choosing a domain name for credit options....

Linda Loepker
Our F&I department is going to be working with people who have less than perfect credit. I am buying a domain name, and having it point to a credit page on our website. The powers that be chose: DeienForALoan.com Would it be better to have auto and/or credit in the site name? Would that boost SEO? GoDaddy suggested: DeienForALoan.credit I was thinking DeienAutoCredit.com Thoughts? TIA
Mark Frost
Linda, I think you'd be best served keeping it all under your main site. Adding a new domain to the mix will make it harder for your site to gain traction in search. At Wikimotive, we've used subdomains to host bad credit sub-sites in the past, but the best results came when we put that content on the dealer's main site. So I would definitely work on adding that bad credit content to your main site and supplement it with blog posts that reference that main content. That will get your main site quickly associated with the keywords you're trying to target for bad credit buyers. Let me know if I can help in any way!
Ryan Everson
Hi Linda, Great idea to target people with less than perfect credit! Since the domain you are buying is only going to be forwarding to a page on your main site, the SEO value of the name does not matter. I am assuming you want to register a separate domain name so you can use it in your advertisements so if this is the case I would recommend choosing the domain name that is the easiest for your customers to remember and spell. Also I would stick with a .com if possible, as the majority of people will not remember the .credit gTLD. I would also register commonly misspelled variations of the domain name. Someone who hears a radio ad for DeienAutoCredit.com may mistakenly type in DienCarCredit.com or DeanAutoCredit.com. If you are thinking about registering a new forwarding domain name for purely SEO reasons and not for advertising reasons, then consider scrapping the idea as it will not really help SEO. Google only takes the name of the domain into account when that domain is actually hosting the website (and is a pretty insignificant ranking factor compared to what it once used to be). For example if you register DeienAutoCredit.com and 301 forward it to DeienChevrolet.com/finance, Google could pretty much care less about the DeienAutoCredit.com domain unless it had a high number of quality backlinks, pagerank, etc but since this is a newly registered domain none of those factors will exist here. Google used to rank exact match domain names extremely high even if they were thin on content and authority. That's why microsites were all the rage not so long ago. You could register DallasCarLoans.com and be the top ranking domain for "Dallas Car loan" queries in no time with little work. That is no longer the case, now google would much rather show a more authoritative and quality website and not care much about the actual name of the domain. That is why it is a much better idea to put all of your content and focus on one single domain. It is counter intuitive for a dealership to have multiple separately hosted domains when they could merge the websites into one single domain and combine all of the content, authority, etc (with proper 301 redirects in place). You'll find that by using a single domain your new content will rank higher and more quickly than if you had put it on a separate hosted domain, for example DeienBlog.com. That's not to say there aren't instances where you should have a separate domain for certain purposes. If you want to brand something completely different and not tie it to your dealership like SuperCarCreditMan.com then a separate domain would make sense. But using a separate website with its own domain for your inventory, one for service, one for blog, one for reviews, etc is generally not the best strategy. One thing I would recommend for your actual credit page in terms of the finance application is to make it a multi-page form. On page 1 of the credit application form only ask for the customer's name, email, and phone number. On page 2 ask for all of the detailed information like employment, residency etc. The reasoning for this is customers are much more likely to fill out a seemingly short form than a long intimidating form like most dealerships use. When a customer submits page 1, it will send their info to your CRM so if they don't finish page 2 at least you'll have their contact information! We have found that over 85% of people finish page 2 as well though because once they finish page 1 they feel more committed to the process. Going from a single page credit app to a multi page form will easily increase your credit application leads by 50% or more due to the increased conversion rate. The main thing for credit challenged customers is to make them feel at ease and comfortable with applying. A good majority of these customers have been turned down and humiliated at other new car dealerships so they often think that a buy here pay here dealership is the only option. You should show that you are different and work with specialized subprime lenders everyday at getting credit challenged customers approved and into the vehicle they deserve. You also have to sell it as a chance for them to improve their credit. Most buy here pay here's don't submit to the credit bureaus so they are not building any credit and are in an endless loop of not being able to get approved anywhere else. By buying a vehicle at your dealership, sure the payment or interest rate may be a little higher than they would like and the vehicle isn't their dream car but at least they are positioning themselves for success in the future by building up their credit and the next time they may be able to go with a low interest captive lending source or even be able to buy a house now. Having these success stories makes you different than all the other dealerships who often don't want to deal with the hassle of subprime customers. Feature a frequently asked questions page that can be used to quell any common concerns that these customers may have. Feature a testimonials page showcasing your satisfied customers who were approved (video testimonials are even better). Implement a blog or landing pages discussing common credit issues, like buying a car with bankruptcy. All of these different elements will help your SEO immensely but more importantly will help your prospective customers choose you over the competition. Also make sure all of these pages you create exist on the mobile version of your website unless you have a responsive site. Over 55% of our credit applications come through our mobile site so you're missing out if it's only on your desktop site. And make sure you cover the basics like unique and SEO optimized title tags for each page and a friendly URL if your CMS gives you that capability. Hope this all helped and apologize in advance for going a little in depth on the SEO aspect! Ryan
Linda Loepker
Thank you for the information!!! The reason for a separate domain name is simply that we want people to go straight to the credit app. Our URL for our credit app is HORRIBLE: https://gmdealersecureforms.com/deien/FinancePreQualForm?originalDomain=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.deienchevrolet.com%2F&visitorId=B45713F285AFBE3600718F12E5550737&sessionId=0943769D7DDEDE00BC410EE0BE0A3D95 I obviously cannot advertise this. So, by using the deienforaloan, having that point to the credit app page, I don't have to figure out how to work with that URL. We've decided on deienforaloan.com . We know no one can spell Deien correctly, so I'll add other domains with the most common misspellings. And use QR codes in any print advertising. I'll be sprucing up our app page as best I can, but I don't think I can change where the pages break. And we don't have a CRM, other than a log book. Ryan: Thank you so much for all of that information - I really appreciate it and will reference frequently I'm sure.
Ryan Everson
Linda I'm glad I could help! I had figured the primary reason you wanted a separate forwarding domain was for advertising simplification purposes which definitely makes sense, for seo reasons only...not so much. Good luck on your SpiFi campaign!
Linda Loepker
UGH..... I can't point a page directly to the credit app, so would it be troublesome to point the page to an "intro" page, with a clearly marked link to the app?

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