CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
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.
I have no doubt that the goal of most business owners is to stand out from the crowd and beat the competition while building/maintaining profit. Most of you can probably think of ways to successful market offline, but how do you stand out online in order to win over more customers?
The absolute essential, and one of the most executable, ways is through content. Not only is content the foundation of any killer SEO strategy, it's also the face of your company online. And because most people start the car buying process online, it can mean the difference between gaining or losing a customer.
Here are a few of the actionable ways you can start creating content to help your site stand out from the competition:
In order to make your content stand out, you've got to know what others are publishing. Don't go into this with the mindset of a dealer researching the competition, though. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer.
If you're looking at a service department page, what would you want to know from that dealership? Is their content answering all of your questions? If not, make a note to ensure your service department page doesn't make those same mistakes.
You should also take notes on positive things you see from the competition's content. You not only want to capitalize on their failures, but emulate their success as well.
One of the most important aspects of creating content is understanding your audience? Who am writing for? What do they want to know? What's the purpose of this content? If you can't answer those three questions for every single page on your site, something's wrong.
As car dealers, you interact with customers every single day and probably know more about them than you might think. Ask your sales staff to tell you a few of the questions and comments people have about specific models. Ask the service department about concerns most people have with regular maintenance and repairs. And finally, ask the financing team to help you better understand your customers' situations when they're having trouble getting approved for a loan.
By getting to know who your customers are, what they want from you, and the problems they face, you'll be able to address them better through your content. This will not only lead to better content, but will allow you to build connections with potential customers before they even start the car buying process.
With content, most dealers seem to do the bare minimum. It's almost like they hit 300 words and say "Well, that's good enough," and then move on to the next page. There's no word count limit with content, and you certainly shouldn't think that there is.
In fact, longform content ranks better on average and attracts more links, as well as social engagement when compared to shortform content.
Don't get caught up in thinking that it's the word count itself that makes content great, though. The reason longform content tends to do better is because it attracts more links and better overall user engagement (lower bounce rates and high time on site).
But that doesn't mean that you can just cram 1000 or more words on a page without thinking about the quality and still see success. The content not only has to be relevant to the original topic of the page, but it has to align with the intent of the user.
For example, let's say you want to increase your rankings for bad credit keywords, but don't currently have any targeted content on your site. Here's a quick guide to help you target the right keywords, but how to plan and execute the best content for those keywords:
Experiment and Learn from Failure
While there is a lot of data and science involved in a successful SEO strategy, you're not going to find some magic formula and be able to replicate results over and over again.
This means you'll need to experiment with content for a variety of keyword sets and have multiple strategies ready to test. Give the data time to settle to see what's working and what's clearly not. As I've said many times throughout this series, SEO rarely provides fast results and is not meant to be rushed over, only to be abandoned after a short period of time.
If you really want to maintain steady growth online, you have to commit to SEO, work hard, diversify your efforts, and be patient. These are musts in order to see success!
Have any questions or concerns about getting your dealership's SEO off the ground? Let's talk in the comments below!