If you’re struggling for page views and leads on your site, it is time for you to revamp your SEO, and you can start with a SEO audit. Why you ask? Well, gone are the days when you could add a new post or page to your site and expect that people will come to read it. Right now, experts estimate that there are almost 60 million new blog posts alone published each month, that is 2 million a day! And this number doesn’t even include landing pages and other published online content. That is a big sea of content and because of this, standing out has become increasingly difficult online.
This is where SEO comes in. Search engine optimization has always been important. This is probably something you knew before you started reading this post. But what you might not know is what you can do to improve your site’s SEO. That’s why you need to dive right in and do an SEO audit of your site!
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.
First of All, What is SEO and Why Should You Care?
From April 17th-20th, I had the opportunity to attend one of the largest gatherings of PPC nerds in North America: HeroConf 2017 hosted in Los Angeles. This was my first PPC conference and I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t have felt more at home at the conference among other people who live and breathe PPC.
It was a busy week filled with learning, networking, and free drinks. Despite all the fun, I came home excited to share my new knowledge with the Strathcom team. Here are my key takeaways about what to expect in the world of PPC in the future.
It’s Time to Move on From Last Click Attribution
Attribution Modeling was one of the hottest topics discussed at HeroConf. Speakers from all industries agreed that it’s time to ditch the last click model, and focus on other touchpoints that lead to a conversion. However, there is no magical way of knowing which model is right for you. Speaker Jeff Greenfield of C3 Metrics discussed the importance of not waiting around for the perfect model, but to test and test again. The only way to prove the value of attribution models is to test until you become less wrong. Attribution modelling is extremely important in the automotive industry as we move away from the standard sales funnel, to a customer journey with multiple touchpoints. By ignoring the touchpoints a customer reaches today, we may never see them again for another 3 years.
Integrate Your Paid Social & Paid Search Strategies
2016 was the beginning of the big push toward establishing your dealership’s brand and ‘brand management’, and it has only continued in 2017. What most dealerships seem to miss is the difference between their brand and their reputation (or that there is a difference in the first place).
As we near the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, Google has shared 4 ways that you can optimize your online strategy this year according to their data.
Use click share to drive more engagement
We all know that, generally, the closer to the top position you are on Google, the higher engagement you will see from shoppers; especially on mobile. As shown in the chart below, for the Vehicles & Parts category you will need about a 15% click share to be competitive in reaching the top positions. How do you increase your click share? Increasing your bids as well as your ad relevance are good places to start.
Create a strategic seasonal campaign
Having a separate campaign for certain products at certain times (winter tires, for example) allows you be more flexible with your budgets for these products.
Use custom labels to create seasonal product groups
Use custom labels to create a segmented product group in your campaign for products like winter accessories for vehicles. This allows you to adjust your bids for winter accessories and to monitor your click share.
Remarket your products to previous shoppers
Remind your customers of the products they viewed in the holiday season but didn’t convert on – chances are they are still interested in finding the best deal!
For more information on how to optimize your site for the Google SERP, give us a shout or subscribe to our newsletter!
According to a Google study of mobile traffic, 96% of people use their smartphone to get everyday things done. To meet those needs, people will use search functions – the resource 87% of people turn to first. In moments of need, people turn to their smartphones.
Secondly, they found that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in-store had turned first to their devices for information about that purchase. To tie it back to the previous finding, they found 92% of those who search on their phone made a related purchase.
So what does this mean for you?
This means that you need a strong mobile strategy. Smartphone owners utilizing searches are likely to make a follow-up action, and another after that, until they meet their needs. Having a strong mobile campaign in your AdWords will ensure you are taking advantage of this knowledge.
Mobile-specific bids – mobile bids are different from desktop bids, so why treat them the same?
Mobile-specific ads and extensions – with extended-text ads, you currently can’t make ‘mobile-preferred’ ads; however, the mobile-only campaign will make sure these ads show only on mobile devices. Use mobile CTAs as much as possible. If you have historical data on extensions (that’s good), use it as a starting point in optimizing your mobile campaign.
At the end of the day, your AdWords account should be built with a mobile perspective first. Need some advice about mobile traffic? Contact our online marketing team today!
After a 2 year wait, Google’s Penguin algorithm has finally been updated! The Penguin filter was designed to capture sites that are spamming Google’s search results in ways that Google’s regular spam detection systems might not have noticed. Previously, the Penguin filter would “catch” sites deemed as spammers, and they would remained penalized even if the site improved or changed until the next time the filter would run (which could take anywhere from several weeks to several months).
With this latest release, Penguin now operates in real time. Now when Google recrawls and reindexes pages, these pages will be assessed immediately by the filter and then released or caught as a part of this process.
Penguin will now also devalue spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting the ranking of the whole site. Previously, Penguin was a site-wide penalty, but now only specific pages on a website may be impacted rather than the entire site.
For more information on how this can affect your site’s ranking, contact one of our friendly OMM’s here at Strathcom Media!
Everyone 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.
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!
How do customers remember your brand? What jumps out to your consumers and sets your company apart from your competitors? What are the benefits that set your brand apart from others? These are the types of questions people responsible for positioning brands focus on.
Conversion Optimization: probably the most important topic imaginable for building car dealership websites, and a topic we’d like to shed some light on. Here’s what we at Strathcom discovered during our tests for conversion rates!
A Call to Action is Like Asking for the Sale
You train your Salespeople to close the deal, and the same kind of logic behind that also applies online. There’s no denying the insane importance of a Call to Action (CTA), and knowing just when and where to ask for the sale is just as important. In our tests, we excluded clicks from top-level menus. Here are the stats:
The Most Clicked-on Webpages
New/Used Inventory – people like to browse, so let’s suggest taking a test drive, for example
Specials – let’s load this page up with incentives; that’s the idea here anyways, right?
Button-style CTAs outperformed “image + text” CTAs. Main CTA buttons account on average for almost half of the clicks on a webpage, making them by far the most important CTAs to include.
The higher above the fold, the higher the conversions.
A Convenient Quick-Search Bar
Makes sense, doesn’t it? Users want to find what they’re looking for right away and if they don’t, they’ll go somewhere else. The stats:
One of the top-performing homepage elements to encourage conversions – we found in our tests that quick-search bars average around 20% of all site clicks.
Placement on the homepage doesn’t matter, as it’s consistently used wherever we put it – it’s just a matter of making it accessible
When placed lower on a page, users will actively scroll down to use it
A Ton of Links
One paragraph on the homepage could contain links to just about every other section of the site, giving readers an easy way of searching for and finding what they need. Stats:
Most Clicked-on Links
Contact Info/Location/Directions/Hours – some users are customers already, and they just want to find out where and when they can drop by, so let’s be sure they can find out easily
Book Service Appointment
View New/Used Inventory
Links with button styles, but ONLY when used sparingly – let’s be smart about how we use buttons.
For our testing purposes, “conversions” was defined as clicks which took a user to an internal webpage. We tested using heat maps, click maps, and Google Analytics data, and our tests were done over multiple sites with differing designs.
Every two years Moz surveys dozens of the world’s biggest search marketers to better understand search engine algorithms. Moz has just released their 2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors that looks at characteristics such as keyword usage, page load speed, anchor text and over 170 other attributes that determine your ranking in the Google search engine. Over 150 marketing professionals were asked to rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, the top factors thought to be used in Google’s search algorithm.
Here are some of the highlights and the top influential ranking factors surveyed:
Keywords present in title elements
Quality of links from high-authority sites
Uniqueness of content across the site
Some of the lease influential factors were:
The popularity of business social media profiles
Upvotes/likes for the pages’ social sites
Length of time until the domain name expires
Those surveyed were also asked to predict the future of search, and how they expected Google’s algorithm to change over the next 12 months. Here’s what they predicted would be some of the major factors expected to increase influence:
Mobile friendliness and compatibility
Analysis of a site/page’s value
Quality and quantity of instant answers provided in the Search Engines Results Page (SERP)
Traditional ranking signals such as relevancy of links, social signals (shares, likes, +1’s) and internal links were expected to stay the same in importance. It was also predicted that paid links and anchor text would largely decrease in influence.
To read more about the 2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors, please visit https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors and see if your site is using some of the top influencers to gain rank in the SERP!
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.
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.
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.
Just in time to start the new year, Strathcom is giving you the chance to strike off one of your digital resolutions: get a better understanding of search engine optimization.
Even if you already trust your dealer website’s SEO duties to our development, content, and web design teams, it doesn’t hurt to know some of the finer points for yourself.
Ready to pop open the hood and learn how to tell a redirect apart from a responsive design?
We’ve extracted today’s best online practices from across the web and placed them into one learning resource for the uninitiated: 10 SEO Slip-Ups That Will Sink Your New Website: A Guide to SEO for Your Website!
Click to download
This new ebook — the first in a trilogy set to publish this month — will take you by the hand and guide you step by step through the sometimes comfusing world of search engine optimization, helping you to identify and avoid the most damaging SEO pitfalls and pratfalls.
It’s a quick read, written for the layman, and totally free to download!
But save your gushing letters for another time; a more intuitive, speedier web experience is thanks enough for us — and your customers!
If you’ve been following the buzz in search marketing these past few weeks, then you’ve likely heard the news about Google’s new suite of tools, Google my Business.
Because of its rather apt and obvious name, you can probably guess that this Google’s new system to help ordinary Joes everywhere (observe: the lower-case M) organize and run their online marketing, all in one place.
Well, you’re right!
After having to put up with managing multiple, competing profiles through recent years in Google Places, Google+, and Google+ Local, dealers can now organize everything they need in one spot. (One site, one login, one password—hmm, where have we heard that before?…)
Goodbye Google Places
Gone is Google Places, useful at one time, but now shed like training wheels for this maturing search engine.
In case you don’t remember, this was the little box in the top margins of your Google search results that listed your name, phone number, and a map to help find you, littered with a load of lettered red tabs that may or may not have had to do with your dealership.
Now that your memory has been refreshed, look forward to someday reading a BuzzFeed article about “21 Hilarious Internet Search Results Pages that’ll Totally Make You Nostalgic for 2010 (Number 17 is so true!!).”
Things look little rosier now. All your SEO juice will be, um, concentrated in a clean, straightforward, and user-friendly platform. Look forward to posting general information, photos, and even include a virtual tour of the inside of your dealership, as well as automatically tracking website insights with these tools, such as clicks and new followers.
The Google my Business user interface now combines these six search elements in one system:
That’s right—all your AdWords data, analytics statistics, SEO-boosting social media, and dealer videos in one place.
A: To get you higher visibility and “curb appeal” in Google searches, maps, and Google+. So make those dealership selfies extra chic!
Perhaps the most welcome change of the bunch: all of your online reviews collected and compiled in one spot. Save your marketing manager the time it takes to scan each and every entry from their bookmarked folder of online review sites, and have all of those linked reviews at your fingertips, instantly.
We all know that reviews are time sensitive; you want to know what people are saying about you, when they are saying it. Not two or three days later.
Locate, review, respond, neutralize.
Turn slighted customers into happy ones, and have your happy ones post reviews on the third-party sites that people are actually following in your area. Yep, Google my Business lets you discover this, too.
The Android app has just been released, and its iOS counterpart is not far behind; screenshots of both apps look promising so far. This means that not only can you manage your search marketing campaign at the office, but on the go, wherever you have access to your cellphone or tablet. Just don’t be obvious about it in the bathroom.
Let Us Keep You Informed
You trust Strathcom Media to keep you up to date with the latest online automotive tech trends; trust us with Google my Business, too.
If you have any questions, or if you need to be advised on setting up you Google my Business profile, contact your Strathcom representative and prevail in local search, today!
Stay tuned for a post on How to use the new Google my Business.
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.
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.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google Spam, tweeted yesterday that the popular search engine would begin updating its Google Panda algorithm to its latest incarnation: Panda 4.0!
Matt Cutts & Panda courtesy of www.thelinkbuilders.com
Google updates their algorithm constantly. And the Panda update is one of the most famous ones, such as the Hummingbird Algorithm and the Penguin update. The Panda algorithm was created to help websites with great, quality-rich content to jump up in the search rankings, while punishing thin and low-quality content websites. This update simply ensures that websites that answer searchers’ questions are rightfully at the top of the search engine results. Google does not want to reward websites that steal content from scrapers or that don’t offer much information. So what we have here is simply another tweak, the fourth notable one since the algorithm was first launched in February 2011.
4 Tips to ensure your dealership website doesn’t get caught in the updates
1.Don’t copy and paste any content from other websites on the Internet. You don’t want to have duplicated content from your manufacturer website or a competitor’s website. (Even if they’re in a far away region and you’re pretty sure no one will ever be able to tell. Google will!) Google can easily spot content that is duplicated from another source online.
2. If you don’t have enough information to fill up a page, don’t bother creating one. Otherwise this creates thin content, and the Panda algorithm will most likely pick another website on a similar topic that has a full page of informational content.
For example, talk about how often one should have their oil changed, include a maintenance schedule, and add other related bits of info on the service department page. This is more informational and useful to searchers than a page that says only“We do car repairs.”
3.Create vehicle landing pages that offer information on your latest vehicle models.
4. Blog regularly to answer questions that are often asked by your clients. We’ve even included some helpful and timely blog ideas: Spring Blog Topics.
Make your website a rich automotive library and you’ll see more people linking to your content, sharing your content, and trusting you as a leader in the auto industry! And you’ll get more leads. If you have any more questions, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Contact Us today!