When it comes to HVAC marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) is a “slow and steady” tactic. Meaning it takes time to optimize your website and then get it to rank in search results.
So, how long does SEO take to work?
Typically, you’ll start seeing higher rankings within 3 to 6 months. But getting your site to rank on the first page of Google will take even longer.
Why does SEO take so long?
With SEO, you have to “build authority”. In other words, become a trusted and authoritative site in the eyes of search engines. And this takes time.
Google doesn’t look at a single “authority” metric, but rather over 200 other ranking factors that can vary from search query to search query. Don’t worry, though. Google is always changing those factors and some consistently hold more weight than others.
For HVAC companies, your proximity to the search user is one of the most important factors that determines your company’s rank in search engine page results (SERPs).
But Google takes other important ranking factors into account, including:
- Content relevance
- Backlinks (getting other sites to link to yours)
- Mobile optimization
- A few technical factors
Creating quality content, establishing backlinks, optimizing your site—it all takes months.
To give you an idea of why it takes so long, let’s go through Rocket Media’s SEO process for HVAC websites in detail.
Our SEO process for HVAC websites
I sat down with Rocket Media’s SEO director, Sean (feel free to reach out to him on Twitter: @spbucher), to talk SEO. He walks our clients through this process:
- Run diagnostics
- Make technical improvements
- Create HVAC content
- Reoptimize and refine
Need to hire someone to help you with SEO? Check out Google’s guidelines for hiring a “search engine optimizer” (SEO) that will give you the best results for your buck.
Let’s go over each step of our process in detail.
Step 1: Run diagnostics
We run diagnostics like doctors perform check-ups.
The first thing you should do is look at the technical elements of your HVAC website to find out the state of your current SEO and what you need to do to improve rankings.
Here are a few things we go over:
- Your goals: The goals and objectives you set in your digital marketing plan drive the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your SEO. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you won’t have any baseline metrics to know how your SEO is performing.
- Overall website performance: Google favors sites with a good user experience. We analyze page sizes and speeds, mobile friendliness, website security and more to find where your site is lacking when it comes to usability, so you know exactly what needs to be improved.
- Keyword gap analysis: We evaluate the keywords your competitors are ranking for, but you aren’t. This helps us figure out where you’re currently ranking and where you should be ranking.
- Off-site and on-site SEO: We look at how you can optimize ranking factors on your website (on-site SEO) as well as ones on other websites (off-site SEO).
Step 2: Make technical improvements
The results of step one drive what happens in step 2. Depending on what you find, your site will need one of two updates:
- Minor technical and usability improvements, like improving page speeds and site security, adding HTML tags, updating meta information, and other minor updates to improve user experience.
- Website overhaul. If your website is seriously outdated (not mobile-responsive, painfully slow, lots of broken links, etc.), you’ll need to fix all of that to optimize it for SEO. This is where we would create new content for your main services before creating additional content to really ramp up your SEO (see step 3).
More often than not, our clients just need minor technical improvements to get their site ready for SEO.
For more information about how SEO works, check out Moz’s SEO Learning Center.
Once your site’s ready, it’s time to create more content.
Step 3: Create more educational and local HVAC content
To rank for keywords your audience searches for, you need to have content that not just features those keywords but also gives the user the answer they’re looking for (sketchy, black hat SEO tactics don’t work anymore).
You might be thinking “Good to know, but how can I create content around ‘air conditioning repair in Phoenix’?” We’ll show you.
We’ve found that 2 different types of content help boost rankings for HVAC companies:
- Educational content
- Dedicated city or service area pages
Let’s go over both.
Tactic #1: Educational content
We hate to break it to you, but your customers aren’t searching for your company updates or employee spotlights.
They want their questions answered—which you can do by posting educational content on your blog.
When we create content for client blogs, we develop article topics based on two things:
1. Consumer intent. HVAC customers (like yours) have high, medium and low buying intent (meaning they are more or less likely to buy right now). So, we recommend writing content topics based on:
- Pricing (high buying intent)
Example: How Much Does It Cost to Replace an AC Compressor in Phoenix?
- Product research/comparisons (medium buying intent)
Example: Variable-Speed Motor vs Single-Speed Motor
- Troubleshooting/FAQs (low buying intent)
Example: Why is My Furnace Not Turning On?
- Pricing (high buying intent)
2. Seasonality. Since HVAC is such a seasonal business, heating and cooling blogs perform well. The key for these blogs to do well is to write them three to four months ahead of the season, so they have time to build authority and rank on SERPs.
See how we cover the range of intents for Santa Fe Air Conditioning & Heating?
Now, if you want to rank above position #1 in Google, you need to write content in such a way that it gets the coveted “featured snippet”, or the “zero answer”.
Google’s featured snippet—the first listing that shows up in a little box—gives a summary of the page, taken from its content.
We’ve found the best way for HVAC companies to rank for the featured snippet is to put the relevant information (the answer to the query) at the very beginning of the article.
Let’s look at Patrick Riley as an example. One of its articles ranks for the featured snippet for “cost of an ac installation in phoenix”.
When you go to the article, the first sentence is the answer to query:
The sooner you can answer a user’s question, the more likely you are to rank first (or zero, rather) on Google.
In short, we try to maximize traffic and conversions for clients.
Every 3 months, depending on monthly data, we do 2 things for our HVAC clients:
- Improve the website for search engines. We look at website titles and descriptions to see how we can increase website rankings. This often involves testing different page descriptions and updating data on your site, which improves how search engines read and deliver your pages.
- Improve website pages for users. Once users are on the page, we analyze what we can do to get them to call or fill out a form. We do things like analyze keyword gaps (see step 1), test call/schedule button location and so on.
Need to boost your SEO ranking?
If you want to learn more about how we can help boost search rankings for your HVAC company, give us a call at contact us today.or