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What content is working for your organic traffic/SEO?

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by Mel41, Nov 27, 2018.

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  1. Mel41

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    What content is working for your organic traffic/SEO?

    Wondering what's working for everyone and trying to come up with new ideas...
     
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  3. AWNick

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    Our long-form "research pages" have performed very well - some individual pieces pulling in as much as 10k users organically in just a few months. We've also had a lot of success with blog posts targeting long-tail queries if you want to target a specific make/model. We've also had great success with blogs that focus less on a specific make/model, and more on answering very specific automotive questions that shoppers might have (i.e. "What is the Difference Between Mid-Size and Compact?"). We have rich snippets on quite a few of those that bring in hundreds of organic visits a week.

    One of our sites' blogs performs so well that the 9 of the top 10 organic landing pages is a blog article. #1 is the home page. 2-10 are blog articles. Overall bounce rate on the site is atrocious due to this, but the website ranks very well and converts very well.



    We've had other sites with slightly different structures (url and linking) whose blog doesn't perform nearly as well. We create custom dealership websites, so sometimes this kind of thing happens. We're learning from it and will be restructuring their site to give their content the magnetism of the others pretty soon. I think having a good linking system and publication process can be just as important as creating good content.
     
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  4. Mel41

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    Yeah this is a really good idea. I've been pushing to write more content around model research instead of the usual "year make model for sale near city". It doesn't really help the end user.

    Edit: I guess my second question would be, the traffic you're seeing is it local or more spread out? How big is the dealer's PMA and surrounding area? Because I know we can get traffic for those long term queries but is the traffic relevant, that would be my main concern. Example: We have an area of 65K people, that how many of them are really searching for cars every month.
     
  5. Christopher Connor

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    "#1 is the home page. 2-10 are blog articles. " @AWNick@AWNick, that is wild.

    @Mel41@Mel41 You may be interested in the concept of “content pruning”, that is, deleting non-performing content from your website, and/or consolidating similar content.

    Using Dealer.com SEO services as an example, I’m looking at four years of data from a client I know was enrolled. Pages within the blog directory have generated 0.15% of traffic over this period. However, these pages represent 25% of indexed URLs for the domain within Google. Pretty large contrast, especially considering the following quote:

    “From our point of view, our quality algorithms do look at the website overall, so they do look at everything that’s indexed.”
    – John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst – Google

    Here's a specific data-based example for a different dealership, posed to be the #1 by volume for their brand this year, and to provide some insight to your second question:

    blog-traffic-example.jpg
    All of those annotations are blog posts, created by DealerFire, specifically. 575 over a nearly 3 year period. The most successful of the posts for organic visibility target long-tail research queries mentioned by @AWNick@AWNick, with subject matter / titles like "pictures of all 2018 [make] [model] exterior color options", "2018 [make] [model] release date and new features", and "2017 [make] [model] and trim levels". The posts have images (stock), and a few internal links.

    The fun part: the dealership is in the South East. 12% of the organic traffic to these blogs originated in Texas, 10% in California, and finally 9% in their home state, the largest traffic sources, receptively.

    Overall, the domain has a large backlink profile, as they get a lot of press. Perhaps The Big G is rewarding them for their efforts in addressing these long-tail queries, even if it’s helping mainly consumers outside of their PMA. Auditing a few with Copyscape, they are largely free of duplication across the web, at least according to Copyscape's index. I wish I could find out how much they have spent on this.

    Last but not least, seeing some of the backlinks to these posts coming from Wikipedia, so someone found an article on Wikipedia that benefited from the addition of information within these posts, and referenced the post within the Wikipedia article. They call it "barnacle SEO".

    Definitely worth noting they have taken on a traditional media buy campaigns at the same time. They are not the number one organic result within their city for "[make] dealership [city]", but do appear within local map pack results. Do not have search console for these guys unfortunately since they are not doing digital with our agency, so cannot see the distribution of queries driving traffic (branded vs. not).
     
  6. Christopher Connor

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    @Mel41@Mel41 Found out today they have a $35,000 monthly budget on Facebook / Instagram. They get a lot of referral traffic from Facebook.

    Hard to discern with all that exposure the efficacy of the blog posts considering that spend. Guessing they go hand-in-hand:

    "I [encourage] a mix of share-of-market print, fortified with high impact share-of-market broadcast, but also a percentage of share-of-mind broadcast to nurture brand seeds for future consideration. [This] mix [works] well, producing more consistent traffic and higher grosses."

    - Jim Boldebook, Nov. 2018, Power of the Spoken Word, Digital Dealer

    Was able to find Search Console data: 14% of queries are branded for this dealership, representing 65% of the clicks.
     
  7. Mel41

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    From what I see with dealers across the broad is 65% of queries is some variation of the dealer's name with parts, sales, or service added on that the customer is looking for. Which basically translates to, if they don't know the dealer's brand they're less likely to find the dealer by searching for related keywords (lack of unique content). On top of that big sites take any VDP searches that come up (except for the map pack).

    I've also noticed the majority of traffic is to the home page, used search, service, new search, and maybe parts.

    Surprised that the bounce rates are high for these pages. Thought people looking for solutions would stay longer reading the content. Or are they already at the end of the research phase and are looking to buy?
     
  8. Mel41

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    Really great examples of the data that I was looking for. Shows that dealers should be focused on building brands and being well involved in their local communities.
     
  9. Alexander Lau

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    At one point (~5 years ago), I headed the automotive agency production of 5,000+ articles for around 75 dealership accounts, tightly wound around an imported WordPress blogging system. Our developer hacked it in a way to make it look like the blogs were seamlessly integrated in the web platform that was being dealt and the bots loved it (we were one of the first auto web platforms to deploy schema and that matters).

    Relevant, local on-site content, search volume on keywords, measuring those keywords to convert NOT RANK (ranking is complete bullshit, unless your ploy is to dupe / cheat unbeknownst dealerships) using gShift. Dealerships shouldn't give a flyin' shit about where they rank and what drives traffic (especially if their shit platforms are unable to convert it), they need to understand what is driving sales through keyword conversions (against goals, etc.).

    I can say [locale][new/used][make][model] articles are only going to get you so far, you're going to have to be a lot more creative than that. Someone mentioned comparison posts and those do tend to bring in a lot of traffic, but again... conversions.

    The challenge, Google's bullshit algorithm where they rank what they want to rank and change it to get you to buy more ads. Leads me back to what I have said on "SEO"...

    We can sit around and act like we're not trying to take advantage of Google's algorithm (would be a lie), but the fact of the matter, they change it up because SEO groups get VERY GOOD at manipulating it for organic ranking purposes. Google is quite happy fiddling with their algorithm for "best practice" reasons, but in reality, they just want to convolute the ranking equation process in order to get you to BUY more of their PAID AD space. Now that the space (itself) has been limited, it's even more competitive.

    Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with fundamental SEO work and choosing quality web platforms (Dealer Inspire, Dealer Fire, DealerOn, DealerX, fusionZone, etc.). However, let's not lie to ourselves about the manner in which many SEO groups attempt to get ahead of competitors through gray and dark gray hat SEO techniques outside of core fundamental work and quality platform provisions. I am not saying anyone here or their vendors do that, BTW.

    What does Google want? They want relevant, real content on the internet that people want to read and tell other people about. If Google doesn’t bring you the most relevant content when you search, they aren’t doing their job. So by definition, even the word Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means to “game” the Google search engines (and others) to get your valuable content ranked higher than it would be if left alone to the forces of the Web. The bottom line is that all external SEO efforts are counterfeit other than: writing, designing, recording, or videoing real and relevant content that benefits those who search, within a quality user experience.
     
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  10. Mel41

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    Agreed with that sentiment for sure.
     
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  11. Dane Saville

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    Mel,

    I would say a few things about content for organic traffic / SEO.

    1) I think the tactic of having blog posts rank 2-10 in organic is flawed thinking. Your content should begin with building around searches with modifiers that demonstrated they're further into the funnel, like "near me" or "[Geo]". Make sure you're filling the customer journey with content that matters, so do you have VDPs properly structured for these searches, same with SRPs -- and do you have Model Research Pages (MRPs) that you can write content specifically to address this intent that provides compelling copy that gives the shopper direct access to inventory without a single click more.

    1.5) Our company conducted a keyword study across our national network of dealers. We found that the most used terms in search queries were: Make, Brand, GEO1, STATE1, and 2018. In addition to that, 85%+ of search queries for dealerships (whether or not they had their Geo in their name) were no more than 4 words. That's why we recommend starting at the bottom of the funnel. MRPs for one dealership partner of ours had led a 97% increase in form submissions (70 to 167).

    2) Alex, like in most cases, is spot on. You can only get so far with that, which is why I said your content "should begin" with this. Now you can start to capitalize on more exploratory searches: those long-tail search can benefit you in two ways: (1) You can link them to your purpose pages, the pages intended to convert; (2) You are now creating brand awareness (put a little social media money into boosting them) by creating content around these for people at the higher end.

    3) Ranking doesn't sell cars, but ranking wells across your core, high-priority keywords via content that ranges from these intent searches to exploratory searches helps your site acquire authority and helps your dealership's general visibility. Visibility leads to more traffic, and, if you're focused on conversion opportunities on your site, then that should generate more leads -- and with a reasonable closing rate, more car sales. So I think there is value in ranking, but it's not something that should be the end-all, be-all metric communicated to you. It should be one among several.

    4) As far as what types of content work well: MRPs, for one. That's a given to us. When I worked at a 33-store group, we had a lot of success with "layman test drives." We'd write the content for actual car shoppers, not car enthusiasts. If we had the budget, we would've made them as a vlog. It's also a matter of finding the opportunities. If you Google "porsche models explained" or "breakdown of porsche models" or any other variation of it, our agency ranks above Porsche.com in most cases. We did keyword research and saw there was a demand for understanding what in the world Porsche's labeling system meant. We scoured the web, looking for resources. There were scant any. We took our time to write a clear breakdown for them. We found a need and filled it.

    4.5) Now, to your question about it being localized. Traffic for that blog comes from everywhere. If, however, we were a Porsche dealership, we'd have good authority on that page, link it to different MRPs (lending some of that juice), and focus on localizing it with GEOs in meta and content, as well as include references to local business ("imagine driving the XYZ to ABC Restaurant" -- really poorly contrived answers, but I'm trying to get home to meet with a plumber) and link to those business. You'll have the benefit of the (cliche) virality of it, but also make some efforts to localize it. Regardless, there are benefits.

    5) Use your Google Ads account (#1) and Search Console (#2) to look at what queries are driving impressions and, especially with G Ads, what queries are driving conversions. Attack those keywords first in your content plan. Those are the queries that are getting people onto the site. Then make sure that where you're sending them is converting and, if not, how can you update that content.

    In the end, seeing what's compelling people to click to your site and submit a form or make a phone call and understanding what keywords were the drivers behind it are what's most important. We always say at our agency that "Content must match search intent." And you begin with the intent queries that demonstrate a desire to purchase.
     
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