What is SEO and why is it important?

Here at Spidersnet we work hard to ensure that our dealers are as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to all aspects of online marketing! That is why we set up the Spidersnet Learning Hub. It is here that you will find a wide range of guides covering a number of topics from search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media to customer service and website design.

In this guide we’re discussing search engine optimisation, or SEO as it’s more commonly known. We know there will be plenty of you reading this who know nothing about this incredibly important aspect of digital marketing. That’s why we have put together this useful and informative guide to help you learn all about the basics of SEO. After reading this you’ll have a better understanding of what SEO is and why it is so important for your car dealer website.

What is SEO?

SEO is the discipline that focuses on ensuring your website appears high up on search engines results pages. This mainly focuses on Google, which is by far the most influential search engine, but it is also targeted to Bing and Yahoo as well.

“Search engine optimisation is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.”

– Webopedia

There are a number of actions that you can take and things that you can do both on your website, and in other areas of the web to help you move your dealership’s website higher up the rankings for your keywords. This can include things such as improving the content on your website, or updating your meta tags.

Why is SEO important?

According to the Office for National Statistics, 95% of the UK population access the internet on a daily basis. This accounts for an astounding 46.6 million users every single day. When we consider these statistics, it is clear that this is a ‘Digital Age’ in which we live, and any business that wants to maximise its success must be willing to integrate a digital strategy into its marketing. The battle for sales has very much moved from the forecourt, onto the web.

Whilst other respective digital marketing practices such as Pay Per Click advertising, social media and email marketing can be great ways to target and engage with potential customers online, nothing has the longevity or potential for sustained positive impact as SEO. This is why it is the bedrock of any digital marketing campaign.

Effectively, the higher your website ranks in Google (with 98% market share in the UK), the more traffic your website will receive. The more traffic your website receives, the more leads you will generate and, ultimately, the more cars you will sell.

SEO may not have the glamour of television commercials, or general appeal of social media. What it does offer however, is a highly targeted stream of internet users looking for their next used car, or somewhere to book their car in for an MOT or service. As well as tangible opportunities for business growth and brand building. Ultimately, the internet is the fastest growing sales channel.

In a study conducted by Hubspot it was discovered that 75% of internet users never scroll past the first page of results. I’m sure most of us can relate to this, right? It’s a rarity that the results returned on page one would not fill your needs as a searcher. This is why it’s vitally important that your website is in and around the top 10 results for the keywords that are going to drive you traffic.

It’s great having a website and hoping people will find it. But in order to really start driving yourself significant inbound enquiries, you need to be ranking for keywords relating to car sales within your area.

Google itself has carried out extensive research on the behaviour of its users within the automotive purchasing cycle, and it has uncovered some interesting statistics. For instance, did you know that 92% of people begin their hunt for a new car online, or that since Covid the number of car shoppers who would buy a car online has increased from 7 out of 10 to 8 out of 10.

The interesting point for the car dealer industry is that a consumer’s use of a search engine extends significantly further than at the mere point of purchase. Before buying, consumers will spend hours researching different makes and models, gauging others opinions on review sites and forums, comparing performance specs etc. Similarly, all vehicles require aftercare, cleaning, MOTs and servicing. Ultimately, this means there are ample opportunities within the purchasing cycle of a vehicle to both expose your brand to potential customers and generate more business.

What is Google looking for?

There are over 200 different ranking signals Google uses in its algorithm when deciding what sites should rank where. As you can imagine, it is a full time job with no one quick route to success. However, the general consensus in the SEO industry is that the two most critical elements your website needs to have to stand a good chance of ranking well is:

  1. Good quality content
  2. Backlinks

A backlink is a link from one site to another. These links effectively act as endorsements, or votes of confidence from another website to yours. If you have enough good quality links from other reputable websites, Google will take this as a sign that your dealership is a trustworthy source of information. For more information on link building, as well as some tips to get you started, see our guide to linkbuilding here.

The fact that Google considers well written, high quality content one of its main ranking factors is great news. Why? Because it’s easy!

We recommend investing the time and effort to ensure all your pages contain useful, relevant information that will benefit the user, that all of your car descriptions are unique, and that you do a great job in selling your company on the homepage. As a car dealer you are an expert in the automotive industry, and if you’re an expert then it shouldn’t be difficult to offer value in your content to people who aren’t. We’ve written an extensive guide on why content is important for SEO, along with some ideas to get you started.

Ultimately, today the internet has become the first port of call for potential car buyers. Therefore, it’s vitally important that you not only have a website, but your website is visible in search engines, acting as a digital portal to your bricks and mortar dealership.