A robust website may not be enough to crowd out the throngs of competitors and third-party retailers clamoring for space on the first page of Google search results.
Have you Googled yourself lately? If your dealership doesn’t show up on the first page of the search results, you are losing the game of Googleopoly. To win, you need to show up numerous times on Page One — and not just for the name of your dealership.
Google searches should lead users to each and every profit center in your operation. You also want to show up on the first page when users search for your competition. … That’s right! Your operation can appear when car buyers search for competing franchises and models, and it doesn’t matter whether you sell Fords, Nissans, Audis or Land Rovers. You just have to know how to play the game.
Prime Real Estate
If you have ever played Monopoly, you know you can’t win the game simply by camping out on the most expensive properties and collecting rent. Even setting up hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place won’t guarantee victory. You need properties all over the board. The more you own, the fewer claims your opponents can stake.
Well, in the game of Googleopoly, the same strategy applies. Maintaining a robust website is not enough to win. You need to acquire — or create — as much real estate as possible. Before we get into the details of your new strategy, I want to remind you of certain important statistics:
- Ninety-five percent of Google users never read past the first page of search results. If you aren’t on Page One, you are invisible to all but a few car buyers, and that is a problem. It is difficult, if not impossible, to show up for every single profit center, geotargeted location and keyword on the first page if you rely solely on your dealership website.
- Ninety-four percent of Google users never click on pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Instead, they go straight to organic listings. So if you are spending any money on PPC without complementing it with a strong, organic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, you are operating incorrectly.
What these numbers should tell you is that, first and foremost, organic Top 10 listings are the most important Google properties all dealers should focus on dominating. Your best bet is to build a viable, organic SEO strategy before you engage in PPC or other forms of digital marketing.
On- and Offsite SEO
You may be surprised to learn that only 25% of your overall digital marketing and SEO strategy should be “onsite,” i.e. generated by your website. The other 75% should be “offsite” SEO, which refers to any and all content above and beyond your website that you can optimize and get indexed on the first page of Google.
Why is this important? Because multiplying your efforts gives you the best chance of showing up more than once on the first page of Google search results. Think about it: The more space you occupy, the less space available to your competitors — not to mention third-party lead providers and online classifieds.
I realize you may already have an awesome website that gets you amazing SEO results. That’s great, but you cannot and will not show up for every possible keyword combination for all of your profit centers. It’s time to take your strategy to the next level by building and implementing a Googleopoly strategy. Your first step toward creating a viable offsite SEO strategy is to dust off the video camera and start shooting.
Create a VSEO Strategy
Video search engine optimization (VSEO) is the practice of creating video content that will show up in search results. It works because search engines love it and users are much more likely to click on a video that matches their terms than a plain-text result. So leverage your expertise and that of your managers and staff to create “how-to” videos that Google users can find — and actually use.
Do you have a techie on staff who can explain how to sync Bluetooth devices and set up satellite radio? In-market shoppers will search for videos on “lease vs. finance” and “used vs. certified pre-owned,” both of which can be explained by your F&I director. Get your sales experts involved by shooting walkarounds and reviews. Create one for each and every model you sell, and don’t stop there.
If you’re a Honda dealer, create a “conquest” video explaining why you think the Civic is better than the Toyota Corolla. If you’re a Toyota dealer, explain why the Camry outsells the Honda Accord. How often do you get the opportunity to talk directly to a driver loyal to another brand and get the chance to convince them to buy one of your vehicles instead? Google gives you that opportunity.
Finally, consider shooting a couple videos about what sets your dealership apart in your market. Create a value proposition for car shoppers to find. Titles could include “Why Buy From Us” and “Here’s What’s Different and Better About Jones Cadillac.”
VSEO offers a perfect example of how Googleopoly can be won by any dealer who is willing to play the game. So get to work! Create indexable, content-rich properties that will take up space on the first page of search results and drive more leads to your store.
Sean V. Bradley is CEO of Dealer Synergy, a nationally recognized digital marketing expert and author of “Win the Game of Googleopoly,” a No. 1 Amazon bestseller. SVBradley@AutoDealerMonthly.com