Question: What is SEO and why do I need it? 

Susan KimballAnswer: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of gaining and maintaining high rankings for your website in organic (nonpaid) results when a potential customer looks for an HVAC company on a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. The search terms that person types, i.e., “Furnace Repair in Portland,” are called keywords. As only 10 percent of searchers look beyond the first page of the results, a goal of SEO is to have first-page rankings for as many relevant keywords as possible.

Search engines use complex algorithms considering hundreds of factors to rank search results and constantly change those algorithms, so use caution when researching SEO tactics or hiring someone to do your SEO — outdated information or black-hat techniques that guarantee fast result could get your website penalized instead of highly ranked.

Some major factors for SEO success are including the keywords that you want to rank highly (such as those that describe your services offered i.e., “Furnace Repair” and service area i.e. “Portland”) in your website’s on-page content and code; structuring your website to be easily indexed by search engines; and acquiring links to your website from other trusted websites.

Susan Kimball, marketing coach for Nexstar® Network, helps members navigate through today’s maze of marketing opportunities. To learn more, visit If you have a question you’d like answered, email

Publication date: 9/30/2013 

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