by The Cobalt Group:Jon Goad on Mar 8, 2011
How to Optimize your Dealer Website in Five Minutes a Day
John Goad is the SEO Quality and Process Manager for ADP Digital Marketing
We won’t mince words: If you’re a dealer still dragging your feet about keyword optimization, it’s time to jump in the game. In fact, a recent study from AutoTrader.com (you’ve heard of them, right?) just confirmed that shopping for automobiles online is less of a passing trend and more of a permanent reality. The study revealed that 71% of consumers use the Internet while shopping for new and used vehicles, more than double any other information source. It also reaffirms the importance of search engines, saying, “Search engines are…commonly used during the vehicle shopping process, with Google being by far the most prevalent. New and used vehicle buyers who visited a dealer site arrive at the site via search.”
Satisfied? Good. Now since we know that keyword optimization is not the average dealer’s idea of a good time on Saturday night (it’s not ours either, for the record), the experts at ADP Digital Marketing have provided you this list of clever keyword tactics that will help you trounce your competition in just five minutes a day. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to make your dealer website fully discoverable by customers dying to find that perfect vehicle-yours!
Killer Keyword Tips For Your Car Website
- Think locally. The average dealer may dream of being number one for “Chevrolet” or “Chevy Malibu,” but you know better. You know that bidding on global terms is pointless because most consumers won’t drive more than 20 miles to pick up a new car. While it would be nice for your ego to be number one for “Chevrolet,” it would be unbelievably expensive and an ultimately fruitless effort. Instead, it’s better to pre-qualify the consumers that will actually convert by optimizing your site for local keywords like “Chevrolet Seattle” or “Chevy Malibu Seattle.” Not only do you have an infinitely better chance of ranking number one, you limit your traffic to consumers you could actually serve. Winner, you.
- Go beyond vehicle keywords. Sure, your business is selling cars, but that’s certainly not your only sales opportunity. Attract a greater array of customers by including keywords like “Detroit oil change,” or “Mazda shock absorbers Santa Barbara” or even “bad credit auto financing Houston.” Savvy keywords like these will allow you to attract new customers, even those who are not in-market for a vehicle.
- Spice up your urls. Believe it or not, that little www address in your browser is one of the first places search engines look when ranking a site, so it pays to optimize them for key terms. The easiest recipe for optimizing your dealer website url is: brand name + subject matter. For example, if your page features your Service Sign-up sheet, a url like www.excellencemotors.com/ServiceApptForm would be perfect. Updating urls takes literally five minutes and can do wonders for your site’s rankings.
- A picture is worth a thousand keywords. Well maybe not a thousand, but at least a few juicy ones! When optimizing your site, don’t forget about photos. When you upload a photo, you can include what is known as “alt-text.” Alt-text is basically an SEO caption; it tips off search engines to the photo content, therefore giving them yet another great opportunity to send relevant traffic your way. By taking a few minutes to add keyword-rich descriptions like “Seattle Chevy Dealer employees at a winter barbeque,” or “Seattle Green Infiniti J30 shining in the autumn sun,” you can give your dealer website a more competitive stance in just a few minutes.
- Think links. A final quick keyword trick is to optimize your site links. Search engines treat links with added importance, so give yours some extra punch by incorporating key phrases. Instead of copy that reads “To view used Seattle BMWs, click here,” have it read “Check out our great selection of Seattle used BMWs.” Why? Because, of course, no one is searching the phrase “Click Here.” They are searching phrases like “Seattle used BMWs.” This type of “link-thinking” takes a little while to get used to, but once you get in the mindset, it becomes second nature.
Needless to say, these tips work best when you combine them all together. Don’t settle for making your site a little easier to find by in-market consumers – make it a dynamic car-selling destination by following all these tips for a powerfully optimized digital automotive website.
Last but not least, remember this isn’t about keywords; it’s about customers. ADP Digital Marketing SEO expert John Goad reinforces this maxim. “The best SEO tip isn’t an algorithm or some gaming technique. It’s about simply putting yourself in your customers’ shoes so that they can find what they’re looking for,” Goad says. “They’re doing a great job of pre-qualifying themselves; it’s up to you to make that connection by optimizing your site for those key terms. They’ve already told you what they’re shopping for. It’s not like a billboard on a freeway. People are actually telling you exactly what they want, down to the details. It’s your job to make sure they know you’re the one that can give it to them.”