FRANCHISED dealers could benefit from an unexpected boost in inquiries in the run-up to the March plate change as a result of Google changing the way it delivers results for new car searches.
According to analysis by automotive search marketing specialist Honchō, Google is now listing dealerships higher on first-page searches than before.
Jack Minot, search engine optimisation manager, said: ‘Traditionally, when buyers searched for new cars on Google, car manufacturers, online marketplaces and review sites appeared above dealerships, but that’s no longer the case.’
Honchō has found that on average dealerships are now ranked two positions higher in Google than last year.
‘Dealerships are appearing higher than before as a result of Google better serving the search needs of consumers. For dealers with optimised sites, this should translate into more traffic as the market prepares for the introduction of the 20-plate.’
To reap the benefits, Honchō is advising dealers to ensure their websites are fully optimised by highlighting new car promotions on separate pages and to aim to go live from the end of this month.
‘Google is providing an improved online experience by making it easier for buyers to gather the information they need while researching for new cars, and dealers who recognise this will stand out,’ said Minot.
‘Google likes pages which are clearly defined by their subject matter, yet a lot of dealers have moved to long-form content pages with mixed messages that can get buried in searches.
‘Dealers should be planning their 20-plate content now. Rolling out new pages in late February might not provide the expected results for March, as changes are not always instantly recognised by Google.’