Auto dealers must work harder today to attract customers. In decades past, a brick-and-mortar shop with advertising in the windows was all it took to sell cars. In the digital age, websites are a requirement for dealers to inform customers about inventory and sales. Aside from general information, websites are virtual showrooms and to get the most out of them, dealers must learn basic marketing and strategies for automotive search engine optimization (SEO).
What is Automotive SEO?
Automotive SEO is a process specific to building dealership websites. The page content and elements are tailored to customers interested in purchasing a car, selling a car or learning more about a particular car. This type of SEO utilizes content, headlines, keywords, meta tags and navigation links to increase relevancy and boost the site’s search ranking.
Automotive SEO Techniques
Google is limited in that it cannot understand page content the way people do. This is why everything on a dealer website must relate to the automotive industry. Optimization done naturally keeps the site readable and maintains focus on the primary keywords. This process should be done in text format because search engines often ignore images, animations and scripts. All SEO should follow the best practices to obtain the optimal results.
Titles and Meta Descriptions
Meta titles are very important for automotive SEO. They inform search engines and viewers about the page being visited and the exact information that is found there. For example, a review of a 2017 Honda Civic should have a relevant title such as “A Full Review of the 2017 Civic.” Search engines show only 50 to 60 characters of a meta title, which means the wording should be descriptive but brief. All content should have a meta description, which is a short summary of what is on the page. Meta descriptions are placed under titles in search engines and average about 160 characters. Dealers should ensure that meta descriptions utilize keywords and are compelling enough to bring in new business.
Heading and Alt Tags
Heading tags help search engines understand site content and relevancy. For the best results, dealers should use h1, h2 and h3 tags to appeal to crawlers and help visitors scan pages to find what they are looking for. Alt tags are used within image links to present a short description of the photo. This is not only an aid to crawlers, but it is beneficial to those who depend on screen readers to read web content. An image that shows the interior of a 2018 BMW can use “2018 BMW, styling, interior.”
Along with on-site SEO, dealers need to work on off-site SEO. A good approach is building backlinks through other related and reputable websites. This boosts the reputation of the dealer site and makes it appear more trustworthy to potential customers. Google bases its rank of the dealer site on inbound link quality as well as the relevancy of the domains making referrals.
Google offers a feature called “Dealership Listings.” Auto dealers can claim their listing in order to appear more authentic. The process of a dealership listing requires that links, images and videos be added. In the business description, only relevant keywords can be used to avoid getting a “gaming penalty” from the search engine. The last step is to build a fan base through social media profiles. This gives the dealership a human side, making it more appealing to customers. Dealers should add the name, address and phone number of their business to make the listing complete.
The automotive industry is a competitive business, which means SEO is crucial to staying one step ahead. The Internet Marketing Team offers the skills and experience to help dealers get the results they want.