With car makers, car dealerships, automobile blogs and other related websites competing for precious audience time on the web, it is somewhat surprising to learn that such fierce automotive SEO was slow to catch up with other industries.
In the past, prospect buyers would take a hop across multiple dealerships looking to know which cars best fit their needs, which ones have the best features and, of course get the right deal. Speaking in person with a car salesman and test driving the car seems the straightforward way to make decisions easily.
But times have changed. Information which were readily accessible at dealership shops and car showrooms are often displayed online, through more comprehensive information such as websites that detail all technical specifications, verified owner testimonials and reviews. After all, every model or car make description is likely identical across different car dealership websites.
Such websites, therefore, need to enrich their content to keep up with the more discriminating needs of consumers in an abbreviated customer journey. If someone wants to look at Lexus or Infiniti but undecided which one is better, he or she would look at various comparison factors such as fuel efficiency, style and appearance or performance. While we understand exclusive dealerships for specific for brands don’t have this content, unfortunately, dealership websites don’t highlight such consumer needs.
In Hong Kong, for example, DCH and Sincere Motors don’t quite provide enough information that visitors have to jump elsewhere such as AutoTrader or Edmunds to get the above-mentioned information. As a result, consumers bypass dealership websites during the buyer’s journey.
So how can car dealership websites turn things around and continue to make themselves relevant in today’s more sophisticated, digitally-savvy buyers?
Add content that matches what consumers are looking for.
If you have a car dealership, even when selling only select models, it makes sense to extend content beyond car specifications and features. Information about a car model or make is likely constant and duplicated by other shops that feature the same products.
1. Add videos. Whether it’s the featured commercials, celebrity test drive or from a car review’s YouTube channel, videos add another dimension in content shared on the website. Knowing that consumption of video content has exploded in the past year, a car’s exposure through this medium will likely reach mo
2. Create comparison tables. How does one model differ from the other? Cabin space, mileage, engine size, horsepower and other specs matter depending on what a consumer is looking for. By putting one next to the other with these specifications in a tabular form, it might be easier to determine which one is more preferred.
3. Create content for specific audience. Buyers have different intentions and interests why they need to get a new car. They might get a car that’s family-friendly, fuel efficient or ready for top-rated for safety. Having different types of lifestyles or interests, websites can create custom content suited to such user segments. Putting such content provides an important piece of information crucial in the buyer’s journey as this helps influence their decision.
4. Include industry related news. New legislation on use of seat belts, car engine idling or penalty against drink driving and texting behind the wheel can also help consumers make wise buying decisions. If a product recall on an airbag part of a car’s accessories is out in the open, buyers might steer away from it. Otherwise if the car has been a consistent recipient of awards on safety and fuel efficiency, it might just be the only information needed by a safety-conscious eco-friendly driver.
5. After-sales content. While car dealerships are understandably looking at new customers, there are also content opportunities to promote towards existing ones. Information on insurance warranty, change-oil and preventive maintenance, auto repair and sales don’t appear as frequently on car dealership websites as they should. Car owners have little or no interest on your car dealer website once he or she has bought the car. But if you include information on sales of tires and mufflers, getting the right car insurance policy, maintenance plans or care tips for brakes, steering wheels and suspension, you’ll probably get a stream of visitors with a variety of car-related queries.
Relying on car aggregator websites to do the job and await for leads to come in can be a risky business idea as these third-party automotive resource sites also feature competitors and requires more than just attractive features to win the heart of a buyer.
Improve user experience.
Car dealership websites, like any other sites, need to provide optimal experience to their visitors.
1. Mobile-friendly layout. If including tabular structure to feature car specs and comparison ability, responsive websites always have an advantage.
2. Secured browsing environment. Sending out simple inquiries and sharing email addresses or phone numbers can be a touchy topic for some web users especially when Chrome browsers indicate “Not Secure” status. Shifting the website’s security layer towards HTTPS should provide more sense of security for interested buyers.
3. Fast loading content. This means optimizing size of car images and enhancing seamless functionality such as interactive features without compromising on quality.
I understand such recommendations entail a lot of work. But once you start developing them, you’ll be able to see the improvement in website traffic and possibly sales leads in no time.