Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
|by Ben Brockhaus-Hall, Cobalt SEO Specialist|
Google has gotten smarter. Just this past September, they surprised everyone with a complete algorithm overhaul, called Hummingbird. Essentially, it changed the way Google ranks dealer websites and displays data. The new algorithm is based on semantic search, focusing on user intent versus individual search terms, in hopes of providing searchers with higher quality content more specific to what the searcher is actually searching for.
Whether you're an SEO enthusiast or you only dabble in dealer SEO, you’ve probably noticed how organic search has changed. When you search for something on Google, the search engine results page (SERP) is A LOT different than it was even just a year ago. For example, say you want to find out the weather forecast. You might end up with a SERP that looks like this:
Maybe you want to find out about a specific person. Your SERP may look like this:
Structured Data. Rich snippets. Knowledge Graphs. You may have heard these terms being bandied about. If you haven’t, don’t worry, you will. According to Alexa, 75% of the top 100 websites on the Internet use structured data.
Structured data are markup tags on your website that essentially enable search engines to tell what your website is about, and offer up an enriched SERP. This also allows search engines to provide “Rich Snippets” on your SERPs. Examples of rich snippets include your dealership's review stars, videos, images, and galleries.
Today, I'll talk about one of the most important byproducts of structured data: The Knowledge Graph.
The information you see to the right of the links on the below “Barack Obama” SERP is called a Knowledge Graph.
So where does it come from? The answer: Nobody knows. Just kidding. Sort of.
For the most part, we know where Google scrapes this information from. What we know is this: Google gets information for the knowledge graph primarily from freebase.com, Wikipedia.org and from Google+. Though there are some exceptions. There are also cases where Google decides not to show certain information, for whatever reason.
What does this mean for your dealership?
So as an automobile dealership, is it possible to populate your own Knowledge Graph?
Absolutely! Freebase.com, a large collaborative knowledge base, is owned by Google, and not exactly user-friendly. Wikipedia is also a collaborative site, and is peer-reviewed, which can make it difficult and time consuming to get updates approved and provide the necessary sources. So that leaves us with Google+.
In the past, a top five ranking on Google was pretty darn good. But with Knowledge Graphs taking up so much space on the SERPS, a ranking of fourth or fifth on Google may not get you as many clicks as it did in the past.
That’s why as a business owner in the automotive or any other industry, it is more important than ever to have a Google+ Local page. Once you have this populated, optimized and tied to your website via the Google Publisher Tag (Cobalt SEO Specialist Alejandra Olvera-Novack talks more about this in her blog entry, What the Google Publisher Tag Can Mean for Your Dealership’s Search Results), you will dominate the SERPs more than ever with as much information as possible, including address, phone number, hours, photos, categories and more.
In short, when someone is searching for your dealership, you want to take up as much space as possible on the SERP, just like this:
The Knowledge Graph is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to structured data. I’ll save some of the other fun for another day. In the meantime, happy optimizing!
About the Author
|Ben Brockhaus-Hall is a Search Engine Optimization Specialist with Cobalt. In the past, he has worked as a marketing copywriter and journalist. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling the world, cooking, gardening, discovering new music, playing basketball and paying entirely too much attention to sports in general. His first car was a 2001 Toyota Corolla. Currently, his Honda is on its last legs and he's looking at all options for his next car. Electric perhaps?Benjamin.Brockhaus-Hall@adp.com.|