Written on: June 1, 2012 by Paul J. Nazzaro
Today, everyone’s favorite marketing buzzwords seem to be internet marketing and search engine optimization (or SEO). Search engines have “virtually killed” phone book advertising. Now, marketers drop the term “SEO” into every sentence they utter and general consensus cannot ignore that online marketing has evolved into a colossal driver of new business.
But for many contractors accustomed to the cut-and-dry days of a half page ad in the Yellow Pages, Internet marketing is a lot like a credit score. Folks know it’s really important and can have a serious impact on their finances, but they don’t really understand how it works.
The good news is SEO doesn’t need to be an abstract science. One can take specific steps and fulfill a set of tasks that, when done right, can generate page-one Google search results and an active engagement by current clients and new prospects.
Profitable SEO and online marketing for an HVAC business boils down to seven key functions: a strong Google Places listing, ample customer reviews, SEO strategy, smart web page design, links to your site, videos and social media.
Below is the complete internet marketing and SEO checklist for conquering each of the seven top tools. If you tend to each of the items on this list, you will be well on your way to dominating search engines for your heating and air conditioning services in your market.
* Claim your Google Places listing www.google.com/places
* Fill in all of the fields and emphasize the cities you service and the services you offer (dehumidification, whole house air cleaning, duct cleaning, humidification, air conditioning repair, etc.)
* Upload 10 photos and five videos to your listing.
* Be sure the listing is properly linked to your website
* Establish your NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number Profile) across the web with consistent references to your company name, address and phone number (remember, the idea here is to have the same exact data on each of the major data providers). Make sure that you are listed on: Bing Local, Yahoo Local, City Search, Yelp, Angie’s List, Judy’s Book, Yellow Pages (yp.com), InsiderPages, Kudzu, HotFrog, Manta, Merchant Circle, Magic Yellow, Brownbook, InfoUSA, Superpages and Local.com
* Send an e-mail to your current customers,past customers and family members (who haveused you in the past) asking them to write areview of your company. Be sure to send a linkto your Google Places listing with the e-mail.
* Print out review request cards and startleaving them with customers after service visits.
* Send an e-mail to your customers after everyservice call thanking them for their businessand requesting a review.Reviews play a critical role in placement onGoogle Maps. Don’t skip this step!
* Be sure that you have updated the “title tags”on each of your website pages for a specific service/city combination. Each page on your site canonly be optimized for two to three keyword combinations.
* Home page title tag = “City Air Conditioning| Company Name HVAC | Contractor in City”
* Heat Pump page title tag = “City Heat Pump| Heat Pump Contractor in City”
* Be sure to use a title like the ones listedabove for each of the pages on your site
* Make sure your website includes a page devotedto each service you provide. Below are afew good examples of pages and title tag names:
* Air Conditioning
* Central Air
* The same thing goes for each sub-city youserve. Make sure each area has its own web page.If you service 10 markets, then list 10 cities. Ifyou only service three neighborhoods, list three.
The pages names and title tags should resemble the format below:
* City 1 Air Conditioning
* City 2 Air Conditioning
* City 3 Air Conditioning
By having a specific page on your site for each of your services and each of the cities that you operate in, you can effectively add a placeholder on the search engines for each of those different keyword combinations.
* Be sure that you have a link to your website from any associations and groups that you are affiliated with, such as: Chambers of Commerce, Local PHCC Chapter websites, Better Business Bureau, industry associations, etc. * Research your competition and identify links that you could also get for your site (go to Yahoo! and search “site:yourcompetitor.com”). This will show you who is linking to them.
* Create content and distribute to the major article sites.
* Write four to five articles per month, (400– 500) words each.
* Be sure to add a link to your site at the bottom of the article.
* You can then submit your articles directly to multiple online catalogues and create many inbound links back to your website with each article. Some article sites you can post to:
* EzineArticles The big daddy of article directories, this is a great choice to start with.
* Submit Your Article High-quality article directory
* Suite101 Another monstrous article site
* Other great websites to distribute your articles include: Helium, ArticleDashboard, ArticleBase, GoArticles, WebProNews, SearchWarp, Buzzle, Isnare, American Chronicle, ArticleCity, IdeaMarketers, Site Reference, Article, TheWhir, Articles Factory, SelfGrowth, Amazines, Article Snatch.
* Grab a camera and answer your most frequently asked questions. Explain what you do on a daily basis how to clean vents, which portable air conditioning unit you recommend, how to install a furnace, etc.
* Save each question as a separate video and post it to YouTube, Vimio, MetaCafe, Viddler and Daily Motion.
* Be sure to add a link to your website in the description of each video. Also, name your video with your keywords “Portable Air Conditioner” or “Your City Air Conditioning Installation,” etc.
* Start by setting up profiles for your company on:
* Google +
* Send an e-mail blast to your existing e-mail list (if you have one) letting them know that you want to connect with them on social media and that you now have social profiles. Offer them some incentive to “Like You,” “Follow You” and/ or subscribe to you; for example:
* Discount off next purchase
* Discount for their friends and family
* Something of value for free
* Add social media to your day-to-day business practices and systematically invite your customers to engage with you online. Be sure to invite all of your customers to engage after service visits via a follow-up e-mail or as an insert in your invoice. Add links to your social media profiles on your business cards, brochures, marketing materials, website and e-mail signature.
* Post valuable content This may be the most important component of your social media strategy. If you have thousands of fans and followers but don’t add value, you will have accomplished nothing. You need to post relevant updates, tips, ideas, techniques, news and special promotions on a daily basis. Try to keep 90 percent of your posts informational and 10 percent (or less) promotional.
* Engage with your customers You need to stay on top of your social media profiles and engage with your fans/followers when/if they post or reply to your profiles.
Dean Iodice and Josh Nelson co-founded HVACSEO and together hone more than 25 years of experience in internet marketing, search engine optimization and social media management. HVACSEO executes online marketing and SEO functions on behalf of plumbers, HVAC contractors and other contracting businesses throughout the country. The firm helps obtain Google search page one placement and strictly honors a no-competitor agreement, working with no more than one contractor in each market. For more information, call Dean Iodice or Josh Nelson at 866-610-4647 or visit HVACSEO.net.