Making mistakes is inevitable when you are first starting out in any field.
It likely happened when you first opened your dealership, and now that you are starting automotive SEO, it is likely happening with your campaign.
And while making a few small mistakes is not going to kill your campaign and will actually help you learn more about optimizing your dealership’s website, there are some mistakes that could seriously harm your campaign.
Here are the nine biggest mistakes those who are new to automotive SEO often make:
1. You’re not measuring your progress.
With so many other things on your plate, it might not seem that important to make sure Google Analytics is functioning on your website and that you regularly check it to make sure your efforts are actually working.
How do you know if your efforts are paying off if you never look at the analysis that Google provides to you for free.
There are actually lots of free tools that will help you keep track of your keywords and show you whether or not they are increasing your ranking in relevant search results.
Find one that you like and use it regularly.
2. You’re not using the data you collect.
You might occasionally look at your analytics, but are you actually analyzing and using the data that is collected there?
More importantly, are you using it to determine whether or not your efforts are working, what exactly is working, and why it is working?
If you’re not doing this, you are not going to have the information you need to be continually improving and streamlining your automotive SEO.
You can’t just look at your data.
Even if it shows that your ranking is steadily improving, you’re not utilizing that information if you just look at it and don’t analyze it.
3. Using the wrong tactics.
This might not be something that you actively do, but if you work with a bottom-of-the-barrel, dirt cheap SEO company that makes outrageous guarantees about your ranking, it is likely that they are using some sort of black or gray hat techniques to rank your website.
This is a huge mistake.
These tactics don’t obey the rules that search engines have set out and when the search engines get a whiff of the scummy techniques, they are sure to flag your website and penalize it.
4. Trying to incorporate new SEO into an old website.
How old is your website?
If it is more than three years old, it could be actively working against your automotive SEO efforts.
Website building technology has improved so much in the last three years that if your website is that old, it likely won’t load quickly, has difficulty supporting videos and images, and has an outdated design—three things that will drive people away from your website.
5. Not researching your keywords.
Keywords for your dealership may seem obvious, but if you are actually trying to rank your website, you likely do not want to just be punting when it comes to your keywords.
You need to know which keywords you can actually rank for.
For example, if your dealership sells Mazda vehicles in New Jersey, an obvious keyword would be “New Jersey Mazda dealership.”
But if every other Mazda dealership in New Jersey is using the same keywords, you have less of a chance of getting to the first page than you might think.
Make sure you research your keywords thoroughly and find ones that are likely to help you rank highly.
6. Not having enough content.
You might not think there is very much to say about your dealership.
What this leaves you with is a very thin website—and search engines do not like thin websites.
Whether you bulk out your website with an informative blog or you write thoroughly about your dealership, it’s history, the kinds of vehicles you sell, and your staff, you need to have adequate content on your website.
7. You aren’t focusing on local search.
For most dealerships, local search engine optimization is going to much more important than general search engine optimization.
Because most of your buyers are going to come from your local area. People look for car dealerships in their local area.
They are rarely willing to drive more than an hour (and certainly not across state lines) in order to buy a vehicle.
If you’re not focusing your keywords and optimization efforts on your local area, you’re not going to rank in search results where people are actually going to click on your link.
8. Not actively looking for inbound link opportunities.
Inbound links are only going to become more and more important, especially as search engines start to put an emphasis on the prominence of your local business.
If you are not actively looking for opportunities to lace inbound links, you are not doing your website justice.
Focus on quality and look only for opportunities that are actually relevant to the vehicle industry, otherwise the links might be flagged as spam.
9. Not getting professional help.
Automotive SEO is a complicated and time consuming task.
While it is something that an amateur could do, if you want it done correctly and you want it done quickly, there is no better option than hiring a professional to take care of all of your SEO tasks.
If you are finding that you do not have enough time to devote to automotive SEO, you need to take a step back and ask for help from someone who won’t make the mistakes that many amateurs make.