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I was having a discussion with our founder over the best ways to separate the good from the bad SEO providers in the automotive industry when I realized that very few (VERY few) vendors presented all three components to help dealers make a decision about who to choose. There are three major components that a savvy dealer will want to look at when comparing vendors.
The first one is arguably the most common but still very important. Requisites are "Things that are necessary for the achievement of a specified end." In the field of search engine optimization, knowing what it takes to achieve the goal of higher rankings for the right keywords is essential to success.
SEO is both a science and an art. While there are definitely techniques that can be used and repeated to help towards that end, it's necessary to apply creative thinking during nearly every aspect of the SEO process. It's not simply a robotic experience. Here are the four primary requisites that every SEO vendor should be focused on in 2012 and beyond:
* High-quality, unique content on the site. For years it has been hammered into the automotive consiousness that "content is king" but one of the components that is rarely discussed is that not all content is created equal. It's not about keyword stuffing. It's not about feeding news articles onto your site or automating content through "spinning" tools that generates tons of pages. Not anymore. Today and going forward both Google and Bing are able to recognize high-quality content and reward it over automated content on your websites.
* Inbound links from relevant, trusted sources. This is the big one that is currently being addressed by both Google and Bing. It isn't just a sheer numbers game anymore. More is good, but higher-quality is even better. Is the vendor sending links from hundreds, even thousands of low-quality sites? If so, they're not being as effective as they could be if they were generating organic links from trusted sources.
* Application of "Social Signals" on content pages of the site. Social media has been pushed onto the car business as a golden ticket to success. Whether it is or not is up for debate, but one thing that is clear about social is that it can dramatically affect search results when applied properly. This isn't about putting up buttons on every page. It's about building the trust factor from other humans on content pages on your site that Google and Bing will read as "quality and trusted content." Social media is their way of crowdsourcing the quality of their results.
* Proper keyword research. This can never be discussed enough. The best optimization practices in the world are wasted if the target keywords are poor. Going for the right keywords is the absolute first step to search success.
The second and third portions of sifting through automotive SEO providers are published on other networks. I hope that we can go around the whole circle of the three major automotive social networks to provide real understanding to dealers around the nation.