Pop quiz: If I offered you 43 blog articles or 21 blog articles at the same price, which would you choose?
Number of blog articles
You’d want the big one, right? After all, more articles on your HVAC blog has to be better.
Well, not quite. Take a look at the next chart…
Number of pageviews by group
This chart shows the total page views of each group of articles over an entire year. The 43 articles produced almost no traffic. On the other hand, the group of 21 articles produced over 130,000 page views!
Does that change your first answer?
Side note: we know pageviews aren’t everything
Obviously, pageviews aren’t going to pay your bills. But for blog articles, they are a key predictive indicator that these articles are quality, which tells Google your website is also a quality website.
And, for what it’s worth, the blog articles also bring in about 10 web leads/month for this client.
What’s the difference between those 2 sets of articles?
Well, we wrote the 21 articles for the client. Then they fired us because another company offered to give them more for their money—or so they thought. (Spoiler alert: the client took us back when they realized quantity isn’t as important as quality.)
So what made our articles so different from the other company’s? Well, we created truly useful content. Our articles:
- Are more in-depth
- Answer common questions
- Written in the customer’s language
- Are completely unique
Of course, every blogging company will tell you their articles are those things. So how can you tell if their articles really are? Well, let’s look at each of these characteristics in more detail.
(In the interest of protecting our client’s identity, these examples are from some of our other clients.)
An in-depth article doesn’t just answer the question at hand, but also explains the issue in more detail so the reader can fully grasp the answer and understand the context.
The problem: Many “blogging” or PR companies tell you they will write a bunch of articles for you to help with SEO. But their articles are surface-level, lacking any real depth. Often, this is because they don’t really understand HVAC.
But that doesn’t work well. Your customers want in-depth information. They want enough information to solve a problem or make a decision.
The fix: We heavily research each topic we write about so that we can not only answer the question but also explain:
- Why that’s the answer
- What to do with that information
- Other questions they may have
An example: Consider this article we wrote for Advanced Air on How to Find a Quiet Central Air Conditioner. We start by simply stating the answer to the question.
“Finding a super quiet central air conditioner is easy. Just look at the decibel (dB) sound rating. A lower dB rating means a quieter air conditioner.”
And we could have basically ended it there. But we didn’t. Because your customers want more than that. The next logical question someone might have is “Well what is a decibel rating?” So we answered that question.
And then, since readers are likely looking for a really quiet air conditioner (that’s the title of the article), we gave them a place to start their search by listing the quietest AC models available.
And lastly, we gave them one more tool to use in their quest for a quiet AC: features that can make an air conditioner quieter.
Answering common questions
The key to providing useful content is to write about things people are actually looking for.
The problem: Many other HVAC blogging/SEO companies don’t do this. They just brainstorm topics without thinking about what questions your customer has. And then you end up with topics like this (real topics taken from HVAC blogs):
- DIY Home Energy Assessment
- Blame It on the Install?
- Save Money With Proper Maintenance
- Happy National Water Quality Month
- Air Sealing & Cost Savings
These titles range from vague (what do you expect to find in an article called “Blame It on the Install?”) to silly things no one is really looking for “Happy National Water Quality Month”).
The fix: When writing articles to help with SEO, do research to find questions that are actually being asked about your products and services. For example, we use Yahoo Answers a lot.
We simply type in “Why is my (insert product)” in the search box and stop. Don’t hit enter or click on search. See the suggestions Yahoo Answers gives you.
An example: We used a variation of this technique to find this question:
And then wrote an article for George Brazil answering that question.
And that article alone results in thousands of pageviews every month for George Brazil.
Written in your customer’s language
SEO specialists talk a lot about keywords. But keywords are just the actual words your customers use when they’re talking about or searching for something.
The problem: Many HVAC companies and the marketing writers they hire don’t do enough research to find out how customers are talking about their products and services.
Take just 2 of the example topics above:
- Save Money With Proper Maintenance
- Happy National Water Quality Month
Do you know anyone who is dying to find out more about “Proper Maintenance” (of what?) or who celebrates National Water Quality Month? We don’t. And our research methods don’t show much activity around those topics either.
The fix: We borrow words from Yahoo Answers, homeowner forums, website form submissions and other places to make sure the words we use in an article are the same ones customers are using.
An example: We were writing an article for Plumbing Today about why a water heater can make a popping noise. We saw that several people described the sound as popcorn popping.
So when we wrote the article for Plumbing Today, that’s how we described the sound.
Of course, we also made sure the article was in-depth and answering a common question. This article is now Plumbing Today’s most viewed blog article, bringing in nearly 10,000 pageviews/month.
To get your articles found, you need to offer something that customers can’t find anywhere else online. And that’s not easy.
The problem: Many HVAC companies churn out blogs that simply regurgitate what your customers can find elsewhere. That won’t get you found.
For example, Google a phrase like “ How to save money on air conditioning costs” and you’ll get a ton of articles, all with pretty much the same advice, like:
- Caulk around doors and windows
- Use a programmable thermostat
- Close your blinds
- Use your oven/stove less
- Change your air filters
While an article like that might do well in an email newsletter, it won’t help you get found in search.
The fix: If it’s a topic that’s been covered to death, either avoid it or find a new angle. To do this, read other articles on the topic and ask yourself:
- Is there anything missing?
- Are there details that are fuzzy/not explained clearly?
- Are there other questions that come to mind while reading this?
- Is there one aspect of this topic I could focus on and write a whole article on?
An example: We did this for Cool Today with the article SEER: 3 Free Tools That Show You How Much You’ll Save with a New AC. Instead of writing on generic ways to save on AC costs, we found a unique angle: free online tools that help you estimate how much energy a new AC could save customers.
This article also helps answer a common question: “Is a new air conditioner worth the cost?”
And this different angle has paid off. This article brings in thousands of pageviews every month for Cool Today and is ranked #1 or 2 for several searches.
Why this works
So by focusing on the same goal (giving your customers the best information available), you’re aligning yourself with Google. In-depth, unique articles written in your customers’ language and answering their questions is exactly what Google’s looking for.
Take a look at the blog posts on your website. Do they meet quality level we’ve discussed? Or are they short, surface-level blogs that do nothing for you but occupy space?