“The best buildings have the strongest foundations.” We hear this analogy all the time and for good reason—it always holds true. For your brick and mortar dealership the foundation is obvious, but what is the “foundation” for the internet?
The foundation for your digital dealership is two-fold:
1. Search engine optimization (SEO) or organic placement of the website
2. Reputation on review sites and directories
An important note about your website: consider your website to be the architecture of your digital dealership. Consumers are using the internet more and more frequently, which makes the usability of your website critical. SEO can dramatically increase your web traffic, but if your site is not converting at acceptable levels then increased visits will be all for naught. To stick with our analogy, don’t build an ugly building with doors that are hard to find!
SEO is interesting, and surprisingly controversial. I am here to tell you that SEO, when done correctly, is the single most powerful and cost effective thing you can do. Advanced SEO will place your website on the first page of the search results, organically. Organic clicks trump Pay Per Click (PPC) clicks by 500 percent. I am not suggesting that you don’t use PPC—it can be very valuable, but the math is simple. Take all of your PPC clicks and multiply them by 500 percent. The resulting number is how many clicks you would have received had your website been there organically. If you don’t use PPC and you have no real SEO, you will be amazed by the lift in calls and visits they can bring!
Online reputation on review sites and directories is equally as important as SEO. In fact, once you have great search placement, reputation becomes even more important. Consumers are actively seeking the opinions of other consumers online. Review sites like Merchant Circle and Insider Pages and directories like Google Maps, Yahoo, and Bing are very powerful tools for dealers to make their real community reputation shine digitally.
If you haven’t paid any attention to your reputation online, then it is probably either slightly negative or nonexistent. Fortunately, you can quickly do something about this. Your happy customers will be more than willing, when asked correctly, to submit a few positive words about their experience.
The results you can expect from advanced SEO and a strong online reputation?
· More visits to your website
· More motivated calls and leads
· The ability to refine other online initiatives, effectively reducing expense without reducing leads
We have a case study that shows exactly what SEO and online reputation can do for your business. It shows the calls, visits, and leads for an entire year in the life of a Honda Dealership. Please email me for more information and a copy of the case study.
Kim Orr is vice president of eXteresAUTO, a provider of advanced SEO and online reputation management. She has twelve years experience in the auto industry, and has been with eXteresAUTO since their inception in 2007.