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.