Most car dealers recognize that having a robust SEO strategy is of the utmost importance if they want to stay relevant in an ever changing digital world. One thing I’ve noticed though is that when folks in the automotive industry talk about SEO, they’re generally referring to keywords rankings and organic search engine visibility. While having a technically optimized website and relevant content for your visitors is a huge part of SEO, many car dealers miss out on an important area that’s just as impactful as content, if not more so – links.
For those who don’t know, links are a vital aspect of SEO. Links earn your website authority and Google likes to see who is pointing to you and which external sources you are pointing to. Think of a website linking to yours as a vote of confidence that you’re a reliable source of information. The more “votes” you get, the more confidence Google’s algorithm will have in your website, which in turn leads to greater search engine visibility for the queries associated with your website.
So how do you go about earning these valuable links to your website? One way that we’ve seen work for many of our clients is by implementing a solid local content strategy. Read on to discover how this can work for you too!
What are local links?
First off, let’s define what a local link is.
A local link is simply a web link directing users to your website from the website of another local business or organization. For example, if Doug’s Kitchen in Naperville mentions on their website that they source their produce from Sally’s Garden in Aurora – that’s considered a local link.
Why Local Links are Important
To best understand the impact local links can have, let’s pretend for a minute that instead of being bits of code, websites are real-life people and links are people’s names. Have it in your head? Great, now imagine this scenario…
You go to a party and you run into a
website guy named Doug. Within the first five minutes of chatting with Doug, he mentions that he fancies himself as the Greatest Cook Ever at least 20 times! In fact, he’s stated this so often, that you’re now convinced that Doug is just bragging, and not a good cook at all. This would be the equivalent of writing over and over on your website what makes your dealership so amazing.
Now imagine going to that party, and you meet 20 different people. As you chat with each person, every single one of them goes out of their way to tell you that you have to meet Doug, because (wait for it…) he’s the greatest cook ever! Now, not only do you want to meet Doug, but you’re dying to try his food! In this situation, Doug is one website, and the party guests are 20 other websites who are “linking” to him by mentioning his name. Make sense?
With localization being applied to more and more search results, especially on mobile, it is important you begin to build the local authority of your website through genuine local links. When other companies near you, show their trust in you by giving your site links, it may help you become a local “source” of information that both real people and search engines trust.
The Power of Local Content
Local content is one of the best ways to earn local links and positively impact your local SEO. But it’s not as easy as listing cities in your “normal” vehicle content. Some of the best content topics that will help local rankings are fun and informative content that talks about the area you are in:
For the term “Community Involvement Denville” Acura of Denville ranks #1, showing their community involvement page. Acura of Denville also ranks on page 1 for the term “Camping Near Morris County.” This shows that Acura of Denville is seen as a local authority by search engines.
Land Rover Princeton ranks #1 for the term “Road Trips Near Princeton, NJ” and is on page 1 for the term “Summer Activities in Princeton, NJ.” Because you are a local authority it is common to rank above places like Trip Advisor, Kayak, Airbnb, Yelp, and other travel sites because they are not local. You are more trusted than a big entity because you have a stake in the community.
Bragging about yourself to a local audience is also encouraged. Why not show off what others are saying about you just like Continental Mazda did? Pieces like that give you a good opportunity to show your local audience why you are important and trusted. It can provide an opportunity to talk about other local places as well as earning potential backlinks – which Continental Mazda earned after incorporating local businesses into the content on that page.
#ProTip: It’s important to remember to reach out to local organizations you talked about on your website. Otherwise, they may not know you ever talked about them. Local outreach for the win!
How To Get Local Links
So how do you go about getting local links? Just think about the local businesses and organizations your dealership supports each and every year. If you were to host a charitable event in your city, write about it! Add the details of your event to your blog and share the link with other organizations, city hall, other companies that might be interested in helping. Ask those people you shared the link with to add that link to their site somewhere. Tell them you will add a link to their site as well. This way both companies benefit.
Another idea, if you sponsor your local little league team, have someone from your dealership report on the games. Do a small write up of the game with the stats, pictures and video highlights and post it on your blog. Once published, share the link with the league office, the parents on the team and local media websites such as Patch.com.
The idea is the same with the other content topics above. Reach out to the restaurants you talk about, reach out to the getaway locations you mention, send an email to the campgrounds near you. Tell the military base or school that you are offering a special price for its members. Like I said above, (say it with me now) local outreach for the win!
Local is the Name of the Game
Linking has always been a huge part of SEO and is only becoming more important. According to Moz, external links and links from unique domains rank in the top 3 of search engine valuation of links. When thinking about your SEO strategy it’s vital to include local content, include local links, and reach out to others to try to get some local links back.
More Than Links, Local Content Builds Brand Awareness
One last concept that I can’t leave out is how creating useful, relevant local content for your website can also help build awareness for your brand.
Think about that parent in your town who is searching for “fun fall adventures” to take their family on. More than likely, that family isn’t in the market for a new vehicle right now. But if the blog post on your website that details all of the awesome local activities for families shows up in their search results and they land on your website – you’ve just made an extremely positive connection with someone who may not have been all that familiar with your dealership. Until now!
Creating top of mind awareness is very important because we know that when someone does enter the market to buy a car, they tend to visit the websites of dealerships whom they’re already familiar with first.
You’re The Local Expert
No one knows your town better than you. Take advantage of the expertise that your employees have on all things local. Restaurants, nightlife, fun adventures, family activities – poll your team and start brainstorming content you can create for your website that will benefit the community. The work and effort you put into becoming a community resource will pay you back in increased brand awareness, and ultimately some of those valuable local links!