Almost a decade ago, car dealers would list their entire vehicle inventory by running a gimmicky TV commercial or place an advertisement in a local newspaper to expect phone calls and foot traffic in order to receive business. Times have since then changed significantly. Now, shoppers are required to start their search of vehicles on websites like TrueCar and EveryCarListed.com. Buyers compare online reviews, pricing, and multiple dealerships before ever contacting or stepping foot into a dealership.

Therefore, it is crucial for those operating in the automotive sector to change and keep up with the times. It is vital for you to create a website to build a good online presence in your local community. This way, you can gain more business and ROI than any other traditional medium can ever offer. Are you still stuck in the outdated marketing tactics? If so, then follow these best strategies for local automotive SEO to help push your car dealership in the path of success and profits:

An Attractively-Designed Website – Impress Visitors and Prospective Clients

The old adage, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” still goes true in today’s time, especially with concerns to marketing and SEO. Since your website is the first interaction your customer has with you, it serves as a primary factor on how they view YOU as a dealership. Therefore, you might as well try your best in creating a strong and powerful first impression that separates your automotive business from the competition.

Bear in mind that there were close to approximately 18,000 dealerships in the U.S alone. Imagine the level of competition you are facing when creating a website. As such, go the extra mile in your designing and create an automotive website that looks incredibly appealing, attractive, functional, and user-friendly. Hire a web designer, if necessary. These professionals will try their level best in fulfilling your demands and needs.

This ensures that you have a website that is purposefully designed and maintained in a way that allows you to gain higher rankings in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) of Google. Also, make sure to optimize your website properly. Add social sharing plugins to allow viewers to post blogs and articles on their profiles. Add a search bar for easy navigation. Include Meta title, Meta description, image alt text, and appropriate H1, H2, and H3 tags. Aim for at least 400 words of quality content on your homepage.

Strategic Content Development – Provide Content That’s Useful

There’s nothing that Google loves more than relevant, informative, and UNIQUE content. This means, all your digital marketing efforts should focus on creating fresh and genuinely appealing content that provides value to your customers. Consider asking yourself a simple question: does your dealership provide interesting and new content? If the answer is no, don’t panic. The choices of writing content are limitless in the automotive sector.

In addition to listing any monthly specials or updating inventory, you can write on plenty of topics like community construction that could impact traffic and residents, local neighborhood automotive news, fundraising or charity opportunities, news on upcoming model launches specific to your brand, reviews on the top cars of 2016/2017, and local events. Bear in mind that car topics should be written regularly. Create an editorial calendar if you have to, but make sure that you post in a timely manner.

Each article/blog/PR/web copy should be locally optimized and include the relevant tags and targeted keywords. This includes adding alt text, Meta Descriptions, Meta Titles, alt text, and city and state information with each piece. Also, do not forget on adding an embedded Google My Business (GMB) map to the homepage of your site and all blog posts. To boost web traffic, add relevant, unique, and high-quality images/videos with your car listings.

Implement Schema Mark-Up – Gain a Competitive Edge

Schema mark-up is a crucial part of any SEO strategy that has been around for many years, but only being utilized by a handful of websites. If you want to take your automotive website to the next level, perhaps it’s time you integrated schema mark-up into your website too. This simple addition of code to your website enables site crawlers and search engines to understand the content on your site. It tells crawlers what your content is saying and what it means.

For instance, when you add a phone number to your contact us page, crawlers read it as simple “numbers”. However, the schema mark-up can be used to convey the difference between random numbers and the one listed on your website as a phone numbers. It can also be used for identifying user reviews and their rating of your business on a 1 to 5 scale. Used by Google’s Knowledge graph, you can bet that schema can do wonders for your automotive website.

It can assist in improving your search rankings and boost user click-through rates. Studies have even show that websites using schema mark-up rank higher than those without schema mark-up. This better visibility on the search engine results pages can prove vital for your business in boosting in sales and conversions. Some great schema mark-up options for automotive websites include ‘telephone’, ‘reviews’, ‘address’, and ‘hours of operation’.

Get Citations – Build Trust and Reputation

Last, but not the least, if you really want to boost the trust and reputation of your automotive website and gain a boost in local rankings, then try your best to get mentions of your brand’s name and address on other websites. This helps in validating your credibility in the local area and establishes a level of trust with potential customers and search engines. Bear in mind these citations play a vital role in how you rank on Google and other search engines.

You can work to get your site listed on Yelp, Facebook, reputable business directories, or the local chamber of commerce website. You can even use an aggregator tool for getting more citations. Tools like Yext and Moz local prove to be handy in spreading your dealership’s details across a number of trustworthy directory sites, while ensuring your phone number, address, and name are listed consistently and accurately.