This article is co-written by Pete Bruhn, Dealer.com’s Associate Product Manager in SEO, and Kevin LeSage, a Dealer.com Digital Advisor.
Every dealership wants to be at the top of Google, but not every dealer understands SEO or knows what it takes to get there. Search strategies vary based on your dealership’s goals and objectives, the competitiveness of your local market, and your marketing plan. Here are four qualities that our most successful dealers share regarding SEO:
1. They consider SEO as a form of advertising, and budget for it accordingly.
SEO should be part of your overall dealership’s marketing plan. It goes hand-in-hand with your paid search, as well as your offline advertising efforts. Most vendors offer various levels of managed SEO services in addition to paid search and display advertising. When these services are used in tandem, the benefits can have greater positive impact on your dealership than if used independently.
2. Their websites are updated frequently with high-quality content.
Our most successful dealers have websites where content is frequently added, typically in the form of blog posts, custom pages and special offers. Nobody likes a stagnant site, and it’s a poor user experience when outdated information is still on display. Your dealership is philanthropic. Why not share contributions in the community with your website visitors? While you’re at it, share that content on your social networks as well. The more you can share about what makes you different, what events you sponsor, what charities you work with, etc., the more likely potential customers will have a positive view of your brand, and the more likely your site will score a higher ranking on Google.
3. They focus on the KPIs that matter.
There are lots of metrics you can analyze to gauge SEO performance. What you don’t want to do is obsess over any one metric, such as rankings for a particular keyword. Keyword rankings change and shift daily. While keyword rankings are a valuable metric, you should shift your focus to overall organic website metrics like year-over-year and month-over-month visits, leads, and vehicle details page views. A successful Auto SEO strategy will increase the traffic that comes from organic search engine listings, in addition to the engagement metrics of those users.
4. They have a long view attitude toward SEO.
SEO takes time and commitment. Results aren’t instant; it can take months before fully realizing the success of a particular segment of your strategy, which can be a hard pill to swallow compared to the seemingly quicker gratification of pay per click (PPC) marketing. Think of it this way: SEO is a marathon and PPC is a sprint race. SEO takes long-term training and execution. Knowing that it takes time to see results will allow you to focus on what’s important.
Despite its long range results, SEO should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. Your potential customers are looking for your dealership toward the top of Google’s search engine results pages. Optimizing your content for search engines is the most sustainable and cost-effective way to get your dealership there.