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Actionable SEO for Dealerships

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

There are about a million articles written on the subject of SEO. Trust me. It feels like I’ve read half of them. So why should you read this one? There are fewer articles written about SEO specific to the automotive industry and even rarer are the glorious articles that include clear actionable steps. If you work at a dealership or are involved in the industry and want to know what you can do to improve your SEO right now, as in you want to accomplish something after reading this article, then you are in the right place. In the last article, we discussed how your online presence should resemble a trail of breadcrumbs through the forest. Today we are going to discuss how the placement of your SEO crumbs can save you money if done right. We will also provide you with specific actions you can take to improve your SEO.

Overwhelmed? - Start Here

Start written in chalk on pavement

Working on your SEO can easily become overwhelming. So before diving in, take a step back and analyze your goals. Creating and establishing a clear SEO plan is one of the best ways to make sure you are placing those crumbs in a clear path. You will also be able to see any gaps that cause your potential customers to get lost or wander about. This article is not about creating an extensive 20-page plan, that’s for internet managers and/or the company that handles your SEO. (Let us know if you want us to outline a plan in a future article.) Let’s address some issues that you need to resolve right now.

TIP: Don’t forget Google My Business (GMB) in your SEO plan. Google My Business is a free way of establishing your brand identity, advertising, and building SEO to help direct traffic to your business. GMB has redefined the SEO world, so it’s important to become familiar with it. We will discuss this further in the following article.

ACTION: Grab a piece of paper (yes right now), and write down your top three sales funnel pain points. (Or download/print this handy worksheet we created to make your life easier.) Be more specific than “make more money” or “sell more cars”. For example: Sell more New Toyota Tacomas than last quarter, convert more leads from our website, start marketing our fixed operations.

Now do some testing. Open Google (in an incognito tab) and type in searches related to your pain points. Examples: 2020 Toyota Tacomas for sale in your city (or for sale near me), dealerships near me, Toyota (or any vehicle specific to your dealerships service department) repair near me. Use the worksheet to get an idea of how your SEO is fairing compared to your competition. Take notes as you go of what you would like to improve.

Plan for humans, not an algorithm

A person standing in a stream of data

Google looks at your overall message when assigning your quality score. Your quality score impacts where you are on the results page and will directly affect your SEM. Don’t fall into the trap of focusing on pleasing the almighty Google algorithm. Think about how to appeal to humans, how to get your customers to the next step. This means your message needs to be on-topic and clear throughout your website. How?

  • Answer the “why” quickly, give your customer a reason to stay on the page

  • Provide a form above the fold of the page to increase conversions

  • Unify your title, URL, headline, and content on a page so that it all conveys the same idea based on your keywords

  • Include high-quality photos and videos to keep your customers engaged

TIP: Your website is your opportunity to establish your dealership's identity. Don’t muddy the waters with too much non-automotive related content. No matter how cute your dog Charlie is when he wins that competition, posting it to your dealership website or social media can negatively affect your SEO.

A pug with glasses

ACTION: Back to the worksheet. Write down the pages of your website and sales funnel elements that are related to your pain points. Go to those pages and see if they meet the criteria mentioned above. If not, how can the page be optimized to appeal to your customers? Would you be able to follow the crumbs that lead your customers to take the desired action?

Video SEO - Adapting to our world

Utilizing video is essential in today's fast-paced visual world and your dealership can show up really early in the sales funnel if you embrace it. For example, inventory videos that contain unique content and that are VIN specific can fill in the gaps where general SEO from text and photos fail. Having these videos on the right platforms is also very important. Our videos are linked from LESA servers to the dealer’s website to ensure that the website isn’t slowed down by the videos. These videos are also copied to YouTube. The more videos that are added to the YouTube channel, the more SEO they produce for the associated dealership. Because YouTube is owned by Google, many times these videos will appear on the first-page search results.

Sample of google my business listing

TIP: GMB integrated video platforms, such as LES Automotive, can deliver near real-time inventory into your GMB listing. This is a vital marketing tool that will help you get ahead of your competition.

ACTION: Refer to the worksheet, now it’s time to evaluate your site. What items do you feel need to be improved, and do you have time to improve these? If you would like some help tailored to your specific dealerships needs, contact us for a free consultation.

Taking control of your SEO plan will help you fill in those breadcrumbs with content that will naturally draw customers to your dealership. With the introduction of Google My Business, the SEO playbook has changed. Is your dealership taking advantage of this powerful and FREE SEO tool? The next article will help you to unlock the power of Google My Business.

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