As you are most probably already aware, here at Spidersnet we work hard to educate our dealers in all aspects of marketing and beyond. Our Learning Hub is chocked full of advice for car dealers whether it’s on search engine optimisation, analytics, social media or a range of other subjects.

Click here to read more car dealer marketing advice

One such topic that we have delved into is website design. It’s what we do you see, so we have a lot to say on the matter. We’ve already elaborated on what we feel are the essential aspects of a good car dealer website and also expressed our opinions on other fantastic features that can take your website to the next level. But we are here today to talk about common issues that we come across when we look at other dealers’ websites.

Mobile unfriendly websites

This is a very common issue that we come across when we browse the web. The reason this is so frustrating is because in this day and age, if you want to ensure your website helps you sell cars, it has to be mobile-friendly. We understand that for many dealers, investing in a new responsive website seems like a daunting task, but believe it or not the most basic responsive websites – like our Express sites – aren’t going to break the bank.

“94% of people judge websites based on responsive web design” InFront  

With a huge number of people searching for cars online with their mobile device, you just cannot compete if you are presenting them with a poorly functioning website that’s a chore to browse on a smartphone or tablet. Not only do clunky non-responsive websites offer up a poor browsing experience, but they also have a negative impact on how well you rank in search results. In 2018, Google released a new algorithm that ranks websites based on their mobile version instead of their desktop version.

Missing landing pages

Another issue that we see all the time is a lack of relevant landing pages. If you have a range of different vehicles for sale, you should have a landing page set up for each make. This will help you rank high up in specific search results pages.

If you have a website that features a large number of Peugeots, Fords and Nissans and you have a specific landing page for all three manufacturers separately and had the correct title tags in place, then you’re more likely to rank high up for relevant search terms for each manufacturer.

If you’re based in Brighton and someone is searching for ‘Used cars in Brighton’ then your website will have a chance of ranking with or without these individual manufacturer landing pages. However, if someone is searching for ‘Used Fords in Brighton’, ‘Used Peugeots in Brighton’ and ‘Used Nissans in Brighton’, then a lack of correct landing pages could leave you missing out on valuable traffic. If you do have individual landing page for each, these will increase your chances of ranking for all of the above terms.

Incorrect title tags

Having the correct landing pages is not enough, it’s also vital that your landing pages have optimised title tags. For example, if you’re based in Brighton and you have a page dedicated to used Ford cars, then you should ensure that your title tag is ‘Used Fords Brighton’ or ‘Used Ford Cars for Sale Brighton’. Something that relates to what people will be searching for.

We often see dealerships with random or incomprehensible title tags and it is so frustrating. You’ve gone to the effort of creating the correct landing pages – as mentioned above – but they’re tagged wrong, which can negatively impact how they rank in search results.

It’s worth bearing in mind that your title tag is the title that will appear in Google’s search results pages, so it should describe perfectly what the page contains. For example, all of our title tags include the phrase ‘car dealer’. This way, we are targeting what people will be searching for and it will also be clear what the page is about when it is found in Google. Here is an example of what I mean…

Read our guide to meta tags to find out more.

Thin or duplicate content

When deciding which websites should rank highly for search terms, Google takes many things into account. Some of these aspects have already been mentioned above and another very important thing to consider is the content on your website. When we say content, we mean the written text on your site.

Google actively punishes websites that have low levels of content or content that is copied and pasted from other websites. The main pages that you should focus on, ensuring that they have high levels of unique content, are your static pages. This means that your homepage, stock listings page, contact us page and any other pages such as warranty, servicing or testimonials pages, should all have high levels of unique content.

It is also worth writing your own text to accompany any cars you have for sale, as opposed to copying and pasting it directly from the manufacturer’s website. In fact, whenever you are putting any written copy on your site, it is important that you ensure it is always 100% unique and not stolen from another site. This will only serve to negatively impact your chance of ranking highly in Google’s search results pages.

Also, one other thing to consider when writing copy for your website, is that it doesn’t hurt to include some keywords and search terms that you would like to rank for. Perhaps include the make and model of the cars you sell as well as some local search terms like your town and county. Just be sure to make them fit nicely as there is nothing worse than a page that is so obviously stuffed with keywords!

Poor quality pictures

When selling cars online it is incredibly important that you’re uploading a large number of high quality pictures to accompany each advert. People want to see your car from as many angles as possible, before heading down to take a look at it in the flesh. By failing to include a large number of decent photographs, you may end up losing out on a number of customers.

We always say that it is best to take all of your pictures in the same location, ensuring they are well lit, and show off your car from as many angles as possible.