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SEO Reboot - In the vast world of the Internet your SEO strategy provides the search engines with a "GPS" so they can find you!

The numbers just keep on climbing: 70% of households now use the Internet when searching for products and services, and 97% of Internet users in the U.S. gather their shopping information online. Nearly every one of these shoppers uses a search engine like Google or Bing as the primary way to gather that information and decide from whom they will purchase.
Google, Bing, etc... provide thousands of pages of results in less than a second, but less than 2% of Internet searchers ever make it past page 1. Said another way, 98% of Internet searchers never make it to the second page of search results. Clearly, then, the ability to not only be found but ranked on page 1 as close to the top of the search engine results page as possible is critical to online success.
Search engine optimization has evolved significantly in the last few years, from a time when being found on the Internet was as simple as adding some meta data - titles, descriptions, and keywords - to your website. The search engines of the day weren't able to delve very far into the different types of content hosted on the pages, so meta data was taken at face value.
Now we find ourselves in a new age where every bit of the content on your site is a chance to optimize, from the latest pictures you posted to your Facebook business page to the links in your last blog. Search engines take into account far more than just meta data, including the different types of content hosted on the page and even factoring in the level of relevancy between your meta data and the on-page content. Image files, links, and even filenames are now given weight by the search engines' ever changing algorithms. The reality is that SEO is more important than ever, particularly for car dealers and anyone who is working with more media than with just text.
How do you decide which searches, or keywords, apply most relevantly to you and therefore how to optimize? Let's reboot and review the basics:
Title Tags: 70 characters is the maximum that will be displayed in the search engine results
a. The most important keywords should be placed at the beginning
b. Make the most of your character space
Meta descriptions: between 150 - 170 characters; but if the meta description does not serve as a good, user-friendly description that is relevant to the page, Google will disregard the meta description entered and take a "snippet" of any content in the page the algorithm sees as relevant
a. The meta description is a critical part of the ad, as the text appears below the title tag link on the SERP and must be engaging enough for people, not search engines
b. The search engines themselves now see relevant content on the page, so target descriptions toward users, not the browsers
Keyword Stuffing: SEO guidelines now dictate that the practice of trying to squeeze in as many cities as possible is no longer useful; list only the most targeted 2 or 3 cities at most. Users will not search for a dealership in small towns, they will search within the nearest city or metropolis they know is big enough to contain a dealership
a. 8 keywords/key phrases... no more! Google will now penalize you for "keyword stuffing;" read on to better understand why this practice is no longer accepted.
Search engines have spent a tremendous amount of effort in tuning their search algorithms to produce as relevant results as possible. Your SEO strategy must be tailored to match the content on the page.
Use Online Tools
Online tools like TagCrowd (www.tagcrowd.com) can immediately evaluate any website, page, or piece of text and create a "relevancy cloud," a visual representation of the words and concepts that are most prevalent on the page. If the largest words in that cloud are synchronous with what you want to represent and promote, then you've just made a perfect "cheat sheet" for the best keywords for that page. If the cloud is completely different than the keywords and concepts you want to be noticed, then it's time to go back to the drawing board and work in some more content relevant to your promotional goal.
The best advice for any dealership wrapping their arms around their SEO strategy is to "know thyself." Start broad, then whittle your services down to keywords and phrases that most accurately represent your dealership and your target market area. Remember, if a different page on your website represents different content, then the SEO must also represent accordingly - no copy/pasting the same SEO from page to page!
Don't be fooled by the "wide net" approach, using keywords that are so broad or vague that they'd apply to any dealership. Such a "wide net" approach serves to do nothing but let all the fish swim straight through. Also, avoid "keyword stuffing" - the 1990s' practice of using as many keywords as you can fit on the screen is long-since obsolete. Only a page with a short (6-8) list of keywords that are relevant to the website content, and other meta data that makes for an engaging organic listing, will find a home on the first page of results for the exact type of customer you seek to serve.
Customers are out there looking for you. In the vast world of the Internet your SEO strategy provides the search engines with a "GPS" so they can find you!

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Tags: SEO, keywords, media, meta, organic, results, search, social, tags

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