“Create content for the user, not the search engines.”
You hear this a lot in content marketing circles. And it’s undeniably solid advice. But the “create content for the reader” approach is only part of the story. SEO is still very much alive in content marketing, even if it doesn’t transfer as heavily to the written words themselves.
If you are creating content strictly for the reader without a basis of SEO analysis before you start, you are doing your dealership a disservice. The only way that you will be effective at writing content – and more importantly, driving results – is if you have a sound SEO strategy in place before even typing the first word of the content itself.
There are some key strategy components that you or the agency creating your ongoing content should tackle before starting a content marketing strategy.
Goals of the Dealership in Relation to Content
First and foremost, what are the goals of your dealership this quarter, and how will content marketing help get you there? If you are looking to gain more brand awareness in your market, then branded keywords will be the first place to focus. If you need to push more sales of a certain vehicle, then use content to get to the top of the SERPs for the right terms around that car or truck. If service is your baby and you want to structure your dealership to be service-first and transfer those customers into sales, then you will work on a dense service-related strategy.
These are a few examples of many, with the point being that you first need to establish goals for the return on investment you hope to get from content marketing. From there, a keyword strategy, and then content itself, is born.
Geo Targets of Your Content Marketing
Isolating the markets that you want to do well in is key to developing an effective content strategy. But, you need to be realistic when it comes to your geotargeting.
Google wants your site to be relevant for the customers that realistically will purchase from you. This makes your physical location vitally important for ranking considerations. It’s always going to be easier for you to rank for the city that is your physical address. Your map pack results will also be heavily weighted for searches done in your actual location.
If you can realistically serve other areas, and the competition isn’t too severe (or non-existent), you can dip into cities around your location. But this is something that should be researched before committing to a given city-targeting strategy.
Keyword Gaps and Opportunity
Running an analysis of your site ahead of time in terms of ranking keywords and opportunities is paramount. Tools like SEMRush, Moz and others are great options, but you need to know what you are looking for and how to leverage that data to your advantage.
For example, you can analyze the gaps that currently exist for your site, and the opportunity available to do better in these areas. The difficultly of the keywords in these buckets can also help determine the investment it would take to appear in higher results for given keywords.
Keyword Competition and Improvement
Current SERP positions are a great way to identify some potential quick wins. If you are ranking third for a competitive keyword that has a moderate difficulty score, centering content around those individual keywords can bump you up to the top spot.
Of course, domain authority plays into this as well, with domain age, incoming links and overall topic relevance playing into how Google will allow you to move up the boards. But domain authority is directly tied to quality of written content, so if you are doing the right things, it will all fall into place.
The final piece of this is analyzing your competitors and how you rank in comparison to them for the terms you care about most. This can heavily dictate how you go about your keyword strategy and content development. Much like a general SERP analysis, the competitor SERP analysis allows you to target specific dealerships that you compete with and develop a plan to overtake them in rankings.
Bringing It All Together
When writing content, you want the reader to come first. Keyword stuffing and writing to search engines is a thing of the past, and if you are doing this, you are only hurting your site and its ability to succeed organically.
That being said, you need a strategy that is based in SEO performance at its core. In this way, you can write naturally, but the content you actually write about can be based on an SEO strategy that drives results for your business.
At DealerFire, we do an onboarding call with every content marketing client that comes aboard. Once we have the key information that we need about the dealership, we run an analysis that allows us to formulate a strategy to ensure we are creating content that is healthy for the site, while pushing key objectives for the dealer’s business. The plan is then given to the dealer to confirm we are both aligned on the goals of the content marketing strategy.
With everything in place, the ongoing content has a paved path to success to drive ROI for your dealership.