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The Technical Basics of Automotive SEO

To say that search is a battleground wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration. After all, everyone is constantly struggling for the high ground, and you only win it by knocking somebody down. Okay, so maybe it’s more like a 24/7 game of ‘king of the hill’…

Pictured: SEO in a nutshell

But whether SEO is a battle or a game to you, it is hectic, intense, and not always easy. So don’t wade into the fray unarmed. Here are the technical basics of automotive SEO:

The Importance of Being Relevant

Google has gotten more sophisticated about how to rank websites, and relevance is a critical factor. Being relevant means that your web page elements need to match what people are searching for.

SEO creates relevance. It’s the process of structuring content and page elements to build topical keyword focus that improves rankings, which can generate organic traffic.

How Are Dealership SEO Rankings Determined?

To process millions of documents per query, search engines use artificial intelligence and mathematical equations called algorithms to sort and rank pages based on keyword relevance. These algorithms include hundreds of ranking factors that can affect the visibility of a website.

Why Do Dealership Websites Need SEO?

Search engines are smart, but they still need help. They are always working to improve their ability to crawl and return the most relevant results for user queries, but there is a limit to how machines can retrieve information. SEO helps the search engines understand what each web page is about, which can improve visibility and help position web content where your potential customers are more likely to find it in the search results.

Target Keywords for Automotive SEO

An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search bots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, in many ways they still can’t understand a web page the same way a human does. SEO formats your content in a way that helps the engines figure out what each page is about, and how it relates to specific user queries and search intent.

Keywords are fundamental to the search optimization process. They are the building blocks of search queries. In fact, the entire science of information retrieval is based on keywords. Rather than storing 25 billion web pages all in one place, the engines have a lot of smaller databases centered on keyword vectors. This makes it possible to retrieve data in a fraction of a second.

Browser Titles

The browser title of a page is meant to be a concise description of the page content. The title is displayed as a link in the search results. It is the first interaction with your brand and should convey relevant keywords to match the user query.

Creating a compelling title can affect click-through rate and visits from the search results, so it’s important to not only think about optimization and keyword usage but the user experience.

Meta Descriptions

The meta description provides a short summary of the content on a page. It is the primary source for the snippet of text displayed beneath a browser title in the search results. Titles and descriptions are unique and should not be duplicated on other pages.

It’s important to craft a compelling description using relevant keywords and product benefits because it can affect the click-through rate and visits to your page.

Page Headings

The heading tag is used to represent sections of web page content. Search engines look for relevant keywords in the heading to match the associated content. The H1 is the most important tag and should contain a short description of the page content using the primary keywords. Subsequent tags, such as H2 or H3 are used for secondary related content.

Content Optimization

SEO content is written using natural speech focusing on a specific topic:

  •         Main Keyword – Focus on one target keyword phrase per page
  •         Keyword Variants – Use synonyms, plurals and phrases that mean the same thing
  •         Primary Related – Use words that are semantically related to the main keywords
  •         Entity Attributes – Include target keywords in close proximity to brand names
  •         Prominence – Use the primary keywords in titles, headlines and first paragraph
  •         Frequency – The main keyword should occur more frequently than other words
  •         Proximity – Include related keyword modifiers close together in paragraphs or lists
  •         Internal Links – Include text links to topically relevant supplemental page content

Structured Data

Google says: You can help us by providing explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google by including structured data on the page.”

There are different types of Schema formats, but Google recommends JavaScript notation, which is what we use to enhance page relevance. The markup is not visible on the actual page, only in the source.

Putting It Together – What Do SEO Managers Do

To improve search rankings and organic traffic, we optimize your main website navigation pages and build new SEO pages every month targeting relevant dealership keywords in the browser titles, meta descriptions, page headings, content, and structured data.

Here’s an example of the types of SEO pages we build:

DEALER PAGE GROUP MODEL PAGE GROUP
City Dealer Page City Dealer Page
Ford Service Ford C-Max
Ford Parts Ford Edge
Oil Change Ford Escape
New Tires Ford Expedition
New Brakes Ford Explorer
Ford Specials Ford F-150
Ford Lease Specials  Ford Fiesta
Used Ford Specials Ford Flex
Car Dealership Ford Focus
Used Cars for Sale Ford Fusion
Certified Used Cars Ford Mustang
Ford Cars for Sale Ford Super Duty
Ford Trucks for Sale Ford Taurus
Ford SUVs for Sale Ford Transit

Conclusion

Automotive SEO isn’t necessarily straightforward, but it doesn’t have to be confusing. These technical SEO basics give you the details you need to manage your day-to-day search engine success.

And this technical rundown comes with one last piece of advice: Dealership SEO is always changing, and it always helps to have a refresher. Bookmark this page and keep it handy as you continue on your automotive SEO adventures.