What is Automotive SEO? What is Google E-A-T?
As search engine optimization gets more technical each year, more people in the automotive industry ask, “what is automotive SEO, E-A-T and what’s important to optimize for?” SEO covers so many areas and is different if you’re considering an automotive parts website vs. an auto repair business website or automotive dealership website.
We break it down covering best practices for 2021 for both categories: parts sites vs. auto repair websites/auto dealer websites.
Let’s start: What is automotive SEO from a technical standpoint
For automotive parts sites
Automotive parts technical SEO
You’ve probably been told or read “content is king.” Yes, that’s still true but so many other things now go into an automotive parts website’s organic rankings.
Today you have to include the technical side when considering what is automotive SEO.
Google Page Experience, site speed and parts sites organic rankings
announcement that Page Experience will now be a ranking factor. Automotive parts websites need to consider Page Experience for SEO.You may have seen Google’s
This algorithm change includes existing and well-known Google signals like being mobile-friendly, using the secure https:// protocol and keeping your website’s security updated. It also covers intrusive interstitials, also known as pop-ups. Examples are large or even full-page email sign up forms you see on so many automotive parts websites.
What’s new for Page Experience is that it now includes metrics from Google’s Web Vitals. These measure a website’s loading speed, interactivity, and its visual stability. This stability is called CLS for Content Layout Shift, which happens as elements and fonts load for a webpage, causing the layout to change.
Speed is king for parts sites
You can’t have good rankings without useful, unique content, but on the other hand, if your site doesn’t load quickly in 2021 it will fall off Page One pretty quickly.
There are any number of case studies on site speed. Benefits include a lower bounce rate and higher conversion rates. We have our own conversion rate tool to calculate how site speed affects conversion rate. There are many great tools to evaluate your site speed and see what loads. Two of the best are WebPageTest.org and PageSpeed Insights.
For automobile dealership and auto repair websites
Auto repair shop and dealership technical SEO
Have you wondered “how to make my auto repair website rank higher on Google?” Let’s dig into how to get a business ranked for auto repair SEO or dealership SEO. You still need optimized websites but so many other things now go into organic rankings for dealer or auto repair websites.
Organic rankings based on Google Page Experience and site speed
announced Page Experience is now a ranking factor. Automobile dealer websites need to consider the total user experience (UX), including site speed, for SEO.Google
This algorithm change includes existing and well-known Google signals like being mobile friendly, updated security settings and the secure https:// protocol. It also covers intrusive interstitials, or pop-ups. Fortunately many dealer and auto repair websites tend to avoid these popups. Dealers usually opt for a small chat pop up in the lower right corner, which should be fine for your UX.
What is important for your dealership site is that Page Experience now includes Google’s Web Vitals metrics. This includes a site’s loading speed and interactivity. It also measures visual stability, called Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS.
Speed is king for dealerships and auto repair
Dealerships and auto repair shops compete in local markets more than parts sites do. Unique content is great, but your website must load quickly, especially on mobile phones, in 2021. Otherwise you’ll lose visibility in valuable local search traffic.
Google defaults to measuring site speed on mobile devices, not desktop computers. That’s wise, most automobile searches start on a mobile phone. Many of us office-dwellers forget to look at the mobile versions of our own sites, don’t forget to get out your phone and look.
What is automotive SEO when it comes to website content? Go EAST
For automotive parts sites
Worry less about keywords, more about Engagement, Answers, Solutions and Topics: EAST
Too many agencies and content writers focus on keywords when it comes to SEO. Today, SEO goes way beyond that.
When considering what is automotive SEO, remember Engagement, Answers, Solutions and Topics, or EAST.
It starts with Engagement: Google measures user engagement with pages and websites. If you have annoying interstitials/pop-ups asking people to sign up for your email list, a slow-loading website, 404 page not found errors, or a low clickthrough rate due to bad page titles or meta descriptions, your content doesn’t matter as much.
Answers: That’s what automotive consumers want. They have a question, a need, a desire or a problem. They want answers.
Solutions: Automotive consumers want to know if you have a solution for them. How do you install it? Does it fit my car? Is it in stock?
Topics: Don’t optimize your website for keywords you think Google likes, optimize it for people. Consumers are searching topics, write content for that.
Google ranks pages for Page Quality, or PQ. Here is, in part, how Google determines PQ:
Websites and pages should be created to help users. Websites and pages that are created with intent to harm users, deceive users, or make money with no attempt to help users, should receive the Lowest PQ rating…As long as the page is created to help users, we will not consider any particular page purpose or type to be higher quality than another.
If you build content based on EAST you are moving in the direction of high PQ. It will help your auto parts SEO marketing.
For auto repair shop websites and auto dealership sites
Focus on Engagement, Answers, Solutions and Topics: EAST
Are still trying to cram a bunch of keywords on a page for your SEO? Don’t do that. Build engaging content based on our EAST acronym. When considering what is automotive SEO, think EAST: Engagement, Answers, Solutions and Topics.
Everything begins with the Engagement of your website’s visitors. Google measures the user engagement for your website. Do you have a high bounce rate due to poor or misleading content, a slow website, or a low clickthrough rate (CTR) because you haven’t optimized page titles or meta descriptions, your content doesn’t matter very much.
Answers: Your customers want answers to their questions. Can you fix their car? Do you have the car or truck they’re interested in and if so, what are the specs?
Solutions: Customers want to know if you have a solution for them. What is your financing, or do you offer leases? Do you have a guarantee for repair work?
Page Quality, or PQ, by evaluating the Main Content (abbreviated as MC) of a page:Topics: Don’t optimize your site for keywords that you think Google wants. Optimize your site for people interested in specific topics. Google ranks pages for
Main Content is any part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose….MC can be text, images, videos, page features…or it can be user-generated content such as videos, reviews, articles, etc. that users have added or uploaded to the page. Note that tabs on some pages lead to even more information…and can sometimes be considered part of the MC of the page.
Make sure you build Main Content or MC, by “heading EAST.” It’s critical for effective automotive SEO services.
What is automotive SEO from Google’s Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) perspective?
For automotive parts sites
Automotive parts sites, SEO, E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust)
Google looks at a website and at individual web pages for their expertise, authority and trustworthiness. This is known as E-A-T and is an important automotive SEO ranking signal. For an automotive parts site, this can come from a well-written blog.
A blog is a great way to demonstrate your experience and knowledge with unique content showcasing your expertise in your area. It gives you authority because it is informative. It helps establish trust because of the knowledge required to create that content and because it builds trust in your brand (you’re not some fly-by-night site that just popped up). Other ways to build expertise, authority and trustworthiness are consistently updated social media accounts, linked to and from your website.
Reviews are good for SEO, even the bad ones
guide for Google employees evaluating web pages. The latest guide has this advice:Reviews help build credibility for your business. However, reviews by themselves aren’t necessarily good. Google publishes a
Customer reviews can be helpful for assessing the reputation of a store or business. However, you should interpret these reviews with care, particularly if there are only a few. Be skeptical of both positive and negative user reviews.
The negative reviews give you a great opportunity to respond. That shows prospective customers you care about their business and want to make things right for bad experiences. A good reply can help your E-A-T by building trust. And make sure your SEO company knows how to put schema on your site so your review ratings show up in Google.
Where are you? Who are you? What are your policies?
Many automotive parts sites are built out with the owner hiding. What we mean is, there’s no mention of the owner, there’s no physical street address, there’s no phone number, no history of the company. Nothing. Give the customer a comfort level when you want them to do business with you. They want to know who you are and where you are.
That all builds your E-A-T and helps your rankings as well as your conversion rate. Don’t forget well-defined return policies, which are now a strong recommendation for better performance in Google Shopping campaigns.
For service repair and automobile dealership sites
SEO, E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust) for dealers and repair shops
Google looks at websites and evaluates the expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T) behind the site. This is an important SEO ranking signal for automobile dealerships and repair shops. E-A-T was first widely-discussed among SEO professionals in late 2019.
For a dealer or repair shop site, this can come from well-written content describing the dealership, videos with high quality video walkarounds and high quality photography. Repair shops can show before-and-after photos.
A blog is a great way for an auto repair shop to show experience and knowledge. This type of content gives your website authority because it is informative to prospective customers. It helps establish trust because a level of knowledge is required to create that content. Dealerships and auto repair shops are extremely competitive in local markets so you need to build trust in your brand through your website.
Reviews: quality, not just quantity
Reviews help build credibility but quality reviews are better than quantity.
Google gives its employees a 175-page search quality guide for evaluating web pages. The latest guide has this advice on evaluating reviews:
…you should interpret…reviews with care, particularly if there are only a few. Be skeptical of both positive and negative user reviews. Anyone can write them, including the creator of the website or someone the store or business hires for this purpose.
So, a low number of reviews: bad. Lots of short, 5-star questionable reviews: also bad.
There aren’t any shortcuts. You want good, quality reviews. Even with a negative review, a good reply from your business offering to help can build your E-A-T by building trust in your business.
Where are you? What are hours? What’s the customer experience?
Consumers use a website as a proxy for visiting a local business. They want to know more about your business before stopping in. They want to see your storefront as well as inside photos. Make sure your NAP is prominent: name, address and phone.
Every local business needs a maintained Google My Business profile, too. It helps customers find your location, see reviews and understand more about your business. Google My Business helps establish trust.
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