We all know that just having a website, no matter how great, is not enough to make sales in the automotive industry. LEARN MORE
Navigating SEO is a DrivingSales.com exclusive series by Timothy Martell, CEO of Wikimotive. Each Friday, Tim breaks down ways dealers can improve their SEO and offers insight into how it will benefit business.
Over the past three weeks, I've dropped a lot of SEO knowledge on dealers. The ultimate goal with this series is to take SEO and relate to the ins and outs of the car business.
Most companies hide behind a vale of secrecy when it comes to SEO, leading businesses to believe that there's some kind of secret sauce that marketing companies have hidden away.
Well, if that were true, I'm about to give away my recipe.
Here's how to create your own content strategy from the ground up.
Aligning Content and Goals
The problem with most dealership content is that it doesn't really align with the goals of the dealership. What are the goals of every dealership?
Sell more cars!
Which car could you be selling better? What's the most in-demand car in your area? The answers to these questions will help you focus on the topics that will impact your dealership the most.
Now, you know which cars are selling well and which could be selling better. The big question is, does user search data align with that? Let's consult Google Adwords to find out.
By using the Keyword Planner tool, you can discover which vehicle from a particular brand is getting the most search traffic. You want to base a lot of your content around the highest volume vehicles so you can grab a share of that traffic, which extends to longtail (unique) searches as well.
Think About Authority More Than Selling
It seems like the opposite type of mindset when your goal is to sell more cars, but writing copy that is all about "coming on down for great deals on the 2015 Acme Acmobile" won't win over search engines.
Your goal should be to make your site an authority on the models you sell.
And that doesn't mean just re-posting OEM vehicle descriptions and specs. (That would be duplicate content!) It means meticulously researching each vehicle, taking cues from content on other sites, and creating new, original content that is better than everything else out there.
You want to be an authority on theses vehicles because Google and search engines love information. These companies want to send their users to pages with the best information, and if you're not giving that to them, why should they send you free traffic in return?
Executing a Simple Content Strategy
Again, there's no secret sauce to creating a content strategy. Plenty of resources are available online to get you off the ground running.
The only difference between most content strategies is execution.
Some sites do it better than others because they employ a great company, while others struggle because they've settled for less.
As long as you're dedicated to going the extra mile, you'll see results. There are no shortcuts in SEO anymore. It's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Content should be thought of in a tier system. Tier one is your main content page. It should focus on a dealer-related keyword, such as "NH Ford Dealer" or a model/service-related keyword, such as "Ford Mustang Boston."
These pages should be long, information-heavy, and designed to build an association between your site and the keyword (along with many other related keywords).
From there, tier two encompasses content meant to generate interest in your products. "How to Choose Between a Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro" is a great example of content that you'd use to build interest in the Mustang, while adding to your authority on that topic. You'd want to integrate keywords into these posts and link to the relevant tier one page.
While tier three should be scaled slowly, it's a powerful way to generate more content and increase traffic to your dealership's site. Tier three content can be blog posts, infographics, or videos that have mass appeal.
For instance, news about the Ford Mustang would be a great fit for tier three content. Google and other search engines love fresh content! Google calls it "Query Deserved Freshness." By writing about big news related to the Mustang, you're telling Google that you've got your finger on the pulse, which further builds your site up as an authority.
Start Slow if Plan is Internal
SEO is not something you pick up one day and then drop the next.
Search engines are about as close to a living thing can get online, as SEO strategies change with updates.
So don't go trying to conquer the world on day one.
Start with one brand and work your way up with a monthly schedule and plenty of time allocated to ensure quality. Once you've committed, don't go back; always move forward. If you're idea is to just "test" content and SEO to see if it works for you, don't bother starting.
Remember: this isn't advertising. You can't just throw money at it and get results. It's an ongoing effort, but the payoff is far superior to that of advertising.
The only question left is, do you want customers to find you or are you satisfied with trying to find customers?