Everyone wants their business to rank #1 on Google search, but achieving and maintaining high visibility online is a lot harder and more complex than the simple acronym SEO makes it sound. Add multiple locations into the mix – and your difficulties are compounded. Identifying the SEO techniques for auto dealer marketing that most effectively pull in local traffic is a moving target. Last year Google alone made over 500 buy twitter followers fast changes to how they rank and index a business website on their search engine, and with their latest Hummingbird update that essentially rewrote their entire search engine, they are on a collision-course to best that number in 2013. Therefore it is highly probable that some website changes you may have made a couple years ago are now obsolete (if not downright banned), while new standards and best practices for local SEO may be absent from your website as well as your off-page assets like social media and business listings.
The single element driving traffic to most websites is not the visual part of the website – it’s the wording. Search engines do not see the visible parts of your website – they only see the words. That said, it makes sense to focus as much attention there as possible. Keyword research will help discover the words and phrases best suited to help the search engines know what you do (i.e. wholesale Mopar parts, wholesale Jeep parts, wholesale Dodge parts), and where you do it (location) as well as identify what words people are typing into their search bar to find businesses like yours. You can use a Free Tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to build your keyword strategy. Download your list of keywords into Excel for further editing and filtering on a regular basis – quarterly review works great but definitely no less than twice a year. I’m a big supporter of quarterly audits for most business analysis, marketing and performance KPIs.
2. Keyword Mapping & META
Now that you have your keywords strategy down – let’s put it to good use. Looking at your keyword list (Excel spreadsheet), you will probably notice that you could group together similar keywords to form categories (I call these silos). Does your website have a page for each silo category listed on your spreadsheet? It should. You don’t need hundreds of pages for your website – but your pages should target the primary aspects of your business. Your list of keywords is the starting point. As buy twitter followers instantly a best practice, your website should have no less than 6 pages, and be no longer than it needs to be (if people don’t read it – you don’t need it). Looking again at your keyword list, make sure the primary keyword for a page is used as close to the front of the opening sentence of the website as possible and consider highlighting your keyword in bold. Same goes for the administrative elements of the website called the META – the part people cannot see, but search engines can (not all website platforms permit using bold here, don’t freak out if yours doesn’t).
A relatively new tool for local marketing (circa June 2011) has to do with using a simple html code called SCHEMA – also referred to as structured data or microformat – to better identify and classify some of the most important information on your website to search engines, such as your location and contact info. This code is universally accepted by Google, Bing, and Yahoo making it a must-have for every local business. Speaking of search engines, keep in mind that Google isn’t the only option worth courting. As I write this, Yahoo has just taken the #1 Search Engine spot from Google and Bing has picked up a ton of search traffic since the Amazon Kindle Fire and many smart phones now come default with Bing as the native search engine. Facebook has also integrated a search feature called Search Graph this year, and with one-in-seven people on the planet having a Facebook account that makes them (technically) the largest search engine in the world. BONUS: Replace the SCHEMA code in RED (below) with YOUR INFORMATION and insert on your website page.
Completely underused, the area at the bottom of your website (footer) holds tremendous usability and SEO value. First off – if you have a lot of html code in the header of your website – validation codes are most common – you can move it here. Doing so will reduce the amount of html coding that search engines have to read as they load your page making your page load faster – and the speed that a website page opens is an SEO element that affects ranking. Fast is good.
5. Blogging & Social Media
I’m not going too deep into blogging and social media, there’s already been so much published already on the topic, but suffice to say – you need to be actively creating content (story telling). Most small businesses start to sweat at the thought of writing blog & social media posts, but here’s a simple strategy that will get your content marketing roaring like a 440 Six Pack.
- Gather 12 images (digital) that best illustrate your primary keywords and location
- Cool car part images and “name the part” quizzes also make great content
- Describe who, what, when, where, why, or how about the image
- Make sure your keyword is at the front of your title, description, and message
- Add a link back to the page of your website that this keyword belongs to (Step 1.)
- Use a scheduling program to automate these 12 posts to publish once a month
As to what blog platform to use – my blog is on WordPress, but SquareSpace is also worth looking into (that’s what my website is on). My preference is to have a blog separate from a website to double a business’s marketing channels. You can also have an on-site (website) blog to curate the posts from your off-site blog, no harm there – just be certain to give new blog posts a few days to populate on search engines before re-publishing them. SEO TIP: Sendible has a content marketing tool that automatically picks the best time to schedule your blog and social media posts based on when your readership is most likely to read them. It could take a few months for it to get a good read on your followers & friends, so hang in there – it works great. This tool also allows you to set up automatic re-posting, just be sure to write with an ever-greening tone so your copy doesn’t date itself and put a realistic end-date into play.