We all want to be number 1 at what we do, whether you’re LeBron James chasing down Michael Jordan, Nelly or a dealership outselling its competition. But it takes a lot of work to be number 1 in any field and outrank competitors, especially in the automotive industry, which always invites a healthy dose of competition.
You might assume it’s only your website that determines how well you rank in search (and sure, it does play a part), but there are a lot more factors that determine where your dealership lands in SERPs when you search for a business, question, keyword or phrase and why one dealership may outrank the other. Google’s algorithm attempts to follow what its users like best, and those users like consistent, groomed activity online. Consequently, Google also likes that same consistent, groomed activity on everything it can crawl or interact with, including everything from the technical SEO on your website, your Google My Business profile, citations and external links coming into your site.
Continue reading “Why is My Dealership Not Outranking My Competition in Search?”
“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”
Shakespeare’s Romeo once suggested, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.” Since we usually see multiple variations of a dealership’s name strewn across every branded opportunity, car dealerships (and my inner theatre nerd) tend to agree with him. But from an SEO standpoint, this can be confusing to your potential customers. This is why choosing both your dealership’s name and domain name are exceedingly important, especially if you want your website or other online citation listings delivered in one, unified brand name for search results.
Continue reading “How Do I Choose The Best Domain Name?”
Welcome to the first of many thrilling installments of “You Ask, We Answer!” (working on the production value, in the meantime just imagine a gong sound in the background), where you send in your questions, and we answer them in our webinars.
We figured we’d start out strong with our Director of Product Development, CrossFit strongwoman, and all-around good gal, Carrie Oliva, talking about On-Page and Technical SEO. We’ve embedded the video footage of the webinar below, and then painstakingly transcribed (read: edited what the app transcribed for us) the answers to the questions below that. Continue reading “You Ask, We Answer: Technical SEO”
What Are Meta Descriptions?
You know that little blurb at the bottom of the link on Google that kind of tells you the answer when you hastily searched for “weird growth on big toe”? That’s a meta description. They’re often used to preview text from the content when sharing to social media, but we here at Strathcom Media think it’s so much more than that. Even though Google recommends you to only write up to 155 characters, we’re going to tell you how you can make the most out of this small box of information. Read on to learn more about the importance of optimizing your meta descriptions for better visibility on a search engine results page (SERP). Continue reading “What Are Meta Descriptions?”
Title tags are used to specify the title of a web page; they’re clickable elements that lead you to the content on a page. It is what you see in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), tab headline, or social media description. Frequently, you will hear people referring to title tags as SEO titles, or meta titles, but these terms generally all mean the same thing.
Continue reading “What Are Title Tags?”
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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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.