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Comment: What SEO tips car dealers can learn from our challenges

Time 6 months ago

We recently had a few search engine optimisation (SEO) challenges that the marketing team and I had to deal with.

We then had to relay the outcome, reasoning and workload to others around the business, and as anyone who is involved in SEO will know, this isn’t an easy task.

Over the years, I’ve learnt that most people assume SEO is easy, and many believe that simply adding some keywords in the metadata or following a one-page hint and tips sheet will get you to the top of Google and, as such, anyone can do it.


Trying to advise on what gets you there – especially to someone who doesn’t understand SEO at all – is almost impossible.

I’ve been asked many times by friends and acquaintances: ‘What do I need to do to get to the top?’ My response has been: ‘Well, it depends…’ then I proceed to ask a ton of questions and give them a vast range of things to work on and measure.

To the reply ‘I don’t have time for all that!’ my response is usually along the lines of ‘SEO is for life, not just for Christmas’.

If you want to do SEO properly then it’s a journey that never stops, with many challenges, wins and losses, but when you get it right it can be extremely rewarding!


Many don’t even understand that there are multiple areas of focus for SEO, so here they are:

Technical SEO – This refers to optimising your site and site structure so search engines can crawl, index and understand your site in a quick and efficient manner. If you have poor technical SEO and the rest of your site is well optimised, you won’t benefit from great search engine results.

On-site or on-page SEO – This refers to optimising your content both for search engine rankings as well as for users. You will need to have keyword-driven, well-written and readable content, title tags, URLs, alt tags, headings and subheadings, buttons, etc.

Off-site or off-page SEO – This refers to optimising links into your website, which can be done via partner websites, building PR plans and optimising the anchor text. It can also mean building a good and consistent social media presence, becoming an authoritative figure or using them to link to your site, or having a good number of positive reviews on third-party review sites.

For those car dealers looking to implement an SEO strategy or bring an agency in to work on your SEO, you should know that fulfilling the above areas is just the start and it should be used as a foundation, then you must develop, trial, rework everything that you do.

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Once you start down the SEO path, it’s Search Engine Optimism time all the time!

Ben Garside is marketing manager for First Response. Call him on 07817 518739 or email [email protected]

This column first appeared in Car Dealer issue 156. To read Ben Garside’s latest column plus other features and plenty more, view the latest edition by clicking below. 

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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