5 Rules To Dealer Website Design

When choosing an auto dealer website provider, keep in mind you only have one chance to keep the internet visitor from clicking the exit button once they visit your site.

More than ever (92% of car shoppers use the internet before purchasing) your dealer website design represents your business and the face of your dealership!

For years, we have been told that when going to an interview you have 10 seconds to make a lasting first impression. There is no difference when designing your dealership website than making the first impression in an interview. You are making a first impression with the prospective car buyer who has searched the vehicles you are offering in your website design. The first impression can make the difference between getting a lead from that potential buyer or just a visitor to your website.

Rule #1.
Make sure the website provider has an unblockable and dealer editable home page pop up to show promotions and urgency for a sale or offer. Dealers should be able to turn on and off this promotion. Dealer e Process websites give the dealership full control of home page pop ups. The software is built in a way that it cannot be blocked by internet browsers.

Rule #2.
Make sure your dealer website design makes it easy for the visitor to find the navigation buttons. If a customer has to search for a navigation button to find information about the vehicles of interest or the navigation buttons are not working, the visitor may get frustrated and leave you website costing you a lead.

As a rule of thumb, your navigation buttons should be on the top of your web page because the majority of people read from top to bottom on the internet. It is also important to allow customers to find different ways to find inventory from the top to the bottom of the page. Having searches such as MPG,Payment,Fuel Efficient,Specials,Budget Row, etc are very important. Having just a vehicle search may not spark the imagination of a customer. HAVE MORE!

Rule #3.
When visitors are browsing your dealership site, have a clear indication for the visitor of where they are on your website and how to get to other pages.
You may want to put a link on each page that the visitor clicks to take them to the home page or another page relating to the information currently viewing. In other words do not confuse your visitor or your visitor may just click off the website totally.

Rule #4.
When choosing your website provider pay close attention to loading time, the time it takes your web pages to load. You can reduce loading time by reducing graphics on each page. A good website design should load under two seconds. Dealer e Process websites load extremely fast through the use of proper coding and zero flash.
The longer it takes the pages to load the more frustrating it can be to the visitor. People want it yesterday not today and definitely not tomorrow.

Rule #5.
Make sure your dealership website works in all internet browsers(Internet Explorer,Firefox,Safari). Too many times I have seem website providers that have designed websites that work in Internet Explorer 5 and 6, but not 7. I have seem some applications not work in Firefox at all. This is important as a broken lead form or chopped off vehicle pictures can turn customers away immediately. Dealer e Process websites are tested across all browsers as they are released.

Auto Dealership Online Marketing

The most important function of a car dealer website is to help a company to sell cars and service to new customers.

When potential new customers need to choose between two car dealers with whom they aren’t familiar, they are most likely to compare the websites. This is because a website is almost the only method for a person to actually see beforehand what he/she pays for as far as service and quality is concerned. In general, more than 40% of these potential new and used car buyers decisions are decided upon the impression that is reflected from the car website, regardless of the competence of these companies. Even dealerships that are slow to respond to a lead will likely get walkin traffic from a well constructed website. The general truth is that most potential customers do not know how to technically compare dealers since they are selling the same brand for instance, and therefore trust that the dealers website’s professionalism will reflect the expertise.

Therefore large amounts are invested in auto dealers website development and many companies to choose form.

Unfortunately most dealer owners tend to overlook the importance of building a trusted web presence with Google, Yahoo and MSN. Without having a web presence with authority almost no new visitors will end up at your website because your rankings will be so low, no one will find you. And since every dealer wants to expand their presence online, they need to focus on improving their website in order to increase the chance of getting new customers.

The best and most effective long term solution to increase your web presence is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is a highly specialized field that focuses on improving the amount of trust the rest of the world will have in your website. The more trust you have with Google, Yahoo and MSN, the more potential new customers will visit your dealer website daily.

The amount of trust your website has, is most of the time determined by search engines (for example Google, Yahoo, etc.). This is because the search engines have the most advanced mathematical algorithms available today, hence the acronym, SEO. Of all these search engines, the world’s most accepted benchmark of website trust is known as the Google page rank) of your website.

Therefore, if you could increase your Google page rank, your number of new visitors to your dealer website will most certainly increase.

Google Rank of well known organizations’ home page:
4/10: Dealer Websites
5/10: Autonation
6/10: Chrysler, Kia
7/10: Ford, Coke
8/10: General Motors, AT&T
9/10: Microsoft
10/10: Google

Another reason why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important is because of the quality of the traffic (website visitors) you receive on your website. If somebody visits your dealer website due to a search engine query, as opposed to other reasons (such as typing in the web address/clicking on a link from another website, etc), the new visitor will most likely already be looking for your services and ready to buy.

For example, if someone types in the word “Pontiac Chicago” in Google, they are probably looking for a Pontiac vehicle in the Chicago area. So if your site comes up first on Google you can probably sell a Pontiac vehicle if your price and dealer website is good. The contrary is that the person accidentally lands on your dealer website, but has no immediate desire to purchase a vehicle or service.

Please note that it is possible to buy quality traffic, but this is expensive (depending on the source and competition) and only effective in the immediate short term i.e. while it is active. SEO has a long term effect and is relatively inexpensive (free) to maintain once a certain level of optimization is reached.

Tips when hiring SEO experts to manager your dealership website:
If have a Dealer e Process website we do it for you!

– Whenever using a company in order to improve your SEO, always check out the Google Rank of their website i relation to the auto industry. Since SEO is not that well known in management circles, there is a lot of companies that will try to sell SEO skills to a dealer but have no dealer results while there own SEO ia terrible. Have them give you examples of other dealerships that have high rankings in competitive area; For example (Chicago Pontiac).

– Also try to get some form of guarantee. It is very rare that SEO companies ever give guarantees about the effects of their efforts, but if they actually do, you know they are serious about their skills for your dealerships results.

– Try to get clear benchmarks to calculate the results of the SEO campaign for your dealership. For example monitor the number of visitors that your website receives that came from organic search engine queries before and after the time of your campaign. (We strongly recommend you use Google Analytics)

– Make sure your SEO company have a clean record. Sometimes dealership SEO companies may get desperate in order to get results and might step over the moral line by trying to fool search engines with unnatural ‘black hat’ methods. When caught out, these websites are usually banned from search engines and will not show in any search result.

Good luck with your marketing campaign!

Dealership SEO Strategy

Search engine marketing even when speaking in terms of car dealerships involves keeping your content and vehicles fresh, using keywords that put you at the top of the first page and obtaining as many links to your site from other “relevant” websites as possible (auto sites).

Take Care Of The Search Engines, They Take Care Of You

1. Search engines really like updated and fresh content. Pay attention to which sites show on the first page of a Google search and you will notice that among the sites in keyword competition. Its usually the dealer sites with the most updated content that win out in the long run. I would strongly suggest you either write your own reviews in cars or articles about the dealership and upload your own graphics and photos or outsource the job to freelancers.

There are many freelance writers for reasonable rates. Ever think of looking to a local college? With one good writer or writing team, you can improve your dealers site’s rankings dramatically. Make sure the writer you choose understands auto dealership SEO so the writing contain the keywords that make sense.

2. Keyword strategies include going for those people who instead of searching for ‘used cars’ search for ‘used cars in Chicago’ and other more specific terms. We have performed this SEO service for Freedom Auto Depot in Chicago and they dominate the search engines on Google for “used cars Chicago” or “used cars in Chicago” etc.

Do not stuff your pages with keywords? The recommended density of keywords is between 2 and 3 percent of the text on your page. I find it increasingly funny to view dealer websites pages that have words stuffed all onto the home page which includes all the location around the dealerships as well as all the model vehicles the dealership sells.

Excessive keyword phrases are not only recognizable to search engines as ‘stuffing” they can ultimately affect the quality of the writing and the ranking of the dealers website. This is where LSI comes in. LSI involves using phrases that are synonymous with your original keyword phrase. Learn about LSI! Google it!

3. The more relevant sites that link to your page (auto dealer websites), the better your rankings will be. For example, if you sell new Chevy Cars in Chicago, try putting links about your dealership in an article that talks about the “new Chevy Traverse at Chicago Chevy Dealers“. This is one way of ‘piggy backing’ on the keywords used by other sites.

Write your own articles and car reviews or have a freelance writer write some for you. Submit them to article directories or other social networks and allow other sites to use them. It is a ‘take care of me and Ill take care of you” strategy and it works for both sides.

4. You can use your dealerships blog for more search engine marketing. Dont’t tell me you don’t have a dealer blog yet do you? If you update your blog daily and ping it with blog directories, you will see an increase in your dealership blog’s search engine rankings. Link to your dealers site from your blog. This is another means of piggy backing.

5. Monitor your dealers site traffic on at least a weekly basis. I strongly recommend you use a Google analytics tag because I am extremely skeptical about third party website companies providing the analytics. Note how much of your traffic is coming from pay per click search engine marketing and how much from natural search. After a couple of weeks of tracking, make small changes to optimize your site’s search engine rankings. Continue looking for ways to improve on your dealership site.

Gather all the information you can find on each of these strategies I mentioned above, and take it in. Its the wave of the future for auto dealerships so I suggest you start to learn it now. Search engine marketing, as with all other forms of marketing, is constantly changing. Stay up to date on everything there is to know about search engine marketing and you will see your sales increase considerably! The Game Is Changing, Are You? Let Dealer e Process do the work for you!

Auto Dealer Page Rank

What is our dealerships website Page Rank? How good is your Dealer Web site?

There are third party websites (tools) actually websites that will measure the ranking of your dealers website. For dealer personnel that don’t know what Page Rank is; (it’s a tool) put together by Google that determines the effectiveness or efficiency of your dealership and for that matter all websites.

The higher your page rank in combination with many other factors, the higher your dealers website is listed in the various search engines.(More traffic to your site) This means more people are looking at your new and used vehicles, service and parts departments, thus putting more money into circulation for the dealership.

If more people are going to your dealer website, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to know less traffic is going to your competitors’ website. Unfortunately most people that work in a dealership don’t even know what Google page rank is but those visitors that do will place your dealership website in a higher respect than your competitors and feel that your content is much more valuable and insightful leaving a better chance to get bookmarked.

The next question is, how is page rank determined? And more importantly how do you increase the page rank for your dealers website?. Let’s look at the first part of that question.

One way to help determine your page is when another (relevant auto site) site links to your page with a back link. The more back links you receive from other pages that have content relevant to yours, the higher your page rank.

This process of building links can get quite involved and very confusing which is why we recommend a Dealer e process auto dealer website to sort through all back links, since they don’t all carry the same weight or force. Leave that to our SEO team. The higher the page rank that a link is coming from, the more beneficial it is in terms of boosting your page rank of the dealers site. So if you get back links from a lot of websites with low page ranks (p1, p2) it will not have as strong an impact as a few pages with higher page ranks. Most dealership websites range in the realm of Page Rank 3 or 4.

There is complication to this process; If your dealers website has a page rank of 4 and it is already linked to 8 or 12 other pages then it will NOT be any more beneficial to you than a page that has a page rank of 2 or less.

Another way to improve your dealership page rank is through the use of web directories and no name search engines. Dealer e Process SEO PowerPage Rank technology takes care of all that on a monthly basis. Not only will the use of our SEO services increase your page rank, but it will also increase the traffic to your dealers website.

There are alot of other factors that will definitely help you to increase your ranking and the general traffic to your dealers website. If you are curious about the page ranking of your own dealer website after reading this article, you can see exactly where you stand by doing a Google search for “page rank”. Once you find a site (or download the Google Toolbar to your desktop) all you have to do is put your dealership URL(s)in the web address field and you will have your answer.