Building a Website with Search Engine Marketing in Mind
If you want to make a big splash revamping your dealership’s website, you need to recognize the ripple effect that will follow. A properly organized and calibrated website should not only engage to the customers’ eyes, it should also be appealing to web-roving search engine bots. Here are some tips regarding search engine marketing (SEM) that you should keep in mind when you spruce up your website.
One question to ask whoever is handling your website is “how is this going to affect my search engine optimization.” If they give you a blank stare in return, you may have a problem. Where your dealership appears on the search engine results page is determined, in large part, by how well your website is organized and properly coded. Having the proper keyword tags, search engine friendly URLs, and productive link building will help strengthen your presence on the organic search results. Be sure your web designer has this in mind before spending a lot of time and money on a website facelift.
Another important tool to use when thinking about starting a new website is adding data tracking code to your site. This technology breaks down the website traffic so you can do research on who is visiting your site, how much time they spend on the site, what pages they visit, and how they arrived on your site in the first place. There are many to choose from, but if you are looking for an easy place to start with absolutely no cost, Google Analytics is my recommendation. It is fairly easy to use, and the information you will find out about your website will make it worth the extra step.
It is important to remember that changing the website can have negative effects as well. Long running web history can be reset with a new website, essentially forcing your new site to start from scratch. If you change your website URL without making your old site redirect to your new one, you will be sending a ton of old leads to a page that is outdated, or worse, a page that doesn’t exist anymore. Another problem that could arise is having banner ads or pay-per-click ads that have old URLs attached. There is nothing worse than paying for clicks on an ad that is sending people to an error page. Make sure everyone associated with the online sector of your dealership is aware of any changes made to the website.
By starting off your web reconstruction with search engine results in mind, you can save yourself a lot of time and money forcing your website towards the top of the search engine results page after the fact. The algorithms used by search engine companies like Google and Bing are cryptic and secret, but they are not impossible to harness. Keep SEM on the brain, track your data from the beginning and be aware of any miscues that may come from changing websites. In the end, your site will be stronger and better off.
Tom Knoop is director of search engine marketing for Stevenson Advertising. If you need help starting your own pay-per-click campaigns, feel free to contact him at 800-643-8584 or email TomK@StevensonAdvertising.com.