The question all dealerships should be asking…

“How to optimize their SEO game to drive organic and direct search traffic into the service lane of their dealerships?”

“What we founded our company on was actually helping create more visibility and better user experience for dealerships on their website. And it’s working. We have seen tremendous growth on our end as far as dealer count and that doesn’t happen if you’re not doing something right.

Really what we have found is that if you can build more relevant service content on your website it is the best way to start the process to turn your service department into more of a digital powerhouse in your market. We get this content to rank by the way we structure the data. OEM’s come out with a lot of content that they pass around to their dealers across the country and it creates a void for a lot of the dealers. They don’t have a lot of content, for example, they might have oil change content, batteries, tire rotation, multi-point inspection things like that, but the problem with it is that while it is content, it’s duplicate content. So it’s all content that is going out on websites thousands of times, so what we’re doing differently and a way a dealership should look at this is ask is the content we’re putting out unique and relevant to YOUR store.

We have used a strategy that has been in place now for about two years for some of our stores and its the way we structure the data. The way we create the content, the way we add alt tags, our URL structure, how we index the images, things like that. It’s all relevant to better automotive SEO. It’s like baking a cake, everyone can bake a cake, but some peoples taste a lot better. It’s the way you put those ingredients together that make it work and with SEO it is no different.

A case study of this can be found in our Dealer Spotlight section on how we were able to turn it around for our clients!

About halfway through 2019 we ran an analysis on clients we were not working with the year prior February 1st to the end of June. We pulled the amount of search service-related traffic that, that customer was getting into their Service Specials page. When we took over this year with these clients in that same 6-month span we were able to see some wildly successful increase in the amount of traffic we are driving into that page. So that is the first thing, you take a 200% increase in service traffic that’s coming into the website, that’s a BIG number and what makes it even bigger is when you think about sales traffic compared to service traffic. Service traffic is a lot more relevant, it’s a lot more now. A lot of people are out there looking for cars. They might be at different levels of their buying cycle. You don’t go to Google or to a website looking for some to fix your transmission 6 months from now when it might go out. Right? If you have a leak in one of the pipes in your house you call a plumber, if you a light that is flickering you’re going to call an electrician. The only reason that people call and look for service related services is that they have something wrong so as a dealership community we want to make sure that, that dealership is there when the customer needs them.

Does it take a comprehensive website rebuild to optimize the SEO or are their things that a dealer can do in short order?

We started this process with building stand-alone service websites, thinking we would give dealers another seat a the table so to speak on page one with multiple listings. But, then the OEM’s said that they wanted everything on the main website. So to answer the question, no, we can do all of this right on the OEM website. I would say that the majority of the existing content on the OEM website is sales so if you have a Honda store in a market, for example, more than likely you are going to be the authority for Honda when it comes to selling and buying vehicles. but there’s no service content on your website specifically so we have to try to close that gap so we ensure that we build enough content and enough information when Google wants to look for the right infrastructure to put in front of a potential customer that we are actually showing up for our dealers.

So what we end up doing is building all of our stuff right on the dealership website then that in turn gives that dealership the authority on that service for their brand.

What kind of results can management expect when SEO optimization is initiated and why is it so important?

What we’ve done is change the mentality of the service department, instead of just putting a couple of services out on the specials page, maybe like a $10 off an oil change and a $15 off a window tint, then sometimes the coupons on there are expired, that type of a thing. We are really building out a more robust strategy that can tie in some of those late ownership services, those higher RO’s that give the dealer an opportunity to make more money and then bringing along the right conversion paths that are going to help the customer actually be able to connect to the store. So what we find a lot is don’t get into any of the DMS stuff at this point it is something we are working on to take it all the way through. What we really focus on are 2 things: visibility growth, trying to get your dealership to show up on more services related search results on Google and other search engines. Obviously increasing our organic fixed ops related service traffic and ultimately seeing an increase in phone calls, online service scheduling appointments and even moving past the click to print coupon, now with our product Dealer Wallet, customers can download them to their Apple Wallet or Android pass systems. When we see big increases in engagement from click-throughs and traffic being sent the schedule service page we know that is going to equate to more revenue too.

Thanks Dealership News and Kelly Klienman for having us!

Julie Branum

Julie Branum

Julie has a decade of experience in the car business and marketing specifically for manufacturer dealerships in the U.S. Utilizing best practices and her background in design, Julie believes in presenting and converting dealerships online visitors into high RO Service and Parts Department customers.