We've all heard that content is king. If you're reading this, chances are you've heard it a thousand times. That's the good news. The bad news is that your competitors have heard it as well and many of them are doing something about it. In 2015, it's time to step it up a few notches to get ahead (or stay ahead) of the trends surrounding content, search, and social.
The biggest mistake that I see many dealers making is that they have no diversity in their content. Many are doing the standard practice of building unique content surrounding individual models and the local metro areas. This is good and if you're not doing at least this much content creation, it's a great place to start.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), there is very little in the way of content diversity. Dealerships build these types of pages but pretty much no others. Sure, they might build a content piece about why their oil changes are better or why the dealership is the best place locally to do business, but there's very little more going on than that. To make a true impact and separate yourself as the wheat instead of the chaff, you have to do two things: understand why it's important and then do something about it.
Let's start with the "why":
The Importance of Diverse Content
It's no longer enough to simply build content and let it sit. That actually worked for a while but with Hummingbird, Pigeon, and of course the good ol' Panda updates that keep rolling in, you have to do more with your content. Once you throw in the social media component, it becomes crystal clear that having a diverse content strategy is the way to go.
You can't just talk about your business, either. Tying in what you do at the dealership with other things that are important to the local community will help with organic search rankings for multiple pages as well as improve your social media footprint. You can also expand your offerings to include other departments, future cars, sales events, charitable work... the list of possible diverse content types is pretty much limitless, but we'll go over a few of them below. Let's first get an understanding of the need for diverse content.
- Social Love - With content that mixes it up, you'll be able to appeal to a wider audience when you post it to social media. Don't just ask for business. Offer resources. One of the most popular pieces that actually had verifiable leads generated as a result was a tutorial video on replacing the battery in a key fob! It was a social giant and someone drove extra far to work with the dealership because of their clear desire to help their customers.
- Supporting Content for other Pages - With diversity, you are able to build pages that can link to other pages within the site. This gives them good "SEO juice" without having to try to fool the algorithms. Google and Bing do not like to be fooled. More importantly, you don't have to. Even more importantly than that, you can't. They'll always catch on to what you're doing in the long run. We'll discuss examples below, but for now you must understand that more unique content pages can help other lead-converting pages naturally.
- Link-Earning - Dealers and even vendors have been scared of generating inbound links because of the slapdown that Google gave to many of them over links. One should never fear links. The only thing to fear is bad links. To get good links requires strong content that can "earn" links from other sources on the internet. This strategy worked well before Penguin. It worked even better shortly after Penguin. Today, it's practically miraculous in its effects.
- Pre-Ranking - This is a technique that, to the best of my knowledge, only Dealer Authority does properly with our automotive SEO. That's not to say that nobody else is doing it, but I haven't seen many even try it let alone succeed at it. With the right content, you can rank in your local area for vehicles that haven't even been released yet.
I could go on and on about the reasons to diversity content, but one of the rules of great content is that you don't want to lose your audience in the middle of it, so I'll move on before it gets tedious. Let's look at some examples that you can use to do something about it all.
The Action of Building the Content
Above all other pieces of advice in the article, the most important one is this: stay consistent. Whether you're building a content calendar, setting a reminder to build new pages on a regular basis, or if you're just going to do it when you can, make sure that you do it as often as possible. The more high-quality, unique content that you generate, the more that Google and Bing will start looking for it consistently.
Here are some ideas of content types that you can use today to jumpstart your efforts:
- Future Cars - We touched on this in the previous section. Now, let's see what it truly is. If you know that a new model is coming to the dealership in the future, don't wait to build the page when the vehicle is available. Build it now! There will be plenty of information available, including images (often spy shots or pictures from auto shows), videos (again from the same sources as the images), and specifications that come from the OEM or vehicle review sites like Car and Driver. Build a page of unique content (don't copy and paste) and include a contact form for people who want to be alerted once the new model first arrives at the dealership. Update it often when new information comes available. When the vehicle lands, change the page to be more dramatic in its lead-generating positioning and replace speculative content with the real thing (such as a video of the models first being unwrapped).
- Community Focus - Just because you're here to sell cars doesn't mean that you can't talk about the good things that the dealership is doing. In fact, it plays wonderfully on social media, can drive people to your website, and supports other pages through internal linking. For example, if you're have your vehicles parked in front of the rodeo that's in town, mention them, put the images on the page, and link to specific landing pages, inventory search results pages, or specials pages pertaining to that vehicle.
- Highlight Employees and Customers - Every dealership in America has interesting people participating in the business. It could be the service writer who plays in a country western band on Saturday nights. It could be the couple who bought their car as well as the first car for all 7 of their children at the dealership. It could be the owner who goes bungee jumping with her husband every anniversary. Whatever it is, you can find interesting people to post on the website or blog (if you have access to one with your website platform) and give your website an element that blows up on social media, gets attention from the individuals friends/family, and potentially even press mentions that can help the dealership get more exposure while generating one of those awesome inbound links that you're competitors are not getting.
- Area-Specific Landing Pages - We've seen many dealerships build a page about a vehicle and be done with it. In many areas, this is a mistake because you have multiple locations to target. This is easier with specific pages for the cities or areas rather than trying to lump in several cities and areas into one page about a particular vehicle. You can add personality to these pages that match the location. For example, you could talk about the importance of gas mileage in a Nissan Altima when addressing people in Orange County who may be driving to Los Angeles every day, but you could talk about the comfort of the same vehicle if your dealership is in Bremerton and people are often stuck sitting in their vehicle on a ferry across the sound.
This is a finite list, but it's one that can get the juices flowing. If you want to be different and better than your competition with your website, your organic search presence, and you social media, it all starts with diverse and amazing content.