In the age of digital everything, it’s all but guaranteed that car shoppers will be online from the beginning stages of their vehicle search right up to the point they contact the dealership. It culminates in more than a dozen hours online, and there’s extremely high competition for their attention. Buying ads can help a dealership get their store ahead of others in Google listings, but the little word – “Ad” – at the start of the listing often deters shoppers from clicking on it.
Stand out in the digital world with a few key strategies in search engine optimization or SEO. They help you earn the top snippet or work your way to the top of the search results, which is how you can beat out competitors in the first step toward the sale: getting online traffic to come your way.
1. “Near me” searches hold weight
One of the most popular searches for high-intent customers today is “near me” searches. Quite literally, the shopper googles their desired item to find what they want locally. It could be “Ford service near me,” or “used Chevy Cruze for sale nearby,” or “closest Subaru service department.”
Include “near me” search phrases in your online content, whether landing pages or blog content, so that Google can match shoppers to your website. Of course, the pages where the keywords reside must be relevant, or it won’t gain any traction with web visitors.
2. Find backlink partners
Backlinks are essentially a sign of approval from another website. They can sometimes happen naturally when a helpful landing page or blog gets noticed and linked by another site, but those backlinks are hard to come by. Why seek out backlinks in the first place? It’s a fantastic way to increase your domain authority and get your results showing up higher in Google searches.
Find local companies who would backlink to your dealership site in exchange for a backlink to theirs. An example would be to craft a blog of five local companies you can walk to from the dealership, then ask the company to link to your dealership on their website in return. It’s a serious effort but well worth it for the added domain authority.
3. Keep your listings fresh
Vehicle listings on your dealership website don’t typically stick around very long, and those shouldn’t be counted on for a bump in domain authority. But for SEO practices, the freshness of a vehicle listing can significantly impact the conversion rate, even after the initial clickthrough. As an example, a mid-summer car shopper who sees snow piled high in the background of a vehicle picture can be confident it’s not a recent listing, and the vehicle very likely isn’t there anymore. They’re going to abandon their search at your store.
4. Answer your customers’ questions
Grabbing the featured snippet on Google is one of the best strategies you can implement to gain clickthroughs, and question keyword optimization is a massive part of that. Your customers have some relatively common inquiries that can be answered in the content you provide on landing pages and in your blog section, and those answers can compete for the featured snippet. For example, searching “how long does a [manufacturer] battery last?” will bring up a featured snippet that’s probably from a dealership that has targeted that question in their content. It helps develop your website’s domain authority as well as authority in your customers’ eyes.
SEO can be time-consuming and expensive, and there are plenty of providers willing to take your money that don’t do it well. Take time to understand some of the ways your online content will outperform other dealers so you can either tackle your content in-house or find an SEO specialist who can take care of your goals.
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