Digital marketing for car dealers: does SEO matter?
Yes, digital marketing for car dealers matters.
It matters for SEO, too. Organic traffic is the #1 source of web traffic for the average car website in 2021.
In 2021, the average automobile website receives 40% of total traffic from the organic channel (source: Hedges & Company and Google Analytics). This is followed by paid search, then the rest of the channels combined (direct, social, referral, email, etc.).
This includes search for new vehicles (“front of house”) as well as search for parts and service marketing (“back of house”).
#SEO for #cardealers: In 2021 the average automobile website receives 40% of total traffic from organic. Click To TweetWe expect that trend to continue through 2021.
Car dealer SEO services require a long-term plan and effort. With a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place, you’ll see long-term gains in site traffic and revenue. You’re building a strong foundation for the future.
We tell clients that with car dealer SEO, results tend to show up in two to three months. The results continue to build over time. Faster results are possible, but any reputable SEO agency agrees, faster results can’t be guaranteed. On the other hand, if you do need results fast, paid search (PPC) is more likely a better strategy for you. With paid search you can see results within a week or two.
Digital marketing for car dealers starts with an SEO audit
It’s simple SEO 101: Any new digital marketing project starts with an audit of website traffic. If you don’t know where your dealer website ranks today, you can’t create a road map to get anywhere in the future.
Here are some really simple things to check on first in an audit when evaluating digital marketing companies. If you’re engaging someone with your digital marketing, be familiar with this checklist:
- Does your car dealer website have an account set up in the new version of Google Search Console?
- Does the website URL match the property set up in Google Search Console (see the screen shot)? If your website begins with “www” it must be in Google Search Console the same way. If your site is “https://” (it should be!) it must match the URL in Google Search Console.
- Are XML sitemaps created and submitted to Google and Bing? These sitemaps should be crawled and pages in these sitemaps should be indexed. Do you know how many URLs from these sitemaps are indexed and how many are not?
- In Google Search Console under the “Performance” menu, are pages showing for search queries? What are those queries?
- In Google Search Console under Index > Coverage, are there any issues with indexing? The Google index should include pages in your site map.
Create an action plan with goals
Now that your automotive SEO company has a quick audit completed, the next step is to create a plan for you. And of course, any good SEO plan should include measurable goals.
Review your business goals and decide what you want to accomplish using car dealer digital services. Determine specific goals, whether it’s growing overall sales or focusing on particular product categories or pages.
Finally, define how you will measure progress. For example, if you use Google Search Console as the source for data, do you want to reach a certain number of clicks (see screen shot)?
By the way, here’s an important heads-up for “Average position” in Google Search Console. Don’t worry too much if the average position looks bad (like here the average position is 26.2 for this new website). That’s an average across all keywords, perhaps thousands of keywords. This includes non-important keywords that may be ranked quite low. Some of these new keywords may not even be relevant since this is a new site. These new keywords may fall out of the Google index and get replaced with more relevant keywords.
In this case, this new website has plenty of search phrases ranking in the top 10.
Some guiding principals for digital marketing for car dealers
Today automobile SEO is more about topics than it is simply about keywords.
Google is getting really good at latent semantic indexing, or LSI. This means Google understands how search topics and sub-topics relate to each other. We discuss how this influences automotive SEO briefly here and you can read more about LSI on Search Engine Watch.
Focusing on topics does a better job at car dealer SEO because many consumers search on topics. They may not know exactly what they’re searching for in the beginning. But, as consumers narrow their search and become more educated, they continue to search within a main topic.
Another important principal in SEO strategy is to focus on user engagement and clickthrough rate.
Hungry for more SEO knowledge? Try E-A-T
A good automotive SEO services strategy should take into account Google’s “E-A-T” guidelines. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
Google published a 164-page document with guidelines for ranking pages. E-A-T is an important part of those guidelines when it comes to rating a page. Google has a Page Quality Rating that takes into account a webpage’s purpose, the E-A-T characteristic of that page, and the quality/amount of content.
Simply put, E-A-T takes into account the expertise of the page creator. For example, let’s say you have an technical webpage that describes how to tune an engine. You must consider the E-A-T of that page. Write that page’s content in an authoritative manner. In this case, do a great job describing how to tune an engine. Make sure the page is comprehensive and factually accurate. Clearly state who is responsible for the content. Include outbound links to authoritative information sources. Also state who is responsible for customer service at your company (this can be contact information in the footer). The party responsible can be an individual or a “publisher” (the company). These are all components of a high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
Google looks for content created, “…with a high degree of …effort…” Google also looks for content created with, “…expertise, talent and skill…”
Find and fix technical issues that can interfere with SEO rankings
Did you know page load speed and site speed are officially ranking factors with Google? Audit your automotive website’s performance and eliminate technical issues that will interfere with your organic rankings. Lighthouse is a good source of information on how your website functions.
Did you know there are separate organic ranking indexes for desktop searches and mobile searches? It pays to check the mobile version of your website for SEO. There are several free tools you can use including this one from Think With Google. Page load speed is incredibly important for mobile searches.
Conclusions on using digital marketing
We hope you find this page informative for your digital marketing project. Breaking it down into an SEO audit, then defining goals helps a lot. If you have questions on digital marketing for car dealers please reach out and give us a call.
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