This blog is part of our Back to Basics refresher on automotive marketing best practices in 7 key dealership digital marketing areas: search engine optimization, search marketing, social media advertising, email marketing, targeted display advertising, video advertising and branded content advertising.
Auto shoppers are spending more time online researching their choices than ever before. Recent research from Google has revealed that some auto shoppers make as many as 900 digital interactions on their path to purchase. The most popular place to start? Search engines like Google and Bing. That’s why it’s key for auto dealers to take ownership of their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for effective automotive marketing.
Search engine algorithms change frequently, so you need to stay on top of changes, follow what’s going on in search and apply best practices.
We’ve put together a simple guide to automotive SEO best practices to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the tools available to help supercharge your success.
TIP #1 Be Present When the Auto Consumer Journey Starts
For the majority of auto consumers, search is key when it comes to researching manufacturer brands, vehicle segments, safety ratings, consumer reviews and more. If you want to be top of mind when a customer is ready to sign on the dotted line, you need to be there when the journey begins.
So how can you make sure your dealership shows up in results for auto shoppers in your area?
First of all, check your most basic information.
Is your dealership Name, Address, and Phone Number information correct across listing sites like Yelp, Google My Business and Foursquare?
This simple step is one of the most important for effective dealership SEO. If your information is incorrect or incomplete, it will be downgraded by search engines in favor of more accurate listings by other dealers.
Search is also a key entry point for consumers looking for reviews for your dealership on local listings like Google as well as third party car shopping sites.
Respond to any customer queries or negative comments here and reinforce positive comments by thanking posters for their thoughts.
Effective local listings and review management should be one of your regular search engine optimization tasks and can also help to build a positive brand presence locally.
TIP #2: Create Content to Make the Auto Buyer’s Journey Easier
Once your listings are clean and shiny, it’s time to think about the content on your dealership website. You might have heard the phrase “Content is king”, and certainly when it comes to SEO best practices, having relevant content on your site is critical.
Google’s latest algorithm update appears to be affecting automotive dealership websites, which is admittedly scary. Not to fear, however, because an effective dealership content marketing strategy grounded in search engine optimization can help.
Align the content on your site to key moments in the auto buyer’s journey – from clear information about makes and models, to details about different pricing options and payment plans. Our recent research with online auto shoppers shows that 75% of customers consider dealership reputation and service as very important when selecting a car, and providing relevant content is a great way to increase trust with your customers. It’s not all about words; video content is another great way to provide information and engage prospective buyers.
Do you have information on your site relating to questions that auto shoppers might have? Timely, relevant content can also boost your search engine optimization. For example, if you’re in a city where it snows often, consider creating a blog post or video on your dealership website with tips on winter tires, when to change them and how to get the best performance. You can use this content to fuel your posts on social media and in doing so, grow your audience on these channels.
TIP #3: Search Marketing and SEO go hand in hand
As we’re sure you know, automotive marketing is often in-your-face competitive, and while search engine optimization should be top priority in your dealership marketing plan, it’s not the only element that needs attention. If you’re competing with other major players in your market, you need to add search marketing to your toolbox.
Search Marketing (AKA Pay Per Click advertising or PPC) is undoubtedly one of the most effective tools available for online marketing today. It has the potential to create a direct improvement in visits to your site. Committing part of your budget to paid search will boost your overall SEO strategy.
The key to success is choosing the best keywords and audiences to target – tools like Google’s AdWords can help you determine the right search terms to target for search engines, while Facebook’s sophisticated audience targeting can find you the right people to reach in your area.
Combine all the elements for a supercharged SEO strategy
As we’ve shown, an effective search engine optimization strategy can improve your discoverability and local reputation, helping to support the ultimate goal – a better bottom line for your business.
Ensuring your listings are up to date across the web, creating relevant content for customers, and using paid search advertising to support your efforts will boost your online presence, and turn your dealership into a digital success story.
LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE can support you every step of the way, from fixing inconsistencies in your listings to flagging reviews that need attention, we’ll monitor your presence across the web and suggest practical improvements designed to make a difference.
Get in touch today to learn more about search engine optimization solutions for your auto dealership.