SMX Advanced SEO Overview & Highlights

Have you ever heard of SMX, the Search Marketing Expo that’s held each year on the West Coast? Well once again this year, Strathcom has sent me to visit, learn, and mingle with some of the superstars in the industry at this year’s event.

So welcome to my tech travelogue, where you’ll be able to live vicariously through my latest travels and learn all about what happens in the the wild world of SEO, and how that will come to affect your dealership’s ranking in the ever-so-important Google search results.

Part I: Overview & Highlights from SMX Advanced

Having attended SMX West last year in San Jose, California, I was more than ecstatic to be attending SMX Advanced in Seattle, Washington at the Bell Harbour Conference Centre this June. And since I learned so much and took plenty of inspiration from last year’s event, I could hardly wait to hit up the advanced sessions.

What I brought back is lots to share about many different SEO topics. Way too much, in fact, to stuff into one blog post. So instead, get ready to read the introduction to what will be the first of a handful of posts on SEO for dealerships over the next few months.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

Local SEO Advanced U Workshop

Typically you aren’t supposed to get your dessert first, but the first day of the conference was actually an extra special add on: the Local Advanced U workshop. This session was geared to help SEOs to boost their brick and mortar small businesses and help them to rank and market themselves locally online. For the car dealerships we specialize in seriving at Strathcom Media, this is what we are trying to achieve—to be the best in our local geographic area.

In the workshop we heard from SEO stars such as Rand Fishkin from Moz, Jade Wang from Google, and many other experts in local SEO.

 

In the evening I attended a rooftop meet and greet conference kick-off and ran into many different automotive SEOs across Canada and the United States. We all decided to go for dinner and had a great time talking about the automotive industry and technology over fresh fish at a restaurant called Local 360. All of their food and drink comes from within 360 miles of the restaurant.

 

Search Marketing Expo Advanced Day 1

On Day 2, the beginning of the actual conference, I attended sessions on

  • 2014’s Periodic Table of Ranking Factors. Search ranking factors that influence results were discussed.
  • Keyword research and using tools that can help us find the quickly vanishing keyword data due to Google’s “Not Provided” change.
  • Local, social, and mobile solutions were also discussed. Mobile was a huge topic at this years session. If you haven’t started a mobile strategy for your websites, then you are quickly falling behind.
  • Always one of the best sessions of the conference is the Q&A’s with Matt Cutts, the head of Google Web Spam. During the session, Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land threw out stuffed penguins, pandas, and hummingbirds, mascots of their most popular anti-spam algorithim updates. Check out the video below. Matt Cutts also did a demonstration on how their Google Now is becoming more conversational. Check out the 2nd video below.  At this Q&A, he announced that an update of the Pay Day Loans would launch the next day.

After all the sessions ended there were two awesome networking events: Janes of Digital, a celebration of women in search and digital, and then SMX After Dark, the ever-so-famous SMX night party hosted by Microsoft Bing. Both were hosted at the Seattle Aquarium while 800 fish watched us party it up. (During the Question and Answer period with Matt Cutts from Google, he mentioned he thought Bing was an adequately fine search engine. This was a running inside joke during the rest of the conference whenever anyone mentioned Bing). But for being a fine search engine, they sure know how to host a party. There were games of Go Fish, an Instagram picture printer (if you used the hashtag #SMXBING, a little printer would automatically print your picture), a very talented magician, glow sticks lighting up fruity cocktails, champagne, and a whole lot of prizes. What a fun night!

Search Marketing Expo Advanced 2

The next morning, tired SEOs and SEMs arose to attend even more fabulous and informative sessions.

  • Microsoft was part of a keynote address on their new predictive search called Cortana. Cortana is similar to Siri on an Apple iPhone, or Google Now on Android, but is for Windows phones.
  • Advanced Technical SEO issues were discussed: how to deal with complex databases, product inventory pages, canonicals, and more.  A lot that was discussed has already been implemented on Strathcom clients websites. Huzzah for us!
  • Not Provided no-keyword data was discussed again and how to better track SEO efforts. SEO isn’t just about keywords on a website. It’s about properly marketing your website online in creative ways. A huge part of SEO is analyzing the data that comes in through Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, as well as through other tools. How can we better analyze our data to understand what needs to be done next on a site, and how to better track conversions and ROI.
  • I quite enjoy all Keynote or Q&A sessions as they are interactive and you never know what will be discussed. There was an Ask the SEOs session where anyone could ask SEO questions to a team of SEOs who have been at it since the 90s! Yes, SEO, has been around that long, but back then it was being done only by a small percentage of people.

The conference then ended off with bowling, billiards, drinks and food at a local pub called The Garage.

Stay Tuned…

SMX has done it again; they have entertained me, educated me, and kept me on my toes in this quickly changing industry.

And now that our Seattle tech tavelogue is complete, stay tuned over the next few weeks for a series of posts on specific key takeways in local SEO, technical SEO, and tracking your SEO.

7 Spring Blog Topics for Your Dealership

Spring has sprung! Well kind of. We do live in Canada. Spring is on its way and it’s time to store our winter dealership blog topics and get marketing for spring buyers! By now, we all know that blogging can help your website rank higher in search engines.  A study by HubSpot found that businesses that blog have on average 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t blog. Start blogging   Get started on your spring blogging with these 7 topics. I also added some highly searched keywords related to each topic to help your SEO rankings.

1. Where can I store my winter tires?

Suggest winter tire storage options & tips for your readers. Keywords:

  • Where to store my winter tires
  • Can I store my winter tires outside?

2.  Spring clean your car or truck

Describe all that needs to be used in the detailing process and how it could be cheaper to get it done professionally. Keywords:

  • Automotive detailing
  • Automotive detailing equipment
  • Automotive detailing supplies
  • Spring clean your car
  • Car wash & cleaning
  • Wax, car vacuuming, & other features included with the service

5 Blogging Mistakes

3. Change your winter tires to summer tires

Describe how to change your winter tires to summer tires. Suggest your current service & sales. Keywords:

  • Change winter tires to summer
  • Summer tires vs. all season
  • Summer tires vs. winter
  • Summer tires vs. snow tires

5. Basic spring car care tips

Describe how one can get their vehicle ready for the spring. How to maintain it during the spring and summer months. Keywords:

  • Spring car care  tips
  • Spring car care month
  • Spring car care package
  • Spring car care Canada

Ned Stark Blogging

6. What should be included in a Summer Emergency Kit?

Describe what items someone should have in their emergency kit for summer road trips. Keywords:

  • Emergency car kit list
  • Emergency car kit contents
  • Automotive emergency kit

7. New spring and summer vehicle features

Talk about vehicle features that make summer driving more comfortable. Keywords:

  • Vehicles on your lot that come with sunroofs
  • Vehicles with climate control air conditioning
  • Vehicles with fridge cooler systems
  • Vehicles with storage options for spring and summer road trips
  • Vehicles that can fit bicycles in them for spring and summer bike trips
  • Any other features that your vehicles offer for the spring and summer months

Don’t forget to include all your geographic keywords (cities or towns you want to target) within the post to increase your chances of ranking in your service areas. Hopefully these 7 blog topics will get your mind running on other spring topics your customers may be looking for. Get brainstorming! Share your ideas below in the comments section. Check out our video on how to ensure your blog is SEO friendly. Get those search engines ranking your posts good and high! For more blog topics check out:

15 Topics to Get Your Car Dealership Blog Started

  ~ Samantha Goettel

Google Eliminating Duplicate Maps Business Listings

Google has started automatically upgrading Google Place listings from their old platform to the new Google Places dashboard.

Google Places

If Google detects that your business has a duplicate listing, they will send out this email asking for your help:

We’d like to inform you that Google Places no longer accommodates more than one authorized owner per business location. Your account contains one or more listings that have been identified as duplicated of other listings and as a result, some of the information you provide will not be shown to Google users anymore.

Google Places Duplicates Email

Many businesses now have accounts on Google Places, Google Plus, and Google Plus business listings. Google Places and Google Plus are now one. That means if you claimed your Places listing through your Plus Account in the past, you may have a duplicate listing in your Local dashboard.

Internal Duplicates

Normally your claimed listing will be labelled “Claimed,” and if you have a duplicate it will be unclaimed. If your duplicate doesn’t have any reviews or other important information that Google pulled through, then it’s safe to go ahead and delete it and keep your “Claimed” page. However, if your duplicate listing has all of your old reviews, you’ll need to call the Google Places Team support centre. 

External Duplicates

Unlike internal duplicates that appear on the dashboard, external duplicates appear on maps, places, and local business listings. To clean these up, edit the business listing by clicking on the About Us Tab and then Edit Business Information at the bottom of the “Contact Information” section.

Edit Google Plus Page Duplicates

 

Once you click “Edit Business Information,” you can check the option suggesting the Places page is a duplicate of another and leave comments to prove your assumption. It’s a good idea to leave a link to the other duplicate listing. The duplicate listing should then be fixed by Google.

Watch Google closely to ensure that your profiles get properly merged into one. For more information on the topic, you can check out an answer on Google’s forum from Google Employee Jade.

 

Google-Places

~ Samantha Goettel

It's Happened! Verify Your Google Plus Listing to Keep It in Canada

Two-and-a-half weeks ago I wrote a post on how Google Place Plus users would have to update their accounts or their listings would be deleted from Google and  I predicted that it could soon happen in Canada.

Google Places

 Well, today, it happened! I logged into Strathcom Media’s Google Plus listing and I received a message at the top of our plus page. It said ” To Keep your Google Page. please review and submit your information.”

to-keep-google-plus-page-review

It then took me to a page that said “To keep your listing live on Google, please review your information, make any necessary changes and click Submit at the bottom of the page.”

Verify Google Listing to Keep it Live

I updated our information, added a few pictures and then clicked “Save.” It took me only a few minutes.

Verify Place Listing

I skimmed our Gmail account and I didn’t see any emails with the warning. That means you will have to log in to your Google Plus account and update your listing to ensure you don’t lose it.

Google Places listings are incredibly important for local SEO. Google Places accounts blend with the authority of your website and often appear above website listings directly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in what’s called the Map Pack. One would not want to see their places listing disappear and potentially lose top spot rankings.

If you need help claiming your listing check out our post called  Google+ places for businesses – How to claim your dealership

Or if you have any more questions on updating your listing Contact Us today!

~ Samantha Goettel

Facebook Graph Search: What it means for your local business

Facebook announces Graph Search during its January 15th, 2013 press conference

Nobody appears to fear this change more than Google itself. They suddenly face a competitor able to index loads of data that they cannot access. Don’t worry Google: Facebook isn’t launching a traditional search engine like Google or Bing. They are launching a social search engine.

It’s a social search engine most likely to succeed if compared to Google+, considering its billions of users who are already members of the site as well as the vast amounts of data that users enter into the site every day.

Most of us see Facebook as one giant scrapbook, but in reality it’s a huge database full of useful information.  Facebook users are familiar with browsing one page of information at a time. With the Open Graph search tool, Facebook users can now search this database for a unique, personable experience.

Facebook Graph Search

How did the Graph Search get started?

Lars Eilstrup Rasmussen who previously worked for Google (and designed Google Maps) joined Facebook’s existing search team. There was a problem to solve: while Facebook was already a repository for loads of information, it was difficult for users to sort through it all. Users had questions like “Who are my friends in Vancouver BC?” and “What TV shows are my friends watching?” but Facebook had no way for users to easily access this data.

Facebook Graph Search now provides answers to such questions:

“People use search engines to answer questions,” Zuckerberg says. “But we can answer a set of questions that no one else can really answer. All those other services are indexing primarily public information, and stuff in Facebook isn’t out there in the world — it’s stuff that people share. There’s no real way to cut through the contents of what people are sharing, to fulfill big human needs about discovery, to find people you wouldn’t otherwise be connected with. And we thought we should do something about that. We’re the only service in the world that can do that.”

This new announcement is exciting for any businesses who

  • Has a Social Media focus
  • Is a B2C
  • Is a local business
  • Relies on  word-of-mouth marketing
  • Wants to show up in search results for un-branded search queries.

How is Facebook Graph Search different from Google search?

When we use Google, we are searching through web pages. The pages that appear at the top of search results are largely based on the number of incoming links a website gets from other sources – each of which acts like a vote for that webpage/site. The number of quality links (links from authoritative websites) a page has helps Google decide where to place it on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

With Facebook Graph search, we aren’t searching for webpages but rather for representations of real-life places, people and products. The way Facebook decides on top results is based on how many “likes” that product, place, or person has. Other connections determine which search results will be relevant for an individual user, instead of using links as a measure of authority as with Google’s case.

Facebook also has layers of search and can show demographics for who “likes” certain products or services. For example, you can see if your friends “like” pubs located in Edmonton, AB, other Facebook users who like pubs in Edmonton who actually live in that city, and even see a sub-list of which pubs your married friends, gay friends, or single friends “like.” This could help you choose a pub to suit your needs.

Facebook’s Graph Search and a traditional web search are very different. Web search algorithms take a set of keywords (for example: “used Toyota Corolla”) and then show top search results that include those keywords. With Facebook Graph Search you can combine phrases (for example: “my friends in Edmonton who like Toyota”) and search results will include photos or other content that has been shared and liked on Facebook surrounding the specific question.

For now, Facebook only includes people, photos, places and interest posts in their results. You can’t just search anything as you would with Google.

 

Future uses could range widely from finding job openings near you, to sorting your friends by city, to finding which of your friends have kids under the age of 3 so you know who to invite to your child’s first birthday party. You can get answers to questions quickly, and don’t have to resort to asking questions in your status.  How often have you seen your friends on Facebook posting statuses to ask their friends questions?

You can also sort your behaviours on Facebook: typing in “View photos I’ve liked” will divulge a collage of images you have liked from various parties, pets, travels and more. It’s a feel-good experience.

How do I make sure my business gets found in Facebook search?

It’s not all about who you know, but rather who knows you. If you have the right audience when people search for information from their friends about your industry, Graph Search will connect them.

Your “Fans” are your marketing force. With Graph Search, people who “like” your Facebook page and then share your posts and tips will be marketing on your behalf. Facebook has always said to focus on attracting the right fans to your page so you can engage directly with them. Their algorithm will pick business pages with the most “likes”  in conjunction with higher user interaction over those with less.

Facebook will need to encourage users to start sharing and liking more if they want this search feature to take off properly. I have never “liked” a book I’ve enjoyed, or even a restaurant where I find the food delicious unless there is an incentive for me to do so. Is the Facebook page offering me discounts and coupons, information, tips and user interactions? No? Then I would be less likely to “like” the page.

My advice is to continue marketing your Facebook page to the right audience with store contests, incentives and helpful information. If you aren’t focusing on this now, you should make it happen immediately. Appoint this task to a staff member knowledgeable in social media or hire someone who knows the industry to work closely with your Marketing and SEO departments.

Other tips directly from Facebook include:

  • The name, category, vanity URL and information you share in your “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
  • If you have a location or a local Places Page, update your address to make sure your listing appears when someone searches for a specific location.
  • Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving them a reason to interact with your page on an ongoing basis.

Will Facebook Graph Search surpass what Google+ attempted to achieve?

The Facebook Open Graph search engine will never entirely replace Google Search. Yes, it does create a more personable search experience and will be useful for some search types such as local service searches. But will people start to take two steps when researching online? Will searchers start to use the Graph Search in addition to Google Search to see what their friends “like,” or will that be too many steps to find a local plumber or car dealership?

Will Facebook users change their search habits entirely and only use the Facebook Search Graph for local searches? Or perhaps Facebook users will use the Graph Search solely as a Social Search engine to help sort through their Facebook data. It also depends on whether Facebook users will begin to share and” like” business, product or people pages more often.

Google+ already has this service in place: you can already “plus” any webpage directly in Google SERPs. So far I haven’t found this service to be useful to me, as my Google+ friends aren’t recommending content regularly. I’m eager to see if people start to correlate their search results based on how much their friends share on Facebook.

Will users begin to share and engage in more “likes” to help their friends find the information they are looking for? What demographics will start using these features more? Many questions come up when I think of the future and I’m enthusiastic to see how this will affect Social Media Marketing and the SEO industries.

 

Samantha Goettel

SEO Team Leader

@SamGSama

Foosball, Creativity & Your Bottom Line at Strathcom Media

People like to work out at the gym for a variety of reasons. For some, their goal is to lose weight, to improve their cardio or increase muscle mass. For others, it’s great stress release. Whatever the reason may be, they work with a goal in mind.
Although it takes dedication, repetition and hard work to get the results you are looking for, straining yourself and over-doing it can actually have an adverse effect. You will start to burn muscle, damage your joints and your body will inevitably shut down. It isn’t during your work-out that you increase your muscle mass – it’s when you’re resting that your muscles grow and develop to gradually show the results of your hard work.
The same is also true for productivity in the workplace. Have you ever white-knuckled through a huge task without taking any breaks just to get it over with? Did you notice your quality of work steadily decline towards the end? That’s because you didn’t take the time for a break to relieve stress.
When we installed the foosball table here at Strathcom, we noticed numerous benefits to employees and even to our bottom line. Not only can you claim bragging rights on your ninja speed and pro kicks, it also gives your mind a rest from the daily grind. It gives your brain a chance to re-fuel that genius creative mind, and come back to that big project with fresh eyes, new ideas and restored motivation (and possibly improved hand-eye coordination).


It’s also a great way to improve teamwork and relationship building. It encourages your fellow work mates to cheer you on, get involved in the competition or simply enjoy the entertainment of watching you lose horribly to your opponent. It’s also a great way to deal with stress and conflict by helping relieve both mental and physical tension.
Work is work. But, companies that prioritize efficiency AND fun are much more productive and successful. Employees who want to come to work are far more likely to be committed to their work – even eager beavers.
Remember that “no fun” equals a less-than-best performance. It’s only natural that this would lead to poor quality of products and services. Take our word for it: investing in something fun like a foosball table may just be the best investment your company ever made.


This scientifically proves that playing foosball equals more profit for your company, and no one can argue with science.

 

By Sarah Guenette

It's Chili inside at Strathcom Media

Our heating is just fine, even though Strathcom Media had a Chili Friday. A Chili Cheese Dog Friday that is!

VP of Operations & fabulous chef Bill Warren took employee morale higher than a US tour de France competitor.

Bill wonderfully cooked homemade chili full of fabulous beans, beef, spices & vegetables. Strathcom employees piled the delicious Chili high on huge jumbo hot dogs, topped with grated cheese and accompanied by nachos and salsa.

Thanks Billy! We look forward to the next Chili Friday.

 

 

Still doing your own thing in the auto industry?

Why are auto dealers reluctant to do what’s right? There are three ingredients that so many get wrong. These ingredients only cost a little time, and yet they are the most effective ways of attracting leads. So why not embrace them? When department managers and salespeople become ‘reluctant’ to adopt modern sales concepts, I always tell them “It’s just the way business is done.” None of this is just my opinion, even though I am flattered when they think it is. I’m not just saying this to justify my existence. These are just the facts:

Describing your product in detail is a necessity.

New statistics from Google, Shopper Sciences, JD power and others show that car buyers now only visit 1.3 stores before buying a vehicle, down from 1.7 last year. That’s basically one store. They make their decision before they arrive at the dealership, and it is often based on research they’ve done online. Watch this to see how all of this comes into play. Some clients say “yeah, but if you tell them everything they won’t call the dealership.” Sorry, but that is complete and utter BS. We have a dealer who removed their online pricing information based on this old-school principle, and their bounce rate rose to 87% (this is the percentage of people who immediately leave their site after viewing a web page). Dealers who put little to no effort into vehicle pictures also have a high bounce rate of 50 – 60 %. You need decent descriptions and images to attract leads. Consider your shoppers – people in their underwear, browsing the internet in their warm cozy homes – if they don’t find the information they need, they will simply click ‘X’ and move on to another website. These are not just my ideas, nor just my research. This is verified by Google, Amazon, eBay, Kijiji, Nike, Apple, Microsoft, Wal-Mart and others who have all spent billions of dollars researching this.  

Don’t be reluctant to describe your products online.

Every day I come up against dealers who are reluctant to do what is right, and I don’t know why. Explaining your products in detail doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t take hours to do and isn’t difficult. If you look at the websites of 100 of the top Fortune 500 companies, you will find their products explained in acute detail. They don’t limit their descriptions in the hope that someone might call or ‘come down’ to learn more. The only group that holds onto the false practice of limited descriptions is the automotive industry. And, ironically, the place that consumers least like to visit is a car dealership (don’t shoot the messenger!). By that rationale, dealerships should focus on having the most educational websites. If your car buyer is able to learn everything they need from your website before coming in, you will win over many more customers than that dealership down the road whose primary advertising technique is balloons on their cars and gorillas on the roof. Oh yeah, the three things: pictures, descriptions and a good reply email are three areas dealers are doing wrong.

That last factor, a good reply email, is more important than you may think.

When you receive an email from a potential customer, don’t necessarily go with your gut instinct to phone them directly. Reply to your customers with the information that they need, and in the manner that they request. If they ask you to phone them back, go ahead. But don’t call them just to work your sales magic. Build trust with your customer by giving them precisely what they request, and not pushing the sale. This is a big part of succeeding in the auto industry today. Stuart Bendall

Stachecom – Strathcom Supports Movember Cancer Charity

Movember in Edmonton

Wives and girlfriends are not the biggest fans but it cannot be denied that Movember is one the most successful fund raising ideas of modern times. With 175,000,000 banked worldwide since Movember’s foundation in 2004 it has spread through the world as one of the top 100 NGOs. As far as we’re concerned, we at Strathcom, did our part, with over $1000 raised, every little helps. There are some excellent gringos and some wonderful handlebars kicking about the place and with Canada now the biggest contributor in the World to Movember, it’s nice to be a part of something big, and assist in a cause which is much less taboo as a result.

 

 

Nice one Stachecom.

If you would like to support our Movember team or if you just want to check out our awesome mustaches please visit our Stachecom Movember Page 

 

Stuart Bendall

Seven Steps to Improve Your Local SEO

Any business that gets some or all of its customers or clients locally should be optimizing their website for local SEO. Whether you are a local restaurant, retail outlet, doctor, dentist or a car dealership, if you have a physical address in a city and expect people to go to your brick-and-mortar location, you should focus on local SEO. Here are my top 7 tips to help your website rank locally:

1. Ensure Your Website Content References Your Location.

Remember to reference your city in the content on your site alongside the names of your product or service. It seems simple, but this tactic is often overlooked. Remember to add the location within the headings on your site. For example, a good heading would be: “Honda vehicle collision repair in Edmonton, Alberta” while the content, could read: “We offer the finest auto collision repair with competitive pricing in Edmonton, Alberta. Get bumper dent repair & paintless scratch repair on the famous Whyte Ave in Edmonton.” When Google crawls your website it will note the product/service alongside the city name. Remember, you don’t want to overstuff your content with keywords or the location name!

2. Claim or Register Your Google Places Listing.

To check if a Google Places listing exists for your business, search for your business name in Google maps. If nothing shows up, you may need to create a Google Places for Business account If you already have an account, you will want to claim your listing by clicking on the big red button on the right hand side that says “Manage this page” (you must be signed into a Gmail address).
Remember, the more complete your account the better. Add products, brands you sell, photos, videos, services offered, hours of operation, industry information – everything you can. DO NOT cram extra keywords or location names in your business title as Google may delete your listing if you cheat with keywords. Once you are satisfied with its completeness you can submit your Places profile to Google. Google will then send you a postcard in the mail with a unique pin, which you then enter into your account to verify its information.

3. Add Your Address in The Footer of Your Site.

Having a business address that’s been verified with Google places and a phone number on your website increases your authority and tells Google that you’re a real business. Adding your local address in the footer which appears on each page is a good way to show Google where your business is located and verifies that you are a real business. It will also match up with your Google Places listing and often will show up as a blended search listing in the search engine result pages (SERPs) with your places listing. Don’t forget to include your postal code, as this often gets forgotten.

4. Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP) Consistency.

You want to maintain a consistent company name, address & phone number (NAP) across all directories, blogs, articles and sections of your website. For example, if your dealership name is “Joe’s Chevrolet car emporium” you don’t want to call it “Joe’s Chevy car emporium” on one page, or “Joe’s car emporium” on another – be consistent! Any variations can dilute your search results. The same thing goes for your address; commit to one way of displaying your mailing address and make sure it’s always the same. With your phone number, it’s best to display your local number instead of a 1-800 number. This shows Google that you are in fact a local business.

5. Reviews.

Reviews are similar to link building to your website. Genuine reviews show Google that real people are using your services or buying your product and taking the time to talk about it online. Encourage your customers to review your business on Google Places and other review sites such as Yelp and Hotfrog.

6. Update your Page Titles.

Page title, also called a “title tag,” isone of the most important factors in SEO. You want to ensure your title tags are unique on each page, and use highly searched long tail keyphrases combined with the location of your business. Remember, only 70 characters of your title tag are displayed in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS), so you have to be choosey with your words.

7. Add a Blog to Your Site.

A blog is a simple way to add fresh content to your site. Google loves fresh new content and a blog is a great way to achieve that. Use a blog to provide insight and information about your product or service. Blog about upcoming sales in your current city! Get started by checking out these cool topics for car dealer blogs & remember to reference your city name whenever you can.

I hope these 7 tips help you build better local SEO for your website.

Cheers,
Samantha Goettel

11 Criteria for Choosing a Website to Target for Link Building

Search engines use links to websites as online recommendations. The more recommendations a website has, the more authority it should have. Link building & authority building are SEO tactics that can be time consuming and frustrating as it takes time to see any results. You may wonder which sites you should be spending time getting links from, and you may ask yourself how many links should you have or should be building regularly.

You should strive for anywhere between 5 and 20 natural links EACH Month. If you are able to get 20 a month to greatly relevant sites, you are doing an amazing job.

So, what types of websites should you be getting those links from?

Here are 11 criteria on how to target the right website for your link building effort:

  1. Is the website talking about your product or service?
    • You want to choose a website that closely relates to your product or service. A good indication is if it uses the same keywords you are using on our own website.
  2. How closely is a website related to your business?
    • See the relevancy chart below; the closer you can get to your product the better, but even if it’s only somewhat related and you have an opportunity to get a link, DO IT!

      authority building for car dealerships

  3. Is the content written by a real person?
    • Quality content is important, and more of it is better. But watch out for websites that churn out articles or information for the sole purpose of inserting as many keywords as possible.
  4. Is the site an association, group, supplier, or forum?
    • Find a website appropriate to your business. For example, if you own a car dealership, consider offering your specialized expertise to an automotive forum. Also watch for websites that mention your product or service in a positive light, as they may be more receptive to your link-building efforts.
  5.  Does the website have contact information and a brick-and-mortar address?
    • These are good indicators that a website is a legitimate operation and not something that could dissolve overnight.
  6. Does the website have recent blog posts?
    • A website with an active blog is a boon. Look for sites that have had AT LEAST one post within the last year.
  7. Avoid websites that reek of spam.
    • Watch out for content that has more keywords than content or more ads than content. A skillful spam site can be difficult to spot. If you are even questioning it, it’s probably a bad idea to obtain a link from such a site.
  8. Is it properly laid out?
    • Look at a website’s overall layout – does it look professionally done?
  9. Is the navigation user-friendly?
    • A properly designed website will command more authority when it comes to your link-building effort.
  10.  Are there misspellings or out-of-the-ordinary text boxes?
    • These can be signs of a spam site and sub-par content. While a typo here and there may not be a big deal, watch out for websites where the author has yet to grasp basics of the English language.
  11.  Is it not one of the 3 Ps? Pills, Porn & Poker.
    • While these sites may receive a ton of traffic, quality is sometimes more important than quantity. AVOID the 3 Ps.
  12.  Did you look at your competitor’s links? Have you tried to get similar links?
    • Look to your competitors for inspiration. Analyze their backlinks using tools such as Open Site Explorer, look at the most successful links and keywords that they have used on their own sites.

Conclusion

By far, the most important factor in your link building effort is getting high-quality links from websites that are closely related to yours. While some argue that social media links are the wave of the future, for right now traditional link-building techniques are here to stay. While social media can be a method to outreach your link building effort, it should not be the only focus of your campaign.

It’s also important to remember that link building is a slow process that can potentially bring back some big rewards, and a successful link building strategy is an ongoing process that will take time to show results. Don’t expect to see results immediately, have patience and keep working at your campaign for the best chance of success.

 

Samantha Goettel and Michael Fisher

15 Topics to Get Your Car Dealership Blog Started

So why is it important to have a blog on your website?

Because it essentially shows your market that you are the industry leader in cars in your city! Be there for your customers and answer their questions.

Google loves fresh content. It shows that your site is always being updated and properly maintained. Google will consider ranking websites that have fresh content over websites with stagnant text.

When people like what they read, they share it or link to your posts. The more links you have pointing to your site, the better. Links act as references for your website; people are essentially recommending your site for others to read, which increases rankings.

Now that you have decided to start a blog, the easy part is over. Coming up with unique blog topics is the hard part.  You want to keep an engaged audience by answering your customers’ questions, as people tend to Google by asking questions. For example, “Where is the closest Toyota dealership?” or “Is the Toyota Corolla better than a Honda Civic?” If you write blogs around searchers’ questions, you can increase your traffic, which then increases your rankings.

Here are some cool blog post ideas to get you started.

  1. Should you lease or finance a new car?
  2. Is it safe to fill out a credit application on a dealership website?
  3. What are the top places for road trips around your city?
  4. What happens when you get your car detailed?
  5. How to winterize your car.
  6. Comparison of vehicles. Always been a Honda lover?
  7. Why not try Ford. Benefits of buying a used car over a new car.
  8. What happens to a car once it’s traded in to a dealership?
  9. How much money do I need to save for a down payment on a car?
  10. Winter tires vs. all-season tires.
  11. Top car add-ons people swear they can’t live without. (heated seats, satellite radio)
  12. 10 things to check before buying a used car.
  13. How often should you get an oil change?
  14. What are the top off-roading places around your city?
  15.  Review car features, review cars, review services. People are always searching for reviews.

Now get blogging!

Good luck!