500% improvement achieved in five months
In the fall of 2010, Boyle Buick GMC Truck had a combined total of 462 visitors to their website from organic (unpaid) search engine traffic plus visitors referred by links from other websites. Five months later, in March of 2011, that figure was 2,324. This graph gives you the numbers. Read on below to see how we did it.
Search Engine Optimization
Meta Titles and Descriptions
Two keys to getting found online are the meta titles and descriptions that are part of your sites HTML, but do not show up on the site. They do show up in search engines. Typically, the title shows up as the headline link in search results. The description is the text below the title. The title tells the search engine what the page is about. The description helps searchers decide if they will click on the link to the page.
The website supplied by the dealership’s vendor was typical of such sites in that the meta titles for all the pages all began with the dealership name. That was a complete waste, because search engines place heavier emphasis on the words at the beginning of the title. As far as Google was concerned, all the pages had virtually the same title. I changed the titles to make them relevant to the actual content on the pages, as they should be.
The meta descriptions were rewritten as 150 character ads to entice searchers to click that link. Getting on the first page of a search engine is irrelevant if you don’t get the click. You have got to convince people that your link is the one they want.
Keywords and Anchor Text
In addition to making sure all relevant product, service, and geographical keywords were incorporated into the copy of each page, I created another menu on the homepage that linked to saved searches of each type of vehicle with both graphics and text. The “anchor text” links told the search engines what was important about the link destination.
The combination of meta and on-page Search Engine Optimization got us to the first page of Google for every new vehicle the dealership sold. But we did more.
I made product videos for each car model they sold, and loaded them to YouTube… and Vimeo… and Dailymotion in addition to posting them to the special pages I created for each model. The videos featured their new vehicle sales manager, which gave viewers a chance to get to know him a little before coming in to the dealership.
From an SEO standpoint, they also played an important role in pushing other dealerships off the first page.
The dealership’s website didn’t include a blog, so we set up a blog as a sub-domain. That enabled the dealership’s domain to get all the SEO credit for the blog. Blogging 6-8 times a month added pages and built authority to the site. Incorporating short and long tail keywords within blogs enabled us to get found on searches where the web pages would not have gotten found. Also, blogging about customers and employees lent to sharing of blog articles with family and friends via email and social media.
We used the blog for special events and sales as well, and then linked back to select blog articles in the monthly enewsletter, which typically earned a click-through rate (the percentage of recipients who clicked back to the website or blog) or more than 4%.
The numbers tell the story
As you might expect from the numbers shown in the above graph, the dealership dominated the first pages of all the major search engines. What did we do with this traffic? With calls-to-action, we advanced users to landing pages where they could find out how much their vehicle was worth, enter a contest, or request special online pricing. As a result, the number of leads from the website went up dramatically, and the percentage of sales from website leads rose to 24%.
That’s what you call driving traffic.