SEO of all kinds is constantly changing. It has to keep up with ever-shifting consumer standards and technology.
Those who have been doing search engine optimization for years usually know how to keep up with these changes, but those who are new to automotive SEO might find that they are being left behind at every single twist and turn.
Experts predict that the changes we’ve seen to SEO over the last five years is nothing compared to what we are going to see over the next five years.
We are approaching a transformative period in automotive SEO.
Now is the time to make sure that you are on board and are prepared for what is to follow.
These changes aren’t just going to be mean making a few small adaptations to what you are doing right now.
They are probably going to mean throwing out the old handbook and writing an entirely new one.
Up until now, automotive SEO has been primarily concerned with making sure your dealership’s website shows up in relevant search results on desktop browsers.
Google has set the standard.
New opportunities are opening up, however, and as they change the face of search, they will also change the face of automotive search engine optimization.
Here are the three patterns that are going to shape SEO over the coming years:
1. Social search
Most people might not yet think of their social media pages as search engines, but they are about to become just that.
Social media like Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook have made serious strides towards turning their platforms into not just social hubs, but total internet hubs.
For example, you no longer have to leave Facebook in order to read the news.
They have your trending headlines queued up for you when you log in.
Facebook is also starting to search content. You can use the search bar not just to search for people that you know, but to search for pieces of content, just like you can on Google.
These tools mean that social media is going to start gaining on Google. People are already performing more than a billion searches every day on Facebook.
Google handles 3.5 billion a day, for reference.
This might seem like a small change in the scheme of things, but the truth is that it is a harbinger of things to come.
All of these media are going to work harder and harder to get their users to stay on their platform, instead of deserting and looking for another platform to use.
2. Personal assistants
This doesn’t mean that everyone is going to have a personal assistant in the future.
Instead, it means that more and more people are going to be using the digital assistants on their phone not just to perform searches, but also to collate content for themselves.
There are assistants that will “learn” about you, based on what you search and your location, and will gather together news articles, search results, and recommendations based on that information.
This means that the affect that the increased use of these personal assistants will have on automotive search engine optimization is going to be twofold.
First, the way that people search is going to change.
Instead of concisely worded search queries, there are going to be more and more fully formed questions or sentences.
Instead of seeing, “Chevy dealership Stanton,” for example, we will see, “Where’s the Stanton Chevy dealership?”
The keywords themselves are going to morph as people just ask their phones questions, instead of actually having to type in their queries.
The language will become more natural.
The second way it is going to change search is that context and history of the search that is currently being performed is going to become far more important than it has been.
The personal assistant might remember, for example, that the user has previously searched for Kia brand vehicles, so when they simply ask for a list of dealerships, it might present him first with a list of Kia dealerships.
3. Mobile search
This is something you have likely already heard about and have designed your website to accommodate.
If you haven’t yet added a mobile website or made your website responsive, now is the time to do it.
While desktop search hasn’t exactly declined over the last year, mobile search is still on the rise. It is going to be more and more difficult to get ranked in mobile search, the longer you wait.
But there is an even more important trend in mobile search—mobile search that bypasses search engines altogether.
The phone itself has become the search engine, and it is not just looking at what the user has on his phone, it is looking at the whole of the internet and collating its own results, based on what the users is most likely to find relevant.
Spotlight on the iPhone is a good example of what we are likely to see over the next five years.
The smartphones themselves are going to continue to become more and more important when it comes to search, perhaps even surpassing search engines like Google and Yahoo.
It is very likely that we are going to see major changes over the next five years of automotive SEO.
The best way to prepare for them?
Do not let your dealership’s website stagnate. If it stagnates, it will be impossible to get it back up to speed, as new developments are going to snowball, and what worked a year ago may be completely irrelevant in two years’ time.