Why do some auto dealer websites rank better than others? It has a lot to do with trust. Does Google trust your brand enough to rank well in the organic search results? Brand SEO is one of the most important factors for optimizing dealership websites.

In 2008, Google’s CEO talked about branding as a factor to help people navigate the internet. “Brands are the solution, not the problem,” He said. “Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”

Dealership Branding 

Recent patents provide some insight into how Google’s search algorithm identifies brands and the associated data that can ascribe trust attributes that affect SEO for auto dealer websites.

This Google patent talks about answering questions using entity references in unstructured data. Part of the abstract says “Methods, systems, and computer-readable media are provided for collective reconciliation. In some implementations, a query is received, wherein the query is associated at least in part with a type of entity.” The word “entity” refers to a proper noun, which is a person, place or thing, and that includes a brand name. The abstract essentially says auto dealer websites can rank in part because of associated keywords. The SEO process includes developing a connection between your dealership brand and relevant automotive industry keywords.

The patent summary also says “One or more ranking metrics are used to rank the entity references, including frequency of occurrence and a topicality score. Frequency of occurrence relates to the number of times an entity reference occurs within a particular document, collection of documents, or other content. Topicality scores include a relationship between the entity reference and the content in which it appears.” It’s important for auto dealer websites because it refers to how brands are understood by the prominence of references and the proximity of topically related keywords in the context of relevant documents.

Another section talks about how Google collects data and compares it to brand information in their database. “The system generates a collection of entity references appearing in a web page by comparing the structured or unstructured text to a list of known entity references, for example a list of names. In some implementations, entity references not previously known are identified based on a frequency of occurrence or other clustering techniques.”

The reference to “known entity references” could include the Knowledge Graph, which is a massive collection of real-world things and their connections. This database can influence brand SEO for dealer websites through connected information gathered from a variety of web sources used to enhance Google search results.

Brand Identification

Another Google patent describes technologies related to entity identification. It says “Entity identification is the process of identifying particular entities, e.g., persons, places, and things, referred to by text” The patent talks about how Google technology can predict the identity of brands referenced in complete sentences. “The entity identification model may determine one or more predicted entities for the portion of the entity text included in the first portion of the complete sentence”.

The algorithm can also predict entities from portions of sentences. “Having robust confidence scores for entity predictions for multiple sentences and multiple portions of each sentence may improve entity predictions as sentences are typed.”  Related keywords and factual information about dealer websites is collected in the Knowledge Graph and used as a trusted source of data for relevant search queries.

Actionable SEO for Auto Dealers

  • Create topically relevant content to support brand keywords, and match the structured data in the source code to relevant keywords on the dealer website
  • Structure the content of each page to focus on specific brand keywords using a natural blend of exact match, partial match, stemming, synonyms or relevant terms
  • Make the brand name and primary associated keywords appear prominently in website content without over-optimizing keyword phrases
  • Use keyword proximity to support natural context for user intent by placing brand keywords near related terms or phrase modifiers in the website content
  • Include up to date information on company policies, location and about us pages, maintain business profiles, social media and Google My Business accounts

This is just a glimpse of the research for using trust as a brand SEO factor to provide users with reliable search results. It shows how brand optimization is an important part of developing auto dealer websites to rank well for their most relevant keywords.