The Geometry of SEM — What’s your Angle?

Sorry to break it to everyone, but online entrepreneurs are a dime a dozen. More online businesses fail than succeed. Unless you want your foray into the interwebs to go the way of the dodo, you better channel some Euclid and find an angle.

When you’re competing with hundreds of other Web sites for the attention of just one user, how can you ensure your site stands out? Make a list before you start your site design. Write down your highest-profit-margin services or products, your highest-sales-volume services or products, and then do some keyword research.

Look at what you offer, what you make the most money on, and what people are asking for. Then build your Web site to serve the most profitable aspect of that need.

Here’s how I’d go about finding an angle for an air conditioning repair company in Phoenix, Arizona. Their best, most targeted keyword are “Phoenix AC Repair” in KeywordDiscovery.

Most air conditioning and heating contractors will tell you they make the most money on emergency and after-hours calls. Heat or air conditioning are life or death services in certain parts of the country during certain seasons.

To help develop my angle, I created a scenario based on the type of client I’m looking for. I looked at the competition and found out what angle I can use to “stand out” from the pack.

Let’s pretend I live in Phoenix, it’s mid-August, and my air conditioning breaks on a Friday afternoon. The news says it will be a record heat weekend and I need service right away. My phone book is out of date so I do a query for “Phoenix AC Repair” in Google

Google Results Phoenix AC Repair

The first site I see is Parker and Sons. The site is easy to understand and has some BBB & Angie’s List awards on it to lend trust, but I don’t see anything about 24-hour service.

Parker & Sons AC Screenshot

I see a Schedule Service button with a 10 percent off coupon if I schedule online, so I click that. I see a long form and some text about the coupon. I look at the page for a few minutes and start filling in the info when I notice an emergency service phone number.

Well, that’s what I need, but I’m a bit bummed out about the coupon. They may be able to help me, but it doesn’t say 24-hour service. I’ll probably try to call anyway, but I’m irritated because I hate spelling phone numbers on my cell phone.

I need more than one option so I go back to my initial query. The second result is for Air Force One A/C. I click on it and am surprised to see this:

This Website is Closed

Looks like someone can’t pay their bills. Next!

The next listing is for Yes Air Conditioning. They haven’t claimed their listing, so the link in the query goes to their Google Local Business Listing with four phone numbers. Which one do I call to get 24-hour service?

Multiple Phone Numbers

Marketer’s note: There’s a link to their Web site just above the fold on their local business listings page, but as a shopper I’m probably not going to see that. They should claim the listing and get a link directly to their site from the query, skipping this page that doesn’t tell me very much.

So what did we learn with this little experiment? Not one of our competitor sites really “went for” the emergency service market. Are you an A/C service provider in Phoenix who makes good money on after-hours work? Your angle should contain the following:

  1. A strong URL. Something like or
  2. Good SEO practices. Optimize your homepage for that good keyword term “Phoenix AC Repair” and have supporting text and pages on the site.
  3. List your 24-hour contact info on the homepage, possibly with a “click to call” option.
  4. Make it mobile friendly.
  5. Have a FAQ page that I can find easily to try to troubleshoot the issue myself such as blown breakers or outlets. You can also list warnings to not work on the unit themselves in case of hazard.
  6. Link to reviews of your work. Join the BBB and put their seal on your site. This creates trust in your product and service and folks will be more likely to rely on you (and pay your rate) in a pinch.
  7. Be upfront about rates. Emergency services are naturally more expensive, and listing your after-hours and weekend rates can help people not be surprised when you hand them an invoice. You can also offer specials for veterans, active military, seniors, nonprofits, etc. Good karma goes a long way.

An angle for your Web site and search marketing can mean all the difference between a successful Web site venture and a failure. Have a plan, think it out for more than a day or two, and then execute it in the best ways possible. Ask for advice from experts and talk to your customers. Build your Web site for them and you’ll see the rewards in the short and long term.

Join us for a Search Engine Marketing Training in Boston, November 6 at the Hilton Boston Back Bay. Not only will you walk away with the knowledge and skills to be a successful search engine marketer, you’ll also jumpstart your career and enhance your professional know-how.

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