SEO For Car Dealers
Everything you need to know to drive organic traffic to your car dealership
Now a days with the increase of internet usage and traffic it’s unusual for businesses NOT to have a website online. However, things are not as simplistic as creating and publishing a website anymore. To get the attention of millions of people who go online both on computers and on mobile devices, you need to stand out among the crowd. SEO, or search engine optimization is one way you can ensure your website stands out amongst the masses of others online. Car dealer SEO plans help to increase your overall website traffic, raise your brand awareness, increase your online visibility and help ensure your website takes its rightful place in the top search engine results.
Functions of a Search Engine
Search engines primarily have two functions. These are building a web index and crawling. With these two functions they then provide a list of search results that they find the highest of quality and most relevant.
Before a search engine can distinguish where a document or file is located it first must find it. For them to find this information through the millions of websites on the internet, they deploy what we refer to as spiders to help build their own list of relevant web pages. When these spiders are working to build this list, it is known as crawling. These spiders travel the world wide web indexing all the words on the various websites and their webpages.
When the spiders have done their job of finding relevant information on the websites online, it’s now time to store this information to help make it visible to those searching for it. This is known as indexing or building an index. The purpose of this index is simple, it allows all the information on these websites to be found quickly.
Determining Relevant Information
When a search engine is searching for relevant information this is more than just locating specific words within a webpage. Search engines now a day are more detailed and have a variety of intricate ways and methods they use to determine the relevancy of a website. So how do you ensure that your website has what the search engines consider to be relevant information? That’s where a solid car dealer SEO plan would come into play.
You want to create webpages for users not for the search engines and this is one thing that many seem to forget when it comes to the innerworkings of an SEO plan. Create a website that is useful and offers clear and precise information. You want to make sure you write the pages as accurately as possible when it comes to describing the content on your website. Always ensure all attributes and title tags are accurate. You will want to consider the next most vital step to any successful car dealer SEO plan, that is the use of keywords.
Keywords and Keyword Research
Starting out you want to first start with your basic keywords. These keywords are the ones that you build your keyword foundation on. They help to define your industry and identify who your competitors may be. Your basic keywords will include some name brand products you offer as well as industry only terms.
Generating Your Keywords
Once you’ve determined what your basic set of keywords is going to be you’re not finished. That’s just really the very beginning when it comes to using keywords and researching them. The next thing you will want to do is to create a massive list of keywords within your industry. You can do this by first checking to see which keywords you are already ranking with.
Next you will want to check out your competitors and see what types of keywords they are using. This can help you to learn what keywords are working and which ones you may not need to use. Keywords are the focus of your marketing efforts when it comes to SEO. Utilizing keyword research tools can help you in learning what people are looking for on many of the major search engines.
Reviewing the Competition
We’ve discussed briefly about checking into your competitors and seeing which keywords they are using; however, you really do want to do more research when it comes to your competitors. When it comes to developing a car dealer SEO plan, looking into the competition is a must and should be done as one of the first few steps. That is because the competitors are already ranking high within the search engine results. In fact, look at the top five competitors and see who they are. Check out the types of services they offer, how their website looks and what type of content they publish. This will help you to get a general idea of the type of content and keywords you should be emulating with your SEO plan.
Learning to Become a Pro in Your Niche
Keyword strategies are only effective when you have the knowledge to go with them. Learning more about your niche or industry is one way you can discover how to create other types of keywords that no one in the industry or very few are using.
One of the most effective ways to begin to become a pro in your niche is to think like a customer. Put your thinking cap on and think as if you were a customer. Consider what they are looking for, what types of services they want, and the type of products they expect.
Talk with current customers, as them more about why they chose to go with your car dealership business over others and what keeps them staying and coming back time and time again.
Create a social media presence to increase your brand awareness. Become more active on your social media profiles. Many businesses have the great idea to first create social media pages on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., but they fail at one important step, engagement.
If you are not active and participating in discussions with customers and potential customers on your social, you are losing out on a huge potential audience.
You may not realize it if you are not fully aware of SEO and the best practices. But these are two different types of SEO, the first being On-Page and the second being Off-Page SEO. Right now, we’re going to focus on On-Page SEO and what it really is.
Optimizing keywords is an important part of any SEO plan especially when it comes to an automotive business. While search engines are extremely sophisticated, they still lack the ability to read and see a website just like an actual living breathing person does. So, optimizing your content in the most readable and relevant manner makes the most sense, because it will be people who will be reading and visiting your website. Content is king online, and it still holds true when it comes to a car dealership website. Keywords are the fundamental keys to this process. You want to include keywords in a natural manner so that the content reads and flows well. You don’t want to over do it and include keywords everywhere no matter if they make sense or not. This process is known as keyword stuffing and it is frowned upon by the search engines. It could even get your website banned entirely, which won’t help increase your overall rankings.
The meta title of any webpage is very important. This is the title associated with the website itself. To fully optimize for car dealer SEO, you will want to ensure your main keyword is included in the meta title. Titles should all be unique for each webpage you have on your website. You don’t want to duplicate them for each page as this is another thing that is frowned upon by the search engines. Creating an engaging title can really make or break a website. If users find the title is engaging and compelling, they are more likely to click on your link and visit your website. The title is the first interaction that someone has with your website, so you want to make sure you WOW them right out of the gates.
The meta description is the next important part of any car dealer SEO plan. This is the short summary below the title on a search results page. It should summarize what your website is about. Again, just like with a meta title you want to make sure your meta description is compelling enough to draw a user in to want to learn more. Chances are if they are attracted by what they read in your description the better chance you’ll have for them clicking on your website and visiting it. Meta descriptions should also include a keyword or two to help with your optimizing practices.
Headings and ALT Tags/ Attributes
The heading of any content is helpful in that it breaks up long forms of content so that a user can scan the page to read for the stuff they are most interested in. Most people will scan down over a website and only read what they are looking for. If you don’t use headings your content can look long and drawn on. This is unattractive to a reader and will turn them away immediately. Try including a few different headings within your content that include a keyword to help break up the content and keep the reader entertained.
Basics of Car Dealer SEO
Now let’s talk about the basics. What is the driving force behind SEO and why is it important? There are four basic practices of SEO which are the foundation that helps bring success by using it. These include:
This is the main goal of SEO, right? Getting into the higher rankings so that YOUR website will start to be seen in the top search engine results. The first mistake that many people make when it comes to SEO is that they make everything about the rankings. This is a big mistake which can hurt you in the long run. So, before you even start to develop an SEO plan put ranking out of your mind, or at least don’t make them the number one priority. Rankings won’t be what makes the sales for your business. They are just a useful tool to help others find your door and come in.
Conversions are where you really want to shine. They are the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to SEO. A conversion is when you convert someone who was just navigating your website into a buying customer, someone who wants to purchase a new car through you.
Visitors are what you are looking to attract. When you have your optimization in a structure that makes sense to the search engines, you will notice an increase in traffic that will increase the visitors to your website.
This is one of the tougher aspects of SEO. User intent is always something you must keep in the back of your mind throughout the process of optimizing your website. Search engines are not able to recognize intent; therefore, you need to. One thing to remember about potential visitors to your website is that they are impatient. As a user, you are used to instant gratification that the internet offers. You are looking for information and you want that information NOW. So, considering this as part of your user intent can help direct your SEO plan in the right direction. Even if you have information clearly noted on a web page on your website remember no one wants to go searching for it, they want the information clearly laid out easily where they can find it.
How People Search on the Internet
Back many moons ago when it came to search on a search engine, people would put in one to two-word phrases in hopes of finding what they are looking for. But now a day’s searches have become way more accurate with long string keywords and sentences. The more accurate the keyword or phrase someone puts into a search engine the more accurate the results they get from this will be. Studies in SEO efforts have shown that longer string keyword phrases such as ones that are four to five words long yield a higher return on investment when it comes to SEO practices. The only downside to a much longer keyword phrase is that it increases the combination of keywords out there which means the searches for this decrease drastically. This can make optimizing your website much more difficult. Because instead of optimizing for one to two keywords you will have to use a phrase that consists of more than four words.
Your Audience and Their Interests
Once you learn more about how keywords will affect your car dealer SEO plan you can start to understand how the development of a solid SEO plan really works. Other key factors in developing your plan include:
Target Audience: You want to consider who your target audience is. How old are they, and what are they looking for? When you know who your audience is, you will be in a much better position to optimize your website to meet their needs.
Interests of Audience: Keywords can tell you a lot about your target audience. What are they searching for? Are they looking just for information about an upcoming vehicle purchase or are they ready to push the button and buy a new car entirely?
Brainstorming for Keywords
The first thing you want to do when you are trying to come up with relevant keywords is to do some brainstorming. First ask yourself if the keyword you are considering is relevant to your website and the content that will be or is already on your website. If a searcher uses that specific keyword and finds your website will they be happy with what they found?
When you think you’ve determined a relevant keyword, try it out yourself. Search for it on some of the major search engines. This will help to provide you with some valuable insight on how well it works for your competitors. If there seems to be a lot of competition with that keyword, then you will learn that you have your work cut out for you.
Long Tail Keywords
We’ve briefly discussed long tail or long string keywords in this car dealer SEO guide. But now we’re going to discuss them in more detail. More popular keywords such as one or two-word phrases that have many more people searching for them daily may seem like the best but, they aren’t.
The competition is already stiff, and you will find that you must work way harder to optimize your website for these keywords. Long tail keywords make up about 70% of the search queries online. This is because they are unique and much more specific to what the searcher is looking for.
With shorter keywords the user or searcher is probably just generally looking for information about a product or that item, or service. However, long tail keywords which are more specific tend to tell us that they are more on the fence and ready to make a purchase. These keywords are much easier to convert than shorter ones because the user is in the buying phase and not just the information phase. This could have a much better impact on your overall car dealer SEO plan in the long run.
Car Dealer SEO Conclusion
You’re probably a bit overwhelmed with all the information presented in this guide. That’s to be expected. SEO is a challenging field with a lot of techniques and practices that one needs to learn before jumping in feet first. Therefore, it is usually recommended to instead of trying to develop your own SEO plan and implement it that you first discuss with a professional what you must do. They have the knowledge and experience necessary to help guide you through the process smoothly with minimal bumps along the way.
What many car dealership owners fail to recognize is that SEO isn’t just a simple overnight process. You may develop a solid plan, but it’s not going to change things right away overnight. Instead, it will work overtime to increase your traffic and help turn a profit for your business. Also, SEO isn’t a one-time deal. The algorithms within the major search engines, such as Google are changing frequently. These algorithms are what they use to determine the relevancy of SEO content and keywords on webpages so that they can build their database of the highest quality and relevant pages.
Because of this constant change, a solid car dealer SEO plan also should include maintence to ensure that you are staying up to date with all the changes. While you may notice your efforts in the beginning create a push of success to your website, if you don’t stay up to date and make the necessary changes as the algorithms on the search engines change, this hard work will be for nothing.
The bottom line when it comes to SEO is it is vital to the success of your business both online and offline. Because now the internet plays a huge role in the purchasing decision of many buyers. They first research the cars they are considering more in depth. Then they will look around at local dealership websites to see who has to offer what they are searching for. You can’t be a successful brick and mortar business anymore without incorporating a website, SEO efforts and an active social media presence.