It’s recently come to my attention that some companies in the HVAC marketing space are using an outdated SEO tactic that is exactly like a WordPress plugin called Lazy SEO. This is an ineffective shortcut to success that won’t reap any long-term rewards in terms of traffic or leads for your website.
Along with latent semantic indexing (LSI), this technique was essentially disproven and thrown on the SEO scrapheap around 2006. Even so, I’m going to explain to you why this is a bad idea that ultimately could be harmful to your business. Read on to learn how to identify these tactics and why you should avoid them.
The Fallacy of Automatically Rotating Page Titles
Lazy SEO involves automatically rotating page titles to try and trick Google into ranking pages for a variety of low-search volume keywords that are connected by cities such as Heating Service Macon, GA. This type of term receives an extremely small amount of traffic because it doesn’t mimic natural language or speech, yet these HVAC marketing companies will use rankings for this type of keyword as a sign of success.
The issue is that this outdated method is very inconsistent in producing results that are significant for a business’s marketing goals and would best be described as “Amateur SEO.” To illustrate how poorly this outdated SEO tactic works, I have checked a variety of terms for the page titles of an Atlanta-based HVAC company, and only a handful have visibility which they would have naturally had if the site was optimized correctly.
How to Identify this Tactic
Below are some of the titles that are used for an HVAC company our SEO team has studied. This code takes HVAC terms and starts matching them to city/state. It’s an automated process to save time on making on-page SEO optimizations, which is why the WordPress plugin is called Lazy SEO. Just look at these titles:
- Air Conditioning Repair Decatur, GA & Buckhead,GA | AC Service Smyrna,GA & Athens, GA | HVAC Service Brookhaven, GA | Heating Service & Furnace Repair Sandy Springs, GA
- HVAC Service Norcross,GA & Lilburn, GA | AC Service Chamblee,GA & Dunwoody,GA | Furnace Repair Milton, GA | Air Conditioning Repair & Heating East Cobb, GA
- Furnace Repair Canton, GA & Woodstock, GA | Heating Service Acworth, GA & Kennesaw,GA | Air Conditioning Repair Marietta,GA | AC Service & HVAC Service Johns Creek, GA
Using Lazy SEO Tactic = Risky SEO
At the core of the issue is that Lazy SEO is simply bad for your business. I understand these HVAC marketing companies may claim that what they’re doing is supposedly getting results, but in this case, any short-term gains can bring risk to the table.
So the question is: Is this tactic really worth the risk? A business owner would have better success if they did nothing to their site for a year after leaving their current marketing company rather than adapt to this type of outdated SEO tactic. No digitally forward marketing company that cares about sustainable results uses this tactic and here’s why:
- Trying to trick Google may temporarily work in the short-term, but SEO shortcuts always end in penalties or diminished visibility in the long-term.
- Using tactics like Lazy SEO is potentially putting these businesses at risk of damaging their domain and online visibility in the long-term by getting hit by trying to game Google’s algorithm.
- Geo-modified keywords like Heating Service Duluth, GA are deceptive. “Heating service” gets an average of 10 searches per month in Duluth. “Heating Service Duluth, GA” receives so few searches, Google can’t quantify it.
Look at the titles above again and ask yourself truthfully: Do they look spammy to you? Because to me, they’re so spammy, they belong in a tin can. Google may or may not be penalizing for this tactic quite yet, but if one thing is certain, what is grey hat today certainly will be black hat tomorrow.
The only way to avoid this is to stick to the script of best practices outlined by Google. If it feels like a shortcut, then you can bet that it is one and eventually, you’ll pay the price for taking it. Remember: Only a clean, sustainable Web presence strategy will truly build your site into a high-performing asset for your business.
Chris St. Jean is a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist for Mediagistic, and he places an emphasis on analytics and optimization. He’s passionate about helping companies and clients see the “big picture” not only by acquiring qualified traffic, but by maximizing each site visit to ensure the best possible chance of a conversion via A/B and multivariate testing.