If your HVAC marketing effort is focused on search engine optimization in even the slightest fashion (which, of course, it should be), you’ve likely heard the term “backlink” thrown around.
This area of search engine optimization is extremely important to your success in the SEO channel overall and can’t be overlooked.
It is, however, one of the most misunderstood parts of your HVAC marketing initiatives.
And, to layer onto the confusion, it has evolved over the past few years – just to keep us on our toes.
Let’s Define, Debunk & Deliberate On HVAC Website Backlinks
What is a backlink?
A backlink is simply a link from one website to another.
Your backlink profile includes a list of websites that link to your site from theirs.
You can check out your HVAC website backlink profile using Google Search Console, although many other tools are available, to help you drill deeper into this area of search engine optimization.
Note: it can take weeks for your site to get credited for a new backlink, so remind your HVAC marketing department to be patient.
How does Google feel about backlinks?
Google still classifies your HVAC site backlinks as a top ranking factor.
In fact, it’s THE most important search engine optimization factor next to content.
Here’s why: essentially, if another website feels that the content on your page is worthy of linking to, this signals to Google that you are a good resource for that type of information.
How do I get backlinks?
Acquiring backlinks is a laborious process, but well worth the effort.
Think of clients, partners, software vendors and press articles that mention your company; these sources can all add to your HVAC website backlinks and improve your search engine optimization success.
With every HVAC marketing partnership, sponsorship or publicity initiative, be sure to keep the backlink profile in mind.
When are backlinks bad?
It seems that anything related to search engine optimization is nuanced and slightly complex, and HVAC website backlink strategy is no exception.
While backlinks are a top ranking factor for Google, there are cases where backlinks can hurt you, such as:
- Links from completely unrelated sites – These types of links will give Google the impression that you are using manipulative backlinking techniques.
- Too many links, too quickly – Building up your HVAC website backlinks should be a slow moving train. Too many, too quickly will not have the desired effect and can even have a negative impact, raising red flags from Google.
- Shady directories – While not all directories are bad, be leery of directories that are simply pages of links designed to help HVAC marketing teams up their backlink numbers.
- Buying backlinks – Google has a set of guidelines that clearly details what will cause a spam penalty and topping that list is the act of buying backlinks.
What is the deal with “nofollow versus follow links?
A nofollow link refers to your HVAC website backlinks that include an attribute in the HTML code that signals to Google that this link should not be calculated into your website’s search engine optimization ranking.
A follow link, alternatively, is used in the calculation.
In other words, it counts.
So, follow links give the search engine optimization link juice and that’s where we should put our focus, correct?
Yes, sort of.
The rub is this: if your HVAC website backlink profile contains 100 percent dofollow links, it’s not natural. Google might flag you for attempted link building manipulation.
Nofollow links should be present for balance.
Your HVAC marketing efforts should be working toward winning at the search engine optimization game.
Backlink strategy, as noted, is a top ranking factor for Google and should be a top focus of your efforts.
Before Google’s Panda algorithm update in April 2012, you could just add links from anywhere and everywhere to improve your rankings.
Those days are now long gone.
The Google Penguin Spam Filter is a part of Google’s Core Algorithm and works in real time, making getting backlinks in a natural fashion the only way to get the benefits these elusive links can bring to your search engine optimization efforts.