The most common marketing decision (blunder) that auto dealers make in an attempt to accelerate sales is to blindly increase their Google AdWords investments. While AdWords is a critical part of a competent online marketing strategy, dealers are overspending. The OEMs seem to support AdWords gluttony; more is better. This is far from the truth.
Dealers need relevant content on their websites to serve the needs of consumers. Purchase decisions are being made online. Great content attracts engaged shoppers and keeps them on dealership websites longer.
If auto dealers were food stores, their shelves would be bare; the meat (great content) is in short supply.
Content can be published, shared and syndicated to create an annuity of high-quality traffic. Oddly, dealers ignore the organic channel because it’s not well understood and it’s not as sexy as AdWords. How do I know this? The average dealership in the United States has fewer than 30 pages of quality, static content on their websites, not including SRPs and VDPs.
When you look at the total conversions generated on a dealership’s website, organic traffic is the No. 1 channel. Organic traffic has the highest assisted conversions of any channel. When you look at AdWords conversions on sales campaigns, fewer than 50 percent of the conversions are opportunities to sell a car.
To sell more cars, dealers need an increase of engaged shopper visits and not just more clicks.
The Eight Pillars of Automotive SEO
I started in the automotive industry in 2005 and my sole focus was SEO. In fact, my twitter handle is @automotiveseo. I want to encourage dealers to get back to the basics and make sure they have an ample budget for content publishing and SEO. I base this on the eight following facts:
1. Organic website traffic to an auto dealership website is the highest quality based on Google Analytics event tracking and conversion goals. Dealers who want more engaged shoppers should invest in expanding their organic visibility.
2. Dealership websites lack ample relevant content to serve both local organic search requirements and provide appropriate landing pages for paid advertising.
3. Dealerships are not properly measuring the impact on content publishing and SEO strategies on website traffic. Looking at total organic traffic trends are misleading, especially when radio and TV campaigns can generate measurable organic lift.
4. Dealers need a realistic keyword strategy that is constantly monitored and ranked against their local competitors. Keyword rankings alone are not directly related to an increase of quality shopping traffic.
5. A comprehensive SEO strategy should be multi-channel and use all media forms including text, video, photography and infographics.
6. Dealerships are not staffed sufficiently to create consistent content to fuel SEO strategies. This is one key reason why dealers should partner with an SEO agency experienced in automotive retail.
7. SEO strategies must also optimize mobile website performance. A complete audit of website page performance should be completed, and issues resolved.
8. Google My Business is the No. 1 organic traffic channel to dealership websites. Thus, the GMB listing should be fully optimized, regularly updated with weekly posts and include compelling photos and videos.
Time for an SEO Upgrade?
Dealers who would like to get serious about generating more organic traffic should consult with an expert. Verify that the SEO agency you are considering has specific experience with auto dealers and get some references.
You can reach out to me with your questions about automotive SEO strategies by emailing me at the address above. I’ll share with you what to look for in SEO packages and outline how a proven SEO strategy will benefit your dealership.