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How Content Generates Sales Through Search

One of the things that makes SEO so important is that it connects your dealership with people who already interested in buying a car or who need some type of service. Unlike advertising, in which you hope someone hears, sees, or reads your name enough that when they need a car they'll come see you, SEO finds the people that are ready now. You don't go looking for them through ad campaigns, which get expensive quickly, they find you.

Now, SEO is extremely complicated, and it's only getting more complicated as search engines become more intelligent. But it's also one of the most necessary boxes to check under your list of marketing initiatives. It has the ability to naturally grow organic organic traffic, which will  generate more interest and leads to help you grow your business over time.

Not creating content is one of the biggest flaws in most dealerships' marketing strategy, and in this post we’ll take a look at a simple way your team can tackle the complicated field of SEO through content marketing.

The Content Marketing Sales Funnel

The graphic above gives you a great idea of how you can create content that helps to generate traffic, interest, and leads for a more successful dealership.

Traffic Generators

Traffic generators work just as you might think they would: they drive traffic! We're talking about blog posts, infographics, and videos that are easy to digest and have a wide target audience. These should be based around topics that are relevant to your dealership, such as Chevy if you sell Chevys or Ford if you sell Fords.

Have fun with these posts. Lists like "10 Ways to Know You're a True Chevy Guy" or "The 5 Most Insane Camaros You'll Ever See" are crafted to be entertaining and get users to engage. Plain and simply: the goal here is to create content that begs to be clicked.

You can mix in local-related news items as well, but try to reserve those only for stories that are likely to be shared by locals once promoted to social media. The more time you spend talking about the main topics related to your business, the more authority you'll gain in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

Interest Generators

To build interest in your dealership, its inventory, and its services, we'll graduate from traffic generators to interest generators. This type of content is meant to reel potential customers in with topical guides, how-tos, and tips to make their lives easier and you a great source of information.

A great example would be "How to Change Your Oil at Home." You might think this is the opposite of the type of content you should be writing, but the reason you want to do it this way is simple: it's not pushy. No one's going to see "Why You Should Always Go to the Dealership for Oil Changes" and not think the information is skewed to favor your opinion as a dealership.

Today's consumers are savvy and don't want to be sold. Instead, they want to be informed. And now you might be asking how you're going to sell anything at all with this method. Here's how:

Using the "How to Change Your Oil at Home" example, we'll leave a nice call to action at the end. Something along the lines of:

"Changing your oil at home is a great way to save money if you don't mind getting your hands dirty. If you think this isn't for you, below is a coupon for a discount on an oil change at XYZ Motors."

And of course, add a nice, noticeable button that says "Print Coupon" below that last bit of text. You want to link that to a page that allows the user to easily print their coupon.

Using interest generators, you can sell without selling by simply being genuinely helpful.  

Lead Generators

The most important part of a successful content strategy is your lead generating pages. While traffic and interest generating content is also important, they can only be as effective as your lead generators. These include product landing pages for individual models, pages for services like car maintenance, model comparisons, and even reports about vehicle safety and performance.

It's worth noting that your team should also spend a lot more time on each individual piece of content that will work as a lead generator. These pages should be longform, and go above and beyond what's expected from a normal piece of content.

To know if you're truly outdoing your competition, take a look at their pages and see if yours do a better job of not only presenting information but actually answering questions as well.

How to Bring it All Together

These three types of content are brought together through internal linking to give search engines a better idea of how they relate. The ultimate goal is to prop up your lead generators with supporting content (traffic and interest generators) to show search engines that those are really important pages.

With proper keyword targeting and quality content, you'll see your traffic, interest, and leads start to grow more than ever before.

Have questions or worries about content? Let’s hear them below!

Written by Mark Frost, Director of Content at Wikimotive

Views: 617


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Comment by Timothy Martell on February 5, 2015 at 6:11am

Its on the thin side, but this won't draw a penalty. This is why we focus on writing actually valuable content without overly stuffing keywords in there.

Comment by Paul Rushing on February 2, 2015 at 11:25am

@Alex - The blog you posted a link to would never survive a manual review. That type of content is why google has a web spam team.

With that said if it is working for your client drive on. Just don't be surprised if you see a manual action notification in webmaster tools.

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 28, 2015 at 9:05am

Employing White Hat SEO Methods and Search Content Marketing

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 14, 2015 at 6:59am

@Paul. Although, I'd be lying if I said I do not practice SEO content creation / on-site organic content marketing, see: (49 pages, 5 articles per page = ~245 blog posts, since April of 2013), which does tell Google A LOT about their offering. I've seen a definite improvement in many keyword rankings, especially for Altoona Ford (granted, small market). HOWEVER, that doesn't mean these keywords CONVERT. Additionally, see the aforementioned comment on UX.

I'll say it again:

  1. What does Google want? They want relevant, real content on the internet that people want to read and tell other people about. If Google doesn’t bring you the most relevant content when you search, they aren’t doing their job. So by definition, even the word Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means to “game” the Google search engines (and others) to get your valuable content ranked higher than it would be if left alone to the forces of the Web. The bottom line is that all external SEO efforts are counterfeit other than one: Writing, designing, recording, or videoing real and relevant content that benefits those who search.
  2. SEO of any kind is pursued by gaming the system. There is nothing “natural” about any form of SEO. The fundamental concept of SEO is exploiting a flaw in a search engine’s ranking algorithm. The difference between white and black hat tactics is merely a function of where Google decides to draw a line, and this line is at least somewhat arbitrary. Google's goal is to confuse search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and to uncover aggressive SEO techniques through delaying, or obfuscating results from SEO changes being made.
Comment by Paul Rushing on January 13, 2015 at 2:55pm

Tim you are the one who is wrong. Creating content as you suggest is the very definition of spam. Consumers are not going to visit if they do find it in search. The only reason to generate that type of content is to drive traffic on long tail searches that disguise commercial intent or to build false authority. What you describe doing is the antithesis of what provides value to consumers or dealers. It only provides value to the one charging to create the content.

Dealers would be far better served to spend the same amount of money on advertising in places like facebook to drive real conversions. Quantifiable results.

We can call it what we want. Creating content in an attempt to manipulate search is spam in the eyes of the search engines. The truth is a search engine is a business just like dealers or seo firms. Each does what needs to do what it needs to do to meets it's goals.

BTW.. I have never bought a link or a like but have sold quite a few of them.. A Nissan dealer near Boston paid for a bunch of them.

Comment by Timothy Martell on January 13, 2015 at 1:46pm

You couldn't be more wrong Paul. Providing valuable information to consumers is both what consumers and search engines want. The intent of the content need not be commercial to impact search results for the primary domain or its internal pages. Value and quality is just that. Its bizarre that you could even suggest that quality unique content is the definition of spam. 

But hey, some people still like paid links and blog networks, I guess.

Comment by Paul Rushing on January 13, 2015 at 1:24pm

Content marketing for car dealers? 

The truth is consumers will never trust this kind of content from car dealers.

Generating content without commercial intent when you are a doing it purely for commercial intent is the very definition of search engine spam.

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 11, 2015 at 4:06pm

As for the web, we can sit here and talk SEO and keyword rankings all day and night. It's great to rank for high search traffic keywords and measure them for their conversion prowess. However, and this is a MASSIVE HOWEVER, if you've a site that ranks well, but isn't usable, failing to perform on all devices, etc. you're doing it incorrectly.

I know, I'm a broken record...

We've not touched base on the User Experience aspect, which many ignore or fail to test. It's all about the user experience to Google and that includes the manner in which a site displays and easy access to all content, plus speed. Responsive design has been around for ages, it's just now catching fire in the web world. 

User Experience (UX) involves a person's behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service. User Experience includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person's perceptions of system aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency. User Experience may be considered subjective in nature to the degree that it is about individual perception and thought with respect to the system. User Experience is dynamic as it is constantly modified over time due to changing usage circumstances and changes to individual systems as well as the wider usage context in which they can be found.

Instructional Design (also called Instructional Systems Design (ISD)) is the practice of creating "instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective, and appealing." The process consists broadly of determining the current state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating some "intervention" to assist in the transition.

More broadly: Human–computer interaction (HCI) involves the study, planning, design and uses of the interaction between people (users) and computers. It is often regarded as the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design, media studies, and several other fields of study.

Through RWD (Responsive Web Design), it's easy for Google to crawl a great amount of data with the same URL, whereas more mobile site platforms make it much more difficult, just in general. The indexing aspect as well as being able to manipulate many aspects of content marketing, such as using a variety of plugins to accelerate Mobile SEO, which is NOT Global / National or Local (this should be highly noted).

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 11, 2015 at 3:52pm

Love this post and there is so much room for more "traffic and lead generators."

Hence my creation of the first automotive marketplace for Smart TVs. Starting with Roku, then Amazon Fire, etc. TV commercials will be able to connect to it, in a very unique way (think Shazam, but from TV ads to Smart TV lead execution).

The first automotive marketplace for the Roku Smart TV platform. Over 750,000 inventory listings (vehicle detail pages) available to the public. Dealerships will have the ability to sell their vehicles through the application, which will provide leads to their CRMs / BDCs.

Comment by David DeSantis on January 11, 2015 at 6:49am

"Today's consumers are savvy and don't want to be sold. Instead, they want to be informed."
"Using interest generators, you can sell without selling by simply being genuinely helpful."

Great post Tim, and unfortunately most dealers don't play the long game with the Internet.  They are too focused on today and getting results today!  Content marketing is a process that's all about time.  Rand Fishkin did a great video about content marketing, and how you're building up a bank, so that down the road you'll be able to start to cash in on all the content you've created.

Pinterest is an excellent top funnel source for dealers.  Excellent SEO, and a great way to build a dealer following base.  I have almost 30k followers for a specialty vehicle segment of the auto market Pinterest account.  I know that down the road, I'll be able to tap into that "bank".

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