Did you know that almost half of all product searches begin with a Google search? What does this mean for your automotive business? People who are interested in a product or service start with a Google search. Depending on where they are in the marketing funnel, this could be a search for more information, a search for potential vendors, or a search for a specific product. So, what is automotive SEO, is it important for your business, and how can you get started creating a digital marketing strategy?
What Is Automotive SEO?
Automotive search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing strategy businesses use to increase traffic to a website. This is done by increasing the website’s internet presence and improving the website’s ranking in search engine results. SEO is the website’s performance in organic searches, i.e., non-paid placement. This doesn’t include the traffic generated from paid ad placement.
Automotive SEO Elements
When creating your automotive SEO strategy, the first step is to know the different elements needed in your strategy. While everyone focuses on content, this is only one piece in a much larger puzzle.
Content Writing and Optimization
The most well-known part of SEO is content optimization. This includes things like blog posts, social media posts, white papers, images, and videos. You will optimize your content by focusing on keywords that your target customers would use when Googling. The content you produce needs to check every box for the search engine crawlers while also engaging the human reader.
Local search is a crucial part of your SEO strategy if you have a retail location or your business is location-based. This is how you focus your efforts on those searching for your product or search that are geographically close to you. After all, if you own a mechanic shop, it does you no good to show up for someone who lives 500 miles away. You want a vehicle owner who lives close to your shop. These are the people who are most likely going to use your services.
The first step in establishing a local SEO plan is registering your business with Google My Business. This will create a business profile with pictures of the location, address, phone number, email, hours, and other relevant information. Then, when someone in your local area performs a Google search, your business will pop up on the local business listings.
Successful SEO is about more than just adding quality content to each page. You also need a healthy website setup that creates a positive user experience. Regularly check your website for issues that could potentially cause problems. These include broken links, long redirect chains, duplicate meta descriptions and title tags, cluttered XML sitemap, or improper indexing. In addition, landing pages need to link to other web pages correctly to make website navigation intuitive. Finally, each page must be responsive to look correct on all mobile devices and desktop screens.
Generating backlinks to your website is one of the elements search engine algorithms use to determine the strength of your website. Backlinks are links that other websites have that point to your website. There are dofollow, and no follow links, giving you different benefits. You need a mix of both for a strong backlink profile. Search engines will consider the number of backlinks, the anchor text, and the topic relevancy of the linking website.
One of the most important parts of SEO is tracking the results of your efforts. Car dealers need to know that their investment is generating the appropriate ROI. Set up analytics tracking to monitor website traffic, lead generation, and conversions. Consider tracking integration to ensure you follow the potential customers from the internet to the real world. This will give you a better picture of your car dealership’s performance.
Should the Automotive Industry Worry About SEO?
Yes! While there are many avenues for marketing your auto business, SEO can provide significant benefits. An up-to-date website increases brand awareness, expands reach, establishes trust, and aids in moving potential clients through the marketing funnel. In addition, depending on your business, website visitors can discover, become familiar with, and make a purchase entirely online without ever speaking to you or an employee. This means your business is generating sales even when you aren’t working.
How Are Automotive Websites Ranked?
Search engines use algorithms to decide which web pages to show in the search engine results pages (SERPs). In the early days of the internet and search engines. Over the years, they have become increasingly more complex and sophisticated. Today, there are several factors that search engines consider when deciding how to rank search results. The most influential include consistent and creative content production, informationand usefulness, visitor intent focus, and valuable backlinks. A website that focuses on these has a better online presence.
Automotive Marketing SEO Tactics It’s Time to Give Up
Best practices for SEO are constantly changing. If you haven’t evaluated your content marketing efforts in a while, you could be unknowingly doing things that could actually hurt the performance of your automotive dealership website.
There was a time when search engine algorithms were simple. They would simply see the number of times a particular keyword was used on a page. The more keywords and the more times used, the more relevant the web page. Unfortunately, people began to take advantage of this, and they would stuff keywords into their content to manipulate search engine rankings. These days, the algorithms are much smarter. There are many other factors considered beyond just the number of uses. Keyword research has become an entire industry. For example, auto dealerships need to focus on keywords that go beyond the make and model of a vehicle or using the term “for sale”.
Exact Domain Matching
There was a time when people would try to create domains with the exact name matching the keyword search term people entered. For example, foreginerepair.com or collectorcarsales.com. While there might be some minor benefits in the beginning, many drawbacks come into effect later on. These domains do nothing for the branding of your business. They can be complicated and hard to remember. They can also look spammy or sketchy to potential customers, which would hurt your marketing efforts.
While SEO experts recommend obtaining backlinks, you must do it with restraint and purpose. There is such a thing as bad backlinks. The backlinks that you obtain should be from industry-relevant websites. For example, if you own a car dealership, then a link from the manufacturer’s website, Car and Driver, and Investopedia would be topically relevant. These websites also have very high domain authority, making them important and thereby making your website important. On the other hand, links from Home and Garden Magazine, The Food Network, or a random travel blog are not topically relevant and won’t give your website as much of a benefit. Additionally, you want to spread your backlinks around. One hundred backlinks from one website aren’t beneficial and can actually look like link manipulation to Google.
Flat URL Architecture
The URL for each web page needs to reflect the content of that page and the overall structure of your website. There are three reasons for this. First, it will make navigating your website easier for someone visiting it. Second, it gives better information and a clearer roadmap to the search engine crawlers. Third, a well-organized hierarchy gives better authority to your main and pillar pages, enabling them to perform better.
Think of it like an auto dealer business. Car buyers want to go to your sales team to find out the pricing for a new car. A flat business structure would make it difficult for them to locate this department. Instead, the dealership can provide a high-quality service with people organized into clear departments with managers and directors. The same goes for your website. Internal links will create a spider web effect for your website that connect relevant pages and content. If this sounds overwhelming, there are strategists who dedicate their entire careers to creating effective website URL structures.