If you are an owner of a car dealership and want to increase exposure online through search and social media please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local car dealerships throughout the United States are fighting for valuable real estate on the Internet. Most owners of car dealerships realize that ranking on the front page of Google search is the way to expand reach and make more money. Unfortunately, that does not come easy and almost every car dealership in the country is trying to do the same thing. Some car dealerships are willing to fork over $25 to $40 per keyword phrase through Google Adwords. Advertising to get premiere ad space on Google search works but many would rather have a long term business model in which their website receives organic web traffic without have to use a pay per click (PPC) campaign.
Over the last two years social media has greatly changed SEO. It is no longer the case that a large SEO firm or agency can simply use links to move a client to the top of Google search. With every Google algorithm adjustment, including Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, Google has emphasized receiving natural links to a business website rather than seeking links through solicitation. Google+ was created to help webmasters utilize Google services that would expand the reach of the company. Fortunately, I have spend countless hours studying and testing Google+ which has allowed me to understand where search is going.
After two years of study and accumulating over 550,000 followers on Google+ I can confidently say the social layer of Google, Google+, is the best social network to expand business through search. Google+ is the only social network that was created by a search engine company. This is why local car dealerships would be smart to start using the resources that Google provides for free.
Is Social Media the New SEO for Car Dealerships?
Over optimized keyword phrases have caused great problems for many car dealerships and website owners. Some business owners sought out anchor text backlinks for the same keyword phrase over and over and over. The links directing back to their website were often for something such as “Atlanta Lexus Dealership”. This is not natural. Not all website owners know to link back for the exact same keyword phrase. It is common sense that some of the links should be anchored with “click here” or “this website” or “go to this Lexus page”. By the time some dealerships realized what they had done they were receiving far less traffic.
Sadly, some car dealerships continue to pay the same SEO firms and agencies that had caused the penalty to their website. Rather than hearing every excuse in the book it is better to seek out assistance from someone that avoided all the bad business practices. One way to find out who has performed the proper business practices is to see who ranks in search for their business website!
Since Google+ was announced it was quite obvious that Google was going to start tracking social signals as it relates to search. It would make sense that a potential car buyer in Orlando, Florida would share some interesting information through their Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+ profiles as they were searching for the right car.
Whether car shoppers are looking for a Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Nissan, Honda or Toyota they are going to want to talk about it. If John Doe is taking a test drive of the brand new Audi A4 and he tweets a photo of the interior there has to be some value in that. There is even more value if he mentions the Audi dealership in which he is planning on making a purchase. Unfortunately, most dealerships have little to no presence on social media. If they do, they have it set on cruise control with posts auto updating through Buffer or Hootsuite.
Being human goes a very long way in the social media world. From personal experience, I can honestly say that my local Audi dealerships are wonderful. Audi Raleigh and Audi Cary both tweet me any time I mention something about my car. They are also willing to go above and beyond to tell me about the new features coming out. This makes me want to buy a brand new Audi as soon as it hits the showroom floor. I know Mercedes, Acura and Jaguar have used similar practices in being human through a social profile.
I have a large following on Google+. I have shared several Audi articles and photos through my Google+ page. It stands to reason that Google would place value on those social shares since I have owned an Audi for the last decade. These are all reasons in which new and used car dealerships should increase their activity on social media. I recognize it is difficult because social media is not easy to learn. With a tight budget and little time most dealerships will resort to an old fashioned phonebook or newspaper ad.
If a car dealership wants to stay ahead of the competition they will use resources that the younger generation uses. Most business owners accept the younger generation does not read newspapers or magazines. They are on their iPhones, Androids, tablets or iPads. They look at photos on Instagram and share pictures through Snapchat. They discuss purchase decisions on Facebook and video chat on Google+. These are all places in which a car dealership could gain a presence and dominate the competition for years to come.
Selling Cars Online Through Google Search
Most successful car dealerships know they need a presence in Google search. When Googling, “best car dealership in Houston, Texas” searchers will likely click on one of the first resutls. Dealerships are competing with each other in the same towns, cities, area codes and sometimes zip codes. A Honda dealership on the south side of town might be getting all the car shoppers simply because they have a better presence than the Honda dealership on the north side of town. In fact, some car shoppers that live on the north side of town may not even know there is a dealership close by. The is especially true if that dealership has little to no Internet presence.
By building a strong presence on Google+ car dealerships will put themselves in a very good place in terms of exposure. Google+ offers Hangouts on Air which convert to YouTube videos. Car dealerships could have a field day with this as car salesmen receive questions all day, every day. They could do a Hangout on Air YouTube video each day or each week that would help answer those common questions. The icing on the cake is the fact that YouTube videos are indexed in both YouTube search and Google search which are the two largest search engines in the world.
There are also opportunities to create Google+ communities focused on your area or subject. Creating a community for Atlanta, Georgia cars will allow a dealership to reach out to potential customers that are willing to drop that down payment and finance a new or used vehicle today. Think of Google+ communities as message boards or forums that allow all members to engage in conversation with the company or business that owns the community. Nowhere else on the Internet can car dealerships gain such access to potential customers.
If that were not enough, all of this interaction is indexed and ranked in Google. Google+ profiles, Google+ communities and YouTube Hangouts on Air will all show up in Google search for potential car buyers to find a car dealership. Fortunately, there is still plenty of room to stake a claim on specific subjects and areas. If you are looking to expand your Google+ or Google search presence please reach out to me at email@example.com.
As with any business ecosystem things are going to change very fast. Those that take advantage of the free Google+ resources early on will benefit greatly. Those that are still trying to create their first Facebook page or Twitter profile may be left in the dust. There are plenty of ways a local car dealership can use the free social media products available. Do not discount Pinterest and Instagram as a player as well. If you need assistance with any or all of these tools do not hesitate to contact me.