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Meeting and Exceeding Google’s Expectations

Google has a long list of demands. Does your current online presence meet Google’s many requirements?

The online presence of the OPE industry may have looked a lot different a few years ago, but today it’s tough to find a successful OPE dealership that doesn’t have a website. The most digitally savvy dealers pay attention to areas such as search engine optimization (SEO), user experience, online reputation management, content, and search engine results page (SERP). All these, combined with a few other tricks, can help your business not only meet but exceed Google’s requirements.

Start by Googling your dealership and checking out the results. By conducting a single search on Google, online users will receive immediate access to your dealership’s online reviews and ratings on not only Google+/Google My Business, but also various other social media and review sites that show up in search results. If what you find does not shine a positive light on your dealership, then it’s time to get to work. 

• Make sure that your dealership’s information is accurate and consistent on Google. This includes things such as phone number, hours of operation, directions, and more. Inaccuracies can result in a lower search ranking for your business, making it harder for customers to find you and leave you a review in the first place. 

• Respond to all reviews, good or bad, and address the issues associated with the bad ones. Encourage customers to leave feedback for your dealership on Google.  The higher volume of positive reviews you receive, the higher and more stable your overall ratings will become. 

• User-generated reviews are considered highly valuable by Google’s algorithms. When customers write about their experience with your dealership (positive or negative), that content contributes to SEO for your business website. In addition to leaving a review or star rating, you should encourage happy customers to write about your dealership and their experience.

• If you do receive negative reviews, take that feedback as constructive criticism. There is most likely something to learn from it that will help you improve your business. This leads to better overall customer experience, which will likely result in more positive reviews – it all comes full circle.

The worst thing that you can do with your online reputation is to ignore it. Monitoring reviews on a regular basis is necessary for earning new customers, as well as customer retention. People will pay attention to your ratings and reviews – the information is hard to miss, especially on sites like Google – and they will not be encouraged to buy from you if your reputation is less than favorable. It has always been important to work toward customer satisfaction, but with the ease and accessibility of online reviews at play, it is crucial.

SEO

• SEO involves adding user-driven, keyword-rich content to your site. This shows search engines like Google that your website contains the kind of information customers are looking for, which results in search engine algorithms placing your site higher in search result listings. These are organic search results – non-paid listings that depend solely on the optimization of your website.

• Organic search listings result in a higher amount of clicks – 60 percent of all directed keyword searches result in a click on an organic search result. People who know exactly what they are searching for are more likely to click on one of these listings.

• The performance of your dealership’s website on search engines makes a huge impact. Search engines are the major avenue for all website visibility – without them, customers would have a much more difficult time finding businesses online. The better your site performs in search engine results, the more likely it will earn traffic from both new and returning customers.

• The entire purpose of having a dealership website is to draw in potential customers, but that can be hard to do without high performance on search engines. Prospects who don’t know about your business – and even past customers who simply don’t have your website memorized – will go to a search engine first, and you don’t want their clicks to go to the local competing dealership that has higher listings.

• When most people think about search engine optimization, the first thing that comes to mind is keywords. In earlier days of online strategy, adding as many keywords as possible to the content on a website was a somewhat effective way to climb up the organic listings on search engine results. We now call that practice “keyword stuffing,” and Google has gotten smart enough to recognize and even punish sites that do it.

High-quality content

• This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but high-quality content on your website only continues to gain importance. While Google and other search engines encourage us to write plenty of keyword-rich content for the best results in SEO, if the content is not readable and well written (for example, it suffers from keyword stuffing), you will be punished in your website’s search engine rankings. 

• As content marketing in blogs and other forms becomes more popular, expectations for content quality are getting higher. Readers want to be drawn in by interesting and useful information that is easy to read, not too long but not too short, and they also want to walk away from a piece feeling like they’ve learned something. It requires a lot of work to achieve all of this – it takes time and effort to produce high-quality content, but the results will be worth it.

User experience

• At ARI we always talk about the importance of a responsive user experience – meaning optimization of your dealership’s website for mobile devices. Google and other search engines will lower your site’s rankings if your site is not optimized for mobile, regardless of how great your content might be. Make sure to check this important item off your to-do list – not just for better search engine rankings, but to make sure your website visitors actually stay on your site.

Practice local SEO

• As local SEO abilities improve, it’s become more vital to adapt for your local dealership business. Customers in your area looking for units and products that you offer will likely start with an online search engine or business directory. An important step in securing good local SEO for your dealership is making sure that your business address appears correctly on Google. Is the physical location of your dealership viewable on Google maps? That’s crucial in enabling customers to visit your store.

Pay attention to SERP content

•          Your SERP is online visitors’ first clue about what your dealership has to offer, so it has always been important to handle this content with care. But new changes to Google’s SERP settings make it even more important. The best way to ensure that Google correctly understands your website’s purpose and pulls an accurate, high-quality snippet of information to display in your SERP is to keep your website’s code enhanced and up to date for SEO. This way, your website is able to effectively communicate its purpose to search engines and the people who use them.

As you can see, many factors play into your business’s online presence with Google. The more technical and lesser-known aspects make a big impact, and problems can occur when they are forgotten. With this knowledge in hand, you can be sure that your presence is in solid standing, giving you a leg up on the competition.

Article provided by ARI Network Services. ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 23,500 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”

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