How To Submit A Reconsideration Request To Google After A Manual Action Penalty

Looking to submit a reconsideration request to Google because you received a manual action penalty? Well, you are in the right place then. If you want your reconsideration request to be accepted on the first go, keep reading. Our magic-formula shows you exactly what to do, step-by-step, to get a manual action penalty lifted.

If you want to brush up on manual actions, then check out this video. It explains the differences between algorithm updates and manual actions, tells you what type of sites get hit by manual actions, and shows you how to recover from them.

 

The 6-Step Process

To submit a successful Google reconsideration request, you have to blend the six secret ingredients: homework, fixes, apology + assistance, supplementary material, future plans for the website, and the actual reconsideration request. Ready? Here we go!

Homework

The first step is to analyze why Google has penalized your site. For this purpose, read their manual action email carefully that you have received in your Google Search Console (GSC).

The email consists of two parts primarily:

  • Description of an issue
  • “Sample list” of URLs where the action has been applied

 

Remember, it is just the “sample list.” It means you have to do an in-depth audit of your website to identify every instance of the mentioned issue. In case you cannot do it by yourself, then hire a professional specialized in penalty recovery.

Fixes

After identification, it’s time to fix these issues. Like we mentioned above, do not limit this process to sample URLs and remove all instances of the mentioned issues from your website.

“Identification > Issue fixing > Reconsideration request”

Now let’s move ahead to write a result-driven reconsideration request to Google. Click the “Request a Review” button under manual actions to access the reconsideration request form.

Screenshot of Request Review for Google manual action

 

Apology + Assistance

A good apology means letting the other person know you are guilty of what you did, stating an honest reason for your behavior, and taking an optimal action to fix your mistakes. The same goes for a reconsideration request. First, own your mistake and let the Google Webspam Team know you understand that you violated Google’s guidelines. After that, show them in detail what you have done to fix these issues.

Supplementary Material

If you could provide any supplementary material, it would be helpful for the team and increases the chances of reconsideration request approval. You cannot attach images, but you can add a .txt document. You can also paste image links to Google products such as Google sheets (this increases the odds that the Webspam team will check out those links). Google’s Webspam Team won’t click on any links to non-Google products, so there is no reason to add them.

Plans For The Future of the Site

You should state your practical plan for the future of the site. This section lets the team know you are serious regarding manual action and have formulated a strategy to avoid such issues in the future. Keep it brief, but it helps make the request stronger.

A word of advice: the best sites are those that focus on improving their EAT (expertise, authority, and trust). This ensures they not only stay safe from manual penalties, but also continue to rank well on SERPs. Read our detailed discussion on EAT here.

Make the Reconsideration Request

This is what we’ve been working towards. By following the aforementioned steps, you have laid a solid foundation, and now is the perfect moment to make the request. In a polite tone, request the team to reconsider indexing your site and lifting the penalty.

Stay patient and wait for Google’s response in your GSC email or manual action viewer. If you have implemented the above-mentioned plans, then the response will be positive. By the way, you may get confused by the email because it often includes ambiguous terms such as “adjusted or revoked” in their response.

Reconsideration Request Processed By Google
Source: Search Engine Land

 

The best way to confirm the request status is to check the manual action viewer. If you see “no issues detected,” then you’re golden!

No issues detected in manual actions report

 

You should give your 100% in compiling a reconsideration request to Google. Getting a manual action penalty lifted is not impossible, especially if you’ve made a solid case that you’re serious about fixing these issues and won’t make these mistakes again. The more time your site spends deindexed, the more traffic (and money) you’ll lose. I hope this guide helps you with your reconsideration request, and if you have any feedback, let us know in the comments below.

 

HVAC SEO & Digital Marketing: Tips, Tricks & Strategies [2021 Update]

Peak summer’s approaching and HVACs are sure to have their hands full this season. After all, there was an added strain on home ventilation during the coronavirus lockdown. And with summer finally here, we can expect a rise in searches for HVAC services – as they do every year – with the biggest volumes to probably hit in July 2021.

Google Trends for "hvac near me"

 

If you’re an HVAC, then you need to adapt your HVAC marketing strategy to ensure you’re in the best position to survive, or even thrive, in this economic crunch and get more inquiries, more leads, and more appointments.

This complete SEO & digital marketing guide for HVACs will help you do just that.

 

Here you’ll find 6 highly actionable HVAC marketing strategies that will help you win across multiple digital channels and measurably increase your leads and booked appointments this season.

1. Create your website (if you haven’t done it already)

This one should go without saying. Creating a great website should be your number #1 goal. Think of your website as your digital home. It’s the main hub where users get to know more about you and likely make their final decision on whether or not to contact you.

“Cool,” you might say, “but what does a great website mean?”

Here are some website design and development Do’s and Don’ts.

Your website must fulfill your business goals

You should have a clear idea about what goals you want your website should accomplish.

Want people to learn more about you? Have a homepage and about us page that tells your prospects exactly who you are.

Want people to know more about your services? Have a separate services page, and consider creating videos that show how you operate.

Want to establish yourself as a leader in your industry? Publish articles regularly on your blog and brag about your past work through awesome case studies.

Want to connect with users and nurture leads? Capture emails by asking readers to subscribe to your newsletter.

What does conversion mean for you? Do you want people to call you or fill out a contact form? Have your phone number on the top right and make sure mobile users can call you with a single click. Consider adding CTAs in the right places to generate leads.

Your website must be responsive

This means creating a website that can change its look based on the device you’re using. Having a responsive website is crucial, because over 63% of Google searches now come from mobile devices, and there’s been a 150% increase in “near me now” searches on mobile devices over the last few years.

The numbers don’t lie. Your website must be mobile-friendly and provide users with an easy experience when they land on your website. Period.

Your website must be visually appealing

97% of users make decisions about a company based on its website. Ask yourself, would you really trust a company whose website looks like it was designed in 1998?  A visually stunning website incorporates modern design and leads to better user experience.

Your website must be SEO-friendly

We’ll cover this in more detail in tip #2. But a good website is one that is visible to search engines, can be easily understood and crawled by search crawlers and indexed by search engines.

2. On-page optimization for HVAC SEO

Search engine optimization works when Google’s crawlers (also called spiders or bots) discover your page and crawl/read it. There are different techniques you can use to make your HVAC website SEO-friendly. The techniques you use on your webpage are called on-site optimization.

On-site optimization includes the following:

Secured site

Google prefers secure sites, i.e. HTTPS, over plain old HTTP. You can secure your site by adding an SSL certificate. This will give you an SEO boost and also show that really nice lock icon on a browser’s address bar, which users also like.

Mobile-friendly

Google is moving toward mobile-first indexing for the entire web by March2021. You need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly as that version will be indexed first, which will affect your ranking.

Page speed

A fast load-time for both mobile and desktop versions is critical, not just from an SEO perspective, but also from a user-experience point of view.

Quality backlinks

We’ll cover backlinks in more detail in tip #4. What you need to know is that backlinks remain one of the top 3 ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm and it’s darn near impossible to rank well without them.

Website content

Write relevant, easy to read content that’s created for human readers. Sounds simple enough, right? While using the right HVAC SEO keywords here and there is important, you are likely to be already doing that if the copy of your webpage is well-written.

Schema markup

If you’ve outsourced your search engine optimization efforts to a specialized HVAC SEO agency, ask them to add relevant vocabulary from schema.org to display rich search results that will show your Google review ratings and optimized organizational information.

Apart from the above, you can incorporate alt tags for images, use social signals, AMP and more.

3. Build Your Local SEO

76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a transaction.

No, go back, read it again, and let it really sink in.  We’ll wait…

.

Yup, that’s the potential of local SEO.

Local SEO helps businesses, like HVACs, promote their products and services to nearby prospects and customers. Try searching for “HVAC near me,” right now. You will see some businesses popping up in the local pack (which is integrated with Google Maps), along with their location, business information and Google review ratings. These are the HVACs that have already worked on their local SEO. They are your competitors – the ones you have to beat.

A Google 3-pack showing hvacs in orlando, fl

Here’s how HVACs can build their local SEO:

  • Optimize for Google My Business: GMB helps Google verify your business as authentic and is one the best ways to optimize for local SEO. Head over to Google My Business, create your company’s page by following the instructions on GMB and start building your local presence. Ask your happy customers to share reviews and answer their most popular queries. The two things that help the most with GMB are having an actual physical location in the area you’re targeting, and earning great Google reviews.
  • Optimize your website structure: This includes using relevant keywords in on your URL, title tags, headers, meta-description, and content. Add a sitemap and make it easier for your website to be crawled. Create localized content, such as a blog post or case study about the HVAC services you provided to the local municipal office, for example.
  • Get linked to local directories: Getting local citations is another key technique to your local SEO efforts. Get yourself listed on the most popular local directories users are likely to consult when searching for nearby HVACS.
    Top tip: See if you can get a Chambers of Commerce membership in your city, which will provide you a coveted .gov external inbound link. If you want more help on how to get listed on local directories, contact our team to find out how we can help you get those links.

 

Other helpful tips include having consistent business information across all channels, building your social media presence where you can highlight your business info, having a mobile-friendly website, and improving your internal linking structure.

4. Content Marketing & Link Building

Odds are that your prospects may just skim your blog, but that could be enough to convince them that you know what you’re talking about. Moreover, you can create topical content addressing covid-19. For example, you can create videos or blog posts that talk about how your HVAC business is following proper precautionary guidelines while providing home-call services. Make customers feel they’ll be safe even when you are entering their homes to provide services.

Find link building opportunities

  • As we’ve mentioned previously, backlinks remain one of the top 3 ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm and it’s very difficult to rank well without them.
  • Try to uncover link opportunities using free tools like Answer the Public or Ubersuggest, or use paid tools like Ahrefs.
  • See if you can discover guest blogging openings in your niche, pitch your content and earn external inbound links from reputable publishers to boost your rankings.
  • Create solid pieces on your blog that others would want to link to. Use the skyscraper technique to develop highly authoritative blog posts, which involves finding link-worthy content, creating the best content for that content, and reaching out to the right people to promote it. It’s exhausting and time-consuming … but it works. However, if you want to outsource it to professionals to do it on your behalf, we can help.

 

google search for best hvac blog 2020

 

5. Email marketing

Email marketing is still one of the best tactics that you can use to reach and engage your prospects. If you’ve already built an email list, then nurture these leads to generate business. You can also run special promotions and give attractive discounts to bring in more customers.

6. Use PPC Search Campaigns

PPC search ads, or search engine marketing, allow you to place your advertisements on search engines. You can set specific parameters for your ad campaigns, such as deciding on your ad budget, the keywords you’ll target, your bids, when and where to show the ads, etc. PPC is a highly effective way to generate leads, and if you’re looking for ideas to advertise your HVAC business, pay per click advertisements may just be the answer.

map of the united states showing interest in hvac searches
Interest in the U.S. for “hvac near me” searches

 

Helpful PPC Campaign Tips for HVACs

  • Identify the right locations: If you provide services in multiple regions, try targeting areas with high interest in HVAC related searches.
  • Have an optimized and user-friendly landing page: Your landing page is a key component of the Quality Score (QS). An optimized landing page can boost your QS and help lower the cost of your campaign since pages with high QS need to spend less than their competitors.
  • Set the right budget: You want your PPC campaigns to provide a positive ROI and not be a drain on your resources. Talk to your PPC team to find out what’s a competitive budget for your business.
  • Use ad extensions: The right ad extensions, such as call, price, review, location or structured snippet extensions, can set you apart from other ads and drive clicks to your site.
  • Try Google Local Services Ads: Google Local Services ads are available across the country for HVAC companies and are the first thing a user sees when they search for your services in your target region. HVACs can generate solid leads from local services ads, as they are promoted as “Google Guaranteed.” However, you should check out if local services ads are the right fit for your business.

 

Google Local Services ads

 

Conclusion

There’s a lot more we can get into when it comes to digital marketing for HVACs. But I hope this was a good place for you start. You’ve learned about the different channels you can use to gain more visibility. Now it’s time to start implementing them. Good luck!

FAQ Schema Markups: What You Need To Know

Alright, so before we dive into using FAQ schema markups, I want to explain what are schema markups and structured data, in general. You can also check out the video below for a detailed walkthrough on schema markups.

What are Schema Markups?

Schema markups, or structured data, refer to a semantic vocabulary of tags that you can add to the HTML code of a page. They help search engine crawlers “read” specific parts of your website and represent them the way you want in the search results.

Schema markups can help Google understand who you are and what your page is all about. And that can potentially help you rank better for relevant search queries. Moreover, schemas can help you stand out on Google SERPs. Not only do they look better from an aesthetic point of view, they also deliver useful information to searchers. That can entice users to click on your page and drive traffic to your site. Win-Win, right?

Now that we understand what are schema markups, let’s discuss a particular type of schema, FAQ Schema, detail.

What is FAQ Schema?

FAQ Schema is another way to say FAQ Structured Data Markup. FAQs are frequently asked questions about a topic. If you’re writing about something in a question-answer format, you can use FAQ schema mark up and Google will instantly grasp that structured information and show it to the visitors on Search Engine Result Pages.

For example, on eCommerce websites, the page might contain information about purchase options, shipping details, refund policies and refund policies. To show these frequently asked questions on Google Search, you can develop and deploy FAQ schema markup and users will access the information instantly on results page making the user experience phenomenal – exactly what Google looks for in a good rankable page.

A gif showing a sample FAQ schema in action
Source: SEMrush

 

Now that you understand what FAQ schema is, we are moving to that part where we teach you how to create, implement and test it without hiring a developer.

Advice: In Google Guidelines, it is clearly mentioned that you should only use FAQ Scheme when it is relevant and you have FAQs in place.

You should not create an empty or blank page just to host structured data neither should you add FAQ schema to forums where people can openly answer questions.

Let’s get your pages to appear in Google Search with enhanced features.

 

1- Follow the Guidelines

Before getting swayed by the benefits that FAQ schema offers, make sure that the content structure on your page follows Google’s guidelines.

To be precise, you need to follow:

  • General Structure Guidelines
  • Webmaster Guidelines
  • Content Guidelines

 

In these guidelines, Google also leads you through the process of developing, deploying, testing and validating the schema markup so your page is up and running in no time.

2- Choose your Questions

Choose your questions wisely so they fulfil the purpose of the search queries.

For example, when I search for what is FAQ Schema, I can access all the answers without having to check every blue link on the search result page.

FAQ schema being displayed on SERP

 

How to Choose The Right Questions?

If you own a product or know the solution to a problem, your customer or audience research data provides you with enough information about what people are looking for. That’s what your solution is based on anyway, right?

Write down the supposedly frequently asked questions and go for it.

If you find it troublesome, use tools like Answer The Public. This is the perfect tool to find out what questions people are frequently asking about your product or topic. Just a few clicks and your problem is solved.

Now that you have written the questions, what about the answers?

Your answers should be clear, concise and truthfully solve the problem. Google aims to solve people’s problems with authentic information. Try to abide by that.

Tip: You can also write your snippets in a way that entice customers to read and find MORE.

You know the tricks of leaving right where you share the answer?

Now, the real part.

3- Write The Code

To deploy the FAQ schema and properly validate it, the page content should be within the HTML page source code in a way that it can also be accessed by the users.

Now, Google prefers JSON-LD markup for structured data. If you’re not comfortable with coding, Matthew Woodward created this free tool which helps write your code in a minute or less.

Screengrab of Free FAQ Rich Snippet Generator

 

Just three steps and you’re done.

1- Enter your questions

2- Enter your answers

3- Get the code

This code can be directly used in the header of the targeted page.

4- Implement The Code

There are numerous ways to implement FAQ Schema markup.

You can either use Insert Header and Footer plugin on your website and it will take care of it or you can use Google Tag Manager to implement your code.

5- Test Your Markup

Now that the code is implemented, it is time to test it.

Open Rich Result Test.

Screengrab of rich results test tool

 

If you followed the guidelines and deployed the markup correctly, you will see a green tick next to the FAQs.

You will also be able to preview how your page will look like in the Google SERPs after re-index.

Now, re-index your updated page.

Google Search Console > Coverage > Submitted and Indexed

By following this path, you will find all the indexed URLs on your website.

Find the one you just updated and Inspect it.

Request the re-index and you’re ready.

I have taken time to explain it better but when following the process step by step, it will only take 5 minutes to deploy FAQ Schema markup with no coding knowledge.

Conclusion

Creating, deploying and testing structured data markup like this is a game-changer for non-developer SEOs. As complicated the process looks from the outside, the tools like FAQ Rich Snippet Generator have made things easy for us. As far as the impact matters, even if FAQ Schema is not proven to be a ranking factor, it boosts click-through rate and gives you a competitive edge over your competitor.

However, the questions about Google’s preference for structured data and its future will remain.

What if every webmaster decides to use FAQ schema? How will Google decide which one to prioritize?

It is also concerning that if all the information is instantly accessible through snippets, what is the future or writing enriched long-form content?

What do you think?

Let us know in the comments.