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One of the keys to being a true dealership partner amongst a sea of vendors is having the willingness to “share the playbook” with our clients and prospects. This is much more important today than ever before in the world of automotive internet marketing because the changes are happening too rapidly. Marketing professionals and companies must stay on top of these changes from day to day and adjust accordingly, something that the vast majority of dealers simply do not have time to do.

Search engine marketing has been in a state of constant flux for nearly a year now. It has always been a challenge keeping up with the changes, but today the changes are coming at us so rapidly that we have to stay tuned in at all times. This is good for those who truly do stay on top; dealers and vendors who have the right plans up front but who also keep them fluid enough to change on the fly are the ones that will have the most success in 2013.

Thankfully, there are certain rock solid activities that have staying power. Google and Bing love quality, so understanding the activities that will work today and that will continue to work tomorrow act as a wonderful hedge against the nuanced changes that happen constantly. Minor course corrections on a solid strategy is the key to sustained success (for us and for dealers).

Here are some of the things that we know work today and that will continue to work in the foreseeable future. There are risky moves that make rankings go up quickly and watch them fall even faster, then there are safe bets that play the SEO market with a steady hand. These are some of those things. The best part – you don’t need a vendor to make these things happen for you. The power is well within your grasp. Pick any one of these activities and do it right now. Bookmark this page and come back to it in a couple of days, a week, or whenever you have time to push forward. Search rankings move with or without your input. Take more control of the outcome by doing these simple tasks regularly.

  1. Build a Content Page – I’ve harped on this point many times but it will never get old. Assuming you have a proper CMS that allows for it, you should build a content page. This isn’t a conversion page. It’s not a page that will compel visitors to buy a car. It’s a page with interesting content that only you can supply that supports your conversion pages. By bringing value to the table, you’ll be able to give Google and Bing what they want: quality. For example, you can build a page that lists five key components the 2013 Toyota Camry has that other makes and models do not have. Of course, you’ll be sure to add contextual links to conversion pages such as inventory search pages for the Camry, specials, or anything else that this page can support.
  2. Get Social Signals to your Pages – This is much quicker than you might think as far as activities go. People at your dealership are on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ right now. Take a stroll around the dealership with a particular important URL or two in mind and ask them to share the page on their social profiles. Some will not want to “pollute” their feed with what they may consider workplace spam, but this is another reason why you will want to have strong content pages (see tip #1) handy. They might not want to share the inventory pages directly, but who wouldn’t want to share an interesting piece of content such as this?
  3. Write a Guest Post – You or someone at your dealership has expertise in cars and the ability to write about it. Find this person. Send out an email to the company and ask if anyone is interested in doing some writing on the side for the dealership. You don’t need much – a couple of pieces of content a month will suffice for now. Once you have some story ideas, pitch them to appropriate blogs and local websites. Some will not be responsive. Others welcome the opportunity to get fresh, unique content for free. This one actually requires a much longer article to describe in detail, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started today.

Content, social signals, and links. These are the three key components to search engine optimization that are within your power even if you’re not a website developer. Remember to hold quality at the highest level when planning your strategies. A focus on quality over quantity is what has helped us stay on top of the game for so long. Tricks come and go. Quality optimization principles have staying power. Use them.

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