SEO is such a vast practice, it keeps people such as myself employed full time just to try and keep on top of what is an ever evolving search landscape. Not only this, in most instances you will find teams of people within a company dedicated to work solely on individual elements such as link building, SEO copywriting, content creation or perhaps the more technical side of things.
Google is constantly updating its search algorithm – the computer programme they use to rank websites and what indicators they use to determine a websites quality. On average, this updates 500-600 times every year. As you can imagine this means we, as SEOs, can rarely rest on our laurels.
Despite these regular updates, the key foundations by which a site should be built on remain a constant. It is these foundations that will be an ever present in the ranking algorithms of the top search engines.
Arguably, the strongest ranking signal that will impact a page’s position in Google Search Results, and the biggest barometer of a website’s quality, is content.
Arren Wilkinson – Spidersnet
Why is content important
It’s no coincidence that, ‘Content is king’ is one of the biggest cliches in the SEO world. Both Google and Bing have repeatedly said that quality content is key to rankings. Makes sense, right? But what exactly do we mean when we talk about content? Essentially this means anything you see on the page itself. Text, images, videos… anything that exists on the web and is consumed on the web.
We know that Google looks at over 200 different factors when ranking websites, the majority of which fall under the technical remit. Therefore, the fact that creating lots of unique, high quality content is one of the biggest potential wins a website can have, from an SEO point of view, is great news. Why? Because it allows dealers themselves to project their expertise and passion directly onto the site itself and see the impact straight off the back of it.
Searchmetrics recently did an extensive study on ranking correlations and factors, and unsurprisingly, content was identified as one of the top signals.
Where should you have high quality content?
As a starting point, take a look at the following content areas to ensure you are maximising your website’s potential.
The homepage is likely to be the most important page of any website from a search point of view. This is where you get a chance to really shout about your company. If you only have a couple of lines of text on your homepage, this should be the first thing to rectify. Consider the following:
- What’s your company history?
- What makes you unique?
- What manufacturers do you stock?
- Do you have a specialism?
- Where are you located?
- Do you have a vehicle or particular range you wish to mention/link to?
By static pages we mean pages where the content is not dynamically generated. E.g ‘Servicing’, ‘Vehicle Valuation’, ‘Finance’, ‘Warranty’ etc. Often these types of pages are extremely content light, meaning they may only be populated with one or two lines of content at most.
Both customers and search engines expect to receive valuable information relating to the product or service on offer when they land on a page. Simply having an enquiry form, or a few lines of text along the lines of, ‘Contact us today for information on X’, does not constitute a good experience for the user. Every page needs to provide useful information!
If there is no content on the page to offer value to the user, you can bet your bottom dollar that Google will not see it as valuable. It is therefore not likely to rank it. Try and explain each product in detail. Can you include testimonials, a video?
Every car has a story to tell, so tell it. Keyword rich descriptions can be a great way to add real value to pages that, otherwise will predominantly be made up of images only. Most cars will have a list of specifications listed as bullet points, if you’re struggling for inspiration why not write these out in story form? Not only do these provide real value to the user, who will want to attain as much information as possible when faced with parting with a considerable sum of money, but doing so will likely see these pages rank higher in the search engines.
Never copy and paste car descriptions from manufacturers’ websites. Many other dealers will do this and Google will see it as duplicate content which could lead to you getting penalised.
Arren Wilkinson – Spidersnet
Just be sure that you are writing naturally (without keyword spamming). Please don’t be tempted to just copy descriptions from manufacturer websites, as is quite often the case with new cars. Google is clever and will count this as duplicate content. As a result you will find it difficult to rank this page. Why? Because Google is all about promoting well written, high quality and, most importantly, unique content. If your site contains duplicate content overload you could even put yourself at risk of being penalised.
Every car dealer website will have the types of pages listed above in their site. Similarly, each of the above types of pages hold SEO value, meaning that they have the potential to rank for keywords that will drive real qualified traffic to your website. But if you are willing to go the extra mile, what are some of the other forms of content you can be creating to enhance the experience for the user, and subsequently your chances of growing your organic traffic?
Each of the above provides users with additional information that will enhance their experience on your website. If it enhances the users experience of your website, the chances are you will see the benefit in organic traffic. Similarly, the more high quality content your website produces, the more likely you are to receive links from external sites, which in turn will boost your SEO.
All car dealers are experts in the market. Why not share that expertise with knowledge-thirsty customers and visitors to your website?
An informative blog
Another great way to increase the amount of unique content is to start your own blog. In your blog you can write about a plethora of things, so don’t be put off. It can be a great way to communicate with potential customers and add a bit of personality to your dealership’s online presence.
If you cannot think of anything to write about in your blog, then fear not, Spidersnet is here to help. Click on the button below to read our guide to blog writing. Hopefully you will get plenty of ideas that you can work with right away!
Images and Videos
As alluded to previously, both images and videos are fantastic ways to enhance any pieces of content. Be sure to include lots of high quality images along with your vehicles for a start. Would the user benefit from a video tour also? Most likely. How about a video series offering advice on how to deal with common issues such as changing tyres or checking oil? Such videos as these can not only prove to be great content resources for your site visitors, but could also help land you some great links from other sites. This is the sort of content that people love linking to. It’s an informative resource, providing value to your site visitors, so why wouldn’t they want to share with friends and link to it?
Also, it’s easier than you might think. You don’t need a film crew, sound engineer and fancy camera. All you need is a smartphone and the expertise. With this you can start creating great video content right now.
Did you know:
- YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine.
- YouTube gets over 30 million visitors per day.
- YouTube allows you to put a link in your description. Not only will this help your SEO, but it will drive referral visits to your website. Say you get 10 videos with 500 views on each, that’s the potential for a lot of extra customers viewing your content, or even better clicking through to your site.
- Search engines love video.
- YouTube videos are included in Google results. This means you can increase the chances of people finding your website online.
Both users and search engines judge your website’s usefulness on the quality of it’s content. This is good news, as great content, whilst time consuming is something that should be relatively easy to produce. If you work for a car dealership, the chances are you know your Porsche’s from your Proton’s, and if you’ve got something interesting to muse about, the chances are your users will find it interesting. If your users find it interesting, search engine’s like Google will likely find it interesting (get where I’m going with this?) Over time this will likely lead to increased rankings and traffic.
At the very least you need to ensure that your website contains no pages that will leave users (and search engines) devoid of information, or wanting more. Use images, videos, testimonials etc, as well as text to enhance the appeal of your products and services.