How familiar does this sound?
You’ve been spending time and money on your company’s local search engine optimization strategy, managing your HVAC SEO campaigns while also running your business. Some days, you think what you’re doing is working (maybe, anyhow) while, other days, you know something isn’t right but you don’t know how to fix the problem.
Or, maybe you’ve decided that you’re just too busy servicing your customers’ heating and cooling systems, and so you’ve hired a professional SEO company to boost your visibility online. Yet, you still may be getting mixed results—and so perhaps you’ve asked yourself a version of these two questions:
- What is that agency doing for me? Really?
- What value, exactly, am I getting for my retainer? Really?
To help, we’ve created this guide, specifically created to shed light on what elements go into a typical results-driven local SEO campaign—and, by “results-driven,” we mean one that drives real traffic and leads to your HVAC company.
If there are a few techniques included in this guide that are new to you, then you may need to hire a professional local SEO agency. If you already have one, you might need to fire that agency and hire one that gets you the results you need to grow your business.
This guide will offer insights into:
- Google My Business (GMB)
- Online directory citations
- Keyword research
- Technical SEO analysis
- On-page optimization
- Blogging/longform content
- Link building
Done well, your HVAC local SEO campaign can have results like this heating and air company.
Google My Business (GMB)
To create a solid foundation for your local search campaign, you’ll need a complete and accurate GMB listing to complement your website. It’s not an either/or (website or GMB), because the GMB information will appear in Google searches and maps. At a high level, steps include:
- Creating or claiming your GMB listing
- Verifying the listing.
- Optimizing it.
At a minimum, you’ll need to ensure that your name, address and phone number (NAP) is correct. Also include other information to make it easy for potential customers to use your HVAC company, ranging from listing the forms of payment you’ll accept, your hours of operation and how people can contact you for emergency service.
Choose your business category — you must select a primary category and then can add up to 5 secondary categories. You want to ensure your most relevant category is the primary one. In the case of HVAC companies, you’re going to most likely want to choose: HVAC Contractor
Once you choose your primary you can add on secondary categories — they should be very relevant to your business though. Don’t just add in any category that is somewhat close to what you do. For example, if a Gym has a small cafe within it, the gym should not list ‘cafe’ as one of its categories. Some secondary categories that would be relevant to HVAC contractors might be any of the following:
Also, don’t forget to write an optimized business description and, at least at first, create Google Posts. If your customers and prospective customers engage with your posts, keep writing them. If not, don’t. But, if you don’t, make sure to still regularly log into your GMB dashboard because other people can suggest edits that, although inaccurate, may be accepted by Google.
If you find that information has been incorrectly changed, correct it. This may have occurred because of human input as described above or Google’s algorithm may have found information—say, in an online directory—that conflicted with your GMB listing.
Steadily receiving Google reviews is a real plus for your HVAC online marketing and visibility, so encourage satisfied customers to write them about your company. These reviews are a hefty local SEO ranking factor and can really make your listing stand out in Google Maps.
To make it easy for people to write a review about your company, you can create a unique link that takes them right where they need to go to write their reviews. Don’t, however, specifically ask for a positive review. Instead, when someone is satisfied with your service, ask them to write one. Here are Google’s guidelines about what is allowable (and not) with Google Reviews.
Don’t write fake reviews or ask anyone else to do so. Do create a plan about how you’ll respond to negative reviews, as well as positive ones, and then respond promptly.
Online Directory Citations
Getting listed in online directories serves two crucial purposes. First, when people need HVAC services, they’ll want someone local and may therefore check directories to find the right company. And, second, quality citations help boost local SEO rankings and overall online visibility.
The best HVAC SEO campaigns focus on steadily getting business listings into quality online directories, with steadily being the key. Too many appearing too quickly can actually harm your rankings.
HVAC directories to consider include those found at:
To find more opportunities, consider these questions. What professional organizations do you belong to? Can you be listed on their websites?
Also search on Google to find which directories and websites currently contain a listing of your company. Then, make sure they are accurate, especially in regards to NAP consistency.
If you find errors, contact those directories and ask that the listings be fixed. From an SEO perspective, this is crucial because Google cross-references NAP information and compares it to your GMB listing. Discrepancies can cause Google to change your GMB NAP and this inconsistency can also cause a lack of trust with Google. If that happens, your online visibility can be reduced.
Also use appropriate schema on your own website whenever you list your NAP information.
It never hurts to review your keyword research and refresh your strategy, as needed. Some companies conduct keyword reviews annually. Your review timeline will depend upon how effective the keywords currently are for your business and how much they are evolving as the HVAC industry does.
Questions to ask yourself include:
- When is the last time you refreshed your keyword strategy as part of your local SEO campaign?
- Are you certain that you’re using the best, most relevant keywords on your site?
- Is the traffic still good on your chosen keywords?
- Has the amount of competition changed since you initially conduct your keyword research?
To effectively research keywords, use professional tools; some offer free trials so you can pick the right one before subscribing. Options include:
As another option, you can outsource your keyword research to a professional HVAC online marketing agency.
Components of your strategy include keywords that:
- are geo-targeted
- have commercial intent
- have educational intent
- have research intent
Educational keywords fit well into blog posts (more about that later) and here is an example:
You’ll want to strategically select keywords with commercial intent, too, ones where people are looking for HVAC services. These tend to convert at a higher rate. For example, if relevant, you could pair up a geo-specific term with this keyword:
Also find keywords with research intent, ones where people are looking to solve problems. These terms often start with “why” or “how”; for example:
As you evolve your keyword strategy, monitor what works and what doesn’t, and continue to tweak.
Technical SEO Analysis
Here, we’ll focus on three core elements of technical SEO:
- site organization and navigation
- internal linking
- page speed
It’s crucial that your site is easy for people to use and navigate through to get to the HVAC services they need. And, as a simple SEO strategy that far too few companies use, put the listing of your services to the far left in the navigation bar (and then organize your specific individual services in a sub-navigation menu).
Why does this work? Well, by locating the services at the far left, you’ll automatically be sending authority signals to Google that will help with your local SEO campaign, which will help you to become more visible in search engine results pages (SERPs).
When you do that, you’ll have an edge up on HVAC companies that organize their menus, for example, like this:
In the example above this HVAC company has the “About” link first. Our data suggests that website users are more interested in your services first. Web users want to make sure you can solve their problem before they investigate why they should trust you to solve their problem.
Plus, when content is valuable and well organized, people tend to stay on a website for longer amounts of time. So, when you effectively organize your website, your engagement metrics (such as time on site, number of pages viewed and so forth) typically increase. Google notes this and, although they have said that engagement metrics aren’t direct ranking factors, a clear correlation exists between higher engagement and higher rankings.
When you interlink among your pages in a way that keeps people engaged, this also helps.
Finally, boost page speed. Speed has served as a desktop ranking factor for years and is now one for mobile searches. So, test your page speed and receive recommendations to make for improvements.
With a faster website, you’ll keep more people on your site. We’re naturally impatient today—especially if, say, an emergency HVAC repair is needed. So, by boosting page speed, you’re improving SEO and making it more likely that prospective customers will stay on your site, rather than impatiently clicking off and going to a competitor who has a faster website, (even if their HVAC services aren’t as good).
As you write content (page copy and blog posts) and the accompanying backend tags, you’ll want to strategically use keywords. Places where they should go include:
- Title tags: this is an important ranking factor
- Meta description tags: although this not a ranking factor, compelling content in this tag will make it more likely that prospective customers will click on your listing in the SERPs, rather than a competitor’s
- Heading tags: these include blog post titles, and subheadings on pages and posts
- Schema: as mentioned in element #2
- New URLs: If you want to use keywords in already-existing URLs, we recommend you contact a qualified internet marketing agency first
Then there is the word count. What is the most optimal? Well, it depends. It depends upon your competitors and what they’re doing. So, for example, take a look at how long your competitors’ pages are about air conditioning repair services. Then, create well-written, well-optimized copy that’s about 500 words longer than your high-ranking competitor’s page.
Google continues to increasingly reward quality long-form content with higher visibility. This was true when 2018 began and is even more true today after recent algorithm updates favor sites that have E-A-T: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
We’ve provided an in-depth post about the value of long-form blogging, and here is just a partial list of its benefits:
- This strategy will position you as an authority on a topic of interest to your customers and prospects. When people have a question on a subject, they tend to turn to the experts (in this case, you), which is just what you want.
- Longer posts tend to rank more highly and therefore be more visible online.
- Longer content sometimes appears in Google’s in-depth content feature.
- People tend to engage more deeply with long-form content, therefore spending more time on your site.
- Longer content tends to gain more inbound links, and these links still play a central role in Google rankings.
So now you know the value of long-form content and blogging, what do you write about?
Well there are quite a few things you can discuss on your site. Some ideas:
- Create seasonal content: run in-depth preventive maintenance guides and checklists homeowners should be aware of for each season.
- DIY Repairs: create content around basic repairs homeowners can and should do before calling you for service. Make this around ways to save your customers money on repairs they can do, and you’ll show that you’re putting the customer first.
- Deals and Rebates Information: have regularly updated articles that identify deals and rebates that are available to customers — this is especially helpful if there are government or tax-break incentives for certain HVAC and efficiency standards.
- The History of [Subject]: these can be fun and valuable pieces of information that draw shares and links. Create a History of Air Conditioning or anything that has an interesting background in your industry.
- Frequently Asked Questions: this can be used as a way to expand content on your service pages, but is also a great way to answer all sorts of questions customers often have.
- Create content around local information: not every piece of content on your site has to be 100% about HVAC — sometimes it’s great to add content that deals with your community. This can highlight other companies you regularly work with, schools/programs you’re involved with, or just news you want to share. Remember you’re part of the community and you can use your platform to bring more attention to important things happening around you.
- Collaborate with other relevant companies: create content in collaboration with real estate agents, construction companies, electricians. Heck, we created content with an allergist client to discuss indoor air quality and its effects on allergies and breathing. This is a great way to help with link building…
Now, we’ll discuss one of the elements mentioned above that’s crucial for the best HVAC SEO, including local SEO: link building.
When your site has a healthy link profile, Google recognizes you as worthy of trust, which makes it more likely that you’ll receive organic traffic. A healthy profile consists of quality links from diverse yet relevant sources and, the more of these kinds of links point to your site, the better. (As with Google reviews, aim for steady growth.)
One of the ways to get inbound links is through the creation of high-quality, relevant longform content for your own site. You can also write guest posts on quality sites that allow you to link back to your site—and, as another route, you can position yourself to become quoted in online news sources. To find opportunities, monitor reporter requests at sites such as HelpAReporter.com (often referred to as HARO), ProfNet and so forth.
Link building is an ongoing element of your HVAC SEO strategy. Use discernment, though. Low-quality inbound links don’t help your local SEO, and can actually hurt. To deal with spammy links pointed towards your site, consider if you want to use Google’s disavow tool to let Google know you don’t want your site negatively affected by these links. Because this is a more advanced technique, it makes sense to consult with an internet marketing expert first.
Creating the Best HVAC SEO Campaign Possible for Local Search
There are, without a doubt, plenty of moving parts that make up a successful HVAC online marketing campaign. Armed with the guidance from this post, though, you should now be empowered to improve your own local SEO campaign or know how to choose the right internet marketing agency for your needs.
Any good SEO company will provide a list of action items centered on these areas. If you’re having a hard time finding a good local SEO agency, then give us a call. We would love the chance to earn your business. Here’s what one HVAC client had to say about our services:
“Our local search ranking, site traffic and web leads have increased significantly. We couldn’t be happier.”
– Phyllis Regula