How to rank #1 on Google
Automotive dealerships know that when it comes to securing new customers, it’s essential to rank #1 on Google or get on the first page for search terms related to your dealership. But de-mystifying SEO can be difficult, so here are a few best practices you can check that your dealership site has followed or use when building your next dealership site.
1. Make sure your site is being indexed correctly
To rank #1 in Google you have to be found by Google, so make absolutely sure that your site is being indexed by Google (meaning that Google can find your site.) You can test this by heading to Google.com and typing ‘site:yoursite.com’ into the search bar. If you site doesn’t show up, follow Google’s instructions to sign up for its “Search Console” tool and get your site indexed.
2. Build out a site map
Think of your sitemap as the table of contents that tells Google what is on your site, and which content is the most important for your site to rank #1 in Google searches. Google has a very helpful guide to building a site map that you should follow if it’s your first time creating one on your site, but some basic practices to keep in mind are:
- Identify which pages Google shouldn’t crawl by adding a “robots.txt” file.
- Avoid crawling pages with a search feature.
3. Have Google see your site the same way a user does
Think about the sites you see that rank #1 on Google for high traffic keywords, and you’ll notice most are well organized, using logical titles and subtitles, relevant descriptions in meta tags, and have a natural progression of content on their site making it easy to read.
To rank #1 in Google searches your site needs to be structured well, so avoid cramming keywords into every meta tag and description tag on your site, and instead use headings the same way you would use them on the outline of a school paper. You can also add structured data to describe the content on your site to Google, which is especially important to Google when displaying sites based on purchasing or business related keyword searches (i.e. used cars for sale in New York.)
4. Organize pages and optimize images and content
You may notice a pattern so far that, in general, to rank #1 in Google searches your site needs to be clean and organized. This same principle applies with regard to the pages, images, and content that make up the body of your site. Google likes to navigate pages on your site the same way you navigate through file trees in your computer documents, so use a logical page hierarchy and refer to your site map as a guide.
Optimize text by using it to navigate users around your site, whether that be through links in the text or including a navigational page of your site. For images, use brief but descriptive filenames, and help Google find them by including an image sitemap.
URLs are also important when it comes to ranking #1 in Google, so avoid using lengthy URLs for pages on your site and instead use URLs containing words relevant to your site’s content (i.e. Arizona.Cars/used-2017-dodge.html instead of Arizona.Cars/…/dir1/dir2/dir3/dir4/dir5/dir6/page.html) Simple URLs are better, so to rank #1 in Google you could try shortening your domain from something longer like SmithLAUsedCars.com to LA.Cars.
5. Make your site mobile friendly
Mobile web traffic surpassed desktop web traffic in 2016, and Google themselves have begun experiments with primarily using a sites’ mobile version for ranking, so to rank #1 on Google it is essential that your site be mobile friendly. Google recommends:
- Using responsive web design (adding ‘meta name=”viewport”’ tag to tell the browser how to adjust the content.)
- Using dynamic serving (using the “Vary HTTP” header to signal your changes depending on the user-agent.)
- Using separate URLs (signaling the relationship between two URLs by tag with ‘rel=”canonical”’ and ‘rel=”alternate”’ elements.)
Once you’ve optimized your site for mobile, you can test out how well you did by using Google’s mobile-friendly test.
6. Harness your site URL to grab traffic
All the best practices we’ve covered so far will help you tighten up your site’s code to Google’s standards to get you set to rank #1 in Google, but you can also optimize your site’s URL to attract more internet traffic and site visits. The top 25,000 most popular websites are 8 characters long on average, which makes sense because longer URLs are more difficult to type and are often far less relevant to the site’s intended purpose.
If you have a long URL, you should consider switching to a shorter, more memorable domain. .Cars/.Car/.Auto domains have been proven to increase traffic and page views by Globerunner, and you can secure geographic domains like NY.Cars, TexasUsed.Cars, or FLA.Auto, to attract customers.
With the high amount of competition to rank #1 on Google, auto dealerships need to take every possible advantage and make sure their site is completely optimized to secure leads. By following these best practices, your dealership site will be on its way to securing you the new leads you’re looking for in no time. Are you ready to stand out to online shoppers with a memorable and authoritative domain name? Then upgrade your URL to a .Cars/.Car/.Auto domain today.