Organic VS Paid Search Engine Results

The Mystery of OPE Dealership Ranking on Search Engines

The Mystery of OPE Dealership Ranking on Search Engines

Google Search Engine Ranking Factors

Search Engine Factors for Google

What is a Search Engine?

A search engine is an application designed to search for information on the internet. Google, Bing and Yahoo are examples of search engines. A search engine will look for information and index it based on what it finds. It will also assign each page a PageRank score. PageRank is a score that Google assigns to each page. The PageRank is based on the number and quality of other sites that link to the page and the importance of the sites that are linking to it.

It is key to understand how search engines work to fully understand how to optimize for them.

The search algorithms used by Google and other search engines are large collections of other algorithms and formulas, each with its own purpose and task. These algorithms work together to produce results that a user will be satisfied with.

In fact, there are algorithms in place specifically to monitor the satisfaction of users with the results they get, and to make adjustments where necessary.

Paid Search Results

Organic VS Paid Search Engine Results

Organic VS Paid Search Engine Result Page

Organic search results are not a means of generating revenue for search engines like Google, but they do have other powerful uses. If there were no organic search results, paid search results would become less relevant, reducing views and clicks in the process. While organic listings may not generate revenue for Google directly, they do indirectly contribute to the company’s bottom line by keeping users engaged with the search engine.

Why does this matter? The layout changes, existence of search features and click through rates of organic results are all driven by this. By displaying a featured snippet, Google allows users to find answers to their questions without having to leave the site. For commercial intent questions, Google adds an additional paid search result. This is due to these driving factors.

How do search engines rank pages?

Before we think about how, lets think about why. It would be a lot cheaper and easier for search engines to display pages randomly, by word count, freshness or any other variable or easier sorting systems. They don’t do this because no one would want to use the search engine if they did it this way.

First, search engines classify the query that is coming in. This gives the engine the necessary information to perform the rest of the steps. For example, is the query local, a question, etc.

The next step is context. This is where the search engine relies on any relevant information they have on the user entering the query. This could be the location of the search or many other factors. This is where historical and environmental data comes into play.

The search engine then weighs different factors in importance relevant to the query. (Authority, how recently it was published, etc.) The layout of the page is then created based on the context gathered. What is important to remember here, without getting too technical, is that the different elements of any given search results page are determined almost instantly.

Finally, ranking can take place. After all the information is gathered and analyzed, the search engine can rank sites based on the criteria determined in the previous steps. This is an extremely simplified version of how search engines work- machine learning is also a huge part of Google and search engines as well. For more information about how search engines work, check out this guide from Search Engine Journal.

With so many factors at play- how will I ever get my site to rank?

You can use the machine learning systems of the search engines to assist in your content development strategies. With Devices and technology changing rapidly, keeping up with what is happening with search engines can give you clues to how your consumer interacts with content and what types of content they expect.

Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is the process of optimizing a website for search engines. This has become more important than ever for small businesses who aren’t able to spend millions of dollars on advertising. Ranking at the top of search engines is what will get your business noticed.

Search Engine Results Google

Google Search Engine Results

A Few Tips to Help Your Rankings

NAP: Make Sure that your Name, Address, and Phone Number are correct across all listings. When this information remains uniform, it tells the search engine that this is the correct information. Make sure you spell your name the exact same way across Facebook, Google, LinkedIn or other social media as well as business listings such as Yelp and the Yellow Pages.

Backlinks: Pages with more backlinks tend to rank higher than those with fewer backlinks. A backlink is a link from another website to your site. You should always work to add more of these to your site. A simple way to do that is to sign up for all the free listings you can, Yelp, Google My Business, Bing, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, and any other niche/service pages to which your services are used. Links from more authoritative sites are also weighed more heavily than from lesser sites. There are multiple strategies you can employ to help add backlinks.

Good Quality Content: Google wants to rank sites that are worth ranking. Having a customer first mindset when creating content versus stuffing for keywords will get you much further. Consistently providing well written, quality content, will help your overall ranking on your page.

Mobile Friendly: Since most people search the internet via their phones these days, its no surprise that mobile friendliness is a ranking factor for search engines. This part can get a little technical, so it may be advised to use a professional for this. The main goal is to ensure a smooth experience regardless of where the web page is being used.

There are many other ranking factors and the ranking factors can vary from search engine to search engine. If you keep the basic idea in mind that you are creating content that will be useful for your target audience, it is relatively easy to employ some of the basic SEO principles.

You don’t have to know it all! Your customers are looking for you online. Give them what they want and make it easy for them to find you. Let Dealers Digital help you maximize your online exposure and boost your sales.

Contact Us now to learn more about how we can help your business grow with Search engine optimization, Dealer Websites, Digital Advertising, Reputation Management, Social Media and more!

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Local SEO – Demystifying What SEO Really Means For Your Dealership

This article originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of OPE Business.

I once had a dealer tell me that the “S” in SEO, stood for snake oil. I chuckled at the sentiment. Mostly because I knew where he was coming from. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has gotten a bad rap over the years due to unscrupulous marketing providers selling back links and blog and well, snake oil. And it’s difficult not to understand how SEO got that rap. Results can be hard to quantify. Customers don’t always give it the time required to start working. Positive results can be written off as the seasonality of the market. And Google changes their algorithm ALL THE TIME. What used to work 5 years ago and drove tons of traffic to your site, may now be considered spammy and the Google will swiftly devalue your site to the depths of – gasp – page 2 or worse of the search results, never to be seen again. But SEO doesn’t have to be this mythical bag of tricks that nobody understands. The concept of SEO is actually quite simple. How can we optimize your web presence so that the people who are looking for your products can actually find you? How we do it though, is the most important thing to understand. The first thing we need to do is differentiate between Local and National SEO. Understanding the difference will make all the difference in the tactics you use to optimize your business.

National SEO

National SEO means you are trying to rank as highly as possible for keywords or phrases that relate to your product or service on a national level. Simple right? Well, yes and no. Go Google a product you sell, something simple like Cub Cadet XT1 and note the results that pop up. The first few results are going to be dominated by links to cubcadet.com, followed by large national retail outlets like Home Depot and others. It certainly makes sense that Cub Cadet would show up at the top for searches that relate to “cub cadet”.

There are many factors that go into their position at the top of the search results. Important aspects include

  • Domain authority
  • Number of quality back links
  • Rich catalog data
  • Quality of on-site unique content

It takes a lot of time and effort (and money) to make sure all of the ingredients for Google’s secret sauce are accounted for and the truth is, it’s a large investment that most dealers simply don’t need to make. Because you’re trying to reach ready-to-buy local customers, not try to outrank cubcadet.com. If Cub Cadet is doing a great job with their national SEO, that’s going to help brand awareness and local searches that lead customers to your doorstep. If you are a national brand, an e-commerce store or a very large chain dealership that has a wide net to cast for eyeballs, national SEO is extremely important, but for smaller dealerships, it’s neither realistic or necessary.

Local SEO

Local SEO means that you are trying to make sure your business shows up as high as possible when potential customers are looking for the product you sell. In the previous example, someone searching for “cub cadet XT1” should expect to find the product page at cubcadet.com rank near the top of search results. The important thing to remember with SEO is that you have to consider the intent of search. Think about how a search for “cub cadet XT1” vs “cub cadet XT1 near me” or “cub cadet dealership” changes how Google interprets the searcher’s intent. When a searcher adds a local qualifier like “near me” or your local city/state to their original search, Google understands that the searcher is looking for a business in their local area and returns results. So go google something like “cub cadet dealership near me” and note the results. At the top of the page you’ll like see what we call the “map pack”. The map pack displays the top three businesses in your general area that match your original search term.

Think about the importance of a local search and local search intent. If you search for a “cub cadet dealership near me” or “lawnmower repair near me”, it stands to reason that you’re looking for a business near you that sells Cub Cadet mowers or can repair your lawnmower. So if you can optimize your business to appear at the top of that list, research indicates that a whopping 75% of local-intent searches result in a store visit within 24 hours, ready to buy what you’re selling.

So how do you optimize for local-intent searches? Your Google Business Profile holds the key to dominating local search results. I’ve spoken at length about Google Business Profiles (formerly known as Google My Business) in the past, but understanding how to properly optimize your profile leads to dominance in the Google map pack.

SEO doesn’t have to be the black magic tactic that many think it is. It’s perfectly valid and extremely powerful when done correctly. But when done poorly, it can also have a negative effect on your business. So as with any task you outsource, it’s important to seek validation, ask the right questions and work with a vendor that you know you can trust.

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Love Your Website and It Will Love You Back

This article originally appeared in the May edition of OPE Business

If you had the chance to hire someone who doesn’t take days off, requires no benefits and was responsible for bringing in the lion’s share of customers to your door, I imagine most business owners would do that in a heartbeat. Clearly, that person doesn’t exist, but your website – the digital front door of your dealership – does all of those things and more. Why then do so many dealers take a “set it and forget it” attitude toward their web presence?

Here are the five things you should be doing to make sure your website is truly working for you and your dealership.

  1. Keep it Updated
    This may seem rudimentary, but websites get stale and need to be updated. Your best-sellers from last year, may not be your best-sellers this year. Featuring zero-turns on your homepage in the dead of winter when your dealership is in Northern Minnesota might cause a disconnect with your customers. More importantly, search engines like Google value content freshness. Keeping your website updated with proper hours, services and catalog information signals to your customers and to Google that you are committed to providing a superior user experience.
  2. Design Matters
    You know what they say about first impressions right? Site design is not an area to skimp. In fact, a whopping 75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’ credibility on the quality of their website design. Showcasing your professionalism is important for every interaction a potential customer has with your business and for many, the customer journey begins when they find your website. In 2021, a poorly designed website is worse than not having a website at all. For dealers, that means you need to have full product catalogs, complete with high quality product images and multiple calls to action to capture user info.
  3. Make it Snappy
    When I first start building websites around 1997 or so, internet speeds were, shall we say, a bit slower than they are today. The general rule of thumb back then was shoot for an average load time of 8.8 seconds for best user experience. Today, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less! If you want to see how quickly your website loads, head on over to google.com and search for “Page Speed Insights” and you’ll be able to see exactly how Google measures your website performance.
  4. Mobile is important, but don’t ignore desktop
    Almost 56% of global web traffic comes from mobile devices, a trend that’s largely gone unchanged since 2017. For dealerships, we’re still seeing a larger percentage of traffic coming from desktop computers and tablets than the national average for other businesses. The reason for this is because lawn and ag equipment is many times a heavily researched purchase decision due the price and financing implications involved. Users will come back to your website over and over to compare models, promotions and financing offers and in our experience, a good amount of that research is still done on desktop devices.
  5. Commit to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    Building a website isn’t like Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come” has no bearing on the Internet. When you consider that 92% of all website traffic comes from the first page of Google results, you can see how important it is to commit to making sure your name and your brand can be found at the top of search results. It’s not enough to just show up #1 when a customer Googles your business name – that’s what Google Maps/Google My Business is for. The hard part is making sure a customer that doesn’t know you or has never been exposed to your brand can find you easily when searching for things like “lawnmower repair near me” or “Cub Cadet dealer Bardstown KY”. While some technical assistance may be required for long-term SEO efforts, if you want to start making an impact right away with your own SEO efforts, commit to creating content that can be added to your website. This content can take the form of manufacturer specific landing pages or by blogging frequently about your service offerings and promotions. Remember, Google prioritizes freshness and it craves original content. In a world where all of your competitors might be using the same website provider, with same content and the same designs, a little extra effort on your part or direction from a professional, might just be the little bump your dealership needs to outshine the rest.

Like anything else, if you put time and effort and resources into your web presence, the benefit to your dealership is nearly immeasurable. It is the #1 most essential tool you’ll ever utilize for your business so show it some love and it will love you back.

If your business is struggling to be found or your competitors are seemingly EVERYWHERE, we can help. Contact us to talk about SEO for OPE Dealerships & Landscapers.

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3 SEO Tips to Improve Your Keyword Optimization

Keyword Optimization is an essential part of SEO!

Improving SEO can help your site get found more easily, but you do have to go after it the right way.

Although you may not always notice them, keywords play an integral role when it comes to helping a small business get found online. You’ve probably heard that implementing keywords into the content on your website, blog, and URL are key strategies for improving your SEO ranking. 

 However, including the wrong keywords or too many keywords can be just as detrimental. Long gone are the days where you can fill up a hidden box with thousands of popular keywords to pop up in searches everywhere. Now, we have to be purposeful. 

So let’s get to it by breaking down the long and short (tail) of it. 

Do Your Own Keyword Research

Keyword research should never be a one-time commitment, but rather an ever-changing process that involves a strategy and a comprehensive understanding of your business and your industry. Including keywords that are specific to your business and industry will help to ensure that the right customers are being driven to your door rather than just any customer. Although we want to increase our customer base, we don’t want to target consumers that may not find the value in our business.

So, if you’re trying to attract customers who are in the business of commercial farming, you probably don’t want to use keywords that appeal to Grandma Daisy down the road.  They’re both interested in lawn and garden tools, but proper keywords can help you pick out the right person.

 

Using the Right Keywords

Short-tail keywords, or keywords composed of very generic keywords, might seem appealing because they’re searched more often than long-tail keywords, however, they’re also a lot more competitive. So, unless you’re writing content for a large organization, like Apple or Macy’s, and consumers are likely searching specifically for your product, you don’t want to enter into a sea of competitors with big brands that have even bigger pockets.

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, may not be as frequently typed into a search engine—think, “Egg” vs. “Poached Egg with Avocado and Bechemel”. By including more long-tail keywords into the content on your page, you’ll attract a larger number of customers who are likely to search for any combination of those long-tail keywords. People who already know EXACTLY what they want, and are ready to take action. 

Location-based keywords 

Are directly related to your business’s physical location. For example, if your business is a bakery in a popular neighborhood in Lexington, KY, you’ll want to include not only Lexington, but also the name of that specific neighborhood. By doing so, you’re more likely to target visitors in your area rather than across town who may or may not ever make it to your location. This is a great way to elevate your keyword optimization.

location based keywords local marketing

 Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Speaking of misleading customers that may not find value in your business, adding practically any keyword under the sun is referred to as keyword stuffing and is largely considered a taboo in the digital marketing world. Like with any other digital marketing rule of thumb, less is more and quality will always conquer quantity. Ideally, a website’s content should include keywords in a natural way, through product descriptions, blog articles, and generally having public content available that appeals to their targeted audience. 

However, by inputting keywords into a few sentences and repeating them over and over, you’re stuffing your content. Even if you think they’re good keywords, it’s still too much, and your ranking will suffer.

Creating genuine content that is naturally appealing to your targeted customer base is a good place to start. Giving headlines and subheads that accurately describe what the article is about will also help. 

There’s more that goes into it, but that’s just a few tips to improve keyword use in your quest for Search Engine Optimization.

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