Just as your customers need tires with the right amount of tread to drive successfully, your business needs search engine optimization (SEO) to gain traction in an increasingly competitive market.
According to a survey by Consumer Reports, 65 percent of the respondents searched online when buying tires, and 33 percent looked at tire retailers’ websites when researching tires for making a purchase. By implementing SEO best practices, your tire shop’s website ranking on Google will improve, thus helping your business get found by prospective customers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a big company with a massive marketing budget to benefit from SEO. You can boost your business’s visibility online by taking some simple and cost-effective steps on your own.
3 SEO Tips For Tire Businesses
Below are a few ways you can help your business rank better in online searches.
Claim Your Business Listing in Online Directories and Review Websites
Websites such as Yelp, Citysearch, Facebook and others often appear near the top of Google’s search results pages. By having a listing on them, you can increase awareness of your business and drive potential buyers to your website. Area chambers of commerce and other local organizations might offer opportunities to list your business on their websites, as well. Also, make sure you include your business details on Google My Business, which will help ensure your business information shows up in Google Search and Maps.
Tire manufacturers often list dealers that carry their brands, so inquire about having your shop included on their website, too — if they haven’t already offered the opportunity to you. Another effective way to expand your online presence is in online directories relevant to your industry, such as the Tire Business Dealer Directory.
Wherever your business listing appears, make sure your company name, address and phone number (NAP) information is consistent. Most SEO specialists say that search engines consider NAP information’s uniformity across the Web when assessing the validity of a business. If your NAP info is different from one site to the next or has inaccurate details, it could hurt your ranking on Google.
Make “Mobile-Friendly” a Must
In 2015, the number of Google searches in the U.S. conducted on mobile devices surpassed the number of searches from computers. Also in 2015, Google began giving mobile-friendly sites an edge in search results rankings.
If that’s not enough to state the case for having a mobile-ready site, consider this: According to Google research, 9 out of 10 smartphone users will leave a website if it isn’t easy to use.
Even if your tire shop offers the best selection and value, you risk losing customers if you don’t have a website that provides a good user experience on mobile devices.
If you don’t have a mobile-ready site, talk with a website design or development company about your options. If you do have a mobile website, review its ease of use and performance (such as page load time) to evaluate how effectively it is serving your customers. To check how well your website performs on smartphones and tablets, use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test.
With 78 percent of local mobile searches resulting in offline purchases, there’s good reason to give people a positive impression on mobile devices.
Review (Or Create) Your Keyword Strategy
Although using “head-term” keywords (one or two general words that reflect the main focus of your business, such as “tires” or “tire stores”) requires minimal brain power, time and research, you may find they won’t help your websites ranking at all. There is an immense amount of competition in searches using those keywords, so you will likely find yourself in an unwinnable position on Google if they’re your sole focus.
The better bet is to use long-tail keywords that are more descriptive and detailed. For example, a tire business in my neck of the woods might find that these examples would help them get seen by interested customers:
● Tires in Lancaster, PA
● Tires Ephrata, PA
● Used tires in Ephrata, PA
● Used tires
These keyword phrases generate fewer monthly searches than “tires” and “tire shops”, but fewer tire shops are using them, and they are more relevant to the audience who is looking for tires in my area — Google loves relevance!
Also in your keyword strategy, consider the growing trend of people using voice search technology. “20% of search queries on Google’s mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches.” (Search Engine Land, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics).
As voice search capabilities improve, that percentage will increase. So, think about not only what people will type, but also what they will say when looking for tires and related services.
Deciding which keywords to use begins with basic keyword research:
● Brainstorm relevant keywords according to what you know about what search terms your customers have used to find you online.
● Use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to gauge how many people use those keywords when searching online.
● Use a competitive analysis tool like Moz’s SERP analysis tool to assess how difficult it will be to rank for the keywords you intend to use.
Ensure a Successful Ride With SEO
Having a website but not paying attention to SEO is akin to driving on tires without adequate tread. It ultimately could be a life-or-death situation for your business. As more consumers rely on online searches for information and to evaluate their options, SEO will play a critical role in helping your business succeed.
The tips I’ve shared are just a few ways you can begin to gain traction online. Also, consider consulting with an SEO firm that is knowledgeable about local SEO to ensure your efforts are following Google’s latest guidelines.
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, one of the leading Internet marketing agencies in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.