When determining where your page ends up on search results, the one thing Google takes into account more than any other factor are links. Not your links, but the links from other sites to yours (known as “backlinks,” because they link back to you). Getting a lot of these backlinks is a process known as link building, and it’s one of the most important aspects of SEO.
You’ve probably already figured out the big problem with this: You can’t control what other sites do.
It gets worse. If you try to influence other sites, by buying links, or trading links, or other methods that you know in your heart of hearts are shady, you’ll suffer for it. Google has been known to either disregard links gained in this manner, or actively penalize the pages that use them. So, you’re left with the hard task of link building the right way.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help you do just that. Here are seven ways you can link build in a way that Google will love.
- Build relationships
No business is an island. You have suppliers, for one thing. You also have customers, some of whom have businesses of their own. There’s also your community (more on that later), which is filled with businesses of various kinds. And there’s something to be said for other car dealerships in the area—if you sell Fords and the next dealership over sells Hondas, chances are you aren’t chasing the same customer base and a cordial relationship is to both of your benefits.
While you can’t trade backlinks for money or nothing, you can provide content. Post on the blogs of other businesses and invite them to post on yours. Provide a badge or sticker they can affix to their homepage to show that they’re posting partners. It’s a bit of free advertising that will pay dividends for both of you in the future.
- Get involved in your community
Go deeper than a mere relationship with your closest business neighbors. Be a part of the community. Sponsor a local little league team, and every time that team gets mentioned in local press, there will be a backlink to your homepage. Is there a charity drive happening? Make sure your dealership is adding something, whether it’s labor, cash, or material goods. Whenever there’s reporting about that drive, your dealership gets a backlink. If there is an opportunity to be a positive force in your neighborhood, take it!
And here’s the great thing: not only are you helping your SEO with this, you’re also turning your business into a pillar of the community. That’s good for everyone.
- Make the news
You might have noticed an underlying trend in the other two points. The news is your friend, or more accurately, it could be. Making the news in good and constructive ways, such as with charity and the like, is an excellent way to get the kinds of backlinks that Google will value highly.
Google wants to link to pages that are providing something of value. The solution is to create. Keep a blog relevant to your dealership, and you’ll start to naturally accumulate backlinks as others utilize your content.
Start with entries that are directly relevant to your business. If you’re a Ford dealer, for example, and the bulk of your business is in trucks, think about writing entries where you discuss the differences in models. You’re not trying to insult one or build the other up, but rather let potential customers know which one better suits their needs. And it’s not just your customers; people all over might be wondering and a Google search leads them right to you. That’s helping your SEO.
You can branch out from there. Take the other tips into account. Blog about the team you sponsor. Talk about those charity drives you’re involved in. Maybe you hosted a sale where you provided food. Discuss the food, and the business that provided it—that helps build those relationships we discussed earlier.
- Create a resource
Pick a topic, any topic. Okay, not any topic. It should be something directly relevant to your dealership, likely the specific model of car you sell. Become an expert on that topic. You probably know a ton just from selling them for years, and to the layperson you already are an expert. Don’t be satisfied with what you know; learn everything you possibly can. And then put it online for everyone.
Talk about what differentiates your specific model from all others. Don’t look at it as a sales opportunity, but rather a chance to offer a clear-eyed look at the model that you’ve devoted your professional life to. What purposes does it serve? What lifestyle is it ideal for? What can it be used for that the average person hasn’t considered?
Google values three factors above all others when it’s looking at search placement. It wants content to be authoritative, expert, and trustworthy. You probably are all three of these things in your industry. The trick is putting that information together in an easily digestible way.
Source (Expert, authoritative, trustworthy): https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/guidelines.raterhub.com/en//searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf
- Resource pages are your friends
This dovetails with the previous post. While creating a single resource should be your priority, there’s nothing that says you can’t be involved in others as well. Other sites might create a resource page, which is a list of links on a specific topic to help others in their research. As someone that does a lot of research, I can attest that they are immensely helpful.
So when you’re producing useful resources, it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to the people who own these pages. You’re not paying them, they’re not paying you; they have a legitimate interest in the useful content you’re providing. And there’s another honestly-acquired backlink to aid your SEO.
- Refurbish your greatest hits
You know which ones of your posts have resonated with your readership and which ones haven’t. Make the popular ones work for you again. The easiest way is with a simple update—maybe there’s a new feature that affects a contrast you previously highlighted.
Another way to do this is adaptation. Let’s say you have a blog post that is hugely popular. Turn it into video. This allows you to post what is essentially the same, proven content on other platforms (say, Instagram, YouTube, etc.), where it can be linked to by even more sites. If you can figure out a way to turn your best content into another form, you’re looking at a way to double the amount of backlinks that the same information will get you.
Link building is one of the most important, and yet most difficult SEO tasks anyone is going to face. The rules keep changing, but fundamentally, they always change in the direction of penalizing dishonest and spammy links. And if all of this seems a bit too daunting, you can always use one of DealerOn’s expertly managed SEO products! We’re happy to help and we know what we’re doing.