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SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?

 
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:29 AM   #1
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SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


I was curious as to what you guys thought of the SEO industry and if it is helpful in the local HVAC industry.

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Old 08-05-2011, 05:19 PM   #2
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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Originally Posted by sjson View Post
I was curious as to what you guys thought of the SEO industry and if it is helpful in the local HVAC industry.

If done right, SEO can be very beneficial in providing low cost leads.
Depending on your market and competition, it might take more time/money to rank for your keywords.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:14 PM   #3
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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If done right, SEO can be very beneficial in providing low cost leads.
Depending on your market and competition, it might take more time/money to rank for your keywords.
True targeting the right keywords can be very beneficial in the HVAC industry and to your website. This is because HVAC websites can be more searchable in different search engines. Plus, you can earn higher ROIs.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:46 AM   #4
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


I would say that some SEO firms are a bit shady. I think most SEO work can be done in house. We have seen success with our in house work.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:43 AM   #5
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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I would say that some SEO firms are a bit shady. I think most SEO work can be done in house. We have seen success with our in house work.
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I'd say that the number of shady SEO firms is only exceeded by the number of shady home service professionals

SEO is a new (still) and unregulated industry. You can't go to Wharton and major in SEO; there are no (reputable) certifications, etc. As a result, everyone and their brother is a "purported" SEO expert. The solution is, in my humble opinion, to learn as much as you can about SEO. There are millions of DIY SEO sites like this.

Read them and ask questions (anyone going to ACCA in Vegas??).

Any time you invest in the SEO process will be worth it. Ask any (decent size) HVAC contractor and my guess is that they'll tell you SEO is one of their top sources of new business (probably #1 or #2 behind word of mouth). Over a one year or greater timeline, it has the highest ROI of any marketing strategy I've ever tested.

If you're small (have more time than money) or large ($20MM+), you should do whatever SEO work you can in-house.

This means:

  • + Keyword research and competitor analysis
  • + Assessing your code and site structure
  • + Creating unique and relevant content (establish yourself as THE expert in your area)
  • + Building your overall web authority (get other authoritative sites to link to you as a resource)

If you're strapped for time, pay someone to do the keyword research and competitor analysis for you. Likewise, assessing your site code and structure is important, but often overlooked. How much do you really know about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, robots.txt files, canonical tags, 301 redirects, etc.? Putting great content on a poorly coded site is like rowing against the tide. Spend some time and make sure that Google, Yahoo and Bing can find, read and index each page of your site.

Again, if you can't figure out how to do this on your own, or you lack the time, hire a pro.

Creating great content is something almost anyone can do. Same thing with getting other authoritative sites to link to you. Whether you do it in-house or outsource it comes down to the question: What's the best use of your time? Can an SEO consultant buy equipment to help you run your business more efficiently? No. Can an SEO consultant help you put better systems in place so that you can better utilize your techs when June/July rolls around? Negative.

If you've got more time than money, do it in-house. If you're busy, do only what only you can do - delegate the rest.

I'll leave you with a final thought - Almost no matter what situation you're in, you don't want to hire an "SEO expert". What you really need is someone that knows BUSINESS (and the HVAC business in particular) first - then SEO and online marketing. Recognize that SEO is one arrow in a much larger quiver. For example, you're wasting your money on SEO if your website's true visit-to-lead conversion rate is less than 15%. Most of you aren't even tracking this.

How can I make this blind assertion? Easy - hardly anyone (like less than 5%) - in any service industry - tracks it correctly/accurately. Contact me and I'll show you.

If the SEO consultant you're talking to isn't asking you about service vs. replacement, the seasonality in your market and how to manage your lead-gen programs to finance your business through the slow seasons, your gross margins, how much you can afford to spend to acquire a new client, what your website's TRUE visit-to-lead conversion rate is (and suggesting you track this if you don't know it today), etc., you're probably talking to the wrong person - IMHO.

Hope this helps!

Ben
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:19 AM   #6
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


Hey there Ben! Check the website but I think it doesn't have any content yet.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:42 PM   #7
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


Just be careful when hiring a firm - some use bad methods that work for a short while but then in the end you get screwed
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:48 AM   #8
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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Originally Posted by barrieheatingcooling View Post
Just be careful when hiring a firm - some use bad methods that work for a short while but then in the end you get screwed
A couple tips to avoid hiring the wrong SEO firm:

1) Know your numbers. I can't emphasize this enough. Before hiring an SEO firm, you should know (at an absolute minimum):

A) Your average revenue per job (repair vs. replacement)
B) Your inquiry to appointment and appointment to sale conversion rates
C) The # of non-branded organic visitors you're getting per month
D) The % of web visitors that convert into leads (for the site as a whole and then separately for visits from organic search)

***It is also nice to have the number of jobs you're already getting from organic search (so you have an accurate baseline before the SEO firm starts their work)

Tracking all this stuff requires special tools and a certain level of expertise, but there are companies that will help you with it.

2) References - Does the SEO firm you're considering have references - preferably from the HVAC industry - and do their references sound like intelligent business people (i.e. are they running the type of company you'd like to be running one day)?

If you find a bad review for a company, I wouldn't completely write the company off. Think of your own company and customers. How many idiot customers have called you with an HVAC problem, you do the right thing and they somehow find a way to be pissed off about it? Some people can't be pleased and you can't always detect them on the front-end (during the sales process). Unsuccessful people also tend to have a negative view on life (and are therefore more likely to write negative reviews online).

3) Business Knowledge - Purported "seo experts" are a dime a dozen. Finding someone long on business knowledge AND SEO is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Make sure the company you're interviewing understands your business / industry - your gross margin, the seasonality, repair vs. replacement, swap-out/change out vs. custom work, commercial vs. residential, etc. Someone with a modicum of SEO knowledge and a ton of business experience is infinitely more valuable than the typical SEO technician (if you can find an expert in both, you've hit gold).

My $.02 - hope it helps.

Ben
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:15 AM   #9
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


Actually SEO is just simple. Doesn't have to be really complicated. The only things that complicate it is those people who don't adhere Google and other search engine's guidelines. I am saying that it is simple because it is. You don't have to hire anyone. You can actually do it yourself if you have the time.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:37 PM   #10
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


We've been having a lot of success with our SEO firm. One this that helps a lot is that they're totally transparent - every month we get a report that shows exactly what they've done for our site and how much our traffic has grown. They've got good writers who seem like they know what they're doing, and it's helped up a lot!
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:54 AM   #11
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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We've been having a lot of success with our SEO firm. One this that helps a lot is that they're totally transparent - every month we get a report that shows exactly what they've done for our site and how much our traffic has grown.
I think this is a really important factor when considering an SEO company. If they're not being straight up with you about what they're doing and how it's going to impact your website traffic, then they're probably a little suspect, kinda "shady" like someone else mentioned.

Overally, I've had great experience with my SEO company. It's really helped the traffic to our website and sales.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:32 PM   #12
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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Originally Posted by haleymcadams1 View Post
Actually SEO is just simple. Doesn't have to be really complicated. The only things that complicate it is those people who don't adhere Google and other search engine's guidelines. I am saying that it is simple because it is. You don't have to hire anyone. You can actually do it yourself if you have the time.
Many aspects of SEO are simple - just like many aspects of the HVAC business are simple!

In all seriousness, some aspects of SEO are simple. Others are not (and the ones I'm talking fall well-within Google's rules).

Much of (ethical) SEO is about creating great content - information that helps your prospects solve their problem (and one of their problems might be how to choose the right hvac contractor for their particular problem!). In this regard, SEO is simple (assuming you write well and have the time - to BIG question marks for many).

This said, the best content in the world will never be found by Google, Yahoo, etc. if it's placed on a poorly coded and structured website. Again, making sure your site is coded and structured properly is easy if you're starting from scratch, but a lot of HVAC companies aren't. I can't tell you how many contractors I've seen torpedo their SEO efforts by building a new site without permanently redirecting all of their old URLs to the new location.

So, I'd say that many HVAC contractors would find assessing - and fixing - site coding and structural issues complicated. Another example of a complex aspect of SEO is improving site speed and page load times. I fail to see the connection between simplicity and Google's rules.

Improving site speed is FAR beyond what most webmasters and contractors can do on their own, but Google has publicly said that site speed is a ranking signal.

Anyway - the key phrase you mention above is "if you have the time." No SEO geek is going to order and outfit a new service truck for you, manage and train your techs or handle a botched furnace install.

If you want to grow (and for many, this is a big "IF"), you should only do what you can do and delegate/outsource the rest.

My $.02, hope it helps!

Ben
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:31 AM   #13
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


Quote:
Originally Posted by xair20874 View Post
We've been having a lot of success with our SEO firm. One this that helps a lot is that they're totally transparent - every month we get a report that shows exactly what they've done for our site and how much our traffic has grown. They've got good writers who seem like they know what they're doing, and it's helped up a lot!
Good for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACfromAtoZ View Post
I think this is a really important factor when considering an SEO company. If they're not being straight up with you about what they're doing and how it's going to impact your website traffic, then they're probably a little suspect, kinda "shady" like someone else mentioned.

Overally, I've had great experience with my SEO company. It's really helped the traffic to our website and sales.
What's you SEO company?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluecorona View Post
Many aspects of SEO are simple - just like many aspects of the HVAC business are simple!

In all seriousness, some aspects of SEO are simple. Others are not (and the ones I'm talking fall well-within Google's rules).

Much of (ethical) SEO is about creating great content - information that helps your prospects solve their problem (and one of their problems might be how to choose the right hvac contractor for their particular problem!). In this regard, SEO is simple (assuming you write well and have the time - to BIG question marks for many).

This said, the best content in the world will never be found by Google, Yahoo, etc. if it's placed on a poorly coded and structured website. Again, making sure your site is coded and structured properly is easy if you're starting from scratch, but a lot of HVAC companies aren't. I can't tell you how many contractors I've seen torpedo their SEO efforts by building a new site without permanently redirecting all of their old URLs to the new location.

So, I'd say that many HVAC contractors would find assessing - and fixing - site coding and structural issues complicated. Another example of a complex aspect of SEO is improving site speed and page load times. I fail to see the connection between simplicity and Google's rules.

Improving site speed is FAR beyond what most webmasters and contractors can do on their own, but Google has publicly said that site speed is a ranking signal.

Anyway - the key phrase you mention above is "if you have the time." No SEO geek is going to order and outfit a new service truck for you, manage and train your techs or handle a botched furnace install.

If you want to grow (and for many, this is a big "IF"), you should only do what you can do and delegate/outsource the rest.

My $.02, hope it helps!

Ben
Seriously, I said simple because it is simple. Make a content, but make it a worthy one. The one which will make contractors/electricians/etc. interested and make it a useful one worthy for a layman's view.

Eventhough SEOs aren't built for this kind of job (contractors, etc.) they are required to know what kind of a business they are trying to market. Plus, "No SEO geek is going to order and outfit a new service truck for you, manage and train your techs or handle a botched furnace install." why would they? Is that there job?

Poor coding is in the developers side. Although SEOs have a part on that as well but that's a different issue.

"Improving site speed is FAR beyond what most webmasters" - Seriously? That's their stuff. You just got to lead them in the right direction.

"If you want to grow (and for many, this is a big "IF"), you should only do what you can do and delegate/outsource the rest." - If you don't have money then do it your self. It's easy. If don't have time with all of this stuff then let someone else do this. Simple.
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:24 PM   #14
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


SEO is simple when you build a wordpress site. However, getting to #1 and staying there is not simple.
Not rocket science, but it takes a lot of work and ingenuity if you are new.


We just launched our website (I have a decent amount of Web experience) and are working our way to the top but we still have a loooong way to go even to the front page.

Still not quite sure which keywords/phrases we should go after
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:10 PM   #15
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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Still not quite sure which keywords/phrases we should go after
There's a new service coming out - the name escapes me at the moment. I believe that one of their concepts is to help HVAC contractors identify the best keywords for SEO and help them track their rank for their geographic market (vs. their competitors).

I'll find the name and share it.

Ben
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:24 PM   #16
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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Still not quite sure which keywords/phrases we should go after
Have you looked at Googles Adwords Keyword tool? It is very helpful, while not exact, about looking at and analyzing keywords and what keywords get more searches than others.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:31 AM   #17
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


I use the adwords tool frequently as well as some private software for keyword analysis. However, the sets I go after are very large and takes a while to pick the right set of competition vs. traffic.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:20 PM   #18
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


It takes a lot of patience. I don't know how so many can guarantee top listings also.
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Old 07-30-2012, 02:01 PM   #19
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


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I don't know how so many can guarantee top listings also.
Many (but not all) are likely engaging in strategies that be deemed a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

There are plenty of SEO companies out there that ask you to pick XXX of keywords for which you'd like to rank. They'll charge you $500 - $1,000 per month and offer you a money back guarantee - something they can afford to do because, in many cases, all they're doing is paying people overseas a few bucks an hour to put up 150 word "blog posts" on a private network of sites and then link back to your site using your target keyword phrases.

Prior to Google's Penguin update, I saw numerous SEO companies using this tactic - with success. Of course post-Panda, many of their client sites have now been banned or severely penalized - where they once ranked top 5, now they can't be found in the first 500 results.

They can offer a money back guarantee because:

- Some are fly-by-night companies - here today, gone tomorrow (good luck finding them to GET your money back)

- For those you can actually track down, the "cost" of what they provided you is practically nothing.

Companies providing SEO services that involve actually making changes to your website, following Google's guidelines (i.e. operating in a way that will not get your website penalized), accurately tracking your results (often using software that they've created and maintain), writing original content using college educated peeps, etc. are going to be much less likely to offer any ranking guarantees (first, because such companies are in high demand and second because there are too many ranking variables beyond the control of the SEO company).

Like most things in life, generally, you get what you pay for, but you must know the basics of SEO to avoid overpaying for a sh*tty service.

My $.02 - hope it helps!

Ben
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:26 PM   #20
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Re: SEO? Thoughts? Bones to pick?


Thanks for the helpful tips!!!!
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