As 2020—a year of unforeseen significance that has impacted how we live our lives—draws to a close, we look towards the new year in a slightly different way. Many car dealers have had to pivot their strategies (both online and in-person) and make changes to stay on top of state health and safety regulations. While we may not know everything that 2021 holds, the new year asks us to continue to be flexible and open to shifting automotive SEO strategies for our new digital customers and to embrace what has become the new normal.
Here are our predictions for automotive SEO in 2021:
Prediction #1: Google’s new Core Web Vitals metrics will change the search algorithm.
If there’s one thing we can always count on, it’s that Google will never stop updating its search algorithm.
In May 2020, Google announced that in its newest update, it will be focusing on a set of specific factors called the ‘Core Web Vitals.’ These Vitals are focused on evaluating your site’s overall user experience—which means Google’s going to be sizing up each page’s loading time, responsiveness, and visual stability.
Google plans to make its Core Web Vitals an official ranking factor, which will join the ranks with current ranking factors such as safe-browsing, mobile-friendliness, and lack of interstitial pop-ups. This is a huge chance that is predicted to impact millions of websites worldwide.
In order to stay in Google’s good graces, it’s important to make sure that all of your pages are optimized correctly and that “user experience” becomes your new mantra when creating content.
Prediction #2: “Shop from home” and “home delivery” keywords will continue to rank.
The uncertainty and social distancing safety regulations of 2020 brought forth a boon of online shopping on all fronts, including vehicle shopping. Consumers turned to the internet to search for their next cars, schedule service appointments, and take virtual test drives. While showrooms ease into opening back up to in-person customers again, online vehicle shopping is a trend that is predicted to stay popular and will be a crucial component of automotive SEO.
If you don’t have one already, make sure that your website has a user-friendly, optimized landing page which allows consumers to shop for and purchase a vehicle. A page that does it all—allows the customer to add the vehicle they’d like, let’s them submit questions and apply for financing, schedules a pick-up or drop-off time with you, the dealer—is optimal.
Additionally, make sure that you feature the newly popular “shop from home” keywords (including “shop from home,” “home delivery,” and “buy online”) within your content. It’s a smart move to create a specific “shop from home” landing page—in which you detail the buy-online process—as well.
Prediction #3: Growing desire for car dealerships to handle auto repairs means heavier focus on service and maintenance landing pages and keywords.
Recently, car owners have shown a preference for having their vehicle’s maintenance and repair services done at auto dealerships. This growing trend could, in part, be related to the increasing number of vehicles being leased from dealerships, and the fact that during 2020, many people felt more comfortable making fewer stops (buying or leasing a vehicle and getting it serviced in one place seemed less risky/more convenient than visiting multiple different locations).
With this trend expected to keep increasing during 2021, marketing efforts should be adjusted to support it. Make sure your automotive SEO strategy includes optimizing specific pages for both short- and long-tail service-related keywords and that your current service and maintenance landing pages are optimized.
Prediction #4: Emotionally engaging content is more important than ever.
Content is still king, so the importance of crafting targeted, long-form articles and landing pages hasn’t lessened. And while having emotionally appealing elements within your content has always been key, it’s now crucial to the success of your site.
Consumers engage more frequently with content that means something to them; personal stories of customers or employees, charity shout-outs and highlights, and proof of supporting the community are all things that people love to see. With more and more consumers searching for that added “human element,” you can expect increased engagement on pages that appeal to viewers’ pathos.
Prediction #5: Mobile and voice searches will continue to increase.
With mobile usage at an all-time high and voice searches via smart technology like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant becoming more popular, these are two trends that have serious staying power over the course of the next year.
Plenty of vehicles are currently equipped with voice search technology, and with a predicted rise in local travel and “staycations” during 2021, people will be utilizing hands-free searching like never before.
Make sure that you’ve optimized your website for both voice search and mobile usage, and you’ll be ahead of the curve.
A new year brings a fresh start, and by taking into account and implementing these automotive SEO predictions, you can enter into 2021 with confidence.