Plumber SEO | HVAC SEO | The Scam Revealed 

Don’t get us wrong: your ability to be discovered on the internet is extremely important. You know that. You also know you have a lot to offer, including the top-notch team of technicians that you worked so hard to build. 

If only you could generate more leads for your services, more business for your team members… (Do those thoughts sound familiar?)

But look at this. Over the past 12 months, we have thoroughly debunked the SEO-for-plumbers myth and exposed the SEO-for-HVAC scam in a way that even we weren’t confident we’d be able to. 

This article represents the true fruit of our labor: absolute proof of what you’re really getting for the insane price you pay to these digital marketing firms.

In This Free Exposé, You’ll Learn:

Before getting into it, first things first:

HVAC & Plumbing SEO Disclaimer

We do not sell SEO for plumbers or HVAC companies as a standalone service.

To be clear, the issue is not with SEO services in general. We are against a particular scheme: the wildly popular “SEO-for-sale” business model commonly used to scam plumbers, HVAC contractors and even electricians.

We handle SEO in-house for our consulting clients and the companies we own. It’s just part of a larger business structure that we try to put in place for struggling clients. Nevertheless, since we’re about to blow the lid off of one of the most lucrative schemes proliferating in the market today, we find it important to set a few things out in the open:

  • We own, operate and consult with some of the most successful privately-held plumbing, heating, air conditioning & electrical service companies in the US.
  • For reasons we’ll cover a little later on, we are in the business of digital marketing for plumbers, which includes but is not limited to SEO services for plumbing, HVAC, and electrical companies.
  • We do not sell these services in stand-alone form. Because of how we work with our clients, it’s in their best interest as well as ours to handle digital marketing in-house. (If your business stops growing after we part ways, what was the point?)
  • We are not in the website-building business for plumbers or HVAC contractors–but after a lot of trial and error, we CAN steer you in the right direction.
  • PPC For Plumbers | PPC for HVAC is covered in a different article.

What is SEO? Why is it such a big deal in the plumbing/HVAC industry?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply the pursuit of visibility online. It encompasses everything you can possibly do to make your website appear at the top of Google’s frontpage whenever people search for the services you offer, or when they’re looking for knowledge in your area of expertise.

The goal is to get your website placed in front of the prospect’s eyes before another company has the chance to lure away their business.

The Internet is, by far, most people’s preferred method of finding a plumber or heating/air/electrical company when they need one.

All of the traditional forms of advertising and getting referrals, including simple word of mouth, are still relevant in the plumbing, HVAC and electric industries. But very few prospective customers will make a phone call to any company before performing a simple Google search–not just to obtain a plumber’s contact info, but to gather information on the options for contractors available to them.

With all this in mind, realize that the first and most important battle between you and your competitors is often fought in the SEO arena. The scammers know this, too–and their goal is to use it against you!

How We Discovered that Most SEO Services Sold to Plumbing & HVAC Companies are Worthless

Back in 2022, for just one of the locations that we own and operate, we were spending around $6,000 a month on “SEO and website maintenance”. 

Every month, we met over Zoom with one of the guys from this SEO-slash-web-maintenance miracle company. Over one of these calls, during a screen share, we noticed some tabs open on his web browser…and quietly jotted down the names of those pages to check out later.

This whole SEO monster was an elusive creature, one that consumed a ton of our marketing budget at this location. Unsatisfied and deathly curious, we started to research what we’d seen on that Zoom call. We learned about the tools that the company we had hired was using…and we ended up firing them so we could do it ourselves. 

It was during that process that we learned that what we thought we were paying for and what we were actually getting were two completely different things.

In March of 2022, we fired every SEO and Web Marketing company we worked with, and we started doing it ourselves.

Here’s what we found out:

  • First of all, it doesn’t take nearly as long as they claim for legitimate SEO to show results for a plumbing or HVAC website.
  • We weren’t getting most of what we were being charged for on a monthly basis. (That’s a LOT, by the way–remember these guys made $6k off of us each month.)
  • Most of the work or content I was paying for was being offshored to non-native English speakers–or worse, done completely by AI. We were paying for non-real labor by non-real people the whole time.
  • We learned what actually matters when it comes to driving traffic to a plumbing or HVAC website (as opposed to what they tell you to worry about).
  • Most of the “work” that goes into this kind of SEO is just busywork. No matter what kind of statistical insights you’re shown regarding views/clicks, it doesn’t actually increase the number of calls you receive–never mind the amount of revenue your business makes.
  • We were actually losing money. As suspected, choosing to do it ourselves and learn as we went turned out to be the correct decision all along. Considering how inexperienced we were, that says something pretty damning about the SEO “experts” we had been paying to rob us blind.

Here were the results of our work:

Just look at that growth. What if we had never decided to take matters into our own hands? We’d probably still be flatlining!

  • Most importantly, I learned that out of all the people who sell SEO services to plumbers and HVAC companies, the vast majority are scammers who do not know what they are doing. They can’t perform the service they’re charging you for–and they know it.

How SEO Scammers Prey on Plumbing, HVAC, and Electric Companies

Obviously, not all SEO services are irredeemable scams–but you’ll notice an overarching pattern with the bad ones: they’re not very forthcoming. There’s a definite line between what you think you’re getting and what you are getting; the scammer’s real job is to blur that line as much as possible.

They need you to believe, without any evidence, that you’re getting the service you’re paying for. And they’ll keep making excuses as long as possible to explain away your doubts.

SEO Scam Spotting: 7 Huge Red Flags

Instead of demonstrating their value first, the bad digital marketing and search engine optimization companies will expect your trust upfront. Don’t give it to them if you notice any of these signs:

1) Not being in control of your own website

If you paid for a website, you should own it. All of it. That means 100% of the site, its content and full functionality, and all login credentials! If the Plumber or HVAC SEO service you’re paying won’t provide you these things, you have reason to suspect a scam.

2) Reports that you don’t understand

Most digital marketing firms that offer or “specialize” in web management for tradesmen will provide a monthly report showing what improvements have been made. 

Make sure that you can understand these reports. If you don’t understand something, ask them what it means and don’t accept vague answers. You need to know they’re using metrics that matter to you and your business.

3) Undefined deliverables

What are you actually getting in exchange for your money and how will you see the value from that work? This question is often unanswered in SEO contracts between digital marketers and plumbing/HVAC service contractors. Expectations should be clearly detailed, and results should be measurable.

4) “It takes time” (ad infinitum)

Although it does take some time for websites to be ranked and new content to be indexed, there are tools out there that can provide immediate feedback on published web pages, including projected results from that new content. If your SEO company is always using “this will take time” as an excuse or to handwave away poor ranking results, they might be scamming you.

5) “Google updated its algorithm.”

Yes, google updates its search algorithms often–but this is never an adequate reason for why a good website would be totally tanking.

6) The person who sold you the website isn’t the person building it.

In order for SEO to be successful, the people who are working on your website need to have a very intimate understanding of your business and your market. 

If you purchased SEO services from someone who understands your business, but someone else or their team is performing the work, then you may be getting scammed.

7) They keep delivering low-quality or duplicate content.

Any deep dive into SEO for Plumbers or SEO for HVAC contractors will expose that content is king. The better the content, the better the results. That is reliably true–which means bad results should cause you to question the quality of the content you’re buying.

Be on the lookout for signs of bad content:

  • Content that reads as if it were AI-generated (you can get that for free, and it doesn’t rank well anyway).
  • Content by ESL speakers (or non-English speakers using Google Translate). This means your “digital marketing pros” are subcontracting cheap labor from poorer countries, prioritizing quantity of articles over the quality of the deliverables.
  • Content from laymen or amateurs who don’t really understand what they’re writing about. Without a decent understanding of your industry’s concepts, the best these writers can give you is keyword-heavy fluff articles. A high keyword volume is good for SEO, but there is such a thing as oversaturation. Search engines actually detect and discriminate against this kind of meaningless repetition.

Real SEO Strategies for Plumbers & HVAC companies

At Elite Trades™, we have developed a simple Plumber SEO and HVAC SEO strategy for residential plumbing, heating, air conditioning & electrical service contractors that will allow them to compete in and achieve real visibility to their respective markets.

Our program Growmatic™ was developed as a straightforward, simplistic approach to SEO services just for plumbers and HVAC contractors. There are only 6 things to focus on. Here’s how it works.

SEO process for HVAC and SEO for plumbers process

1) Get your Plumbing or HVAC website technically sound.

In digital marketing, whether you’re talking plumbing companies, heating companies or any other business, there is on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Off-page SEO (also called “technical SEO”) refers to the things that your website visitors cannot see. It’s behind the scenes, hidden in the framework of the website, but equally important to your site’s visibility.

Here are some examples of technical SEO your home services business should take advantage of:

  • Full utilization of Google’s own tools: This includes making sure Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Tag Manager (if applicable) are all installed and fully optimized on your website.
  • Have a fast, mobile-first website: No big secret here. Google has been telling plumbers and HVAC contractors for ages that the people that are searching for these services are using mobile phones. Make sure your website performs well on mobile devices and is easy to use.
  • Websites that are easy to change and add to: To work on SEO on a website, you need to be able to add and change pages quickly and easily. If your website isn’t easy to modify, this will need to be addressed early on in the process.
  • Meta tags, site maps, schema, and other SEO tech: Just like in plumbing, HVAC or electrical trades, many factors come into play to make the services we perform work–and work well. These are the fine details that often make the difference between a high-ranking home service website and one that cannot be found.

That leads us to our next step…

2) Make sure your website is strong enough to convert your plumbing or HVAC leads.

So, what do you do when this whole thing actually works out and you end up with a prospective customer at your virtual doorstep? You need to make sure that once you’ve got their attention, you’re prepared to keep it!

Effective business sites are set up to convert visitors to buyers at every step of the way. That means at every turn, you’re providing answers to potential questions about the services you offer. How do you work that information into your website so heavily without being totally awkward about it? Great question. Here are three things that belong on every page of your site:

  • Good customer-facing web design: You need a clean, easily navigable website, from the menus to the text. As plumbing and HVAC contractors, we’re selling skilled manual labor–not paintings! So don’t get bogged down with fancy fonts and images. Utility means having a simple site that is easy to browse and demonstrates you take your trade seriously.
  • Answer the questions people ask: This is where experience and content come hand-in-hand. If you know that people commonly ask a certain question about a service or product you offer on your website, then anticipate it and answer it for them straight away. This will help you not only with SEO, but also in converting visitors to customers.
  • Calls to action: Your website should make it abundantly clear how clients can get a hold of you. Finish every article and service page with an invitation to call or schedule an appointment. Another way to frame this is by offering to answer any remaining questions a potential client might still have.

    There comes a point where people get tired of searching the web and are ready to call you if you make it easy enough–so go ahead and put your business phone number right there in front of them. It literally never hurts to do this.

And what about the rest of the site? How can you fill it with high-quality content?

3) Talk about what your customers care about.

The content on your website has to be high-quality, original content (emphasis on “original”) or it will be penalized by the search engine as well as your customer base. To ensure your website features only original content and that it is truly informative, make note of the following:

  • Content should be original: We write a lot of content for our Plumbing & HVAC businesses as well as Elite Trades™–suffice it to say we know how time-consuming and meticulous it is to create unique content that reads well and fits into Google’s guidelines.

    Even we are faced with the temptation to rewrite existing web pages or worse, to use AI to develop them. But the results we get can never be achieved that way; it’s an illusion of a shortcut that doesn’t really exist.
  • Answer questions people have about your services: Don’t sweat the small stuff here, but do make certain your website answers the major questions that all clients have when they are looking for a plumber, heating or air conditioning technician, or electrician. For example, clients wonder:
    • Can you help me with a certain problem I am having?
    • Do you provide this service to my area?
    • Is there anything I should do to prepare for our appointment before you get here?
    • Why should I do business with your plumbing or HVAC company instead of choosing someone else?
    • When all is said and done, how much might this service cost?
    • When/where/how can I schedule a visit?
  • Don’t underestimate the usefulness of blogs: Think of your blog as a free-form place to inform customers on topics they’re interested in learning more about, that also doubles as a way to generate traffic.

    Having a few high-quality blogs that can educate your market will bring a lot of your customer base straight from their Google searches to your doorstep. And when they see how knowledgeable you are, they’re likely to be converted to clients because you’ll have more credibility as tradesmen in their eyes.

Speaking of Google, it’s high time we talked about a lesser-known tool of SEO.

4) Optimize your Google Business Profile.

Perhaps the most important, yet overlooked part of plumber SEO or HVAC SEO lies in fully optimizing Google’s best organic tool: the Google Business Profile.

Google Business Profile has gone by different names in the past. You may remember it as Google My Business or the older Google+. For plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians, its current form is probably its most useful so far.

The gist of a Google Business Profile (GBP) is to give you some control over the way you represent your home service business when clients first look it up online. 

You shouldn’t neglect any part of this tool if you want it to portray your brand accurately and favorably. Plus, since local SEO and local searches are most common in the home service industry, this is how you get an edge over your local competition. It’s critical that you don’t waste a thing:

  • GBP Services: These aren’t services offered by Google. It’s the name of a tool you can use to show clients what services you perform. Having a Google Business Profile allows you to list as many services as you offer and sort them into a maximum of 9 categories. You can name the services and their categories yourself.

    For example, say your company offers plumbing, heating, AC and electrical work all under one roof. Part of optimizing your GBP profile would naturally be to make categories of each overarching service so that customers can first select “plumbing” and then look for “water heater replacement”, etc. The more customer-friendly your online storefront is, the better it will fare in terms of SEO.
  • GBP Products: In the same way the service listings work, you are able to break down all of the different products that your company offers by category. You can also write descriptions up to 1,000 characters in length for each product, which can boost your SEO in a way that many businesses still fail to utilize.
  • Hours of operation: This area of your business profile provides your clients a quick glance at whether you’re open for business (including phone calls) and when you are not.
  • Service Area: This is where you let Google know–and then Google lets customers know–what region you provide services to.
  • Reviews: Keep in mind that Google showcases your reviews on your Google Business page. (When possible, consider responding to reviews; keep responses polite and professional, since they will also be visible to potential customers.) More on this later.
  • About: The About section is a great place to let clients know about your company, why they should call you and what makes you the best plumbing or HVAC service provider in the market.
  • Posts and Updates: Many Plumbers and HVAC companies looking for better SEO don’t realize that Google has an area that looks and acts much like social media does. As an example, here’s a randomly selected sample of another company’s Updates section:

But let’s back up for a minute.

5) Get Reviews.

The modern version of word-of-mouth referral is getting 5-star Google reviews. Google is the number one search engine most people use (by a landslide), so you have to accept how important it is for Google, more than any other search engine or social media site, to reflect well on your business at first glance.

Not only does getting reviews help with converting prospects into paying customers, but it also helps your overall SEO efforts. Google wants people to be happy with their search results; it’s a win-win if they can display a Plumber or HVAC business with good SEO that also has hundreds of 5 star reviews.

6) Last, but not least: stay consistent with SEO efforts.

Many companies start out with meticulously detailed plans to optimize their website for SEO and stay on top of it. But once everything’s more or less established, they just kind of…drop off.

Consistency is key, but frequency is the keyring. No matter how “consistently good” your content is, it can only help so much if you only post once a year. The search engine forgets about you, for lack of a better term, and so does your market. So remember a few things:

  • Aim to update your blog with new content at least once per month, and periodically check old content for broken links, formatting errors, or other potential issues that might go overlooked.
  • Google posts in particular should be made at least monthly, if not more often. Remember, most people will discover your Google Business Profile before they even get a chance to think about visiting your website. Don’t let too much time go by between updates, or you’ll look like a dead business!
  • The contact information you provide to your customers should be identical wherever it appears across all your platforms. No room for confusion!

How can Elite Trades™ help you dial-in Plumber SEO or HVAC SEO for your business?

Like we pointed out at the beginning of this exposé, we’re tradesmen–not web designers. We don’t sell websites, SEO, or digital marketing services to plumbers or HVAC contractors as a standalone service. However, during our work with our clients, we manage all SEO and digital marketing in-house.

So there are two ways to go about it:

  1. Elite Trades™ can help you develop your own in-house process for handling plumbing/HVAC SEO, or…
  2. If you’re a client of ours, we’re more than happy to handle it for you for as long as you’d like.

Want to learn more? We suggest you book a call–before your competition does!

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