches in this field exceed 1,000 per month, indicating a substantial online audience. It’s an audience that the Cumbrian consulting engineers may well be missing out on.

A “Rough” Market Analysis of Civil Engineering Consultancy in Cumbria

To understand the online footprint of these companies, I conducted virtual searches from Carlisle, Penrith, Cockermouth, Whitehaven, Barrow-in-Furness, and Kendal using the phrases “civil engineering consultant near me” (this is a localised variant of the most used phrase) and “consulting civil engineer”.
For each website that appeared to be within the niche and which was local I also gathered data from my marketing toolset SEMrush that gives me estimates of visitor traffic, backlinks and an authority score. From the Google search results I gathered the count of pages Google has indexed and then manually counted the actual number of pages displayed in the search results. Finally I looked at the number of calls to action presented by the homepage and whether the copy on the homepage was written with a view to conversion or whether it was a simple show and tell format.
There were several out of area websites and brands that showed up somewhere in the results repeatedly and so, I included a few of them to compare their characteristics with the local companies.
With that data I was hoping to see a nice neat correlation between aspects of website content and the rankings achieved by each. As always in SEO… no neat correlation was to be found. However there were a few clues that local consultancy companies could perform better online.

Marketing Insights from the Consultancy Data

The findings were intriguing. They revealed opportunities for a more focused approach to the digital side of professional services marketing. This would benefit some of our studied companies, that currently, can only be found in their own local area. The Kendal companies, for instance, are unlikely to survive on work that only comes from their hometown. Wider visibility helps to raise awareness of each company’s brand making it more likely that they will be front of mind when somebody starts looking for a civil engineer to consult about a project for the first time.

The information gathered and subsequent analysis reveals that many Cumbria-based civil engineering consultancies, have untapped potential to enhance their online presence.

The table below is sorted in order of website traffic volumes with the most visited websites at the top (even though that data isn’t visible in this segment of the table). The highest volume websites belong to companies that have extensive national websites with large numbers of somewhat optimised content pages.

The most visible company of the 25 that made it into the table does at least have some presence in all 6 towns in the study. They are outperforming local companies by a significant margin. They are a Scottish based company with no obvious premises in Cumbria.

In the final column I have categorised the main focus of each company’s website, with bold green being used to mark the businesses who are clearly within the remit of civil engineering consultant. Local companies that are out of niche, but related, and taking up space in searches for consultants are highlighted in skinny red text. Local consulting firms could be dominating this space relatively easily.

The real lesson in this data is the blue area of the table. Acres of space where there is no local (or “offcomer”) consultancy showing up – in towns just beyond their own. Those results pages are occupied by a range of websites that are NOT civil engineering consultancies.

Section of data collected in survey showing the gaps in ranking effectiveness of 25 countries when searched from 6 Cumbrian towns.

One company stands out slightly with their online presence, demonstrating that it is possible to be present in important local search results across a number of locations (even when you are not local). Even so, they haven’t fully benefitted from an effective SEO strategy. At best they are only around 5th position in the results. So, how would a local consultancy go about improving their positioning online and getting more exposure than these interlopers?

Digital Marketing Improvements For Civil Engineering Consultants

Professional services marketing can be augmented very successfully by tapping into good practices in digital marketing. From my perspective it’s pretty clear that civil engineers in the county haven’t yet leaned fully into the potential of the digital “structures” that can lift their brands. Digital structures?

Yes… there are many characteristics that hallmark a sound structure for a website. A good starting point is clear information structure, clear navigation and copy that is tuned in. Optimisation is less about dark arts than “tuning in” to the intent of searches being made by potential clients who are looking for answers and solutions. Some of these structures are outside the bounds of the website itself.

  • Website Optimisation: Enhancing website features such as indexed pages, calls to action (CTAs), and conversion-focused copy coupled with a strong organic keyword strategy, does lead to better discoverability, engagement and higher search rankings. Properly structured meta data such as title tags, meta descriptions and visible headings on the page all help to lead visitors towards taking an action such as calling you or using the contact form to initiate a conversation. Additionally it is important to try and make your content helpful to the visitor. Next, you will need to build out your website structure with content – most frequently in the form of blog articles, that demonstrate your expertise and experience.
  • Local SEO: For companies based in or with offices in Cumbria, local SEO is a very helpful tool. Several companies from the county do not show up in the first 10 results even in their hometown. Establishing your footprint on local directories, niche listing services and professional bodies’ websites is scaffolding for extending your web presence. By optimising for local searches, your company can significantly increase its visibility to potential clients in your immediate vicinity. This gives a great foundation for wider exposure.
  • Building Online Authority: The final part of the structure behind successful professional service marketing for consultants is to encourage links to your website from other websites. Increasing the number of these backlinks and more importantly the referring domains (i.e. the individual websites), can substantially boost a company’s online authority, trust and search ranking.

You will see 5 words highlighted above. They represent the five pillars of what search engines, most explicitly Google, consider to be the foundations of good content and good websites. This is what I refer to as Helpful E.E.A.T. – Helpful Expertise, Experience, Authority and Trust.

Search engines now partly judge your website by how helpful your copy seems to be for visitors. They look for clues that you are demonstrating expertise in your field. Their AI asks whether there is evidence of experience from case studies, white papers, videos of processes and a raft of other cues. To determine how authoritative you are, compared with your competition backlinks from other good websites will be valuable; as will reviews that are positive. To determine whether you are trusted the AIs will be sniffing out the trust symbols, SSL certificates, sentiment about you on social media they can access and mentions in other media.

Enhancing The Digital marketing Effectiveness Of Your Civil Engineering Consultancy

If your professional services marketing strategy begins to address those foundations, you will be able to build a much stronger online presence for your business. That in turn will help your brand become front of mind to many more people that you want to talk to.

The landscape of online marketing presents a clear and present opportunity for civil engineering consultancies in Cumbria. By fully embracing SEO and digital marketing strategies, companies like yours can not only enhance their professional reputation but also expand their reach to a broader audience. The journey to improved online visibility is an investment in the future, one that promises to bring significant returns for those who show up!

End note: The article was written by myself then edited with Chat GPT’s assistance. The civil engineering image was “dreamed up” from my prompt by DALL-E. “Imagine trying to combine the essence of civil engineering consultancy in Cumbria with the digital world of professional services marketing for those consultancies.” I said!