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HVAC SEO - Understanding the Search Engines for AC Contractors - On this video Josh Nelson of HVAC SEO helps to demystify the Search Engines and how they work.

Transcript of Video Recording:

He explains the differences between the Paid, Organic & Map Sections on the search engines and how you can start to formulate a plan for each within your HVAC Business.

OK, so I'll talk about the search engines and kind of demystify for you what's happening online when you type in "your city plus AC repair" or "your city plus HVAC contractor." There are three major components to the search engine: There's the pay-per-click listing, also known as PPC, and that's what you've got at the top and along the sides, highlighted; then you've got your map listings, which are what show up typically right at the top of the search engines in the non-pay-per-click area; and then you've got your organic listings, and that's the area below the map. So there are three different primary areas on the search engines.

The pay-per-click listings, or the paid area, is driven by AdWords, which is Google's paid advertising. This is where Google actually makes its money. It sells advertising and it's sold on a pay-per-click basis. So with a pay-per-click advertising campaign, what you can do is you can pick your keywords. For example, "AC repair," "heating repair," "your city plus AC contractor," or "your city plus AC installation," and within relatively short order be showing up in the paid listings for the words that you want to show up for.

The caveat to that being you can't pay a flat fee like in the Yellow Pages. You couldn't say I'll pay two grand to be in the number one spot for the word "my city plus AC repair." You're not buying a category in the same way. The way this works, and the reason it's called pay-per-click, is you only pay every time somebody actually clicks on your ad, which is good, because you're actually paying for performance.

But the price is set by a bidding system, similar to, let's say, eBay. So you pick your inventory of key words: "AC repair"; "AC contractor"; "heating repair"; "heating contractor"; and the list goes on, and you would bid. So for the term AC repair you might say, "I'll pay five dollars for everybody that clicks on me for the word 'AC repair'." So if you did that and your three biggest competitors in your area -- the three big guys -- let's say they were bidding on that same word. One might say "I'll pay $15," and the other might say "I'll pay $7" and the other might say "I'll pay $6," and your bid was 5...

At the broadest sense -- and there's a lot of other factors -- but at the broadest sense, the guy that said 15s got the top spot, the guy that spent seven has got the next spot, and so on. It's more complicated than that, but it's a bidding system similar to that. You're only paying every time somebody clicks on you, but at the same time you have to manage this bidding process, and it can get relatively expensive when you're looking at $7 to $15 per click to really be competitive in your market. But that's the pay-per-click area; you buy positioning in the pay-per-click area.

The next section is what we call the "map listings," which at some point was called "Google Places," and is now being referred to as "Google Plus Local." That's the area that shows up at the top with the "A-B-C-D-E." There's typically a map, listed next to it or somewhere around it.

You can't buy your way into the map listings at any level; there's no option to say anything. You couldn't say "I'll pay 10 grand for Spot A," it's just not an option for you. The way you get listed in the map really is driven by Google finding you to be a quality, authentic, transparent organization in your market. I've got a lot of details and a lot of information I'm going to be sharing on how to get listed on the map. As far as claiming your map listing and optimizing and getting reviews, there's a lot that goes into it, but you can't pay for your positioning in the map. It's driven by other factors.

The other section on the search engines is the organic listings. Again, you can't pay for your position there. The organic listings really come into play for keywords outside of "AC repair plus your city." Maybe for more specific things like "Trane AC installation" in your city, "Trane installation," or "Trane AC repair" in your city. Those types of things where the map doesn't necessarily populate but you'd have to have the right content on your website with the right authority, as far as inbound links. That's how you're able to position yourself in the organic or non-paid listings in the search engine.

So, again, just to kind of recap here, you've got three separate sections, the pay-per-click listings, where you're able to pay your way in, the map listings, where you've got to have name, address, and phone number information, and then you've the organic section, which is driven by the content of your website and the number of inbound links and the authority of your actual domain.

The question that usually follows is, OK, so there are three different sections on the search engines. There's a couple of different ways I can make sure I'm showing up in my area for what I do. What's the best strategy? Should I spend my money and my energy on the pay-per-click listings? Should I ignore that because it's too expensive and just focus on organic listings? My answer really is you want to have a strategy to be sure you're showing up as often as possible when someone types in your city plus your service.

You probably want to have a strategy to get in the pay-per-click listings and manage that effectively. There are a lot of things you can do to manage. With a good strategy, you can actually pay less than your competition and still rank high. You want to have a strategy to make sure you're showing up on the map and organic section, so that you have placeholders all over the search engine for each of the different things that you do.

Now with that said, If you've got limited budget, in other words, you don't have $10,000 a month to spend in advertising online, and you want to get the best return on investment for your time and energy, I'm going to pull up a chart, here, that you can look at. What this shows is where people typically tend to click on the search engines when they run a search.

This was a study done by comScore. What they found was, more than 70 percent of the population, when they run a search and type in your city and AC repair, more than 70 percent of the population is going to look straight at the map and organic listings, so, the non-paid listings. Remember, the paid listings are what are on the top and along the sides. The organic, non-paid are what's in the center box. The reason for that is a lot of the population has been alerted to the fact that that's advertising.

The notion is, when you buy a magazine, are you flipping through the magazine and looking for the ads or are you looking for the content, for the information? The reality is, in most cases, you'll look at the ads and you'll notice them, but you're really looking for the content. You're looking for the articles. You're looking for the pictures. Similar to that, on the search engines, when you run a search, you know the ads are there and in some cases, you're going to click them. For the most part, you're looking for the content, which is in the organic section.

This other image on the right with the moving lights and it looks like there's a lot going on. What that is, is a heat map. They use eye tracking software to see, statistically, where the eye looks and what it spends most of its time looking at. This heat map also indicates that the majority of the people skim right past the paid listings and spend most of the time looking at the map and the organic section.

Again, if you've got limited budget and you want to get the best return on your investment, you would probably be best served focusing on the map listings, the organic section, building more authority for your website, building more authority for your organization, so you can rank in that area where most people wind up clicking.


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