Yes, let's admit it: The car selling business is a bit like a war. The enemy? Your competition. The prize? Moving your inventory off of the lot, while you deposit customer checks and finance company contracts. There is no middle ground here: you either win or you lose. And lots of dealerships fail every year because they cannot sustain a flow of new and returning customers. It's one thing to start a business, it's another thing entirely to build a business, and keep it profitable year-after-year.
To come out on top. To grab all the marbles. You are striving for that, but so are competing dealers. You need to be ethical in your dealings, of course, but also be committed to coming out as the winner. To do that you need to become the go-to dealership in your community for people looking for new/used vehicles.
Yes, the TV and radio are filled with commercials. In that environment, you are making your appeal to potential customers. The limitation there is that, on any given day, most people hearing your TV or radio pitch (or reading your print ad) probably do not need to purchase a vehicle, at least not now. That advertising will bring you no ROI if it does not reach people who are ready to buy.
But, what if you had a way to reach people who were ready to buy - who may need to buy right now? That's where your focus should be. And there is such a way.
Welcome to the Internet age. People use the web today to look for all kinds of information and services. Need a babysitter? Do a web search. Need to sell that house? Query Google to find out "real estate agents near me." Does this new medicine have serious side effects? A medical website will tell you.
And when folks need new cars? Yep, you guessed it - they go looking on the Internet. And because they are looking, they are true prospects. And they are almost always closeable, if you can get them to your dealer showroom and get them a good deal and financing.
Your secret weapon? SEO for car dealers. SEO stands for search engine optimization, a set of general best practices that pushes your website to the top of the search results pages. This means more eyeballs on your site listing, and that means more clicks going to your site. And if your car dealer website looks and functions as it should (and getting it that way is also part of the SEO game), that prospective customer will be calling you or stopping by.
Yes, your competitors also know about SEO and are working hard to improve their chances of getting clicked on. They know if they can gain the coveted #1 position in search listings they can capture from 15%-20% of all clicks sent to that page.
And further down on the sales funnel, the web is used by over 80% of those eventually purchasing a vehicle, when they are still at the researching phase - not ready to buy today, but who will buy soon. That's critical pipeline traffic that you need to connect with, so that your sales force can answer questions, demonstrate expertise, and build relationships with.
Yes, competing dealers know that search engines send 85% of all web search traffic to websites. And these dealers know about you (just like you know about them) and they want your customers as well. They won't lose any sleep if they put you out of business.
Brutal? YES - but that's just the way it is. Are you ready to fight back? To claim what's yours?
Here's our first tip: Don't start running around with your hair on fire. Don't start throwing your hard-earned dollars on some gimmicky SEO "miracle" because there are none.
We know that goes against the grain - but that's the honest truth. SEO, including SEO applied to car dealership websites, takes time and the proper effort.
First, your dealer website needs a good going-over. It may look fantastic and flashy, but be a total failure from an SEO perspective. Like a doctor diagnosing a patient, you need professionals to begin with a complete site audit, which will pinpoint needed areas of improvement. Because what's the point of driving traffic to a site that will not convert that traffic to actionable leads and prospects?
Only when your site is in tip-top shape is it time to consider how to increase its visibility. So what do you need to do first? One way to get started is to just pick up the telephone and call us. Yes, we have our staff on call, not a third-party answering service.
If you can't talk right this minute, but would like to soon, you also have the option to book a consultation. These are on the house, and they won't be overly-long. Book a consultation right now for a day/time when you will be available. We'll get back to you via email and confirm the details.
There are a few really critical aspects that go into SEO car dealership website strategies. Here are some of them:
Site Audits: As we mentioned before, the heart of your online empire is your website itself. A poorly optimized or poorly functioning website is not an asset - it is a liability. And search engines (think Google and Bing) can detect when a website is slow to load, or does not function well on a mobile device, or when it has intrusive advertising, or duplicate page content. And when they do, they will devalue your website, and your site gets pushed down in the rankings. A comprehensive site audit - performed by a real human (and not just using auto-generated "audit" reports from some automated software) will put your site under the microscope. We'll let you know what needs fixing, and even give you guidance on how to fix it!
Realistic Search Keyword Targets: At the heart of SEO is searching. And web user searching revolves around the terms (words and phrases) used in those searches. For example, the search "Toyota dealers near me" will yield a different set of results than the search "Cadillac dealers near me." Did you know that some types of searches are used by people who need to buy right now, rather than those who are just doing initial research? This is called user intent, and proper focus on user intent can get you customers ready to buy today, and other types of searches will appeal to those who will buy next week, or next month. What keywords should you be targeting? That's what our SEO analysts will help you discover.
Webpage Content: Related to keywords is your website's content. Salesy BS and filler won't do it. And if competing dealers have great content on their site - perhaps a blog or FAQ or research guide - and you don't, your site is just not going to get ranked that highly, as compared to theirs. Car and truck buyers want to know about financing options or what they can do if they have poor or bad credit. They are looking to see if you take trade-ins or sell used vehicles. Your site "about us" section should also do more than give the names of your staff. You need to add content there to demonstrate their expertise (long years working for you, certifications and education, awards earned, etc.). And the most important thing to keep in mind about content is that is that search engines place a premium on those sites that not only have useful, in-depth content, but reward sites that provide fresh content, as opposed to dealership sites who have not put out major content updates for many months, or even years. At Posirank, we can help you develop an effective content creation strategy, and get that content written, on a regular basis to keep your site fresh!
Site Navigation: You might be surprised to find out that many people may have difficulty getting around on your site. Poor layout, a lack of major category headings, confusing navigation panels, all of these things can cause site visitors to leave your site and quickly go elsewhere. This high bounce rate, as it is called, sends the wrong kind of signal to search engines. Conversely, easy-to-use and easy-to-find navigation will more deeply engage visitors to your car dealership site, and keep them on your site longer. And time spent on your site is time not being spent on your competitor's site. Take your two best salespeople. Give one 1 minute to pitch a customer, and give the other one 15 minutes. Who would close more sales? The one who could work with the prospect for 15 minutes, right? The same is true with your website - the longer you engage visitors, the longer they stay, the greater the odds that they will react favorably and take the next step and reach out to you.
Referring Backlinks: You know the value of customer testimonials. You probably use them on your site. But when a good-quality site links back to your site, even just a link could be considered a "testimonial" of sorts. This is the value of backlinks - a good number of them (even just a handful, if they are from top-notch sites) can give your site a lift in searching results. When it comes to links, at Posirank we know what works - and what doesn't. We've seen all the scams foolishness. We use real, manual outreach and develop great relationships with sites who actually want our content (because it is well-written) and don't mind including a link back to your site. A proper mix of sites in your backlink "portfolio" (a list of sites linking back to you) is a critical SEO for car dealers tactic.
GMB Account and Your Website: Have you heard of the Google "Local Pack?" Do any local-focus search and usually Google will serve up business information, usually with a locator map showing where they are located. These "local packs" may have 2, 3, 4 or more sites near the searcher (using their phone or computer IP address to understand where they are searching from). These are separate from organic search results (which can also include sponsored (paid) listings). The key is to get the information on your business in Google's hands. But for that you need to have a Google My Business account, and the information there must be complete and optimized and that information should be also integrated into your dealership website. Why is this so effective? Because regardless of the search, whenever Google serves up a local pack, that listing pack always appears at or near the top of the first page of the SERP's.
Traffic Reporting and Analytics: Do you have a GSC (Google Search Console - formerly called Google Analytics (GA)) account? Perhaps, but is it properly set up to track what is most important? GSC is a powerful tool but to get the most benefit from its in-depth reporting features, it has to be properly setup and that is a job of a specialist. At Posirank we can help you get your GSC account established, and tweak the tracking so that you get the information that you need to make the best business decisions. You need to know who is visiting your site, where they are coming from, what pages/areas of your site they are visiting, what search keywords they are using to find you, how long they stay on your site, and where they go when they are done. Let us audit your traffic reporting and analytics and we'll tell you if you can improve it, and how to do so.
Lead Generation: As a car dealer, no doubt you want to use your website as a way to generate leads. But you need easy-to-complete information-gathering forms, and multiple contact options (email/form submission, phone call, online chat, appointment booking). And your lead gen system needs to be tested and maintained, especially when you make code changes to your site, to make sure that it works properly. One qualified lead can bring you a sale worth thousands of dollars - so you don't want to lose any opportunities.
Speaking of online forms, do you know that Posirank has one? Yep, you can click here and give us just a few pieces of information and we'll contact you back. It's a quick, no-hassle way to start getting some REAL help with your site SEO. And there's no cost or obligation to reach out.
Integration With Marketing Platforms: Social media platforms have exploded in recent years. They are the online/digital equivalent of your neighborhood's "main street" - where people meet and talk things over. And just like a business needs an office or store on main street with a sign outside and big windows, your business website needs to have a presence on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others. At Posirank we can work with your social media team and custom-craft a strategy to gain visibility and tracking across the most popular SM channels.
PPC Campaign Reinforcement: Most people wouldn't include paid advertising as a part of car dealer SEO. And while PPC is not a part of organic SEO (getting search visibility organically or naturally) it can be an important component of your business promotion. Why? Well, for one thing, organic SEO takes time (from 1-3 months to 6+ months in really competitive niches) before you can see significant ROI. The advantage of organic SEO is that once good rankings are achieved, they are usually easier - and less costly - to maintain in the face of competitor upgrades. But businesses that need traffic/leads now may need to supplement their organic SEO campaigns, at least for a while, with PPC advertising.
And if you do need PPC consulting, Posirank can help you. You can tap in to the know-how of some the PPC industry's best and brightest experts, without signing contracts, or paying budget-busting management fees. Check our PPC Management page for more information.
Support for Multiple Dealership Locations: Larger car dealerships have a special need - they need customer engagements for more than one physical location. There may be different locations, or they may be representing different manufacturers (such as a Jeep/Ford Dealership or one selling both automobiles and also motorcycles). Car dealer SEO tactics must be adjusted to meet each of these situations - and they can be. Site content may need modification, or separate domain names or different business listing accounts. There are many options and strategies here and careful planning is needed before actual implementation.
Ongoing Campaign Strategy Adjustments: One thing to keep in mind is that SEO for car dealers and other types of businesses is not a static thing: one round of implementation, no further changes or continuing campaigns, just relax and rake in the cash. Even if your campaigns are firing like clockwork, things can change suddenly. Search engine algorithm updates, your competitors up the ante, some unjustified bad publicity or negativity. Rest assured, Posirank is not about taking your cash and then ghosting you -- we've been in business since 2013 and once we start working with you, you will have constant access to our team of experts and staff consultants whenever you need us. And we stay abreast of the latest developments in the SEO world, so rest assured, you are in good hands when you work with us.