Gone are the days when people visited multiple dealerships to shop for a car. Today, the average person visits fewer than two dealerships before making a purchase (2015 TNS Auto Shoppers Guide). That’s great news if you’re the one dealership they visit—but not so great news if you get passed up for the competition.
So what’s the driving factor for a consumer’s choice of dealership? Oftentimes, search. Did you know 100% of shoppers use Google at some point during their car buying process (according to the 2015 TNS Auto Shoppers Guide)? That means you need to dominate Google search results if you want to drive people to your showroom.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are part of every dealership’s advertising toolkit these days. Many run Google AdWords to help bolster their search rankings, but don’t use the free tools available to maximize their SEO/SEM spend. That’s like someone buying an iPhone and only using it to make phone calls—there’s a lot of wasted potential in using a smartphone just like a landline. Don’t be like that person.
If you’re not sure if you are using the free ad support tools Google provides to their full advantage, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
• Do you own your own Google AdWords, Search Console and Analytics accounts? If not, make sure to take ownership and link them to each other. These are the keys to accessing data that will help you understand if your campaign is scoring big or needs to be revamped.
• Do you know how fast your site is operating? If the answer to this question is no, make sure to test the speed of your website with the Google speed tool. As mentioned in the last blog post, you lose about 60% of traffic after three seconds, so you need to make sure your site is operating at optimal speeds.
• Have you bid on your dealership’s name? This is a best practice—not cannibalism for SEO. Not only is it cheap, it can help you avoid losing clicks to your competitors.
• Are you doing both SEO and SEM? Don’t worry about them stealing traffic from one another. SEO and SEM only cannibalize 10% of traffic, so do both—not one or the other.
It’s easy to check a box and say you are doing SEO and SEM, but unless you are using data to optimize your results, you’re probably not getting your money’s worth. So be sure to take advantage of the tools Google provides to bolster your position in search results. You don’t want to be the one that got away just because your potential customers couldn’t find you.