HVAC Website Analysis: Northwest Plumbing, Heating & AC

Posted on: April 10th, 2015

We evaluate sites based on the following factors.

–          Findability (How easy is your site to find on Google for relevant keywords?)

–          Accessibility & Content (Is your site easy to use? Does your site have lots of relevant content and is it well merchandised?)

–          Identity & Trust (How trustworthy your company appears to be based on your site)

Findability

First, some important information on consumer’s online search habits…

On average, 70% of online searches result in a page one organic click. Page two and three only get on average 5% of the clicks. On the first page alone, the first 5 organic results account for around 67% of all the clicks and the results from 6 to 10 account for 3%. Moral of the story – if you’re not on the first page, it’s unlikely you’ll be found.

According to HVACSEOReports.com, for a set of 1204 geographically-targeted, service-specific keywords Callnw.com ranks on the first page of Google 15 times (1.25%) and holds 1 number one (0.08%) ranking. These results unfortunately tell the vivid story that Northwest Plumbing, Heating and AC is not easily found online. The site only has 54 pages with an average of 576 words per page. Some of the best we’ve tested have 250 – 400 pages with at least 700 words per page (read more why website content is important for SEO).

It doesn’t atter how aesthetically pleasing a home service website is if consumers can’t find it online when searching Google. As a result, Callnw.com earns a 50 for Findability. Although other aspects of your site are okay, when it comes to Findability, you have significant room for improvement.

Score: 50

Accessibility & Content

Assuming a website can be found, the next most important attribute is the site’s accessibility and the content on the site. Whether a site scores well or not comes down to the answers to questions such as:

  • Does the site load quickly and correctly across all devices—PCs, mobile phones, tablets, etc.?
  • Is the site easy to navigate?
  • Is the text-to-background contrast adequate?
  • Is the font size and spacing appropriate?
  • Does the site include relevant, unique content that provides genuine value to visitors?

On February 26th, 2015 Google released specific instructions regarding expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, and that it will have a significant impact on their search results.

So, I first went on over to Google’s mobile friendly test to make sure Northwest’s website is considered mobile-friendly (according to Google). And…

Phew! Good news. Northwest’s site has a responsive design – which means it renders well regardless of screen size (desktop, laptop, mobile phone, tablet) used by the visitor and this is what Google considers mobile-friendly.

Next up is site speed. Visitors to a site want results – and they want them fast! The speed in which your website loads is not only important for user experience, but Google has made it clear that site speed is factored in their search result algorithm. Yikes!

I ventured over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to test the load time for Callnw.com. Here’s what I found out:

The desktop version of callnw.com scored fairly well, yet there is still room for improvement.

Unfortunately, mobile scores poorly and needs to be addressed promptly.

I then took a more in-depth look in to Callnw.com…

My initial reaction when visiting the site is somewhat positive, but I’m certainly not completely impressed. I understand this is a new site, but from a design prospective I would have made different suggestions.

It was brought to my attention that this site was built because the parent site intimidated residential visitors and it wasn’t clear that Northwest performed residential work. Once I visited the other site (www.northwestmech.com) – it made sense. Looks like a whole lot of iron and steel…or something.

I completely agree with the decision to move off this parent site. However, what about the new site immediately tells me you’re a residential HVAC and plumbing company?

Ok, I know what you’re going to say, “the woman with the screwdriver or the baby in the bath tub picture (not shown) or the dog next to the fan picture (not shown) obviously tell the visual story that we’re a residential HVAC and Plumbing company!” Unfortunately – this still creates a guessing game – especially since people in your community used to visit this place to try and figure out if you did residential work:

I know I already showed this picture – it’s just being shown again to prove a point. You have to make it extremely clear to your visitors, especially in your situation, that you perform residential work – within seconds of the site being viewed. If visitors are being driven from www.northwestmech.com to your page then it’s obvious that you are residential since they clicked on the “Residential” tab under the “Plumbing, Heating & AC” section of the navigation. But you shouldn’t be concerned about those visitors – you need to set up your website assuming they’re coming to www.callnw.com organically and have never heard of you before. Or, they’re one of the people who were previously confused by the www.northwestmech.com and think you don’t perform residential work.

Here’s a suggestion…

How about a BIG banner picture of a nice single family home, with green grass, white picket fence and a friendly looking family standing in front of it – with the tag line “Your Trusted Residential HVAC and Plumbing Company.” I think that makes it pretty clear.

Here’s another suggestion…

Keep in mind, I’m making this suggestion assuming your location also performs commercial work (as well as residential). Currently your navigation is structured by service line – Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning. This also doesn’t make it clear to me that you perform residential work. My suggestion is to have the navigation broken by Residential & Commercial – and then drop down to service line (Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning). The tag line in the banner photos, as suggested above – will immediately tell consumers you’re an HVAC and plumbing company.

The site does earn points for having a contact form on the homepage and subpages. The blog is also great and appears to be frequently updated – which is a big plus!

A few minor things – your Specials page is called a “Specials” page (plural) and has only one special. The addition of a year-long special will certainly take care of this. Also, your “I Hate My Furnace Entries” just links back to the homepage. Perhaps this is a page in the works – but if it’s taking longer than first thought I’d take it out of the navigation until it’s done.

I also reviewed all of your social networking sites linked from the homepage (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, RSS Feed, & Review Buzz).

Overall, I’m impressed with the build out of your other social networking pages – you’ve done a pretty good job creating a consistent theme across them all. However, we strongly suggest removing social icons from the header of websites. Why would you invest in a shiny new website only to encourage them to leave your site via a Facebook or Twitter icon? Your website is certainly a more compelling sales tool than your social networking pages. We always recommend placing social medial icons only in the footer.

Score: 75

Identity & Trust

Callnw.com receives an Identity & Trust score of 80. You earn points for having your phone number in the header of the site, and for clearly displaying the schedule service call to action button. Their Review Buzz icon below the fold provides easy access to recent customer reviews which can certainly build trust.

The site earns additional points in this category for the “Our Technicians” page which includes tech bios and photos. This page is the foundation of building identity and trust for visitors and is definitely great to see!

If they exist, the addition of company awards, accolades or other third party trust factors would certainly boost this category.

Score: 80

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Overall, I’d give Callnw.com a 68/100. It’s a modern site, but is clearly in need of an ongoing SEO plan to build out the site to attract more visitors organically, as well as site speed improvement and additional trust builders.

Don’t get me wrong – this is definitely a HUGE step in the right direction moving away from www.northwestmech.com – but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t “teardown” your website.