There are two types of SEO as defined on Wikipedia:
1. Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception practices.
2. An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no deception practices.
Wikipedia goes on to say this:
"White hats tend to produce results that last a long time and create lasting relevance with customers, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing”. -Wikipedia
Ask yourself,” which color hat does the SEO guy I have been talking to wear”? What sort of ideas does he have? Is he building value and targeted traffic? Or is he just “stealing” traffic that is looking for content that I don’t offer yet?
If you are blasting videos and irrelevant content (to the user) all over the web and nearby markets just to get hits – or if you are posting tons of video content that actually hurts the “perception of quality” of your overall store everywhere online, then your virtual storefront is just like that lot in the middle of nowhere, with no presentation value. There is lots of opportunity, a lot of vehicles, and no real value or sales being generated. The prospects that are being generated here by “black hat” SEO can’t wait to leave back to the search site because the content is undeserving of the rating the customer was shown for that content. Google has a word for when people “leave” content right away. It’s called “bounce-rate”, and it is one of the most important factors in organic Search Engine Algorithms (a high % is very bad).
“Time on Site” is a another HUGE factor in organic SEO – part of the reason quality videos that really get watched, and shared – are the absolute best for SEO. (visits, unique visitors, page views, time on site, good video helps everything Google cares about!) If prospects were looking for just vehicles they would have went to Autotrader to look. Prospects coming to your individual site are looking for value in your store, not searching for your cars.
If the content you are putting out for your customers to access is bad, and is also getting a lot of attention anyway you may actually be accidentally telling Google and other engines that people don’t like your content (this actually hurts your organic SEO). Adding more users to those equations, users who also “vote with their mouse” only tells Google that lots of people actually don’t like the content at your storefront. That might work for as long as you are comfortable cutting a huge SEO check every month in order to keep you on the top, and you’re also “ok” with not building any real value in the process… BUT, there is a better way to spend your money!
It isn’t hard to imagine what the internet shopper wants in an online experience. I believe it is the same thing they want in person, on the lot. The point is that if dealers focus their aim on things that their customers want in a website (informational things), not on the things they want to put in those websites (sales and price things) then the customer’s reaction to your site - and your content, will optimize the site for you. Plus, this is free of charge and the results will last.
So let’s talk about 5 major benefits for stores investing in White Hat tactics of optimizing/advertising:
1.When Google picks your site/store organically, it’s because your customers (their searchers) picked your site, and you never have to cut anyone a follow-up check to keep your store on top.
2. When your site is optimized to sell appointments, and build value for you… EVERY other form of advertising will make more sense, and be more effective. (including/especially “black hat” SEO efforts)
3. “Advertising doesn’t create a product advantage. It can only convey it” -William Bernbach Show your customers market superiority by investing in their online customer experience with your company.
4. Google loves content that is shared and so should you! – If you make content FOR the customer they will distribute the content for you, and this will push your SEO for free, and sell cars!
5.We (the U.S.) are a country of Brands. Identifying your store and what you do differently in the marketplace with relevant content at the point of sale, will gain and retain real customers!
In addition to that, all of your other forms of internet traffic are fed back to this relevant content once you have it, and they will “share” it, and “comment” it, and “like” it for years to come. All those users have friends who see them do this and those friends will come down the same paths to your content, and eventually to your vehicles. Tricking Google to feature a site up front that doesn’t have content that is useful for the searcher is like sending a copy of that book you have been working on to your publisher, before your editor. But if your book is good, (i.e. if your “content” is good from the prospects’ perspective) everyone will come and find that book, and they will buy it no matter where you put it.
So stop picturing the world of SEO as the only way to get in front of customers. When was the last time you picked the first thing in a product search and bought it without looking at the others? Probably never, and your customers are no different. Build real value for your customers, then let Google worry about search rankings.
ABOUT WHAT'S NEXT MEDIA: WNM is an auto-exclusive video company based out of Seattle, WA. We combine car people with video talent, and our pantented CGI processes, creating one-of-a-kind branded dealer automotive video. 3908 Aurora Ave, Seattle, WA | 206.478.8721