How Do I Get My HVAC Company to Rank Higher in Google?
HLM Digital Strategists Take a Deep Dive Into HVAC SEO
At a recent event, we had the opportunity to speak with several HVAC professionals and a common concern shared with us was about ranking (or not ranking) in search results. We heard similar stories; established companies, some 30 years in business, at the same address and lots of happy repeat clients. But, they weren’t showing up in search results. What could they do?
Watch our interview with Don Marks, HLM Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist and Jon Bowerman, HLM CTO and Co-Founder, already in progress:
It's a great question and the frustration is understandable. You're looking online and you're monitoring the other companies that are ranking better than yours. And, let's be honest, you are familiar with the companies you’re competing against. You know the kind of work that they do, you know their "less than perfect" reputation, and you just can’t figure out why Google would recommend them over you.
What are they doing, that you are not, that is causing Google to make that decision? Why are they winning the race to the top of search results? Unfortunately, there is not one good reason.
Truth is, Google is looking for several different factors to make that determination.
And unfortunately, Google isn't made up of 20 million people looking at businesses individually and deciding who is the better company to recommend. That’s a computer doing it. And a computer is only as smart as the people that have given instructions to that computer.
What we do in an SEO optimization for HVAC companies, is we try to understand how Google’s computer has been programmed and what are the things that that computer is looking for to decide what companies get displayed and in what order. When we take a step back and look at Google in terms of algorithms, it’s basically math, right? It’s trying to use this mathematical equation to say who's number one and who's number two and who's number three, and so on and so forth.
But what we really have to do is take SEO and break it into two kinds of different sections.
First, is, what is your website telling Google about your business? Is your website fully optimized so that Google understands the markets that you cover, the services that you offer at the time that you offer those services? And then we combine those and we would really characterize that as your on-page optimization.
Second, we're going to combine that with your off-page optimization, which is what trust signals is Google receiving about your business compared to all of the other HVAC companies that are in your marketplace. Trust signals are things like your backlinks and your citations; things that Google is interpreting as it crawls the world wide web, indexes companies according to its entire algorithm and relates the information back very specifically to consumers who are searching for HVAC companies in the city that you operate.
And so the answer to the question of how can Google rank a less reputable company in the community higher than me is, it’s not just about being better. It’s about being better optimized for Google. It’s about sending the right trust signals from the right sources to position you better than your competitors.
And right now, for Google, it’s all about trust, right? Trust is a big part of how people make decisions and it only makes sense that Google would have a method for determining what trustworthy businesses look like on the web. It wants consumers to keep using it as a recommendation engine so it will do everything it can to ensure consumers have good experiences with the companies it recommends.
So, what does Google look for to decide if a business is trustworthy online?
The most visible answer is your reputation and your reviews. What are consumers saying about your business after they do business with you after they contact you, what are they saying about the services you offer? And it doesn’t matter whether they're leaving reviews in your Google My Business listing, Yelp or YP, or the Better Business Bureau, or even social media pages. It all counts. And how you respond to the reviews counts too.
Other trust signals that Google would look for are accreditations. Are you certified? Are you licensed? If you're a local business, do you have the address of where you're located on your website? And what about links? Do you have backlinks from reputable websites? Do you have interlinking between pages on your website or from your blogs to your web pages?
These are just a few of the trust signals a professional SEO company like HLM, metro-Detroit's top-rated SEO company, would be working with you to improve. The takeaway is that SEO is a long-term strategy that every small business owner needs to invest in. It’s long-term because you’re working with an algorithm that is constantly changing. So you need to monitor your page rankings, make adjustments to content, measure the results, and do it all again. You need to build your backlinks in a way that looks natural, over the course of the year rather than all at once. And you need fresh content because…
Content Affects SEO
That’s right. Some of the trust signals come from your website in the form of engagement. Are visitors staying on your pages for more than a few seconds? Are they clicking around to different pages? Engagement with your site is an indication the visitor values the content on your website and Google likes this. Do you have content on your website pages or blogs that are being shared? Google likes that too. Backlinks and citations are huge indicators of relevance, authority, and trust.
From HLM CTO and Co-Founder, Jon Bowerman:
I was fortunate enough in previous, work experience that I got to work with, was the former chief operating officer at Panera bread. And one of the things he would say is that people would try to guess Panera's formula. They would walk into a Panera location and they would look around the tables, look around at the lights and say things like, what brand of lights do they have?
That's the brand of lights that they use. We need to put that brand of lights in our place. And then they wonder, well, why aren’t customers flowing through the door, even though we have those lights? And, what he had said stuck with me over the years. It's not about doing one thing right.It's about doing everything right.
And SEO is the same thing. It's about getting everything right. It's, it's the culmination of hundreds of different factors coming together to produce the result that you want. And we talked about trust and think about us as people. We don't instantly trust something unless it's a brand that, you know, we've, we've, we've known for several years, um, and they have a new product that we might instantly trust that product, but it's not that we trust the product, we trust the brand.
Building trust with Google takes time. It’s not a quick-fix. The great thing about it is the more trust you build, the longer that trust lasts and the more likely people and Google are to recommend your business. SEO is one part of a complete HVAC digital marketing package from HLM.
Building Trust with Consumers Starts with Great Reviews
Think about this: When you are researching a company, what is the first thing you do? If you’re like most people, you google the business name and read their reviews. What do your reviews look like? What is the first impression of your business to the consumer? If you're a two-star business versus a five-star business, what is the likelihood of a consumer saying, Hey, I want to do business with someone who's rated 60% lower than every other HVAC company? Not likely. HLM has great SEO packages that include our reviews and promotions platform called ACE.
For more valuable information about SEO for your business, check out these blogs: