The Internet has provided us with the opportunity to reach people on the other side of the globe with a single mouse click. We used to think of it as a way to “visit” and learn about far away places. But as technology has grown more ubiquitous, so have our uses for the Internet. Today, the Internet is designed to help us find even those things, which are closest to us, like local businesses and brick-and-mortar stores.
As a HVAC contractor, your business is the very definition of “local.” You are looking for clients within your geographical area and using local SEO to boost your business’ online presence is probably the single most beneficial marketing technique you can adopt. Here are some of local SEO’s main benefits:
#1 Free Visibility Boost
Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: 43 percent of Google searches are local. And that makes a lot of sense. If somebody’s A/C broke down, the first thing they would do is type “HVAC contractor” in Google. Being as smart as it is, Google will assume that this person is not just looking to find out more about HVAC contractors, but is looking to find one nearby. Therefore, the search results will automatically display local HVAC contractors who have registered with Google+ Local. The one who is lucky enough to be at the top might have just gained a new client.
#2 Less Competition
Suppose your business is on Google+ Local, and you're looking for ways to get it higher up in search results — if a user goes on Google+ Local and does a search for a HVAC contractor, the pages you will be competing with will also be other Google+ Local pages. That means you’ll only be competing with fellow local businesses, not similar businesses worldwide. If you were looking for ways to boost your regular website, though, you would be facing fierce competition from all kinds of other websites, as well as Google Ads. Furthermore, in a regular Google search, Google+ Local pages always come up in a separate box, which is clearly visible to the user — this promotes a higher click-through rate. Naturally, all of this is not to say that you shouldn’t spend any energy on optimizing your website for search engines, too. In an ideal world, both your website and your Google+ Local page should rank high.
#3 Easy Access to Information for Your Customers
Whenever someone types the name of your business, a small box will appear on the right. It will contain a Google Maps excerpt with directions on how to find you, photos of your location or establishment, a phone number, working hours and an estimate on how costly your services are. But most importantly, it will display a score based on your ratings on places like Yelp and TripAdvisor, so it’s important you do your best to try and increase your positive reviews. If your services are good and you politely ask your customers to endorse you, this will immediately make you stand out in search results, as a business with high customer satisfaction.
#4 Reputation Boost
You might already be on some review websites about local businesses without even realizing it. When customers are particularly happy (or unhappy) with a business, they might review it online. You can find out if this is the case, and further create profiles in as many review websites as possible to make sure you’re as present as possible. Then you can start responding to negative and positive review alike, which can potentially boost your score even more. Plus, online users tend to trust Google+ scores and reviews much more than those you might provide on your own web page.
#5 Supports Your Other SEO efforts
Though it is not stated publicly by the company, SEO experts believe that using Google products and services convey additional SEO benefits to businesses who use them. Therefore, even if you are skeptical towards Google+ as a useful social media channel, a Google+ Local page should be high on your to-do list if you haven’t registered one already. But Google isn’t the only search engine, so the more places you register the better. The following three are musts: Bing Local, Yahoo Local, and Foursquare.
It's Too Important to Ignore
Your local SEO strategy is important, so you need to give it enough thought. And if you need a place to start, check out this great guide by the SEO experts at MOZ. Now get your contractor’s bond and license and start conquering the web!
Lachezar Stamatov is a contributor for Lance Surety Bonds blog. He is an expert in the field of surety bonds and contractor licensing. He is following closely the dynamics of the industry and has written numerous articles on the topic.