It's been a while since I published some "how to" articles on link building and Automotive SEO strategies. Many people have said that that "Content is King" and I would like to append to that adage "and links are the Queen".
Car dealers who would like to increase the number incoming links to their primary domains can read further to see if any of my suggestions are new ideas. If so, add them to your digital marketing strategy to increase the search authority of your digital assets.
The sites I have listed below perform two basic functions: content publishing to get additional listings on Google Page One and secondly, to build links back to your website(s). The more organic listings that you have on Page One for popular search phrases, the higher your chances that you will get a call, a lead or a walk-in.
Before we address those strategies, do you know how many links point to your website? Let me make sure that everyone knows how to get their inbound link counts before we go any further.
One of the best ways is to go to your Google Webmaster Tools control panel and see the links to your website but since few people have access to that data, Yahoo is second best. If you visit Yahoo.com and do a search using the "link:" command, you can see how many links point to your website.
How To Get Your Inbound Link Counts
Type in the Yahoo search box the words: link:http://www.yourdomain.com with "yourdomain.com" replaced with your website. When you click on the search box, the Yahoo Site Explorer will come up and show and initial screen. The link counts that are displayed on the initial screen are misleading because they include internal links. Internet links are pages on your website pointing to other pages on your website.
The screenshot above shows 2,344 inbound links in box B. However, we want to find just the inbound links from other websites. To do that we need to click on the dropdown box in box C and select "Except from this domain". Bring up your own domain name now and follow along.
When you select this in box C, the true number of inbound links will show, which in the case for Brickell Honda in Miami, 1,180 links. This is the number you want to write down and check each month as you start a link building campaign.
Linking Building Ideas
Since I have written about using press releases and WordPress blogs as sources for content publishing and link building, we will assume that everyone is using these powerful link building strategies by now. Here are a few other ideas that may add some value to your Automotive SEO campaigns by helping you with Google Page One Management, traffic building and of course link building:
1. Create a free listing in www.aboutus.org. Take the time to fill out all the information that you are asked. To create a new listing just search for your domain name (www.yourdomain.com) in the search box in the upper right hand corner. If they don't have your website in their directory, they will create a page on the fly. Your content descriptions can also have links back to your website and you can also add related links to your microsites.
2. Create a Wiki page for your dealership website or microsite. There are a number of Wiki sites that provide links that are picked up by the search engines. Take a peek at www.openwiki.com and create Wiki's for your dealership name and primary search keywords like "Miami Honda Dealers" or "Dallas Ford Dealers".
3. Create a www.merchantcircle.com free business account and use their publishing tools for blogs, images and videos. A blog post on Merchant Circle will get indexed very quickly and you can include a number of links in your posts. If you publish content on a regular basis you will be pleased to see the inbound links the site produces. You don't have to pay to get the benefits of Merchant Circle for SEO. An example is: http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/PCG.Digital.Marketing.732-450-8200 and you can click on the Blog tab to see example posts.
4. Create accounts on free micro-blogging sites like www.multiply.com, www.posterous.com, www.gather.com or www.biznik.com which will get picked up in search results and can help you with Google Page One Management. Post articles on a regular basis and you will be rewarded. Here are some examples: http://brianpasch.multiply.com and http://biznik.com/members/brian-pasch .
5. Create a www.Squidoo.com lens for the top 10 keyword phrases that you want to target. Make the lens with good content and use a few different modules like RSS feed, Video Module, and of course a few content modules. The content modules can have links back to your website(s). An example of a Squidoo Lens is http://www.squidoo.com/fort-worth-chevrolet-dealers.
6. Create a www.pligg.com site for your specific industry, market or brand. The Pligg site is your own targeted "Digg" site that you can use to re-post links to your blogs, press releases, news releases, and content pages on your website. Think of it as your personal news consolidation website and if you pick a good domain and setup the publishing correctly, you will be surprised at the benefits. An example of an automotive Pligg site is www.carsalenews.com .
7. Create a www.ning.com social networking website. Depending on the size of your dealership and how many cooperative employees you have, a NING site can reach search authority rather quickly with good content and frequent postings. Examples of NING sites include www.internetsalesmanager.org, www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com and www.automotive-advertisingagencies.com. The NING platform allow you to create a blogroll sidebar link tool that appears on all pages which has the potential to create hundreds of links to your website as the site grows.
8. Consider purchasing paid links in www.yahoo.com and www.business.com business directory. There are some benefits of being associated with these two paid directories that I believe are worth the investment. Yahoo charges $299 a year and Business.com has the same charge but readers can email me to get a $50 discount code, which changes each month.
9. Place your website in www.dmoz.org which is the most authoritative website directory in the world. Getting your site listed in the directory takes some careful investigation. One word of advice is to look where your competitors are listed and choose that page to submit your site. This is because the editor of that page has already "approved" car dealer websites and thus your chances of being added are greater.
10. Have your service manager or brand enthusiasts participate in automotive forums like www.vwvortex.com , www.bimmerfest, www.nicoclub.com and others that represent your OEM brand. After active participation get your staff established in the community, their responses can often link back to your dealer website as long as the links are going to pages that provide answers to questions.
Forums have a high PageRank and if your website has color brochures, specification sheets, warranty manuals, etc you can often link to these assets to help forum members. As long as the links provide value you will be golden.
I hope that of the 10 strategies suggested, some of them were new. When implemented, these tasks will enhance your automotive digital marketing campaigns. If you have any questions, just ask or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org