Car Dealer Perception

There is still a huge stigma with consumers about car dealerships.  The long-held perception that all car salespeople are out to screw consumers is still an everyday challenge for dealers to overcome.  I have enjoyed the privilege of working with car dealers for 20 years. I know most car dealers are honest and truly care about their customers.  They work hard to earn the trust and respect of their patrons and sincerely resent the “bad egg” dealers who perpetuate the negative stereotypes.  Similarly, automotive SEO companies struggle with overcoming the idea that we’re all hype. Again, because of a few bad eggs who are deceptive and sell “solutions” that have the pop in the presentation but really no sizzle in delivering results.

There is a lot of noise in the automotive digital marketing space. We see vendors trying to pose as Automotive SEO experts every day.  We hear the old phrase “content is king!” This Argument to support their smoke & mirrors sales pitch on how great their SEO product is for dealerships.  The reality is content is the only king if the content is custom and unique.  Syndicating the same stale language on multiple dealership’s websites is a joke.  These vendors are the true jesters of the automotive industry, giving real SEO providers a bad name.  They often use fancy buzzwords, product labels, and technical jargon to hide a strategy of nothing but unfulfilled promises.

Below are some tips on what real Automotive SEO providers focus on to deliver organic results.

  • Build a variety of targeted content that focuses on consumers in the different phases of the car buying cycle.  A consumer that is searching for “top rated minivans” is different than a consumer that turns to Google to locate “Toyota dealers near Nashville.”  The content on the dealership’s website and the images should reflect the difference in the intentions of these two individuals.

    Write for Readers Not Google Bots

  • Write content that is interesting and informative.  Many SEO vendors fail at content generation because they focus only on the features and technical specs of the vehicle. Which can be very formulaic and dull. Instead, they should consider the type of individual who would typically purchase the featured model.  Try to invoke emotion, excitement, and a desire for ownership through creative writing, engaging photographs, and videos. Entertaining while educating is a powerful combination but most vendors simply miss the mark.
  • Don’t forget to include your why messaging so telling the customer why should buy their next vehicle from your dealership. Content often focuses on selling the consumer the vehicle. In many cases, the consumer is already convinced of the make and model they want. It is equally if not more important to convince the visitor that your dealership is better than all the other dealerships. Use unique selling propositions like Lifetime Oil Changes and other dealership extras. Brag about your plethora of positive reviews and accolades. Give the person whose business you want to earn a list of “pros” about your store that they won’t find at the competitor down the street.

    Link Strategy

  • An inbound linking strategy is often entirely overlooked by automotive SEO jesters. Mostly because it is hard work. It requires an infrastructure of quality websites, blogs and other outlets which must be cultivated well in advance of signing on a new dealer client. Google rewards websites which feature high-quality inbound links from relevant, reputable websites. The association with additional automotive resources helps to improve the relevancy of the dealership’s landing page and entire website.  I would recommend asking your digital marketing vendors for examples of the offsite links they use. Chances are they don’t use any, and that’s a huge miss.

What Now

There is no shortage of SEO tools to investigate the top keywords in your dealership’s area and the popularity of each.  The exciting news for advertisers is that you can stalk your competition’s rank results for keywords and devise a plan for their demise.  The whole reason you are paying for SEO services is to outrank the competition, right?  Why would you put yourself in a neutral position by sharing your search strategy with every other dealer in your city/state/country?  If your vendor does not offer your dealership exclusivity in your area regarding their automotive SEO services, what they are basically saying is, “We do not care about helping you beat your competition, we just want more clients.”