Did you enter an online search for your dealership to test its searchability and find nothing?

You know your website is live, so why isn’t it showing up in search results?

ARI weighs in with the most likely scenarios for poor website search ranking, and how you can solve it.

How new is your website?
It would be nice if websites appeared in search results as soon as they went live, but this is not the case. Search engines need time to index the webpages to understand their contents and determine how well they align with users’ search intent (not familiar with search intent? Don’t worry, we’ll cover this further along in this blog). This process can take up to four weeks, so be patient as your website is building traction.

“But my website has been live for two months and still doesn’t appear in relevant searches (eg, “Sea-Doo Boats in Miami, FL”).”
If your website has been live for some time now and you still aren’t seeing your dealership in search queries that match your location and inventory, you should take a look at your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO is the fuel that makes your website a top-ranking powerhouse. It builds your site’s online prominence by aligning your platform with current search engine requirements and ensuring that your website remains compliant with algorithms. Search engines determine the existence and efficacy of website metrics, such as proper links, original and keyword-rich website content and even outside influences such as online reviews and social media interaction. Algorithms for search engines can change often, as shown by Google receiving 3,620 algorithm changes in 2019 alone. Websites need to be optimized continually to meet search engine changes.

SEO is especially important if your dealership has a common business name and/or resides in a highly competitive location. The more competition your dealership has, the longer it can take to build authority and outrank other dealerships. Consider the keywords in your website copy. Are they the same keywords used by thousands of other businesses, or are you targeting keywords that your competitors aren’t? Focus on longtail keywords that align with potential buyers’ search queriesーsuch as “used 2019 adventure bikes near me” or “lawncare store in Springfield, IL.”

Even well-optimized websites must align with users’ search intent.
“Search intent” is the reason why a prospect is using online search. Search engines are tasked with creating a list of relevant sites to satisfy every search query, and they rank the results from most to least relevant. When you know what your potential customers are looking for online, you can ensure that your website’s content aligns.

There are four main categories for search intent:

  • Informational searches are trying to answer a “what,” why, “where” or “how to” question. To rank well in informational searches, your website needs to feature important information such as detailed online inventory listings and store contact and location. We also encourage you to keep an educational blog to capitalize on “how to” searches.
  • Navigational search is Googling a specific business or website name and usually occurs when the searcher doesn’t know the exact website URL. If your dealership name is common, make sure your website is optimized with specific keywords so that you still rank prominently in searches.
  • Transactional search includes the intent to perform an action that could lead to a sale, such as looking for dealership contact information or submitting a lead form. You can drive more transactional traffic by enriching your website with clear calls to action (eg, Receive a Quote or Contact Us) and featuring your contact information prominently on your website.
  • Commercial searches are transactional searches performed by online shoppers who are ready to buy, and the search results consist of inventory listings, e-commerce sites and special offers. You can boost your rankings in commercial searches by ensuring your website and third-party listings include your current inventory and promotions.

“My website has all the SEO trappings. When will I start seeing online results?”
You may be familiar with the proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The same concept applies to SEOーit takes time to generate results. We encourage dealers to implement best practices for website SEO from the get-go, and if you haven’t, you can start now. The more time and effort you invest in your SEO, the more you will see your online prominence grow overtime.

Still have questions about your website?

Feel free to connect with ARI today! Our website and search engine experts would be happy to collaborate with you to create the best solution for your dealership’s digital presence.