Navigating SEO is a DrivingSales.com exclusive series by Timothy Martell, CEO of Wikimotive. In this series, Tim breaks down ways dealers can improve their SEO and offers insight into how it will benefit business.
If I asked you what kept you up at night, I don't think many of you would be screaming "SEO!"
I don't hold that against you, especially if your job as a manager or business owner involves hundreds of tasks each month. Your site's SEO is just one of those, and the only thing you want to hear is whether things are going well or not, right? We've all been there.
Unfortunately, SEO deserves a bit more attention than that. And while my intention is not to really keep you up at night worrying about organic traffic, I do want you to think about some critical issues that could be affecting your business.
Your Organic Traffic is on a Downward Spiral
This is the big one.
The first thing you should know about SEO is that organic traffic is rarely consistent. Some months there's a spike in certain searches, while others there's a drop. This is the nature of non-paid traffic.
What should keep you up at night is if there's no up to your down. When your site starts to dip, but doesn't come up for air you know there's an issue.
The problem on top of your problem? Your downward spiral could be caused by a number of different issues!
It would be wise to check your site's Google Webmaster Tools account for any messages regarding a manual webspam penalty. If you can't find one, it is possible that you've been hit by an algorithmic penalty, which will not show up as a manual penalty.
To find where the lost traffic was originally landing, you'll have to dig into your analytics. If you notice large losses in organic traffic to your homepage or other main pages of your site, it's likely you've lost some very important rankings.
The best thing you can do in this situation is to order an audit from a reputable digital marketing company, or reach out to an expert you can trust. Because when your site is losing traffic consistently day after day, you can't afford to sit back and wait to see if it corrects itself.
Inaccurate or Missing Local Citations
The idea of local-specific SEO is still relatively new to many business owners. But with map-based results taking over SERPs for more and more queries, getting on top of your local SEO can often make a huge difference in your overall organic results.
One of the keys to increasing your rankings in local search is finding and correcting inaccurate citations, as well as creating new citations on sites that host information about businesses.
What is a local citation?
A citation is simply a mention of your business, which can take the form of simply the name of your company in a local news article or name, address, phone number, and other basic information on site like YellowPages or Yelp.
If your business has ever changed phone numbers, addresses, or changed how the name is formatted, you should have updated each and every one of your local citations throughout the web.
This is a difficult task, but would you rather give up on it because it's hard or work through it and increase leads? Leads please!
If you follow Wikimotive's content, you're probably sick of hearing about duplicate content. Well, I'm tired of it too. The problem is, it's still an issue with thousands of dealer websites. So until it's no longer an issue, I need to take every opportunity to make sure it's on the minds of dealers across the country.
Google has stated that duplicate content on its own is not going to get you in trouble:
“Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results,” the company says in its official article on the topic.
In thinking about car dealer websites, duplicate content is usually created by the website provider itself. Sometimes it's a part of an add-on SEO strategy, but most of the time it's just standard practice for website providers to just blatantly duplicate content over and over across individual sites and other dealers' sites, changing only keywords, in order to manipulate rankings.
"Wait, You Provide the Same Service to My Competition?"
Speaking of website providers, how many of you pay for extra SEO services from your provider? Well, good news! They're probably providing the same service to your competitor down the street, across town, and even a few towns over.
The problem? How can a company effectivily work on multiple sites that are all vying for the same set of keywords? Hint: it can't.
That doesn't seem to stop them, though. Will you?
Lack of Unique Content and Relevant Links
Content on its own won't take your site from page 3 to page 1; a hundred links won't do it either.
What makes the difference, however, is the execution of both of these integral parts of SEO. But if you create unique content, systematically link it to related content, and earn links based on the authentic value of that content, the possibilities are endless.
This can't happen if you're not willing to give it a try, though. If your site is struggling to grow organically, and you don't have a content strategy in place, it could very well be the missing piece to your SEO puzzle.