SEO in a Contracting World
Originally published: 08.01.13 by Kenneth Goodrich
10 Steps to Maximizing Your SEO Use
As the old ways of generating leads for an HVAC company slowly go the way of the buggy whip, contractors are left wondering how to capitalize on the Internet. The online world can be daunting and full of unintelligible acronyms insiders whisper to each other as if they contained a form of magic control. One of these often least understood terms is “SEO”: search engine optimization.
Essentially, SEO determines where your website will appear in search results. SEO differs from pay-per-click in that you don’t pay for each isit to your website. Instead, you invest in website development and strategy to increase the relevant traffic to your site.
At Goettl Good Guys Air Conditioning Repairmen, we strive to take full advantage of our SEO to increase the effectiveness of our website. While we recommend hiring an SEO provider, there are still several important items HVAC businesses should be aware of when dealing with SEO.
Below are 10 basics steps we use at Goettl Good Guys to maximize our use of SEO.
1. Content is Always King
No one wants to waste time going to a website that does not have the relevant content they seek. Fine tuning the content on each page of your website is extremely important. The last thing a consumer wants to see is your employment page. Make sure the search parameters for each page are geared toward what the page discusses. Google wants highly relevant content, and, if you can help Google to that end, your ranking will improve.
2. The Internet Moves Fast and You Need to Keep Up
As the owner and driver of your HVAC business, you cannot fall into the trap of trying to set it and forget it when it comes to the Internet. Set time aside every month to go through each page of your site and evaluate whether or not it needs to be changed. While scanning your site, be sure to check the phone numbers and links. There is nothing worse than finding out the phone numbers and links are not working as they should, and may not have been working for weeks.
3. Don’t Forget the Mobile Users
Consumers are continuing to use mobile devices more frequently to search for products and services. This means you need to have mobile-friendly pages within your website, optimized for a smaller screen. You may want to use a different phone number on your mobile site so you can compare results. Make sure your phone number is easy to find for mobile users, who are more likely to call you than fill out a lengthy form to request service.
4. Monitor Your Competitors
You’ve most likely been looking at your competition’s yellow page ads and mail pieces for years, but when was the last time you looked at what your competition is doing online? Compare and experiment to see if there’s an important piece of the SEO puzzle you may be missing.
5. Make Phone Numbers Visible
Put the phone number at the top and bottom of every web page. Even though this sounds simple, as consumers, we have all experienced the frustration of trying to hunt down a phone number while visiting a company’s website. Patience is not a virtue of the Internet consumer, so make the process as simple as possible.
6. Know Your Statistics
Unlike the yellow pages, the Internet is constantly changing and requires more work to keep up to date. The good news is, you can receive statistics from your provider, telling you what is working, what should be tested and what should be changed. You, or someone in your company, should spend time each day quickly reviewing the data from the previous day. You should also review the trends from the data on a weekly basis.
Some important numbers to review are the bounce rate and pages visited. The bounce rate indicates if your site was relevant to a consumer’s search, and pages visited details how much information a consumer was looking for.
7. Avoid Link Farms
A link farm is a company that lets you build a large number of links quickly. Unfortunately, links that have little relevance to HVAC or home services in large quantities can hurt you more than help you. In newer updates, Google has changed its links assessment from quantity-
based to quality-based. Focus on developing genuine links that lead to real content and you’ll be on the right track.
8. Follow Your Ratings
Google, Yahoo and Bing all constantly change how they rate websites. Keep up to date with how they all rank your website by meeting with your SEO provider on a regular basis. This meeting should cover what you are seeing in the results of the campaign and business as a whole, and what your SEO provider sees on the horizon that may give you a competitive advantage. Agree on a strategy with your provider and set goals together. Maintain flexibility in your strategy, but have the expectation that your provider will still meet the agreed-upon goals of bounce rates and page views.
9. Time Is Not On Your Side
Seniority does matter, and the length of time a website has been up and optimized is important to search engines. Additionally, you should always buy the URL for your site for the maximum length of time possible. This may seem like a small step, but it’s one that Google does look at when deciding if you should be ranked higher than your competition.
10. You Get What You Pay For
Look for an aggressive SEO provider who understands that they must spend time every week fine tuning your SEO campaign and reporting the results. Developers must work behind the scenes to get full optimization, and sometimes they will give a discount for handling your pay-per-click campaigns as well. Considering all of the work that must go into a successful SEO campaign, the bottom line is that using a low-cost provider who only works on your SEO once a quarter will not get you to the first page.
Remember that SEO is only one component of online marketing, but it has the potential to generate low-cost leads once fully developed. The team at Goettl Good Guys has worked tirelessly, and still continues to work hard, to get the most benefit out of our online efforts. By working with your SEO provider, reviewing your statistics and setting expectations, you will have an advantage over your competition in the online world.
Kenneth D. Goodrich, principal of Arizona-based Goettl Good Guys Air Conditioning Repairmen and The Sunny Plumber, is a seasoned entrepreneurial executive with over 26 years of experience in acquiring, integrating and developing HVAC, plumbing and service contracting businesses. Contact Kenneth through www.goettl.com