Your Site’s a Lot Faster Without the Canoe on Top!

view of car outside a lake, with a canoe on top

When I was young my parents had a red Subaru hatchback. We’d take that little car camping all over the backcountry, and we’d load enough stuff for a family of four to survive the wilderness for a weekend (and then some) on top of the roof–including a wooden canoe! Loaded up like that, her bumpers barely cleared the road and she sure didn’t win any awards for speed. But, she did get us to where we wanted to go… eventually.

Your website is an awful lot like a car. Continue reading “Your Site’s a Lot Faster Without the Canoe on Top!”

Trust Us: Using your Site to Build Credibility

Trust banner and icons

For any business, credibility is key in maintaining a high level of customer service and, in turn, a high level of customer loyalty. This is especially important for the automotive sales industry, the long-time favourite butt of many a joke aimed at the quintessential “used car salesman” and his well-greased “what do I have to do to put you in this car today, sir-or-madam” approach to business. How then is a dealership best advised when it comes to building a reputation that the consumer will trust? Focusing on the area of online presence, this post will outline a few of the steps you should take (or, frankly should have already taken) to help ensure that the legend of the sleazy car lot doesn’t haunt your reputation on the net! Continue reading “Trust Us: Using your Site to Build Credibility”

Speed Up Your Website with These Tools

Page speeds and website performance are more important than ever. You may inadvertently be increasing the amount of time it takes for your website to load, which in turn, can lead to visitor loss. Here are a few quick fixes you can apply to your website that can help your page load speeds!

Large unoptimized images can be a culprit to poor page performance. You may be asking yourself if uploading an unoptimized image can really hurt your page load times, and the answer is it really can. By large images, we are talking about file sizes and not dimensions. Images that are 1 MB and up could start affecting page load times.

Page speeds and website performance

How can I ensure my images are not slowing down my website? Here are three quick tips to help you out:

Continue reading “Speed Up Your Website with These Tools”

Changes to Google’s testmysite Tool

No, you are not imagining things – Google’s testmysite tool has been given a bit of a face lift.

Google's testmysite tool

If you want a quick way to see how your site is performing on mobile, Google’s testmysite tool provides a quick overview. It can tell you in seconds if your website takes over 5 seconds to load (most people won’t even wait that long for a site to load), or if there are things you should fix to make your site more mobile friendly. Continue reading “Changes to Google’s testmysite Tool”

4 Ways to Make Your Mobile Site Better, According to Google Best Practices

In the latest article from  Google Best Practices, Google gave 4 Tips for a Frictionless Mobile Experience. Not all of their tips necessarily apply to the automotive industry, but these are 4 simple ways to make your mobile site better.

Woman using tablet at night, visiting a mobile site

Make it Responsive

Continue reading “4 Ways to Make Your Mobile Site Better, According to Google Best Practices”

Mobile Site Speed Matters. Are you up to speed?

Consumers and search engines have a certain level of expectation for mobile site speed and performance. If your site has problems that go unchecked, it can have a big impact. We have all visited a mobile site that has taken too long to load, got impatient, and left. Continue reading “Mobile Site Speed Matters. Are you up to speed?”

5 Ways to Improve Your Google Ranking

seoEveryone wants to have that number one spot on the Google Organic Search Results page.  Here are 5 simple things that can help to improve how you rank on Google:

1. Create useful, relevant content

Quality content created specifically for your intended users will not only help with user engagement, but will improve your site’s authority and relevance, which will increase your rank on the Google Search Results page. It’s also important to update your content regularly.  Regularly updated content is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy. Be sure not to use duplicate content throughout your website, though; this could harm your ranking.

2. Have a blazing fast website

Page speed is an important factor on how you will rank on Google. A slow page speed means that search engines crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budgets, which negatively effects your indexation. Page speed is also important for user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates, and lower conversions.

Not sure what your page speed is? Google has a great tool to test it!

3. Make sure your website is responsive and optimized for mobile users

Responsive sites are designed to provide optimal viewing and easy navigation on any device or screen size. This makes it great for users viewing the site on a mobile device. Even though you may have a separate mobile site, Google has started to punish sites that are not responsive or mobile friendly, causing them to rank lower in the search results pages.

4. Make sure all of your citations are correct and up-to-date

Citations are online references to your business name, address and phone number (NAP). Some examples of citations are your Google+ Page or YellowPages. Google uses these citations when evaluating the authority of your business website, and is a key component in Google’s ranking algorithm.

Citations from well-established portals will help increase the relevancy of your business.  Make sure your address, website url, phone number and business name are consistent across each website.

5. Blog!

Blogging is a great way to help boost your ranking on Google. Google crawls blog content more frequently than your web page content because blogs are constantly being updated.  A blog page is essentially another web page and every web page is another opportunity to rank in the search results page.

Blogs can also help you become a local source of knowledge and with lots of great keywords written into the content you can rank for many different topics related to your brand and dealership.

If you have any other questions on how to improve your organic ranking on Google, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our team or subscribe to our newsletter!

7 FREE Google Tools to Start Taking Advantage Of

website performance

Did you know that Google has several FREE tools that they have made available to all users to see how they are performing online?  Here are 7 of the best to help you be more effective online:

  1. Google Analytics: Probably one of the most powerful Google tools that you can use, and if you don’t have it on your website, you should. You can learn so much about your customers as well as track the success of your website.
    https://analytics.google.com/
  2. Structured Data Tool: This is Google’s tool for validating schema.org, microformats and other structured data. It handles HTML, marked up with microdata, RDFa, RDFA light and JSON-LD, by direct input or by fetching an existing URL. Translation? This tool separates the boys from the men in the SEO world and determines if your site is labeled properly for easy Search Engine Indexing.
    https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/
  3. Google PageSpeed Insights: Simply type in your website’s URL, and see how fast your business site is working on desktop & mobile. The higher the score the better, but generally aiming for a 70 on desktop and a 50 on mobile are a good starting points.  Fast and optimized pages’ lead to higher customer engagement, retention and leads.  Pagespeed Insights help you identify performance best practices that can be applied to your site.
    https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
  4. Search Console: Another free tool that helps you understand what’s going on with your website. This is the primary mechanism for Google bots to communicate with webmasters.  This will help you identify issues with your site, such as having broken links or dead pages.  It can even let you know if your site has been infected with malware.
    https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
  5. Mobile Friendly Tool: In April, Google announced mobile-friendly ranking labels which boosted qualifying sites to the top of the page. Wondering how your site fares after this Mobilegeddon? Check it out.  This tool will simply give you a pass or fail grade – your site is either mobile friendly or it’s not.  Since the average person in North America checks their phone 150 times per day – mobile-friendly websites are the new entry fee to play in the industry.
    https://www.google.ca/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
  6. Google Trends: Trends is a cool tool that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. This is a goldmine for blog topics, social media posts and to keep an eye on your brands relevancy.  “Google Hot Trends” is an additional Google Trends which displays the top 20 fastest rising searches of the past hour in the United States.
    https://www.google.ca/trends/
  1. Google Alerts: Use this tool to monitor the presence of your businesses mentions online. Google emails you when new web pages are published that are relevant to the alert you entered. It will not catch every single page, but it does catch a good chunk of them, especially the ones from authoritative websites. Track your brand name, your competitors and your leadership team or sales staff.
    https://www.google.ca/alerts
  2. Test My Site: Similar to the PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly tool, Test My Site is an easier tool to help understand how your business is performing online.                                                                                                          https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/

If you have any questions about any of the above tools, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our Google Certified Representatives!

And for more tips & tricks like these, sign up for our newsletter!

The Mobile Search Universe Changes on April 21st: Will Your Site Survive or Suffer?

change-noticeLine ’em up. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get your mobile ducks in a row.

You shouldn’t be hearing this for the first time now. If you’ve attended an automotive conference, followed this blog, or tried looking up information on your smartphone over the past few years, you have already been bombarded with this message: you need to deliver a great mobile experience to remain relevant online.

Continue reading “The Mobile Search Universe Changes on April 21st: Will Your Site Survive or Suffer?”

Not-Too-Late New Year’s Resolutions for Your Website

Every year when January rolls around you vow to get in shape, save money, or spend more time with loved ones. But what goals do you set for your website? In the spirit of new beginnings, Strathcom has come up with some resolutions to tidy up your website and make your dealership the best it can be in 2015.

Here are our five picks for best site improvement resolutions for the year ahead and how to achieve them:

 1. Technical Clean Sweep

There are always some pesky technical pieces that need to be checked and updated, so keep this list handy for next year:

  • Copyright date in the footer
  • Your “About Us” page: Is the map correct? Are key staff names, bios, and phone numbers updated?
  • Meta Data: Are your page titles and descriptions the right length? (55 and 115 characters, respectively)
  • Dead or Broken Links? Try running a link checker on the site to identify any link issues that need to be addressed.
  • Browser Test: Try using the website on different web browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
  • Lead Testing: Ever heard of eating your own dog food? Test out all your lead forms as a customer would. This is a good way to root out any problems.

2. Content Audit

Your website is an investment and the content is its most valuable currency. Some things to look for:

  • Current Model Year Info: Ensure all your landing pages reflect the latest model year information, videos, and images.
  • Inventory Update: Have you updated the descriptions for last year’s inventory? What about clearout pricing and incentives?
  • Irrelevent Pages: Check Google Analytics and determine the most visited pages. Consider adding links to less visited pages, or perhaps deleting them altogether if they don’t serve your brand or marketing goals.
  • Blog: When was your last post? Is your blog being kept up to date and being used to its full potential?
  • Duplicate Content: Use a service like Siteliner to check your site for duplicate content that could be hurting your SEO efforts. Ensure only the most relevant keywords are being used.

 3. Domains

You probably already own a domain or two for your website, but did you know about these practices?

  • Renew your domains for as long as possible: Usually it’s cheaper that way, plus search engines favor long-term sites so it’s an additional SEO boost.
  • Ensure URL redirects are done: Make sure all variations of the same domain point to the same place (.ca, .com, .net should all point to your primary domain).
  • Your primary domain should be your oldest: Use a domain age checker to see which is your oldest domain and make the most of its rank authority.
  • Buy negative domains: Purchase any domains related to your brand, even the negative ones. Buying your own equivalent to mydealershipsucks.com can save a lot of headaches in the long run in case a competitor or irate customer decides to buy it instead.

 4. UX Performance

Whenever you talk about websites, you need to consider the user experience. Whether it’s through slick graphics or excellent content, the user is really the one you should please—not yourself. Some items to check to keep your users happy:

  • Homepage: This is huge. Your homepage should be interesting and inviting while relating the primary objective of the website—to sell cars. Before making any large changes, consult your data. It might not be necessary to do a complete overhaul; usually, a small tweak like changing colors or adding a new graphic can give it a boost.
  • Relevancy: Old content can become frustrating if it becomes out of date or inaccurate. It should be revised, archived, or removed.
  • Make data a priority: If you don’t have user tracking on your site, now is the perfect time to add it. Incorporate heat mapping, or click Scrolling Tools to really see how your customers engage with your site.

5. Sitespeed

Sluggish website performance is terrible for SEO. How quickly does your site load? Could it be speedier?

  • Use Google Page Speed Insights to find what slows your site down. Sometimes, simple changes can improve your load speed. If you have a score over 70 then you’re doing well, but aim for 80s.

 

There you have it! Some quick and easy things you can do right now to start 2015 off in the right direction for your dealership.

"Mobile-Friendly": Does Your Site Have This Important New Badge from Google?

With Canadians picking up tablets and mobile phones in droves to do everything from find a restaurant to buy a car, the online landscape has seen major changes. Google has been there every step of the way to guide this great migration from desktop to hand-held.

Now they’ve once again updated their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) to make it easier for users to find the best mobile experiences possible. Their most recent innovation? The “Mobile-friendly” label.

 

Now available on a search engine near you!

“Mobile-friendly” labels make it as plain as possible for users to identify within search results which sites have been responsively designed for ease of use on mobile devices. When faced with a results page, you should now be able to recognize at a glance which websites will make for a more fluid and frustration-free experience.

Here’s a glimpse of what mobile users will see.

 

 

Google determines if a website is mobile-friendly through a number of parameters, the three most important being…

1. Whether a user needs to zoom in to see content

Having lots of content is most often a good thing for your organic rankings. Just make sure that it shows up legibly on the small screen, including your image files. Even with today’s newest generation of big battery, tablet-esque smart phones, people can only squint for so long before they’ll move on in frustration. Find the happy medium between condensed and readable.

 

2. Whether links and objects are placed far enough apart that a user won’t mistakenly click the wrong thing

You shouldn’t need to combine maximum zooming in and the finest point of your fingertip to ensure you access the right link or entry field. Make sure that page design is thoughtfully executed, or prepare to be overlooked by Google.

 

3. Whether the site uses common software normally found on mobile devices

A dazzling image or a video with a high production valuable are meaningless to your mobile customers if your content relies on software that is unsupported or incompatible with their smart phones or tablets. Unplayable content can arise from many different reasons: unsupported Flash players, license constraints, out-of-date program files. Be sure to test each of your pages and media files on multiple mobile devices before launching any new pages.

 

Why does this matter for your dealership?

Unless you want to annoy or alienate a good part of your customer base, you should already have a responsive website. Make your first impressions count. “Mobile-Friendly” is your chance to do just that.

Imagine this: Someone searches on their tablet for “GMC Sierra in Edmonton,” or “Toronto Toyota Corolla.” Two nearby dealerships appear prominently in the SERPs. One has the “Mobile-Friendly” tag tucked under its site link, but the other doesn’t. Who do you think will get the first shot at that new lead?

It’s promotion for your dealership that isn’t self-promotion!

 

Find out in seconds whether your website passes the test

You can test your website with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If you currently have a website with Strathcom Media, you are already covered and will see the “Mobile-friendly” label appear in the search results. If not, give the professionals at Strathcom a call at 1 (888) 914-1444, or email us at info@strathcom.com.