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Creating Dealership Website Content for 2020 and Beyond 

“Content is king.” That’s one of those common SEO buzzwords used so often that it makes content marketers cringe when hearing it. That said, as clichéd as the phrase may be, it’s just as true today as it was when Bill Gates first coined the term in 1996.

But creating content isn’t the same as it was in 1996. It’s not even the same as it was 5 years ago. SEO is always changing, and your dealership’s customer base is changing along with it. So, in an ever-changing digital world, what should content look like and how do you create it? And we’re not just talking about what content marketing and SEO should look like in 2019, but also what it should look like in 2020 and beyond.

What Content Marketing Used to Be

Content marketing is more popular than ever, and for good reason… It works and offers the biggest gains available in digital marketing. This means that it’s also more competitive than ever. In the old days, you might have been able to create a landing page or a blog post every once in a blue moon, have a few friends share it via email out of goodwill, and feel relatively happy with the traffic it generated. These days, people are inundated with far too much website content to even care.

That may sound harsh, but it’s true. The internet is built around content, and it’s content that is generated by anyone, whether it be a business, news publication, or your neighbor Jeff who spends most of his day posting blurry pictures of his lawncare efforts to Facebook. Some of it is low quality (looking at you, Jeff) and some of it is high quality, but altogether it makes up a very competitive landscape. To be successful in today’s SEO world, you need to stand out by accomplishing two main things:

  1. Create content your audience cares about, whether it answers a question they have, provides information they would have difficulty finding elsewhere, or offers them a unique deal.
  2. Create content that is visible. Sharing links with a few friends isn’t visible enough these days. As we approach the third decade of the new millennium, your content should not only rank on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP) but rank right there in those very top spots.

Old vs New SEO Strategies in 2019

So, how do you do it? Well, it begins with doing away with old-school SEO. It’s surprising how many outdated SEO strategies are still used by professional agencies. Your team should not only be keeping up with current SEO best practices but also strategizing for changes expected in the next few years. Here’s a comparison of some of those old SEO tactics that you may have heard from out-of-date content marketers and how they compare to today’s best practices.

Content SEO in 2009

Content SEO in 2019

You want to fit your primary keyword into your page as often as possible.
Intentional overuse of your keyword is considered “keyword stuffing” and can harm a page’s ranking.
To keep bounce rate low, you want to string your user along through a page, hiding the answer at the end of a page of content so they stay on the page to read the entire thing.
To provide the best experience for users and in the eyes of Google, your content needs to clearly and simply answer the searcher’s question.
Content needs to be written for search engines in order to be visible.
Content should be written for the user first and foremost while keeping SEO best practices in mind.
You want to rank on the first couple of pages of the SERP.
Your content must be on the first page to be visible, and ideally, it should be near the very top.
Having your content appear as a webpage result on the first page is as good as it gets.
First-page rankings are still great, but you also want a cohesive digital strategy that includes your content showing in featured snippets.
Every piece of content should be focused on making a sale.
Today’s users can sniff out a sales pitch from a mile away. Your content needs to be genuine and informative while leaving room in your strategy for content that isn’t just about making a sale.
We can rank for almost any keyword we want. We just need to create a page heavily targeting that keyword and we’ll show up in searches.
Creating pages that target keywords you want to rank for is worthwhile, but when it comes to broader keywords (“used cars” or “new SUVs”), it’s rarely that simple and requires a long-term strategy.
Though never ideal, content copied from other pages or websites can still rank well in the search results.
Though penalties are rare, Google can quickly identify pages with duplicate content. It will rank the original and drop the other from the SERP, making this practice a waste of time and money.

Featured Snippets Are the Present and Future of Organic Search

One of the biggest changes to content SEO in the last few years has been the rise of featured snippets. How many times in the last few days have you searched for something on Google and found the answer without even clicking on a website link? It probably happened several times, and the answer probably came from a featured snippet. That’s because Google isn’t in the business of delivering traffic to your website or any other website. It’s in the business of providing the best experience possible to its users, and that means providing answers to user search queries as quickly and simply as possible.

Featured snippets are one element of SERPs that achieve this, pulling a snippet of content from a webpage that Google feels sufficiently answers a search query. That content is then displayed in an exclusive section at the very top of the search results (so exclusive, in fact, it’s known as “position 0”).

As we mentioned, getting your content showing on the first page of the SERP is good, but it often isn’t good enough in 2019. To truly lead in organic search, you need to be competing for these snippets. If you don’t, then your competitors will. Considering their high visibility, unless you want your competitor to receive the lion’s share of website traffic for a given search term, that’s the last thing you want. Moreover, because Google has handpicked your webpage to answer a given search query, your website appears as a top authority on the subject for users.

two baskets of canned goods

Give Your Customers Something to E-A-T

That authority is a big deal, not only in the eyes of users but in the eyes of Google as well. It is crucial to your long-term SEO success due to an acronym known as E-A-T.

It stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. The acronym is relatively new in the industry, but the significance behind it is something that cutting-edge SEOs have included in their strategies for some time now.

Today, you can’t rank your website for any keyword you want… at least, not right away. It takes time to build up your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in the eyes of Google, and doing so requires a content strategy that is informative and engaging.

Automotive Content for Establishing Your E-A-T

This content can take many forms, but it should always keep the components of E-A-T in mind. It starts with establishing your expertise by completing keyword research to understand what your audience is searching for. Authority comes into play when a user clicks on your webpage and receives a sufficient answer to their search query.

Let’s consider the example of a blog post explaining how to sync a smartphone to a car’s Bluetooth. Does the post outline clear step-by-step instructions, or is the information thrown confusingly into a few paragraphs? If the standard and available infotainment systems are different, are instructions written out for both or just one? When it comes to trustworthiness on a local level, are you providing information your community cares about, such as holiday events in your city or ways drivers can save money on their next oil change, or is the content just trying to push people into a sale?

[More from SEO Go: Elevating Your Dealership’s Local SEO With Content Marketing]

As a dealership that has worked years to build a trustworthy brand, you know authority in an industry isn’t built overnight. Finding true success on Google requires constant, dedicated efforts. But, here’s the thing with E-A-T… Those long-term efforts result in long-term gains. Just as expertise, authority, and trustworthiness aren’t acquired in a day, they aren’t easily lost either, and they will establish an SEO presence that can provide gains lasting years.

Final Points You Need to Know

So, what does SEO content look like in today’s SEO world? It means taking the time to create content that establishes your dealership as an expert, an authority, and a trustworthy member of the automotive industry and your local community. It also means staying up-to-date on the latest best practices, adjusting content strategies as needed, and taking advantage of the changing SEO landscape by acquiring featured snippets.

Accomplishing this also means working with those who are experts in both the automotive and SEO industries. If you’re unsure where your current content strategy stands, let us help. Our team will offer their expertise via a free website SEO audit. See what’s working and not working and what we recommend to keep your dealership successful in the digital space.