Five Easy Ways To Improve Your SEO You Can Start Doing Today

For those new to SEO, the concept of search engine optimization might seem like a combination of voodoo witchcraft and sheer good luck. But you don’t need a magic wand or a four leaf clover in order to improve your SEO on your website today. In fact, there are a few easy things that you can start doing right now in order to bump up your ranking across Google and other search engines. Starting to make small changes will help to drive traffic to your website, and we have 5 easy tips to get you started on improving your SEO today.

How to Improve Your SEO in 5 Quick and Easy Steps - Photo from istockphotos
Optimize Your SEO Easy Today!

First of All, What is SEO and Why Should You Care?

Simply put, SEO is a term used for optimizing your site and pages so they rank in a search engine. Optimization is key because search engines scroll through the content, find out what it’s about and analyze your site. Then the search engine ranks your page against your competition to give a list to a user’s search query. If you haven’t thought about SEO, the search engine won’t know what you page is about and you won’t rank.

Optimizing your content for the bots that scroll through your site, will give you the ability to be higher in the search engine. This may lead to more clicks and more traffic. It is good to know that search engines such as Google are smart. Search engines use advanced algorithms that not only search for keywords and titles of the content, but analyze it to find out what the content is about, how in-depth it is and if it would answer the user’s query they typed into the search engine. This means that SEO optimization your content has to be done properly, no black-hat tricks here!

So What Do Search Engines Look For?

SEO is not a static field, and there is no “end all be all” for what search engines look for. Algorithms that these search engines use change constantly, and so optimizing your site is something you need to be constantly aware of if you want to improve SEO.

If you asked someone how they did SEO 15 years ago, you would have gotten an answer along the lines of “put as many keywords as possible onto the page”. Easy as that was, it led to pages full of keywords and useless content. Now, content and quality are key! In order to improve your SEO, you need to improve your content and what you put onto your site.

So, How Do I Improve SEO on My Site?

SEO is still a difficult thing to master. But with the following 5 tricks, you will be on your way to optimizing your site.

1. Keywords are Key to Better SEO

You go to a search engine, type in your query and bam! In what seems like an instant, you are flooded with millions of results that are sorted to give you the best ones at the top. Can you imagine having to go through them all yourself? No? We can’t either. The top ten results aren’t there by accident either. Each result in your search is carefully configured to rank highly against whatever you typed into the search engine. One of the top reasons for high ranking are keywords, which are words or phrases that are put through your content so a search engine can figure out what the content is about. When keywords are used correctly are great for improving your SEO!

Quick way to improve SEO with Keywords: Choose 3-4 keywords and put them each 3 times in your content! Make sure they are relevant, and that they are specific. You want them to also blend nicely into the content. Choose 2 body keywords and 1 long tail keyword at least! Whatever you do, don’t make your keywords general like vehicle or SUV.

So when you think about choosing keywords in your content you should choose 3-4 keywords to use throughout. Here are some things to think about when choosing your keywords.

  • LSI Keywords
    • LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords. This sounds scary, but it means that when you pick your keywords you don’t need to choose them all to be similar. Using synonyms will rank the same as using the same word. This can be good and bad for you. Good because you can rank for “improve SEO” with “better SEO”, and vice-versa, but bad because you have to be aware of how many times you are using the keyword.
  • Body Keywords
    • Body keywords are 2-3 words long and get a good amount of searches per month. These are good for driving traffic, especially when used in your content.
  • Long Tail Keywords
    • Pick one long tail keyword for your content and use it throughout. These are 3+ words long, and you want to try to use it in your meta title and description too!

Where do I find keywords so I can put them in my content to get better SEO? Well, we love using Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and SERPstat. We encourage you to do your own research though, including searching on Google, looking at Amazon and browsing social media for the things you want to rank for.

2. Write More Content – But Make Sure it is Unique, Useful Content that is SEO Friendly

Blogging, writing more pages and increasing the words on your pages is a great way to increase traffic, but only when it is done right! Just because you have 500 blog posts, doesn’t mean you will automatically rank higher in a search engine. Your content needs to not only be there, it needs to be well written, understandable and useful to the person searching for it.

You want to constantly be updating and adding to your website. One of the best ways that businesses do this is by starting a blog. This will give relevant information to your customers and answer the questions they might be searching for. But before you start writing more content make sure that:

  • Write about you, and what makes you different
  • Don’t use duplicate content
  • Make sure you use keywords
  • If you want people to find you try making your posts location specific
  • Make it easy to read, but also well written

3. Structure Your Content, Make It Easy to Read

Once you’ve sat down and written your amazing page or blog post, you need to make sure that you make your content easy for a user to read. Always remember that where people read it will vary a lot, some will see it on their desktop, some on their tablet and many on their mobile. Creating easy to read and follow content is one of the easiest ways to improve SEO on your page. To do this use headings, subheadings, keep your paragraphs short and sweet, and break up your text with graphics!

Using headings, blockquotes, pictures and short paragraphs will make your content easier to read, and give you a higher rank in search engines!

4. Optimize Your Graphics for SEO

You might be writing amazing content, but without graphics that are optimized you are missing out on points towards your placement in search engines. If you want to use different multimedia elements including photos, videos and infographics to increase your ranking then you need to optimize them for search engines.

Make sure you give your images descriptions, relevant titles and alt tags! This lets search engines “read” your graphics.

Adding graphics won’t immediately increase your SEO but it helps your user experience. Also since search engines don’t have “eyes” you need to make sure they can “read” your graphics. Since they cannot see a photo, you need to add titles, descriptions and something called an alt tag to each of your graphics. Alt tags are the description that search engines read to understand what the photo is of. In WordPress, you will see a section for Alt Tag when you upload a photo.

5. Make Sure You Use Meta Tags and Descriptions For Your Search Results

If you are writing a blog post or page on your site, you want to customize your meta tag and description. These are what a search engine will show when you come up in the results. Using your keywords and logical information will keep you relevant, and make sure people who see the result actually click on it. On every page or post of your Strathcom site, you will find the Yoast plugin, if you click on the auto generated content you can change it to be better for SEO.

What Else Can You Do?

SEO is something you could spend all day everyday doing. This is why there are companies that specialize in it. These five tips are just the icing on the cake to improving your SEO. From there you can get into more technical SEO and link building practices, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet.

10 Topics to Heat up Your Blog This Summer

Useful and shareable car dealer blog topics for the summer

From a meteorological point of view, there are signs that summer is just around the corner. From a car dealerological point of view, it means greater foot traffic and more vehicles rolling off the lot.

But what’s going to help keep your store top of mind over the competitors down the street? Your blog:

  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase because of blog post
  • Companies that blog get 97% more inbound links
  • Small businesses with blogs receive 126% more leads

To save you the trouble of brainstorming blog subjects in time for summer, we took the time to stockpile some of the most interesting and shareable topics you can write about. Feel free to steal a few ideas and start your summer blogging series on the right foot!

Continue reading “10 Topics to Heat up Your Blog This Summer”

NEW VIDEO: 4 Reasons to Start Blogging

Have you been thinking about starting a blog on your dealership website? You definitely should!

From driving more traffic to your site, building trust with your audience, and boosting your organic search rankings, blogging is one of the best ways to get people interacting with your online content.

Most importantly, it brings in more leads. Continue reading “NEW VIDEO: 4 Reasons to Start Blogging”

NEW EBOOK: 29 Tips & Tricks for Planning and Creating Content

Last week we published our guide to the essential SEO considerations you must address before launching a healthy website. And later this month we’ll release another online companion about selling cars through social media along every stage of the sales funnel.

But for now we tackle an even more direct subject: how to create the stuff with which your audience interacts. Websites, blogs, newsletters — this new ebook covers it all!

Continue reading “NEW EBOOK: 29 Tips & Tricks for Planning and Creating Content”

15 Winter Blog Topics for Your Car Dealership

Winter is already here in some parts of Canada, and if you live in Edmonton (or almost anywhere not on the coast) that means you can look forward to mother nature’s icy death-grip for the next six months or more.

When snow slows down sales at your car dealership, it helps to have an online strategy in place to give you a steady supply of warm leads. Your car dealership’s blog is a great place to start, and if things are already slowing down at your dealership then it’s also a great time to sit down, pull out your pen (or keyboard) and get writing.

Last September we gave you 15 topics to get your car dealership blog started. We already covered how important it is for your car dealership to blog regularly. Google loves fresh content, and a healthy blog shows Google that your site is always being updated and properly maintained. Blogging also increases your chances of receiving more inbound links, which act like online recommendations. When people like the content on your website, they are more likely to share it and online recommendations are a ranking factor.

Companies who blog on average have 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t blog.

Now that we agree that blogging is a great way to get more online leads, how do you get started? To get your creative juices flowing, we have 15 new blog topics that your car dealership can use in the cold winter months to come:

Blogging Works

15 Winter Blog Topics

1. How to Choose the Right Winter Tires for Your Vehicle

2. Do You Really Need Winter Tires if you Have All-Seasons?

3. Winterizing Your Vehicle: Why and How

4. How to Jump Start a Car

5. How to Shop for a Car without Getting Frostbite (find it online & then come in to our warm showroom)

6. New Car Features to Keep You Warm This Winter

7. Remote Car Starters – How do they work?

8. Block Heaters & Plugging Your Car in

Download a Free Ebook on The 5 Biggest Blogging Mistakes & How to Fix Them

9. Is There a Difference Between Summer & Winter Wiper Blades?

10. Best Windshield Coatings for Winter

11. What Winter Fluids do I Need to Keep my Car Running Safely?

12. What Should be Included in a Vehicle’s Winter Emergency Kit?

13. What to do When You get in a Winter Accident

14. How to Drive Safely on Ice and Snow

15. The Benefits of All-Wheel drive in Winter Conditions

If you already have your blog set up on your website. Check  out our video on how to post a blog post so it’s SEO friendly.

Posting an SEO friendly blog post

 

Or if you are interested in signing up for our blog service for your car dealership website, contact us today.

For more  tips on Blogging the right way download our e- book on the 5 Biggest Blogging Mistakes and how to fix them.

5 biggest blogging mistakes & how to fix them. Download Free today

Now get blogging!

~ Samantha Goettel

Can a Car Dealership Blog Increase Web Traffic by 55%?

Having a blog on your car dealership’s website shows customers that you are an authority in your industry. By posting unique content you not only show customers that you know what you’re talking about, but you also show Google that your website is a valid authority.

That’s important, because getting in Google’s good books is the key to boosting your website’s placement in SERPs (search engine results pages). Stats compiled by Hubspot found that websites with a blog had 55% more visitors on average than sites without, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages.

Car Dealer Blog

What does this mean for you?

  • More online visitors mean more leads, conversions and sales.
  • More inbound links boost your authority in search engines, helping your customers find you.
  • More indexed pages increase your website’s visibility in Google.

How Do I Get My Car Dealership Blog Started?

how do you start a blog?

You can get your car dealership’s blog added right to your website domain with Strathcom Media’s Blog Package. By having your blog on your car dealership’s website domain, your main site will gain the benefit of the additional traffic brought in by your blog and rank better in Google. Want to know more? Contact us for more information on this new service.

If you’ve already signed up and you’re wondering how to take the next step, check out our ideas on 15 topics you can use to get your blog started.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

Check out this video for key points to keep in mind that separate successful blogs that bring in valuable traffic and leads with blogs that flop from the get-go:

  • Post unique content:

Copy-pasting content from the web WILL NOT HELP. Keep it original. Why would Google rank a blog post that was already written somewhere else? It’s just logical that they are going to rank the original owner of duplicated content.

  • Always link to other pages on your site:

This encourages users to visit other areas of your website and reduces bounce rates.

  • Pictures speak a thousand… you know the rest.

Blog Posts with pictures are more likely to attract readers, especially when the photos are entertaining. Browse Google Images and save any image that pertains to your post. Add relevant keywords to your titles, including your city’s name. For example, if you have a photo of winter tires, a good title would be “[City Name] Winter Tire Sale.”

  • Remember to add SEO title and description tags:

WordPress defaults the SEO Title to the title of your blog post, but if there is extra room add some more key words. Your description only allows 156 characters including spaces, so try to use all the space provided. Be sure to mention your city name in the description to improve local traffic.

  • Share it out!

Don’t forget to share your blog post across all social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

Rankings vs Leads and Conversions for Car Dealerships

Not to rail on ranking reports, but when it comes to bringing in business there’s more to building a website with SEO than just ranking for keywords.  If you start out with the goal of ranking on a specific keyword, say “custom truck accessories,” that’s fine and dandy – but the question you need to ask yourself is how your web traffic will transform into leads and conversions.  When ranking reports become your only evaluation for success, you can lose sight of your real goal of getting people to walk into your dealership and buy a car.

There are a number of factors that can skew ranking reports:

Google Account Login

  • Personalized results (results based on things like user behavior)
  • If you are signed into your Google account at the time of search
  • Your IP address (Which location you are searching from)
  • Local results, video and images
  • All the possible variations on keywords
  • If you have visited a certain website in the past

Ranking reports ignore searches based on personalized results and don’t take into account how previous user behavior can change the results for a search based on websites. They also miss results for searches that include local results and other media types like images and videos that can still bring users to your website.

With fluctuating ranking results and constantly evolving search engines, it’s nearly impossible to have a consistent metric to report on. It’s unfortunate that many agencies use ranking reports as the primary metric to define their success because this leaves the doors open for unethical and short-term strategies to improve ranking results while leaving long-term, devastating consequences for a website.

A better strategy is to examine what keywords are bringing you traffic and if they are converting to leads. These can give you a deeper insight into how people are actually reaching your website, and can help you change your strategies to capitalize on it. Even if you’re not successful in ranking for your target keywords because they are highly competitive, you can still focus on what you already do well and build on it. This gives you the opportunity to change your strategy to target how people are actually finding your website.

You can’t rank for everything. Sometimes people get greedy and try to rank for every search term that’s even somewhat related to their business. It’s more effective to research the top 10 – 20 keywords you want to rank for and focus on those. It’s better to be at the top on 10-20 keywords rather than just rank “OK” on everything. And if you change your SEO tactics in attempt to rank on everything, you can lose the top coveted spots that you already rank well on. Once you have chosen your top keywords, it’s time to focus on conversion rate optimization.

Conversion rate optimization

The bottom line is converting your web visitors to customers, and this is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in. Ultimately, the way you should be judging the success of your website is bottom-line revenue, and increasing your conversion rate by even a few percent can have dramatic benefits in dollars and sales.

One of the top methods of CRO is improving overall website design and ensuring you have relevant content that effectively delivers your business proposition up-front. Taking advantage of long tail key phrases based on what you learn from Google Analytics traffic reports is also an essential method of bringing in paying customers. Someone searching the phrase “Buy used 2003 Nissan Sentra Alberta” practically has their wallet out, while someone searching for “used cars” is likely just browsing the market. And keep in mind that the high-competition keywords “used cars” would rarely be searched on their own, and in most cases will be part of another long-tail search phrase.

top tips

  • Set up goals for each action you want your users to perform on your website. Some examples are:
  • View Contact Us page
  • Fill out Contact Us form
  • Sign up for newsletter
  • Sign up for RSS Feed of blog post
  • Other tips include:
  • Have relevant ad copy.
  • Ensure the main heading (H1) closely resembles your chosen key phrase. Searchers need to find the info they initially searched for on the page they land on.
  • Use relevant, quick-loading images and captions.
  • Prioritize key features and benefits in the body content.
  • Have visible calls to action & clean design with lots of white space.
  • Conversion rates often increase when calls-to-action are placed on the right sidebar.
  • Keep your message on-point and consistent; avoid off-topic content and distracting images.
  • Include relevant and reputable testimonials.
  • Phone-track those who call you from your website.
  • Getting your dealer receptionist to ask customers who come into the dealership where they heard about you.
  • Keeping a spreadsheet & analyzing the data on a monthly basis.

The next time you look at a ranking report, ask yourself “how does this impact my conversion rate?” If you’re not ranking for your desired keyword but still have more customers visiting and buying your products due to a successful web solution, don’t worry about it! There is much that can be learned from traffic trends and natural search results. If you keep an open mind, you will find ways to improve your online business that you never thought possible.

Michael Fisher & Samantha Goettel

Creative Authority Link Building for Car Dealerships

If your website were a political candidate, its votes would come in the form of backlinks on the web.  Since the late 1990s search engines have used links as votes representing the web’s democratic opinion, and the more websites you have linking to yours the higher you rank in the ballots as read by Google. Link building can be a long and frustrating process but remains the ace in the hole to reach higher rankings. There are a number of ways to build links to your site. If you have already started your own blog, you can maximize your social media impact by making easy-to-link to blog articles. For example, you can build a “101” list for an automotive topic, say “the top ten myths about car maintenance,” and then promote them through social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. The more people who share your article and link to it, the higher you move up the authority ladder.

Be a Creative Authority in your Automotive Industry

Link building isn’t easy. Traditional link building techniques have included buying links from other sites and asking them to link to yours, but today Google is cracking down on websites with suspicious backlink profiles. That means many businesses have abandoned traditional link building strategies. The new game is Authority Building, an ethical link building strategy which relies on other websites to naturally link to yours. Authority building uses a number of strategies at one time including SEO, marketing, branding, and PR. It increases the value of your business overall and its benefits last. Content is King How can you get other websites to link to yours? Quality content is one of the best answers, and a good way to add fresh content to your site is by blogging and posting relevant articles on interesting topics. When you incorporate informative pages on your dealership website you can also increase your backlinks. For example, consider adding a vehicle history page to describe the background of some of your popular car models (say “history of the Corvette”) or incorporate how-to videos and articles detailing popular car features like Bluetooth. You can do this on your own or hire a professional consultant to build your website with SEO optimization and quality content in mind.

Here are a few ideas to get you started with website authority building:

  1. Study your competitor’s links. What are the trusted websites from where they are getting links? Use a resource like Open Site Explorer to find backlink details for competing websites and see how you can replicate their strategy.
  2. Ensure you build links using different types of anchor text. Use keywords within the anchor text, domain exact match and the company name. You want your links to look natural and not “built.”
  3. Submit your website to local directories like Yahoo directory, Dmoz, Yelp, HotFrog & Google Places.
  4. Hold a contest and promote it online. Make it interesting and unique, people will share the links to your contest across social media sources. The more people are talking about your company the more authoritative you will become online.
  5. Become a sponsor for a local charity event and promote it on your website and social media.
  6. Send out a press release and syndicate it to as many article sites as possible like EzineArticles, GoArticles, iSnare and others.
  7. Release interesting infographics. They can be about anything, but the point is that they’re easy to link to and easy to share.
  8. Get well-known bloggers in your community to blog about a vehicle or experience they had with your dealership. Have the blogger link back to your website within their blog.

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!