You don’t have to be perfectly informed about every aspect of search engine optimization in order to have an effective automotive SEO campaign, but there are some misconceptions that are more dangerous than others.
Here are some of the scariest misconceptions you might have and how to correct them before Halloween rolls around:
1. Keywords and links are the most important part of automotive SEO.
Keywords and links are extremely important parts of automotive SEO, but they are not all that has to be done in order to get the ranking that you need.
The search algorithm is extremely complicated, with literally hundreds of ranking factors, including social juice, authority, and yes, keyword presence and links.
2. You only need to be worried about Google.
Google may be the king search engine right now, but it is far from the only search engine you need to be worrying about.
Bing has a stronger relationship with Facebook and Yahoo, allowing it to take over a much larger portion of the search market.
3. Putting keywords in specific places will make your site more successful.
While you do need to use keywords, some people adhere too strictly to a truly ridiculous keyword protocol.
They demand that it shows up a certain number of times in their content, in very specific places.
Keywords should be in your URL, title, and header tags—if they fit there naturally.
Content is far more important than keyword placement and density these days.
4. A good place to put inbound links is in forum comments.
There are many articles that suggest going to forums and putting a link to a relevant page of your website or blog post as a comment.
Most forums these days will simply tag these comments as spam.
Even if you preface the link with a little bit of information about why clicking on the link would actually be helpful, it will probably still get marked as spam.
The only good place to put an inbound link when dealing with forums is in your profile.
5. You need sub-headers for SEO.
Any freelance writer who works with websites to optimize their content will tell you that there is some sort of mania about sub-headers.
They are demanded, required in order for a piece of content in order to be optimized, right?
The truth is that while the main header on your page does carry some weight when it comes to SEO, every other header tag has little, if any weight, so much so that you shouldn’t really be worrying about trying to stuff them with keywords.
6. If you have Google Authorship, you’ll get a higher ranking.
This is probably a rumor started by Google themselves in order to get people to sign up for their authorship program.
But there’s no evidence that being a Google Author really lends you any extra clout in the search results.
7. Google Plus’s +1s drive ranking.
Again, this is likely a rumor conjured up in response to the allegation that Google favors businesses and websites that have corresponding Google Plus accounts.
Google’s own people have said that +1s drive ranking.
What they meant was that there was a strong correlation between +1s and a high ranking.
Pages that have higher rankings will naturally have more social shares. +1s themselves don’t actually drive rankings.
8. Your meta tags are just as important as your content.
Unfortunately for people who still believe that having a well-written meta tag is just as important as having keyword-laden content, meta tags are much farther down the list ranking factors than keywords and content.
Meta tags are still necessary, but they are nowhere near as important as they used to be.
Spending too much time and money trying to make them perfect is only going to divert resources form the much more important aspects of automotive SEO.
9. SEO is finished at some point.
Search engine optimization should probably never be talked about in the past tense. Your strategy is never finished.
Unlike the creation of your website itself, which, at some point, will be done, your automotive SEO strategy is ongoing.
As long as you want to continue to climb the ranks of relevant search results or hold your spot at the top, your optimization will be ongoing.
10. AdWords is a good replacement for SEO.
Many people look at AdWords and see its promises to get you to the top of relevant search results immediately and decide that it is a much better option than SEO for their dealership’s website.
The truth is that while AdWords can be a great way to get some clicks while you are waiting for SEO to run its course, it’s not a replacement for organic traffic.
11. SEO is too complicated for me.
Even if you decide to hire someone to help you with your strategy, SEO is not so complicated that you can’t at least learn a little bit about the techniques being used to increase your website’s standing in search results.
12. SEO is only for new companies.
You might think that your dealership is established enough that you do not need automotive SEO.
The truth is that if you leave this strategy just to new dealerships in your area, you are going to be pushed out of the search results altogether.
13. SEO stands alone.
SEO is actually the foundation of all other marketing strategies. It makes your dealership easy to find, no matter how someone originally heard about it.
It’s a necessary part of bringing your dealership more business, along with social media marketing, email campaigns, print advertising, etc.