Dealer websites get traffic and visitors through a number of different online channels, one of which is via Search Engines such as Google. This post takes you through some of the key ways to boost the SEO performance of your dealer website – are you doing everything you can?
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, refers to optimising the layout, content and offsite status of your website so that search engines like Google and rank you more highly for relevant searches and keywords. A large number of different criteria contribute to this ranking, and in reality SEO is more of an art than an exactly science. However, there are some general rules that can make a real difference.
Don’t expect SEO results immediately.
There is no quick win in SEO – you won’t make a change today and see more traffic tomorrow. Plan your SEO strategies over 3 months to a year, and if you need more traffic in the meantime consider another traffic generation option such as paid search.
1. For every page you are optimising, identify a target keyword
You can’t optimise your website for every single search term, not in reality. So you need to come up with a target keyword that is likely to generate traffic. You can look at previous PPC campaign performance to get these words, or by using an SEO tool such as SEO MOZ. This keyword can then be used as a focus for your on page content.
For example, if you are optimising a dealership location page, the most relevant keywords will likely either be “[dealership name] [location]” or “[Franchise Name] [location]”. You can therefore focus your page content on this term
2. Use the correct page headings
Your page should have a single H1 tag – a header that google can read as the title of the page. There should only ever be one of these headings per page – if you have more, delete them.
You can then use H2 tags to highlight subheadings and other smaller headings down the page. You can use more than one of these, but don’t use too many.
Remember – the H2 and H2 tags should contain variations on your target keyword. Don’t just stuff the keyword in, but make sure the headings would be relevant to people searching for that term. Related topics and synonyms are good to include here.
3. Make sure the page contains some copy for search engines to read
This might seem obvious but you’d be amazed how many pages on a typical car dealer website have barely any content. In an ideal world 400+ words is great for search engines, but a couple of paragraphs will help too.
4. Include Keywords in your page content
You know that content I mentioned above? This is where you should include your target keyword, similar words and phrases, and other, relevant content.
Whatever you do, however, don’t keyword stuff. That means filling your content with keywords - Google can detect this and will treat you badly for it. Instead, your content needs to be relevant, and appropriate. Focused around the keyword, not just on it. Remember, this content will be visible to real life visitors and potential customers, so it has to tempt tem to enquire or take an action.
Put simply, SEO is never just a standalone consideration, it has to fit around your overall dealer sales strategy.
5. Add synonyms in your SEO-focused content as well!
As I mentioned earlier, synonyms are a great way to boost the SEO relevance of your page without just repeating the same keyword over and over. Google can recognise groups or related words, and as long as you include them in sensible, grammatically correct sentences and don’t overdo it, it can be a great way to boost your SEO.
6. Tag your images with SEO-friendly titles
Tagging and titling images on your website is so often overlooked. For SEO purposes the image title should be relevant to what the image is about. Meanwhile the alt tag is what will display if the image can’t load for any reason, or if your dealer website is being used by someone with a visual impairment using site-reader software. As such, it should describe the image.
Most CMS providers will let you edit photo titles and tags, but if not your web agency can help.
7. Link within your site – if it is relevant
Google likes it when websites link within the site, but only when it is relevant, and only rarely. Don’t fill your page up with hundreds of links!
For instance, if you are talking about buying tyres within the page copy, it is fair and relevant to link through to the tyres purchase module on your website. It makes sense, it helps the customer, and Google can follow the link to the relevant page.
8. Relevant URL structure matters
This is more to do with how your website is built, but you should make sure to consider the URL structure. Ideally it should be readable and logical, containing the target keyword and following an easy to read format. Simplicity and clarity are most important here.
9. Don’t forget to optimise your meta data
Meta data refers to the title and description of the web page that Google can read and display on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). These won’t be visible on the page themselves, and are instead contained within the web page code.
Your page title should be appealing to someone searching on Google, should contain the keyword (or similar) and shouldn’t be more that 60 characters long, including spaces.
Meanwhile, your description should encourage customers to click throughout and be very relevant to their search. This is mainly about maximising the number of clicks you get, which Google likes.
10. Be social, user-friendly and relevant
Finally, never underestimate the importance of usability and social engagement.
Your web page should be easy to share via social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Images should be appealing, and video content will also help to improve people’s engagement with the page. In the same vein, encouraging people to interactive with the web page will improve how relevant Google see it as.
So there you have it. 10 ways that any car dealer can improve their websites Search Engine Optimisation. If it sounds like too much work, get in touch via the form below for a bespoke SEO quote from our in-house eMarketing team!