How Much Does SEO Cost for an HVAC Business?
Interestingly, the topic of how much SEO costs is one of the most frequently searched questions by owners of HVAC businesses. And truth be told, it’s a valid question! As a business owner, especially in one of the most competitive home services trades, it’s critical to assess and understand how much various channels of HVAC marketing cost and where YOUR dollars are best invested.
First, let me explain why I chose to use the word “invested”. When it comes to any business, there is no shortage of things that cost money- office or warehouse rent (or a mortgage if you own your building), utilities, materials, vehicles, your employees, etc. However, there is a distinct difference between an investment and an expense.
For example, things that are necessary to operate your business, such as rent, utilities, insurance, etc., are all expenses. What makes them an expense is that regardless of how much revenue your business is generating, these costs are always there, month after month, year after year. They don’t do anything to help you grow your business, but they’re necessary to effectively operate your business.
An investment, on the other hand, is putting money into a tool, product, or service that is intended to help you make more money. For example, as an experienced heating and cooling contractor, purchasing a large inventory of furnace, AC, or IAQ products you sell allows you to reduce your per piece cost so that you’re able to make more profit on the sale of these products. While it may be uncomfortable to part with a large amount of money upfront, you feel good about it because you know that your investment right now is going to make you more money down the road.
HOW does this factor into the cost of SEO for your HVAC business?
Because Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term investment, NOT an expense. At its core, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of continually optimizing your website and directory listings to ensure your heating and cooling business shows up on the first page of relevant search results. And I say “relevant” because as a local heating and cooling expert, showing up on the first page of search results for ‘air conditioners’ doesn’t help you. For your business to effectively attract more customers, it’s imperative that your business is on the first page of results for searches with intent, like ‘furnace repair near me’, ‘air conditioning replacement [insert city here]’, or even ‘emergency furnace repair’. While that last one doesn’t include ‘near me’ or a specific city, Google’s search engine technology is smart enough to interpret a search for emergency furnace or AC repair as one with local intent.
Now, before I get too far into the weeds with regard to what SEO is and all the tactics that can be leveraged to achieve the best possible visibility for your HVAC business in search results, the key takeaway here is that there are numerous details a search engine assesses about any business to determine which ones deserve to be displayed in the top of search results. This is important, as the level of effort and difficulty to earn page 1 visibility also depends on the amount of other heating and cooling businesses competing for visibility within the same geographic area your business is located. I realize this is a lot to wrap your head around, but these variables all factor into how much you will need to invest to ensure your HVAC business displays in the top of local search results.
How much should you expect to invest in SEO services for your HVAC business?
Simply put, it depends. Regardless of the many tactics any reputable HVAC SEO specialist could leverage to improve the visibility of your HVAC business in local search results, the amount of effort required to achieve your desired results largely depends on how many other heating and cooling businesses are competing for the same visibility in your geographical area, as well as how much they have already invested in their own digital marketing. At the same time, it also depends on how well your heating and cooling website is structured, the quality of content it contains, how often it’s updated, how many backlinks you have, etc. To give you a better idea of how much effort goes into optimizing a heating and cooling business for search engines, see the following list of items that need to be assessed and updated.
Core SEO details that must be assessed and continually optimized to ensure your HVAC business website has the best chance of ranking in the top of search results:
1. Crawling (Can search engines find the pages of your HVAC website?)
a. Instruct search engines how to crawl your website
b. Properly set up robots.txt files
c. Optimize for crawl budget
d. Define URL parameters in Google Search Console
e. Ensure search engines can follow your HVAC website navigation
i. Is your content hidden behind login forms?
ii. Are you relying on a search box?
iii. Is text hidden within non-text content?
f. Ensure your HVAC website is using a clean information architecture
i. Properly set up and submit an accurate sitemap
ii. Eliminate crawl errors (400 & 500 codes)
iii. Implement proper redirects (300 codes)
iv. Avoid redirect chains
2. Indexing (How well do search engines interpret and store the pages of your HVAC website?)
a. Assess and optimize cached pages
b. Identify and update pages removed from the index
c. Properly set up Robots meta tags
3. Ranking (How are search engines ranking the pages of your HVAC website?)
a. Understand and optimize for the latest iteration of Google’s algorithm
b. Ensure your HVAC website provides useful answers to searchers’ questions
c. Create high-quality inbound links (backlinks)
d. Create relevant internal links
e. Create and optimize content
f. Assess, interpret, and make adjustments based on engagement metrics
g. Leverage appropriate SERP features (ex: Paid ads, featured snippets, ‘People Also Ask’ boxes, local map pack, knowledge panel, site links)
4. Localized Search (How well does your HVAC business show up for local customers?)
a. Assess and optimize for Relevance
b. Assess and optimize for Distance
c. Assess and optimize for Prominence
d. Assess and optimize for Organic Ranking
e. Assess and optimize for Local Engagement
f. Assess and optimize Reviews
g. Assess and optimize Citations
While the above details are not a comprehensive list of every single effort that goes into optimizing your HVAC business to display at the top of search results, it should paint a clearer picture of the amount of effort it takes to achieve page 1 visibility. It’s also critical to remember that achieving page 1 visibility is tough, but maintaining page 1 visibility is even tougher. Keeping your HVAC business at the top of relevant search results requires regular updates and constant effort to ensure your HVAC website is always providing better answers and value than your competitors.
When it comes to how much you should invest in monthly SEO services for your HVAC business, it all boils down to what your specific goals are.
For example, if you already have a well-established business and all you need is for your website to show up in search results as a customer or prospect searches your business name, then you can expect to invest anywhere from $350 - $600/mo.
However, if your goal is to dominate search results in order to aggressively grow your business, then you can expect to invest anywhere from $2500 - $25,000 per month.
Keep in mind that the more you invest to ensure your HVAC business' visibility in local search results, the more new business you are likely to attract, so it's important you're realistic about how many customers you can effectively support! This is where partnering with the right HVAC SEO team can help you properly grow and scale your business.