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If your dealership still isn’t ranking as high as you’d like on Google, check to see if you’re making any of these automotive SEO errors.
“I just Googled our dealership, and we don’t even show up on the first page of results!”
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a common sentiment among all types of auto dealerships—large and small—across the country. A bored employee or manager decides to Google a few keywords and discovers that their dealership doesn’t magically appear at the top of the first page of Google search results.
This is one major mistake that dealerships make—they don’t even realize that automotive SEO is a thing and they can’t understand why customers aren’t finding them online.
Automotive SEO 101: What you need to know
SEO is short for search engine optimization, and it’s the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic (free) search results. Search engines, like Google and Bing, use an algorithm to decide if your website is relevant to users searching specific keywords and phrases.
How can dealerships use automotive SEO to show search engines their worth?
There’s no hard and fast formula, which can make SEO frustrating at times, but the search engines look at things like the quality of content you produce, keywords on your website, and if people are talking about you.
Google has found that four in five consumers use search engines to find local information, so if your dealership is not ranking as high as you’d like, it could be time to see if you’re making some common mistakes.
Is your dealership making these automotive SEO errors?
Why doesn’t automotive SEO seem to be working for your dealership? See if you’re making one of these five big mistakes.
1. You don’t have the right team
Automotive SEO isn’t just something you can throw on the plate of a random dealership employee. Depending on the size and budget of your dealership, it’s preferable to have a BDC Manager and a whole team in place to manage your digital marketing efforts and online presence. These should be forward-thinking, technologically-savvy individuals who understand the power of online marketing.
Don’t underestimate outsourcing some of your SEO marketing, as well. There are companies that specialize in SEO, social media, and digital marketing and can take care of your online reputation while your team worries about selling.
2. Your website has too many keywords
What does the content on your website look like? Is it helpful and easy to read? Or did you stuff it full of auto-themed keywords a few years ago when you heard that keywords were important?
There was a point when keyword stuffing worked and optimized websites ranked higher, but Google caught on pretty quickly. Now, if your website copy is intentionally filled with keywords and virtually unreadable to the common consumer, Google may penalize you.
3. Your social media pages are boring
You made pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram like you heard you were supposed to, but are you posting quality content? You may think social media is just a waste of time, but it plays an important role in your automotive SEO strategy.
Social sharing drives traffic to your website, so if you’re engaging with your followers and putting out quality content, Google is going to see that what you’re doing is relevant to consumers. Social media profiles also rank in search engines and serve as an extra pathway to your brand.
4. You haven’t claimed your Google My Business page
One of the easiest ways to tell Google that you exist is by claiming your dealership’s My Business page. It’s free, it gives you a chance to control how your listing appears in search engine results, and it increases your chances of showing up in local searches.
5. You aren’t asking for links
One big part of SEO that many dealerships forget about is link building. Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. The quantity and quality of links that direct back to your dealership’s website can have a direct and strong effect on your search engine rankings.
How do you get these links? The easiest way to start is just to think about any existing partnerships, sponsorships, or events at your dealership. Are you sponsoring the town’s Little League team and they list your dealership’s name on their website? Just ask if they can also add a link. Is your compliance officer giving a speech at an industry event? See if the event will link to your dealership on their website.
The critical thing to remember is that SEO isn’t a one-and-done type of project. It’s an ongoing effort that, if done correctly, can vastly increase your web traffic for a fraction of the cost of other types of advertising.