Best Practices for Automotive SEO
What is Automotive SEO?
Automotive search engine optimization is the process of structuring a website to make the content and page elements relevant to both users and search engines. Automotive SEO modifies the keyword focus and relevancy of content, headings, meta tags and navigation links to help pages appear in the organic search results.
Why Should Auto Dealers Use SEO?
Search engines have specific guidelines for ranking websites, and SEO for auto dealers can improve website quality and relevance. Automotive SEO best practices create a target keyword structure that can generate algorithm signals that help search engines understand content and improve rankings for car dealers.
How Are Auto Dealer Websites Ranked?
Search engines use mathematical equations called algorithms to sort and rank auto dealerships accordingly. These search engine algorithms use hundreds of ranking factors typically categorized as on-page and off-page automotive SEO.
What is On-Page SEO?
An important aspect of SEO content is to “optimize” keywords that are relevant to automotive websites. In many ways, search engines still can’t understand web pages like a human does. Optimizing content in a natural way that maintains readability and keyword focus is an important part of the auto dealer SEO process. The most important dealership content should be optimized in text format, because images, scripts and other non-text content may be ignored by search engines. Keywords are fundamental to SEO for car dealers. Dealership content is optimized to match the keywords and the intent of users. Search algorithms try to understand keyword context and variations by looking at optimized elements, such as topical relevance, semantic distance, prominence and proximity of keywords.
Knowing the best keywords to target is a critical part of automotive search engine optimization. Keyword research helps determine the right keywords to target. Auto dealer SEO companies use online tools like Google Keyword Planner that suggests keyword options and provides estimated search volume based on a history of user searches. In addition to knowing which keywords to target, it’s essential for car dealers and SEO agencies to understand the work required for search engine marketing because high traffic keywords are more competitive and take longer move up in the search results. A good SEO marketing strategy for car dealers is to create content that targets both competitive keywords and relevant variations that are less competitive.
The meta title of an auto dealership web page is meant to be a search engine optimized description of the content. An SEO agency will optimize each title for specific target keywords and for user experience. Titles cannot be duplicated on other pages. Search engines display about 70 characters of a title tag in the search results. If a page is targeting multiple keywords or a long keyword phrase, it is not a problem to go longer. Creating a compelling title can affect visits from the search results, so it’s important to not only think about automotive SEO, but the entire user experience. The title tag is a new visitor’s first interaction with an auto dealer brand and should convey a positive impression.
The meta description provides a short summary of the content on a page. Search engines do not use the description tag for car dealer SEO rankings, but it is the primary source for the snippet of text displayed under the title in the search results. Descriptions cannot be duplicated on other pages. It’s important to craft a compelling description using relevant keywords because it can affect the auto dealer SEO click-through rate. Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally will cut snippets longer than 160 characters.
Heading & ALT Tags
The heading tag is an automotive SEO element used to represent different sections of the dealer website content. Search engines check the relevancy of the header tag with the associated content. The h1 is an important tag and should contain a short description of the page content using the primary keywords. Subsequent tags, such as h2 and h3 are generally used for less important secondary keyword headings.
ALT tags are used for short descriptions of images on a page. ALT is an abbreviation for alternate text, which can appear in place of an image that does not properly display.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Acquiring inbound links and citations from quality websites is part of the automotive search engine optimization process. The search engines analyze the backlink profile of an auto dealer website by looking at the quality of inbound links, the number of referring domains, the relevance of content containing the link, the anchor text within the link and the quality of the referring website. The best practices for an auto dealer SEO service is to focus on acquiring quality inbound links, rather than quantity.
These are links given by other website owners as a reference for topically relevant information. Examples include content that provides current news, information or vehicle features. This can be challenging for car dealer SEO, which is why these types of links are highly valued.
This usually relates to the direct promotion of link-worthy content. Automotive SEO services can contact website owners and bloggers to ask them about linking to auto dealership web pages. Relevant links are good for SEO, but they need a good reason to link.
These links are essentially semi-self-created and tend to have less value than editorial or outreach links, but they are easier to get. Sources include: high quality directories, business profiles, industry blogs and social media sites.
The number of quality relevant domains that link to a website can be an important factor in your car dealer SEO strategy. It is a stronger signal than the total number of inbound links because it is a better indication of the true importance of a website.
There are indications that Google is trying move away from relying too much on links as an SEO factor. They evolution of search algorithms could use a more holistic analysis of pages, which means links from referring pages may eventually become less important.
Getting links from quality websites can also lead to an increase in traffic. If a referring domain is relevant to SEO for car dealers, chances are that the traffic is also relevant, so the value of a link may not be just about SEO.
SEO for the automotive industry can provide a range of services to help build a car dealership brand and establish a website domain with good online marketing visibility that can generate qualified organic traffic and leads.
SEO Best Practices
Today, the best practices for automotive search engine optimization provide a blend of content marketing, social media and online marketing services. It’s an on-going process of optimizing content and website elements, which includes constant research and testing to refine the search results.