If you are new to marketing you might be wondering ‘What is SEO?’ ‘Why are people constantly talking about it?’ and ‘What does something that sounds like a European techno-music group have anything to do with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning?’
This article will not only explain what SEO is and why it is important. It will also explain why SEO is important to your HVAC business.
Marketing is a complicated business. One that adds complications on top of the ones you are likely already dealing with as part of your actual business. This is especially the case in the digital age where it can feel like that there are so many tools and opportunities you might miss out on ones with identifiable returns over ones that are just wastes of money and time. You might feel you are in a constant case of catch-up in a rapidly shifting digital landscape. This is normal. Don’t stress out. That is why articles like this exist. To give you an update on what might currently be worth your attention and consideration for your business. This is why we are talking about Search Engine Optimization. SEO.
What is SEO?
Before you can get started on using SEO for your company you of course need to know what it is. As stated above, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
Let’s break that down.
- Search Engine Optimization- This refers to the search engines you and near everybody on that planet uses on a daily if not hourly or less basis. It has effectively become the means by which anyone with internet access finds anything. Looking for a pizza place near you? Type into Google ‘pizza places near me.’ Need to know what movies are in theaters? Type into that search bar ‘movies out now.’ Want someone to take a look at what’s causing that horrible rattle whenever you turn the heating on? Search for ‘HVAC repair services nearby.’
- Search Engine Optimization– This is a bit trickier to explain. While the above is about what you obviously see whenever you use a search engine (mostly Google but it also applies to others) optimization refers to what you do not see. To what is going on behind your computer or phone screen. Beyond your wireless or fiber optic cable. And inside any of countless server banks around the world. The algorithms. The coding and formulas companies like Google use to determine how search results are arranged when they show up on your screen. The pages they appear on and the order in which the results are ranked.
- Search Engine Optimization– Is thus designing your digital content- websites, ads- to better interact with the search engine algorithms so as to get the highest placing possible in search results. The results closest to the first thing people see.
So now you know what SEO is at its most basic foundations as a concept. Now you might be asking yourself, ‘Why should I care?’ ‘How does this help me and my business?’ ‘What does any of this have to do with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning?’
Let’s look at some numbers.
- Google makes up approximately 5% of search engine usage.
- 90% of clicks on Google search results are on organic listings. These are listings that are not paid for and are ‘organic’ because their rankings and placement are due to the search algorithms, your online content, and overall relevance to the search request.
- Only 10% of clicks go to paid ad listings. These are the listings you will likely see at the top and sometimes parallel to the search results (depending on your screen setup) in their own brackets and colorings to indicate they are paid ads.
- Less than 10% of search engine users go past the first page. This means…
- 90% of Google traffic is generated by the first page of results.
- The #1 organic placing on the first page of search results generates approximately 33% of Google’s click traffic.
- Together the first 3 organic placings get approximately 61% of clicks, with 4% at the third placing. The click traffic percentage falls to as low as about 0.4% at the fifteenth placing.
All these numbers taken together bring us to the conclusion that SEO is vital to your brand’s awareness. When people search for heating, ventilation, or air conditioning services and repair, how well your digital content interacts with search engine algorithms can determine how many people even know your company exists.
With poor search engine optimization it is possible for your company to share a city or area of service with another company, provide the same quality of service and prices, but still be less recognized than that and other companies. Due to not designing your marketing campaigns or digital presence with SEO in mind.
How to Use SEO?
With everything we have said so far about SEO and the ramifications it can have for your business it is understandable to feel overwhelmed. Especially as the core of SEO involves trying to keep up with search engine algorithms that are both kept hidden by their proprietary companies and are constantly being updated.
This does not mean you should ignore SEO and hope for the best. There are habits, design choices, and multiple other elements- learned through trial and error- that tend to get more favorably looked upon by the search engine algorithms. Keeping all these design elements in mind could help boost your online content’s SEO ranking. If you still feel unsure or are worried about what you might be missing do not be afraid to ask for help. There is a lot of online material about SEO as well as people who have devoted their professional careers to helping others navigate SEO for their businesses.
Do the Research
While this might be more relevant if you already have a website and online content it is still important. Find out where your brand places in search result rankings and what is affecting your brand to put it at those rankings. There are quite a few tools available to you that can help in your research. Google Analytics is one such example. It and similar tools can help you figure out: what pages are getting the most traffic and what are getting the least; who is most often searching for your brand (age, gender) and what search terms are they using; what devices are most often being used to search for your brand; which social media platforms is your brand most effective on; and if you are on track to completing set goals.
These questions and more are vital things to know and constantly observe in order to maintain your online content’s higher placing in search engine results.
Have Good Content
One of the most fundamental but admittedly difficult ways to boost your SEO ranking is having good content. Unfortunately ‘good’ can be highly subjective. In addition you or someone in your employ needs to be a capable enough writer whose work is comprehensive and free of errors. As to what content should you have?
The content on your website and other platforms needs to engage, inform, and educate viewers. It needs to draw the eye with titles and text that answers the inquiries people type into search engine boxes. This is where your brand’s specialty as an industry can shine. Answer questions and address concerns customers might have regarding their heating or ventilation. Warning signs about things to look out for or recognize and immediately call professionals (like yourself).
Have videos that showcase your professional expertise and your endearing personality. Use images that are not only relevant and well-crafted but also contain accurately worded metadata titles and descriptions. Make sure both videos and images have searchable urls as that can also affect SEO rankings.
Have a space on your website to share real reviews and testimonials from past customers who can share their satisfaction with your work.
Use the Right Keywords
This is a synthesis of the above two points. Keywords are the connection between what people type in search bars and your digital content. Using research and analytic tools you can find out what keywords net you the most clicks for the time and money their pages take up staying online. Keywords that do not get the returns you are looking for you can remove or replace with new ones to try out.
Though even when you do get keywords that work do not overuse them. In the not-so-distant past keyword stuffing- over-using and forcing keywords into content- to push SEO rankings was fairly common. No more. Google adjusted their algorithms to focus on user intent more than the specific words. Now anyone who gets overly repetitive with their keywords risks getting their website sent far down the line where it is unlikely anyone will see it.
Thus do not keyword stuff. Use synonyms. Focus on having good content that engages people as in the above point.
Have a Healthy Website
Make sure your website is working. Make sure it loads quickly. Constantly check it for broken links or error pages. Make sure that websites linking to yours are legitimate and not suspicious. If the latter be swift and decisive in disavowing them. Design your website to be convenient for users to navigate.
This article only covers the tip of an iceberg about SEO and how it can help your business. It is a potentially cost-effective way to keep your business in the public’s digital eye. It is also certainly something you cannot ignore. We hope you have found this article helpful in getting you started in understanding what being SEO conscious can mean for you.