You’ve jumped a few places in the search results, you’re seeing more traffic, more people are coming down to the dealership to look at cars—it seems like your automotive SEO is working great.
Those who see an initial boost when they first implement their SEO strategies are generally satisfied, especially if they see a return on the investment.
Once they see SEO start to succeed, they stop worrying about it, believing it to be working properly, when it reality, it probably isn’t.
While you might still continue to climb the rankings, that position is tenuous at best.
One little change to the algorithm or to your website could topple you.
Bad automotive SEO habits, black hat strategies, and shaky implementation can leave you with a good standing—for now.
If your search engine optimization isn’t working properly, then it isn’t working at all.
Here are some of the ways you can tell whether or not you have a strong strategy that will stand the test of time:
1. You are not willing to change your website to better suit SEO.
Some dealerships have had the same website since they opened—or still have the original website they had built in 1995.
What’s wrong with that?
These websites are not mobile optimized, which means that while they might be well-established in the search results right now, as Google starts slashing websites that are neither responsive nor have a mobile counterpart, your website is going to be cut from the search results.
You may think you have age and stability going for you—but if you haven’t changed your website recently, if it’s not using the most recent technology, your SEO isn’t really going to succeed, especially coming into 2016.
2. You are not willing to spend money on your website.
In the world of SEO, what you pay is what you get.
If you’re willing to pay nothing, you’ll get nothing. If you’re willing to pay a little, you’ll get a little.
Not being willing to pay for optimization or to make changes to your dealership’s website when changes really need to be made will mean that your SEO is streets behind. And old SEO is non-functioning SEO.
3. You are not willing to be constantly updating your strategy.
What worked a year ago won’t work today.
What worked even six months ago might not work today, if you’ve been chasing trends.
This is one of the biggest mistakes that anyone unfamiliar with SEO makes.
If your automotive SEO is not being constantly monitored, if you have not been working on your strategy almost non-stop, you are not going to have the most effective strategy.
This sounds overwhelming for business owners, especially those with busy dealerships and therefore don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to SEO.
Your life doesn’t have to be optimizing your website, but you do need to be constantly updating your strategy.
4. You are not willing to learn or to defer to someone who already knows.
Another major mistake we often see with dealership owners is a fundamental misunderstanding of search engine optimization—what it’s for and how it is done.
And that’s fine.
Not everyone has to be an expert. But those who are building and running their own campaigns do need to at least be willing to learn.
Those who do not have the time to learn, would probably be better off handing the task over to a professional.
A strong strategy is one that you formulated by someone who knows the trends, knows the foundation, and knows how to get you kind of rank that will benefit you.
5. You openly defy Google’s rules.
Every search engine optimizer has been handed a website that is filled with stolen content.
People copy and paste another, similar website’s content into their own because it is easy and because that content’s efficacy has been proven by that website’s high page rank.
But there is perhaps nothing Google hates more than stolen content.
While you might slip under the radar and see your rankings initially boosted, the moment that Google sniffs out the duplicated content, they are going to flag your page and remove it from the search results.
That kind of punishment is difficult to recover from.
Openly defying one of Google’s rules in order to get ahead is a surefire way to make sure your website is removed from search results.
Any success you see is short lived. Solid automotive SEO will never go against the rules that Google itself has decreed.
6. You care more about the quantity of traffic than the quality.
There are some kinds of web traffic that you just do not want.
If all you wanted when it comes to your webpage is high numbers on your Google Analytics page, you can easily pay for millions of bots to visit your webpage every month.
None of those bots are actually going to come to your dealership and buy a car.
Your focus should not so much be on getting as much traffic as possible, as it should be on getting as much of the right kinds of traffic as possible.
The right kind of traffic for a dealership? Local, car buying individuals that match your brand’s values.
7. No one is buying.
If you are getting a lot of views on your webpage, but very few calls and fewer customers on your lot, your SEO is not working.
The numbers might be there, but the conversions are not.
This probably means that you are not targeting the right kind of audience with the right keywords.
If you are using the wrong keywords, your entire campaign is wrong.