changed and so too has the way that businesses market themselves. While this
might not seem like it would matter to someone like an attorney, it certainly
does have an impact. While traditional methods of advertising as an attorney are
still there (think newspaper and television ads), digital marketing has
provided a new and powerful avenue for them to market their wares.
Digital marketing, powered by search engine optimization (SEO), allows law firms to be more easily noticed in online searches. And thanks to Google’s new search algorithm, users can now search based on location, making it even more likely that a business can get itself noticed.
The benefits of SEO for law firms and
certainly other avenues of online marketing like buying ad space, but that can
get costly quickly – namely, every time someone clicks on the ad. Not only
that, people are not so likely to click on these ads because they are often
seen as being spam to the user themselves.
This is why making certain that, as a law firm or individual attorney, having an effective SEO strategy is imperative. It provides a greater return on investment over a longer period of time and pages that are near the top of Google’s SERPs because of sound SEO strategy rather than spending money to remain at the top.
just a few benefits that lawyers and law firms can experience building their
SEO for a local area like the Dallas area.
Increase brand awareness as well as
SEO is a
long-running process and takes time as well as patience. This might leave you
wondering how to increase the visibility of your website and content right
after you publish that content without having to pay extra money on things like
search engine advertisements.
that you should do is post your content to social media. This allows for a
spike in your overall page views while the SEO simultaneously works to help
improve your overall SERP ranking. Not only that, it allows other individuals
to share your legal content, which helps to spread the word of your services
and law firm.
Your firm can also promote content across social media in order to promote awareness of your brand to individuals in the Dallas area that might not have heard of your firm. Additionally, when you publish links from your website through social media to external websites, you create those important backlinks that have a big impact on SEO.
Publishing great legal content
One of the
biggest and most important benefits of lawyers using SEO is that publishing
content that is both relevant and informative to your website allows your firm
to be more easily discoverable by that particular audience.
that when you create content to research it, write it, and post it so that it
is informative to the audience. This will be relevant to the search engines,
making your website an authority on the topic at hand and driving up traffic to
potential clients are more likely to click on the law firms that appear near
the top of the SERPs. When you optimize your website’s content and maximize
your SEO, those search engines are more likely to display your website near the
top of the search rankings.
case studies on your website can also increase the likelihood that your
audience will find your firm to be a trustworthy one and that it is up to date
with any changes that might be going on within the legal industry. Establishing
that trustworthiness is essential.
Be sure to improve the functionality
and design of your website
Your website is the single most important tool that you as a business have in the digital marketing game. This is because the vast majority of potential clients will check out a website of the business they have an interest in using before they actually use it.
reason, being certain that your website is fully functional and that it has a
fresh and unique design is imperative. It is the first impression that your
business sets; make it a good one. Having a strong design that is fairly easy
to navigate sets the right tone for your audience and it makes you more
discoverable in search engine rankings.
that don’t provide access to information quickly – either due to things like
poorly coordinated menus or long load times – are given lower rankings in the
SERPs and, in some cases, can be removed temporarily from those search rankings
optimize your website for both mobile and desktop users, you give your site a
much better chance of being clicked on by users in your target audience; ones
that cannot cater to these needs will be fighting an uphill battle in this
Establishing firm credibility
website, being able to establish your business as a credible one is perhaps the
most important battle. You can say on your own website how great your firm or
business is, but people are going to assume that you would say that about
This is why online reviews are so critical to the success of a business and its digital marketing campaign. Not only that, reviews play a major part in the SEO process and Google values them heavily in their search engine rankings. Simply put you need to have reviews and good ones at that.
other search engines) have built-in review systems that will allow previous
clients to offer their reviews about your firm. To a law firm, it is crucial to
show your audience that your firm is trustworthy and offers reliable legal
services that they and their family and friends should use.
also be thinking that you have to ignore or defend any negative review: don’t.
Acknowledge and respond to negative reviews by responding to them in a
professional manner. This will show prospective clients that you take negative
reviews seriously and that your aim is to provide the best services possible.
publishing featured testimonials on your site as well. This allows new visitors
to read perspectives from previous clients on their experience with your firm
and services. It is the electronic form of word-of-mouth and it is still a very
useful method of marketing.
Convert more of those qualified leads
When you implement better SEO practices on your website, it has been proven that you can attract potential leads to your website. And while those leads are great in practice, simple exposure to that information might not be enough to actually convert them to clients.
This is where a good call to action comes into play. Use phrases like “Request Legal Assistance” which encourages readers to take that next step towards signing up for your services. Having a call to action on each landing page is essential for this. It can be in text somewhere on the page or in a button that is strategically placed somewhere on the page as well.
calls to action to the end of an informative piece of content can go a long way
as well. Something at the end of a case study or article can offer each reader
the option of something like a free consultation. You should also provide your
phone number on each page because contacting you should be as easy as possible
for anyone perusing your website.
that your website is the gateway to converting those potential clients that
would have an interest in your firm into actual paying clients. Giving them all
the means and tools that they need to do this is imperative to your success as
your website to be more visible to the search engines is a vital part of any
business, especially for a law firm. Prospective clients need to know about the
services that your firm offers and what it is your firm can do for them. Making
certain that your website is as optimized as it can be is your key to reaching
a larger audience, one that may not have been previously aware of your services
or your firm as a whole.
There are a
variety of things that you can do to make your website more visible to
prospective clients. Taking each of those steps can make your website more visible
and a more viable platform to share meaningful content that can boost your business
and make your law firm more visible.
also be more worthwhile to look into a digital marketing agency. While it might
save a bit of money to take on the task of optimizing your website yourself, a
professional can be worth the money. There are things that they can do more
skillfully and can get your website up and running in an efficient way far more
event, keep your website running smoothly and you should see an uptick in
traffic and, eventually, clients.
can be a challenging game if you don’t really know how to go about it. What you
might not have realized is how specific marketing can be. Many businesses focus
their marketing towards individual customers, but there is another type of
business-to-business marketing and makes reference to any kind of marketing
strategy that is more aimed towards an organization or business. When a company
sells products or services to any other business or organization, they will
typically use B2B marketing strategies.
What is the
difference between B2B and B2C Marketing?
it might not seem like it, B2B and
B2C (which stands for business-to-consumer) marketing are really quite
different. There is a huge difference in the strategies that both employ as
well as their applications. Not only that, there is a difference in their
audiences and just how they communicate with those audiences.
B2B Marketing. This targets
the interests, needs, and challenges of those individuals that are making
purchases either for or on behalf of their organization. This makes the
organization itself the customer. A few examples of B2B companies are:
An order fulfillment, screen printing, or warehousing
A marketing software company that specializes in lead
generation software, social media management tools, and other marketing tools to
organizations and businesses.
A coworking space that would lease office space to
freelancers and remote teams
B2C Marketing. This is more geared towards the interests,
needs, and challenges of individual consumers who are making purchases for
themselves. Here are just a few examples of your average B2C company:
A store that sells things like t-shirts and other clothing accessories (think Target)
An e-commerce company that sells goods like office supplies to self-employed or remote individuals (think Poppin)
A platform that sells streaming subscriptions
As you can see, the different type of
marketing depends on the audience that is being targeted. This is why
advertising and marketing for B2B and B2C companies can vary quite a bit.
B2B Marketing Strategies
While it is important to note that B2B and
B2C marketing can vary, that doesn’t mean that all pieces of B2B marketing
material are the same, either. There are a number of different strategies that
you, as a B2B Dallas Business Owner can implement.
B2B Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most consistent methods of reaching individual customers as well as business customers. What you might not have realized is that a whopping 93% of B2B marketers actually use email and your business should definitely be among them. These emails ultimately lead to engagement, which then turns subscribers into those ever-valuable leads, and those leads to eventual customers.
B2C customers are generally responding
based on entertainment and emotion, whereas B2B customers are looking for
things like logic and a positive ROI (return on investment). They are looking
for things that can help their business grow.
For this reason, your email marketing
has to be able to resonate with these business customers and focus on the
things that will ultimately matter to them: money, time, and resources. Not
only that, using email marketing is a great way to share your brand’s content.
Another interesting stat: 83% of B2B
companies use things like email newsletters as a part of their content
marketing program and 40% of them say that their newsletters are the most
critical aspect of their content marketing success. The key here is to be
creative and to send out marketing emails that will stand out, making them
effective marketing tools.
B2B Digital Marketing Strategy
Regardless of the business, having a
digital presence is imperative. This is comprised of search engine
optimization, paid ads, having a website, and so much more. Each of these is critical
to the digital marketing capabilities of a B2B company.
These are a few of the things that a
business needs to take into consideration when it comes to their individual B2B
Know your target audience
You can’t hope to have a successful
marketing campaign if you don’t know who your audience is. Having the right
demographic information will have an impact on just about every other aspect of
your digital marketing campaign. Ensuring that your content is absorbed by the
right eyes and ears means that your campaign is as targeted and refined as
possible and that your resources don’t end up going to waste by trying to
target the wrong type of audience.
Your website is one of the biggest factors
Without a website that is engaging and
informative, your digital marketing campaign can’t quite function the way that
it is meant to. A whopping 80%
of buyers tend to visit the website of the business before they make a
purchase. For this reason alone, having a great website is an essential aspect
of digital marketing.
Because B2B sales can have a number of different people involved, like decision-makers or gatekeepers that have to okay the purchase, having an informative website is a straightforward, easy way to share information about your business with potential customers.
Optimize your presence
Having a website that is informative,
engaging, and that stands out in a positive manner is all fine and well, but it
has to be discoverable, too. To do this, you have to ensure that your on-page
SEO and technical SEO tactics are up to snuff.
This includes a litany of things from
meta descriptions and alt-text for your images to things like site speed and
structured data. You also need to take into account things like social sharing
and external linking strategies to ensure that your business is discoverable
with the relevant searches and keywords.
Run Pay-Per-Click Ad Campaigns
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is
becoming a great way to keep your brand in front of your target audience while
only paying for those ads when they are actually clicked on. This keeps your
brand and content in front of audiences through search engines as well as other
Those PPC ads will then follow the
user around to different sites they visit, keeping your site in the consciousness
of the user. When they finally click on it, your goal has succeeded. For
smaller businesses, this is a great way to maximize your ad budget.
One of the best ways to see an ROI from paid ads is to incorporate your buyer persona data and to boost content that they can relate to. Think about it: a consumer who has never heard of you is not likely searching for your product. They might search based on location or product features. To reach the largest number of potential customers, you can pay to target certain categories within your brand. This makes for an essential aspect of digital marketing campaigns.
B2B Content Marketing
Though we have already touched on the differences
in B2B vs B2C, there is another thing to take into consideration. B2C marketing
generally has to interrupt a consumer’s day-to-day protocol with those
promotional materials. With a B2B, those content marketing strategies will add
information and inform the consumer.
Being able to provide that essential
information to those B2B customers works much differently and the delivery is
much different as well. This is why creating content that is informative is the
most important aspect. You are trying to give these B2B companies all of the
information that they should need to choose your company.
Creating a business blog can be a great way to achieve this. Having a great website is key for a lot of reasons, but giving your audience informative content is one of the most important. Potential customers who find all of the information that they need on your website will likely choose your business.
B2B Social Media Marketing
The numbers for social media marketing
are incredible: 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives make use of
social media before making a purchase.
B2B companies tend to struggle with their social media marketing,
This is because it is harder to
connect with business customers than individuals due to longer chains of
command and a lengthier sales cycle. This aspect of marketing isn’t so much
about converting leads, it is about connecting with other businesses,
humanizing your own, creating brand awareness, and giving your company more of
a personality online.
Social media can also be a very
effective tool for enhancing your brand and sharing your content. The more
avenues that you have to get that information about your company out to your
audience, the more valuable it is to your overall marketing strategy.
Developing those B2B contacts and
turning them into sales mean everything to B2B businesses. There are a number
of ways that every B2B company should be trying to establish a digital marketing
campaign and they are all valuable to growing and developing a B2B business.
Understanding your audience – what their wants and needs are – and working to develop that audience is the biggest key to orchestrating a successful B2B digital marketing campaign.
You might be
struggling to get traffic to your website from Google and wondering what you
can do about it. And the truth is that you are not alone. There is one report
that has found that 91%
of content gets exactly zero organic traffic. If you fall in that range and
have been executing an SEO strategy that you had hoped would work, this can be
The good thing is that you don’t need to completely overhaul your entire SEO approach to begin seeing results. There is a way that you can run experiments to find the right optimization without having to sacrifice the number of rankings that you have established or change your website entirely.
is A/B SEO testing.
What can you test with A/B Testing?
There are a wide variety of on-page SEO elements that you can use to form the very foundation of your A/B experiments. Things like URL structures, headlines, meta titles, calls to action, sales copy, images or videos, product descriptions, and standard descriptions.
Rewriting most of or all of your content would not be a good way to run the test since it would invoke the content freshness algorithm that Google implements. You could try to implement your test by doing varying product descriptions. One page would be a standard 150-word product description while the other would be a redirected duplicate of the page with a 400-word product description.
The A/B SEO testing allows you to find out what the ideal length of your product description should be before having to commit to writing those extra 150 words for each product. Basically, you are finding out if it’s worth it or not. This can be hugely helpful.
Why should you bother with SEO
This is a
seemingly smart question because, really, no one wants to have to put more work
into something than is necessary. But the idea with split testing your SEO
strategies is that it will save you time as well as money. Sitewide changes
require not only a lot of time, but a big investment, but an SEO strategy that
is not working needs to be changed.
This is also
a huge risk: without understanding the full potential impact that making those changes
could have on your website as a whole. You run the risk of losing the results
(even if they are small) that your SEO results have been generating. Even if
you only have something like 50 keyword ranking positions, you definitely do
not want to lose those.
A/B testing can also protect your website from potentially being negatively impacted by something that is outside of your control. The fact of the matter is that Google is constantly changing its best practices and can almost make changes overnight. This actually happened pretty recently when Google implemented their EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trust) release: it caused several of the more well-known healthcare sites to lose around half of their organic traffic.
of algorithm updates can be helpful so that you can split test features that
are being prioritized in the new updates. This way, you can know how your
website will be impacted by these updates rather than waiting around and
seeing, which might make it too late.
Pick your hypothesis
every A/B test has to start with a hypothesis; that is, a single statement that
explains the result that you are expecting to achieve. Usually, this is in an
if/then kind of statement. Things like:
I add more videos on my website, then my bounce rate should go down
I include a power word in my meta descriptions, then my organic CTR should see
my URL structure becomes shorter, then Google should be able to understand the
content on my page more easily, which would rank my shorter URLs much higher in
hypothesis for your A/B test is important because it then gives you a more
thorough understanding of the kind of results that you are hoping to see. When
you focus on the expected outcome, you test to see if your initial expectations
How to run your A/B test
There are a few different avenues that you can run your standard A/B test through. The first is Clickflow. It is a tool that is designed to make the SEO experimentation process easier than ever. What it does is it syncs with your Google Search Console account in order to find the opportunities where there is a high impression count yet a low click-through rate.
All you need
to do with Clickflow is to go to the New Test button and select whether you are
using a single URL or a group of them. Then, name your test and add the pages
that you want to test. What is great about this is that it suggests SEO
experiments that you may have missed.
There is also Google Optimize. There’s a pretty chance that you already have a Google Analytics account which you use to track your SEO strategy results. Build on this by using Google Optimize, which works with Analytics to run you’re a/B tests on a certain web page.
is also another possibility as SEO can take a long time before it starts to pay
off. With Google Ads, you can track and map changes before you start to see the
organic changes, which can take a long time to see. This can be achieved
through Google Ad variations. You can change the text on your campaigns or swap
out the text, which allows you to perform the A/B test to see which copy will
work best for what you are trying to achieve.
Ultimately, A/B testing is a great way to find out if you can implement changes to your current SEO strategy without having to completely re-do your entire website or rewrite all of your content. It is a tool that can save businesses a lot of time and trouble.
When establishing an online presence for our business, we
try to make the best possible decisions. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t always
give us the necessary data or it delivers it in a format that isn’t the easiest
This is absolutely the case with the data that Google provides in the Insights section of the Google My Business dashboard. Finding out the rankings of your company is great, but tracking the clicks from the listing itself is vital information to know.
Google Insights gives a little bit of the data, but it isn’t the most reliable source there is. Even if it was reliable, it doesn’t include a breakdown by keyword; information that would be vital to any business online. But there is a way to begin tracking your GMB click data.
Tracking Traffic in
Google My Business
While there are a number of different ways to track through the GMB dashboard, the best way to record data is by adding a UTM code to the link that is in the listing. By doing this, you can get your information over to both Google Analytics and Search Console. Adding the UTM code allows us to record the number of clicks, but also the number of impressions and some associate keyword data.
Overall, this provides a lot more data than what Insights tend to give us and it only takes a few minutes to set up.
Setting up the UTM
Codes for Tracking in the GMB Dashboard
It might sound complicated, but creating a UTM code is
actually very easy. If you don’t know what a UTM tracking code is, they are
basically extra parameters that get added to the end of a URL for tracking
purposes. It doesn’t change the page, but it does let you see when that
specific URL has been loaded.
To create a UTM code, you can use the Campaign URL Builder
in the Google Developer Tools. Once you fill out the values in each of the
appropriate fields, the tracking URL will be available in the box below the
There is one important note: if you keep the ‘Campaign
Source = google’ that generates automatically, it will automatically be grouped
with collected data from Google that would be shown in Analytics.
Adding the UTM
Tracking URL to your GMB dashboard
The next step is to add the URL that was just created to the listing. This is pretty easy to do. All you do is go into the info section of your Google My Business account dashboard. From there, click on ‘website’ and then add the URL into the field. You can also add a separate URL into the Appointment field.
Then, hit ‘apply’ and your new tracking URL is ready to go.
That’s it! To verify that you have done everything properly, you can load up
your Knowledge Panel in a generic Google search and then hover your mouse over
the Website button. By doing this, you will be able to see the UTM link appear
at the bottom corner of the window and you know that you are all set.
Google My Business
Data in the Search Console
The unfortunate part is that it takes a day or so before the
data begins to appear in the Search Console. This might seem like an eternity,
but it really isn’t that long. Once it begins to generate, you can find the
data in any number of ways.
One of these ways is by using the new version of the Search Console. You go to the Performance tab and add a new Page filter. After that, type in ‘campaign’ in the field for URLs containing. You can actually type any word here that is in the string of the UTM that you have created, but ‘campaign’ will work for any of them if you have created more than one UTM URL.
From here, you will now be able to play around in the Search
Console while looking only at the data collected for your Google My Business
listing. This includes impressions and queries that have displayed your
There is a bonus here: previously, if you had only ‘domain.com’ entered as your GMB URL, all the data would be lumped together with any of your normal organic display data. With the UTM added, you have effectively split the data and can explore GMB rankings and organic rankings separately. This also applies to the Search Console as well as Analytics.
After you complete this task once, and it should only take a
few minutes, you are set. You can begin to reap the rewards of setting up that
extra UTM tracking for as long as the listing lasts and you won’t have to alter
the updated URL for really any reason until Google changes something that
applies to it.
Being able to track clicks and organic data through the GMB and Analytics dashboard can really show you the strong points of your website, where to place emphasis, and what portions of your site are not getting as much action and need extra attention.
For the longest time, data through Google seemed to be
helpful but not everyone really knew how to use it or what was missing. But
now, with the ability to add these tracking URLs, anyone can see just where the
clicks are being focused and the impact it is having on their website.
The tools are now at your fingertips to make the best use of this information and to best apply it to the betterment of your website. As Google continues to better understand how its data is tracked and how companies make use of that data, it will continue to be refined and more useful.
Gone are the days where all of your data was too generic and
lumped together to make much of it; you can get all the organic data that you
could possibly need to be successful and make your website the weapon that you
always envisioned it being.
HVAC contractors share a common goal to generate leads for their business. Often times they are competing against contemporaries within their service area for the same customers. Traditional marketing methods like billboards and print advertising are no longer effective in achieving sustainable business growth in 2019. A newer and more intuitive marketing method has emerged onto the landscape in the form of Search Engine Optimization, known often as SEO. The objective of SEO is to rank a heating & cooling company on Google search results.
What is HVAC SEO?
HVAC SEO refers to a process of improving search rankings for an HVAC contractor or company. Although the task is most commonly associated with websites, there are several additional web entities that can rank on Google SERPs (Business Listings, Maps Listings, Social Media Pages, etc.)
Why Should HVAC Businesses Invest in SEO?
Of all the promotional techniques available to contractors in 2019, none is more effective over a long period of time than SEO. It’s no coincidence that search optimization is also one of the least expensive forms of marketing for heating & cooling companies. Investing in SEO is conducive to long-term success in the form of brand development, local trust, and most importantly lead generation. 95% of HVAC companies are looking for ways to generate leads, and SEO is quite simply the most attainable and cost-efficient route towards achieving that goal.
Elements of SEO
SEO can be broken down into 4 major elements. They are:
Throughout this guide you’ll learn why each element is important for search rankings and what kinds of tasks are involved in implementing them into a web presence. HVAC companies that perform well online utilize some form of each component into their internet marketing strategy.
HVAC is a very local industry. Sure, there are a few national brands that provide services across the nation but even in those cases, a local hub is involved. To generate quality heating & cooling leads, one must target their local service area which is a defined radius within the general location of your business address. Google My Business and Google Maps, specifically, represent channels through which to capture coveted local leads. The two Google entities are connected to one another and have a major impact on SERPs. Aside from these two, there are also other measures that HVAC contractors can pursue to influence local search results online.
Google Maps determines the location of a HVAC business and modifies results based on relative geography. Searchers in Dallas, TX for example are more likely to see results for companies in Dallas, TX. This is true both in traditional organic results, but perhaps most importantly, in the Google Maps Pack. The Local 3 Pack is a SERP feature on many transactional search queries and serves as a convenient way to push a company to the top of search results and acquire more clicks. Google Maps uses markers to define precise location.
Google My Business
For a Google Maps listing to hold weight, it must be associated with a business, something that is achieved through Google My Business. By claiming a business on Google and verifying its address via postcard, HVAC companies can literally put themselves on the map digitally. By optimizing a GMB listing, you are giving your company a greater chance of ranking on the Local Maps Pack as well as increasing the conversions of visitors who come across your business online. Optimized listings also assist in legitimizing the trust and authority of your company.
Most local searchers check online reviews prior to making a purchase decision. Furthermore, Google Map Packs prioritize listings with a healthy number of reviews. So not only do reviews help increase visibility on SERPs but they also help convert customers who are in fact exposed to your listing. HVAC services become appealing to consumers when they can verify the company’s trustworthiness and conveniently contact them for a specific service. Reviews tie into Google My Business and Google Maps to consolidate all of those things in one presentation.
Local Reviews (Other)
Google is not the only platform on which reviews hold influence. While it is considered the most important review-type because of its connection to Google Maps and Google My Business, there are several others that should be monitored in addition. These include Facebook, HomeAdvisor, and Yelp to name a few. While you might look at Facebook as a social media network first and foremost, its popularity makes feedback more likely to be witnessed by prospective clients. Facebook supports business pages and has a verified review system.
Keywords are a touchy subject in SEO for local businesses. The search volume collected from sources like MOZ and SEMRush are on a national level but there are a few ways to specify local intent. For example, a search of dallas ac repair provides a greater indicator of interest within the Dallas area than if the query had simply been ac repair. By extending the keyword with a local identifier i.e dallas, HVAC companies can better understand local search intent and need. These keywords can then be implemented within content, title tags, URLs and other SEO elements.
There’s countless business directories that exist online and they expand far beyond Google and Facebook. A known local SEO factor is the consistency and uniformity of contact information across these range of platforms. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number which have long been a signal of local trust. Directories pull their information from data mining sources like Acxiom which collect information from public records. Editing NAP information at the source (the data miners) can ensure it is properly distributed. You can also go through each listing individually.
When you think about SEO, you often think about changes made to your own web properties, especially your HVAC company website. But the truth is that many ranking factors involve elements that exist away from your main website. The optimization of these elements is known collectively as Off-Site SEO. There is some crossover between local and Off-Site SEO because NAP citations for example are a perfect example of off-page optimization elements. Any time an external domain is sending an inbound link or signal to one or more of your web properties, it can have an impact. Luckily there are measures contractors can take to improve Off-Site SEO.
NAP citations are part of local SEO but also off-site SEO. Citations come from external domains and if properly optimized showcase a link to your company website. This link is observed by Google as inbound. Although it is a NoFollow link, which means it doesn’t hold a great deal of link equity, it is still important enough to have a general influence over your web presence. While a single citation won’t do much for your SEO, enough of them will begin to make a collective impact that can translate into improved search rankings and greater authority and trust online.
Contrary to what many say about links, they heavily influence search rankings. It can be a tricky terrain to navigate for HVAC companies because link building often blurs the lines between white-hat and black-hat SEO. For those that don’t know the difference, black-hat SEO refers to manipulative SEO tactics while white-hat refers to straightforward and Google-approved methods. There are white-hat ways to build links and that’s what will be discussed in this guide. Engaging in black-hat methods can be dangerous for HVAC company websites. Spam links from blog comment sections for example, can prompt Google to manually penalize your site.
There’s no shortage of legitimate link building opportunities for HVAC companies. Not all links carry the same equity however. NoFollow links are those that are established on business directories and social media networks. DoFollow links in contrast are secured on website pages within the body content, including on blog posts. DoFollow links carry more link equity, meaning they more heavily influence search ranking. NoFollow links can still hold value despite a lesser equity. NoFollow opportunities are plentiful since anyone can claim a business listing or share a blog post through social media. DoFollow chances are more difficult to find, but creating great content assets that are worthy of links is a great place to start.
Since anyone can publish their website on their own social media page, Google can’t put the same equity in these links when ranking pages. These links are established by the company themselves and therefore are not a true indicator of endorsement or trust from a separate entity. Still, they do reveal at least that you as an HVAC company are active on platforms including business directories and social media networks and therefore still hold value. MOZ lists several of these link types on their local ranking factors study. Best of all, they are easy to establish because you can embed them manually.
Links that require another person or company to cite your website or other web entity are known as DoFollow links. These types of links are the premium currency for online authority building. Since they cannot simply be added manually, they hold greater link equity. Someone going out of their way to link to your content, listing, or page, shows that it is providing value to their own visitors. These links are endorsements so to speak and therefore are naturally dependent on the quality of the domain that is linking to you. Ways to build DoFollow links include blogger outreach and content marketing.
There’s many social platforms through which to grow your HVAC brand off-page and it’s not just about link building. Many of your customers and potential future clients are using social media everyday. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube, they are frequenting one or more of these networks everyday. Social media signals are considered a local search ranking factor but they also indirectly influence brand recognition, trust, and other qualities that help solidify HVAC companies within their local communities. They can even be a source of lead generation in best case scenarios.
The process of optimizing your HVAC company website is known as On-Page SEO. Because the actions take place on-page, you have a greater control of them than you do with off-site SEO. When people think about SEO they often think about on-page elements, specifically the usage of keywords within content, headers, and titles. To properly implement On-Page SEO, preparation is required. Website optimization should start with research (competition, keywords, etc.) and then follow with a strategy which can later be implemented through tags, urls, etc. The overall presentation of a website, including content quality, is also considered an On-Page SEO factor.
Google discourages keyword stuffing, making content quality an important on-page factor. Although keywords must be included within pages, they can’t be at the expense of quality. Every page of content (blog posts included) should provide value to the reader. As an HVAC company who offers gas furnace repair services, the corresponding page should inform the visitor and help them understand why you can perform the service for them. It should also include a call to action (CTA) and make it reaching your office phone line extremely convenient. All content should pass Copyscape to prevent duplication.
Headers have also been important for SEO because they organize content and provide Google with a clear indicator of what the content is about. Headers are categorized by number. H1s are the largest headers and also the ones that carry the most weight for SEO. H2s are also important not just for SEO but for content organization. H3s and above are more about formatting than they are SEO but since they can improve the user’s experience, can still have an indirect influence over search rankings. Headers should ideally include keywords but maintain relevance and readability.
Images are an often overlooked SEO element but carry significant weight in Google’s eyes. The optimal process in using images for web is renaming the file to match its relevance and using lowercase letters and dashes. For example an image showing your HVAC company truck would be hvac-company-truck.jpg. This file would then be uploaded to the server, embedded on the page, and tagged with Alt Text. For those unaware, Alt Text is a description of the image. In this case it would be as simple as renaming the file in title case lettering. So HVAC Company Truck would suffice. Make sure photos are not too large or they will slow down loading speeds.
Keywords can be researched using MOZ and SEMRush and then inserted within on-page elements. The best keywords have high volume and relatively low competition. But most importantly, they are relevant to your HVAC company and indicate a user intent that is appropriate for your website. The goal is to attract relevant consumers who are looking for heating & cooling services in your area. Keywords should be placed within content, images alt text, meta descriptions, and title tags. Remember to avoid keyword stuffing and implement LSI keywords for semantic search. Google tends to favor sites that have a wide span of relevant terms within the content.
A meta description is a brief summary of a page and should accurately describe to users what they are clicking on. Optimal descriptions are 120-158 characters or 920 pixels as of 2019. A meta description should include the primary target keyword but not more than once. Just like with page content, stuffing keywords into a meta description is discouraged by Google and can hurt your HVAC website’s overall SEO. As a local business, don’t be afraid to include a phone number within your meta description either. It gives the users the option to call you right away.
SEO titles are a user’s first look at your web page. They are the blue links you see on organic results from a Google search. Titles should focus on click through rate, keywords, and relevance. In some cases, branding your title tag is also appropriate. An optimal title tag is between 50-60 characters and can be checked with MOZ’s Title Tag Preview Tool. Keywords are most effective when they are the first part of an SEO title. The keyword can be followed with a sales pitch of sorts which can improve click through rate, or a branded term like your company’s name. Remember too that each page has its own title tag, and they should all be unique.
Some aspects of SEO are not plainly visible to the user. These elements either exist behind the scenes or somewhere that users don’t normally consider. Collectively, these technical components of search optimization are known as Technical SEO. They are often fundamental to the success of a website and have to do with its construction and operation. Everything from codebase to URL structure is considered part of Technical SEO. While some aspects are not difficult to adjust, most technical optimization requires knowledge of CSS, HTML, and website design. Technical elements often influence search rankings in more than one way.
A clean and SEO-friendly codebase goes a long way towards improving the ability to rank on Google. CSS and HTML are the most common forms of coding and are languages in of themselves. Not just anyone can write code because it requires extensive knowledge of programming. Template websites often use blocked code that bogs down a website and limits customization. In contrast, from-scratch or “custom” websites are written with unique code that can be altered in any way necessary to improve SEO and create the best possible presentation. Make sure your site is backed up before editing code.
Most visitors of your HVAC website in 2019 will be arriving on a mobile device. With this in mind, the site itself must be mobile-optimized. That means the display must meet the needs of mobile users and the navigation as well. Google’s recent Mobile-First Index rollout demonstrates their prioritization of websites that meet the needs of mobile users. This can include anything from display to speed and everything in between. A call to action for example can improve mobile-friendliness. A clickable phone number that links the mobile device to your phone line is a common and poignant example.
A microdata language developed by schema.org helps Google parcel websites more effectively and subsequently promote them to the right searchers. The action of applying schema code to a website element is known as “marking up” hence the name schema markup. Insertions of these microdata tags are highly appreciated by Google and makes their crawling process much simpler and much more effective. Just about any type of data can be marked up with schema. Everything from your HVAC company’s contact information to the service type is fair game.
As attention spans have grown shorter, the need for faster websites has increased. Websites that are fast generally rank higher because users stick around instead of exiting immediately. Sites that don’t load within 3 seconds can expect to lose at least half of their would-be visitors, a number that is frankly conservative in nature. The likelihood is that the vast majority of users in 2019 will exit slow-loading sites, especially on mobile devices. Google offers tools like PageSpeed Insights and Test Your Mobile Site Speed to help contractors gauge their site’s current speed.
When Google crawls a page they are looking for a logical and hierarchical URL structure. As an HVAC company, this means breaking down service pages into categories. If you provide both AC and Heating for example, each could be a top-level category (parent page) while specific services like AC Repair and Furnace Maintenance can be lower-level categories (child pages) to their respective parents. When URLs are properly structured, users can more conveniently navigate the site, and Google can more easily crawl it. That makes it a win-win for contractors.
Design matters for SEO both from an aesthetic and technical standpoint. How users perceive a website will influence their behavior which influences metrics that Google uses to determine search rankings. For example, a site with an appealing homepage and a clear call to action is more likely to keep users on the site longer than one without those qualities. That being said, the front-end of a website is really only half of its value. The back-end involves the codebase previously discussed and can impact SEO just as much as display, if not more so.
Part II: SEO Tools
SEO tools are necessary for every element. They assist with:
Below we will outline some of the most popular tools in each one of these categories. HVAC companies can take advantage of some of these tools for free while others will require a financial investment either in the tools themselves or a marketing firm who deploys them.
Applying SEO is much easier with a Content Management System (CMS) which makes the process much simpler. Many of the most popular CMS’s are intuitive and user-friendly. They also allow people without extensive knowledge of coding to insert certain SEO elements. Keep in mind however that a truly custom website, will still require unique coding, even with a powerful CMS on your side. Some of the most popular software on the market today includes Drupal, Joomla, and the most prominent of all of them; WordPress. The majority of websites on the internet today are using WordPress in some capacity. It is something to consider going forward.
Drupal is an open source CMS available free of charge. Although it is used on less than 3% of existing websites, many of them are among the most elite. For example, Drupal is used on many corporate and government-level websites and blogs. It is distributed under the General Public License (GNU). Drupal offers users the ability to manage content including meta descriptions, title tags, and more. It is considered one of the top available alternatives to WordPress in 2019. Drupal has a large community of open source developers for plugin development.
Like Drupal, Joomla is a free and open source content management system. It is specifically designed for publishing web content and has won several awards for its convenience and usability. The estimated usage of Joomla on existing websites is very similar to Drupal at around 3%. Business websites (including HVAC) seem to be the most common users of Joomla with it making up 9% of existing business sites. Joomla provides SEO out of the box, meaning its structure is conducive to favorable optimization, even without an in-depth knowledge of the requirements.
WordPress is the most popular CMS on the market by a large margin. Conflicting reports of its actual market share exist, but it’s likely that the web-based software is used on more than 50% of all existing websites. That is absurd when you consider the amount of websites published each day. WordPress is open source like Drupal and Joomla and is widely considered to most user-friendly CMS on the market. It makes everything from on-page to technical SEO tasks seem easy. Although WordPress was once most commonly associated with blogs, today it is considered the standard for any website.
Keywords are arguably the basis for everything SEO aims to accomplish. Without targeting specific users, an SEO strategy is largely irrelevant. Keyword research helps define that target by providing search volume, difficulty, and competition. There’s several paid options for detailed keyword research tools available on the market, as well as some free ones that offer similar value. Countless websites have found success on Google by identifying high opportunity keywords and there’s no reason why your HVAC company can’t be next in line for 2019. Having the tools is very helpful for keyword research, but knowing what to target is equally as crucial.
MOZ Keyword Explorer
MOZ is a powerhouse in the SEO industry and their keyword research tool; Keyword Explorer is one of the reasons why. Not only does this tool provide search volume but it also showcases difficulty and priority. You will notice strong variations in volume from one tool to the next but MOZ is generally considered one of the more accurate indicators of true search volume. Other tools use data collected from PPC campaigns to inform their final numbers, which can be misleading to contractors who are looking for organic SEO keywords. MOZ charges a monthly fee for their entire suite of tools, including the Keyword Explorer.
SEMRush Keyword Overview
SEMRush is a paid option which like MOZ provides more than just a keyword research tool. What it is most known for however is its keyword research tool known as Keyword Overview. In fact, SEMRush is the most commonly used tool to define keywords in terms of volume, competition, and opportunity. For example, their research of the term ac repair near me shows 12.1 K monthly searches with a keyword difficulty of over 60%. This indicates a high volume keyword that is also rather difficult to rank for. It is still attainable with the right strategy in place.
Don’t have the money to invest in a keyword tool? Use Neil Patel’s UberSuggest which is basically a free version of SEMRush. The number on this tool cannot be considered as accurate as its paid alternatives but it certainly provides a general idea of a keyword’s relative popularity. To show the contrast between SEMRush and UberSuggest, the latter shows 27.1 K volume while the former shows the aforementioned 12.1K. UberSuggest also lists SEO difficulty and projects the chances of ranking in the top 20 for the keyword which in this case is 69%.
The ultimate goal of SEO is to generate leads for HVAC contractors but it’s nice to know the data behind why you are or are not achieving your objectives. In 2019, there’s a myriad of ways to track website performance, social media performance, and more. There’s never been more tools at the disposal of companies with websites or the agencies that represent them. Many of these tools are available free of charge with Google Analytics being the most renowned example of this. Aside from measuring the data behind success or failure in digital marketing, performance trackers also identify both problems and more importantly, solutions to help campaigns find their footing and improve their process to get them on the right path to success.
Google Analytics is the most valuable performance tracking tool available because it comes straight from the source; Google themselves. Best of all it is free for anyone to use, so HVAC companies can install the tracking code on their website and begin to track all kinds of data, generate reports, and create measurable goals. Once installed, Analytics can reveal the number of organic clicks your website is receiving, the top pages visited, and all kinds of other useful data. The tool is also highly customizable so that data that’s most important to you can be highlighted.
MOZ Campaigns are part of the MOZ Pro SEO Suite which also includes the aforementioned Keyword Explorer. The campaign feature allows contractors to rack their website much like they can Google Analytics but also provides additional features that are useful to defining success. One such example of this is link tracking and domain authority. MOZ measures inbound links and their collective authority as it pertains to search ranking influence. Other campaign tracking focuses include historical keyword tracking which allows HVAC companies to notice spikes and drops in keyword rankings over the duration of their campaign, which can be years and decades. MOZ Campaigns can connect directly to your Google Analytics tracking as well for an even more informative tracking experience.
Open Web Analytics
Throughout this guide we’ve mentioned marketing agencies as a possible solution to many of the challenges HVAC contractors face in 2019. Dallas Fort Worth SEO is the top Dallas SEO agency and can assist companies across the DFW Metroplex. With a team of 20 employees, diversely skilled in the full range of marketing specialties, we can provide a value to HVAC companies that few can compete with. Our expertise includes on-page SEO, off-site SEO, website design, content marketing, and reputation management. For a one-stop solution to all of your digital marketing needs, there is no superior choice to Dallas Fort Worth SEO. We work with contractors in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, Plano, and more.
Content Writing Services
Where do you go to find white-SEO content for your HVAC website? DFW SEO is the answer. We have a full staff of professional writers including an editor who reviews all pages prior to publication. Each page passes Copyscape before being published and follows a predefined SEO strategy. Our writers are trained in the latest SEO best practices to ensure that sites are in the best position to rank Google search results. Pages are written for each of your services so that you can rank for a wide variety of keywords rather than only the primary terms within the industry. Many of the niche terms that other sites don’t write about, can be quickly ranked for on Google.
Custom Web Design Services
In this guide HVAC companies learned about the importance of custom design for SEO. Dallas Fort Worth SEO offers custom websites for each client, designed by a true professional. We integrate your company logo, color scheme, and original pictures (you provide to us) to create an appealing and conversion-friendly lead generator. Our sites utilize responsive design to ensure their mobile-friendliness and display calls to action to increase conversion rates on each page. Our protocol requires that your website is checked every 15 minutes for server connectivity and is backed up weekly to avoid the repercussions of any unfortunate and unforeseen errors.
Our goal is to rank your website #1 for as many terms as possible. We don’t go only for primary keywords but instead for any terms that can get people onto your website and ready to call. For this reason, we focus on terms with buyer intent and implement them into your SEO strategy. Each of our clients is fully analyzed prior to developing the strategy so that our goals are aligned and we are on the same page. We then incorporate on-page, off-site, and local SEO to give contractors the best opportunity to rank on Google for high conversion keywords. Our typical clients begin to see results within a month of working with us. Part of how quickly you rank will of course depend on market competition and the age of your domain. Keep in mind though that even new websites can rank for less competitive keywords if properly optimized.
Our native reviews widget; Righteous Reviews makes managing online reputation easier than ever before. The power of this plugin cannot be understated. Not only does it populate real-time reviews from the most authoritative 3rd party platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.) but it provides convenience to customers who don’t have time for a complicated review process. The widget creates a Review Us link directly on your homepage and also sends text reminders with links to customers who agreed to leave feedback. The Righteous Review plugin from Dallas Fort Worth SEO is something that consumers have never before experienced, and is something every HVAC company should pursue immediately.
Call 800.231.4871 for HVAC Digital Marketing Services in Dallas – Fort Worth
Social media is constantly evolving, and small business owners in Dallas – Fort Worth must learn how to leverage this medium to enhance their marketing campaigns. Since social media marketing is available toe everyone, it is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to grow your local business online. But before delving into the most recent social media data for businesses, we first must concede that social media as a marketing platform is free-flowing, and therefore, ways to best utilize it are constantly evolving. Before examining the statistics, let’s take a look at the top social media platforms of 2018:
% of U.S. adults who use the following platforms as of 2018:
1. Of the U.S adults who use Facebook, 75% of them access their profile on a daily basis
Analysis – This data is hard to apply because of Facebook’s recent shift in algorithm which all but eliminates the organic reach of business posts. Facebook has focused on peer to peer interaction rather than business to consumer. Still, with the amount of users continuing to access their Facebook profile each day, companies must still devote an appropriate amount of resources to their FB business page. While organic reach is no longer a path to lead generation, the presence of a well optimized business page remains important for brand awareness
2. Instagram’s usage among U.S adults has grown by 7% in only 2 years, an increase unrivaled by any other social network
Analysis – Instagram is unquestionably the fastest growing social network, and this is a trend we can expect to continue its ascendance for the foreseeable future. IG business pages are now fully supported by the platform, making it easier than ever before for small businesses to join and market on the network. Business profiles are free, and unlike Facebook, your content has a decent chance to reach your followers, assuming that you are able to grow a base of followers in the first place. It’s best to recalibrate your resources to account for Instagram’s growing base.
3. Of Americans with a college degree, 50% use LinkedIn, as opposed to the 9% non-graduate Americans who use the platform
Analysis – Since LinkedIn is an employment based networking platform, some might read these numbers as an indictment against the non-graduate. These numbers don’t imply that non-graduates aren’t looking for employment, they are just looking through other channels. But since small businesses are part of LinkedIn’s target audience, it makes all the sense to brand your company on the network. Building business to business relationships, as well as finding highly qualified employees, can only help your bottom line.
4. 41% of women use Pinterest as opposed to only 16% of men, highlighting the largest gender gap of any prominent social media platform
Analysis – Small businesses should study their audience demographics, including gender. Who’s most likely to contact your service, is it a male or female, and what is their age? These are all questions every business should be asking, and supporting via tracked data. If your business does in fact often receive inquiries from women, it’s a good idea to establish a brand on Pinterest, even if you wouldn’t otherwise think to use the platform for business purposes. Every percentage you can earn above your competitor, brings you closer to the level of success for which your marketing campaign aims.
5. 49% of SnapChat users access their account more than once per day
Analysis – Nothing to see here for most small businesses. Since the network’s demographic leans exceedingly young, only companies whose target consumer is within the 18-24 age range should distribute resources to the platform. The general consensus among industry experts is that SnapChat is a community made up predominantly of tennagers, which eliminates many small businesses from the equation. There are however outliers that of course have a younger demographic, and therefore should go with the data takes them.
6. 73% of Twitter users say they also use Instagram
Analysis – Target these users on Instagram, instead of Twitter. All the engagement research says the same thing. Twitter is a network for celebrity engagement, while Instagram empowers the individual and in this case, the small business. That’s not to say you should ignore Twitter entirely, there’s just considerable limitations to your organic reach on this network. Much like Facebook, reaching followers organically through business posts is unlikely. Besides, tweets are published so frequently, that they become old news within minutes. Use Twitter to brand your company and to syndicate announcements made on other platforms.
7. YouTube, on mobile alone, reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the U.S.
Analysis – This data is astounding, and points to the new normal for video marketing. You don’t have to be a major brand to get video content in front of viewers in 2018, because it can be done easily with YouTube uploads. Of course, because so many users engage with the platform, the competition is fierce. To really create engagement on your YouTube channel it’s going to take time and dedication, along with a consistent effort to produce high-quality content. With advancements in smartphones, recording videos is easier than ever before, and several free apps also support the editing and branding of videos.
Social Media Marketing For DFW Businesses
If any of these stats make you wonder about your own company’s social media strategy, you should get in contact with Dallas – Fort Worth SEO today. We provide social media marketing services to small businesses throughout the Metroplex. As a forward-thinking service, we’ve crafted adaptable social media strategies to many businesses over the past decade. Utilizing Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, we’ve helped companies connect with their consumers on their preferred mediums.
Aside from social media marketing, DFW SEO also provides social media advertising, specifically on Facebook. Because of the network’s shift in philosophy, reaching consumers organically through brand posts has become all but impossible. One solution is to invest resources in Facebook advertising, which makes sure your business and its services are being seen by Facebook’s massive user base. Call 800.231.4871 for social media marketing or advertising service in Dallas, Fort Worth, TX and the surrounding area.
Google announced today that AdWords has been rebranded to Google Ads. This seemingly minor name alteration is part of the company’s large-scale efforts to simplify brands and facilitate solutions for advertisers and publishers. Google cites several driving factors that prompted this decision:
Advertising Opportunities: There’s simply more opportunities to advertise than their were 18 years ago, and users alternate dynamically between browsing, search, and video
Consumer Engagement: The buying journey has grown more complex in recent years, and Google aims to facilitate engagement at every point
Mobile Usage: During AdWords initial onset, mobile web browsing was virtually non-existent, and today, it represents the overwhelming majority
The change from AdWords to Ads is not the only branding adjustment announced by Google. They will also introduce Google Marketing Platform which will consolidate DoubleClick advertising products and Google Analytics 360 Suite. Additionally, DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange will be unified as Google Ad Manager.
Adwords is a widely recognized brand, and so its renaming to Google Ads is notable. The new brand will represent Google’s advertising capability in its entirety, including apps and partner sites that were generally not considered part of the AdWords brand. In its newest iteration, Google Ads aims to reach users through the following mediums
As part of the rebrand, a new campaign edition will be made available to small businesses. The objective is to eliminate some of the more complicated aspects of campaign management for businesses with less resources. Google is expected to expound on its details in their July 10th Google Marketing Live stream.
Google Marketing Platform
DoubleClick and Analytics 360 Suite are exclusive entities no more. With Google’s bombshell announcement, the two programs will merge together to form a more perfect union of advertising and analytics. This new concoction will be known as Google Marketing Platform. The tool will expand on pre-existing integrations between the former DoubleClick and Analytics 360 Suite, respectively. GMP will empower digital marketers to:
As an add-on to GMP, yet another program known as “Display & Video 360” will be added to the mix, and its purpose is to help businesses consolidate their campaign efforts. Features present in DoubleClick Audience Center, Bid Manager, and Campaign Manager Studio, will be integrated into Display & Video 360, a tool which we should learn more about at Google Marketing Live.
Google Ad Manager
The third and final brand announced by Google is Google Ad Manager which will combine the features of DoubleClick Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers. The tool will focus on the new generation of content, including:
GAM is designed to assist Google Partners in more effectively monetizing content distribution and corresponding platforms. From on-demand videos across multiple screen sizes, to mobile-based game apps on both phone and tablet, advertisements must be able to adapt dynamically. Google Ad Manager will help companies execute this adaptation more seamlessly.
What Does This Mean For Dallas – Fort Worth Businesses?
Small business owners throughout the DFW Metroplex should be undeterred by this branding announcement. The functions of Google Ads (Formerly AdWords) will remain effective, and likely become simpler to execute. Similarly, the mergers of several DoubleClick programs along with Google Analytics 360 Suite, will empower DFW business owners to monetize every checkpoint on a consumer’s buying journey. If you require assistance with any aspect of internet marketing, call DFW SEO at 800.231.4871.
More than 3 years ago, on April 21, 2015, Google began to roll out its mobile-friendly update. Marketers throughout the blogosphere referred to the event as Mobilegeddon, anticipating its impact on defiant websites. Google was exceptionally transparent in what the update would entail, whom it would effect, and what could be done to adapt to it. Citing their Mobile-Friendly Test as a point of reference, the search engine’s objective was not to punish companies slow to conform to an increasingly popular medium, but instead to enhance the experience of its users, who were migrating to mobile search in massive numbers. The update cited 3 points of emphasis:
Affects Only Search Rankings on Mobile Devices
Affects Search Results in All Languages Globally
Applies To Individual Pages, Not Entire Websites
While the update’s application was algorithmic in nature, its impact was cultural and philosophical. Still, a misconception exists about whether Google was setting a trend, or reacting to one. On May 5, 2015, less than a month after the update’s initial roll out, Google publicly stated that more searches take place on mobile devices than on computers. This declaration illustrated that Google’s shift in philosophy was reactive rather than proactive, conflicting what many of its detractors initially suspected. The revelation cemented Google’s priority of enhancing user experience which would be the source of each of its subsequent mobile initiatives.
Impact of Mobilegeddon
Because Google issued a warning about its mobile-friendly update, more than 2 months before the April 21 roll out, web developers had time to prepare for its implementation. More importantly however, tech companies and bloggers had time to catastrophize the update’s impact, and anticipate the worst possible outcomes. While the name “Mobilegeddon” turned out to be inappropriate, seeing that ranking’s were not exceedingly influenced, its imprint on digital culture set the stage for the search engine’s continued emphasis on mobile usability. There’s reason to believe the update’s roll out, and its anticipation, played out exactly how Google intendend, and here’s why:
It Initiated Change: Incentive was given for web developers to adapt to user’s evolving needs
It Managed Crisis: It’s relatively tame actualization prevented intense blowback
It Stuck To Principles: The basis of its inspiration was undeterred
The update served as the groundwork for a larger institutional shift, and one that would be less resisted when applied gradually. By prompting web developers and companies to address mobile usability, the foundation was set for subsequent improvement of the mobile experience. The foresight of Google to manage resistance while remaining on task speaks to their level of influence on digital marketing. As the world’s top search engine, and source of leads for businesses across the globe, its platform can influence change like few others. The lesson from “Mobilegeddon” is that the change doesn’t have to occur all at once, and is actually better suited to be instituted incrementally.
An Ongoing Initiative
Google’s first mobile-friendly update was the beginning of an ongoing initiative to improve the experience of mobile users. In March of 2016, a little bit more than a year after the first roll out, Google announced that it would boost its mobile-friendly ranking signal. It stressed that websites who had already established mobile usability would not be affected by this second update. It once again offered assistance to web developers yet to incorporate mobile design into their online presence. Since more than a year had passed since Google’s initial roll out, websites impacted by the signal boost had willfully ignored warnings to improve the following:
Mobile Navigation: User’s ability to simply navigate the website via mobile device
Mobile Presentation: The site’s view from the perspective of the mobile user
Mobile Site Speed: The expediency with which the website loads once clicked
Response the the 2nd update was less pronounced and less panicked than it was to its predecessor. By this time, most web developers understood the importance of mobile design, and that consumer’s increased mobile usage dictated a necessary reaction. With the initial roll out starting more than a year prior, and a warning of its immanency published even earlier, a failure to take steps toward mobile website usability represented either willful ignorance or dissension. As it stands, the implementation of Google’s mobile-friendly update is one of their premier accomplishments, and was handled as well as anyone could expect.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
Around the time Google boosted its mobile-friendly ranking signal (Q1 2016), the search engine was introducing a new project known as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). The idea was to speed up web pages, in general, to more effectively meet the needs of mobile users. The AMP project established HTML code regulations, recommending users develop web pages using stripped-down code, in which certain obtrusive elements were disallowed. The result was mobile pages that appeared to load instantly, which while was not literally true, was effective nonetheless. Despite its skeptics, the general consensus is that it works as intended, which means specifically:
It Enhances User Experience: The standard by which Google unwaveringly grades itself
It’s Really Fast: As stated previously, AMP’s appear to load instantly, even if it’s an optical illusion
It’s Truly Open Source: The difference between not having a walled garden and “come to my walled garden,” as articulated by Google VP of news Richard Gingras
Detractors of the project cite Google’s ambiguous financial motives as reason to pause. Although it is open source, and especially so, as articulated by vice president of news Richard Gingras, Google’s stake in the technology itself claims profit from any advertising revenue generated with its use. It’s the digital equivalent to trademarking property regulations. If a company like Google could profit from each property built in adherence to its set of guidelines, its royalties alone would be enviable. It’s not possible to know Google’s motives beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore reaching conclusions based on beliefs or opinions proves nothing.
Quantifying Financial Implications
Search engine marketing thrives on a user base that overlaps seamlessly with consumer economics. In February of 2018, Google introduced tools to compare your mobile site speed with its Mobile Speed Scorecard and Impact Calculator, which reveal the financial incentive to faster mobile websites. The Speed Scorecard compares multiple websites’ loading times, empowering companies to gauge their mobile speed relative to competitors. The Impact Calculator offers revenue projection for speed improvement, dynamically displaying numerical values based on each second eliminated from a site’s current speed. As the most recent inventions of Google’s development team, the tools appeal to businesses in their pockets.
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