Good ole’ search engine optimization, you gotta love it! Well, if you actually understand how it works that is.
Search engine optimization is the act of optimizing websites and content to improve “organic” or “natural” search result placement. When a website appears on the first page of search listings, it is far more likely to be clicked. Increased impressions leads to more clicks and — ultimately — more profit. The goal of SEO is to sidestep costly Google AdWords campaigns that charge per click or per thousand impressions, to eliminate environmentally unfriendly print ads, to demolish overpriced television advertisements, all while building a stronger online brand and increasing sales at the same time.
For car dealerships, search engine optimization is an excellent marketing medium that should not, and I repeat should not, be ignored. The average joe purchases a new vehicle every 4-6 years, which is very infrequent compared to groceries, clothing, electronics and other more commonly purchased goods. When entering the market for a new vehicle, most customers will have no clue where to start, and do not have dealership branding in their psyche as they haven’t visited a dealership in over 4 years. This is not something they (people buying cars) do often, and is important to remember. Relating this to search engine optimization, car dealerships should be on the first page of search results to ensure they capture, and retain, prospective customers.
In this day and age, over 50% of prospective car buyers use the internet to find/research cars. Think about it: let’s say you want a new Ferrari F430 and you live in Los Angeles, you would most likely search in Google (or another search engine) for “Ferrari F430 in Los Angeles” or “Ferrari Dealership in Los Angeles.” Almost always, search engine users browse the first page of listings, and if they don’t find what they want, they simply enter a new search query. In essence, if you’re selling a Ferrari, or have a dealership, and you’re not on the first page of search results, you’re losing out on a lot of traffic and potential sales. This doesn’t only apply to Ferraris, it applies to vehicles of any make, model and year.
Search engine optimization for car dealers should include a mix of social bookmarking, link building, keyword optimization, and research. Please see the purpose of each below:
Utilizing social bookmarking sites will provide a few benefits. For one, submitting web pages or listings to social bookmarking sites will improve the amount of incoming links to a site, thus boosting its relevance and weight in search engines. Secondly, social bookmarking sites will increase traffic, thus boosting your Alexa ranking. Thirdly, social bookmarking site submissions are picked up by search engines, so you’re literally creating another result in search engines by making a submission. Search engine optimization should be used to analyze and implement proper high-traffic keywords in all social bookmark submissions.
The act of building incoming links to a site can be tedious, but it does pay off in the end. I suggest submitting car dealership websites to all directories possible, especially ones that offer do-follow links. The more relevant sources pointing to a site the better. Building links can also be achieved using the above social bookmarking technique.
Optimizing the keywords in vehicle listings is an integral part of search engine optimization for car dealers. Search engines need to fully understand what is being displayed in the vehicle listing, or on the webpage. For example, having a photo of a Ford Mustang Cobra for sale including: the price, mileage, an address, and a phone number is not enough to attract large amounts of attention online and doesn’t cut the cheese. You need keywords. Keywords, keywords, keywords. Additionally, keywords should be implemented throughout the car dealership’s website including the about us section (types of vehicles sold), contact (location of dealership), services (maintenance, new car sales, etc.), as well as informative content-rich pages on the footer.
Website traffic for car dealerships should be tracked on a consistent basis and current marketing tactics should be analyzed. Does the website receive a huge spike in traffic after a television commercial airs? If not, why not? Also, are the intended keywords receiving traffic? If so, is the traffic generating sales? Research is important when looking at search engine optimization for car dealerships.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to Digg, Tweet, Twurl, Buzz, Sphinn it. (I love the names of social bookmarking sites)
The Brainchild Group