Last week, Google made a change that will be felt instantly and long-term by car dealers and their SEO firms. By integrating Google Places and reviews into the organic listings, two things that were once very important are even more important today: strong SEO and reputation management.
We will be tackling the reputation management aspect in the next post but for now let’s take a look at how this change will affect dealers from an automotive SEO perspective and what dealers can do to take advantage it. First, the video:
In short, automotive SEO is even more important than it was before because:
- The organic Google algorithm now determines the order of the map listings.
- Sponsored links have been moved down lower on the page in the sidebar with maps staying at the top.
- Reviews are visible and easily clicked from the organic listings.
- Phone numbers and addresses are visible, meaning that ranking high will lower clicks but increase phone calls and visits.
Now that you can see how the changes work and hopefully have an understanding of the importance of top-notch SEO, the question becomes, “How do I take advantage of this change?”
SEOs in the world have often debated the value of long-tail vs what we like to call “money terms”. Some say having a lot of low-volume keywords is better, while others say that a few high-volume keywords makes more sense. The real answer is that you should have both, but while most have the ability to get the long-tail terms with proper site structure and indexing, the money terms such as “Washington DC Acura” are more challenging.
To get the money terms, you must utilize link-building. There’s no way around it. Driving relevant, powerful links to your site is the only way to achieve top rankings on these high-volume searches. The links need to be contextual, properly structured with targeted anchor text, and permanently indexed.
For example, when I create a link for Virginia Acura Dealers and link it to Pohanka Acura, I am creating a link that the search engines value (as indicated by this website’s PageRank of 4), one that is relevant because this website is considered an authority in the automotive industry, and one that is properly anchored so that the search engines see it as a “vote” that TK Carsites believes Pohanka Acura’s website is the authority for the term “Virginia Acura Dealers”.
That’s the process and it must be repeated. If you do not have an SEO strategy in place, get one now. If you do have one or you have a vendor doing it for you, ask for examples of link-building. Make certain the links are strong as described above and anchored properly. Putting together a well optimized website with good title tags, content, site-structure, etc., is the first step and will get you going in the right direction as well as help you rank for the long-tail searches, but to get the “money terms” you must have a linking strategy in place. There are very few exceptions to this rule (none that I know of, actually).
Part 3 of this series will discuss how the changes affect reputation management and ways that dealers can take advantage of it.
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Read more about Dealer Marketing on this blog.