What is y'alls experience doing local SEO for HVAC companies?

Feels like a real pain in the butt.

- Extremely competitive
- A LOT of black hat techniques being used, so unless you're doing the same crap you're always going to have a handful of ****heads beating your rankings.
- Terrible Google My Business categories that brings a lot of inconsistency and confusion into the space
- A tremendous amount of variation between keywords and terminology

All in all IF I take on more HVAC clients I will likely be charging 2-3x what I charge my other local service clients. Every other industry has a fun challenge element to it. HVAC is just a headache.
If you own a brick n mortar business then yes it is very competitive. For someone like me who just bring leads to local business owners not really. Black Hat yes you right. Some GMBs out there are keywords. Keyword variation is easy. Hvac, ac, air conditioning? Which one would you use? Well it depends which are ranking on your area. For me the most searched term is AC. HVAC is non existent i dont think an average person knows what that means. Ac? Yes. Air conditioning? Obviously
While I could get in the same line of work I really enjoy working with businesses to help them make their own leads. The problem with buying leads is as soon as you stop, the phone stops ringing and it's like you never existed. I try to find forward thinking business owners. Guys that have been buying leads tend to have no idea or any willingness to know how things really work and wonder why they are struggling.
Kyle B. While i do both. I find it easier to partner up with a local business. Built their website and in exhange they hire me for their seo. I never charge for ppc or ppl. I only ask 10% of the projects/services they do. Who wants to pay for something that you did not work on anyways. I think long term so cash flow stays long term too ✌
I will say this it is pretty easy to knock out those who create fake lead gen listings. Even the playing field and redress them.
Would love to know more. I have a few companies in my area that are creating mutiple GMB listings.

For example, ACME AC Repair creates a GMB listing "dallas-acrepair.com". When you click through to the website it has branding of their actual business...Β 
Check this out. https://www.steadydemand.com/google-my-business-spam-reporting/
I'll check them out, thanks.
I really hesitate to use the term blackhat here in this arena, working daily in a world where real black hatters destroy people for kicks, trophies, and grand larceny, but I get the point and know that my opinion isn't going to change the extremely loose terminology here from black hatters to what it really is - *spammers*.

That having been said, this niche and narrowly focused specially in countermeasures is something I'm going to applaud you for.

Years ago before it became illegal to institute and deploy automated countermeasures to destroy *real blackhats* and their bot networks I worked in successfully developing and launching something with a couple other companies - a cooperative subscription based network of deadly and militarized firewalls at the edge of customer sites and premises that would collectively engage in unison and destroy blackhat hosts and botnets that attacked any one customer site in the "fireball" network.

This, of course, resulted in mixed results since, more and more, blackhatters exceedingly leveraged the power of botnets consisting of compromised (pwn3d) machinery belonging to unsuspecting and otherwise legitimate businesses and their enterprise assets.

Windows machines and UNIX workstations manned or pwn3d by bad actors was one thing but ethical questions began to be raised about counter warfare, and that specialized focus began causing almost as much harm to Innocents than script kiddies. There were several articles in Linux Journal and other publications discussing the area of ethics where it pertains toΒ  enterprise level counterinsurgency systems back in the 90's.

Eventually, after I had bowed out of the counterinsurgency firewall business, Congress intervened and said that's it's no longer acceptable to attack and destroy the assets of your attackers, for good reason by then - today, almost 100% of all Reflective DDoS attacks are committed by machinery owned by innocent and unsuspecting people and businesses!

Years later, while attempting to stay ahead of the advertising curve in local promotion, I experienced victimization myself at the hands of spammers when trying to run legitimate ads on Craigslist - somewhat analogous to what is being discussed here. Again, these dikheds in no way approach anything near the insidious nature of what blackhatters actually are or do, but my drawing attention to the distinction here will do little to dissuade any of you here from incorrectly using the term or even coopting it to make great sounding marketing parlance.

Anyway, now that I've had my little diatribe, the frustration and violation I experienced at the hands of Craigslist spammers might have made me want to associate them with the then blackhatters had I not literally known what real blackhatters are and do (yes I've been attending the annual Blackhat conventions here in the states almost every year for the past couple of decades as part of my job).

I can discuss, implement, and preach proactive (as opposed to reactive) network security all day long but customers who take this and disaster recovery seriously are almost always those who have previously met with these catastrophic occurrences, ironically.

I don't want to diminish the feelings of being violated or the frustration of trying to compete with those who are quite simply not playing by the rules, cuz it's really sucks!

At Craigslist, I got involved with a small community of businesses who tried to band together as an effective countermeasure to the spammers at Craigslist, but with less than acceptable results. It's nice to have neighbors that say they will watch out for you but really, it's your house and yours alone and the neighbors will never provide the care and attention to your assets that you will - you have to hire your own private security detail... Like, a Pinkerton Detective Agency, coz watching your back is a full time job and your neighbor has to protect their home too.... And this is what you're describing with your services Ben - pretty dang kewl if you ask me. I dunno why I figured the business owner was on their own to navigate the world of spammers, coz it stands to reason that one needs to hire the services of someone who knows how to rid their neighborhood of these spamming vermin, someone who knows exactly how, coz a lay person asking Google to do a takedown will fall on deaf ears more often than not.

This little group of businesses that tried to band together did come up with a term for the spammers though, an appropriate term, no less. We called them **Asshats**. Which is what they are here in the SEO world.

Back then, Craigslist had obvious rules, and to this day I don't understand how the asshatters could disregard them with such impunity.

First, it took more than a couple of flags to have an Asshat's ad removed, hence, the community. Second, it didn't really matter if you did get their spams removed, as five more would pop up everyday, throughout the day!

While I tried to adhere to their rules, using a single account, in a single locale, for a single business, from a single IP address, and following every guideline for fashioning a compliant ad, my ads were removed within minutes. Or worse, were ghosted!!!

The Asshat's had, apparently, a network of their fellow professonal spammers that would flag any legitimate business ads that threatened the prominence of the (apparently unwitting) legitimate competing companies that had hired them to give them a leg up.

I can't come to any other conclusions or explanations, because the ghosting or removal occurred within five minutes and if you complained that joe's Plumbing and heating had 10 new ads each in four locales every day, even many with the exact same graphics or copy, those ads stayed up most of the time, with a couple more being posted every could of hours during the business day to bump then up to the first page - regardless of how many times I know that I complained lol.

I'm aware of some of the software used to do this, on machines with multiple IPs using several robot spam accounts, but the level of disregard for basic ethics? It still makes me sick today.

I think that's what's going on today with GMB pages. Most plumbing companies don't really have the personnel with the deep understanding necessary to spam the search engine without getting themselves blacklisted (like so many naive people did with tools like Web Position Gold back when Clinton was president lol.

So if your name is Joe, then it's best for you to stick to fixing leaky toilets, clogged drains, exploded water heaters, and do one of two other things for marketing your business:

1.) Hire Asshat's to spam the search engines and drive traffic to you (whether or not you understand how you really got those customers).

How do you know if you've hired an asshat? Do you care if you did?

2.) Hire an equitable, reputable firm of SEO specialists to ethically get you to rank, and also hire a specialist in hunting Asshats down and dispaching them to Valhalla! This may or may not be one single company.

How do you know if you've hired a reputable specialist ? Do you care if you did? After all, you're just a plumbing and heating specialist, not one of those computer propellorheads.

I certainly can't even begin to say with any authoritative certainty whether destroying spammers to get you the rankings you deserve is worth it more than paying an asshat to spam the search engines on your behalf (a sad commentary), or even if one should expect Joe's Plumbing and Heating to know the difference between the two, but I do know that the noble thing to do is to seek to do the right thing, and I'm so glad that you have a service that not only does that, but also directly combats the spamming that the **Asshats** are actively engaging in.

Thanks Ben, and I wish I'd have known of a similar service as yours, back when Craigslist could have still been a valuable marketing venue.

Black Hat PBN's everywhere. Every niche
Get the website right and you won't need black hat anything. All your competitors use dodgy techniques because they have rubbish websites. Fix the site and ranking will happen.

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