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Google takes a lot of heat in the tech world for being too powerful, potentially evil, and undoubtably ambitious. It comes with the territory; rarely can a company attain the level of complete domination within an industry the way that Google has owned search for years.
Bing is still valid as is Yahoo by default, but the reality is that the general population trusts Google results as an authority. Everyone has had seemingly-impossible-to-answer questions that have been instantly, almost magically answered by the Big G.
It's for this reason that ranking near the top for competitor cities is one of the highest value SEO goals a dealer and their SEO vendor can have. It's a core to KPA SEO. Here's why:
Let's say you have a competitor in Jaredville 30 miles to the north. The city is medium sized but the Miltsch Auto Group has the market cornered and they have the only Ford point in Jaredville. Just about everyone in town knows about Miltsch Ford.
When people want to buy a vehicle or have their Ford serviced, chances are they're going to search Google for "Miltsch Ford" or "Miltsch Auto Group". Those people aren't your targets. It's the people who do the search for "Jaredville Ford" or "Jaredville Ford Dealers" that you want.
Why? Because since they know all about Miltsch and may have even done business with them in the past, when they go to Google to search for "Jaredville Ford", they're looking for an alternative. They're looking for you or whatever dealer is ranked near the top for that search.
People trust Google's opinion and we ask it all the time without noticing. If you're in the top 5 (preferably #2, of course) for the terms "Jaredville Ford" and "Jaredville Ford Dealers" you have an opportunity to not only sell more cars but to also keep a deal from going to your competitor.
Defend your own backyard as much as possible. Once you're set in your own city, start going after your competitors. It's this type of strategy that will separate you from the other dealers in the area and can have a dramatic affect on your numbers as well as their numbers.