Shooting Holes in Your Strategy (To See What’s in Front of You)

A man with a bow and arrow targeting lightbulbs

This month, we’re spending a lot of time talking about the need to step outside of your intrinsic strategy. As a marketer, it’s all too easy for you to wear the blinders of branding, slaved to a singular way of thinking by the echo chamber which you operate within. By falling into this trap, you minimize your own effectiveness, limiting the audience that is receptive to your message and reducing your potential of increasing revenue. But some results are better than no results, right? Okay…maybe? But for how long? And if your automotive SEO strategy (or lack thereof) fails to recognize the danger that blind personalization poses to your dealership’s continued success…well…let’s just say that you might want to keep reading.

For the Noobs

Just kidding (regarding the ‘Noob’ comment), but then again…you might be surprised by how many of your competitors still aren’t employing an active SEO strategy. Hopefully, you can’t count yourself among such short-sighted organizations but, in case you do, we’re here to open your eyes a bit.

Boiling it down to its simplest terms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a means of analyzing your online presence, and restructuring it to ensure improved visibility, by increasing your value in the eyes of each engine giants (such as the ‘all-seeing eye of Google’).

That said, it’s a common misconception that an effective SEO strategy can be launched after a quick read of ‘SEO for Dummies’ (and yes, there is such a thing). Acknowledging that search engines (and the internet, as a whole) are ever-evolving organisms, any fixed text or guidelines would be obsolete long-before they even went to press or publishing. Constant analysis and an evolving strategy are crucial to ensure the continued growth of your dealership within an ever-evolving consumer landscape. Without it, you’re doing the marketing equivalent of locking yourself behind an impenetrable wall, unable to see or be seen.

The Wall

Even if you have the most important message to share, that message will be little more than an echo thrown back at you if you’re screaming it at a wall. And while the metaphor stands when describing the trappings of in-house strategy, it also exposes the risk posed by an echo chamber.

Now, to be clear, when speaking of SEO as part of an overall marketing strategy the term ‘echo chamber’ evolves a bit. We refer simply to the inclination of any business (dealership or otherwise) to default to a mode of self-validation.

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By not respecting (and adapting to) impartial analytical data, you trap yourself within the limitations of self-validation. In other words, a dealership satisfied by marginal success and dedicated to the in-house strategies it attributes that success to, isn’t seeing the forest for the trees. The marketplace is ever-changing. The expectations of consumers are ever-changing. The tools made available to consumers and dealers alike are ever changing. As such, it’s crucial to employ unbiased statistical evidence to create an effective strategy, and that begins with an SEO analysis.

Taking Aim

It’s 2019. And while word-of-mouth is still important, isn’t it just about time that we call in the coroner to proclaim traditional marketing ‘dead’ once and for all? These days, your visibility to prospective customers is directly attributed to online accessibility (ie: SERP rankings). Dealerships who rank high in search results will reap the majority of the opportunities, while low-ranking competitors will be overlooked.

To arm itself against failure, a dealership must view their operation through objective goggles. Focusing on one’s weaknesses is more important than bolstering one’s strengths; after all, it’s the only way to identify the opportunities that you’re missing.

SEO blocks with magnifying glass

An independent SEO analysis does exactly that and more, including evaluation of:

  • Responsiveness
  • Page layout, and structure
  • Content in terms of quality and identification of potential redundancies
  • Effectiveness of keywords
  • Page performance including (but not limited to) load-speed and navigability
  • Quality and effectiveness of linking strategy
  • Integration with social media accounts

These are just a small portion of the data segments that can be mined from an SEO analysis; and each of these variables plays a very important role in terms of your page’s valuation in the eyes of search engines. But those roles are not exclusive, in fact each one influences your ranking, both independently and as an intrinsic part of the greater whole. And while there are a variety of services which allow a dealership to evaluate their own analytics, there is an inherent risk of misinterpretation due to in-house bias.

Avoiding Analytical Bias

Humans have a tendency to look for, and even find, patterns where there are none. It’s a simple truth that has led to everything from unfair convictions to medical misdiagnosis. But equally as guilty is our willingness to adapt the facts to support our opinion, rather than adapt our opinions to support the facts. Welcome to the concept of ‘Analytical Bias’ in its purest and most dangerous form.

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By placing your trust outside of your organization you’re likely to gain more accurate insights, not just in terms of analytic interpretation, but in terms of overall strategy. Such valuable direction can reposition you and help you to navigate the ever-changing terrain of digital marketing, empowering you for optimized success. And that’s just the beginning. A proven digital marketing consultant will offer you brand-new strategies in terms of your online ad placement, social media profiles and reputation management as well as empower you with the creation of high-quality content, all of which is designed to improve your rankings. Doing so might force you to deviate from the strategies that feel organic to you, but true growth requires us all to step outside of our comfort zones.

Don’t fall into the same trap as your competitors, dealerships trapped within the blinding walls of their own echo chamber. Bottom-line, you might know a hell of a lot about selling cars. But a skilled SEO analyst knows a lot about strengthening your online presence. If your marketing strategies are starting to feel like a dead-end, you might simply have come face-to-face with a wall of your design. And…

Long Story Short

You can’t see what’s in front of you if you’re staring at a wall. More importantly, no-one even knows that you’re behind that wall. So, while your online presence might feel like an open gateway to opportunity, it’s crucial to recognize the thing you might be doing (or not doing) that render your dealership invisible in the eyes of the average consumer.

At the end of the day, you offer products and services that people are in need of. More importantly, there is an endless string of customers in search of those very products and services. Why would you want to self-sabotage your own success by preventing them from seeing you?

The assistance offered by a trusted partner, specializing in SEO analysis and strategy, empowers you with an outsider’s perspective on what you’re doing (be it right or wrong). It allows you to shoot holes in the impenetrable wall created by short-sighted in-house strategy, increasing your own visibility, and empowering your dealership for greater success. Unless of course, you prefer to keep the blinders up…

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