Let’s get something straight.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, has been the driving conversation for digital marketers over the past few years. When used correctly, SEO improves a website’s search rankings and funnels hundreds (even thousands) of new traffic to the site, but that’s just the beginning. We’ve watched many competitors struggle with understanding the best practices of SEO or fail to place their team into strategic positions for the perfect execution.
DOM360 has been around since 2007, which means that for nearly 15 years, our services have helped clients all across the country. Our team has placed hundreds of clients on the first page of Google searches for all things automotive, celebrated featured snippets that ranked higher than some big-name auto brands and consistently placed our clients’ pages in the top number one or two rankings of local searches. You could say that we have some experience in helping our clients succeed when it comes to advertising.
We thought we would share some helpful tips about SEO that we have found to be the best practices. Keep reading to learn how SEO can generate more leads and more clicks on Google.
This is basic stuff. No user — yourself included — wants to stick around waiting for pages to load. It’s one of the first signs that your site needs some maintenance, much less optimization. But what’s a good rule to follow? Try keeping loading speeds to no longer than three seconds on mobile and six seconds on desktop (Remember those?).
And since we’re talking about website health, are your pages accessible? If Google can’t crawl — or discover — the page, consider it unsearchable. Search engines find pages through a single page called the sitemap. Like a hallway in a house, the sitemap directs search engines through the “doors” to other pages by keyword strategy, internal and external links. Cautiously link your keywords to other relevant pages to give search engines a big picture of how your website reads, but be careful not to overdo it. Too many internal links result in a negative impact.
Ah, keywords. The golden boys of SEO. Many try to target broad, generic keywords — like auto service, new car sales, finance department — but because they oversimplify, they fail to reach the audience they want. The fundamental rule for keywords is to target specific and long-tail keywords and phrases. To determine which keywords are worth fighting for (like car washes, RAV4 parts and accessories, GAP insurance), we sit down with our clients and ask them about their customer base. Don’t waste your time attempting to rank for highly competitive keywords since your competition is likely trying to do the same thing.
But how do you target those specific and long-tail keywords? Understand your customer persona or a personality that would represent everything a typical customer would want. For example, a customer persona would be “a family upgrading their vehicle to a car that’s more spacious.” After crafting a list of customer personas, you can start to build a list of attainable keywords to target — the more tailored to your customer’s interests, the better.
You’ve heard it before: Location matters. Where are your keywords placed in your title tags? Do they appear in the first line of your body paragraphs? Do your images contain them in the alt tags? How are your page titles utilizing long-tail keywords?
Yes, it all matters: Strategize your on-page elements to rank your pages higher. That means making your pages’ titles work hard, your descriptions locally relevant and giving your URL more of a punch than a speech. When our team is crafting a page, we use titles with long-tail keywords or keywords that attract a focused, highly-specific audience to the page. Instead of scrambling to rank for “cars” in searches, we’d rather see you rank high for “Do Name-Brand Batteries Actually Perform Better” or “The Used Car Buying Guide” instead. Rewriting your titles to be conversational to match the increasing volume of voice searches (or talk-to-text questions) is also vital.
Another rule we follow is anchoring our page descriptions in local cities surrounding our clients to draw a wider net for your specific keyword. And for crying out loud, stop making your URLs longer than the page. Sweet and short URLs that carry weight, not volume, can aid in SEO value.
Smart, compelling creative is the way forward if you want your SEO to rank your content high and result in pages clicked. Remember: Google’s smart, and so are your users. That means avoid the practice of keyword stuffing and duplicating content. One of DOM360’s best resources is our creative team, who knows that each page on our clients’ website needs to be uniquely tailored to their branding. Custom is critical, and that includes everything from the keyword targeted to the image alt tags. It’ll draw more traffic to your pages, and if your content is interesting, more users will stick around.
So let’s say you have your basic SEO strategies nailed down, and you’ve seen promising traffic results over time. What’s next? We expand our clients’ Google business listing, the service that Google offers local businesses to increase local awareness, credibility and engagement. Many business owners aren’t aware of their Google My Business (GMB) profile, even though it’s essentially a customer acquisition tool waiting to be optimized.
We help our client claim their business, fill out the relevant information and maintain their GMB listing like it’s part of their main website. Use GMB to complement websites, not become one, and watch your website traffic increase even more.
And finally, our most practiced strategy is to remember that the strategy always changes. SEO is an ever-evolving system as search engines become smarter and learn how to read their users better. So just because you may feel secure in your website traffic now doesn’t mean that it’ll stay that way in another year or two. If we were to practice the same SEO strategy as we did back in 2007, you would be wondering why your website ranking has fallen off.
That’s why we stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest. When Google says jump, we ask for the measurements. We learn SEO for you and to stay on top of your websites’ health. Because that’s what we do — we smash the objective. We discover, optimize and master for your business’ success. Does your website need a second opinion?