In 2014, the amount of vehicles sold globally reached an all time high of 82.84 million, which was a 4.2% increased as compared to 2012. However, the automobile industry suffered a great loss last year, as only 76.74 million vehicles were sold annually (indicating a 6% decrease). There’s no doubt that having a physical dealership is necessary for selling cars. In today’s time though, the internet is where 67% of the buyer’s journey now occurs. Before walking into a dealership, buyers conduct their research online.

Each month, there are approximately a million searches for “new cars for sale”, “used cars for sale”, “cheap cars for sale”, which is just a small piece of the buying journey. The dealerships that manage to rank well on these keywords get a good chance of making a sale. However, majority of the sales being reduced is due to the lack of creativity from new auto dealer websites. Not many auto dealerships are managing their web presence accurately. This makes it difficult for them to sell a vehicle.

Are you facing the same trouble? Don’t understand why the car-buying behavior has changed? What should you lookout for? Below you can find all the answers for your automotive SEO strategy.

Question #1: Customers now only visit one or two dealerships in person. Before, they used to visit almost six or seven. Why is that? What has changed?

EVERYTHING has changed about the car-buying process and behavior. Before customers had to visit multiple dealerships because they didn’t have any other source of information for understanding which car might suit their needs. Nowadays, there is so much information online, including reviews and testimonials about a particular dealership. This allows buyers to cherry pick the ones they like best.

However, differentiating between the best and worst isn’t a task online too anymore. Customers simple refuse to contact dealerships that have identical information. Now, buyers are more confident, stealthier, and know more ways to validate information. This is why dealership websites need to be honest with their interactions, transparent about prices and offerings, and rich with information.

Question #2: When it comes to automotive and digital SEO, there is some backward thinking in the auto industry? What’s holding automobile dealerships back?

Many car dealerships are hesitant about adopting automotive SEO because they think the competition is too tough. While that is true, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t dominate a particular keyword and rank better on local SERPs of Google. Bear in mind that if car buyers can’t find something on a particular dealership website. They will use companies like Cars.com, Edmunds.com, or AutoTrader for info.

This means, you completely fail to leverage this automotive SEO opportunity. In order to ensure YOU get the customer, you must try your best to engage customers in the middle of their journey. You need to update the content on your dealership website and provide accurate and detailed information about what they might be looking for. This way, you can receive better business in a short period.

Question #3: Quicker payoff Ad Campaigns Vs value of earned media. Which option is better?

Car dealerships need to understand the annuity concept – that automotive SEO combined with earned media will always drive better result and accrue exponentially over time. Not many people are aware of the power earned media offers. It sets you apart from the competition. For instance, if you’re a Honda dealership in Orlando, you’re competing with plenty of Honda dealers in the area.

These competitors have identical inventory and platforms. So, why should someone buy from you? Well, you can’t change what cars can be sold. What you can do is add the relevant content that attracts customers and answers their questions. Improve the readability and mobile friendliness of your content and even add video to your pages. This will always drive better results than payoff ad campaigns that hardly ever bring results.

Question #4: Is it problematic to depend on a template-based automotive SEO content strategy for dealerships?

Templates are not a bad tactic for content marketing, especially if you are buying a paid template. However, the problem with this automotive SEO content strategy is that the same template you use could already be pushing out the exact same content across thousands of other websites from different areas in the world. If you just want to create listings, template form marketing isn’t bad.

However, if you want to increase overall sales and profits and drive targeted audience, you need to be creative and think outside the box. Consider creating your own website (built from scratch) and add a unique twist of your car dealership brand by using different, unique colors, logos, and visuals. However, be sure to focus on good responsiveness and navigation.

Question #5: How do car dealerships benefit from targeting content to buyer’s journey? Is persona marketing actually a thing? Is content mapping essential?

There is no doubt that targeted marketing can bring real benefits to any business. This means, content mapping is very important for ensuring everything is communicated to help consumers with their buying journey. For instance, when someone decides they want to buy a brand new KIA vehicle. They can easily get the price and address of any dealership to go pick it up.

However, this isn’t exactly helping a customer along the journey based on different lifestyle choices. Think about it this way, if you’re website had detailed information regarding different trim levels of the same KIA vehicle – it would get the buyer thinking. This won’t just help them navigate, but it would allow them to assess their needs and requirements to determine which trim might be perfect for them.

Maybe the shopper is someone who is fuel economy-oriented, family-oriented, or safety-oriented. You need to get your content mapped to cater to different personas. You can do so by creating our own dashboard, mine YouTube for keyword data, compare to local competitors, map your content, and track page one rankings. Look at customer content created for specific pages and bring in new customers by displaying organic, unique, and appealing content.