Solar SEO: The Ultimate Guide for the Solar Energy Industry

Google SEO

What companies in the solar industry should apply the knowledge from this article?

  • Solar installation service providers
  • Solar equipment suppliers/distributors
  • Solar manufacturers
  • Solar lead generation agencies (such as EnergySage)
  • Solar software (SaaS companies)
  • Solar consultants (usually B2B)

Everyone is talking about SEO

Chances are you have heard about SEO or search engine optimization. You may be wondering if SEO can benefit your solar power business. Well, let’s dive deep into a fundamental aspect of digital marketing: SEO.

How Does Google Search Work?

Because the organic search results are ranked by the Google Algorithm, SEO will make more sense to you with a basic understanding of Google’s ranking system. Matt Cutts, the former head of the anti-spam team at Google, explains how Google search works: 

Simply put, Google’s mission is to help users find their desired information as easily as possible. After years of constant improvement, they have done an incredibly great job at this, which is why 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 needed?

To accomplish this efficiency, Google scores websites based on content quality, keywords, speed, quality of *backlinks and over 200 ranking factors! 

*Backlink: URLs on authoritative sites that link back to your site  


How does SEO work traditionally?

Despite how you can easily find decent up-to-date information about SEO today, there are still countless myths surrounding this. One of the reasons for this is because Google doesn’t officially reveal all the ranking factors, and they update the algorithm constantly. Sub-consequently, what ranked your site well a few years ago might not effectively work this year. The sad thing is that some of the outdated SEO experts and SEO beginners still believe Search Engine Optimization is all about keywords and the number of backlinks!

Old SEO Process

(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, people are utilizing SEO  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 searches, and social signals weighs more and more over the years. Google always evolves. “Old SEO” is fundamentally different from “new SEO”. That’s why as a search engine optimizer, 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 only be about ranking higher. They realize they need to make solar webpages well-presented within Search Engine Result Pages too.

As a result, business goals, buyer personas, branding, content strategy, and social media marketing should be taken into consideration. To get the highest leverage of SEO now, you must be a digital strategist, a social media marketer, a content strategist, a conversion rate optimizer, and a PR person to some degree. A new approach that integrates and prioritizes all the factors above would have a much higher ROI than traditional approaches.  

  1. Opportunity Discovery: This is the plan & prioritize stage.  A seasoned search engine optimizer should strategically align business goals, branding, and buyer personas (are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers) with typically SEO processes like SEO Auditing, Competitor Analysis, Keyword Research, and Solar Buyer Personas. A Content Audit is absolutely necessary before any content creation. In the process, you might find that Local Citation (a crucial part of solar local SEO) must be consolidated first; or you might find better 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.
  2. Content Implementation: Content marketing has become 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, and Content Distribution. (Depending on the “priorities list” that is made in Opportunity Discovery, some of Technical SEO tasks might need to be done first).
  3. Technical SEO: Yeah yeah yeah, the boring but critical stuff like indexation, site speed, and submitting site XML maps…
  4. Social Marketing Implementation:  According to Statista, social media has a staggering 2.5 billion users. 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.
  5. 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 set it up (it’s a FREE tool!). Along with the Google Search Console, it not only allows you to track and analyze traffic sources, visitor behavior, and browser language but also tracks the search terms visitors use to find your web pages. The report can be incredibly detailed. At this point (usually 5-7 months after the SEO campaign began), you would probably have collected a sizable amount of data during the SEO campaign that enables meaningful analysis.
  6. Optimization: It takes 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, etc.

How long does it take to see results from SEO?

Long answer: it depends on the “On-the-page Factors” such as the content on your website and “Off-the-page Factors” like backlink profiles. Short answer: it will usually take at least 4-12 months.

Google Ranking Factors by SearchEngineLand

(image from SearchEngineLand)

(To be continued….)

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