The Four Pillars of Automotive SEO
Get the Right Crew to Help You Lead the Pack
Digital marketing is a compelling way to reach car shoppers in your area while they are actively considering buying a vehicle. A strong automotive SEO strategy is crucial to getting buyers to your showroom. Dealer Authority has a demonstrated record of successfully driving automotive business rankings to the head of the pack. Give us a call and find out how we can help you.
The Internet is a Virtual Auto Mall
If you’re still on the fence about committing the time and resources to develop your dealership’s digital marketing strategy, here’s something to consider. A Google survey revealed that 92% of car buyers turn to the internet to research before buying. And that was BEFORE a global pandemic forced people to kick the tires from the safety of their living room.
Unlike traditional print and broadcast advertising, digital marketing lets you target people who want to buy a vehicle when they’re ready to buy one. Shoppers are not only using the internet to gather information about their favorite cars, but they are also looking for a nearby dealership that can deliver a personalized buying experience.
Automotive businesses that are on top of their SEO game:
- Make it easy for shoppers to know where and when to find them
- Make it easy for buyers to get information about the vehicles they’re interested in
- Establish their business—and their employees—as trustworthy experts
Developing and implementing a robust digital marketing plan requires a consistent, dedicated effort. But over the long run, the recognition and trust your business gains will add thousands of dollars to your bottom-line year over year.
So, what are the four pillars that make up a solid automotive SEO strategy? Let’s take a look.
The First Pillar: Create High-Quality Content
If you’re trying to help your automotive business get on solid footing in search engine results, you cannot cut corners here. High-quality content is the heart of your SEO strategy. It pulls together your keywords, helps you establish authority and trust, and can turn prospects into buyers.
To create high-impact content, you should focus on:
- People today consume information on smartphones and tablets, so it’s crucial that you deliver information in digestible bites.
- Landing pages and product descriptions should be 450-600 words in total, divided into several 2-3 sentence sections with keywords sprinkled throughout.
- Long-form posts (1,000+ words) such as blogs are useful for community outreach and to build your reputation as an authority. But when you want to increase your search ranking—and engage buyers—short, informative posts offer a bigger payoff.
It isn’t just the length of your content that can boost your ranking. It should be unique, relevant, and engaging. When you’re crafting content for your website and social media, it’s important to pay attention to these areas:
- User Experience: Since users are most likely to browse your website on their smartphone, your site must have an intuitive, uncluttered design. Once you hook a prospective customer with informative, compelling content, you need to show them why your dealership is the best place to buy their next car (or have their vehicle serviced). Don’t hide important information like directions to your showroom and business hours behind a dense cloud of keyword-stuffed sales pitches. If your website is clean and comfortable, you’re showing customers that your showroom will be, too.
- Images: One of the biggest mistakes automotive businesses make is neglecting the SEO boost images offer. Your images should:
- Be sized appropriately for your page
- Ideally be either .jpg or .png files
- Have file sizes as small as possible without compromising image quality. Large files that take a long time to load can increase your bounce rate, negatively impacting your search ranking.
- Have relevant file names (you stand a better chance for a file named ‘FordBronco.jpg’ than for one called ‘IMG1234.jpg’)
- Make use of Title text and Alt attributes to boost your SEO
- Video: If video isn’t part of your digital marketing plan, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. According to Google, 64% of automobile shoppers are compelled to buy after viewing a video without setting foot in a dealership. YouTube is turning into a virtual showroom with savvy marketing teams creating 360° virtual test drives and vehicle reviews and walkthroughs. And you don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to create quality video content. You can be on your way with a smartphone and a tripod (or a very steady hand), or you can invest in a consumer-level DSLR with video capability.
The Second Pillar: Use Your (Key)words
SEO and keywords are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing, although they are related. Keywords are an essential component in a strong automotive SEO strategy. An effective keyword strategy involves detailed research, content creation, and testing. If you’re new to working with keywords, it’s a good idea to call in some experts to help you create a keyword plan that will help your search ranking.
As you research keywords, make sure that they:
- Are relevant to your automotive business
- Includes geo targets that include the town your business is located in as well as nearby cities and towns
- Include a mix of short-tail (“Toyota Corolla”) and long-tail (“Toyota Corolla Nashville, TN”) keywords. Short-tail keywords tend to be highly competitive and harder to rank for compared to long-tail keywords
Once you’re armed with your list of keywords, it’s time to create landing pages for them. Be sure you distribute them throughout your copy so that your text flows and your page gets the SEO credit you need. You may have seen competitors use a strategy called “keyword stuffing,” where dozens of long- and short-tail keywords are jammed awkwardly into page copy. Not only is this jarring to read, but it will also damage your credibility with Google and negatively affect your ranking.
You should review your keywords often and adjust your list (and your content) to adapt to search engine algorithms and user behavior changes. It’s a long-term, time-consuming process, but one that has a potentially huge payoff when you watch your search rankings take off.
The Third Pillar: Link Love
You may wonder what another site linking to your website has to do with your search engine ranking. It turns out it’s quite a lot. When other sites link to yours, it’s an endorsement of your site, which increases your ranking on Google.
And, while it’s always nice to get links from someone writing about you on their personal website, you want to be sure you’re also getting links from sites that have strong Domain and Page Authority. These sites aren’t necessarily going to come looking for you, so it’s essential to do your due diligence and seek out websites that can boost your authority. You also need to be intentional in your approach to these sites, so the interaction is mutually beneficial.
Like your keyword strategy, link strategy requires disciplined research and communication, so you avoid missteps that can damage your reputation. Our SEO specialists can help you create meaningful relationships that help you establish your business as a local and industry authority.
The Fourth Pillar: Converting Lookie-Loos into Customers
How active is your website when it comes to generating leads? If you’re only collecting contact information on your “Contact Us” page, your website isn’t doing as much as it can to create leads for your sales team.
Your website copy (and social media posts) should include clear call-to-action prompts that lead users to one of your landing pages. And once you get them hyped up about their dream car, make sure you offer them a way to get in touch with you to get more information and schedule a visit to your showroom! Embed a short form in your landing pages, blog posts, and other high-traffic pages that allow shoppers to leave their name, contact information, and a brief message.
And don’t forget to say thank you! Not only does a Thank You page offer your prospect an opportunity to remain on your website to browse more vehicles and get other important information such as financing and incentives, but it’s also another opportunity to boost your SEO.
Ready to Build a Rock-Solid Automotive SEO Strategy?
We’ve covered a lot of ground here. If you don’t have experience with digital marketing, this can seem pretty overwhelming. You don’t have to go it alone. Dealer Authority has a full-time team of automotive SEO mavens. We’re happy to help you craft and implement a plan to boost your Google search ranking, or we’ll do all of the heavy lifting for you. Call us for a consultation today.
The Future of Car Buying is Here
If you’ve stuck with the old tried-and-true methods of advertising for your car dealership, it’s time to expand your efforts to include digital marketing.
The team at Dealer Authority has years of experience working with car dealerships across the United States. We can help you craft a comprehensive digital marketing strategy or walk you through Pay-Per-Click and SEO.
Take a look at the services we offer online or give us a call at 888.963.9617.
Still have questions? Drop us a line anytime!