Clout is the New Click: Strategizing for Zero-Click SERPs

“Yes, we’ll let you crawl us, you just make sure to give us credit when we give you the data. […] We [SEOs] made Google just as much as they made us, and all they owe us is what they promised at the outset: traffic and credit.”

This is one of the most apt descriptions of the relationship between SEOs and Google, and was shared by Rand Fishkin in 2016, months after the introduction of the featured snippet earlier that year. When Rand made that statement, it was at a time where Google had all but plagiarized the bulk of the information shown in featured snippets and answer boxes, without attributing all information to the original content creators they scraped the data from. Since that time, they’ve done a better job of providing the appropriate clout from those answers to the websites who provided them, while still keeping the core answer in the search result. Today, Google continues to change the way that search results are displayed in an effort to provide answers, not websites. Great for the customer, but not so much for the business.  Continue reading “Clout is the New Click: Strategizing for Zero-Click SERPs”

Google Knows Everything–Including Your Dealership Location

Network gps navigation modern city future technology

One of the most popular SEO requests we see from dealerships across Canada is to take all of their pages and add groupings of text that list all of the cities, towns, or local areas that they “serve.” Sometimes it’s simply the local areas around them (especially for dealerships that are located in a “greater” area around a major city), and sometimes it stretches far beyond what is logical. I’ve seen dealerships ask to list cities that are hours from their physical location, or attempt to rank in search for an entire province that would take almost a full day to drive from end-to-end. For the love of winter tires, I’m telling you: stop the location stuffing madness. It isn’t helping you, I promise.

Why is this tactic a problem?

Continue reading “Google Knows Everything–Including Your Dealership Location”

Chess, Not Checkers: Why Your Dealership Needs a Digital Strategy

wood chess pieces on board game. brown vintage background

When most dealerships are faced with the question, “Does your business have a digital strategy?”–the usual answer is (hopefully), “Yes, of course!” And this would be great, but are you truly utilizing this strategy? Or, even worse, are you not using a strategy at all? We’re not saying that not having a digital strategy is borderline criminal (though it is)–we’re just here to help.

Strategy, according to Wikipedia, is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. In short, a strategy is an in-depth plan. For your dealership you should be thinking of the long-term advantages your dealership provides compared to your competition, and how you can defend that competitive advantage. Continue reading “Chess, Not Checkers: Why Your Dealership Needs a Digital Strategy”

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”

If You Only Make One SEO Goal in 2018, It Should Be This

Most dealers are bewildered by the concept of search engine optimization, and it’s not hard to see why. SEO is a constantly changing landscape, and tactics that may have sat at the forefront long enough for them to learn about it are frequently relegated to the back bench no sooner than the dealers have gotten a full grasp of it. However, one thing about SEO has never been clearer:

seo-searcher-intent

Modern day SEO is all about user experience.

Continue reading “If You Only Make One SEO Goal in 2018, It Should Be This”

Online Presence: why it is vital in today’s car buying process

typing on a laptop

As consumers, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. It’s no doubt that the research process during the car buying experience has changed dramatically. According to studies by Google, “consumers in their early research moment, such as which car-is-best or is-it-right for me moments, are signaling intent to visit a dealership within a week”. A visit to your website is ideally followed by a visit to the dealership. So, for automotive retailers, having a strong digital presence is crucial.

According to Google, the car buyers’ thought process looks a little something like this:

  • Which car is best?
  • Is it right for me?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Where should I buy it?
  • Am I getting a deal?
Which car is best?

One of the most impactful mediums for consumers looking to make a vehicle purchase is video. In fact, when buying a car, 69% are influenced by video opposed to other mediums such as TV, newspapers or magazines. When using the search network, the most common searched terms are “[brand/make] + reviews”, “[brand/make] + specs” and “best luxury cars”. 

Is it right for me?

After consumers have narrowed down their search, they begin their hunt to find out if the vehicle is right for their lifestyle and needs. This is where the consumers discover features/options and the interior/exterior aesthetic. This is mainly a visual process, and a majority of time is spent looking at photos. The photo searches of “[brand/make]” is up 37%  and 80% of these searches are now happening on mobile.

Can I afford it? Where should I buy it? Am I getting a deal?

After the first two questions have been answered, the consumer generally begins searching for a dealership. This is where the individual dealer’s web presence will become a factor. Dealers need to make sure that they are showcasing OEM incentives, internal promotions, as well as leasing/financing information. But most importantly, prices need to be shown because that is what the customer is ultimately looking for. Dealers should also make sure that their site provides a positive user experience; something as simple as having an unresponsive webpage can impact whether or not a user decides to visit the dealership.

Dealers also need to utilize tools such as Google+ reviews, automotive forums, Unhaggle, and other mediums that customers use to help them make their decision.car salesman congratulates a family for buying car

Despite the evolving methods of how consumers access information, the end of the process always ends at the dealership. As consumers come into dealerships equipped with their researched knowledge, they expect sales staff to also be product-experts. In order for manufacturers and dealers to fully understand the decision making avenues of the buyer, they must understand the small “micro-transactions” involved throughout the entire procedure. Having a strong digital presence in each of the avenues will always set a dealer ahead of the competition.

To find out more about how to improve your online presence and get more leads, give us a call today or subscribe to our newsletter!

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!

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”

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.

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+.