RESIDENTIAL: How to Get Your Business Seen First in Google Searches

How Search Engine Optimization helps local consumers find your HVAC business.

Ensuring your business is at the top of Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines is an important and sometimes misunderstood step for SMACNA members. The goal for any website is to get as close to the top of the first search page as possible. The reason? According to Searchengineland, 90 percent of users won’t click past the first page. Put simply, the lower you are in the rankings, the less people will see your content. The good news is that you have the power to help boost your rank by using a free technique called search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO.  

Find Your Keywords  
Think about how you begin to look for a product or service that you want. You start with Google or another search engine, right? So does everyone else. And that search begins with the terms, or keywords, that you enter into a search engine field. 

Finding the right keywords will make a world of difference in getting consumers to see your listing. For example, only using “HVAC” and never referring to your services as “air conditioning, heating, cool air, hot air” are all missed opportunities. Some may be basic, but others might seem odd to you. Google Keyword Planner ( allows you to type in keywords that are important to you, like “HVAC tech,” and it’ll suggest other similar keywords that users also use to search for similar services.  

You’ll notice that Keyword Planner will show how popular the keyword or term is. Don’t ignore those less-searched ones! For example, “HVAC contractor dealing with Toshiba units” is less popular, but when someone searches that, you’ll likely appear higher in the results.

Once you have a list of popular keywords and phrases, incorporate them into the text on your website. As tempting as it may be to list every keyword on your site as a keyword, search engines view that as bad behavior and will penalize you. Write content on your site that sounds good to a human, rather than a robot. 

Think Like Your Consumers 
While Google Keyword Planner is a great starting point, the most important thing is to put yourself in the mind of your target consumer. What are they searching for? Most will be looking for "HVAC contractor" in the town or city they’re located in. Using those keywords in your website title is extremely important. For example, rewriting a title from “John’s HVAC Service” to “John’s HVAC Service: AC & Heating Technicians in Philadelphia” will make a world of difference as it incorporates your name, your location and what you do. You want your title to be accurate and descriptive. 

Titles are what your consumers are clicking on, and they need to be concise. For example, Josh’s HVAC Service may have a service radius of 30 miles, but there isn’t the space to write down every town your company services in the title. That said, do make sure you list your service areas elsewhere in the content. If you never mention servicing a town name and one of your competitors does, guess which page will be more likely to appear in the rankings for a search involving that town? 

You also need to consider the context. When you are thinking about a keyword term, search it in Google and see what currently appears. A single HVAC company is unlikely to rank highly for an extremely top-level term like “HVAC” by itself.  

Create Pages  
Think beyond a home page and contact page; it’s worth creating pages that explain the different services your company does. For example, a page for residential HVAC cleaning and another one for commercial HVAC installation. Make each of your pages is complete and readable. This is where you can incorporate those less-searched keywords!   

Remember, your consumers and search engines are looking for the answers to their questions. Your company webpages are here to answer their questions using language they understand best. Think about how your consumers describe their HVAC systems rather than industry jargon. 

Update for the Seasons  
HVAC needs change with the seasons, so make sure your website incorporates those changes as well. Updating your text to prioritize customer needs now is vital. Put reminders in your calendar to emphasize different text at different times of the year.  

Alt-Text for Images
Utilize alt text, so that if someone hovered over the logo, it would display text of your company’s name – this is what search engine robots see instead of the image. 

Linking Back  
Get links back to your site! The internet is all about connections. Your Yelp, Google Maps and Facebook Business pages should include your website. If you work with a new site like the local news, ensure they have a link to your website too.  

Next Steps  
These tips can help you increase your site’s SEO ranking, but you don’t have to do it alone. For instance, SMACNA uses an SEO agency, and you can too if you want help creating and implementing a plan of action for your business. Many businesses and organizations use one. Before searching, make sure you have a budget in mind. Be wary of any agency that guarantees specific results. The adage is right: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  

Incorporating keywords and maintaining a site with accurate and descriptive text will set you up to rise in the search results for a stronger SEO standing.