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Five SEO mistakes that you shouldn’t be making (anymore)

Blane Vic, Search Engine Marketing Account Manager - ARI
November 13, 2012
Filed under Guest Blog

In speaking with marine dealers on a daily basis, I’ve noticed a good trend and a bad tendency. The good news is that they’re all interested in achieving top organic rankings on the search engines. The bad news is that most of them believe that their website is fully optimized, just because it includes the standard pages, navigation, inventory, and represented brands. The hard truth is that the majority of websites are not as optimized as they should be. Here are five costly mistakes that you can’t afford to make if you want to drive qualified traffic and increase sales.

Mistake #1 – Your Content is Blah.

If you want your website to appear – and stay – up top, the search engines must perceive its content as the most relevant for the search query that the user has entered. Their goal is to put the most authoritative websites at the top, so having the right content – and the right amount of it – is absolutely necessary.

Make sure that every page contains 300 to 500 words of unique content peppered with your most relevant keywords. Want a good example? Look at Town & Country Marine’s homepage. The description includes close to 300 words: It refers to new and used boats; boat styles and brands; location; service; financing; the dealership’s name – all in easy-to-read content. The search engines love it!

Mistake #2 – Not So Local.

The majority of your website traffic and your potential customers comes from your local marketplace, so your content should revolve around the local angle. What cities, towns and counties does your dealership serve? Spell it out for the search engines in order to achieve top rankings. Use your top cities and towns in your content, Web page titles and descriptions.

Lens Cove Marina does a great job on that front. Their homepage description includes keywords like “Full Service Marina Resort on Big Rideau Lake in Portland,” “the only NMMA Industry Certified Marina in Eastern Ontario,” and “located on the largest lake on the Rideau Canal.”

Mistake #3 – No Time for Social Media.

Social media is the fastest growing area for search engine queries, now accounting for almost one third of the total search market, yet it’s widely ignored by too many marine dealerships. How current is your Facebook page? Do you update it regularly? Are you tweeting whenever your page is updated?

Make a point to update your Facebook page at least once a week. The only way to attract people to “Like” your page and eventually buy the boats you sell is to offer unique, regularly updated content, including promotions and special offers.

Mistake #4 – It’s about My Dealership, not the Brands.

Many dealers fail to highlight the brands they carry on their homepage, yet most consumers enter a brand name and geographic location when searching for boats. You know your top-selling brands and models, but the search engines don’t. Again, spell it out for them.

Make sure that your top brands are listed on the homepage. Are they highlighted? Do you have them linked directly to your current inventory or brochures? What about logos and product images? Most of these best practices are intuitive and easy to follow. The search engines take notice and increase the relevance for your top brands. The buyers also take notice and get to your top brands and models quickly and easily. In other words, more sales opportunities for your dealership!

Mistake #5 – No Time for local listings.

I’ve already touched on the importance of local search in Mistake #2. Another key aspect of going local is claiming your local listing on Google Plus, Yahoo, Bing and Yellow Pages. Google recently replaced Google Places with the new Google+ Local pages. If you already have a page on Google Places, you can easily switch using Yext’s step-by-step guide.

Be sure to keep your business listing updated. Most dealers rely on local search and Google to add local results to almost every local search query. When it comes to boats, people search local and buy local.

SEO is not a fad; it’s an essential tool for competing and winning in your local market. An effective strategy helps people looking for the boats you sell find your website – not your competition’s. Quick fixes and tricks won’t cut it. In order to reap all the benefits, you must be diligent about your SEO efforts. Avoiding common mistakes is a great way to get started.

Blane Vik is Search Engine Marketing Account Manager at ARI, a leading provider of technology-enabled business solutions for dealers, distributors and manufacturers in the marine, RV, powersports and outdoor power equipment industries. Products and services include eCommerce-enabled websites, lead generation, lead management, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and eCatalogs (parts, garments, and accessories).

Contact: vik@arinet.com; (414) 973-4346

Website: www.arinet.com

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