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Customers don’t search for you the way you think they do

In this week’s video, the Beard is back up on his soapbox… Far too often, dealers forget that customers don’t search for them the way that they think they search. It’s easy to get obsessive over ranking reports, but ranking reports don’t really show you a true view of how you show up in local searches. It’s also important to understand which keywords to monitor, so you’re not getting lost in tracking keywords you’ll never be able to show up for.

Hey, it’s the Beard and the Hair, and we’re back with another Wednesday Workshop video from DealerOn. This week, The Beard’s up on his soap box again…

Yep. I talk about this a lot at conferences, but it’s an

Dude. They can’t see you…

Oh… But I was up on my soap box…

Yeah, it’s not really working.

Ok, ok. So anyway, it’s an issue that we run into all the time, and I’ve talked to other SEO providers, and they see the same thing.

Here’s the thing – in most cases, your customers DO NOT search for you on Google the way that you think they do.

Remember – Google is going to personalize a user’s search results based on the search history of that user on that particular device.

And it’s also going to localize the search results based on the physical location of the user doing the search, either based off the IP address of the desktop computer or the cell signal or GPS of the mobile device.

So every user will see slightly different search results. That’s why we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again now – obsessing over ranking reports is a complete waste of time.

But more importantly – you have to realize that the terms that you think are important might not really matter much – if at all – to your dealership’s success in digital marketing.

Here’s the most common example. As a dealer, you want to show up when people search for your vehicles, right?

Of course!

The problem comes when you check your visibility in searches and you just type in a make and model with no year or location modifier – something like “Toyota Camry” or “Ford Mustang”. Without including a year or a location term, Google treats this as an informational query, not one with purchase intent.

Look… It doesn’t show any dealers – or even any local results at all. Period. It’s 100% impossible to show up on page one search results for a search phrase that is so generic.No matter how awesome your SEO is – even if this guy here is doing it – you’ll never show up on a search like this.

But here’s the good news – your customers aren’t searching for cars like that. Those really are informational queries – if someone has purchase intent, they’re going to include at least a year, and most likely will include a city as well. Google knows those are searches that potential buyers will make, so it shows local results.

Check it out – you can even see the big change in the Pay Per Click ads. Before, on just “Toyota Camry,” only Toyota was running an ad. When you add in the year and city, now we see ads from local dealers…

And then in the organic area, we see the map pack showing the top 3 local results, and then the standard organic results now include local dealers as well. This is where you want to be, because this is how your potential customers actually search for cars.

Sure, you could throw some money at AdWords and get some PPC ads to show up on these searches, but you’re going to spend a TON of money and it’s not going to convert for squat. If you see competitors there, don’t stress out – know that they’re just wasting their money and that you’re smarter than them for not doing the same thing.

So don’t stress out over showing up on the super generic make/model searches – not only is it impossible to get there, you’re worrying about phrases that won’t bring you more sales anyway. Let your SEO and SEM provider use their expertise to get you more visibility on the terms that will bring you more leads and more sales.

That’s it for this week’s video – as always, if you’ve got questions or comments, leave them down below and we’ll get back to you. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Author Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at DealerOn. He has over 16 years of online marketing and web design experience, and has specialized in automotive SEO for the last 8 years, helping hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession. Greg speaks internationally at both automotive and SEO conferences, teaching thousands of small business owners and marketers how to get their sites to show up higher in local search rankings. Greg also spends his spare time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.

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