It’s 2018 and you’re hard at work on your resolutions (or have already abandoned them. I’m looking at you…me). One resolution that you shouldn’t leave by the curb as you begin your journey down the highway of 2018 is your resolution to get serious about link building for your site.
Search Engine Ranking Factors
Since the late ‘90s, search engines have used links as a signal of a web page’s popularity and relevance. In 2018, links may not be the only part of the equation, but they are still one the top ranking signals for all of the search engines and a significant part of your time should be spent on trying to gather them.
Understanding Link Signals
Most people hear that link building is one of the top ranking factors and the knee-jerk reaction is to rush out and get as many as you can, as fast as you can. While that kind of “go-getter” attitude is admirable, not all links are created equal. Links are interpreted in different ways, depending on where they are coming from and how they are formatted. The following is a basic list of important link signals that search engines are looking for:
This one is pretty self-explanatory, the more popular a site is, the more weight links from that site will carry. For example, a single link from CNN.com will count for more than a hundred links from mymomsaysimhandsome.com.
Where a link comes from, as well as the subject matter of the linking site, can matter. A link from a local car club site would hold more weight than a link from your mom’s sewing blog. In addition to the context, the locality matters as well. If you have a link from a business located near you, it counts for more than a link from an identical business across the country.
- Anchor Text
Anchor text is the actual text of the clickable link. Using the right keywords in your anchor text used to be a very powerful signal to search engines, but updates in recent years have mitigated this. For example, if you have 50 sites linking to you, and every link says “used cars Dallas,” this won’t appear natural for search engines. It’s more likely that other sites will use your dealership name as the anchor text or something generic like “click here.”
You’ve used the internet before, so you know how much spam is out there. It’s been estimated that as much as 60% of the internet is spam. Search engines have developed systems to sort out irrelevant content. Trust is a huge ranking signal and links from trusted domains can significantly boost your rankings. Universities, government websites, and non-profits have very high-trust domains.
- Who You Link To
Spam is a two-way street; a website that links to spam is most likely a spammy site itself. Search engines will look at the link profile of your site so it’s important to be careful which sites you link to–a few links to untrusted sites can wreak havoc on your rankings.
Over the past few years, social signals have become more and more important to search engines. Links shared on social networks are treated a little differently than much more “permanent” links on websites, because social links tend to get buried by constant social updates. Search engines are constantly adjusting their algorithms to include social signals, so make sure that you are creating share-worthy content.
How Do I Go About Getting Links? Link Building in 2018
Link building is easily the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of SEO. No link building campaign is the same, but these guidelines will give you a good head start:
- Check Competitors’ Backlinks
Use an SEO tool that will analyze your competitors’ backlinks and let you see what they have and what they are doing. There are a multitude of tools on the market to achieve this and each of them does something a little different. We recommend using Moz’s Open Site Explorer, Majestic, SEMRush, or Ahrefs to look at other dealers who rank higher than you. You’ll be able to see where they are getting their links so you can replicate it.
- Get Your Customers To Link To You
This one is simple. Your customers have websites, so ask them for a link. If you have vendors or partners, that you work with regularly (that detail shop up the street or that shipping company you use would be great options), ask them for a link!
- Start a Blog (and Make It Awesome)
So many dealerships start blogs and then just write about cars that they want to sell or cars that are on their lot. That is not the best way to go about it! Blogs are your opportunity to add fresh, useful content–it’s even recommended by Google. Write valuable, informative content. You are a car expert, share that knowledge and people will begin to link to you.
- Real World Stuff
Your website is online, but your business most often isn’t. You exist in the “real world” and it’s time to do real stuff. For example, Ford sponsors the “Drive One 4 UR School” program where they donated money to schools for every verified test drive. Guess what happens when those events happen at local dealership? They get links. Sponsor a Little League team. Volunteer at a charity event. Get involved in your community. Don’t manufacture reasons for people to link to you — do real world stuff and they will link to you anyway.
- Be Social
Social media has become more than a place for you to post pictures of your vacation to Jackson Hole, WY or what you had for dinner last night. Social media sites are news sources – news breaks on social media sites first because the audience is ALWAYS listening. Spread links to your dealership’s website on social media. Got a new blog post? Share it. Big sale next weekend? Probably a good idea to share that link. If the information that you share is useful, the people who read it will share it also. The more your posts are shared, the more likely it’ll garner a link.
Link building can be a frustrating and tricky business, but the payouts are worth the aggravation. As I close out this blog post, I’d like to give you a couple of warnings for the new year:
- Avoid Free Directories
Since Google’s release of the Penguin update, low quality links are no longer a good signal for your website. There are thousands of free directories out there where you can list your site, but this tactic is no longer recommended. Pay attention to what kind of directory it is — if it’s relevant to your dealership or business, it’ll be okay — but if it’s generic or for another type of business altogether, stay away.
- DO NOT BUY LINKS
I don’t feel I can say this enough — DO NOT BUY LINKS. There are hundreds of websites and services that offer to sell you links. Avoid them like the plague! Search engines devote an enormous amount of effort to detect purchased links. You will NOT outsmart them! Websites that get caught buying links can get penalized or even banned from search engines. It’s not worth it.
These are fantastic ways to get your dealership’s site new links for this new year, but by no means are they the only ones. If you need more ideas for link building, feel free to contact us with the form on this page or give us a call for more information.
AutoRevo is starting our New Year out the best way imaginable, by giving away information to help your dealership soar to new heights this year. This will be the first in a series of Market Insights emails. We’re beginning the year by issuing updated versions of our industry standard whitepaper along with trending industry articles that you might find interesting and could help your dealership. We will cover everything from the best ways to stage and shoot your vehicle photos to design tips to drive more traffic to your site and more customers through your doors.
Our initial whitepaper release may actually turn out to be our most useful for 2018. “The Dealer’s Guide to Automotive SEO” is now available, free of charge, by filling out the short form below. It is jam-packed with ideas and information to get your site higher ranking on search engines, which will get more eyes on your site and more leads in your inbox.
Need to know if it’s an absolute necessity to have a secure, responsive website?(Spoiler Alert: It 100% is!)
Want tips on conducting keyword research to create better content that drives traffic to your site and helps you sell more cars?
Our first whitepaper will help you with all this and much more.
If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the past few weeks, we’ve given you some tips and tricks to help speed up your site and announced the release of our new SuperSonic site platform, with the fastest PageSpeed in the automotive sphere. We leveraged studies on the matter letting you know how much page load time is affecting your bottom line and how every second of loading time counts.
Perhaps the biggest deal, other than customers bouncing away from your slow website, is that Google uses your site’s speed as a ranking factor. Which could mean that if your site isn’t fast enough, people searching Google for used cars in your area may not be seeing your site at all. (more…)
Your ideal customer is sitting in their home, or office, and wants to find that perfect used car. After searching Google, they come to your site, ready to peruse and possibly purchase. Instead of the warm and fuzzy feeling that they should get when looking over your inventory, they are stunned to be presented with this before your domain name: (more…)
Does your site’s PageSpeed leave a little to be desired? Do your customers get tired of waiting for your site to load and bounce over to your competitor? Is your site actually costing you business?
These are the questions that you should be asking yourself about your current website and provider. Simply put, the faster your site is, the faster your customers are going to see your vehicles, and the faster you are going to sell them. Google has also indicated that site speed is one of the ranking factors for its algorithm. Which means a faster site could have your ranking higher on Google searches, which also means more sales. (more…)
Video TranscriptIn order to stay on top of the ever-changing world of digital marketing as well as follow the best practices in Automotive, you need to know where to go for the best tips and strategy. Submerging yourself in a pool of information is the best way to stay cutting edge and up to date. Conferences offer the ability to do just that as many of them are full day or multi-day events that fill you cup with useful actionable items straight from the leaders in the industry themselves. However do you know which conferences are worth your time and money? (more…)
Google announced at Pubcon in October that they will be dividing their index to give mobile users better results. This mobile index intends to be their primary index making a separate desktop one less up-to-date. This announcement is one in a long line of not-so-subtle suggestions from Google that you have to be mobile-first oriented when it comes to your website. (more…)
Pssstt. Hey, over here. You need SEO? I’ve got some right here. I’ll get you top of the page, number one, no problem. Yeah, my kid nephew does it all,uh he knows computers. How much? I’ll take whatever you’ve got! Hundred bucks a month. Yeah yeah. Number one spot, like 4000 more hits to your website, we do it all. Just give us a few days and we’ll get you right up there. Alright… what you do you say?
Wow, do you know how to spot an SEO Scam? (more…)
Video TranscriptWe all know that working with the internet and technology means we’ve got to be able to adapt at the blink of an eye. What worked as a standard last year may not work this year, and anything that’s 5 years old might as well be prehistoric. At AutoRevo we’re constantly working hard to keep our dealers cutting edge. And we’re at it again. (more…)