Search engines, especially Google have become the new Yellow pages and encyclopedia in today’s world. We use it to find information, research certain things, and much more. People search for everything online to get an answer to their questions or find a solution to their problems. However, the competition to be seen at the top of search engines is fierce and you need to know what people are searching for when they’re looking for your HVAC business. To know what users search for you need to do HVAC keyword research. Just writing something on your website and hoping that customers will come to your website is not a good strategy to drive traffic.
Keywords are the foundation of SEO. If you write about things that no one is searching for then you won’t get any traffic from search engines. Therefore, it is very important to do your HVAC keyword research before you start optimizing your page for SEO. Before we get started with everything let’s just make sure we understand the basics first.
What is Keyword Research?
It is the process to understand what language your customers use when searching for your services or products using search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Then you analyze, compare and prioritize what keywords to target for your website and business. That is keyword research in a nutshell.
Why Do We Do Keyword Kesearch in SEO?
This is the only way to find out what people search for using search engines. But it also lays the groundwork for all the other tasks you do in SEO. For example, finding content ideas, on-page SEO, content promotion, etc.
The fact that so many HVAC websites create content that no one is searching for is probably because they don’t do HVAC keyword research or don’t do enough of it. The result is that about 91% of all pages get no traffic from search engines, according to Ahrefs.
Another benefit of HVAC keyword research is that you understand what your target audience is searching for in Google. You learn to see things from your customers’ perspective and put yourself in their shoes.
How Has HVAC Keyword Research Helped Us?
We have a landing page that focuses on the keyword “heating and cooling SEO”. This page currently jumps around in the top 5 search results of Google in the US. It generates a decent amount of traffic for us. The way we started creating this page is the same as we explained above, with keyword research.
Of course, there are a lot of other factors that go into ranking at the top of Google for your HVAC company than just HVAC keyword research. For example, on-page SEO, link building, technical SEO, etc. However, the main reason why we are ranking in the top for “heating and cooling SEO” is because we identified that people search for this term regularly.
How to Find Keyword Ideas for Your HVAC Keyword Research?
Use Your Head
Start off by writing down keywords you can come up with yourself or that you would search for when looking for your service. These kinds of keywords are called seed keywords. They are usually one or two words that help you identify your competitors and define your niche.
Examples for HVAC business are:
- Heating and cooling
- Air conditioning
- Furnace repair
- HVAC contractors
Then start including keywords that contain your location in them and other words associated with heating and cooling. If your business is based in Hartford, CT and that is the primary area you serve then some examples of keywords would be:
- HVAC Hartford CT
- HVAC repair Hartford CT
- Hartford CT air conditioning
- Furnace repair in Hartford CT
- Heating and cooling Hartford CT
Simply brainstorm as many keywords as you can. You can write them all down in a word document or excel sheet. It doesn’t really matter if these keywords have any search traffic at this point. The important point is just to get the juices flowing and come up with as many keywords as possible.
Wikipedia and Answer The Public
The next step in your HVAC keyword research is to search for the keywords on Wikipedia. This can be a great source to find additional keywords. Their articles are usually written by industry experts and can give you a lot of ideas you didn’t think of. For the purposes of this article, we searched for “air conditioning” on Wikipedia but you can search for other things as well such as HVAC, furnace, etc.
Under contents, you have some subtopics that are great keywords to include in your HVAC keyword list. Some examples in the image below are ducted central systems, packaged air conditioner, or central plant cooling.
Click on some of the links in the contents section and see if there is a “see also” or “main article” link.
The next resource is Answer the Public. It shows you keywords, questions, and prepositions that people are searching for. It will give you a plethora of questions, prepositions, and comparisons. Questions are self-explanatory, prepositions are statements within the industry or niche, and comparisons for example Semrush vs. Ahrefs.
After you press the search button the results appear in a way shown in the image below.
Simply go through them and write down any relevant keywords on your list.
One thing to remember is that you don’t have to do all of this to have a good HVAC keyword list. These are only suggestions to help you find keywords and make the research a little easier. You could spend months on keyword research. We just want to provide you with some resources and then you choose which ones work the best for you. If you can think of a source that can provide you with keyword ideas that are not mentioned here then of course include that in your own research.
Google Intuitive search
The next step is to use Google Intuitive Search to find more keywords. Now that you have a few topics, go to google.com. Put in a full or partial keyword in the search bar without pressing the search button. See what Google suggests to you in terms of keywords. Write down anything that is relevant to your business and industry.
For example, when we search “HVAC” then the results in the image below appear (for you it might be different depending on what you have searched previously). In this example, HVAC SEO keywords like HVAC service near me, HVAC technician, HVAC Los Angeles, etc. might be relevant to you.
These are great keywords to add to your list because if Google suggests a keyword you know that a lot of people are searching for it. Do this for several keywords and see what comes up in the autosuggest. You could take this a step further and do the same for YouTube, Bing, and Yahoo autosuggest.
People Also Ask and Related Searches
Now check out the “people also ask” and “related searches” of the SERPs. For example, let’s say you search for “furnace repair” in Google. Scroll down to the “people also ask” section. As with the autosuggest, these keywords come straight from Google so that means people actually search for them. Scroll down to the bottom too to see the related searches as well.
Write down all relevant keywords in the related searches section. Click on any of them and rinse and repeat. Other sources are for example Reddit, forums, Google Keyword Planner (which we’ll talk about a bit further down), etc.
Semrush is an online platform we use to analyze website data and keywords. It plays a big part in our keyword research and SEO campaigns for ourselves and our clients. It does cost money but if you are serious about your SEO, it’s well worth the investment. However, they do have a 7-day free trial which is more than enough time to complete your HVAC keyword research and even do some more.
Simply put your competitors’ domains into the search tool and you’ll see all the keywords they rank for. Then simply steal all their keywords.
Another thing you can do is search for one of the keywords already on your list under “keyword overview” and then scroll down a little bit. There you have keyword variations, questions, and related keywords. Explore these to find more!
Free Tools for HVAC Keyword Research
If you don’t want to pay for Semrush or any other software there are some free tools that you can use. They are of course not as good as the paid ones and are limited but they can get the basic things done.
This is the first and most obvious one. Actually, many of the paid tools base some of their data on the keyword planner. So it is definitely something worth checking out if you don’t want to spend any money. You need to create an account though. Here is a guide on how to use the Google Keyword Planner effectively for your HVAC keyword research
This tool will help you identify the relative popularity of keywords. For example, if we search for the term “air conditioning” we can see that search queries spike at the end of June and the beginning of July. That is because that’s when temperatures are hot and people want to cool down.
But how does that help? Well, that could be useful information for when you plan your next blog post. Publishing an article about the “top 10 best air conditioners” around May or June for example could be a good idea. That can be a great way to get traffic to your website and potentially increase your sales of air conditioner installations for the summer season.
You can also see how the searches are divided by subregion. The states with the most searches for air conditioning are Florida and Arizona. That makes sense because these states tend to get very hot during the summer.
This is a Chrome extension that shows the estimated search volumes of keywords in Google. This can be really helpful if the keyword you plan to target has any search volume at all.
For every search, they also include related keyword ideas that can be really helpful in expanding your HVAC keyword list.
A nice little handy feature is that you can add keywords to the clipboard by pressing the star sign to the right. Then you can download all those keywords into an excel sheet.
If you care about your website’s SEO then you should have it connected to a Google Search Console account. GSC helps you track website performance in organic search.
For example, if you go to “Performance” in the menu on the left you will find queries, pages, countries, etc. Under queries you have can see which keywords generate the most clicks and impressions for your website. It is also possible to see the CTR and average position.
Not only can this give you some ideas for new keywords to target but it can also help you identify low-performing pages. For instance, you rank high for a keyword and have a lot of impressions but the CTR is low. That could be an indication that your title tag and/or meta description is not enticing enough.
To find keyword ideas with GSC simply sort the queries by low to high CTR. This can give you keywords you never targeted but still rank for. If one of them has a low CTR but a lot of impressions it might be worth targeting that keyword.
Analyzing Your HVAC Keywords
Having a big HVAC keyword list is great. It gives you a lot of options to choose from but how do you choose the right keywords to target. Going through them each one by one will take you ages.
If your website is relatively new or you want to target keywords that are easy to rank for there are a few things that you can do. The first thing is to focus on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer more specific search phrases that have a higher conversion rate but also lower search volume. That means competition is usually lower and hence easier to rank for.
If you are using a tool like Semrush or Ahrefs use the data they provide when determining what keyword to target.
Some metrics to look for are:
In Semrush and Ahrefs the search volume is the average number of times that keyword gets searched per month. However, remember that the search volume does not mean the traffic your website will get. Also, a high search volume does not always mean it’s a good keyword to target. Likewise, a keyword with low volume doesn’t mean it’s a bad keyword to target.
It’s very important to determine how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. Many tools have a keyword difficulty score that you can use. While it probably is good to include the KD (keyword difficulty) in your analysis it is very important to do more than that. The KD of keyword research tools is not perfect and has its flaws. Thus, it is important to do a manual analysis as well.
Look at the search results and see what pages are ranking. Are there any high domain websites like Wikipedia, Forbes, CNN, Ahrefs, Semrush, etc. ranking at the top? Secondly, look at the number of referring domains and backlinks that each search result has. This can easily be done in Semrush. Backlinks are still an important ranking factor but they are not everything. There are many other factors that are extremely important too.
Another benefit of looking at the search results apart from getting an estimate of what the KD is that you get an understanding of what the search intent is. For example, if all top results are blog posts then that’s probably what most searchers look for when searching for this keyword. Understanding search intent is very important. This blog post from Ahrefs is great when it comes to that.
This metric is more meant for advertisers but there still is some valuable information that can be extracted. For instance, the keyword “where to buy an hvac system” has a relatively high CPC because the searchers want to buy an HVAC system. Whereas, “air washer unit in hvac” has a CPC of $0. Most people in the air washer example are not at a buying stage yet. Therefore it in not as important for advertisers to target that keyword.
Targeting and Prioritizing the Right HVAC SEO Keywords
This is more of a step you should do during your keyword research. This is a crucial step in this process and it is very important you understand this. After you have analyzed your keywords you should have an idea of what keywords you want to focus on.
As mentioned above you want to look at the current top-ranking pages to understand the searcher’s intent.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Whats the probability that traffic from that keyword will convert into sales and leads?
- What does the competition look like? Are there any high authority pages ranking in the top?
- What is the traffic potential?
- Do you rank for this keyword or similar ones? If so what content do you have on that page or pages?
By doing this you will discover that some HVAC keywords don’t have the search intent you thought. That will save you hours of work and prevent you from potentially targeting the wrong keywords. You shouldn’t choose keywords solely based on how low the KD is or how easy it is to rank for. Also, consider the potential return on investment for a keyword. It’s not all about keyword difficulty and search volume.
Using Semrush to Analyze Keywords
Below we have outlined how we go about choosing and targeting keywords with Semrush.
Go to position tracking in the menu on the left.
Select “New Position Tracking”. Enter your domain and give the project a name.
Choose your location and language. Then press “Keywords” in the right-hand corner.
Copy and paste your HVAC keyword list and add it to the project. Then “Start Tracking”. Usually, you have to wait about 15 to 20 min until all the data has been collected.
Once done choose 20 to 40 keywords you want to target. You can target more but it’s a good number to get started with. Any keywords you don’t target now you can focus on in the next strategy. So no keywords will go to waste.
Go through your list and see if any keywords stand out based on statistics and search intent. Then search the keyword in google and go through the top positions. As mentioned above you want to know how authoritative these websites are, how much content they have, how do they use the keyword on the page, etc.
When you have found a keyword you want to target, simply hover over it and add a little tag. That way you can mark it and know which keywords you decided to target in your first strategy when you come back to it at a later date.
Take Action and Start Your HVAC Keyword Research!
The tips mentioned above should give you a good start in your HVAC keyword research and help you understand the basics. However, all of this is useless if you don’t turn the knowledge into action. That is the most important part. It will take a few tries of trial and error to figure things out but eventually, you’ll get the hang of it.
Let us know if you have any questions and what your next actionable steps will be!
Have a great day!