DealerSocket’s resident SEO whisperer explains the link between pizza and winning the search-engine popularity contest.

By Dillon Ford

Winning the search-engine popularity contest in a world overrun with endless products and infinite websites is no easy task. The experts will say SEO is the answer, or search engine optimization. They’re right. Problems is, the rules for getting seen online always seem to be in a constant state of flux.

It’s true that good SEO is decided through algorithms and quality of content. But here’s a tip: Stop trying to understand the specific calculations and worry about the latter. Besides, even the experts have differing opinions and philosophies on the exact formula for attracting attention. So, again, let’s worry about something we can control: quality of content.

To do that, let’s think of something we can all understand: pizza. Now imagine you’re walking down a street with three pizza shops competing for your attention and that hunger pang. How will you decide which one gets your business? For some people, it is the aroma of baking crust, freshly made sauce, and the crisp scent of bubbling cheese. For others, it may be the color of the sign outside the restaurant or the number of people inside.

The exact formula will be different for everyone. Yes, there are some measurable qualities you can analyze, but it often comes down to an immeasurable synergy of all the qualities you observe. Well, just like the tangible world, there are a few principles that drive consumer traffic to your website, including relevance, uniqueness of content, and clear communication. Let’s examine each one.

Relevance: Be Where Your Customers Are

Relevance in our pizza scenario is related to real estate. If your pizza restaurant isn’t on the street with the hungry consumers, then you’re not going to sell many pizzas. So, how do you know which street to be on?

Your website needs to be where the action is. That means you need to give your customers as many reasons as possible to visit your shop. To do that, you need to do more than sell a product to stand out; you need to be where the community is gathering.

If you own a car dealership, your website needs to be a hub for the community — not just a place to buy a car. A blog page offering details to the local fair or the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new library represents a great way to draw in members of your community.

The tip here is be relevant. Stop selling your store and instead become a valued member of the community. Just be sure to cast a wide net. If everyone in town is preparing for the local fair, be the website that has the dates and times for the event’s activities. It’s that simple.

Again, be on the street with all the traffic. In internet terms, that means creating content for which your community will be searching.

Uniqueness of Content: Set Yourself Apart

Newspapers have articles; your website needs to have content. It may seem intimidating, but chances are you already have the material needed to create blogs, blurbs, and product pages. Even links to other websites will help. Remember, every piece of text on your website is content.

Also think in terms of what sets your store apart from your competitors. For a pizza restaurant, it may be aroma, a dining room with a view, or the look on the faces of satisfied customers. So what makes your store unique?

© Balcer / Wikimedia Commons // CC-BY-2.5

New research shows that car shoppers are visiting more brick-and-mortar stores (2.5 dealerships) and submitting more leads (three lead forms, on average). Search engine optimization represents a key opportunity to be one of the dealerships considered.

A website gains popularity on Google by having unique qualities that make it stand out. The words must be attractive, specific, and written with a clear style. When Google decides which websites make first-page results, it weeds out pages that have the same quality of content. If your content smells like your competitors, then Google won’t rank you above your competition.

The solution is not a mystery. Do some research, know your product inside and out, and write something worth reading. You don’t need to be a reporter for The New York Times. You just need a style that is genuine and authentic to you. In other words, use your personality and unique perspective to paint a picture.

Clear Communication: Be Relatable

The last thing to consider is the most practical: communicate clearly. Make sure your reader knows what you are talking about. Use appropriate grammar. Write the way you speak. Readers appreciate that.

When in doubt, use the age-old writing test we all learned in grade school: Read your content aloud and listen to how it sounds. If your phrasing is choppy, then rewrite it. Use short sentences to emphasis simple points. Expand your vocabulary a little, but make sure your reader has context clues to understand what you’re saying. Get creative.

Finally, say what you’re going to say, say it, then say what you said. That’s the secret. Readers want to follow a natural flow without surprises around each corner.

Is that it? Not by a long shot. Think of this blog as the hitchhiker’s guide to SEO. Thankfully, we can leave the math to the experts. You just need to be relevant, have unique content, and communicate clearly. Write it, read it, speak it, be it. Do these things and the SEO will take care of itself.

Dillon Ford is a creative, SEO whisperer and a member of DealerSocket’s marketing team. Email him at [email protected].

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