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Understanding search engine optimization for your dealership

Posted by Jeremy Sacco on April 11, 2018

Dealers need to understand how to use SEO effectively to drive sales

Most car dealers are probably aware of the Google research that shows almost 80% of the touchpoints on the consumer purchase journey happen online. Given how critical digital sources are to that journey, auto dealers need to ensure they are leveraging all the tools available to them to establish a strong online presence that contributes to their bottom line.

One of the most effective ways to drive online lead generation is through the use of search engine optimization (SEO).

Good SEO delivers quality traffic to your website

At its simplest, SEO is the use of organic search engine results to drive targeted, quality leads to your website or dealership. Here, “organic” refers to unpaid search results—with paid results being part of search engine marketing (SEM). The optimization aspect refers to the various tactics used to ensure you’re only attracting the best quality traffic. As search industry leader MOZ states, “You want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in products that you offer.”

Local SEO targets shoppers near you

While SEO can attract quality website traffic, it doesn’t necessarily mean the people visiting your website will be local to your dealership.

Local SEO combines various marketing strategies—Yelp and other review sites, Google My Business, listings on CarGurus, and more—to promote your dealership to shoppers within your local area at the moment they’re ready to make a decision.

According to Google, 76% of people who search for a local business via their smartphone visit within a day, with 28% of these people making a purchase. That’s a statistic your dealership can’t afford to ignore when it comes to local SEO.

Google My Business can boost SEO results

Despite the best efforts of its competitors, Google remains the number one search engine on the planet, which means if your dealership can rise to the top on Google, it’s far more likely to excel at driving local leads online.

Google My Business is a valuable tool in this respect—a free resource from Google that places your business in front of potential customers when they use Google Search or Google Maps. It enables your dealership to post the latest deals, and connect with customers to answer queries before your competitor does.

Citations put you in front of a bigger audience

One of the most underused yet effective marketing strategies in SEO is that of citations. A citation is a mention of your dealership online—your business name, address, and phone number—and helps to push you closer to the top of search results.

The more citations you have, the more results about your business are shown, increasing the likelihood of a potential buyer seeing your name, clicking on a link about you, and moving into your conversion funnel.

Blogging gives you an edge in search results

While the likes of Google My Business, local SEO, and citations are key to driving traffic to your site (and dealership), blogging remains one of the best tools for increasing your search ranking.

By blogging about useful content that people are searching for—industry news, frequently asked questions, or other relevant industry topics—you can increase the “authority” of your website. Authority is one of the key indicators Google uses to decide where to rank web pages in search results.

SEO benefits from social media

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that great SEO eliminates the need for a social media strategy. When used as a tactic alongside SEO, social media can boost your SEO efforts even more.

Backlinks from your social media pages, for example, can add authority to your website in the eyes of Google, helping drive your site up the search rankings.

Brand awareness also gets a lift from social media. Posts on Facebook pages, or pictures of your dealership on Instagram, can help your business become more recognizable, increasing the likelihood of a click-through when you turn up in search results.

Start using SEO to benefit your dealership

SEO enables your customers to find you more easily, and a good SEO strategy that encompasses local SEO, review sites, and your own content, helps drive the kind of quality online leads your dealership is looking for.

Even better, you don’t have to be an SEO expert to start benefiting from the various tactics available to you. Google recently updated its SEO Starter Guide, which is full of useful tips, advice, and guides to getting the most out of SEO for your business.

Using Google’s guide, along with the tips provided here, will help your dealership get started on not only improving your SEO, but also increasing the amount of successful conversions from your online marketing campaigns.

By using all of the SEO tools at your fingertips, and using them effectively, you can improve your chances of being the dealership car buyers turn to when they’re preparing to make a purchase.

Topics: SEO, tips and tricks