Many equipment dealers with large inventories use third-party websites to manage their inventory via an online feed. Although it’s convenient to upload your inventory to a hub site that aggregates and syndicates the feed, dealers may not be aware of the huge drawbacks that it can create.
Why are those drawbacks happening, and what can you do instead to improve your business’ online presence? It all starts with something these third-party sites use called an iFrame.
What is an iFrame?
After you upload your inventory to a third-party site’s database, you are given an HTML element called an iFrame to put on your website. It lets you upload your listings to the hub site and appear on your website as well. It gives you two key benefits: convenience and consistency. You can easily create and maintain a feed based on your inventory, and any changes you make will automatically update on all other sites using the same iFrame.
How do iFrames hurt my online equipment inventory feed?
Using an iFrame makes it harder for your site to be found and it hurts your rankings. When your website uses an iFrame from another website, search engines like Google think you’re copying and pasting another site’s content to your website. The way Google reads websites, it sees the third-party site as the original owner of the product listings—not your website. Your website could get a lower authority score as a result, which largely determines the order of search rankings.
While it is convenient for you to use hub inventory sites to manage and display your inventory, you’re also giving them authority that would otherwise belong to you, thereby lowering your ranking and boosting theirs. Try a test search like “excavators for sale.” Any hub site where you and your competitors have listings probably appears at the top of the rankings, while your website may be further down. Wouldn’t you rather have it the other way around?
Online search is the most common way new buyers find equipment dealers, and it’s only growing in popularity each year. Because of this, it’s critical that your website is optimized for search if you want people to find you when they’re looking for the equipment you offer.
What alternative can be used to avoid this issue and display inventory feeds properly?
Use a content management system (CMS) designed for the equipment business model that features a non-iFrame inventory feed which is integrated, easy to update, and readable by search engines. A CMS is used to create and modify your website content. It is different from an iFrame because Google sees you as the owner of the content and increases your authority since you aren’t copying and pasting what’s on someone else’s website. This improves your rankings and makes it easier for people to find you.
How will managing my own inventory feed improve my website’s search ranking?
Hosting your inventory on your website instead of a third-party website will grow your overall marketing success in multiple ways:
- It increases your authority on inventory-related keywords. This is crucial in drawing buyers to your website when they search for terms like “lift truck,” “bucket lift,” “forklift rental near me,” and other terms related to your website.
- It improves your page speed, because it doesn’t have to load the content from a third-party website. This also improves your ranking.
- Your inventory feed will be readable by search engines like Google, which helps you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Use metadata and unique copy to leverage relevant business terms like manufacturer names, equipment categories like “railcar movers,” and individual model names. You can also promote terms like “rental” or “used equipment” if they are included somewhere in your feed.
- You can quickly and easily update your inventory.
- The more often you add content to your site, the more frequently search engines update what they have in their database about your website. This process is commonly called “indexing.” Indexing is also key to promoting online business visibility, because Google likes websites that update more frequently than websites that don’t. If you use an iFrame to update your site’s inventory, then the hub site is benefitting from those updates, not your website.
What’s the best way to promote my equipment dealership’s website and online inventory?
To best promote your equipment dealership and online inventory, create and manage the listings on your own website. You can still have your listings on third-party sites this way, and it will help your website rank higher in online searches. As a result, your website will increase in visibility and generate more traffic from prospective buyers.
Curious about how well it’s worked for other capital equipment dealers? Read our case studies on how we transformed Papé and MH Equipment’s digital presences by transitioning them to a web platform specifically designed for equipment dealers.
Want to make your business more visible, so customers can find you faster through online search? Get a free digital marketing analysis that details specific and actionable recommendations for your dealership.