On the heels of the Driving Sales Executive Summit and the JD Powers convention, two thing is still clear in the automotive industry – car dealer SEO is at the top of the priorities lists and information about proper SEO is still being debated.
This post by Richard Valenta couldn’t have come at a more opportune time:
Search engine optimization (SEO) has found steady footing within the automotive industry as dealers adopt cost-effective solutions for their marketing needs. Nearly every automotive marketing consultant and website design company touts their ability to deliver lead-generating, SEO-friendly content and design. But with a barrage of exotic claims incessantly thrown at car dealers, what exactly are the differences between vendors? How can dealers see through the misguided assertions and unfounded fairy-tales to find real results?
One way to address these questions is to see what vendors can seamlessly and strategically balance and integrate offsite SEO with onsite SEO. Let’s take a quick look at both of these crucial areas.
Onsite SEO – The Solid Content Foundation
The adage that “Content is King” has been used since the inception of Internet marketing, and the adage still holds true today. The bulk of what’s referred to as Onsite SEO deals with ensuring quality content is infused throughout a website. This content should of course include the keywords that your prospective customers would be using to find your website, but the content should also be original, informative, and should somehow meet the needs of visitors. Onsite content often includes title tags, meta keywords, meta descriptions, outbound and inner page linking, and of course the most important aspect is content in the form of HTML text. Easily readable by search engines, this content should clearly illustrate what a specific page is all about, engage readers, and have a structure that includes important keywords without keyword stuffing.
Offsite SEO – The Art of Building Trust
Naturally, with the focus by SEO consultants and web developers on onsite content, Google and other search engines must take into account other factors when ranking a website. This is where offsite SEO comes into play. Unfortunately, this is also where many SEO consultants and web developers tend to throw in the towel. Offsite SEO includes tactics such as link building, social media marketing, press release submission, article marketing, and sometimes reputation management. All of these tactics deal with getting others to discuss your website, and thus offsite SEO builds trust for your website and your brand.
Look at a site like Boston Nissan Dealers. They have an excellent combination of onsite and offsite optimization. Advantage Nissan in the Seattle area is also a great site to look at for optimization. This particular site is one of the first to promote Nissan Commercial Vehicles even before Nissan released their first commercial truck.
The Right Balance Outweighs the Hype
The real reason why Offsite SEO is heavily weighted in Google’s ranking algorithm is simple – onsite SEO is easy! Quick and simple to create, onsite SEO is all too often stuffed, duplicated, cloaked, and spammed, forcing search engines to trust it less and less. Instead, Google increasingly wants to see what others think of a website, and to do this Google relies on what’s happening off of your website just as much (if not more) than what’s happening on your website.
Offsite SEO tactics are critical for success because it’s often difficult and time consuming to acquire high-quality inbound links and positive social interactions. Sure there are ways to buy links and manipulate social media websites, but Google is increasingly seeing past these tactics as true editorial inbound links and real social interactions only come to those websites that can deliver authority and credibility, and that’s what organic rankings are all about. Without offsite automotive SEO, onsite SEO cannot support rankings alone in the face of aggressive competition. If your website company or SEO consultant is unable to address both of these crucial areas simultaneously, your SEO strategy will suffer from a gross imbalance that could give your competition the competitive edge.
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Read more about Automotive Social Media on this blog.