Every dealership wants to increase website traffic, that’s why they spend thousands of dollars per month on advertising agencies to run email marketing, pay-per-click advertising and social media campaigns. Typically, agencies include search engine optimization in service packages to snag organic search traffic. Yet, organic search often feels like the red-headed stepchild. It doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This is a mistake.
Organic search traffic should and can be the dominating traffic source for your website. This traffic is more relevant, and the leads are high-quality. Think about it: traffic that flows from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, delivers visitors who are specifically searching for what you offer. They are essentially using these search engines as a phone book to find your business (whether because of location, vehicles in inventory, service specials, etc.).
In my experience, dealers know SEO is important, but they sometimes forget why or lose sight of its impact. So, they go ahead and earmark marketing funds to optimize their websites. The problem is that too few agencies and dealers effectively monitor and measure what they’re getting for that ad spend. If you can’t measure it, how do you know if it’s working?
Ensure you’re getting the most out of your SEO investment with the following three strategies:
1. Know What You’re Buying
Consistently hitting the top of search engine results requires a constant stream of fresh content. This can include blog posts, relevant keywords or changes to existing web pages. Many agencies offer packages to optimize your top five pages, for example. Before you enter into a contract, get a grasp on what kinds of changes the agency will be implementing.
Will it be minor changes to vehicle pages? Adding pages? Posting blog articles? Is the agency staying up to date with search engine best practices? Will they include expiration so you can see what pages are relevant? You can only hold your agency accountable if you know what you’re buying.
2. Monitor and Measure Traffic
You need to be able to directly attribute phone calls, appointments and sales to your SEO spend. These are the metrics that matter. Reporting on cost-per-click, bounce rate and pages per session don’t tell you what actions are actually working to convert customers.
The best way to track performance is to tie Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) technology into your Google Analytics. DNI assigns every individual consumer accessing your web pages a unique number, so you know precisely the online route they followed to land on your site.
A good SEO strategy should increase your organic traffic and conversions. After all, this traffic is already looking for your dealership in the first place. If DNI analysis reveals that organic behavior is not increasing over time, your money is not being well spent.
3. Participate in the Process
You can’t put the blame for lackluster organic search results solely on the shoulders of your agency. Too many dealers set up an SEO strategy and then forget about it. The agency may reach out for help narrowing down keywords or brainstorming relevant and timely blog topics but never get a response. This leads to the agency merely doing the bare minimum to keep campaigns running. To get better results, you need to participate in the process. Remember, organic search delivers your highest-quality, lowest-funnel leads. It pays to put the time in to make sure customers can find you online.
Organic SEO is the clear champion of website traffic because visitors are deliberately looking for your dealership. Don’t make the mistake of setting and forgetting your SEO strategy. Put the processes and tools in place to review your strategy, measure results and participate in planning to increase your organic web traffic year-over-year.