Even if your marketing team is just starting to scratch the surface of what will take your SEO from average to rock-star status, it’s a clear no-brainer that keyword research plays an integral role in setting up your company for success on the digital stage. At Dealer Authority, we take that research one step further by testing our results and sharing those results with our clients.
Our team of digital strategists is continuously testing and monitoring the ranking of specific keywords, as we build custom landing pages for client’s websites to help push them closer and closer to the coveted first page. As we do this, we always strive to be completely transparent with our clients, filling them in on the wins and losses for specific keywords so that we can collectively be successful.
Our SEO Manager and Keyword Mixologist, Jessica Robertson manages our digital strategists daily and is on the cutting edge of SEO best practices. I sat down with Jessica to discuss a recent SEO win for Dealer Authority.
Jessica, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. I know that since the recent changes with Google’s Algorithm, many sites have seen changes in ranking which have definitely kept your team on their toes.
Can you tell us if there were any significant changes in ranking for the automotive industry since the algorithm change in August?
Fortunately for our clients, we noticed mostly positive effects on their rankings and overall SEO. Google’s algorithm change focused on validating credible sources with information and landing pages backed up by professionals in each different industry and discrediting pages with unverified sources. Websites focused on Health and Nutrition took a pretty hard hit, but Automotive mostly remained unaffected or actually received a boost in rankings. And it’s fairly easy to understand why.
For example, when you have a certified Toyota dealer doing reviews and write-ups about Toyota models in their local area, it’s clear to Google that this information is coming from a professional source that has been verified again and again. However, if you have “Becca’s Keto Blog” trying to rank first for dietary and nutrition suggestions, Google is more likely to discredit this type of information since it’s coming from a blogger and not a credited M.D. of Nutrition.
Share with us a little more about how your team targets specific keywords for our clients – typically this is aimed at their location, correct?
That is correct. Because auto dealers are focused on selling locally and outselling local competition we put a hard focus on geotargeting. Ranking nationally for keywords is good exposure for a dealership, but a shopper in California that saw your funny ad in Pennsylvania is not headed cross-country to buy from you. Though our specific strategy varies from client to client, we prefer to focus on long-tail search terms that include geo targets in the backyard of the dealership and on its home turf, as well as shooting for high search volume keyword combinations in those areas.
Since strategy varies from client to client, do you have any unique examples you can share where this targeting method significantly impacted a client’s rankings?
Absolutely. We had a pretty exciting breakthrough for a long-standing client of ours just recently. The important thing to understand about SEO is that this is not an overnight procedure.
“SEO is all about the long haul and the longer you work at it the greater results you see over time.”
We had already saturated the top 3 geo-targets for this client, with their landing pages all organically ranking on page 1, most within the top 4 search results. Since we were doing so well in those areas we started reaching out into other areas further out, but still quality targets. What we found was a town that was about 45 mins outside of their city with a medium-sized population where they didn’t have ANY traction whatsoever. Out of 21 different keyword combinations, not one ranked or was visible in the top 100 results of Google for that store.
So, to start we created 3 different landing pages focusing on that geo-target, and because the quality of their SEO was on point, to begin with, they immediately started ranking just days after being built. But not only did this store start ranking for those 3 keywords/landing pages but suddenly their site was popping up for 20 out of the 21 keyword search terms! Individually those pages ranked from nothing to fourth place, leaping 96 spots overnight, but collectively that store rose 1,717 spots in their Google rankings for that set of keywords!
“Where their dealership was once nonexistent, now they are on the map, and that is the true power of good SEO.”
That is fantastic! We always stress the importance of transparency at Dealer Authority. Are there any key questions you would suggest businesses ask their SEO provider when assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their SEO approach so that they can see similar results?
Every dealership, every location, and every client are different, which is why SEO strategy must be unique to YOUR dealership. Find out what your SEO provider is doing differently for your store specifically. Get a list of landing pages they’ve created, check to make sure it’s not boilerplate content. Content doesn’t have to be front-facing to be effective, but at least have them show you the pages they’re making, and where they are on your site. Find out what geo targets and keywords they are going after and why.
Jessica Robertson has been working with Dealer Authority on their SEO staff now for close to 3 years starting off as a content writer. She worked her way through the ranks and now serves as the SEO Manager for the last year. When she’s not cross-referencing spreadsheets and optimizing websites, she’s either getting her CrossFit on, kayaking with a local craft beer in hand, or showing people the time of their lives on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail with Mint Julep Experiences -Nashville. Want to talk SEO, whiskey, or both? Message her today at firstname.lastname@example.org.