Is your dealership in Norman, Oklahoma struggling to maintain a steady flow of customers? You probably need to step back and reevaluate your automotive SEO strategy. Everyone takes to search engines and sometimes even social media sites to find vehicles for sale. That means you must ensure your dealership can be found online easily.
Sure, you can pour your funds into billboards and newspaper advertisements, but those methods aren’t nearly as effective as digital marketing. Anytime a person in your city needs a new vehicle or automotive services your dealership provides, they aren’t going to think back to a billboard they saw while traveling. They will pull up Google or a similar site and get to typing.
To ensure your dealership appears in Google searches and the like, you must implement automotive SEO. However, SEO is a complicated marketing method that tends to require the hand of a professional. The best action for your dealership is to partner with a digital marketing agency that excels at automotive SEO.
However, you must ensure the agency you partner with is trustworthy. Some digital marketing agencies out there use underhanded tactics to get their clients the online visibility they want. Luckily for you, what follows this paragraph will be detailed descriptions of five red flags to look up when hiring an automotive SEO company.
1. There’s No Verifiable Track Record of Automotive SEO Services
When a digital marketing agency takes on your dealership’s marketing responsibilities, the team should be able to show how they’re using your money. Additionally, you should be able to look into the services they’ve done for others to see what to expect. If you’ve entered an agreement with an agency and, after a few months, still have no idea what they’re doing, that is a huge red flag.
Agencies should be able to provide you with detailed reports regarding marketing results. Of course, significant changes occur after a while, but it is possible to report back to clients for other things when asked. For example, the agency handling your dealership’s digital marketing should be able to provide an in-depth analysis of your website’s SEO at all times.
After all, SEO trends are constantly evolving; therefore, an agency on top of its game should know to monitor the effectiveness of its methods regularly. Additionally, they need to be able to show you how backlinks to your dealership’s website are performing. Backlinks are the backbone of a business becoming relevant online.
Creating articles with relevant keywords and high-quality inbound links is a great way to achieve excellent automotive SEO. Digital marketing agencies should be putting out such content if they’re genuinely trying to increase your dealership’s online visibility. The existence of articles, web pages, blog posts, and the like should be easy to verify. If an agency can’t even show you the content they have made, they cannot be trusted, and you should look into a different agency.
2. No Questions Asked. Nothing From You is Needed.
An SEO agency needs access to certain things to provide good services. You can’t improve a business’s online optimization without looking at every facet. Everything needs to be reviewed, touched, and modified to align with the constructed digital marketing strategy. One thing out of place could cause the whole strategy to falter.
Some of the things a marketing agency should ask of your dealership is as follows:
- A list of target keywords. If this can’t be provided, the agency should at least ask for topics.
- Access to your dealership’s Google Analytics. They need to know the status of your dealership’s website traffic and more to bring about change.
- Administrator access to your CMS. How will they create and design your web pages without this access?
- Google Webmaster Tools access.
- Access to your dealership’s social media accounts, if any.
- Your dealership’s past automotive SEO audits and website edits.
- Details regarding any previous search engine penalties.
A vibrant red flag waves if an agency doesn’t ask you for anything listed above. All of those factors are very crucial to the optimization of a business. It is highly suspicious for a digital marketing agency not to require access to those various sites, tools, and information. One could wonder just how they intend to implement automotive SEO for your dealership. It will appear that they will lean into underhanded, secretive tactics instead.
Such an agency is probably getting your dealership’s backlinks through untrustworthy websites. When a low reputation site is used to provide backlinks, it will propel your dealership higher on Google rankings quickly. However, that high ranking won’t last long. It will soon plummet down the SERPs and maybe even lead to your dealership receiving a penalty.
Your dealership needs more than backlinks to have great automotive SEO. In fact, your dealership needs more than strong content. It needs every aspect to receive the utmost attention to work in tandem. An agency without or asking for complete access to critical information about your dealership’s online presence cannot make any SEO changes. Even if the agency asks for some access but ignores other factors, that will not suffice.
3. No Ideas or Suggestions Are Offered
This red flag is relevant to any business that provides services. If a business takes on a client but can’t offer any suggestions about improving the client’s situation, what can it really offer? When it comes to partnering with a firm for automotive SEO assistance, that firm should be able to let you know what your dealership needs.
For example, if your dealership has had trouble engaging with customers, an agency with access to your information and online content could suggest ways to improve that. Their suggestions could involve establishing a more substantial social media presence or making your website more user-friendly. Either way, a suggestion is made, and ideas are offered.
If a digital marketing agency can provide your dealership with no SEO suggestions, they likely intend on doing the bare minimum. They will probably use low-quality web pages to get your backlinks. It could also be possible that the agency is only out for your money and intends to do nothing regarding your dealership’s automotive SEO.
A marketing strategy needs to be established and presented to clients. That way, they can see exactly what they’re paying for and have peace of mind. An agency that withholds ideas and information can never be trusted to provide good services.
4. Secretive About Methods
The fourth red flag ties into the previous one. More often than not, an agency that doesn’t relay its ideas is also likely to be secretive about their methods. In fact, their secrecy may be why they never offer up any ideas in the first place. This is because the methods that they use are dishonest. SEO companies should always be able to explain what they will do for a client. If they can’t, something suspicious is definitely afoot.
Of course, an agency that is using underhanded methods won’t want to expose itself. To avoid exposure, they will remain secretive about your methods, taking your money and doing God knows what in the shadows. An excuse commonly offered up when questioned about secrecy is that the methods they use are too complicated to explain.
While SEO is complicated, it can be explained in the simplest details if a professional is willing. If a person does a fair amount of research, they can definitely figure out SEO for themselves. However, because the process is so time-consuming, leaving little room to focus on the business side of things, having an SEO agency help is necessary.
Digital marketing agencies aren’t hired because SEO concepts are too complex to comprehend. They are hired to help businesses that don’t have the time to do it themselves. That is why you should run if an agency says they don’t discuss their methods because they are too complex.
Wiggle out of that contract immediately if the agency you’ve partnered with is tight-lipped about their methods. Transparency is essential. Your dealership’s online success is in this agency’s hands, and it’s imperative that you know what they’re doing. Teaming up with a secretive agency that uses dishonest methods, also known as black hat techniques, can hurl your dealership into a world of hurt.
Black Hat Techniques
In order to find the best SEO agencies, your dealership should be familiar with several “black hat” techniques. Some of these methods are illegal, but the vast majority are simply deemed unethical. In order to gain your trust, black hat methods will often present you with fabricated results. Actual SEO Media would never resort to such methods, but that is not the case with other agencies.
Examples of black hat techniques are the following:
- Link Farms – Link farms are single or multiple websites used to build backlinks. The pages are full of links that lead to real pages that businesses want consumers to visit. Link farms usually have poorly written or plagiarized content stuffed with links. Search engines can spot these deceptive tactics and penalize websites.
- Cloaking – This technique refers to the hiding of a website’s actual content from search engine bots. The content will be poorly crafted, but the bots will be unaware and rank it higher on SERPs. This technique is used by spam sites quite often.
- Keyword Stuffing – Keywords refer to what is typed into search engines. In order to rank high on SERPs, it’s important to create content that uses relevant keywords. Keyword stuffing refers to the use of irrelevant but popular keywords to get ranked high every time. Examples of keyword stuffing are lists of useless phone numbers, blocks of cities and states, and unnatural sentence repetition.
- Duplicates/Poor Content – Agencies that steal content are always penalized as search engines do not allow duplicate content. There are some companies out there that try to manipulate search engines by using invisible text to insert duplicated content. Such an action is quickly sniffed out and penalized.
5. Your Dealership is Penalized
The most obvious red flag is if your dealership is penalized by a search engine. A penalty means that either the agency you’ve hired has made a mistake or has intentionally tried to trick the search engine. Receiving a penalty from a search engine is one of the worst things that can happen to your dealership. It leads to the removal of your content and a loss of trust in the search engine, making it difficult to establish your foothold.
You need the trust of search engines to remain discoverable online. When a site like Google or Bing loses faith in your dealership, automotive SEO will be extremely difficult to accomplish. It will take so much time to get your dealership resituated online, and as that time passes, you will miss out on a plethora of marketing opportunities.
It’s crucial that your dealership gets to the bottom of it all to determine why the penalty occurred. As previously stated, it could have been because of a mistake and not an outright attempt to manipulate search engines. After conducting a thorough investigation, you can determine whether you need to cut ties with the employed marketing agency or not.
You Can Trust Actual SEO Media, Inc.
When it comes to waving red flags, Actual SEO Media, Inc. never does. We are proud to say that we never feel the need to employ black hat techniques. Through us, you can always expect to receive quality content and well-designed web pages. Our Houston-based agency has been around since 2013 and is extremely knowledgeable about what needs to be done to optimize a business properly.
Reach out to us to receive a free online marketing consultation from our Houston office. We can construct an efficient marketing strategy that is aligned with your business goals. With us, you’ll never have to worry about search engine penalties and will be able to gain exceptional online traction. We can’t wait to work with you and help your dealership achieve automotive SEO!