Your website is the most important part of your digital marketing strategy. Even with a large budget, you could fail to achieve results if you’re lacking the foundation necessary to convert visitors into leads and sales.
In this week’s Navigating SEO column, I’ll detail a few of the problems that still plague dealer websites years after being pointed out and condemned by the automotive SEO community.
There seems to be a growing belief that online leads are dying, as consumers are doing more research and visiting few dealerships before ultimately buying a car.
While that may account for some shifts in consumer behavior, there’s absolutely no reason to call for the death of lead forms. The only problem is, most dealer websites simply don’t foster conversions well. They’re poorly designed, crammed with buttons and banners, and really lose sight of adding value to the user’s experience.
If you want to boost conversions, stop looking for a magic solution and start looking at changes you can make to your current website to add to your value proposition. If car buying really is changing, don’t try to force your users into submitting leads; give them a reason to do so!
On top of adding more value to your site, experiment with different designs and call to actions. You may find the smallest change can lead to more people filling out online credit apps or scheduling service online.
Last year, I felt like a broken record; this year I feel like a mad man. Unfortunately, I can’t let this issue stay quiet for too long. There’s still an issue with dealer websites and duplicate content!
Some have come out and admitted that they do as placeholder text and it’s up to the dealer to replace it or pay for custom content. However, it still seems as if that’s not made clear to dealers when they sign on with certain providers.
It’s an annoying issue as well because it’s really simple to solve: stop providing the duplicate content. If you want to provide the best service to clients, give them two options: custom content or no content. That immediately stops the complaining from automotive SEO professionals and finally stops the spread of this virus once and for all.
On the dealer side, it’s also up to in-house dealer marketing professionals to hold website providers to higher standards. By now, you all know how important unique content is, so put your foot down and insist on custom content, create it yourself, or hire an SEO company to create it.
Again, it’s that simple! Let’s make 2016 the year we finally get rid of duplicate content from car dealer websites once and for all.
Outdated Metadata Optimization
When Wikimotive brings on a new client, the first thing we do is give their website(s) a thorough audit. Like a trade appraisal, we try to determine what the value is from the current website and what we’ll have to do to get it showroom ready.
One of the worst practices we still encounter is over-optimized metadata. This means long, keyword-stuffed title tags, descriptions stuffed with locations, and keyword tags that no one told them were useless nowadays.
Having irrelevant or clearly over-optimized metadata can open your site up to penalties, as Google is constantly looking for sites that are trying to game the system. This is an example of bad SEO vs. good SEO.
Bad SEO tries to stuff as many keywords into metadata fields as possible, while good SEO simply tries to optimize for the most appropriate keyword. This allows you to provide a great title and description to both Google and its users.
Overthinking metadata or believing that you can fool Google is not going to work out for you. Working hard and doing what’s right, on the other hand, will help you succeed more and more with SEO.
Lack of Inventory Photos
This problem is all on you as the dealer, so listen up. Get your inventory photos in order! There’s no reason for a piece of inventory to go days and days without photos uploaded to the website. Remember how I was talking about conversions earlier? This is something you can do that will immediately start to improve things.
A prospective customer should not have to drive down to your dealership just to see the car they’re interested in buying. Why? Because they’re not likely going to do that. Instead, they might just start cross-shopping some of your competitors. And if they find a piece of inventory with great photos from them, that might be all it takes for them to fall in love with that particular model.
There goes another sale down the drain!
Overall, your website’s success comes down to one part great provider and one part great dealer. The provider can give you the foundation, but it’s up to your or your team to start building upon that foundation. I hope these tips provide you with insight and inspiration to improve your website and achieve bigger and better results in 2016!
Want to talk candidly about website providers? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to answer any questions.