While most people are still trying to wrap their heads around the fact that autumn is already upon us, automotive marketing professionals (and their counterparts in almost every industry) are already focused on forming their digital strategies for 2019. And, if recent years have taught us anything, each year that passes increases the importance of SEO to these strategies and the likelihood of your continued success.
The simple truth is that organic online traffic might just be the most powerful component of your digital toolbox. If you’ve already accepted and embraced this, congratulations. If you haven’t, it’s time you make a commitment to catch up or accept the fact that every minute lost makes it less likely that you can make up for the disadvantage that you’ve placed yourself at.
The Winds of Change
We might as well come to grips with the reality of our entrepreneurial existence: it’s Google’s world, and we’re just living in it. And like any skilled puppet-master, or all-seeing eye, the search engine giant exists to further forward momentum on its own terms. This means evolving their algorithms in new (and sometimes frustrating) ways that can prove endlessly frustrating to digital marketers.
But true evolution doesn’t occur within a vacuum. SEO is an ever-changing process, and those changes now influence changes within other channels that it touches. Let’s explore some of the changes that have gained prevalence, influencing strategies over recent months.
A Focus on Quality
In a tech-centric world, the idea of an update exists as a sort of mixed bag when looking at everything from our personal iOs to our CRM systems. One might argue that such updates are designed to improve the quality of the system itself, or at least its user experience. That said, a look back in the months since 2017 have shown periodic “quality” updates (versus the more publicized style of named algorithm updates such as Penguin or Panda). This new breed of updates are less interested in prompting improvement in piecemeal fashion, and more interested in prompting marketers to improve their own online presence.
This is an empowering fact, and it’s imperative that you take heed of this.
We’ve all heard “quality over quantity” but the simple truth is that improvement of your online content is the best (and simplest) means of increasing your organic traffic. Stop chasing updates, and start making the updates work for you, by asserting yourself as the most reliable resource available.
As a dealership, you need more than just a polished website that displays your extensive inventory. The inclusion of informative model pages, comparative tools, and insightful blog posts are a crucial component of any SEO strategy. In making such changes, you are prioritizing yourself ahead of less-committed competitors, and providing a strong user experience for prospective clientele.
Make it About Them
And in exploring the changing face of Google, it’s important to note the growing importance of that user experience. Simply put, a more satisfying user online experience will increase the longevity and frequency of visits, adding value to your website in the all-seeing eyes of Google. But what makes an online visit more satisfying?
From progressive web apps to VR, and multi-platform integration, we live in a world that’s moving towards the creation of immersive experiences. For those of us who seek out creative solutions, this is good news. For many years, the idea that we were marketing to an A.D.D. society led to certain trends that could be described (generously) as shallow. And while there’s certainly a value to short-form content, we need to get away from a ‘less is more’ escapist mentality.
Google is helping with this endeavor by valuing information, education, and helpful content. Millennial consumers, along with their Generation Y (and now Z) counterparts are conscious of cost, and pride themselves on being well-researched before any major purchase. They also seek out a sense of connection with any brand which they empower with their personal spending. With that in mind, your digital marketing strategy should be built around your customer base. You’re already focusing on quality (if you’re taking our advice) now take that dedication and develop that content with your customers in mind. Anticipate their wants, and their needs in all that you do, from first contact to finalization of sale. Let the immersive nature of your content inform your culture, and you’ll discover that there are more conversions than you ever thought possible.
Building upon the above, 2018 has seen a greater value placed upon long-form content. More than just an accessible entry point designed to entice new conversions, lengthier content serves to entice repeat visitors and improved client engagement. From blog subscribers to social media followers, a steady stream of thoughtful, well-written content shows a dealership’s commitment to their customers. It conveys greater value in the eyes of both the consumer and the algorithm that drives your site’s indexation in search results.
Sculpting a More Satisfying Web Presence
We talk about making Google’s algorithm work for you but understand that Google has been working on your site (and everyone else’s) for quite some time. Referred to as ‘sculpting’, it involves the indexing (and dropping) of pages on a periodic basis to create the best user experience imaginable.
Why? Because a satisfied Google user will continue to use Google empowering the company to gain an ever-increasing amount of ad revenue. Remember, if a service is free, that means that the user (or at least their buying power) is the product that’s being sold.
That said, no digital marketer worth their salt should be willing to hand the reigns over to Google. You should be reviewing your content to determine which holds the highest-value and if there are any unnecessary redundancies. Remember: having fewer pages with stronger content, is better than lots of weaker pages. Think ‘killer’, not ‘filler’.