In recent weeks I have been asked to rank the top factors for optimizing car dealer websites. Google reports to having over 200 factors, while the other search engines show similar, undeclared complexity within their own algorithms.
We posted the Top 10 Automotive SEO Factors on our blog a couple of months ago, an article that also appeared in Auto Dealer Monthly, but it was a cursory look. Here at Driving Sales, we will explore each more thoroughly. Those that we have little or no control over, such as the age of the domain, will not be covered, but we'll take a look at everything you CAN improve.
Let's start with...
Inbound Links: Diversity
In the original article, we discovered that:
"This is the least important aspect of the most important factor in SEO: link-building. Diversity is when you’re getting inbound links from many different websites on different Class-C IP addresses. The more diverse, the better, but no matter what anyone tells you, an inbound “spam” link is still worthless even if it’s diverse. More on that later."
The rise of cloud computing has made the need and ability to have diversity of Class-C IP addresses less relevant, but it is still something that should be considered. Dealers and the vendors who work with them should be building a diverse range of links to their websites. This does not mean anything artificial should be employed; if you have quality content and a strong site, building links is often a matter of asking for them.
From a dealership perspective, links can come from many different places. Posting your site in directories is somewhat antiquated but can still have an effect of adding that necessary diversity. Getting links from local publications, automotive enthusiast groups, and even vendors can help as well.
The most important thing to consider is content. If your website is all inventory and no content, chances are that you will have a difficult time getting people to link to your site. While having indexed inventory is an important SEO factor, by itself it will only help to get more long-tail keywords. To get the "money terms" that drive mass traffic, you'll need links. To get the links, you'll need content that compels others to link to it.
One way that dealers can have a direct influence on their link-building is to contribute to other publications. You're an expert in something. You're probably an expert in many things. Whether it's offering content in a blog about the Ford Fusion or details about the hybrid system in the Honda CR-Z, you have knowledge that others want. Offer your expertise and link back to your site within the body. Diversity happens as a result.
Few vendors are offering good link-building products with their SEO and even fewer are doing it right. Taking more control over it from a dealership perspective is a way that you can have a direct impact on your own marketing efforts. You're here on Driving Sales, so chances are you want to make a difference. This is one way to do it.
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We will be covering the other major factors in Automotive SEO regularly in the upcoming weeks.