Upper Versus Lower Funnel HVAC SEO Metrics

Posted on: May 23rd, 2014

The chatter about the importance of analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs) has finally reached a volume audible to HVACR contractors. But as you race to make data-driven decisions, it’s critically important that you’re tracking and monitoring the right metrics. A lot of time-starved HVAC dealers, in the race to catch up with their competitors and get found on the first page of Google, invest in an SEO campaign without any understanding of the key metrics involved.

I know what you’re saying, “Key metrics? I’ll know whether SEO works or not based on how my site ranks and the volume of leads/sales I get through my site.”

If only it were that simple.

Leads and sales are lower funnel SEO metrics–and you should track them and use them to evaluate the success of your SEO campaign(s). However, in the near term, you can’t rely on lower funnel metrics. First, when you do a search on Google, the search results you see have been personalized for you. So, when you personally observe your website ranking more prominently for the keywords you think are important, it might be because the SEO firm you hired has made changes, but it’s also very possible that your rankings have actually gotten worse and that what you’re seeing is a skewed version of reality–based on your past searches, your IP address, etc.

And using an increase in lead and sales volume to judge success? For smaller HVAC dealers, this is much more difficult than most owners imagine. An early spring heatwave can have your phone ringing off the hook. If the said heatwave happens a few weeks after you’ve engaged an SEO company, how much of the lift will you attribute to them vs. what you would have gotten pre-SEO?

There’s also the issue of “chunky data.” If you run a small HVAC company, you might receive 50 leads per month–total. If your SEO campaign generates a 30 percent increase in leads, you probably wouldn’t even notice the additional 15 leads per month. This is especially likely to be the case if your CSRs didn’t handle these leads well–resulting in no incremental new sales.

So, while lower funnel metrics like leads and sales from SEO are important metrics, and you should monitor them, you need to supplement them with upper funnel metrics–things you can expect to move in the near term. Examples of upper funnel SEO metrics include site structure score, content score, keyword rankings, etc. If your site’s structure and content score continually improve from week to week, improved keyword rankings should follow. Eventually, over the course of 6-12 months, leads and sales should also be noticeably higher.