Do you have more than one car dealership, each in a different region or town? If so, you’ve probably wrestled with the predicament of optimizing each of your locations to compete at the local search level. And with the rising importance of local SEO for automotive dealerships, it’s crucial that your dealerships be visible to online search users in each location or region.
Implementing and achieving SEO success for each of your individual locations may seem like a daunting task; so to help, I’ve provided a few SEO secrets for the multi-location dealer.
One of the first things you must decide when starting your SEO campaign is whether you want to have one domain for all your dealerships, separate domains for each dealership, or one main domain with individual subdomains for each location. For this case we will focus on best practices—separate, unique domains for each location.
First and foremost, it is important that you identify your market opportunity and decide which towns you want to target for each of your dealership’s locations. After you decide which town is your biggest market opportunity (which will most likely be the town where the dealership is located or a surrounding town), you should then buy a domain that includes your brand name and the town you are targeting. For example, if you have a Ford dealership in Orlando, a Ford dealership in Miami and a Ford dealership in Jacksonville, your URLs should resemble these:
Each of these domains can be linked to from your company’s main hub page. Your hub page’s URL should include your company name as well as the brand of cars you sell. For example: companynameford.com
Now that you have created a separate domain for each of your dealership’s locations it’s time to optimize them!
Let’s start with the most important on-page factors that will influence your local rankings:
- Make sure you update the Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, H1s, Alt Tags, etc. on all pages to include the geographic location you are targeting.
- Use your geo-targeted locations when creating URLs for your pages. For example, for your dealership’s service page you would want your URL to include the location you are targeting as well as the term “service.” Example: ford-service-orlando-fl
- Be sure to create unique content for each of your sites that are targeted to that city. When creating your content remember to:
- Create a good user-experience. Make your content intriguing to capture the audience.
- Include directions to your dealership and embed a Google map.
- Make sure you have unique content for each site’s About Our Dealership page, Service page, Parts page, etc. It is very important that you don’t use the same content on all sites due to the risk of being penalized for duplicate content.
After you have fully optimized each of your sites, it is time to move to off-site factors that also contribute to your visibility in local search. The biggest of these factors being local citations and online business listings.
It is important to get your business information out there by utilizing citation services such as Google+ Local, Yelp Business, Yahoo Local Business, etc. Google will use all of these listings and their information to provide the most accurate results in search queries. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when creating local business listings.
- First and foremost, always remember: consistency is key for business listings.
- Create a separate listing for each of your dealership’s locations. This means you should be creating a Google+ Local page for your Orlando dealership, another for your Jacksonville dealership and another for your Miami dealership.
- Make sure all business information is the exact same for every listing. This includes: business name, phone number (should be your local number), address, business category, etc. Google looks to all of these different business listings and local citations as a confirmation of your business and they can contribute to an increase in your rankings for local search queries. This is why it is so important to make sure that the information you provide remains the same from listing to listing.
- Optimize your business listing’s description (if there is one) to include pre-defined local keywords you want to focus on, as well as an accurate description of the local dealership.
If all of your listings and their information are consistent and accurate, it will help search engines to provide more precise results for the user when they run a local search query.
Now that you have purchased separate domains for each dealership, have optimized each of your dealership’s sites to target the specified geographic location and have claimed local citations and business listings for each dealership, you are now on the road to getting found by your local audience and prospective customers!
To learn more about getting your dealerships found at the local level, watch this free webinar replay, How to Analyze and Crush Your Competitors’ SEO Strategies!
Lauren Sheridan is an SEO Consultant at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.