What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your HVAC business for local searches on Google and other search engines. Specifically, the practice targets Google Map 3-Pack rankings with your Google My Business listing along with regionally-targeted web pages for traditional organic results.
Why HVAC Companies Need Local SEO
Local SEO is tremendously important given how potential clients typically search for the heating and air services you provide (by location).
Not only should your organic on-page and social media content include a focus on local keywords that rank well for geographic factors, but there are additional elements to local SEO that you can employ to help search engines like Google recognize where you are. This is what ensures you’re prominently displayed in SERPs. Some of the local SEO elements that a strong internet marketing plan will include:
- Citation Management
- Google My Business management
- Embedded Google map on Contact Page
- NAP Consistency
- Review Management
- Schema Markup
You don’t have to know how to execute these variables yourself to have a successful HVAC website. However, what you do need to leverage are experts in local SEO (like us) who can dial in all the right pieces of the puzzle to make your site look strong and logical when Google is retrieving location-specific results for users. MOZ listed these (and several other factors) when considering local search ranking results, and it’s worthwhile to consider that some elements weigh more heavily than others for moving the dial on your SERP position.
Local SEO Ranking Factors for HVAC
Once HVAC companies understand the importance of ranking locally, they naturally wonder how to influence rankings. Google Maps and Google Search rankings are based on separate algorithms, so each will require unique solutions. With that being said, some aspects of each algorithm carry over to the other one.
Below, HVAC Webmasters outlines local SEO ranking factors for 2021. Mastering each factor gives your company the best chance to rank on both Google Search and Google Maps. Though Google’s algorithm continuously evolves, it is important to establish a baseline of best practices for consistent growth in your industry.
Google My Business
Claiming and optimizing your GMB listing is critical to local SEO. You can claim your business here and start ranking on the Local Map 3-Pack. Of course, optimized listings perform far better than empty ones. You should ensure accurate contact information, upload unique photos, and provide answers to the FAQ. You should also enter your website URL in the appropriate GMB field.
Google My Business serves as your local SEO foundation, and without a listing, ranking becomes implausible. Sometimes HVAC companies have more than one listing, in which case you should merge the two listings. Furthermore, it would be best if you decided whether to list your address publically since most HVAC businesses quality as service area businesses (SAB).
Your GMB listing will also serve as a central hub for your Google Reviews, which we will discuss below. You can share your review link in your marketing materials, email signature, and other promotional content. Google My Business reviews have the greatest influence over Google Maps rankings and also increase GMB conversion rates.
Generating Google Reviews is critical to local SEO success for HVAC companies. Google makes it easy to share your review form by providing you with a shortlink which you can then share with customers. Still, HVAC companies often forget to stay on top of the review generation process. Investing in a local SEO tool like BrandREVU solves the problem for good.
BrandREVU sends automated review requests to customers after finishing jobs. When customers leave Google Revies, your company gains more credibility and converts more prospects. In addition to requesting reviews, BrandREVU also empowers contractors to perform jobsite check-ins.
If you provide enough service, customers may eventually leave negative reviews. A few negative reviews won’t hurt your business, but it does make sense to respond to each review. Try to remedy their problems and ensure great service if they decide to come back and use your company. Remember that prospects are watching how you react to every review.
The terms “NAP” and “Citations” are often used somewhat interchangeably, but the best way to understand these as critical elements for local SEO is to look at what they represent: Name, Address, and Phone (…N.A.P.). It’s a no-brainer that potential customers searching for local HVAC businesses via Google are going to want easily-accessible contact information. Especially if the issue is emergent — such as a brokedown furnace in the middle of winter — a viewer needs to be able to find your phone number in a matter of seconds to get that repair in the works!
Not only is NAP data important for user experience, but it also demonstrates to Google that your site is well-developed, useful, and communicates contact information explicitly. This makes you a great fit for searches that invoke your stated service area (determined via location keywords or the address listed), which means Google and other search engines are going to give your site higher rankings to meet the need.
NAP isn’t only important for your primary HVAC website SEO — including on-page content, thoughtfully designed Contact Page and structured data usage — but also for your secondary websites.
Think of social media business pages, Google My Business page, Angie’s List page, etc., which are the citations for your HVAC business. All of these potential entry points are opportunities to provide a great user experience by ensuring NAP is consistent, the pages are optimized, and you’ve managed citations across the web. This establishes authority and reliability when it comes to your overall web presence, giving your local SEO game a huge boost.
Local SEO Content
Organic content has a significant, long-term impact on your ability to rank well for local SEO. For Localized Organic Ranking Factors, the on-page signals count for 26% of your ranking score.
What does this mean? It’s (hopefully) no surprise at this point that you have to have good copy on your website. You can’t throw up a single paragraph on a webpage about HVAC services and expect that to either inform your potential customers in any real way nor will it reward you with a top spot on the search engine results page. I will go ahead and beat this point into the ground: Google wants what your site visitors want.
When a potential customer clicks through to your website from the results page or a citation page, they expect to find relevant info. If you have generic or lackluster content or the volume of content is minimal, there is no value. You’re not adding anything worth reviewing, and thus you aren’t considered an optimal candidate for Google to serve up in the rankings.
We know that quality content is a must for HVAC business, but incorporating location keywords into the content will make the biggest impact on local SEO. It’s one thing to kick butt for the keyword search “best heating company,” but if the user follows suit with typical behavior, they’re going to tack on their city name or zip code to get more tailored results. In fact, Google often prompts adding “near me” or even the user’s city (based on location services).
If you haven’t optimized your service area (or areas), you’re not going to seem relevant. Utilizing strong H1 tags with the city name alongside high-performing search keywords will help your site make leaps in bounds.
Another factor to consider is Domain Authority. In a nutshell, MOZ’s metric, domain authority, is a 1-100 ranking that can help gauge the strength of your site relative to other trusted domains via links. This means outgoing links to reputable organizations (such as unions, trade organizations, libraries, etc.), but also incoming links that establish your content as traffic-worthy.
This doesn’t mean you should engage in shady linkback tactics. Rather, it reinforces an organic SEO strategy that acknowledges good content, providing value for the internet and those who use it, as the lynchpin of an effective internet marketing campaign.
Since we’re talking about local SEO, including links (or better yet, obtaining links to your well-developed on-page content) to nearby organizations that can bolster your local reputation and cultivate relationships is an awesome strategy!
User experience always counts. If the bounce rate for your site is high — which means that viewers aren’t spending much time on pages — Google interprets that as less-than-engaging (perhaps due to superficial content or slow page loading) and will penalize sites that don’t seem to grab users.
On the other hand, HVAC mobile websites that seem to have a strong response via clicks to call will be perceived as helpful and relevant. Content must be good, and information must be accessible and accurate, but you’ve got to ensure that all typical user experience elements are intact, as well. This includes:
- Engaging Design
- Intuitive Site Navigation
- Obvious “Call to Action” Buttons
- Optimized Image Size For Device
- Prompt Page Loading
Local Keyword Optimization
Local keyword optimization is not unlike traditional SEO, but it focuses on local terms and phrases. Company websites will still want to follow standard optimization protocol, as the best practices remain valid when crafting a local keyword strategy. HVAC Webmasters is a leader in online marketing for heating and cooling companies. We’ve been working with contractors in this industry for decades and know what it takes to market to their core audience effectively. Local keyword optimization consists of:
- Body Content: Distribution of local terms throughout the body text
- Meta Descriptions: Inclusion of local phrases within web page meta descriptions
- Title / Header Tags: Placement of local keywords within title and header tags
- URL Slugs: Disposal of local terms within URL slugs
Using the WordPress content management system, optimizing for local terms is straightforward and intuitive. With WordPress, website managers can easily manage title and header tags, body content, and URL slugs. Internal linking is another tactic for emphasizing HVAC keywords. Link to your most important pages from other internal pages, and use the anchor text for the keyword. Of course, make sure that your terms make sense to the reader and never engage in spammy keyword placement.