The Must Read SEO Guide for Car Dealers
A long time ago, franchise and used car dealers attracted business through stand out premises and things like flags and bunting. Today, almost all initial new inquiries come through either their manufacturers, online providers such as carsales.com.au, carsguide.com.au or the dealers own website. Your website is actually your second dealership face and if it’s not as attractive as your actual dealership, then there’s every chance the prospective customer will pass you by. This is a must read SEO Guide for Car Dealers.
Think of it this way. If you erected black plastic all around your premises and took down your manufacturer signs. Arguably your prospective customers wouldn’t even look inside. The same applies to online dealerships, yet I see so many websites that are just simply unattractive, with out of date stock and ‘content’ (stories, pictures etc.) that are so out of date it’s just plain crazy or perhaps lazy. Your website needs to be a showroom to generate enquiry. Don’t for one minute think that a website sells cars. It doesn’t. What it does do and effectively is welcome the prospect into your business, it should engage them with up to date articles, stories about customer and certainly outline what you do, how you do it and who does it for you.
Many dealers allow their sales managers and staff to manage their website. Would you allow those same people to redecorate your actual dealership? Would you allow them to erect banners and signs without consultation? I think not. To achieve greatness in your online store, the decision maker needs to be familiar with marketing and Search Engine Optimization strategies for generating inquiry and maintaining that inquiry over the longer term. Here are the basics of auto SEO.
What is automotive Search engine Optimization really?
Arguably, search engine optimization is the process of building and maintaining a dealer’s website tailored for the car industry. It contains things like Headers, Page Elements and content relevant to the new or used car prospect that provides information about the dealer and their staff. Remember that the customer will have visited manufacturer’s websites, third party websites such as carsales.com.au and carsguide.com.au
The prospective customer is looking for a reason to choose your business rather than another selling the same brands. They’re after information that they can rely on to make a decision. SEO for the car industry looks at the relevancy of navigable links, headlines, Meta tags, content and importantly keywords to assist a dealerships website to rank higher in search engines through SERPS – Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Why should car dealers do SEO?
In Australia at least, Google still is the most used search engine. Bing, owned by Microsoft has improved their share over the last 12-18 months to about 14% but Google still has the lions share at around 75%. Google has become the vernacular for search. We don’t say “let’s search something” we say let’s google it.
Google is very strict with regards the ranking of websites. The Google Algorithms are modified regularly (Penguin, Panda and all their versions). It’s Googles intent to provide the most accurate and timely information to their clients – the prospective customers doing searches. If your content is out of date, the likelihood is that Google will bypass your site in preference for another site that has fresh content. That fresh content must be relevant to the customers search terms. Google has a factor named quality score – if the search term that the customer uses isn’t contained in the dealers website, then the resulting search results will place the dealer’s information on the second, third or even last page of the Google search results. By using good quality SEO, car dealers will improve the chances of their dealership ranking higher in the search engine results.
By following the Google rules, a dealership will improve the relevance and quality of their website. In turn, this helps improve exposure to your target audience – car buying prospects. Better search results provide higher traffic, more enquiries and hopefully better sales results.
Search Engine Optimization Techniques – On-page
Optimization of a website isn’t a one-time fix; it’s an ongoing process that needs to be embraced. Everything to do with the car business needs to be included and anything irrelevant needs to be removed. You need to understand what Google wants, Google should get. Using their algorithm, Google looks at content the way their program needs to, not necessarily the way that we as humans do.
Google stipulate that content must be natural. If you try to ‘game’ Google, they will certainly know and penalize your site. Keyword stuffing or in fact any ‘black hat’ ways are a thing of the distant past. Don’t be fooled by companies claiming to get you on the “First page of Google’. Generally these overseas based companies (India in particular) WILL take your money and not provide any outcomes. Readability of your content is the most important aspect of SEO. Text is still the best way to get up the Google ladder, but when combined with Images and Video, a better outcome is assured.
What follows are important techniques and best practice for all car dealerships hoping to improve their ranking through good SEO?
Meta descriptions and titles
It’s imperative to write a good Meta description for all content. Whether you’re a car dealer or any small business, if you’re trying to get a better outcome Meta descriptions are key.
The Meta description should be a short summary of what the primary topic is about. I use YOAST (for WordPress) to write my blogs and articles. Yoast holds your hand and gives you guidance on what the best practice is. Yoast (www.yoast.com) has a free plugin and a pro one too. If you’re using WordPress, try the free plugin and see what your outcome is.
Meta descriptions are limited to 160 characters. Take your time writing the Meta description and make it important but readable. (The Meta description in the illustration are the two lines of text below the star rating. The date is input automatically by Google, so don’t take that into account for your 160 characters.
Meta descriptions help improve your SEO rankings. Fact. It’s important that you use keywords in the Meta description because this is what Google searches for. Better Meta, better search results for the topic you’re writing about.
Onto the META title. That’s the bold line in our illustration. It’s the most crucial part of your post because that is the primary search title for any search engine. As an example, if you’re selling a 2016 Honda Civic and you’re providing a review, then it’s important to state what you’re actually doing.
In this case, “2106 Honda Civic first drive review” will capture all those consumers searching for a review of a 2016 Honda Civic.
The Meta title tells the robots that visit your site, what the article is all about and how relevant it is to the potential customers searching the internet. (Remember that the bots will keep coming back to your site frequently if you’re providing fresh content.)
The Meta Title tells your customers exactly what page they’re visiting and how relevant the information you have to their search terms.
You only have about 55 characters available in your Meta title. Accordingly, it’s the most important part of your post. Take your time to script it as close to perfection as you can. your viewers exactly what page they are visiting and what information they will find there. Search engines display about 50 to 60 characters of a Meta title.
In this screenshot, you’ll see that I’ve typed in 2016 Honda Civic in the search bar. Google, using their Café process, autocompletes what it thinks that the searcher is looking for. In this case, “Honda Civic 2016 Review Australia” is the exact keywords that the consumer is looking for. If your article or post says “honda civic 2016 review Australia” and that’s what the searcher is looking for, it’s likely that your article will appear higher up the organic search results than not.
Keyword research is a very important part of finding relevant words that searchers are looking for. You can use Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner or any other of the keyword search programs on the net. However I find that Google Café is just as good as the others, whilst limiting it to 4 or so results. Again referring to the screenshot above, ther are 4 longtail keyword suggestions that you can incorporate in your article.
At the bottom of the search results page there is another (in this case) 8 related keyword terms. Try to use these as well. These are the search results that Google says people are looking for. If oyu use the 12 keywords in your article, then there’s every likelihood that your article or content will rank really well. But remember again that your content MUST read naturally. Google has an uncanny ability to spot those people who are trying to stuff an article with keywords. That’s a no-no.
Headings and alt tags
Header tags are the gateway to your site. They indicate to the robots the different sections of your website content. Robots check the relevancy of the header tags to determine whether the content is suitable for a particular search. When you’re creating your content, you should take advantage of H1, H2, H3 and H4 tags in your content. If you’re not sure what this means, perhaps you should speak to your web designer or the person that’s uploading the content. Again, Yoast provides a great plug in for WordPress that makes this job very easy. And on the subject of your content, you should always use Alt Tags for your images. In the Alt Tag use the keyword of the content you’re uploading.
Again, using our 2016 Honda Civic as the example, a good Alt tag would be “2016 Honda Civic Review – Interior & Exterior”.
Off-page SEO techniques
First comment I’d like to make about links is that you shouldn’t buy links from a link factory. Google considers this as ‘black hat’ work and it could well suspend your website. Getting it back on line is a task in itself. Inbound links from quality websites that you’re already dealing with are a great way to improve the quality of your site. You should alrady be on google my business, so there’s one. You’re probably dealing with Yellow pages, White Pages but you should also list your business with the many Australian search groups. One of the better one is www.aussieweb.com.au but there a lots more besides. Do a search for ‘local search’ and check out the alternatives. The more back links you have the more credible your website is with the search engines.
Google looks at the backlink profile of dealer websites by looking at the relevance of content containing the link, quality of inbound links, and number of referring domains. Any company you have dealings with is a potential backlink, including your manufacturers.
Referral traffic and domains
You need as many links from quality websites as you can. This will improve your reputation for the search engine robots. Do your best to obtain a good amount of inbound links, (over 100 is the first target) which shows the true importance of a website in Google’s eyes.
It’s a falsehood that you shouldn’t or can’t have links to other worthwhile content. Examples of this are on my own blog site – www.carbusiness.com.au/blog I constantly refer to editorial from other car industry sites, but when I do, I always credit the site and provide a link. Google has no problem when you do this. However don’t just copy the story and claim it yourself. Google knows when content has been scraped – their robots are smart enough to recognize duplicate content and that not a good thing for your site.
Don’t be afraid to use links to social media sites – even your own if there’s unduplicated content. Remember, Google loves fresh content.
Where are you listed?
One of the most important things for any car dealer is to have their listing on Google ‘My Business.’ I’m gobsmacked at the number of even large dealers who don’t really know the consequence of no listing or a poor listing. Who IS responsible. If you’d like to know more about maximizing your dealership on Google, email, me at email@example.com For a very small fee, I’ll run an audit on your site and suggest ways for improvement. A timely reminder, if you’re not on Google or your customers are saying terrible things about your business, you need to fix it QUICKLY.
If you’ve got a Google Business Listing, then you have to maximize the site. You need to use relevant keywords when you’re talking about your business. You can’t say “Australia’s Leading Honda Dealer” when you’re not. Tell Google the truth but use as much information as you can – text, pictures, video’s etc.
And I’m sure that you’ll have various social media sites for your business – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram etc. Make sure that you do and that someone is posting timely relevant information every week. If you haven’t got some internally, find someone externally who’ll do the work for you at a reasonable price. $30 per hour is what I pay, but I do most of the work myself.
Establishing a fan base on all social media sites will get more traffic to your website
There’s a lot of work to do to get traffic to your website. Remember what I said earlier, if you don’t spend time on your online dealership, it’s like putting up black plastic around your actual premises.
It’s a fact that dealers are getting more and more traffic to their showrooms via the internet. If you’d like to discuss this topic a bit more or even engage me to audit your websites, and/or social media sites, let me know. The first meeting is free. Call me on 0418 748 498 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Car Business Overview
Car Business is a multi-dimensional car company involved in diverse areas of the automotive industry in Australia. Diversity allows us to cater to the needs of our customers, whether retail, dealer or wholesale.
We are involved in the following:
- New Car Brokerage
- Quality Used Cars
- Vehicle Finance and Insurance
- Genuine Spare Parts for Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Isuzu Ute & Volkswagen
- Vehicle Protection Products such as paint and Interior protection, Electronic Rustproofing and Window Tint
- Local Area Marketing for Google My Business
- Training and Development for sales people, sales managers as well as service and parts managers.
What’s Car Business all about?
Car Business is a multi-dimensional automotive company that aims to help you to buy your new car for a better price than you can do on your own. Based on the Redcliffe Peninsula about 15 minutes from Brisbane Airport and 30 minutes from the Brisbane CBD, Car Business is located in an area that allows us to pick and choose from Brisbane’s finest new cars for sale.
The ‘go to’ Brisbane car buying agents, Car Business, is so much better than a car broker – first and foremost, Car Business is an experienced Car Buyer’s Advocacy service. Our experienced staff will stand alongside you and act on your behalf to help you buy your new car at a better price than you can directly through new car dealers.
My goal with Car Business is to provide timely and informative articles on everything to do with cars – used car purchase, new car sales, car service, car finance, car insurance, aftermarket car protection products.
Above anything else, Car Business is a company that provides current automotive advice for car owners who do not have access to knowledgeable auto industry friends. To those of you without someone to talk to, I am your expert – the car guy.
I have been in the automotive industry since 1978 – covering all aspects that consumers need advice. I’ve been called many things in my time – The Car Professor, The Car Doctor, and recently the Car Guy, but the bottom line is that I know a lot about this industry. Whenever someone needs some advice – they call me.
In general terms my car advice is free – it is just something I like to do, and my goal is to give back to the community that has treated me so well.
Good quality, Guaranteed Used Cars
I have access to good quality vehicles – you can see my current stock by clicking through to http://www.carsales.cars my own website for the cars that I have in stock. I am also able to search out that particular car that you are finding difficult to find. I have got a great dealer community that I have dealt with for many years, and these cars do not even hit the websites. I specialize in South East Queensland but in some cases, can look after interstate customers
Other areas that I specialize in are relatively widespread.
Genuine Spare Parts, Merchandise, and Other Cool Stuff
www.genuinespares.com.au is an online spare parts business specializing in Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Isuzu Ute and Volkswagen. So if you are looking for anything from crash parts, electrical components, wheels, t-shirts or anything else, let me assist you with that search. You can rely on genuine spares to procure parts at better than trade price and certainly better than you can buy in Australia. My prices are reduced by about 30% on what you would expect to pay here in Australia
Car Business Protects Your Car
Don’t get ripped off by car dealers wanting to make a huge profit – our window tinting prices start from $175 up to $450 for cars that dealers want to charge $750 for.
Car Finance and Car Insurance
My finance and insurance franchise, 1800Approved Finance, will help you get finance for your car at rates much lower than a dealer will offer. For a homeowner, we are talking from 4.99%. Your bank will not even offer you that.
It’s My Opinion – Cars, Auto Industry
If you are interested in reading quality information about new car releases, forthcoming models and just about anything else to do with the car business, click over to my blog – http://carbusiness.com.au/blog/
You will find wide-ranging comment about the car industry and car people. I do not hold back on my comments – like it or not; my opinions are just that – opinions.
In closing, if you want to connect with me here’s how
Car Business and Bob Aldons Contact Info
Phone: International +61 418 748 498
Local 0418 748 498
Visit: 226 Anzac Avenue
Kippa-Ring Q 4021
In closing, my passion is cars, car buyers, car dealers, but just about anything to do with cars. However, you need to do me one favour….
Please drive carefully
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