Forget keyword stuffing and “writing for Google” — solid automotive SEO is all about crafting content for your customers
BMW. SUV. GMC. These are three-letter initialisms you live and breathe as an auto dealer.
Automotive SEO, though? Well, that’s another story.
SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is that complicated and confusing term every business owner with a website has heard about. Some car dealers hire Internet Marketing Specialists to handle their automotive SEO because they know it’s important, but they don’t understand the concept and want to leave it up to the professionals. Other car dealers can’t comprehend SEO at all, have no interest in learning, and think it will go away eventually — so they completely ignore it.
However, there’s another group of dealers that know SEO is important but don’t have the means to hire a professional. They figure automotive SEO can’t be that complicated, so they decide to do it themselves. That drive to succeed is admirable, but unfortunately, many dealers are letting outdated notions about SEO drive their marketing efforts, and it could be hurting business rather than helping.
Get back to basics with your automotive SEO
You’re always in the know when it comes to the latest recalls, new models, and automotive innovations, but do you pay that much attention to SEO? The rules of SEO are ever-evolving and what you quickly read about effective tactics back in 2012 has already completely changed. One significant development that you may have missed?
Keyword stuffing is a big no-no.
During the early days of optimizing websites for search engines, it was like the wild, wild west. There were certain tactics you could use that would “trick” Google and help your site move up in the search results. One strategy was called keyword stuffing, and involved identifying your dealership’s top keywords — for example, “Boston auto dealership,” “car dealerships in Boston,” or “best auto dealer Boston” — and working them into the copy on your website as many times as possible.
The problem with keyword stuffing, though, is that it makes text virtually unreadable to consumers. Dealerships engaging in keyword stuffing are telling every visitor to their website that they care more about being on the first page of Google than providing relevant, helpful information for car buyers.
Luckily, Google caught on to this deceptive tactic and now, if you stuff your website with keywords, you’re not helping your dealership at all — in fact, Google will penalize you. And yes, that even includes adding keywords in white text to the bottom of your website. Google still sees those keywords and doesn’t like it.
The best thing you can do to improve your website’s SEO and eliminate keyword stuffing is to write car descriptions that are longer, and more human-friendly. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and include every detail that you think would be important to them. Sprinkle keywords in once and while, but don’t drive yourself nuts. Google cares more that your website has interesting, informative content that benefits the reader.
Improve your automotive SEO with a great blog
Your dealership’s website is where you display up-to-date inventory, contact details, and other general information, but a blog is where you can differentiate your business from others and make your personality shine. A blog is a perfect way to display your expertise and give customers an inside look at your dealership. Guess what some dealers don’t realize, though?
Blogs are fantastic automotive SEO tools.
When Google is crawling your website and deciding how you should be ranked, the freshness and relevance of your content plays a huge role. Google wants to see you updating regularly and providing compelling content that people want to read…and share. If online visitors share your blog posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, Google takes that to mean that your content is so excellent, that people are compelled to share it with their friends, family, and colleagues. And that’s what their search result rankings are all about — listing the most helpful and relevant websites, in order.
Here are a few examples of auto dealerships that are doing a good job blogging:
- Ford Lincoln of Franklin in Franklin, TN: This dealership is great at sharing a mixture of different posts — they have news about their dealership, updates for the brand they sell (Ford), and then more general posts that relate to the time of year (“6 Things to Know About Summer Tires” was posted in May) or automotive questions (“Can You Get an Alignment Before New Tires?).
- Nelson Nissan in Broken Arrow, OK: Nelson Nissan is very successful when it comes to how often they post. They are diligent about posting every few days, which shows Google their commitment to producing regular content and keeping their site fresh.
- Grappon Automotive Group in Bow, NH: This blog is excellent because it shows the dealership’s personality and even showcases their efforts to make their community a better place. They have also added social media buttons to most posts, which can help in encouraging readers to share with their networks.
Certain aspects of SEO are more technical than avoiding keyword stuffing and creating amazing content, so you may want to bring a professional in if you’re aiming to get into the nitty gritty of automotive SEO. However, if you want to give your dealership’s website a boost, focus on your content marketing efforts to get the most bang for your buck.