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Site Maps Make All the Difference in Automotive SEO

Despite the changes in search, technology, and online marketing techniques, some of the old school tactics of a couple years ago still hold plenty of value when it comes to today's automotive SEO and have the potential to help make your website a success. The site map is one of those tried and true tools that have remained a crucial element for any website, even despite rapid changes in design, development, and marketing.

Site maps are a great opportunity that often is ignored. An XML format site map in particular provides search engines with a blueprint of your website. There's no telling how deep a search engine will delve into your website, which makes having an accurate and easy to navigate site map essential. It informs search engines of the pages your website contains and tells the crawlers where these pages can be found. A site map is also scalable, and can provide ongoing value to a website of any size.

In addition to the XML site map, a static site map within your website could be tweaked to deliver both search visibility and SEO value. First, don't succumb to the tendency to leave the site map as an ultra simple list of links. Instead, dress the links up by providing a short snippet of text around the link to describe what the page is all about. In addition, use keyword-rich anchor text on the link itself. A site map should essentially be like the table of contents in a magazine; instead of just providing a page number, also include a snapshot of the content to entice potential readers.

Sure site maps aren't exciting, but they remain a vital and often unsung component for on-site SEO. This is especially important if you're restructuring content or undergoing a redesign. Plus, believe it or not, website users actually do use site maps to navigate and find content on your website! While they can easily be a low priority, especially next to the more interactive parts of your site, a site map is helpful for car dealer SEO and should always remain a prominent fixture.

For more information about site maps and how search engines use them, I recommend exploring Google's help resources.

Views: 55

Tags: architecture, car, dealer, design, information, maps, navigation, seo, site, web

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Dealer
Comment by Pat Floegel on June 8, 2009 at 6:56am
Great info ....I always get so much useful info from ADM
Comment by David on June 5, 2009 at 10:50am
Thanks for the comments Brian and Richard, well said. I think it’s important to note that it’s sometimes the simple things that can truly make or break the effectiveness of a website in regards to SEO, accessibility, and usability. Brian, you also bring up an excellent point that there are many (free) tools available that can heighten the exposure and effectiveness of your sitemap and content. These tools also provide excellent diagnostic capabilities that identify potential crawling and indexing issues.

Influencer
Comment by Richard Valenta on June 5, 2009 at 10:41am
David, many times the fundamentals of car dealer SEO are overlooked and you hit the nail on the head that sitemaps are not exciting but remain a vital component for on-site SEO. Strong grasp of the fundemantals coupled with the advanced proprietary secrets from companies such as TK Carsites or Pasch Consulting Group is the key to a successful Internet marketing plan.
Comment by Brian Pasch on June 4, 2009 at 7:28pm
David, you are right on point about the importance of sitemaps for Automotive SEO. Everyone should also know that once a sitemap and RSS feed for your website is created; you should register them with Google, Yahoo and MSN.

For Google, car dealers should create a free Google Webmaster Tools account and register their Sitemap. By doing this they can be alerted when links are broken as well as getting basic diagnostics on your website. Google Webmaster Tools will give you insight into how Google sees your website and will report common errors like duplicate META descriptions.

Yahoo has something called Site Explorer and you can get a free account and register your sitemap and RSS feeds. Here you can register both your sitemap and RSS feed, from your blog if you have one.

Microsoft Bing also has a Webmaster Tool Kit where you can register your sitemap and get feedback from their search engine.

The point is that if you take the time to create a dynamic sitemap, why not leverage the tools that the major search engine provide to register and diagnose your website. In the end, Automotive SEO is about measuring progress and these free tools are part of that measurement equation.

Also, if you create a blog for your dealership, you should register it with Techorati. It's a simple process and will be well worth the effort to have it register with this site.

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