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Mark Frost

Mark Frost SEO Manager

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Content Marketing for the Innovative Dealership

Content Marketing

Dealerships are facing an uphill battle in the fight to reclaim search rankings from third-party listings, as well as the attempt to win customers through social media. For both automotive SEO and social media marketing, however, content is the single most important factor for overall success.

You can optimize your dealership’s site to compete for certain keywords, but that’s only going to get you so far with Google. In order to truly impact rankings, you need to acquire links to your site. The absolute best way to do that is to produce content worth linking to in the first place. That is the essence of content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the art of creating high-quality content for the purpose of building awareness about a product, service, brand, or company. This is typically accomplished without employing sales tactics or openly pushing an agenda, unlike other forms of advertisement.

The idea is to create content that your target audience will find valuable–whether it be entertaining, informative, or both at the same time. This content wants to be shared. It’s so good that every person that sees it wants everyone they know to see it.

How content marketing works for car dealers

How Content Marketing Works

Step 1. Create great content.

Step 2. Share/promote content.

Step 3. Users enjoy, share, and link to your content.

Step 4. Google accounts for the activity around your content and increases your rankings.

Step 5. Local car buyers are better able to find your site to research vehicles and submit leads.

Is your content worth linking to?

Imagine you’re looking for information on a car your dealership happens to sell. Is your site providing that information or is another site doing a better job? Your site needs to be the resource that goes above and beyond what’s expected and provides real answers that are presented in an easily-digestible, entertaining fashion.

How Do Dealerships Create Great Content?

  1. Understand your customer — What gets the most views on your site right now? What questions are customers asking when they visit your dealership? What are your most popular vehicles? Are customers more interested in new or used cars? Do you get a lot of bad credit customers? The more you understand your customers, the better you can tailor content for the keywords you’re looking to target.
  2. Discover what works — As a dealership, you’d probably look to other dealerships to see what works and what doesn’t in terms of content. But your average dealership is not creating original content as part of their SEO strategy. Instead, look to automotive-related publications for insight into what people want to read and view online.
  3. Experiment with different content — In order to get an idea of what people will share or link to from your dealership’s site, create at least three different types of content. One might be a vehicle comparison of one of your popular models vs. a competitor, another might be an infographic about the evolution of a particular model, and another may be a list of tips for new car owners. Make sure each piece of content has the same chance for success, but see which one comes out on top and follow the feedback from users to tailor your next batch.

Basic Content Promotion

After the creative process is complete and your content is live, how do you go about promoting it so users can discover it?

Utilize social media sites, along with the amplifying powers of paid promotion, to target users based upon interest. The ultimate goal is to drive traffic to your content to increase social signals through shares, as well as links from other sites.

You start this process by using Facebook’s Promoted Posts and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets to target local users. Facebook has a sophisticated ads platform that allows you to target users by every parameter associated with a Facebook profile, making it a great place to start.

Twitter’s Promoted Tweets platform is new to most businesses, but a great start in going beyond local users. The reason Twitter is important in that regard is site publishers, writers, and editors tend to be active on the site, looking for news and content to share. Targeting an audience with an interest in cars or the automotive industry is a great strategy for building links.

Advanced Content Promotion

If your dealership wants to take its content marketing to the next level, give Reddit and StumbleUpon a try. These two sites require content that is both high quality and targeted. This means you need to understand what the users on these sites are after before you simply drop in to promote your existing content. Because both sites’ users will bounce faster than any other type of user on the web if they’re not interested.

Content Marketing on Reddit 

Reddit users are very particular about the types of advertising that appears on the site. This social news site is made up of mostly young males who are very passionate about the community. If your ads are not highly-targeted and entertaining, it’s not likely to perform and may even receive negative attention or none at all since Reddit does not guarantee views. However, Reddit users love to see advertisers who understand that if you’re going to advertise, you might as well add value to the end user as well.

To accomplish this, the content you market toward Reddit users must be created with the community in mind. Take a look at the top-ranked content on subreddits (niche communities within Reddit) like Cars, CarTalk, and Autos for examples of what Reddit’s car-loving members wants to see.

The infographic idea I previously mentioned–that details the evolution of a particular model–is a timeless idea that  would work well if the ad copy was written in a unique, fun fashion.

Paid Discovery on StumbleUpon

Unlike Reddit, StumbleUpon actually guarantees the views you pay for with its advertising platform Paid Discovery. The service also puts your content on an even playing field with user-submitted content and allows it to receive additional free views if it is shared by StumbleUpon users.

In fact, if you create content that users really respond to, you could receive just as much traffic from user shares as you did from Paid Discovery. This incentivizes businesses to create exceptional content for the StumbleUpon community.

Like Reddit, though, StumbleUpon’s users expect high-quality content and will skip over pages that do not immediately stand out from the pack. There’s no room for error or half-completed work when it comes to social media success.

Measuring Success

When your ultimate content marketing goal is to boost SEO efforts, it takes a few months to see the fruits of your labor. In the meantime, the easiest way to measure success before you see changes in your search rankings is overall traffic to your content, as well as social shares. No matter what you’re paying for, if your audience is responding to the content, you should see a good jump in traffic.

Content marketing is not a race, and relies solely on the effort you and your team put into the end product. The best approach is to always focus on making your target audience happy. Results will follow from there.

Grant Gooley
Awesome! "Content is king" will never die! Dealerships with the best content strategies will come out ahead in the long run. Just takes patience and a good plan. Thanks for sharing :)
Mark Frost
Exactly, Grant. While everyone else is focusing on short-lived gimmicks, we've got the secret sauce. Glad you enjoyed the post!
Alexander Lau
The Truth About the Concept of Content Being King http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/profiles/blogs/the-truth-about-the-concept-of-content-being-king Are Keywords Still Important to Google Hummingbird? Search engine results used to be about matching keywords and phrases rather than the true meaning of the query. While the new algorithm presents a shift from results to answers, keywords will not go away completely. Hummingbird has confirmed that the majority of searches are long-tail queries with low search volume and frequency. As we know, such long-tail keyword phrases also tend to have higher conversion rates. The keywords within a query are still important – our focus should be on incorporating them naturally into our content. Use grammatically correct phrasing with less emphasis on placing keywords upfront in headings and sentences in an unnatural way. The goal is to provide answers to real-world long-tail questions using natural language. Here are some topline SEO techniques to follow as they apply to Google Hummingbird: Technical SEO Foundations Machine-readable content – ensure your website is accessible, crawlable, and indexable. Embed structured data (Schema.org and related markup) in your HTML to help Google understand the context of your web pages. Structured data – ensure that information is structured to answer the questions people ask. This can improve clickthrough rates in organic search results when displayed as rich snippets; it also provides the information Google needs for the Knowledge Graph. Information architecture – ensure all web pages are within four clicks of the home page, with simple readable URLs. Avoid duplicate content – use canonical directives to indicate the primary URL you want the search engines to crawl. Build a mobile-friendly version of your website. Optimized Content Marketing Continue to publish fresh, original, high-quality content that answers the questions your target market is searching for. Put visitors first – address the real needs of the people who visit your website and provide them with relevant, useful content. Understand your audience – what matters to them, and tell them how you can help. Be an authority – provide thought leadership on a specific topic and answer related questions better than anyone else. Optimize at the page level – focus on one topic per page with links to related content, use straight forward page titles, synonyms and long-tail keywords. Types of Content: Question and answer content format, e.g. How To’s, interviews, FAQs, answer the 5 W’s, Ask the Expert Wide topic coverage – don’t rewrite the same topic in several different ways, Google knows it’s the same Current news/events; answer questions on current topics Videos Infographics Publish unique information (e.g. proprietary research) Educational resources – build awareness and trust, include target keywords, earn authority in your space Social Signals Create link- and share-worthy content – make it easy for people to like, tweet, +1, pin and share your content with social sharing buttons on every page of your website. Share your content with your audience on social networking sites that make sense to your business to help build audience relationships and engagement. Google+ Business Page – link your company’s Google+ business page to your website to help ensure your business exists as an entity in the Knowledge Graph. Use Google Authorship – connect your web content to the Google+ accounts of the people who contribute to your website to help build trust with your audience. Get reviews. Backlinks Increase domain authority – obtain quality backlinks from topically related websites or sections within sites. Expect that most links will (should) be earned passively/naturally. Get to know the influencers in your space – build relationships with authors, publishers and clients who will link to your content. Contribute to relevant online communities. Anchor text – ensure it matches or relates to the web page being linked to. Remove bad quality links – use the Google Disavow links tool if/when needed. "Google Hummingbird: Keep Calm and Optimize On" Posted December 19th, 2013 and written by Lori Gariepy Source: http://www.gshiftlabs.com/google-hummingbird-keep-calm-and-optimize-on/
Alexander Lau
I was the ghost writer for this piece featured in AutoSuccess Magazine, but it goes along with your article: http://www.worlddealer.net/2013/06/employing-white-hat-seo-methods-and-search-content-marketing Content is King, but it has to be executed Correctly The dynamic face of SEO has changed and will continue to evolve. It’s not that content has failed to be an essential part of solid SEO strategies; it’s become even more of a vital SEO component today. The impact of content marketing done right is irrefutable and in today’s competitive digital marketing environment, quality content publishing is critical. One of the most significant components of any healthy website and potent digital marketing strategy is the incorporation of an on-site, seamless blog. A good blog is not only unique and targets a specific audience; it provides informative and relevant content that can be syndicated. Building content within your blog that engages will help your other important pages such as inventory, specials, and the homepage itself rank better organically. Sometimes providing content your audience wants to see first, can lead to a better overall conversion rate. Educational, entertaining, customer experience and community focused content all engage well. Additionally, sharing quality blog content on social networks is a good way of promoting your products and services. It’s widely accepted to have a 80/20 split, with 80% of your updates not self-promotional and 20% self-promotional. If you use the 20% self-promotional updates to share links to your blog content, you’ll give your audience something more valuable to read than a product or service sales page.
Alexander Lau
Sell, discover, deliver & report on highly converting keywords A well-planned content publishing strategy will serve you well. It’s imperative to understand your target audience and the keywords that truly convert. That’s not only based upon discovery of sheer market search volume and demographics, but what your customers have to say. Find out what problems and challenges they have, and customize your site accordingly. That’s the type of evergreen content Google respects the most. It’s useful, it’s helpful, it’s relevant and your customers will find it and they’ll keep coming back for more. It’s essential to publish popular content that converts, but also just as important to create a schedule or routine. If you regularly publish valuable articles, you’re going to get, over time, a good repository of evergreen and news content that continues to serve your website well. Consistency is key in terms of a publishing schedule. If you don’t keep at it, your traffic will drop and it can take you months to regain ground. Momentum is a real force on the Internet. It’s up to you, you’re either in the race or not. Additionally, Google adores fresh content, as they continuously update their algorithm. If you persist in putting out fresh content, you’re making sure Google pays attention to your website. Your site’s credibility and authority is going to improve each time they make an algorithmic update. Consistently publishing and syndicating quality content is one of the best ways to get your site well ranked and stay ranked.

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