The process of maximizing the amount of traffic and leads that your website generates from Google can be daunting.  Here are some basic things that our SEO team at DealerOn recommends focusing on if you are either changing website providers, contracting with a SEO or PPC vendor, or simply taking the pulse of the performance of your site and marketing efforts.

Determine Which Keywords You Should be Targeting – Working with your vendors, develop a list of which keywords your dealership is targeting and which ones you should be targeting.  Make sure to analyze your web analytics so that you don’t miss any important keywords that are already generating traffic and leads.  Also, use available free resources (see my post on Free Online Tools for dealers) that can provide further keyword discovery (including Google’s Keyword Tool, Spyfu,

Determine Your Baseline – After you have your keyword lists, you should develop a historical baseline for your list.  For each important keyword, track traffic volumes and website lead volumes.  Ideally, you should also run a dealership SEO report card every quarter or so.  If you’re going to hire a company to drive traffic to your website, either via SEO or PPC, you should know your starting point so you can measure the value that your vendor is providing in incremental traffic and leads.

Use Website Analytics – Search engine rankings are worthless if they don’t translate into traffic, so make sure you know which keywords are actually driving traffic to your site.  Compare this list with your targeted keywords to see how effective/worthwhile your efforts are and have been.  For example, if you’re ranked #1 for a keyword but that keyword isn’t driving any traffic to your site, it’s time to rethink your strategy.

Check PPC Landing Pages and Micro-Sites – Even though you may not think of these sites as part of your SEO strategy, they should be.  While maintaining a focus on conversion, make sure any content and the structure of the page is done with SEO in mind, even if the primary reason you’ve created the content is not organic search.

Meet with Vendors – You may have several parties (website provider, PPC provider, SEO vendor, digital agency, etc) involved with your search engine strategies.  You should have periodic reviews with all of them (even have group meetings together) about how you can continue to improve and evolve your search marketing efforts.  Doing your research beforehand allows you to work with, and push, your vendors to get the most value possible for your dealership.

What other tips do you have for someone that wants to take a fresh look at the SEO efforts on their car dealership website?  Where did you start on your site?