How Important Is SEO for Your Solar Website?

Solar Energy Search Engine OptimizationThis is one of the easiest questions I receive from prospective clients because the answer is so incredibly straightforward.

But before answering this question, it’s important that you understand what search engine optimization (SEO) actually is.

Quite simply, SEO is the process of enhancing your online property so that it ranks in the top results of a search engine whenever someone types in a given keyword or phrase.

Those keywords could be as general as “solar panel” or as specific as “where is the best place to buy Acme 2000 solar PV panels for my dad’s rooftop.”

Just think about how many Google searches you do in a typical day – 5, 10, 50?

  • The sites you end up clicking on are the ones that have undergone the most search engine optimization for whatever keyword or phrase you typed in.
  • All the other sites (however many million there may be) are the ones that need to conduct more SEO.

This means that if your own solar property doesn’t rank high in the search engines for your target keywords, you miss out on all of the traffic, visitors, and leads that you could be enjoying.

Worse still, your competitors (i.e. those who have optimized their sites) are getting that traffic and those visitors.

So Is Solar SEO Really That Important?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

SEO is one of the most powerful weapons in your entire online marketing arsenal.

This is not to knock email marketing, newsletters, direct mail, AdWords, or any other marketing strategies.  They’re all important.  But SEO stands alone for several reasons:

1.  SEO Is Cost-Effective

Once paid for, AdWords or newsletters essentially disappear.  Their effects are temporary and you’re right back where you started.  Think of them as consumable products with very short life spans.

By contrast, SEO is cumulative.  It is an investment that yields greater and greater returns over time.  You own the content for life, and it is forever visible.

Think about it this way.

If you spend $1 on an AdWords click, you get 1 (and only 1) visitor.  If you spend $100, you get 100 (and only 100) visitors.

If you spend that same money on SEO (blogs, backlinks etc), the potential return is unlimited in scope.  A solar blog post published today will still be generating traffic for you 5 years from now – to say nothing of all the blog posts that you publish in between.

2.  SEO Provides Feedback

By analyzing your traffic and keeping tight tabs on your SEO campaign, you know (in real time) what people are looking for, what they want, and what they don’t want.

This information is priceless.

If you notice a sudden spike in traffic for a given keyword, you know to divert more of your resources in anticipation of growing demand for a particular product or service.

Perhaps your analysis tells you that you need to add “solar financing” to your business model.  Or maybe you should pre-order a particular line of solar PV panels ahead of the summer rush.

3.  SEO Places You Throughout the Buying Cycle

When you send out a newsletter, you’re basically marketing “AT” people – regardless of where they are in the buying cycle.  Some may be interested in buying right now.  Others may just want some information as they kick the tires.  And still others immediately unsubscribe or mark you as spam.

Not so with solar SEO.

With search engine optimization, you basically have content already in place – just waiting – ready to be found by people who are looking to find it.

  • Michelle has no idea what solar energy is or how it works.  After tinkering around on Yahoo, she finds your FAQ section and Solar 101 guidebook.
  • John has questions about solar financing and incentives.  After doing a Google search, he stumbles upon your optimized blog post discussing this very topic.
  • Sarah wants to know the best solar PV system for her roof orientation.  Boom!  She discovers your product page and comparison chart.

Had you sent out a generic newsletter to all of these people, you probably would have gotten several unsubscribes.  With SEO, however, you unobtrusively answer their questions when (and only when) they ask.

This is what marketing guru, Seth Godin, terms “Permission Marketing” and what many others call “Inbound Marketing.”  You essentially attract traffic rather than market “at” people.

The advantage of this tactic is that you earn trust, demonstrate expertise, and increase conversion rates.  People come to you with a problem and you show them that you have the answer.  If you cover your bases right, you can have answers ready for people early in the buying cycle, in the middle, or at the purchasing stage.

Isn’t this better than spending wasted dollars marketing “at” people who may or may not care.

4.  SEO Is about Survival

This last point is arguably the most critical.

SEO is important because all of your competitors are doing it.

Remember.  Solar energy is rarely an impulse purchase.  From residential customers to multinational corporations, people spend hours researching their options before making a commitment.

  • Just think about how many articles, product pages, comparison charts, blogs, and whitepapers a person must read before pulling out his or her wallet for a solar-related purchase.
  • Now think about what percentage of those charts, blogs, and whitepapers originated with a Google search?
  • Now imagine that your own products and services don’t rank very high for these searches.
  • Lastly, imagine that your top 3 competitors are all on page 1 (in fact – that’s why they’re  your “top” competitors).

Get the picture?

SEO is incredibly important.  It’s important in its own right for the reasons listed above.  But it’s important because so many solar stakeholders are already investing heavily in their own respective SEO campaigns.

Failure to join their ranks means that your unique products and services will only reach a select number of people – and probably at an unbelievable cost to you.

Still Think SEO Is Unimportant?

Are you not 100% convinced yet?  Do you still think SEO is just fluff?

Let me ask you – how did you end up reading this article?

If you’re like most folks out there, you stumbled on this post directly or indirectly after doing a Google search.  And chances are, that search dealt with some type of problem or question.

I hope I’ve managed to answer that problem or question.  If not, let me know down below.  I’m always eager to hear from readers.

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