Depending on the manufacturers, many dealers are stuck with sites that they do not want. Some OEMs mandate sites or give a limited selection of vendors that are approved to build sites. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you do what you can to make it better.
There are really only two options in order for dealers to stand out from their competitors. The first and easiest solution is to get a “secondary” website. When this is allowed, dealers have the option of keeping their OEM site and parking it on a different domain. Then, they have the website from the vendor of their choice build a site for them that they park on their primary domain.
The advantage is that the dealer has an opportunity to be different from the other dealers in their area. It also gives them a double-presence; when handled right, the two sites can be split to target different keywords on search. You could focus your efforts on the OEM site to get the low-hanging local audience while promoting your main site to more distant areas.
The disadvantage is cost. Some would argue that this confuses consumers or hurts in search engines. They’re the type of arguments that are only made by those who believe that consumers are stupid or who work for the OEM-mandated vendors. There’s no truth to these arguments at all. It’s all about the added investment.
The second option is to take the OEM site and put in the effort or investment to make it stand out from the competitors. This means better banners, more pages, stronger visuals, more videos, and improved search engine optimization from an outside agency. Never buy SEO from the OEM-mandated website provider. Remember, you’re not they’re boss. The OEM is. They will optimize your site to reside very nicely in the search engines within the little box of a market area that the OEM gives you. Proper automotive SEO is handled by those who are held accountable by the dealer, not the OEM.
With either an added investment or additional labor by the dealer, it’s very possible to make the blight of OEM-mandated websites sting a little less and perform much better. As much as they want you to compete with other brands, they’re still measuring your success against how you sell versus your real competitors – the dealers that sell the same things you sell within driving distance of your consumers. Standing out is the key to finding digital marketing success.