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Dust Off Those Cobwebs! It’s Time to Update Your SEO Strategy

When was the last time you checked in with your SEO? If it has been a while, then it’s definitely time for a refresher! Learn what Google and other search engines expect from your dealership in today’s ever-changing digital environment. 

If you are familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), and you have considered diving deeper to improve your website performance, there are likely two topics that immediately come to mind – content and keywords.

In the earlier days of SEO, the goal was often to provide as much content as possible, filled with as many keywords as possible, to attract search engine algorithms. The debate was often, “How much content is enough?” and “How many keywords are enough?”

The landscape of SEO has changed, and the truth is that word length and number of keywords are not what’s important when it comes to ranking high in search results. In fact, focusing on those two factors can hurt your website’s ranking rather than help it. Search engine algorithms have advanced, and are now programmed to favor valuable content that focuses on quality rather than quantity of keywords.

A good rule of thumb in trying to provide high-quality content is to always consider its purpose. While promoting sales of your inventory is the primary goal of your dealership website, it shouldn’t always be the primary goal of the content you share. A better approach, which will help you achieve the quality content that search engines favor, is to focus on helping your customers and website visitors.

For example, a prospect or customer who has never owned a particular piece of equipment before probably doesn’t know the proper maintenance. A guide that covers this topic would be both educational and useful for customers, and it would simultaneously help your website earn SEO. In an article like this one, you would naturally use many keywords that attract search engines. Algorithms have advanced enough to differ between keywords planted in content for the sake of repetition and keywords that are used authentically, and a long-form piece of content like this maintenance guide would fit the bill for earning organic SEO.

Many dealers find that blogging is a great method for enhancing SEO on their website, while also serving value to customers. Regular blog posts covering helpful topics provide fresh, up-to-date content that search engines favor and website visitors enjoy. While maintaining a blog does require some time, creativity, and a good writer on staff, it could become a huge asset to your dealership’s online presence.

Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and long-form content just for the sake of it. The new guidelines for building SEO create a win-win situation for everyone – customers get access to useful and interesting information, while businesses earn SEO credibility and higher rankings in search.

SEO performance can be tricky, but the basics are relatively easy to do. Focus on ensuring your web presence is organized and consistent everywhere on the web – not just on your website. Once your presence is in good shape, make sure you’re providing good, descriptive web content that clearly articulates what you do and highlights your business’s competitive advantages. Some ideas for a quick SEO tune-up for your web presence are as follows:

Google My Business: Dealers often ignore this step, but it is increasingly important in Google’s ranking system. With more mobile search traffic than ever, Google has been rolling out a steady stream of updates prioritizing local search and reviews. A Google My Business account can help ensure you’re listed properly on Google’s results for local businesses, and can display more information about your dealership, including a map of your location, your average review ranking and more in the search results.

Directory listings: Cleaning up your web presence by claiming your most important online directory listings is a good next step. Google attaches a lot of authority to these sites that can be passed to your own website, so they’re important. Search for your business online, then check out any third-party listings that appear for your dealership on websites such as the Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, Yelp and more. If your dealership’s name, address, phone number, and website are not correct and/or consistent across all these sites, it could have a harmful impact on your search engine ranking. Search engines such as Google may not find your site to be trustworthy and may be less likely to give your site a high ranking because of it.

Claim any listings you didn’t create. You can do this manually, or you can use a directory management service (these services will automatically update your listings with the correct information – address, website, phone number, e-mail address and hours – and ensure that those listings are always pointing in the right direction).

Website search engine optimization: Website content that tells customers the geographic areas you service helps Google show your business to people searching in those areas. If you’re in a competitive metro area, adding keywords and copy about the larger geographic area you serve will help your SEO performance. Your “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages are good places for this information to live.

You should also include this information in your meta description and meta keywords. The description should be less than 150 characters and should include your location, what you do, and your phone number. Your keyword list should include the names of large towns in the area, as well as the most popular brands you sell or services you provide.

Reputation management: Online reputation management affects SEO too. Improving your dealership’s overall rankings and reviews on sites such as Yelp, Facebook business pages, and even Google itself will show customers that they can trust your business – leading to more clicks and website visits. When search engines recognize that customers trust your business and choose your website when conducting online searches, they are more likely to give your site a higher ranking to help even more customers.

Google loves websites that provide answers to customers’ questions, so think about whether your site provides the best landing spot for a prospect with a question about the products and services you provide, and let that guide your content strategy.

Although keywords and content are still at the heart of SEO, many other factors play into your website’s performance in search. These more technical and lesser-known aspects of SEO strategy make a big impact, and problems can occur when they are forgotten. These practices are just some examples, among others, that are important to consider when it comes to maintaining SEO best practices for your dealership website.

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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