Why HVAC Competitors Outrank You on Google

HVAC Google Search Rankings

Why Are Local Competitors Ourtanking You on Google? The Answer Lies In The Details Of Your Internet Marketing Strategy

In 2018, almost every HVAC company knows that Google is the number one source for lead generation. What they question is why, in many cases, competitors are outranking them in local searches. Depending on who you ask, the answer is different. Many so called “SEO experts” will give you the run around, and provide a bunch of words without saying a whole lot.

The first step in determining why competition is outranking you on Google is identifying the websites ranking ahead of you for industry keywords. This can be done through a simple Google search of “HVAC company near me”. Make a list of all the websites ahead of you, and start analyzing their websites for qualities that you lack on your own URL. If you are being outranked, it is generally for one of the reasons below:

Content Quality

The quality of on-page content is a definitive ranking factor. When all things are equal, content quality usually serves as the deciding factor as to where a website will rank on Google search results. If your competitor is using a professional content marketing service, and you have written all the content on your own, it’ll be tough to outrank them on search results. It is really a matter of resource allocation. Investing more of your marketing budget into content can change the ranking of your website. Quality content is:

  • Engaging: Keeps the reader’s attention and lead them on a marketing journey
  • Relevant: Applies to the heating and cooling industry and services within it
  • Informative: Provides real value to the reader by informing them through content
  • Unique: Is written by human content writers and not scraped from other sources or generated by bots

Domain Authority

The one ranking factor that provides the most headaches for HVAC companies is domain authority. This factor cannot be directly influenced, and is based on an aggregate of metrics. Moz offers domain authority scores to websites based on their own algorithms, but is clear that it cannot be directly influenced. If you have checked all other aspects of your web page, and are still being outranked, it is likely due to domain authority. Factors that contribute to domain authority include:

  • Linking Root Domains: The quality of the root domain from which a link originates
  • Link Quantity: Number of total links
  • Link Quality (Trust): Quality of links based on a metric known as MozTrust
  • Unknown Factors: There are a total of 40 factors that go into domain authority, many of which are undocumented

Link Building

Links have always been a major ranking factor, but the evolution of Google algorithms has cracked down on many once popular link building tactics. Any type of manipulative link building is now disallowed by the search engine, and rightfully so. After all, user experience is the priority, and rewarding otherwise bad websites for their link quantity does not create an optimal experience for searchers. With that said, links still matter. Consider the factors below:

  • Anchor Text: The text from which links originate should be relevant to the correlating URL
  • Backlinks: Quality inbound links from authority websites have great influence on ranking
  • Internal Links: Comprehensive internal linking makes navigation simpler for website users
  • External Links: Links from one of your pages to a third party authority page helps your cause

Mobile Friendliness

More users are accessing your website on mobile devices than ever before. Mobile usage surpassed desktop way back in 2016, and if your website has yet to incorporate a mobile-friendly presentation, you cannot have expectations to rank well on Google search results. There are a whole list of reasons why mobile optimization is imperative to business success. Your mobile website should focus on:

  • Interaction: Using click to call functionality allows mobile users to call your office right from your website
  • Micro-Moments: Mobile users generally have 4 possible motivations, and it is the job of your website to meet those needs
  • Navigation: It is critical that mobile websites are easily navigable on phones and tablets
  • Speed: If your website fails to load within 3 seconds, expect an exceedingly high bounce rate

Schema Markup

A basic Google search will yield a list of 10 or so organic results. Scanning down the list you’ll notice that certain results look different than others. They appear more “rich” and have additional information underneath the main link. This is the result of schema markup which is the implementation of microdata to highlight certain elements of your website to search engines. Although not officially a ranking factor, schema markup indirectly influences rankings with:

  • Click Through Rate (CTR): More users click on websites with appealing results
  • Niche Marketing: HVAC websites can “mark up” individual service pages for niche appeal
  • Rich Snippets: Schema can earn your website rich snippets which improves appeal

Site Speed

A slow website will drop your ranking quickly. A page that takes more than 3 seconds to load will see a monumental increase in bounce rates. A bounce rate refers to the rate at which users exit your website immediately after entering. If a page fails to load, the first thing the website visitor is going to do is exit. This signals to search engines that users are not getting what they came for. There are several ways to influence page speed, including:

  • Accelerated Mobile Pages: Utilizing Google AMPs helps your mobile pages load faster
  • Hosting: Your host, and hosting plan have alot to do with your site’s speed, so evaluate both
  • Image Compression: Compressing image files makes them smaller and therefore quicker to load
  • Plugins: Refrain from using too many plugins, especially on WordPress, as they can bog down site speed

Social Signals

Moz published its Local Ranking Factors study in 2017 and found that social signals directly influence local search engine rankings. That means company activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube all play a part in where your website ranks on Google. Absence of a social media marketing plan can severely limit your social signals, especially when competing against companies using professional services. Ways to enhance social signals include:

  • Content Curation: Sharing content from other sources that are relevant to the HVAC industry and your company
  • Content Sharing: Sharing blogs and other forms of original content on social platforms
  • Customer Interaction: Replying to social posts that mention your company
  • Profile Optimization: Ensuring contact information, especially website links, are up to date

Website Security

Google takes security very seriously. The last thing they want is for their users to suffer identity theft or for their devices to be infiltrated with viruses, malware, and spyware. With that in mind, you must ensure your HVAC website is secure. Much of this will depend on the Content Management System you elect to use. At HVAC Webmasters, we design client websites using the WordPress CMS. Some of the ways we secure client websites include:

  • File Permissions: Locking file and directory permissions prevents unauthorized access
  • Plugins: WP offers security plugins which can protect websites from hackers
  • Safeguard Passwords: We never let WP admin passwords outside of our office
  • Updates: WP offers regular updates to stay ahead of hackers

For assistance with HVAC internet marketing, give us a call at (800) 353-3409!