Local SEO Tactics for Auto Dealership Traffic and Sales
Bottom line, if you want to sell vehicles, you first have to figure out how to get auto shoppers in your local market to find your dealership. There are some essential tools to generate organic traffic so you don’t have to overspend on marketing!
In working with our auto dealership clients, one question always comes early in our conversations…what is SEO and how do we “win” at that game? The short answer is that there isn’t a short answer! And though SEO is more of a long term strategy, it will definitely help you to decrease your reliance on PAID advertising!
Here are the basics of MM Dealer Advocates SEO to help get auto dealership clients to maximize organic lead generation:
Hyper Local SEO: Search Listing Optimization
Your business’ profile needs to be claimed and maintained on Google (Google Business Profile) and Bing, as well as Apple Maps & Yelp. Search your business name in the dashboards. From there you can claim your business or create a new listing. The information in your profile should be consistent here and across every digital listing site so search engines won’t be confused. This listing is a searcher’s first impression of you, before they see your website. So make your profile informative, useful, and rich with features and media. Be sure that your Google profile has your Cars for Sale inventory feed. Post on your listings monthly and update it regularly so the search engine can see that you’re active. Most of this is FREE!
Review Management/Online Reputation Management
The car buying public trusts each other, especially on the local level. Asking for and ensuring great reviews from your most satisfied customers is vital for your online reputation. MM Dealership Advocates knows the main review sites, how to help you set up a process to get customers to leave reviews and how to best leverage positive reviews and mitigate the impact of negative reviews.
Apple Maps and Waze
Though not really ‘search engines’ like Google, Apple Maps & Waze are also important places for a local dealership to gain add’l organic traffic. While your Google Business Profile puts you on Google Maps automatically, it is also important that your dealership is listed on Apple Maps & Waze. If you use an Iphone, then you already know that when you are searching, the 1st result at the top of your phone is an Apple Maps location listing. Not only is being on these maps beneficial for local SEO they all are ways to make it easier for customers to find your dealership. For Apple Maps, this is done using Apple Maps’ local business listings and an easy data entry portal called Apple Maps Connect, Waze is owned by Google and as long as your Google Business Profile is up to date, you should also be on Waze automatically.
Remember, include as many details as the maps will let you, and keep the info consistent with everything else you have out there on the web.
Social media, like Facebook & Instagram & TikTok are search engines within themselves and can also be a great driver of traffic to your dealership website. Posting and participating regularly on social media offers dealerships the chance to reach out and get in front of the numerous social media users in their local market.
It has often been said, because it’s quite true, that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet behind Google. Every day, users in your area are likely searching on YouTube for auto-related videos. The more relevant, quality video content you can create and the more active your channel on YouTube, the more traffic YouTube can drive both to your website and dealership. It can be as simple as a video done on your Iphone of the dealership, walk around a cool new vehicle or a video from service on how to replace windshields. Professional videos are great as well but not necessary. Be sure to optimize all of your videos with content details and links.
On-Your-Website SEO Strategies:
There are numerous ‘technical’ aspects of SEO on your website that often are ignored in the automotive industry. We work to ensure every page on your auto dealership website(s) helps generate the strongest local search results possible. These include…
Keyword Management – To show up as a top search result, you have to know what people are searching for and how they’re searching for it. There is an art and science to finding keywords and phrases that will effectively drive search results, but not be overly competitive or expensive.
Image Optimization – People are increasingly searching “pictures of [vehicle].” So it matters that you have lots of photos on the site and that photo file names align with these kinds of searches. (alt tags)
Local Content – It’s good for SEO and for building trust. Dedicating part of your site to local news, events, or public information makes your site more useful, keeps it from being static, loads the site with local-related keywords, and makes shoppers feel you’re a true trusted part of their community. If you sponsor a youth sports team, put up a league sports page. If you regularly support a charity, dedicate a page to it.
Meta Tags– ensuring that Google understands what each page is about by creating descriptive title tags and page descriptions ‘behind’ the scenes for Google to see
Sitemaps and Schema – Okay, this is where it really gets techie. But essentially, generating a sitemap and schema markup on your site (which your users do not see), helps search engines figure out exactly what your pages are about. Not all local dealerships are going this deep with their SEO, so doing this could give you a real advantage and MM Dealer Advocates can help.
UX Strategy – UX is “user experience.” This involves things like making sure your website is immediately intuitive, navigation makes sense, desired information can be quickly and easily found, content is attractive and presented cleanly, and calls-to-action are simple and clear. It’s what makes your website an enjoyable place to spend time.
According to Google, the average car shopper only visits two dealerships when searching for a new vehicle.** This is why SEO for local auto dealerships is not a luxury or something that should be delayed. Search can be especially complicated for auto dealers, who are “dealing” with several makes and models, new and used, selling and buying, multiple locations, plus parts and service departments with all the different services that entails. That’s why MM Dealer Advocates specializes in taking SEO off the plates of auto dealerships who need to focus on selling and creating happy customers.
*PQ Media. http://www.insideradio.com/podcastnewsdaily/consumer-spending-on-digital-audio-is-growing-faster-than-all-other-online-segments/article_d1490284-7aab-11eb-9935-57a2ae6cdb0d.html