As you know, not all car buyers are alike. Some are looking for a particular make and model, some want to buy a car from a local car dealer, and some want a particular type of service. But these buyers all have one thing in common: they rely on the Internet.
In this modern day and age, potential vehicle buyers use search engines to find the right dealer. The dealers they find are the ones who know how to use a search engine in their marketing. Are you one of those dealers?
Unlike print or TV advertising, in which you talk to a broad audience and hope someone is interested, search engine marketing is driven by consumers. If you don’t know how to talk about your dealership, your message won’t even reach prospective buyers. That’s why SEO, or search engine optimization, is so important for car dealers.
On this page, you’ll learn exactly what SEO is and why your car dealership should start using it. You’ll also get some tips on starting or improving your own SEO strategy.
SEO is the process of improving individual elements on your website to make it more likely to rank for the words and phrases that are most relevant to your business. The ultimate goal of SEO is to optimize all of these elements continuously so that you can eventually claim the first spot in search results, above all of your competitors.
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Like any strategy, successful SEO involves a combination of big-picture thinking and day-to-day task management. It takes a lot of time and hard work, but the success of your dealership depends on it.
People don’t have time to browse through endless websites to find what they want. They’ll look at two, maybe three, and ignore the rest. In fact, 60 percent of all search engine clicks go to the first three results.
That’s the main reason why SEO is so important for car dealers. Here are a few others:
When you rank higher than your competitors in search engine results, your website grabs more attention and generates more clicks. This often translates to more leads and higher sales—more than the competition can get when they rank lower.
When your car dealership uses SEO, it means that you're serious about getting more customers than your competitors - and it's the best way to do so.
If you only add broad keywords to your website like “car dealerships,” you’ll barely crack the top 100 in any search. If, however, you also add keywords focused on your location and inventory, you start to rank higher among people searching locally, leading to more targeted traffic over time.
The way SEO helps you to target more specific traffic is with the use of long-tail keywords, which are ultra specific. These would be keywords like "honda accords in [your city]," or "2011 white jeep patriot".
These kinds of keywords get less searches, which mean when people do search for them, they're more likely to convert.
In addition, SEO targets people who are already searching for the products and services you provide, meaning that SEO traffic is highly targeted.
People tend to have a more favorable view of high-ranking websites. They see them as more respectable and authoritative. As your dealership’s site ranks higher, it'll take on higher authority, making it the go-to site for people searching for auto dealers.
When you rank higher, you are seen as a leader in your industry, and known to have beneficial information that users can learn from.
You might be the best auto dealership in town, but if nobody knows that you exist, you won’t attract new customers or close sales.
SEO helps to ensure that your dealership appears in front of a relevant audience online. This will increase awareness of your brand and ensure that more people can find and contact your dealership.
When more people are aware of your brand, not only will your dealership be top of mind for when they need to purchase a car, but the word of your dealership will also spread through word of mouth.
SEO can seem like a big, complicated procedure if you’ve never done it before. It starts out that way, but it gets easier over time, especially if you work with a team that can walk you through the process.
Here are a few crucial first steps that can help you better optimize your website for searches and visitors.
The first thing Internet users often do when looking for a product or service is to type relevant search terms into their search engine of choice. The only way your site will come up is if your content includes those search terms, too.
To start, you'll have to do some keyword research to understand what terms your customers are looking, and then write content based on those keywords.
Think about what your dealership offers in terms of service, car models, and locations served. Try to incorporate all of those words and phrases into your content in a natural way—for example, in a few paragraphs on the homepage of your site, or by creating individual pages or even blog posts that focus on specific topics.
You'll want to avoid keyword stuffing though, or using your keyword too much and to the point that it doesnt feel natural. Google can actually penalize you for this!
Both humans and search engines alike love fresh, quality content. And people will be more likely to want to find out more information about your dealership after coming across helpful content you published online.
You can start by creating a blog and posting interesting information about your industry and car buying tips. Blogging is a great way to interact with potential customers and answer questions they might have about your dealership or inventory. In addition, you can beef up your website with content about the cars on your lot and the services you provide.
Also, be sure to include key information, such as your contact info, hours, and locations, on your website so that visitors can easily find the information they need to take the next step.
Of course, you’ll add keywords and phrases to your web copy, but SEO doesn’t stop there. In fact, using the same word too often can make for poor copy, which turns off visitors.
Instead of overusing keywords in your copy, add them in other places. This may include the alternate text of photos, URLs, title tags, and the meta descriptions associated with each page. These can both help you improve your rankings and increase the likelihood of someone clicking through to your page.
Don’t forget to include any blog posts or articles you write in this strategy, too! The more often your dealership is associated with your chosen keywords, the higher your site will rank. Just remember to make it natural, because search engines can pick up on unnatural content—and impact your rankings as a result.
You should try to optimize as many pages on your website as possible for the best results.
You assume your chosen keywords are working, but are they? Have they increased website traffic and search engine rankings? More importantly, are they bringing in the kind of traffic you want?
Have a plan to track and monitor your SEO efforts. By knowing how well you’re already doing, you can create a plan to improve your efforts even more. And by knowing your weaknesses, you can focus your time on improving those areas to make your SEO strategy that much more robust.
SEO isn’t a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process in which you continually strive to boost search engine rankings, and it requires time and dedication to do it properly.
Once you start implementing SEO, don’t stop. Whether you work on optimizing your site every day or every week, it has to be a regular part of your marketing plan. Otherwise, SEO won’t help you reach your marketing goals or improve your visibility online.
The most successful auto dealers can be found at the top of search engine results, but they don’t appear there by accident. They work hard to make sure their websites, social media pages and blogs are optimized for the most targeted searches.
Your auto dealership needs to do the same, or at least get help from experts who understand SEO for car dealers. If you don’t think you can implement these SEO strategies on your own, get in touch with an Internet marketing agency like WebpageFX for help.
WebpageFX has been named the #1 SEO agency in the nation by Heardable.com, and it’s because we’ve helped our more than 500 clients find success with online marketing and search engine optimization. We offer custom strategies that are designed to increase your exposure naturally and over time, but with enormous gains to your revenue and reputation.
Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for you. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Find out how WebpageFX can create an effective Internet marketing strategy for your website. Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today for a free evaluation.