Don’t believe any rumors going around questioning the value of search engine optimization in 2020. SEO matters and continues to be more important than ever.
Organic search should bring a steady stream of traffic to your website. In fact, in Adpearance’s latest analysis of auto dealerships’ web traffic data, organic traffic made up the majority of dealers’ website sessions with an average of 42.3%. To keep your results strong, an SEO strategy that keeps up with the ever-changing world of search engine optimization is critical. While there are many elements to consider when structuring your dealership’s SEO strategy, here are some of the biggest trends to look out for in 2020.
1. Continue to focus on user-friendliness
This seems like a no-brainer, but creating a website that is easy to browse and quick to load is one of the best things you can do for organic ranking. Google considers both the quality and relevance of a page for each query that is entered. It makes sense then to optimize for clicks as well as the best user experience possible.
To understand the quality and relevance of each page on your website, consider bounce rate. Bounce rate lets you know how many users are leaving your site after only viewing one page. The easier it is for visitors to explore your site and engage with your menu or calls-to-action, the longer they’ll invest in your site, the more content they’ll engage with, and the more likely they are to convert to a lead.
Aside from clean navigation, custom metadata, engaging video content, and other trends you may anticipate, here are three things to keep in mind for user-friendliness:
- Load Time: On average, 25% of users will abandon a page if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load. On mobile, 53% of visitors abandon ship after only 3 seconds. Frequently test the load time of your website on different browsers and devices to make sure you’re not losing potential customers to long wait times. To speed up your site, one quick fix is to shrink large images. Make sure you don’t have a 2-billion pixel image hidden somewhere to save space!
- Dwell Time: Dwell time tells you how long a visitor spent on your webpage after clicking through from search results and before returning back to the SERP. A longer dwell time indicates that a user is likely finding exactly what they're looking for and can be a positive ranking factor.
- Mobile: Mobile-friendliness has been on our radar for several years, and the trend continues in 2020. With Google’s big push in 2019, the search engine has largely moved to a mobile-first index. It’s very likely this year that the pages visited from a Google search engine results page (SERP) will be ranked based on how the mobile version of the page is crawled and indexed by Google. At Adpearance, we are already seeing this move to mobile-first indexing across the majority of our client’s accounts in the automotive industry. Hard-to-access sites that are a challenge to maneuver on smartphones can (and will) result in high bounce rates and a loss of visitors. Put in the time and rake in the benefits by tailoring your site to the mobile experience.
2. Secure websites are a must in 2020
Website security has been a top priority for many years, and in 2020 this will be a ‘must-have’ in order for websites to see organic growth and success. Start by ensuring your site is using SSL and has https:// at the beginning of its address. Not only does Google penalize sites that do not abide by their security guidelines, but you will be further penalized if Chrome visitors click out of your site when they receive an additional warning about your site's lack of security.
With the amount of research and browsing that customers do before making an informed decision, dealers can’t afford to lose leads for something as simple as this. To ensure you have the correct security in place, contact your CMS or SEO partner to review and resolve any security concerns.
3. Optimize for voice search
Voice search is changing the game, and further confirms that the mobile-friendly approach is the future of SEO. It’s estimated that voice search will account for half of all search engine queries in 2020. Creating optimized content with this in mind will be critical to rank for long-tail keywords and voice searches.
Now, you may be thinking, “Long-tail keywords? That’s just more words! How can I predict what combination of words people are searching for?”
Great question. And that’s actually the answer: Think questions! Most voice searches are done by people who want an immediate answer to their question. People who are beginning their car-shopping journey may ask questions about different makes or models, or ask about the automotive options in their area. The best way to optimize for voice search is to optimize your website for localized searches, long-tail keywords, and frequently asked questions. Doing this will also help you rank for the fourth item on our list…
4. Featured snippets are the gold standard
Featured snippets, commonly referred to as Position 0, are search results that appear above the classic search results in an answer box. Featured snippets are meant to quickly provide an answer to a search query and they are continuing to generate more clicks in SERPs. In fact, over 50% of organic clicks are generated from featured snippets. While ranking in Position 0 is difficult, the click efficiency it provides can pay dividends. Snippets typically appear for question-based search queries and favor websites that provide clear answers or are optimized for long-tail keywords.
The best way to rank for snippets is to become a trusted expert, so think about how to use your website to be the dealership with the answers. Consider frequently asked questions (FAQs) to not only help your website rank for featured snippets, but to also build trust with potential customers as a thought leader. Create content that answers the questions you know car buyers ask, to pull more shoppers into your sales funnel.
5. Google My Business matters more than ever
Optimizing for local search has been an important factor in SEO for quite some time, especially for local businesses appealing to nearby customers. As ‘near me’ searches continue to increase in popularity, beating out competitors for local searches is key. To pull past your local competition, optimize for keywords that are geotargeted. Make sure you have a complete and verified Google My Business (GMB) account to increase your chances of showing up for searches on Google Maps, as well as in the Knowledge Graph on the right-hand side of SERPs.
A recent Google roll-out puts an emphasis on local optimization with the ability to track in-store visits via Google Analytics. While not all GMB accounts are eligible for this feature, we are finding that most auto dealerships are. In order to track in-store visits, you must have a verified GMB account linked to your Google Ads account, which is why we highly recommend providing your SEO and SEM vendor access to your GMB account. If you haven’t already done so, make verifying your GMB account and connecting it to Google Ads a priority to enable in-store conversion tracking and insights.
Dealership SEO Tactics for 2020
This is just the tip of the SEO iceberg in 2020. If you’re interested in discussing additional SEO trends that car dealers can anticipate this year, or if you have specific questions about improving the quality and quantity of your dealership’s organic traffic, then contact Adpearance today. Our team is always ready to chat about digital marketing and will start with a free digital analysis.