8 Must-Know SEO Facts
What worked 5 years ago is unlikely to work now
Even if you have been optimizing your dealership’s website for years, there are still lots of things you might not know about search engine optimization (SEO). There are facets that even the most experienced experts don’t fully understand, but a number of basic SEO facts are essential to know.
Most of what is practiced today is theoretical SEO—it is built from observing what climbs the ranks and what does not, not necessarily from a knowledge of how search engines actually work.
Here are eight facts about how SEO works that you might not know, but should.
1. Bad SEO = business will suffer
This is something that few people fully understand, especially at car dealerships, where it might seem like your website is separate from your actual business. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If your SEO doesn’t work, your business doesn’t work. What’s more, if you are using black-hat SEO methods, they will reflect badly on your business.
When people catch wind of bad SEO on a website, they often distrust that business. And who is going to buy a car from a dealership they distrust?
To size up the quality of your dealership’s SEO, get your score for free at: www.im814.com.
2. Viral content is not a goldmine
Many dream of one of their pieces of content going viral, believing it will bring them hundreds of new customers. The truth, however, is that virility has its limits.
For example, look at the YouTube accounts that host a single viral video. Some will have only a few hundred subscribers, even if the video they posted has hundreds of millions of views.
One piece of content that goes viral is not going to make your SEO campaign. Not having it is not going to break your campaign, either.
Instead of trying to figure out how to create content that will go viral, write and create content that is going to be valuable for your website visitors.
3. Duplicate content is OK
A caveat: Using someone else’s content on your website is always going to be bad for your website. You can, however, use your own content more than once on your website.
As long as you use the right tags when you publish content that you’ve published before, you should be able to reuse it without any penalty from search engines.
Note, however, that republishing content is not a good way to boost your ranking—search engines will generally only count a piece once, regardless of the number of times it was published.
4. Websites should have one focus
Do not try to use one website for multiple dealerships, especially if those dealerships sell two different brands. Everything that you do on your website should be geared toward a singular focus.
Keeping this in mind as you optimize your website will ensure that your image descriptions, tags, headers, titles, etc., are all properly directed toward that one focus.
5. Don’t buy your links
It might be tempting to buy into a link-exchange scheme or to offer money to websites that might help you build authority by hosting your link. Paid links are especially hated by Google, however, and are disliked by every other search engine.
The best way to earn your links is to post high-quality content that people will naturally want to link back to because it’s informative and engaging.
There are other less-favorable ways to develop links, like embedding multiple links in a press release or in your forum signatures, but these are link-building tactics Google tends to look down on.
6. Site-loading speed matters
To someone new to SEO, the speed a website loads may sound like something that can’t really be controlled and, therefore, is not a consideration when it comes to search results.
The truth, however, is that you can control how quickly your website loads. A slow-loading site is bad for consumers. so search engines will lower the ranking of sites that take a long time to load.
Changing how your pictures are hosted, what type of content is on your website, and how clean your code is can all affect how quickly your page will load, but web hosting is usually the first culprit when loading speed is slow.
7. Keywords are not that important
Mind you, keywords are always important, but anyone who tells you that they are the most important aspect of SEO is out of touch with today’s optimization and search engines.
Too many people spend too much time trying to stuff their website full of certain keywords without realizing just how damaging that actually is to their ranking.
Links trump keywords all day long.
8. SEO is constantly changing
What worked five years ago is not likely to work now.
If you could transport a website from five years ago to rank using today’s search engine algorithms, it would likely do poorly, and might even be flagged as spam.
If you are investing the same amount in SEO as you were five years ago, why should you expect better results than you got back then?
Adam Roseland is the founder of 814 Interactive, a leading digital marketing firm that specializes in automotive SEO. Adam has been working in the advertising industry for the past 10+ years, primarily in the digital space helping local dealers get more ups.