OPTIMIZING A WEBSITE
One of the most important strategies you can do for your website is SEO, but ranking on Google is getting harder and harder.
While this is true for all businesses, car dealerships are probably the most complex. Today’s shoppers, no matter for what product, do a lot of their research online before they go to the store, if that’s the case.
However, car dealerships are more complex than average local businesses, which means that their digital marketing strategies are also more complex.
Why? First, dealerships often sell from different manufacturers. They also sell a wide variety of used vehicles from even more different manufacturers. Then they have a service department that offers maintenance, repairs and aesthetics. Finally, most of them (if not all) offer the financing service for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd chance credit.
An automobile dealership is the equivalent of four companies in one: they sell new vehicles, used cars, do maintenance and offer financing to their customers.
This means that your SEO optimization strategy must also be multidimensional. In addition, some dealers have multiple locations and perhaps different websites for each location. So, if you want to do SEO for your car dealership (in fact, you do not have the choice to do so to stay competitive), you have to think about all these elements.
Now that the why is established, what are the search optimization strategies you should use?
Here are our Nerd recommendations.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Google My Business has a direct correlation with local SEO – especially when it comes to appearing in the Google Local 3 pack. An important factor with Google My Business is to make sure the information is up-to-date and contain information that those who search on Google will find useful.
This is especially important for very competitive markets, especially when only a few sites appear on the first page of the search results.
Here are some key features of Google My Business to get the most out of it:
- Name, address and telephone number
Make sure all your information and contact information is up-to-date and that it is written in exactly the same way on every directory in which you are registered. Also important: Make sure your LOCAL regional phone number is the one listed in your listing first.
Google My Business allows you to select categories to describe your dealership offerings. These categories help you reach potential customers who are looking for what your dealer offers. You can select a main category and additional categories – but do not choose too much either.
Google uses photo interaction on Google My Business to rank businesses in local search. Show pictures of your vehicles in the field and update them often. Ask your satisfied customers if you can photograph them with their new vehicle and post them on Google My Business (and your other social media platforms). With a consent form, it’s even better.
Google recently allowed businesses to download short videos in their Google My Business listing. Videos are the best way to show what differentiates you from others. If this option is still not available for your business, do not worry, Google often performs tests before making a feature available to everyone. So be patient and check again in a few weeks.
Online reviews are crucial when someone searches for a new vehicle and tries to find the right dealer to buy it. Very important: Ask your satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and / or your social networking pages. Answer all the reviews you have received, good or bad. This shows that you care about your customers.
- Questions and answers
The Google My Business Q & A feature has been around for months, but many companies still do not know it or why it exists. Check your listing frequently and ask your dealer questions and answer these questions promptly with the correct answer.
Here are other strategies to adopt:
ONLINE DIRECTORIES (PARTICULARLY CAR DIRECTIONS)
Several online directories appear on the first page of Google results, hence the importance of listing your dealer. The more often you appear in the (automotive) directories, the more Google will be aware of the importance of your business.
Note: Sign primarily for auto directories, as Google will be associated with this category over the long term rather than something more general. And to get out in the search results, you must be in the right category in the eyes of the search engine. You can still register on popular sites like Yellow Pages or Yelp.
Just like your Google My Business reviews, online reviews are important. If your dealership has bad reviews, people are less likely to trust you and if a customer has a negative experience with your dealership, chances are he will leave a comment. Good or bad you must answer all and if it is a problem that can be fixed, correct it!
NOTE: Some available software only publishes positive reviews. Google no longer supports them, so be honest and accept that you will sometimes receive negative reviews. What matters is how you manage them.
The selection of good keywords has always been part of SEO. In short, you need to opt for keywords that have a high search frequency and that are directly related to the content of your website. Choose key phrases that your potential buyers use to search for the cars and services you offer.
Google recognizes the text associated with the images on your site. These texts are called “alt-title” and “alt-description”. So to stay consistent in your SEO, you have to give text to your images. According to Google, searches for “[car brand] ‘s photos are up 37% year-on-year. This means that when you download multiple photos of cars for sale, you can include the words “photos of” and the name of the make and model.
OPTIMIZE FOR LOCAL RESEARCH
This is a point that is often difficult to put into practice at car dealerships, but when you get there, it brings a lot of results.
Local connections are important for local SEO purposes of course, but also for the trust the community places in you and the support you give it. Make a link on at least one of the pages of your site that relates to what is happening in your local city. In addition, you can create links to various charities and request that, in turn, they link to your site. Local backlinking at its best!
Online reviews are crucial when someone searches for a new vehicle. Very important: Your business listing and / or your social networking pages. Answer, good or bad. This shows that you care about your customers.