- Put Your Dealership on the Map: 5 Ways To Get In The Google Map Pack
Remember back in early 2015 when you didn’t really have to work that hard to end up in the map pack at the top of Google search results pages? Back before mobile screen viewport size necessitated the change from a 7-pack to the familiar 3-pack of today?
Ahh, those were the days!
Well, good news! Getting your dealership to show up in the map pack in 2018, doesn’t have to be the lost cause that you think it is.
At AutoRevo we’ve put together a list of 5 actionable steps to get your dealership front and center in that Google Map Pack. These steps aren’t just philosophy and theory, they are real tangible steps that we use on every single one of our clients with fantastic results. Here we go:
1. Get A Responsive Site
This may be, arguably, the most important option of the 5, as this one gets you in the game. If your site isn’t responsive, stop reading now, call your provider, and ask what you can do to get a responsive site as soon as possible. Seriously…it’s that important.
Without being responsive, your site has bigger issues than getting in the map pack. Like, showing up in search results at all.
2. Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Here is another that could be seen as being the most important step of the 5. Without a claimed and optimized Google My Business listing, you are leaving it up to Google and the internet, in general, to put display the best information about your dealership. Besides, it’s free and easy to set up, so it’s a no-brainer. Google, themselves, even has a guide on how to set up and optimize your GMB.
You’re going to make sure that all of the information is filled out as completely as possible. You will want to ensure that your name, address, and phone number are the same as on your website and everywhere else on the internet. (Doing this will go along way in helping with the next step.)
Use a local phone number, not that spiffy 1-800 number that you love so much.
Double check the category your dealership is listed in and make sure it is as accurate as possible.
Add a profile and cover photo, along with several photos that Google suggests. (e.g. Outside photos, inside photos, team member photos, etc.)
Add your website address and your business hours.
3. Local Citations (NAP Consistency)
Make sure that your Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistent throughout all of your citations on the internet. There are several tools that do a great job of figuring out the number and consistency of your citations.
At AutoRevo, we use a combination of Moz Local and Whitespark. Both of these are paid tools, but you can check your business listings for free on Moz Local. Simply navigate to the Moz Local page and click the box in the upper right that says “Check My Listing.” Then enter your business name and zip code and Moz will do the rest.
After a few moments, you will be presented with a percentage that represents your citation accuracy. Go ahead and try it, don’t be shy. This will give you a great idea of where you are and where to go from here. We recommend purchasing these tools and using them or find a reputable Local SEO provider that can do this for you.
Whitespark works very similarly. You enter your business information and it actually gives you a list of the citations that you currently have. Run this scan for yourself and a couple competitors, toss all of the data in a spreadsheet and de-dupe it. Now you’ve got a list of unique citations that you can then pursue. Our advice is to stick to the relevant, local directories or citations. This is what will give you the map pack boost.
4. Earn & Manage Google Reviews
Another amazing local ranking factor and one that is sure to propel you to the top of the map is Reviews. You know who else loves great reviews other than Google? Your potential customers!
They see great reviews, and poor reviews alike, as a reflection of your business, so it’s very important to spend time with them and do it right.
In a recent study by BrightLocal, they said that 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And they also noted that 68% of customers will leave a review if they are asked. Sometimes it’s as simple as just asking.
To make it easy for your customers we recommend creating an email template to send out that includes a link to your Google Review page. You don’t want a happy customer to turn into a frustrated one by trying to figure out how to leave a review by themselves.
It’s also very important that you respond to ALL reviews, not just the good ones and not just occasionally. This will help mitigate the damage that bad reviews can do by showing any future review readers that you care and are involved in your business.
And finally, #5…
5. Acquiring Local Backlinks
I know I’ve said it a lot, but this one is really important…I mean it this time…no, serious.
It is a giant local boost if you can find links in your local area. Google gives these a bigger boost than the same type of link by a company outside of your community.
Links is one of the most important ranking factors that there is. So much so that we already published a post on links and link building back earlier this year. This article will give you the best tips and tricks to acquire those local links that will boost your dealership into the coveted Map Pack.
What AutoRevo Can Do
Here at AutoRevo, we practice what we preach every single day. Our SEO Consultants work tirelessly to make sure our dealerships show in the Map Pack for a number of targeted keywords. If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone about Local SEO services, please fill out the form on this page and someone will get right back with you.
We are the Local SEO experts and we can help.
- 5 Easy Steps to Better Keyword Research For Car Dealers
It’s 2018 and you want to start focusing more on your website and the internet aspect of your car dealership. You know that your site needs to start showing higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs), but you have no idea how to go about starting.
Well, the answer is to start with keyword research for your car dealership. After all, you can’t get your pages to rank unless you know what keyword you would like to rank for.After all, you can’t get your pages to rank unless you know what keyword you would like to rank for.
At AutoRevo we understand the struggle and have come up with 5 easy steps to help any car dealer choose the best keywords for their dealership and get them ranking higher in no time.
Put simply, this will show you the overall search demand of any given keyword or how many times someone has entered this keyword into Google.Keyword research should be ongoing. Your dealership is a living, breathing thing and it could change from time to time.
Seed Keyword List
Great keywords don’t just materialize out of thin air (although that would be amazing!). Luckily, as car and truck dealers, the niche is pretty well defined and the basic keyword list is easy to come up with and can start with terms as simple as “used cars,” “used trucks,” or “used cars dallas.” These will also come in handy when trying to find the competitors for your business.
If your dealership handles a little more obscure or niche product like powersports or Japanese mini-trucks, you can find your basic seed keywords by just describing the vehicle in your own words or conducting a brainstorming session about how others might search for your vehicles and for which vehicles you tend to keep in stock.
Best of all, this step requires no tools beyond your own brain!
Generate More Keyword Ideas
Now that you have your basic keyword list, it’s time to sit down and come up with any keyword that someone might use to find your dealership, and your vehicles, online. This list should be very large and as all encompassing as you can make it.
Do you sell a lot of cars that are priced under $10,000 in the city of Modesto, California? Try “used cars for sale under $10000 in Modesto.” We’re just at the idea stage right now, so everything is fair game. The idea right now is to come up with as many as you can. By the way, it’s usually a good idea to go with “used” instead of “preowned” when describing your inventory. We have an amazing blog post that explains why.
Do you sell only preowned BMWs? Try “used BMWs.” There are almost endless possibilities at this stage.
Another way to populate your keyword list is to see which keywords you are already ranking for, is by using Google Search Console. You can pull up your “Search Analytics” report and see how you rank for keywords that people are currently using to find you and your vehicles. This will provide you with a wealth of potential keywords.
To round out your list, you may want to consult a keyword research tool. We use and recommend:
These tools should give you plenty of ideas to move on to the next step.
Check Keyword Search Volume
You have your giant list of keyword possibilities, so what next?
Now you want to check the estimated search volume of the keywords in your list. For this, you will more than likely need another tool. At AutoRevo, we recommend:
These are all paid tools, but some of them offer a free option to start with.
For the most part, these tools are all pretty straight forward. You enter the keyword that you want to check and it will come back with a number of metrics. For this step, we want to pay attention to the “Search Volume.” Put simply, this will show you the overall search demand of any given keyword or how many times someone has entered this keyword into Google.
Another tool that we like to use, in conjunction with the ones listed above, is Google Trends. This tool is very useful to see the overall trends of the keywords over time. Hopefully, these tools have helped you cull your giant list into something a little more manageable at this point.
Check Clicks and Click Through Rate
Now it’s time to take your ever dwindling list and check the clicks on each term. Having a fantastic search volume is only part of the battle and can be rendered useless if no one is actually clicking on the search results the term brings up.
The best tools that we’ve found for this job are Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and Moz’s Keyword Explorer. If a search term has a decent amount of clicks and click through rate, it’s a keeper, otherwise it’s relegated to the backup keyword list.
Now that you have winnowed your keyword list down to the ones that have the best traffic and clicks, it’s time to consider possibly the most important metric of all, Keyword Difficulty, which most tools abbreviate to KD. Keyword Difficulty is the popssible difficult that you will have getting that particular keyword to rank for your dealership. It runs on a scale from 0-100, with 0 being easiest to rank and 100 being next to impossible. If you find a keyword that is super competitive, it may not be worth the effort to try and rank that keyword. The flipside of that coin is, if the keyword is too easy, you may be able to rank for that keyword but the traffic it sends may not become customers, which makes it pointless.
On the other hand, pursuing a highly competetive keyword and managing to rank for it, could drive a ton of customers to your dealership and be totally worth the effort. The trick is to find the balanbce for your dealership.
Long Tail Keywords
I know I said there were only 5 steps, but here is one more, for free!
After you’ve created a mammoth seed list and cut it down to some great keywords that you are itching to rank for, it’s time to check out Long Tail Keywords. These are basically keywords that are longer search phrases that may not have the traffic or click rates of your other keywords, but could prove very lucrative nonetheless. For example, if you’re a Dallas dealership that specializes in used Jeeps under $20,000, you might want to try out the keyword phrase “used jeeps in Dallas under $20,000.” The search traffic is apt to be very, very low and the click through rate may not even register, but customers that search for that keyword phrase has a clear intent to buy and are actively looking. It may be well worth your time to pursue that keyword. And if it turns out to not work out, just scrap it and start over. Long tail keyword searches account for about 70% of all searches performed on the internet, they are definitely worth going after. Keep trying!
Keyword research should be ongoing. Your dealership is a living, breathing thing and it could change from time to time. You may get a great deal on a bunch of cargo vans and want to push them. Then start back at step 1 and start over. Check you Google Search Console periodically and see if you are ranking for any new keywords. If so, incorporate them into the mix. The possiblities, and the work, are endless!
We’ve found that this is an excellent way to find the best possible keywords for your dealership. If you follow these steps, you’re sure to come up with a great bunch of keywords. Now it’s time to start optimizing that site and creating pages with great keyword rich content to get your site at the top of those SERPs!
If we missed anything, or if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.
- Market Insights: How To Stage and Photograph Your Vehicles
A bunch of new inventory has just been delivered to the lot and you’re eager to get it online and sold.
You know you need pictures so what’s your next step? Do you toss it on the website with a bunch of stock photos and hope for the best?
Or maybe you send someone outside to snap a few quick photos with their cell phone and use those?
Our latest free white paper, “How to Stage and Photograph Your Vehicles” answers these questions and gives you a wealth of car photo tips. Think of it as AutoRevo’s car photography tutorial for 2018.
What’s the best location to shoot your vehicles?
How many pictures should I take for each vehicle?
What is the best type of weather to take pictures of my cars?
Whether you’re a veteran of photographing cars for dealerships or a newbie with a cell phone, this white paper is for you. We even give you the exact photos that you will need to perfectly showcase your vehicles and get them sold as fast as possible, from the basic drivers-side front angle photo to the content shots of the vehicle’s DVD and navigation systems.
Guided Photos Feature
Once you’ve had a chance to look through the white paper if you still want some extra guidance for the best photos possible, give us a call about our inLine Mobile App. It includes a “Guided Photos” feature that shows exactly what pictures to take and how to position the vehicle to showcase it on your website!
If you have any questions, comments, or other car dealership photography tips that we may have missed, leave them in the comments below.
- Your Links and You: Links in 2018
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.
- Happy 2018!: Market Insights Are Back
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.
- A New Industry Leader Has Emerged
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.
Industry Leading Security
Google has announced that this month, they will be releasing an update to the Chrome browser which will mark all sites without an SSL Certificate as “Not Secure.” To put it simply, an SSL Certificate is technology that encrypts your customer’s data. All data going back and forth between the browsers and web servers are private and secure. So no more of this:
And lots more of this:
Think about it, which site would you rather visit?
I know what you’re thinking, “Well, that’s only for the Chrome browser and I live and die by Firefox.” Well, while this update may not affect you, or your Internet Explorer using brethren right now, similar updates are on the horizon for you as well. Besides, Google Chrome is currently the most utilized browser, possessing just north of 59% of the total market share.
Can you really afford to scare nearly 2/3 of potential customers away with an insecure website?
AutoRevo Has You Covered!
With our new SuperSonic site platform, plus our SSL Certificates, we have secured our place on the cutting edge of the automotive industry. With our industry-leading PageSpeed and unassailable security, we will have you crushing Google and your competitors in no time.
If you’re ever in doubt, just remember this formula, “Fast + Secure = AutoRevo“, and you’ll never go wrong.
Fill out the form, or give us a call, today!
- How Secure is Your Website? Google SSL Update 2017
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:
Suddenly, that happy feeling disappears and they can’t get off of your site fast enough; you not only lose a potential sale but that customer’s trust and business for the foreseeable future.
Absolutely terrifying, right?
Luckily, this isn’t reality…yet. But it soon could be. Google has announced that in October, they will be marking all sites without an SSL Certificate as “Not Secure”.
What is SSL?
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is technology that provides encryption of your customer’s data. Browsers see the SSL Certificate and identify the website as “safe”. It ensures that all data going back and forth between the browsers and web server is private and secure.
Sites with an SSL Certificate will look like this:
Why Do You Need SSL Today?
It gives the visitors to your site peace of mind and comfort to know that you care enough about their data to make it as secure as possible.
This October update will affect all sites with any type of input box, even if it’s just site search. Even if the customer is not inputting sensitive, personal information, like filling out a credit application. (Which has always been secure through AutoRevo, so don’t panic!)
While the update will only affect the Google Chrome browser, for now, all browsers are heading in this direction; this will become the standard very quickly. Besides, Chrome is currently the most used browser, far surpassing Internet Explorer and it’s only growing. Can you afford to have 59% of your customers scared off by a non-secure website?
The warnings will only get worse. HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) and SSL are here to stay and Google will only get more serious about moving towards a more secure web. It’s time to make a change.
What Can AutoRevo Do For You?
Luckily, you have AutoRevo on your side. With our industry-leading PageSpeed and SSL Certificates, we have formed a two-pronged attack to keep your customer’s data secure and keep your site ranking high on Google. And just like that, your ideal customer is back to viewing your site with renewed confidence and all is right with the world.
Fill out the form to the right to give your customers the peace of mind they deserve and get secure, today!
- Is Your Site Ready For the Fast Lane? 3 Ways To Optimize PageSpeed!
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.
Studies have shown that 47% of all users expect a web page to load in under two seconds and 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Don’t let your site be the next one abandoned!
You can check your PageSpeed here to see if it’s speeding in the fast lane or puttering along in the breakdown lane. Just enter your site’s address into the bar and click Analyze, within moments you have your site’s PageSpeed score.
There are 3 major ways that you can improve this score:
You will have anywhere from 10 – 150 cars on display (some dealerships with much more!), and dealership websites tend to be image heavy. Making sure that your photos are not any larger than they need to be, compressed properly, and in the correct file type, go a long way to helping your PageSpeed score. If you don’t have PhotoShop, we recommend the online photo compression tool Compressor.io. Just be careful! The smaller you go, the more the photo quality can degrade. The trick is to find a happy medium.
A good rule of thumb is that JPEGs are ideal for photographs of vehicles, office, and employees while PNG files are better for graphics like that banner for your upcoming holiday sale.
You can optimize your code by removing spaces, commas, code comments, and all unnecessary characters, which will give your PageSpeed another boost! Your provider should already be doing this, but checking with them won’t hurt.
Contacting your website provider and having them implement these changes will go a long way to having a faster site and selling more cars.
You could go with us and our new SuperSonic platform. Our sites have all of these changes (AND MORE) built right into the platform. Our sites are the fastest in the automotive industry. But don’t to take our word for it:
Fill out the form to the right and one of our Account Consultants will help you shift your site over to the fast lane, today!
- Come See Us At TIADA
Come See Us At TIADA
The top independent dealers from all over Texas gather every year for the TIADA Annual Conference & Expo. This year proves to be another spectacular year as the TIADA have packed the JW Marriott in San Antonio with tons of great exhibitions and extremely knowledgeable presenters. In fact, AutoRevo will be there showcasing our best-in-class car dealer websites and state-of-the-art dealer tools to anyone who shows up at our booth. And, you won’t want to miss my breakout session where I attempt to cram a career’s worth of SEO information into less than an hour. (more…)
- FREE Guide – Stage and Photograph Vehicles
Most auto dealers think they have the best inventory photos online. Some even hire professional photographers to do the work. What they don’t realize is that the customer expects to see the inventory at certain angles, and the more pictures the better. What some auto dealers don’t realize as well is that they’re selling much more than a car in their photos. They’re selling their dealership and location. (more…)