|Search engine optimization is not an exact science. One Web site may rank well for certain keywords, while another, similar Web site may rank well for a completely different set of keywords. Car dealers must be able to identify the "money terms" for each search engine if they want their Web site to be as successful as possible.|
What are money terms? In short, they are keywords that have the proper mix of relevance and search volume. By relevance, I mean the terms that fall within a dealer’s geographic reach, as well as fit with their product offerings. Search volume is the number of times a particular keyword is typed into the search engines. The question now becomes: How do dealers identify their money terms?
For this exercise, we will look at Hoffman Ford in Harrisburg, Pa. In June 2007, they had a nice, new Web site, but they weren’t seeing much traffic. After a quick review, it was apparent why; nobody could find them. They were virtually invisible on the search engines.
Paul Smith, business development manager at Hoffman Ford, talked to his SEO company. They defined goals and identified targets to go after, ranking them by priority. This list has become a blueprint for proper search engine optimization, as Hoffman Ford has joined the ranks of Ford Motor Company’s “National E-Commerce Elite” for three consecutive months as a result of these efforts.
Here are the priorities that they outlined:
1st Priority: Own Your Name
Examples: “Hoffman Ford”, “Hoffman Harrisburg PA”
2nd Priority: Own Your Backyard
Examples: “Ford Harrisburg”, “Harrisburg Ford”, “Harrisburg Ford Dealers”, “Ford Dealerships in Harrisburg PA”
3rd Priority: Presence in Competitor Cities
Examples: “Ford Mechanicsburg”, “Mechanicsburg Ford”, “Mechanicsburg Ford Dealers”
4th Priority: Specialties
Examples: “PA Roush Dealers”, “Pennsylvania Roush Dealers”
Other Priorities: The Long Tail
Dealers should consider the long tail keywords, but it should definitely be an afterthought. Focus on the money words first. The long tail keywords will naturally follow.
The most important advice in this column is that if a company approaches you touting their abilities to get their sites ranked for terms like these, they probably aren’t very good at what they do. These terms should be optimized naturally without the assistance of an SEO firm. The words convert, but they are too low volume to focus on and too easy to rank well for to be considered part of their “resume.”
Focusing SEO efforts on the “money terms” will increase traffic. The goal should always be to generate enough traffic, leads and sales to require a larger department. Proper SEO is a key factor in achieving these goals.
Vol 5, Issue 2
Dealers seeking a harmonious online-to-instore experience should start by taking advantage of the advanced digital marketing tools, assets, and services your manufacturers are offering for free.