A New Local HVAC Company Wanted to Outrank the Local Established Giant Competition


How can a new local HVAC company outrank the local established giant competition? Is it even possible? Has it ever been done?

Most SEO pros I've spoken to can't give me an answer or just say pay me this and we will start without any actionable plan. I've been in the trades for over 16 years and its hard to start investing without a slightest idea of a return. Can someone clarify? Thanks in advance

EDIT: The question is more like " How to get a proper Return of Investment (RoI) " I'm not looking to outrank the competition but to get a return on my invest whatever it is.
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Depending on your location and who this giant is it's certainly possible if you have the budget and time.

If your primary goal is just to outrank that single company you're approaching it wrong though. Your site can still attract organic leads without outranking this person, and if you pick the right SEO I would expect 6-8 months (brand new site) to start to see a steady flow of organic leads.

That would roughly around a 1k budget per month in a bigger city.

I work with some folks in the construction/electric/home services type industries, and a lot of the people sitting in the top ranks (especially if they are local vs national) most likely aren't pouring a lot into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) if any.

I generally come across top ranking sites with little to no content, no real backlink profile, and wonk-ass web design. They are just ranking due to domain age at this point.

But again, its not like your site will be devoid of leads unless you outrank this person. A good SEO should be able to demonstrate a pretty steady growth in ranks/traffic/leads month to month.

Outranking that guy may take 1-2 years, but you should be getting steady leads long before that moment and maybe view it as more of a "vanity goal" you are aiming for.

KloudBunny ✍️
Thanks for the response. I should've asked " how much time and investment will it take to get a proper Return of Investment (RoI)?" I Tried to make the question easy and short. My issue was about the ROI Primarily. Thanks again

Well your ROI is going to depend on a bunch of factors:

How well you convert leads to paid projects How much each paid project is worth to you How much you are paying for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

From there you can calculate how many organic leads you roughly need per month to get your Return of Investment (RoI).

I don't know your specifics on this, but if you do have 16 years of experience you probably have a good idea of your close rate from lead to project.

Generally – I've had construction clients hit their "break-even" point with a new domain after 4 months. Others in legal take years.

But generally using my first comment figure 1k per month, by 6-8 months (6-8K investment) Id imagine youd be at the point where you are closing organic leads and hopefully getting at least 10+ per month consistently.

Without knowing what you make per job we still have a big unknown here, but I think that's a general idea of at what point you would break even.
KloudBunny ✍️
Now I have a more consistent understanding of time and investment required. When I'm ready I'm getting back to you for paid services. Thanks again

In theory, you can outrank any other site, but in most cases, it won't be a quick win.

An established local giant probably have years of online marketing behind them to cement their position in the rankings and it will take you time to build up trust in the search engines.

No agency can guarantee you that you will outrank another company, unless they're doing their marketing as well, but any prospective agency should be able to give you an idea of how difficult it will be to outrank them based on competitiveness of keywords and a brief competitor analysis.

I would worry less about outranking a large company for a single keyword and look for a series of low competition, longtail search terms instead.

Also, while you're starting out and Return of Investment (RoI) is make or break, I'd suggest Pay Per Click (PPC) over Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

KloudBunny ✍️
Thanks for the reply. I'll keep that in mind.

Yeah to echo what this guy said, tracking ROI for SEO is very difficult. PPC will be a much easier road for that. I'd also look into Facebook. They're very user friendly and you'll be able to see what's going on through the funnel.

Had a client that was a Kia dealership and managed to break into the first page for the term 'kia' a handful of times. To get there, it took 30+ pieces of content/month and supplementary link-building efforts.

It's really tough, anyway. The best thing a company in your position can do is a closed outbound system. Targeted ads that speak to the unique needs of the demographics they're targeting and link back to a fast-conversion landing page with similar language.

Because HVAC is reactive (people call when something goes wrong), you may have to spend a bit to compete for those top terms. Narrowly-focused landing pages for each of your ad groups, however, will help your relevance and should give you an edge over the more vague and scaled-up messaging typically employed by national businesses.


It's all about local search. I'm not a professional SEO but have learned a few things by working with a consultant that my company has used for the past handful of years.

My wife has a very small business, at the beginning of quarantine I redid her website (from a free weebly site moved to WordPress) and helped her chase down some back lines to it. It ranks okay for local search terms in her niche. More importantly though was optimizing her Google My Business profile(and making sure she asks any happy clients for a review.)

She ranks above both national service providers and local ones on Google maps. For HVAC I would imagine your customer base is your neighborhood, showing up in the map pack is very valuable.

On the nonseo side – the local "Town Parents" group on Facebook. People are always looking for help in there.

KloudBunny ✍️
Thanks much appreciated

For better results share your city or city size.

I manage and live in a city of 200k all working and living in 20miles of the center. Organic SEO has been easy with 12 or fewer competitors. We build citations with someone like bright local ($100) and then build lots of content rich pages both long on short tail. Within 12mo. we go from no rank to page one. With Pay Per Click (PPC) we are $157/lead on a $3k/mo budget. In a top 20 major metro market, same strategy, doesn't even move the needle. Monthly backlink building on long tail keywords was a start but damn, major markets there is HUGE dollars up for grabs if you get 4900 monthly searches by being on the 1st page. (Think how many Goodman 16 seer systems you could sell a month!) ha!

Edits for more coherent sentences 🤣

KloudBunny ✍️
Good Lord… Those numbers are nice. My city 300k population and metro of 2.5million. just Imagine how much the number one player is making.

Nobody believes me but one of my friends started his HVAC company from dead broke running service from a used jeep in 2 years he managed to gross 2.5 million at 35% profit. If I had not seen his tax reports I wouldn't believe neither. He had previous experience and he is a damn good salesman TBH.
Just a question, Do you build the citations for your Google My Biz (GMB) only, or for local SEO do you find citations help with your actual website ranking?

For the actual website do you mostly build backlinks or a mixture of backlinks and citations. Because I always heard citations don't particually work for ranking the website but work really well for the GMB.

Just curious as I'm a tradesman as well. :)

Citations are technically a backlink as they are a domain that points to your website. They just don't hold that much water as a sole strategy, you need a good mix of backlinks if you don't want to risk having un natural backlink profile and manual penalty. Again, in a 200-300k sized city citations alone and 6mo of time work great as most competitors don't do any. SEO is really being the best of your area vs. "the best overall".

It is possible, but like other people said it will take lots of consistent work. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Any marketing company that can guarantee you'll rank by a certain time is scamming you.

There are things you can start doing now that in the long run will help you rank; maintaining consistency of company name/address/phone number/hours everywhere online, reviews- quantity and quality, keep your Google My Business up-to-date, and of course ads. Ads will get you visibility on the search engine page and those clicks help build authority to your page, even more so if your website is optimized for the city in which your business is located.

And also back to Google My Business- they're rolling out a "Google Guaranteed" badge soon that merchants will be able to pay a fee to gave show up on their listing. It's slowly going to be available to more people, but keep an eye out for an email coming from Google about it in the coming months.

Speaking of badge- have you checked Google Local Service Ads? The approval process is a bit strenuous but that's a pay per lead program and not per pay click, and the leads run way cheaper than regular ads. It doesn't really affect organic rankings immediately, but every traffic generated helps establish your website which ultimately helps rankings. Plus, people who typically will contact you via Local Service Ads are more ready to close, so why not?
You will not get an immediate Return of Investment (RoI) on your SEO investment, so if you are looking for immediate ROI, go for Pay Per Click (PPC) instead of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

That being said, you can get on the first page for relevant keywords with SEO, but that may take months (depending on a number of factors). That is why no SEO pro is committing to any kind of results and is only talking about action items. SEO, if done, right, will pay off in the long run though. My recommendation would be to get a PPC campaign going, optimize it until you get your required ROI, and then invest in an SEO campaign side by side (keeping in mind that it will bring results in the long run).
It is not compulsory to outrank your competitor to make money. What matters is how you make the most of the traffic that ends up on your website.

The best way is to plan out a funnel for your target audience. Write down the stages that your target audience goes through and how & where you can make them notice you.

Once you have your funnel stages planned out, it will be easier for you to understand what you need to do at each stage of the funnel.

Most people either miss this aspect of online marketing or ignore it.

You may get just 100 visitors per month but if you have a well mapped sales funnel then you can convert at least 5 to 10% of your visitors into customers.

Run local FB Ads (now is a good time since a some of the big brands are not spending on FB Ads. This will make FB deliver better experience to those who are doing advertising on its platform to keep them coming back for more. Win-Win for both.)

No matter what online marketing technique you use, you must have a Sales Funnel in place to make it work effectively.


Google My Business GMB Optimization for Small Businesses A Case From an Air Conditioning and Plumbing Contractor

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