HVAC marketing strategies for the Internet will always involve link-building. Links are central to Google’s ranking algorithm together with content. The algorithm counts inbound links to any website as a point towards being an authority in their selected niche. This means that, while quality content is king, it should always be paired with an effective link-building campaign.
Google’s ranking algorithm was simpler in the early days of the Internet. One just needed to observe keyword density in the content and build lots of links to rank on the first page. However, Google noticed that several websites abused the algorithm to unfairly gain high rankings in the search engine results pages or SERPs.
In response, Google introduced updates to the algorithms a decade ago. Websites that now attempt to game the algorithm receive severe penalties. In some cases, the websites are banned from being indexed altogether. A ban will kill your business’ online presence. You will want to avoid that possibility by making sure your HVAC marketing avoids all of the four link-building mistakes below.
Mistake No. 1 – Building Links from Non-Relevant Websites
Relevance is everything to the search engines. Their job is to provide their users with search results that are relevant to their needs. It’s bad for business if an end-user searches for air-conditioner cleaning services but receives results for janitorial services instead. Unfortunately, that’s what happened before the algorithm changed.
Google now demands relevancy when factoring inbound links when it is calculating its ranking on the SERPs. This means that you have to receive links from a website that’s about HVAC products or services. Building links from websites that are not related in any way to your niche would mean, in Google’s eyes, that you’re accumulating spam links.
It would be a good idea to evaluate the quality of the websites you’re planning to obtain links from. Aside from being relevant to your business, the source should also have high domain authority. Quality trumps quantity in HVAC marketing strategies. 10 links from 10 authority websites are worth more than a hundred links from lower quality domains.
Mistake No. 2 – Buying Links Indiscriminately
Link-building is, by nature, buying links from other websites. However, legitimate link-building techniques offer both the buyer and the beneficiary value. Your website benefits from the other site’s domain authority while they enjoy fresh content from your guest post. Their audience also gets to read new content they might be interested in.
On the other hand, indiscriminate link buying builds huge backlink volumes unfairly. In this practice, link builders buy the right to place links in directories and private blog networks. This technique creates up to 10,000 backlinks in one go because PBNs can host that many blogs. Unfortunately, Google’s algorithms can detect these toxic links and penalize those caught using this technique.
It makes sense to play it safe. As mentioned in the previous section, links from authority websites are worth the effort and time to obtain. Google finds the process natural and fair. By contrast, building too many links within a short time will get you penalized or deindexed.
Mistake No. 3 – Not Being Conscious of Anchor Text and Placement
Anchor text is the keyword or keyphrases that have the link embedded. They are very important not only because they contain the link that points back to your HVAC company’s website, but also because they indicate to the reader as well as Google’s bots what the landing page is all about.
One thing to watch out for is keyword density. Google’s search algorithms continue to count how many instances you use your main keyword in your article. However, it has been updated to consider too many mentions as spam. Google also recently introduced natural language processing, so you’d want to include related terms within your content as well.
The anchor text must also be relevant to your website. You cannot use words such as plumbing or hockey to point back to a website that’s about heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. It misleads the reader, whose interest is about HVAC and is more likely to not click on the link to your website. It goes both ways. If a reader that’s interested in plumbing or hockey clicks on the link and finds out it’s about HVAC, you can expect a “bounce” from that interaction.
Last but not least, the anchor text should be ideally placed within the body of the content. The body is where the link is most visible to your readers. Your readers are not going to read footers and headers, so any link placed there is going to be ignored. The link should also appear as early in the body as possible because readers tend to skip parts of the content to get to what they want to read.
Mistake No. 4 – Not Building Do-Follow Links
There are two types of backlinks in SEO. These are the Do Follow and No Follow links. They generally tell Google whether or not to pass link juice back to your website. Do-Follow tells Google’s bots to consider the weight of the source’s vote when indexing the outbound link for ranking. No Follow is the opposite – it tells Google’s bots to pass little to no weight at all back to your website.
Google’s rules indicate that any link you build by yourself should be considered as “No-Follow.” The search engine wants businesses to avoid the kind of abuse that was prevalent in pre-algorithm Google. That’s why links in online directories are automatically tagged as “No-Follow.” This is because, more often than not, it is the business itself that created the listing and link.
Do Follow, on the other hand, theoretically indicates that the link comes from a third party. It tells Google that the source finds the content of your website interesting or informational enough to refer its readers back to you. That’s why your HVAC marketing plan should always include guest blogging. Guest blogging is the most effective way of building do-follow links that do not alert Google’s spam detection.
Mistake No. 5 – Not Monitoring Your Backlinks Regularly
Link building is not a “fire and forget” discipline. You’re not the only one that’s building links for your website. If people find your content relevant to their needs, they are going to share a link back to your blog post or website page on their social media accounts or public forums. You’ll be accumulating a lot of backlinks that way.
Getting a lot of backlinks is a sign that your HVAC marketing strategies are doing something right. However, there is also the danger that someone is going to be linking back to you from a low-quality or spam website. These links will drag down your rankings instead of enhancing them.
Of course, you cannot control where your links come from. However, you have the option of disavowing low-quality links to prevent their negative “link juice” from flowing back to your website.
The only way you’ll know if you inadvertently received a backlink from a low-quality source is to regularly monitor your backlinks. There are various tools for backlink monitoring that you can use. Some are free, while others have premium-only features. All of these tools are capable of analyzing your backlink profile and showing you where your links are coming from.
Aside from showing you where the links come from, these tools also show you if there are backlinks that point to 404 errors, or pages that no longer exist in your site structure. Links pointing to 404 errors can negatively affect your rankings. You will want to address broken links by doing 301 redirects or asking the site owner to remove the link entirely. The latter is also a great opportunity for link exchange or guest blogging.
Mistake No. 6 – Not Diversifying Your Backlinks
Diversifying means your backlinks should be pointing to as many pages on your website as possible. Many bloggers make this mistake when they start out. Unfortunately, Google finds it unnatural if too many links point to the home page and only a few direct to other internal pages.
One turnaround you could consider is creating content and link-building plans in advance. Every month, set a day to plan what content you’d like your writers to produce and which page or blog you intend to link to. These plans will take away the guesswork and lets your content team focus on content quality.
Another advantage of advanced planning is it allows you to audit links. You can analyze each page’s backlink profile and determine which ones have the fewest links among the others. You will want to build links to these pages to avoid attracting Google’s attention.
Mistake No. 7 – Not Building Enough Internal Links
Internal links are often overlooked by SEOs who prefer to focus on building backlinks. However, internal linking is just as important as backlinks.
Google uses internal links to determine the topics you discuss in your content. Search engine spiders consider the anchor text as an indicator of the destination page’s subject. They will follow the link and crawl the content to determine relevancy to the anchor text and the keyword. Thus, internal links help Google measure how important the destination is to your link-building efforts and its relevance to your targeted keywords.
Aside from SEO, internal links also refer your readers to content within your website that’s related to what they are currently reading. As long as the content is well-written and interesting, your readers will stay on your website for several minutes. The length of time they spend on your content happens to be a critical factor in Google’s complex ranking algorithm.
Mistake No 8 – Abusing Exact Match Keywords
The previous section pointed out the importance of using appropriate anchor text. Most content developers and SEOs gravitate towards using exact match keywords to link back to their website. In our context, using keywords like “HVAC cleaning company” or “HVAC cleaner” for your backlinks signals to Google and your readers that you are offering cleaning services for heaters and air-conditioners.
Unfortunately, using too many of these keywords for your guest posts and internal links appears unnatural to Google and its web spiders. Google interprets this as intentionally optimizing the keyword to manipulate rankings. Your website could suffer severe penalties for this practice.
Consider using other types of keywords for your internal and external anchor texts. Some of your options include:
- Partial-match keywords
These are keywords that contain part of your targeted keywords. Long-tail keywords are great examples of partial-match terms.
- Natural anchor
This anchor text is not related to your focus keyword or keyphrase. Some examples in the context of HVAC include “air conditioning units” or “heater problems.”
- Naked link
Instead of using an anchor text, you could use the actual URL of the landing page. Other content developers would prefer to shorten the URLs for legibility purposes.
Selecting anchor texts may require some creativity on your part. You just need to make sure that the keywords remain relevant to the ones you’re trying to optimize for.
Mistake No. 9 – Failing to Build Quality Content
People tend to ignore quality content or, at the least, take it for granted. Some bloggers fail because they build content that no one is interested in reading. Just like links, building content is not just about quantity. Your HVAC website should have compelling content that arouses your reader’s interest.
As mentioned earlier, if your readers find your blog content to their liking, they will share it with their communities. Each share on social media is potential traffic to your website. These people are already interested in what you have to offer. You only need to pass them through the funnel and nurture that interest so it can be converted into a sale.
However, those benefits can come to fruition only if your content is of high quality. Remember that the Internet is full of information – several people are writing about the same topic online. You have to put your own spin on the subject. You can try and read existing content and write about the same issues from a different angle. Most importantly, take your time and don’t rush your content.
It’s worth mentioning that plagiarism is a huge ethical issue in content writing. Copying other people’s content and just changing a few sections degrades your content’s quality severely. Worse, Google’s algorithm recognizes what plagiarism is and will penalize your website accordingly.
There are no such things as perfect HVAC marketing strategies. Mistakes are natural. However, some mistakes are more debilitating than others. These mistakes could make or break any endeavor, including businesses, and should be avoided. Those four mistakes detailed above are ones that you should steer clear of at all costs. They have repercussions that seriously affect your business’ rankings and delay your success.