Digital Marketing In the Construction Industry: A Case Study

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Digital Marketing In the Construction Industry: A Case Study

Since 2010, McCarthy Building Companies has trusted Oneupweb for effective SEO and content marketing services. Over the years, we’ve supported McCarthy and its subsidiaries to shape digital marketing strategy, improve SEO performance, create brilliant content, and support their sustained growth.

This case study was originally published in 2019. So how are they doing now?

Get the full story on our long and valued relationship with McCarthy, a construction company that is 100% employee-owned and now has nine offices across the country.

Construction Marketing SEO: How Oneupweb Got It Done

In 2017, McCarthy Building Companies, one of the leading commercial construction companies in the US, needed to stay competitive atop the SERPs (search engine results pages) with competitors like Gilbane, Turner, and DPR by investing in digital marketing. The McCarthy marketing team also knew that the wider objectives they set for their company are best accomplished with the assistance of construction SEO experts.

McCarthy partnered with Oneupweb to execute a yearlong monthly retainer to concentrate on strategic projects while still retaining the flexibility to address any other urgent needs that might come up. McCarthy first hired Oneupweb to do search engine optimization (SEO) work for their website,, in 2010. Since then, McCarthy, Forbes’ #112-largest private company in 2018, has steadily grown. From 2016 to 2017, McCarthy increased its $3.7 billion annual revenue by 7.1 percent ($262 million).

The Results of Professional Construction Marketing SEO

Some of the marquee metrics that matter for every business improved dramatically.

Optimization results:

  • Organic goal completions up 771%
  • Organic click-to-call up 712%
  • Organic email clicks up 675% 

These statistics represent YOY performance from 2016 to 2017.

Digital marketing and content creation:

  • Goal completions from all sources up 1,344%
  • Sessions from email up 459%

These statistics represent performance for all of 2017.

Chapter 1: McCarthy, Oneupweb and the Marketing Retainer

McCarthy has a reputation in the industry as a design-builder and EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) firm that can design and build the largest, most technically challenging projects in the United States and deliver quality results on time and on budget. Their 3,000+ employees are known for using cutting-edge project management practices and for wholeheartedly incorporating the latest sustainability and green building innovations.

Building Something New – A Website

McCarthy knew that building a new website can cause substantial decreases in site sessions after launch. Search rankings can drop permanently if nothing is done to identify and optimize problem pages. They looked to Oneupweb to mitigate the risk of traffic decreases and see their site through pre-launch and launch, plus ongoing optimizations.

Resources: The SEO Site Launch Checklist

Keeping an Eye Out for Trouble

While supporting McCarthy within the retainer, we noticed their sustainability content (net-zero building and renewable energy project pages) had dipped in organic performance since the launch. With a green light from McCarthy’s marketing team, we used some retainer time to re-introduce some of the well-performing content from the original pages into the new pages and optimize them to help buoy them back up toward the content’s former rankings.

This was important because McCarthy is a leader in sustainable green building within the construction industry. More and more prospective project owners are eager to work with builders like McCarthy who can deliver projects with world-class green credentials and super low operating costs (net zero buildings that generate as much electricity as they use).

Beyond that, the McCarthy marketing team looked to Oneupweb to fine-tune their new site with other improvements, including a user experience (UX) audit and optimizing all new content added to the site – mostly new case study pages as the company completed new buildings. These brand-new pages are some of the most important for attracting and converting prospects.

When the Oneupweb SEO team determined that overall website sessions were down after a new iteration of their site was launched by another vendor in 2016, we identified the specific web pages on the new that had dropped from their previous traffic volumes. Then we optimized those pages and buoyed their rankings back toward their pre-launch levels.

We also made improvements to McCarthy’s SEO, analytics, user experience and page content. We provided valuable demographics research to their marketing department, and we adjusted calls to action to improve conversion rates on their regional office pages. Month after month, we helped McCarthy worked toward meeting their most important marketing and business goals over the course of 2017. We also stood at the ready and jumped in whenever necessary to solve their most pressing digital marketing problems as they arose along the way.

McCarthy Pull Quote

Chapter 2: Retainer Agreement Approach: Digital Marketing and SEO

Over the course of 120 hours, we got a lot of work done. We worked to improve McCarthy’s newly launched, re-branded website where there were drop-offs in rankings, sessions or conversions. We optimized new copy they added to the site throughout the year, which was mostly new project pages, and completed a long list of one-off digital marketing tasks that really helped their internal team – and the company as a whole – in a multitude of ways.

1. Website redesign post-launch SEO support

Fresh on the heels of the launch of their redesigned website, we began 2017 ascertaining how McCarthy’s new site was performing.

We determined that while mobile sessions were up, their overall sessions were down – a common problem experienced when a new version of a site is launched. But when it came to solving this predictable post-relaunch problem, where, exactly, to start? McCarthy put us on the case.

Due to the URLs on the new site being different from the previous version, tools like Google Analytics weren’t able to do perform side-by-side comparisons. So, we manually compared the sessions between the old site benchmarks and the new site numbers to isolate and identify the under-performing pages. Then we determined that many had title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and important on-page copy changed or cut during the redesign – after all, the new site was built by the third-party vendor in part to make the site look good and work well on a small screen, where streamlined page copy looks best. It was understandable.

Web pages are always striving to strike that perfect balance between content and design. Many of the problem pages had simply been pared back too far in the redesign process to hold on to their previous rankings. We went to work, expanding the copy on those pages – bringing them more in line with their previous iterations while also adhering to the aesthetic spirit of the new site. We re-introduced missing keywords and, in some cases, added title tags and meta descriptions lost in the transition.

2. Sustainability/Green Building Content Marketing and SEO

Some of the traffic drop-off McCarthy endured immediately after the launch was to some of their most important pages, including those pages detailing their sustainability bona fides and their utility-scale and distributed renewable energy capabilities.

Sustainability is a powerful selling point for prospects in government, higher education, and private industry looking to partner with builders who can deliver LEED-certified and net zero water treatment plants, performing arts buildings, hospitals, biotech laboratories, and other structures for their communities and investors.

And with solar energy projects growing exponentially in McCarthy’s regional southwest and California service areas, it was vital to quickly re-establish their high profile for this type of work.

We used retainer hours to incorporate aspects of the old content into the new content and introduce new keywords for both the sustainability page and the renewable energy page.

The results were excellent. By July 2018, we had transformed a 74% drop in sustainability page organic sessions into 83% growth. Likewise, organic sessions for the renewable energy projects page shot up 250% after additional content and targeted keywords were added, besting the previous iteration’s performance.

3. Ongoing SEO Support

As McCarthy continued to produce new content for the newly launched site, we provided on-page optimization and ongoing keyword strategy to ensure their newest content – often the most relevant to potential new clients – received maximum standing and exposure in Google and Bing.

McCarthy’s newly finished healthcare center, auditorium, museum, or port expansion project pages are extremely relevant to prospects who want to learn about McCarthy’s latest work in their particular vertical, whether it’s education, hospitality, healthcare, alternative energy, civil or another industry.

Individual SEO-related Retainer Tasks Completed

If sessions are down, it’s hard to meet your business goals. McCarthy took advantage of their retainer to tap our SEO and content marketing team to improve the standing of the pages that suffered in the post-launch and to ensure maximum standing for new project pages. The SEO-related work we completed for McCarthy included:

  • Determining the cause of the noticeable post-launch dip in Bing and Yahoo traffic
  • Updating existing (or providing missing) title tags and meta descriptions
  • Adding meta description fields to pages of the new site that were missing in the CMS
  • Keyword research that increased traffic and raised the percentage of qualified users visiting the site
  • Copywriting
  • Adding alt text to photos
  • Content gap analysis, which measures how McCarthy stacks up against the competition for their core keywords

4. General Digital Marketing Support

Our retainer agreement also allowed us to serve as a go-to digital marketing specialist for McCarthy. Oneupweb is always poised with our specialized skill sets to help businesses solve complex problems and perform deep analyses of all their digital tools.

Across the months of 2017, McCarthy entrusted us to improve the visibility, usability and performance of their site and identify the cause of and correct dips in traffic. They also asked us to help them better understand their audiences on their various platforms and glean insights that proved valuable for McCarthy company-wide.

Individual Digital Marketing Retainer Tasks Completed:

There’s a lot more to meeting your marketing and business goals than SEO alone. McCarthy took advantage of their retainer for more general digital marketing help. Month to month across 2017, we provided the McCarthy team with:

  • Tagging that allowed McCarthy to track traffic to their website from Google Business Profile in Google Analytics
  • Tracking that gave the company more insights into their email campaigns
  • Visibility into the audience demographics and seasonality of regional office page traffic
  • Visibility into the terms entered in the homepage search bar, which also provided business insights
  • Recommendations for how to best add logo download capability in the future to their Press page to give stakeholders and the media fast, professional access to the McCarthy logo
  • Consulted on issues/questions regarding the development of several of the company’s new subsidiary websites
  • The addition of Google Analytics (GA) goals for job applicants
  • Fine-tuning the conversion funnel for job applicants
  • Offered their development partner development tips and worked with them to help implement new content on
  • Monthly reports that gave McCarthy a current snapshot of website performance, data analysis and our forward strategy

Chapter 3: How the Retainer Agreement Made a Difference with Digital Marketing and SEO

A monthly marketing retainer helped McCarthy push its new website past the old site’s level of performance and ensured that its newest, most important pages received quality exposure in the search engines. Within the retainer, they also received flexible digital marketing solutions that helped their marketing department, and the company as a whole, serve and understand customers better, convert more traffic, and win more business.

SEO Success/Benefits:

These numbers were pulled looking at the full year of 2017 compared to the full year of 2016.

  • Organic traffic to Sustainability page up 60%
  • Organic traffic to Renewable Energy page up 69%
  • Conversion rate increased 1,311% YOY
graphic displaying year over year results for the mccarthy blog with organic traffic up 59.74% and conversion rate up 1,311%

Digital Marketing Success/Benefits:

  • We began tracking searches on the McCarthy website to gain a better understanding of what users are looking for and created pages to provide missing information.
  • McCarthy is now prepared to plan a Google Jobs strategy with their third-party job listing partner.
  • McCarthy was able to clean up their email list in preparation for updating their email strategy.
  • McCarthy is now able to track when users submit job applications to better understand what channels those users are coming from and what they do on the site before submitting an application.
  • The demographic research we did for their regional office traffic provided each office, and the company as a whole, with valuable insight into the audiences specific to each regional office.

Chapter 4: Construction Marketing SEO Continues To Generate Results

In 2022, Oneupweb remains McCarthy’s chosen digital marketing partner. With our monthly retainer agreement increased to 15 hours, we continue to optimize existing content to meet Google’s ever-changing best practices and algorithms, create new content, and provide much-needed technical insight as needs arise.

And McCarthy is still improving!

Compared to Q1-Q3 2019, total sessions have increased 36.22% in 2022 thanks to constant optimization and a small but effective monthly paid search project. In a fitting development, Oneupweb has reprised its role in supporting McCarthy’s newest website, scheduled to launch in 2023. We’ve offered essential keyword recommendations and research that has shaped the sitemap, prioritized service pages and driven the proposed site forward.

Oneupweb has also supported McCarthy’s subsidiary, Castle Contracting, improving their digital performance with a monthly retainer.

The Next Chapter

Every client has unique needs and business objectives. McCarthy used its monthly retainer to preserve its SEO performance before and after launching a new site. Together, we then focused on capturing more leads from sustainable construction and green building keywords. Today, we continue to ensure maximum exposure in the search engines, attract high-quality job applicants and help the McCarthy team better understand its own audience.

And we can do the same for your B2B company.

Get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about how Oneupweb’s monthly marketing retainers can make a difference for your company.

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