Keywords are Vital to Your HVAC Website
Note: Ask 10 different SEOs and you’ll likely get 10 different ways to research keywords. As a long-standing expert in website optimization for business, this is what works for me, and the websites I rank.
What Google Wants
In short, Google simply wants to connect people with the best possible result based on their search queries. That result could be a web page, video, document, etc. that either answers their question or in our case, gives them contact details. They can then call you for more details about your HVAC service.
When someone types in a word or group of words (keywords) into their browser, Google wants you to land on a web page that will best satisfy your search.
For Example: Imagine typing “HVAC contractor Houston” into the Google search bar and finding dallasdogcatcher.com or miamigoldtoothemporium.com. There is a good chance that these sites won’t be of much use to you.
How does Google work?
Google has created algorithms which are constantly evolving because they employ intelligent machine learning. This makes Google difficult to anticipate because of the changes, but that is a different blog post.
Google has bots that “crawl” the web, gathering information from web pages. Once they have found a website, it will revisit its pages from time to time. The more active the website is the more it will be crawled. This can be from content being added or changed, traffic on the website, or from links from other websites.
The links Google uses to crawl from one website to another are generally “anchor text” links, or keywords. There are four places where keywords play their biggest role on your website:
- URL- the name of your domain
- Meta Data- title tags, meta description
- Anchor text- the words that link to your site from other sites
- Content- the actual content on your page. Some coding you can do in the form of heading tags and alt text signal to Google which of these words carry the most weight.
It is critical to do proper keyword research to take advantage of all these opportunities to tell Google what your website is about. Your potential new HVAC customers must find you to make that all-important first service call.
Beginning Keyword Research
As an HVAC contractor, it’s best to start with what you know.
- Your business: services or products.
- What are they?
- What do you want to sell more of?
- What do you want to sell less of?
Once we have those answers, we want to figure out what our potential customers are typing into search engines when they want our services. Most people do not know the name of a good HVAC contractor. They will generally start with the service they want, “air conditioning repair”, or “ac repair”, etc., then the name of the city they are in – “Houston”, “Dallas”, “Miami”, etc.
The Google Keyword Planner is the best option and the most widely available keyword tool. However, they no longer give exact search volume estimates unless you are actively running Adwords. You get a wide range, say 100-1000, 10-100, etc. It’s a big decision to choose to optimize more for a keyword that averages 150 searches per month vs 750 searches per month or 10 vs 90.
Before we jump into the keyword planner, look at what terms Google thinks are relevant. Type your service or product name + city into Google’s Chrome browser. Before you finish typing, you will get “quick hits”, or terms that Google is suggesting are related to your search.
Note those that are relevant. Once you are done typing in your keyword and hit “enter”, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page to look at terms related to your keyword according to Google. Again, grab the most relevant search terms and put them with your quick hits. Now we can go to Google with a little ammunition
To access the Google keyword planner, you will need a Gmail address. Getting one is easy enough if you don’t. Next, you can just type “google keyword planner” into the search bar and click on the appropriate link, or you can click on this link. After signing in click on “Tools” in the top navigation and then click on “Keyword Planner”.
We will be using the first option for finding keywords. “Find new keywords and get search volume data” and click on the first option to search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category. We will be using phrases.
You can now paste in the terms you gathered from your initial search in Chrome, either separated by commas, or one keyword per line.
The keywords should be listed below with search volumes next to them, or ranges of search volumes if you aren’t running Adwords. You will also get related keywords below this, with search volumes next to them
What you can do now, is take the related keywords and plug them back into the keyword planner to find even more searches. Do this with each keyword until you have a nice list of anywhere from 10 to 50 or more keywords with which to work. The variation will depend on the search volumes, which are naturally higher in higher population areas.
In general, the keywords with the most relevance and volume will be the ones you will want to optimize your website, and the page or pages you want to rank for.
Domain name and keywords
You may want to name your website with the main keyword, e.g.,mainkeyword.com (acrepairtulsa.com). This is called EMD or exact match domain and leaves no ambiguity as to what your site is about according to Google. It has the added benefit of giving you credit for your best keyword. While this will give you a head start with ranking, it is not essential. Plenty of websites are named after brands or names and rank well.
Another option for a domain name is called PMD or partial match domain. An example of this is Alsacrepair.com. There is some branding with the name “Al” + the keyword “ac repair.” These will also rank quite nicely.
Meta titles and plugins
Website optimization relies on the information in meta titles. This is taken care of using one of two “SEO” plugins- Yoast or All In One. The meta title would look something like this:
Main Keyword | Brand name | Phone Number
There’s some debate on this, but I’ve had success using variations on this basic setup.
Optimizing Page Content
Content is critical. You’ll want to figure out the headings and subheadings you’ll be using and how best to fit your best keywords in them. Be careful not to over optimize with similar keywords, or overuse the same keyword.
You can sprinkle the lesser keywords or synonyms of secondary keywords throughout your content on the page to further strengthen topic relevance.
The text should be well written, relevant to your subject, helpful to the website visitor and at least 500 words in length. The official line is that Google suggests at least 300 words, and I’ve seen many websites rank with that or less, but why would you chance it? Five hundred words aren’t that much and will likely allow you to showcase your business a little better than the 300-word minimum.
A picture says a thousand words, and helpfully Google allows you to add words. We can put keywords in in the alt text of the images on the page. Ensure you use your better, or highly ranked keywords or synonyms of those keywords.
I hope you have enjoyed this short article on keywords. It’s by no means comprehensive but gives you’re a solid introduction. Those of you who are adept with WordPress or SEO, in general, can hit the ground running and watch your rankings improve.
Feel free to leave feedback or ask any questions you may have. I’ll answer them as quickly as I can.