2019 will present marketing opportunities for HVAC contractors, especially those who are willing to market their services online. Each year, new trends appear that provide additional outlets for lead generation. As the saying goes, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. In this HVAC marketing guide for 2019, contractors will learn to focus on the following areas:
- Google Home Page
- Custom Content
- Links, Domain Authority & Citations
- Online Reviews, Expanded
Any guide created for a specific year should be met with an expectation of fluidity. SEO is always changing. What’s true heading into Q1 of 2019 may evolve by Q3 of the same year. With this in mind, we’ll be updating this post throughout the year to keep contractors alerted of any new developments. We pride ourselves in keeping HVAC companies in the loop on the latest news. Now let’s take a closer look at the 2019 HVAC marketing guide.
Google Home Page
Before a myriad of new web properties emerged on the scene, paralleling advancements to Google’s algorithm, the only way to interpret a company’s value was by clicking through their website. Today, searchers can learn a great deal about a company without ever clicking on their main website. Why is this the case? Because of what is known as the Google Home Page. The GHP refers to the collection of SERP features for a given company. If a user performs a branded search query (they search for your company name) they will learn quite a bit about your business before ever entering your website. Some of the SERP features that contribute are:
- Knowledge Graph
- Organic Results
A branded search can be any query that has your company name in it. But it can also have qualifiers and extensions like “company name” reviews, “company name” location, etc. We recommend creating a page on your website that optimizes for each, so that your presence on corresponding SERPs is robust and extensive. The more you can establish presence on page one of Google, the more likely a consumer is to inquire about your services. People no longer need to see your main website to validate the legitimacy of your service. That doesn’t devalue the importance of a main site, but it makes it one part of a larger group of factors.
Google has emphasized their ethical foundation of content quality as the most important ranking factor. Although it’s far from the only factor in marketing for HVAC contractors, it’s one of the primary ones, without question. To create great content, it must be structured, custom, and quality. That means proper usage of Header Tags, and a cohesive and easily readable paragraphs. It’s best to format text using bullet points which are easier for the visitor to read and process, especially on mobile. It’s also best practice to ensure all content passes CopyScape and utilizes an SEO copyright on the bottom of the page, to prevent other from scraping it. Here’s how you can format content:
- Bullet Points
Yes it’s true, embedding a video into your HTML code can help rank both the page and corresponding video. Google displays video results on their organic SERPs for certain keywords in a top section known most commonly as the video carousel. Usage of videos allows HVAC companies to double down on their SERP presence. As for structured content, it make the readers experience more enjoyable. Furthermore, it makes it easier to organize content logically. Infographics are also visually appealing content components and can actually help you earn legitimate links from external, 3rd party, websites. The same is true of traditional high quality images, but to a lesser extent.
Links, Domain Authority, & Citations
A lot has been made of links since the origin of SEO. It used to be the primary factor for ranking websites. And despite what’s been said, it still matters. The quality of links however is more important than the quantity. Not all links hold the same signal weight either. For example, citation links, like those from Angie’s List, BBB, and others are valuable, but they are considered nofollow links, which makes them a non-factor when determining a site’s domain authority. The problem with domain authority (DA) is that it is not Google’s own metric, which makes it speculative, at best. The bottom line is this, you still need links but please make them good ones. Examples of good links for heating and cooling companies include:
- Google News Articles / Press Releases
- Trade Associations / Manufacturers
- USA Based Articles
You can break SEO down into two eras, B.P. Before Penguin and A.P. After Penguin. Penguin was a Google algorithm update that dropped the hammer down on spam links and penalized websites that benefited from paying for them. While the initial penalty was severe, the smoke cleared years later, and websites started to again engage in these kinds of tactics. While they can work if done properly, there’s every chance Google will soon drop another penguin-esque update to curb any resurgence of these practices. When thinking about SEO you should always think long-term. For this reason, quality links should be the focus, as they will stand the test of time.
Online Reviews, Expanded
Reputation management has been a considerable part of HVAC marketing since before the internet even existed. Fast forward to 2019, and online reviews are the foundation of every company’s reputation. Google and Facebook are the most sought after reviews, and for good reason, but Google prefers to see customer feedback from a multitude of different sources. One thing that should be avoided at all costs is manipulating the reviews system. This includes tactics like buying reviews as well as offering customers financial incentives to provide testimonials. Here are some of the best ways to generate reviews for HVAC companies:
- Ask in Person
- Email / Text Reminder
- Optimized Reviews Page (On Main Website)
- Website Reviews Widget
Research suggests that heating and cooling contractors who ask for reviews in person can see up to a 100% increase in reviews. This number is even more likely to be reached or exceeded with website review integration. By having reviews links on your main website, customers can more conveniently provide feedback, without having to worry about navigating to a 3rd party platform. These widgets will automatically direct the consumer to a Google or Facebook reviews page for your company profile, so they don’t have to worry about finding it themselves. Be wary of certain widgets however, as those that automate a tactic known as review-gating can get you penalized. HVAC Webmasters offers a Google safe Righteous Reviews widget for clients.
Other Marketing Tips for HVAC Contractors
Digital, Digital, Digital
You can’t stop technology, so evolving along with it is the best course of action. While the internet is not without its flaws, one thing that’s difficult to argue with is the convenience it has provided to the modern consumer. A homeowner once had to sift through the Yellow Pages for furnace repair or call around to friends and trust their word of mouth judgement. Today, they can conduct the digital equivalent of this process but in a fraction of the time. The more places a heating and cooling services can market their business, the better chance they have at becoming a part of the consumer buying process, and earning sales as a result.
Keeping it Local
Mass produced city pages are a thing of the past. In 2019, contractors should focus on their actual service area. Google strongly favors local businesses that have a uniform address on their website, Google My Business page and Google Maps listing. If your address is Dallas, TX, you shouldn’t try to stuff Irving, Arlington, and Garland all on the same page. Instead, focus on the market that you actually belong to, and let consumers in that area know precisely where you’re located. Of course, it’s easier when you’re in a large market since there’s a greater population. Small cities are more challenging.
Expanding Your Service Area
2019 will be the death of virtual business locations for the purposes of SEO. Google has smartened up to this antiquated tactic, and really wants to provide the most relevant results to locals within a defined radius. If you are in a small city, and want to expand your business elsewhere, your best chance is being transparent. Create an individual but unique page for the second city (the larger one in your case) and write original content that appeals specifically to people in that zip code. Make sure you stress that you’re not actually located their but are able to service the area because of your closeness in proximity.
Google My Business and Maps
Google My Business is an important part of your local SEO and ties in directly with Google Maps. Having a verified address (the same one that’s listed on your company site) is one of the simplest ways to maximize your local visibility. Google equates consistency in address, to trust, and it is one of the most common flaws in an HVAC company’s online presence. Prospective clients often come to us unaware that their My Business page is not optimized, and are frustrated to learn about potential leads they’ve lost.
Internal vs External Blogging
WordPress.org websites come with internal blogs which allows them to be published directly under your primary domain. External blogs in contrast, like those found on Blogger, Tumblr, Weebly, WordPress.com, are published under an entirely separate domain. For SEO purposes, an internal blog is far superior. Google treats it much like a regular website page, and it helps drive traffic to your site, and strengthen your sales funnel. Furthermore, it’s a great way to build linkable content to your site, which helps build authority from Google.
Google AdWords is now called Google Ads, but its concepts have remained constant. There are new ways to advertise your services of course, but the premise of paying per click lives on. With Google Ads, you can market on the search network and the display network. The search network is a typical SERP result with your text ad. The display network can involve a whole range of additional sites within Google’s network. You can even appear on YouTube ads for related video content. Other features include:
- Ad Extensions
- Ad Remarketing
Social Media for HVAC Contractors
Having a strong social presence can influence local SEO. In fact, MOZ cites social signals as a local ranking factor. While it might need seem like the most ideal platform to speak about heating and cooling services, you’d be surprised by the impact it could have on your overall online presence. Remember, when things work cohesively together, the sum is greater than the value of each individual part. So what social media channels should HVAC contractors have established a profile on?
Implementing HVAC Marketing in 2019
That’s a lot of information to digest, and as a contractor who has hard day-to-day labor, it can be something that seems like a pipe dream. Luckily services like HVAC Webmasters exist to handle all marketing endeavors on your behalf. You can focus on what you do best, which is great home service work (or commercial buildings), while we keep the leads pouring in at a desirable rate.
We offer two payment plans for heating and cooling technicians:
Month to Month
MTM is the more traditional marketing agreement. You receive an abundance of marketing services for a fixed monthly fee. The exact number can vary based on your geographical market. The most competitive markets must spend more to compete in that market, while small cities and towns can spend a little bit less. It also depends on your current revenue stream, as you know.
Pay Per Lead
PPL, which we noted earlier, requires payment only after an exclusive lead is produced. You still receive organic SEO, local SEO, web design, and more, but you don’t pay a fixed monthly fee. Exclusive leads are more expensive than a fixed monthly price, but if no leads are generated, you never pay a dime.