How Nearby Now Helped Freedom HVAC Climb to the Top of Search Engine Rankings

The Client: Freedom HVAC

Before working with, Freedom HVAC had all but given up on the Internet as a source of lead generation. The business had a website, but none of the strategies they enacted up to that point to get people to find it had proven effective. By the time they approached Nearby Now, the most traffic their website experienced in a month was 50 visitors.

With such a small amount of website traffic, Freedom HVAC knew they had to do something to attract more attention to their website – a task they first attempted to undertake on their own.

As a service contractor, Freedom HVAC targets customers who live in dozens of different cities in their local area. In an attempt to cast a wider net on their search engine presence, the business tried creating a different Google Places profile for every different city that they service. Unbeknownst to them, this was actually hurting their search engine results more than it was helping.

How Google Ranks Local Businesses

In order to understand why Freedom HVAC’s actions were working against them, it’s important to know how Google goes about choosing which businesses to rank in its local search results in the first place. Along with the ranking factors Google uses to rank any type of search query – such as the crawlability of a website and the amount of links pointing to it from around the web – Google uses a special set of criteria for ranking local results.

These criteria include:

  • Consistent Name, Address and Phone Number. In order to make sense of how to rank a business, Google collects contact information (name, address and phone number) from everywhere the business is listed on the web. This includes its Google Places profile, its own website and on directory sites like YellowPages and Superpages. If this information isn’t written out exactly the same on all of these places, a business’ results will suffer.
  • Dynamic city – and keyword-optimized content. Google looks for websites that are consistently updated with highly relevant content. For a home service business, it’s important to have dynamic web pages that are separately targeted for each city and keyword (“heating and cooling Chicago” and “heating and cooling Naperville,” for example).
  • Amount of reviews from legitimate sites across the web. Google looks to online reviews to verify the legitimacy and relevancy of each business. Some Internet marketers even believe the sentiment of the reviews is taken into account as well. The more reviews a business has on various online review sites, the better a chance the business has to rank for local search queries.

Freedom HVAC’s Problem

As mentioned above, Freedom HVAC created separate Google Places profiles for every city in their service area. There are two main problems with this. For one, it’s against Google’s guidelines. Google explicitly states:

“Businesses that operate in a service area, as opposed to a single location, should not create a listing for every city they service.”

The multiple profiles were also confusing Google because Freedom HVAC was listing their business under an inconsistent name, address and phone number. Google can only categorize a single business under one location, and Freedom HVAC was listing their business all over the place.

Up until that point, Freedom HVAC also wasn’t doing anything to address the other two major criteria for local search results. They had no way of generating dynamic, keyword-optimized content on their website and they didn’t have a system in place to actively generate more reviews across the web.

With a website that wasn’t seeing much action and all of their attempts to attract more search engine traffic proving fruitless, Freedom HVAC stuck with the traditional forms of marketing: a call center, direct mail and the Yellow Pages. This was costing the business 8-12% of their monthly sales. That’s when they contacted Nearby Now.

The Solution: Nearby Now

The platform is designed specifically to meet the criteria search engines look for when ranking local search results while building buyer confidence and credibility for its clients along the way.

Using a Foursquare-like check-in process, the app gave Freedom HVAC’s technicians the ability to check-in at the homes they are servicing. Along with the check-in, the technicians can add detailed and keyword-optimized information about the service call (“air conditioner repair” or “annual preventive maintenance,” for example). Freedom HVAC already had city-specific pages on its website, but with those pages are now able to pull the keyword-rich details of each check-in and dynamically add it to the corresponding page. This enables Freedom HVAC to have a web page for each of its service area cities that is consistently updated with relevant information about the types of services the business offers. also gave Freedom HVAC a way to actively generate reviews from its customers. The business’ technicians can use the same app to enter the customer’s email address and send out a request for a review while still in the home. This review request page includes direct links to Freedom HVAC’s profiles on various review sites across the web, as well as a form to submit a review to Nearby Now’s own consumer-facing review site. combines its check-in and review-generating capabilities to produce a dynamically-updated service map on Freedom HVAC’s website. By adding pins on the map for each check-in and/or review, this gives the business’ website visitors a user-friendly way to see exactly where Freedom HVAC has provided service and browse real reviews from people in their own neighborhood.

The Results – after 90 days

By using Nearby Now, Freedom HVAC was able to dramatically increase its website traffic and leads online. Google loves the dynamic, relevant content on their site, and they return often because of it. Their natural search engine rankings on Google have jumped remarkably. Within 90 days of implementation and adoption, they’ve added over 250 top 10 natural search rankings for highly relevant keyword combinations – here’s a snapshot of the improvements and a few keyword examples:

Freedom HVAC – improvements

New #1 Google Rankings 85
New top3 Google Rankings 153
New top10 Google Rankings 257

Freedom HVAC – improvements

Keywords Rank
ac estimate bluff park al 1
ac quote birmingham al 1
ac tuneup pelham al 1
air conditioning forestdale al 1

UPDATE — The Results – 180 days+
By using Nearby Now, Freedom HVAC continues to be able to dramatically increase its website traffic and leads online. Google loves the dynamic, relevant content on their site, and they return often because of it. Their natural search engine rankings on Google have jumped even more. After 180 days, they’ve added more than another 250 top 10 natural search rankings for highly relevant keyword combinations – here’s a snapshot of the overall improvements:

New #1 Google Rankings 275
New top3 Google Rankings 523
New top10 Google Rankings 747
Total new reviews 200+

These improved rankings are translating into real business. Instead of 50 visitors per month, the business is now getting 50 visits per day to their site. Their phone call volume has increased also.

Of all the additional calls they receive daily, 35-40% are from first-time customers. also helped Freedom HVAC build trust in the eyes of prospective customers by improving their reviews across the web. Anyone who reads Freedom HVAC’s reviews on sites like Google Places, or reviews on the business’ own website, are converting much better because they can read the reliable reviews from people in their area.

After seeing such great results, Freedom HVAC has lowered its marketing cost from 8-10% to 2% of sales since using People are finding Freedom HVAC’s site more readily and the business is seizing much of the opportunities online that they once missed.

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