The way customers shop for cars is changing rapidly. Gone are the days of flashy newspaper ads running dealership offers or cheesy 30-second TV commercials with some general manager pointing his finger at you. Customers don’t need in-your-face sales tactics to find out about your dealership; all of the information a customer could possibly want is right at their fingertips.
In today’s car shopping world, it is about having the right information readily accessible for a customer when they are looking for it. Connected technologies, digital and mobile channels, and consumer mobility behaviors all impact the automotive industry and give way to a new kind of customer — one that is informed and empowered.
Knowing who your customer is can help you reach them at strategic points during their vehicle search. Building a strong, credible online presence is crucial to connecting them with your buying market at the beginning of their shopping experience.
How do you build a strong digital presence for your car dealership? That’s where Automotive SEO can be your best friend. Here are 5 Automotive SEO tips that will help improve your dealership’s overall digital presence, allowing you to reach your target market better than ever before.
1. Mobile. First. Everything.
The mobile landscape is completely changing how customers shop for everything. Make sure your dealership’s site is mobile-friendly. What does this mean? Grab your phone and open up your dealership’s site. How fast does it load? Can you easily contact or call the dealership from a mobile device? Can you easily navigate through the site on your phone? How do vehicle detail pages and images look on a mobile screen?
These are all questions you should ask yourself to ensure your dealership’s site is optimized for mobile users. With more than half of your traffic coming from mobile, it is in your best interest to make sure these shoppers stay on your site and can find the information they need quickly and easily.
2. Respond to your reviews.
Reviews are essential for all businesses. If you are going out to eat at a new restaurant, chances are you have checked out online reviews beforehand to see how credible it is and what people have to say about their experiences there. The same goes for car dealerships, but with even more significance — buying a vehicle is a much bigger purchase decision than buying lunch.
Almost as important as the reviews themselves, however, is how the dealership responds to these reviews — both the positive and the negative ones. As a dealership, it is essential that you respond to all customers. This shows that you have concern for your customers, even after-purchase, and that you strive for customer loyalty and retention. If the customer is happy, thank them profusely for their business. Leave them no other choice but to stay positive and loyal. If the customer is dissatisfied, use the negative review as an opportunity for restitution. Show your concern for what went wrong, and offer a solution to mend or improve it. Always remain professional. Simply responding to reviews shows dealership engagement and concern. At the end of the day, all customers, both good and bad, want to feel heard and validated. Make sure they feel validated. Reviews are more important than just branding – search engines favor businesses who respond to their customers and engage conversations. The same is true for Facebook pages.
3. Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.
Your Google My Business listing is one of the most seen and visited listings on the internet for your dealership. Chances are when someone searches for your dealership’s name directly, your Google My Business knowledge panel listing will appear on the right-hand side of the page. This listing provides a wealth of information for potential customers: they can call you, click to your website, get directions to your dealership, find out what your hours are, see your reviews, see your pictures, and much more.
A Google My Business listing with all of the correct information can have a tremendous impact on not only the online traffic to your site, but can make your dealership easy to find and easy to contact. Make sure your listing is claimed and all of the information on it is accurate. This is often the first impression they have of your business.
4. Quality content.
As much as Google updates and changes their algorithms, one thing remains the same — Content is King. Search engines regularly “crawl” the content on your site, reviewing it for relevance, accuracy, and overall quality. The content on your site needs to be actually valuable for customers. Don’t “stuff” your site with irrelevant and unnecessary content.
Content on your site should be useful to your customers, providing them with relevant information they want to know. On-site content is an excellent opportunity to utilize targeted keywords and highly searched terms, as well as provide users with useful information about your dealership and services. This helps your site’s overall organic rankings, improving your spot in the search results.
5. Clean up your website.
For most of your customers, your website is their first impression of your dealership. Make sure the customer’s first impression of your dealership is overwhelmingly positive by cleaning up and optimizing your website for a quality user’s experience.
What do I mean by “Cleaning up your website”? First, make sure your site is technically sound. A technically sound website contains no broken or missing pages, broken buttons or links, or egregious errors in images or content. Anything obviously broken, missing, or wrong will deter customers from your site, and thus deter them from your dealership.
Second, ensure there is nothing distracting users from the ultimate goal of the site — to set an appointment at your dealership. Remove any distracting and unnecessary elements that may be featured, whether that is huge rotating banners, unnecessary content or words, flashy buttons, or extra widgets that serve to distract customers from the goal of selling cars.
Make it simple and easy for users to convert on your site. Check to make sure your phone number and address is prominent, and that the site contains call-to-action buttons that are direct and clear. The vehicles in your inventory should be easily viewable. Customers are coming to your site to not only check out the vehicles you have for sale, but to get a sense of what your dealership is like before actually stepping foot inside. Your website holds the persona of your dealership — use this to your advantage, and show the customer what sets you apart from the competition.