All Search Is Local
Let’s be clear: for car dealers, all search is local.
If you’re a dealer, it does no good for you to rank high nationally for obscure keywords if you’re not also ranking in the first spot for core searches like “ford dealer near me” or simply “ford dealer.” Moreover, because most searches are now conducted via a mobile device, search engines (like Google) can deliver hyper-local search results (because they know the user’s exact latitude and longitude).
Hint: This means that any search results reporting using just ZIP Code as a qualifier cannot possibly capture where you rank when someone is sitting somewhere in your PMA, but not smack dab in the middle of your ZIP Code. Couple this with the skewed results your SEO shows you when they include your city and state name in every keyword (like “ford dealer meridian idaho”) and you’ve got an inaccurate picture of the true strength of your SEO.
All Search Is Competitive
Now that we agree that all search is local, let’s also agree that all search is competitive.
Plainly stated: If you had no competitors, you wouldn’t need great Search Engine Optimization services, as there would be no one trying to outrank you for your core keywords. No competition? No worries about who shows up first in a Google search, right?
Competition is the only reason you need great SEO!
Unfortunately, if you’re a typical car dealer, your SEO is not great. In fact, it probably does a poor job at helping you drive in-market shoppers to your website. (Which, by the way, should be the only goal of your SEO.)
Great SEO Means Less Reliance On SEM
Let’s also agree that the better your SEO, the less you need to spend on expensive Search Engine Marketing (SEM), right?
Imagine for a moment that you had Perfect SEO. That is, you showed up in the first three spots organically for all the keywords important to your dealership. If this was the case, by how much could you reduce your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) budget? 50%? 80%? 100%?
It’s precisely because you do not have great SEO that you’re spending so much on PPC!
Oh, your SEO vendor is also your PPC/SEM vendor… Hmmm… No comment.
SEO Requires Accountability
Even though I believe most dealers are wasting over $25,000 per year on substandard SEO services, I am not advocating that you fire your SEO provider. On the contrary; I am advocating that you create some accountability to that massive budget that actually makes your SEO vendor perform for you exactly as they probably promised they would when you signed that SEO agreement. This accountability must be unbiased and it must be independent.
Only SearchBoxLocal provides that unbiased, independent accountability necessary to ensure your SEO vendor always has your best interests above their own. SearchBoxLocal provides genuine local visibility to the keywords and to your competitors that your SEO company simply cannot provide you – because they’re not conducting their searches like your customers do: in your PMA!
For most of you, you’re seeing some pretty charts and the relative ranking of a few worthless or obvious keywords chosen by your vendor that show you on top nationwide. Sometimes these keywords are for searches that almost no one ever types into Google, like “nissan quest parts modesto california.” More often, they are keywords that only your site should rank for, like “audi dealer near secaucus nj.” (It would be a form of malpractice if your site didn’t rank on top for your brand and town, right?)
Accountability only comes from reporting that shows exactly where your dealership ranks (and where all your competitors rank) for keywords searched by local consumers. Searches like “honda dealer near me” or simply “honda dealer.”
Of course, they can’t show you those, because their servers are not located in your PMA. Their search is not local, like SearchBoxLocal. But, don’t just take my word for it; ask your SEO vendor how they’re being held accountable. Then, ask them to show you how they’re ensuring you’re truly ranking above your local competition for all the local keywords that matter to you in your local market. Because, after all, all search is local.