NATDA Magazine May/June 2016 - Page 24

As a trailer dealership owner or manager , you must consider the performance of your dealership website . In 2016 , your website is your number one salesman . It ’ s where your future customers go to check out your inventory and decide whether or not they are interested in making a purchase , before they ever step foot in your physical store .
There are two crucially important elements to consider in terms of your site ’ s performance . The first thing to think about is , how easy is it for prospective customers to find you online ? The second item to contemplate is , what kind of experience do these people have when visiting your site ?
The first question , regarding prospective customers finding your dealership online , comes down to Search Engine Optimization , or your website ’ s organic placement in search engine results like Google , Bing , Yahoo , and more . Keywords and written content on your site allows it to show up when Internet users search for businesses like yours .
The second question is largely related to whether or not your website has a responsive design , or is built in such a way that it responds to the screen size and dimensions of any device that a given Internet user has . In responsive design , the elements of your website expand , retract , and stack to create the same visual experience for all website visitors — whether they are using a large desktop computer , a small smartphone , or anything in between .
Both of these components become even more important because of Google ’ s ranking system . Search engine algorithms rank your website based on the relevance and quality of its content . When someone searches for a business like yours , these are specific things that Google looks for . Another consideration for Google is the ease of navigation and usability on your site . When a mobile Internet user attempts to view trailer inventory on a website designed for desktop users , they are very likely to have a difficult and negative experience . In addition to losing that potential lead , Google now also has a reason to rank your site lower in search results .
You may have heard of a “ mobile site ” or app for your website , which is often a quicker and cheaper method to accommodate mobile device users , but this is not a solution . One major drawback to this Band-Aid fix is that it creates two separate URLs to be indexed by search engines . It ’ s harder to rank in a high position when Google has to sort through multiple URLs . A responsive website with a single URL that operates correctly for all devices saves time for search engine ranking systems , and helps bring traffic to that single URL . Along with two separate URLs to be indexed , the mobile site or app would also create separate versions of content , which presents the same issue . Google ’ s preference is the implementation of responsive design , which serves the same content to all users , and the ranking system will reward your website for it .
If your trailer dealership website isn ’ t yet responsive , perform a quick Google search to see where it shows up in search engine results . You may find that it is much lower than you ’ d prefer , or maybe it doesn ’ t show up on the first page of results at all . The majority of people never look past the top five or six search results , let alone the first page . Consider how long you could expect future customers to look through results before moving on to a competitor ’ s store that appears in a higher spot . Responsive web design isn ’ t just recommended , it ’ s vital in order to keep your business visible in the hugely competitive arena of search engine results .
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24 NATDA Magazine www . natda . org