One of the best ways to increase leads to your HVAC business is by focusing on Google My Business, formerly known as Google Local. There are two ways to generate leads via Google MY Business, either pay-per-click or organic results. Organic results won’t cost you in additional money per month and they can become the backbone to growing your HVAC business.
Let’s take a look at the specific areas we can create, improve, and dominate the Google local search results.
What is 'Google My Business'?
Google My Business replaces the old Google Local program. Any time you perform a search on Google and the three local businesses popup this is referred to as the Google Local 3-Pack. These are organic listings of nearby companies related to what the searcher was looking for. It doesn’t have to be a specific company name; someone from San Diego could perform a search for “air conditioning” and that search will trigger the Local 3-Pack.
As you can see, this specific search triggered one pay-per-click advertisement, and the three listings below it are the organic businesses that rank. You will want your business to rank in the organic listings because when someone calls or clicks on your website, there is no cost to our company.
How Are Organic Results Ranked?
There are several factors Google uses to rank the results in the 3-pack. Here are a few of the most critical factors:
- Local Citations
- On-page Factors
It’s essential to understand what factors influence the way Google ranks businesses in the local 3-pack. This way, you can focus on the areas you have control over to help increase your rankings, which will, in turn, increase leads to your HVAC business.
Add Business Information
If you haven’t already done, so the first step is to sign up for Google My Business. You can find the setup process located here. Word of caution here, don’t do this half-fast, the more time you put into setting up your business profile, the better the chances you will get more leads out of it.
Important tip: If you happen to have multiple locations ensure that you have a separate Google My Business listing for each location. The listing address and phone number should be different. Do not use the same phone number on multiple listings because this can hinder your ability to rank in the local 3-pack.
It is a good idea to track the calls you get from your Google My Business profile. This will give you an idea of how your marketing efforts are doing. There are two spots to add two different phone numbers in Google My Business. The top spot should be your call tracking number. This number will also be visible and display on your listing. The second number should be your main business number.
Not familiar with call tracking? A call tracking number is a phone number that is used to forward and record calls to your main business number. These are great to use for different types of marketing so you can measure ROI effectively. Call tracking numbers are relatively cheap, and there are companies like CallRail that specialize in them.
You will want to add several pictures of your business within the Google My Business portal. There are several categories that you should add photos to and those include, exterior business, interior business, team members, and products. There is also a section for your logo and a cover photo. Choose the cover photo wisely as one that best represents the business.
The reviews you receive will have a direct impact on your local 3-pack rankings. One average business that appears in the local 3-pack has an average of 47 reviews. This will vary by industry, and the HVAC industry averages just over 30 reviews.
Below is a screenshot of our San Bernardino listing for BHI Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. You can see how predominate the reviews are. The more positive reviews you have, the better your chances are to rank further away from your business location within your city.
If your company isn’t getting enough reviews, you may want to consider using a service like GatherUp or Broadly. These services will integrate with your customer database and send the customers messages prompting customers to leave a review for your business.
When a customer leaves a review on Google, it will not only help your local rankings but will help you convert these potential customers into sales. 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
There is a section within Google MY Business where you can write a short blog post that you can directly post to Google. These are listed in the lower section of your Google My Business listing. Most businesses underutilize this function or don’t use it at all. This is a great place to highlight a new service or a promotion you are currently running.
A local citation is a listing of your business on listing website. You will add more trust in Google if your business is listed consistently on the primary listing websites. Ensure that your NAP (Name, Address, & Phone Number) is listed correctly across all the major websites. If your business has been around for a considerable about of time, there is a good chance your information may be inconsistent.
Below are a few of the top business listing websites:
One factor that will help increase your rankings in the local 3-pack are local links. Anytime you can get another local business or a local publication to link back to your website it will help with your local rankings. But how can I do this?
An easy way to get local links is to reach out to business partners in your local area that you already have an established relationship with. Find out if they are willing to link to you from their website. Some businesses might already have a recommendation section specifically for this on their website.
Identify the businesses where this would make sense and create a list. Then either call the business or send them an email explaining what you have in mind. If you want them to link to you are you will do the same for them? If so, let them know ahead of time as this will increase your chances of getting those links.
While most of this article focuses on the free organic traffic you could get from Google; there are paid options as well. Google has several products that local businesses can take advantage of, although in the HVAC industry, these aren’t cheap. Advertising with Google is on a pay-per-click basis, and many of the HVAC keywords can cost anywhere from $25-$125 per click, and there is no guarantee that the click will convert into a customer. This is why optimizing your Google My Business profile is so critical for HVAC companies.
The companies that are thriving and growing their business are doing so by utilizing Google My Business. Many business owners think that setting up a profile is all they need to do. While it’s true, you may receive some free traffic from the Google local 3-pack you aren’t tapping into the full potential. If you follow these steps, you can increase the number of free leads your HVAC business receives.
Stuart McHenry is the Marketing Manager for BHI Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning. He has been in the marketing industry since 2003 with his primary focus on digital marketing. If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to reach out to him at [email protected].