This is the second half of the article titled: "Optimizing Dealer Websites - Content Design and Placement for New and Redesigned Sites"
5. Get Cozy With and Show Your Web Page Header Tags Some Love
OK, now that you are writing the Encyclopeadia of Brittani ca of car buying so that you have plenty of high value, unique and relevant content to build into on your new site or redesign, you need to organize it properly. Putting a fair amount of thought and care into organizing dealership website content is important for several reasons.
Organizing your site's web pages with sections of content identified with H1 and H2 header meta tags can make your content much more readable to customers skimming through your site's 5,000 pages of original and unduplicated content (LOL).
Are header tags (also known as H tags) still important for search engine optimization? Despite the theory that Google no longer gives as much emphasis on header tags, due to the fact website suppliers abused them by keyword stuffing; correctly structured use of H tags still produces good results for dealership websites. Used correctly and structured in a logical way, header tags not only help a dealer's website do better in SERP rank, they also help increase customer satisfaction with the content on the page.
The home page at www.Autonation.com is easier to read and does better in search engine rank due to their proper use of header tags. These tags help search engines understand the main themes of the page, thus helping in terms of SEO if keywords are present. Here's a few header tag examples from Autonation.com with dashes thrown inside the tag open and close brackets so your browser will display them on this page:
<-h1 align="center"-><-font color="#000000"->Car Dealers<-/font-> <-/h1->
<-br /-> <-h2 align="center"-><-font color="#000000"->New & Used Auto Dealerships<-/font-> <-/h2->
6. Use Your Content to Drive Calls to Action
Every page in your eCommerce focused dealership website should have a unique business generating objective. Keep the social and relationship building content for your dealership community and CRM tool emails... Now, if you have been paying attention and have ensured that your site has no duplicate content, you have already pretty much got the unique objective thing going on... Think of it this way, for every possible way to generate a customer's interest in a manner that creates communication (conversion), have a dedicated page within your site. Your site's pages should also be interesting and informative for your customers. Let me show you an example of a dealer website where a lot of thought has been put into creating lots of content around different information objectives, each with its own call to action. Click on the screen capture image below and then point your cursor to the "INVENTORY" tab on the menu bar:
There are 13 pages inside the AutoAves.com INVENTORY section, as shown when you point your cursor to the menu bar tab. Each of them is focused on supplying the information content that a car shopper may be looking for, along with a call to action. For example, the page within the Inventory drop down menu bar titled "Value Your Trade" provides a consumer with the information they need by asking them to fill out a Trade-In Evaluation Form so that an accurate number may be sent to the customer by the dealership. Other dealers have replaced this form with the Kelley Blue Book LeadDriver tool, an excellent way to inform and create a call to action at the same time, which results in a business opportunity for the dealership.
Likewise the "SELL US YOUR CAR" page from the same INVENTORY tab provides car shoppers with both information and a call to action relevant to anyone who wants to sell their current vehicle... Always a good prospect for whatever cars and trucks you are selling. Don't forget to put those important requests for customer action, such as web forms, phone numbers, Chat clients, Push-to-Talk links, Test Drive requests, Get Driving Directions, etc. on every page in your dealership's website... Even a "Quick Quote form on the side of road test and review pages is better than no call to action at all... Otherwise, you might as well say you cannot handle any more leads.
7. Always Use Website Content that is Fully Visible and as Easy to Read as Possible
Never let anyone convince you to place "white font on white background" text that is supposedly hidden from customers, but indexed by search engines... The same goes for using invisible links as well! Hiding contextual content within your website's architecture is the Kiss of Death for SEO. Even if you are not trying to be sneaky and are just trying to make your site more pleasing from an aesthetic perspective, this mistake will cost your dealership dearly by getting it banned 52 pages deep in the search results listings! Even if the reasons behind hidden text or links to your other sites may be quite innocent, Google is gonna throw a can of whupass at your site's visibility in customer search results. Despite what some of the clowns out there selling SEO Snake Oil might say, hiding text content on your site from visitors in some ill conceived scheme to "Dominate the Search Engines" will result in the exact opposite of what you want to happen! This comes under the category of "tell the dealer how deceptive and crafty we are so they pay as more money..." I would like to think that any dealer still in business in September 2009 is smarter than to believe such crap, but i keep hearing about and seeing evidence to the contrary.
8. Learn to Love Your Video and Image Content
OK, so you have heard all manner of exaggerated claims around "Video SEO" and how it is the newest way to "Dominate the Search Results"... Can we get Charlton Heston's voice on an MP3 clip saying "DOMINATE THE SEARCH ENGINES WITH VIDEO SEO"? And, we need to insert a slight pause after the word "with" and right before "video" so we can substitute whatever bullshit is flying around the car business at various points in the future related to whatever we are trying to sell dealers... Can you see it... "Dominate the Search Engines with Acme Copier Paper".
Anyways, you simply have to learn to love your Video and Image file content by properly tagging, labeling, headlining, describing and file naming it with the right, relevant and TRUE keywords... Noooooo... Naming all your used car picture files with "Jessica Biel" in the file name, and putting Jessica Biel's name in their Alt Tags, and video description text is, well, even if it would be a kick ass SEO tactic, it just would not be right! Stop, do NOT do it! All you will get is a hundred thousand unique visitors a day, and lots of lead forms with comments like "Here's my credit card number, can you send me Jessica's discarded kleenex?" Kind of like when Courtesy Chevrolet was getting over a thousand 2010 Chevy Camaro leads a month in 2007... Be careful what you wish for!
However, properly identifying and tagging your video and image content is a powerful way to get the right traffic from automotive consumers based on the lack of competition in cyber space for this type of SERP rank... For example, the screenshot immediately below is the standard Google Web SERP for a query I made from my home in the Phoenix area for "Chevy Malibu in Phoenix, AZ"... The second image shows the exact same search, when i click on the "Images" tab that appears above the Google search field, which is what millions of people do every day... Look at how different the Google Images SERP is compared to the Google Web SERP for the same terms.... This is just one of hundreds of ways to use Video and Image based content to get great results from what a lot of people are calling "Universal Search". Google Web SERP for "Chevy Malibu in Phoenix, AZ":
Next, the Google Images SERP for "Chevy Malibu in Phoenix, AZ":
And, for those of you who say "so what", think of it this way, I created the microsites at http://courtesy.mst.bzresults.net and http://2008ChevyMalibu.com and http://chevyarizona.com more than 3 years ago with the intent that the image content and the tags, file names and descriptions would rank the sites higher in Google for image search... Here it is 3 years later and those images are still at the top of the SERP. Can you imagine what you could accomplish with a current and up to date effort at properly tagging, describing and listing your video and image content so the4 search engines will index it properly? Don't just sit there looking at this article which ended up being a lot longer than I intended... Get to work on your dealership website content!
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