How to make automotive SEO and content marketing work

July 9th, 2018

Whether you’re a car brand or a dealership, automotive SEO-driven content marketing has not necessarily been a tactic many have employed to date.

Despite its huge technical advances in relation to the product itself, the car industry to date has been slow to take advantage of the new marketing initiatives digital has ushered in – no doubt due to the lack of ecommerce in this space.

Why is automotive SEO content marketing relevant?
Users are spending a lot of time online researching their next car before purchase – recent US research revealed the average car buyer spends at least 13 hours doing so.

Add to the fact that Vauxhall is closing some of their UK car dealerships and 87% of Brits feel increasingly disconnected from car marketing, car brands and dealerships should be thinking something’s got to change.

But how do you make automotive SEO and content marketing work?
We spoke to Jamie Brown, Head of Knowledge and Development at Archant for his insight in relation to automotive SEO and content marketing – and in particular, that relating to car dealerships and brands.

Here are his tips:-

Be the answer to the problem

“The user and the query have become the centre of search with one in four searches, now looking to answer a question, so the quality of your answer is key.

“Google is now using a machine learning artificial intelligence technology called RankBrain to help find the pages deemed most relevant for the increasing number of queries users are now asking of it. Now 15% of search queries have never been seen before so machine learning is being used to connect these types of search with the right answers.

“There can sometimes be a disjoin between what a marketer wants its audience to know and the actual searches people are making. To succeed, you have to understand the questions users have.”

For further inspiration, look at our feature on automotive content marketing trends which looks at Google Trends as an indicator of user-interest.

Be the expert

“We were working with a local dealership who were struggling to lease cars under the UK’s motability scheme which enables disabled people to lease a new car using their government-funded Disabled Living Allowance or related schemes,” adds Jamie.

“We used online tools like Keyword Planner and Moz to understand the query and what we could see above the informational and statistical data was that users were looking for expertise. They wanted to know, ‘Who can I talk to about this?’

“By chance, the dealership had a Motability Specialist on their team who’d worked in the sector for half her life, so she was key in helping create content.

Tell a story

“Through the specific automotive SEO-focused content we created for both our local news site and the dealership site, we were able to take the user on a journey, answering all the natural questions they would have by telling this motability specialist’s story; why she did what she did and what she loved about the job. It gave users a real sense of trust.”

And the results? Over the course of 20 days the content had 616 views and in some cases users spent up to 4 minutes looking at the content. This led to 24 test drive requests attributed to the campaign.

Look at the big picture

Jamie says that most digital marketers will use last-click attribution to evaluate a campaign but they use the full path on Google Analytics to understand users’ behaviour.

“We could see that one individual visited the page 28 times before booking a test drive. And even when using retargeting, we could see that it would drive users to come back directly,” he said.

“And this isn’t necessarily all online activity, traditional media has a part to play in initiating interest too.

“We call this attribution modelling and it’s now part of all our campaigns.

“So, if Google is becoming an information resource for the human race and you find out the questions they’re asking around your business then you have great potential.”

Howard Wilmot, Dialogue

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