A good friend of mine, Thayne Peterson, called up yesterday and asked what he should do with his website to just help it perform a bit better. As you can imagine we get that question quite a bit around here, especially now that more people have kind of figured out what SoloSEO is about. This friend owns an auto dealership in Provo, UT (free link alert) and deals mostly in high-quality, used BMWs. He also has a repair shop as well, where they specialize in repairing most German made cars (this needs to be stated more clearly on the website). He, like many of us, just wants to be a bit more visible online.
In our conversation he mentioned he was considering signing up for a local online business directory, and perhaps purchasing some advertising on their site. He wondered if I thought it was a good idea, so I took a look. After some initial poking around, it was soon obvious that signing up was free, and the site existed solely on ad space it sold on the site. So I had no problem with him signing up, at least it is a new link to him, and this directory is well put together and has quite a comprehensive overview of local business, organized by category. I didn’t tell him if I thought purchasing an ad on this site was a good move or not, I don’t know enough about this directory’s traffic mix, or his business to understand if online advertising will provide a high enough ROI to make the ad price worth the investment. I will leave that decision to him.
But after a quick review of his site, I just gave him a few ideas that I think will help its performance in the search engines. First off, he does an excellent job of keeping the inventory of current cars up to date. As soon as they receive a new car, they clean it up and takes some nice pictures of the car, and then put those up with a simple description of each car on the site. I suggested that they should spend a bit more time on creating content for each car, focusing more on some keywords they are targeting, as well as the specifics of each car. These keywords should come from what they feel their strengths are, with local references included, like Provo, UT, Northern Utah, 40 South of Salt Lake City, UT, as examples. Additionally, I would have them use SoloSEO tools to analyze other local automotive sites doing well in the search engines, and then start targeting those keywords as well. Finally, they should also make sure the photos for each car are labeled clearly, and using an occasional keyword here and there, in a picture description, isn’t going to hurt rankings either. 😉
Once a car is sold, they currently take the content and the pictures of that car off the site. I think this is a mistake many of us make. Rather, I would suggest they create a sold page, or past inventory page, then organize all the cars by model and year on this sold/directory page. Keep all that content written about each car, and the descriptive photos for each in play for the search engines. If they spend time creating the content, then they should continue benefiting from it. Plus, it might help potential clients find a model of car they are looking for. Thayne does a great job finding cars according to a potential buyer’s specifications. He did this for me, and it worked out great. So, if a potential buyer found a car on Thayne’s site by browsing the past inventory, which takes no time from Thayne’s sales people (truly a major benefit of any well conceived site), and Thayne gets a new client to work with, along with all the specs he needs to find a similar car, it is a win/win for everyone.
Next, I would suggest they start a company blog, it is another easy way to add content. We of course love WordPress Blogging system, we use it ourselves, and highly recommend it to everyone. On the Independent Import’s blog I would have them blog about sales they are having on certain cars, about automotive tips, about information on recalls, about new performance parts or options to “pimp our rides,” and even about the new innovations BMW is coming out with all the time. The automotive industry is one of constant innovation and change, and this provides excellent and frequent topics for a blog. Keep the blog fresh, with one or two posts a week at least, and also let his current and new clients know about the blog. Many new car owners are passionate about their cars (especially BMW owners), and reading new info about their brand of car and possible improvements/options, is very interesting and will increase business. I’ll bet Thayne could get quite a good subscription base fairly quickly, I know I would sign up.
I would guess there are many of us who feel like we need to do better online. Our site is there, but we need it to perform better, if at all and bring us some new clients. This is most easily done through search. Look for ways to increase your content, adding new pages, and a blog. Then write about products, changes in the industry, and keep your content, don’t ever throw it away. It may need to be tweaked or placed on an archives page of some sort, but you worked hard to create it, let it continue to work for you, it will make a difference in search engine rankings. As far as all the free advice to Thayne, I will take it on trade for a M3 convertible, black… of course. 🙂