What companies this article might apply in the solar industry?
What outsiders don’t realize is that “solar companies” can refer to many different businesses:
- Solar installation service provider
- Solar equipment supplier/distributor
- Solar manufacturer
- Solar lead generation agency (such as EnergySage)
- Solar software (SaaS company)
- Solar consulting (usually B2B)
So I’m trying to make sure this article can be applied in all types of solar companies.
Everyone is talking about SEO
Even before taking our solar SEO Training, chances are that you have heard about SEO. You are wondering if SEO can really bring more to your solar power business. Well, let’s dive deep into this fundamental aspect of digital marketing: SEO.
How Does Google Search Works?
Since the organic search results are ranked by Google Algorithm, SEO would probably make more sense to you if you have a basic understanding of this “Google’s ranking system”. Here’s Matt Cutts, the former head of the anti-spam team at Google, explaining how Google search works:
Simply put, Google’s mission is to help users to find the desired information that they are looking for as easy as possible. With years of constant improving, they are doing an incredibly good job on this, which was how Google surpassed Bing and Yahoo. Think about this: when was the last time when you had to use Google’s second page to find what you need?
To accomplish that, Google would score your website based on your web content quality, keywords, speed, quality of *backlinks and over 200 ranking factors!
*Backlink is the URL on authoritative sites links back to your site)
How does SEO work traditionally?
Nowadays, despite that you can easily find decent up-to-date information about SEO, there are still countless myths surrounding this specific practice. One of the reasons for which is that Google doesn’t officially reveal all of the ranking factors and they update the algorithm constantly. Sub-consequently, what ranked your site well a few years ago doesn’t effectively work this year. The sad thing is: some of the outdated SEO and SEO beginners still think that Search Engine Optimization is all about keywords and the number of backlinks!
(Image from Moz.com）
Traditionally, based on all the well-known ranking factors, SEO specialists would set out to orderly conduct Research; Structure; On-site SEO; Link Building; Keep Improving; Analyze Ranking and Traffic; Repeat (details are shown in the illustration).
The problems with traditional SEO approaches
To sum up the problems with traditional approaches, they are doing things mostly from a technical perspective. Since the Panda Algorithm update in 2011, Google started to show the favor for unique and high-quality content more and more obvious. Additionally, the quality of backlinks, branded search and social signals seem to weight more and moreover years. Google always evolves. “Old SEO” is fundamentally different from “New SEO”. That’s why as an SEO, keeping up with the trends is so important.
What is the more effective process to carry out an SEO campaign for your solar installation business?
Gradually, SEO specialists start to understand that SEO shouldn’t be just about ranking higher. They realize that they need to make your solar webpages well presented within Search Engine Result Pages too.
As a result, business goals, buyer personas, branding, content strategy, social media marketing should be well taken into consideration. To get the highest leverage of SEO now, you have to be a digital strategist, social media marketer, a content strategist, conversion rate optimizer, and a PR person in some degrees. A new approach that integrates and prioritizes all factors above would have a much higher ROI than traditional approaches do.
- Opportunity Discovery: This is the plan&prioritize stage. A seasoned SEO should strategically align business goals, branding, buyer personas (are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers) with typically SEO process like website’s SEO Audit, Competitor Analysis, Keyword Research, Solar Buyer Personas. A Content Audit is absolutely necessary as well before any content creation. In the process, you might find that Local Citation (a crucial part of solar local SEO)needs to be consolidated first; or you might find good keyword opportunities to rank. Let’s face it, you will always find endless things to do or fix! So, to wrap up Opportunity Discovery before any implementation, SEOs need to prioritize tasks, especially when time and resources are limited.
- Content Implementation: Content marketing has become such an inseparable aspect of SEO. Creating high quality and unique content is no doubt a building block of a successful SEO campaign. This process would consist of Content Planning, Content Creation, Content Distribution. (Depending on the “priorities list” that is made in Opportunity Discovery, some of Technical SEO tasks might need be done first).
- Technical SEO: Yeah yeah yeah, the boring but critical stuff like indexation, site speed, submitting site XML maps…
- Social Marketing Implementation: Social media have a staggering number of 2.5 billion users according to Statista. No markers can ignore a marketing channel like that. The impact of social media marketing goes beyond pushing social profiles on the first page of Search Engine Result Pages. It also distributes your content, captures external links and increases brand awareness.
- Measurement & Analysis: When it comes to digital marketing, you can easily track almost everything. If you haven’t used website monitoring tools like Google Analytics yet, you need to have it set up (It’s a FREE tool!). Along with Google Search Console, it not only allows you to track and analyze traffic’s sources, visitor’s behaviour and browser’s language, but also search terms that visitors use to find your web pages. The report can be incredibly detailed. At this point(usually 5-7 months after SEO campaign started), you would probably have collected a sizeable data during the SEO campaign that enables meaningly analysis.
- Optimization: It’s time to make data-driven changes. SEO should continue on Conversion Rate Optimization (converting more visitors into leads), Content Repurposing( re-formatting existing content), Content republishing and etc.
How long does it take to see results from SEO?
Long answer, it depends on “On-the-page Factors” such as your current on your website and “Off-the-page Factors” backlink profiles and many other factors. Short answer, it would usually take at least 4-12 months.
(image from SearchEngineLand)
(To be continued….)
In the fight against the climate crisis, Willie Jiang believes that content marketing can push the energy revolution along at a faster pace. Having helped countless brands grow their organic traffic by 10X and became the CMO of SolarFeeds.com, he is sharing his insights with the solar energy industry. Read his story here