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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.
In today's ever-changing SEO landscape, lumping the entire practice into one term is often confusing and detrimental to the success of businesses in various industries.
In particular, the automotive industry is filled with confusion around what exactly SEO is, how much time it takes, costs, and the various strategies used to grow organic traffic.
To help shed light on some of the more advanced types of SEO, here's a look at a few key strategies your dealership is likely overlooking:
In this series, I've written extensively on the subject of local SEO. For 2015, it's one of the most important parts of a dealership's SEO strategy, yet one that most overlook. This has a lot to do with the industry's delayed adoption of current and advanced SEO strategies, mostly due to vendors that are content charging for a service with no value simply because someone is willing to pay for it.
But if you want to put your money into something that will actually benefit your site's SEO and drive more targeted local traffic, this is for you.
To get started, you'll need to audit your local presence on sites that host business information; sites like Yelp and YellowPages. The information on these sites must match what you've provided on your Google My Business page. This is because the search engine wants to list only the most reputable businesses when a user submits a related query, and the best way to determine this is the quality and number of listings your business has throughout the web.
Be sure this information is accurate and formatted the same on each and every listing site in order to get the best results possible.
Considering SEO is all about how you optimize and build authority for your website, how does one work toward that goal without actually working on the website itself? Well, SEO comes down to more than just what Google and other search engines see on site, but how your site connects with others
By now, you've probably heard of linkbuilding, as it's one of the biggest parts of a solid off-site SEO strategy. But how do you build links? There's an easy answer, but it's followed by a lot of hard work.
Think of links as Google currency. Some are pennies, which pretty much just take up space, get tossed in with other spare change, and eventually exchanged for a small amount of real money. Others, however, are worth cold hard cash. If there was a legitimate exchange rate, the most valuable links would probably be worth upwards of $10,000.
You obviously want to acquire links worth more than less, but acquiring those is much more difficult. Before you start thinking about linkbuilding, you first need to create content worth linking to. Without this, your site won't be relevant or valuable enough to deserve a link from high-authority sites.
For dealerships, links from sites with automotive-related content are the most value due to relevancy. Install Moz's "Mozbar" and begin exploring sites with automotive content, such as blogs and resource sites. When running the Mozbar, you'll be able to see each site's Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA).
This will give you an idea of which sites are worth receiving links from and which sites are not. Any domain with a score below 25 is likely new or lacking substance. Once you find sites with DA 50 or higher, you're likely looking at older, established sites that are trusted throughout the web. These should be your prime targets.
One of the most underrated types of SEO, technical SEO is all about how Google sees your website from a functional perspective.
Issues with your website's code, navigation, speed, or technical content could negatively affect rankings, leaving you wondering what's wrong with your website. One of the biggest issues most businesses are unaware of is usability.
The more search users engage with your site and its content, the more Google realizes that your site is providing a good user experience. These metrics can and will backfire, however, if your site is providing a subpar experience or simply does not align with the searcher intent. Your site's design should focus on a clean, simple experience and your content should be targeted to provide intent-driven searches answers and resources.
Because of the nature of automotive websites run on vendor platforms, it's not possible to always correct issues with your website. If you're not satisfied with your current provider, or have been seeing a dip in organic search traffic over several months, there are plenty of new, advanced providers out there willing to put in the time and effort to help with technical SEO.
While a lot of dealerships upload videos to YouTube, few do so in a way that will get their videos in front of more local users. Here's a quick guide that will help bring in more customers with the power of video:
Step 1: Go In-Depth with Walkthroughs
Video walkthroughs tend to be short and edited for quick viewing, but if you really want to engage potential customers and sell them on a particular vehicle, you need to pull out all of the stops. Beforehand, research specs from competitor models and make references to these throughout the video. You don't have to oversell, either. Just show how genuinely amazing the vehicle is and present the viewer with a simple way to get in touch with your dealership.
Step 2: Optimize the Video Data
Your video should have a keyword-rich title, such as "2016 Chevy Cruze Walkthrough - Chevy Cruze Cincinnati, OH." In addition to this, provide a quick 75-word description and leave contact information, including a link to 2016 Cruze inventory on your dealership's site, phone number, link contact form, and even an email address.
Step 3: Promote the Video
For free promotion, post these videos to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. You should also create content on your website related to the specific model featured in the video and embed that video on the page to supplement the written content.
But this will only do so much for views and engagement stats on your video, so you should consider paid promotion on YouTube or other social media sites to give it a boost. You can target users in your market only, ensuring the views you receive don't go to waste on non-local users.
What SEO strategies are you taking advantage of that others should know about? Which type of SEO is causing you the most trouble? Leave questions and comments below and let's get talking!