SEO is great. A well-run SEO campaign will bring in lots of leads. If your HVAC website is sitting on page two of Google for most money keywords, SEO can literally transform your business.
But it isn’t all peaches and cream, and you don’t get all those results without some pain.
So let’s take a look at that pain and why it’s there.
You Need To Commit
SEO just takes time to work.
Think of SEO like weightlifting. If you lift weights, you might start to notice a difference in the mirror after a month. After 3 months, other people will start to notice a difference in your physique. After six months, you’ll be feeling pretty strong and looking pretty good.
SEO is just like that: you’re putting muscle on your website, feeding it a diet of good backlinks, and putting in the time. It’s an investment in the future.
Right now, most HVAC websites won’t see movement on their search rankings for a month and will start to see more leads after 2-3 months.
In extremely competitve areas, it takes even longer. It’s impossible to pin down how long it takes to rank because of Google.
Google has an algorithm - the ranking algorithm. They don’t tell anyone what it looks like. Lots of people have run experiments and found that it’s quite likely that there are more than 200 potential factors that Google takes into account to rank your website.
Google updates its algorithm on a very regular and frequent basis, which is why no professional SEO company will ever make promises about when a client will rank or that keywords will rank. It’s just too hard to tell.
And it’s not just your HVAC website that matters, it’s the sites that are connected to you as well, by linking to you or being a part of your social web. Those sites also have those 200-some ranking factors attached to them.
So the reality is that your SEO will probably speak in generalities about when you’ll start to see results. If it’s any consolation, there are repeatable formulas for getting HVAC websites to rank in Google, and many, many HVAC companies have gone down this path with an incredible amount of success.
Just realize that you need to make a time commitment.
The advantage to all this? If you start now, you’ll be ahead of your competitors. By the time they realize that you’re grabbing their leads, it’ll take them months to catch up to you.
You Don’t Pick Your Position In the Search Results
When you install a furnace, it’s attached to a thermostat that effectively turns the furnace on and off at the temperature setpoints that you or a homeowner select. The tempperature of the living space is completely within your control since you’re working in a tightly controlled closed system.
This is the complete opposite of SEO.
Many marketing businesses basically say this:
“We’ll build you a website that is optimized for Google’s SEO guidelines and you’ll get all the leads.”
This is absolutely crazy because they are treating your website like it’s a closed system. Make a bunch of tweaks, throw up a bunch of content, and you’ll be rolling in leads!
I don’t think so.
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In reality, there are tons of HVAC websites with optimized themes and content that appear in Google’s graveyard: pages 2, 3, 4, and beyond in the search results.
The first page results of Google all have backlinks, and usually a lot of them. But it’s still not even that simple.
As I pointed out above, Google uses a whole bunch of factors in their ranking algorithm. Many of them are external to your website and extremely difficult to quantify.
16-20% of Google searches have never been searched before, which means that Google needs to do some serious computing to figure out what, exactly, a searcher wants, and then deliver it.
Your HVAC company’s website might move up and down in the search results - you’re at the whim of Google, sites linking to you, and your users. We can do everything possible to get that #1 ranking, but you need to always remember is that rankings are nothing like a thermostat.
There is an advantage to this unpredictability: Your competitors probably have no idea what they’re doing. They bought the “HVAC-optimized” website and it just sits there. If you can do slightly better SEO than them, you’ll grab leads that they would have gotten.
Good SEO Costs Real Money
There are tons of companies out there selling SEO packages to HVAC companies that promise the world for a couple of hundred dollars a month. The problem is that they can’t actually do anything at those prices except let your site sit and tell you they are “doing SEO” until you wise up and cancel.
SEO requires time to adjust little niggling things, expensive tools, and labor to create content and backlinks. While many agencies offshore this work to make it cheap, the quality often shows in the end results, and it’s often terrible.
Huge marketing companies also want to make HVAC SEO a commodity service - they offer one-size-fits-all solutions at cheap prices. However, these prices usually don’t include bespoke work that you need to get your website ranked in your local area. You might be doing 80 installs a month, but you’re still just a line on a spreadsheet.
First of all, if you’ve decided to pony up and pay for good SEO, it’s probably a good mindset to have. Just like you have an accountant take care of your books and a mechanic work on your trucks, a good SEO company does it’s thing and delivers the results you need. And just like an accountant or mechanic, you need to do your due diligence on an SEO.
It’s also good for you that SEO is “expensive”. SEO has such a bad reputation from scummy agencies that your competitors are often afraid to engage with an SEO agency, especially one that won’t guarantee results or a timetable (in other words, the good ones).
But the fact is, SEO will pay for itself very quickly when it starts bringing in installs.
If you can’t afford good SEO, perfect.
That means you get to learn it yourself. You can do brand-style SEO on your website by optimizing your site and writing content, then doing some off-site backlinking from HVAC directories.
If you read up (there is a ton of info on the Internet), you should be able to get to page two or three of the search results in many localities.
If you can get to this point, you’ll have two things:
- You should be generating enough revenue to justify hiring an outside marketing company (once you’re doing several millions in revenue, you can take it back in-house again).
- You’ll have a good idea of what good SEO looks like and you’ll know what to look for when you hire an HVAC marketing company.
If you’re in this position, I highly recommend purchasing a month of use of a tool like Ahrefs and learning how to use it. You can see what your backlinks look like, what your keywords are, and what the competition is doing.
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