Having a fantastic looking website that can’t be found in search results is the same as owning a priceless piece of art you have to keep locked away. Only you will ever see it, and nobody else will ever know you have it. Whereas this might be worthwhile with a true treasure, your website is one thing that shouldn’t be buried.
That’s why, when it comes to considering a new platform for your website, SEO is one of the most important aspects to factor in. GForces has always understood the importance of SEO and we’ve invested heavily in our platform to ensure we deliver websites that outperform expectations in every way.
In this article, Andy Chubb, our Head of SEO, explains why our NetDirector® Auto-e platform really delivers when it comes to SEO features that genuinely make the difference when it comes to rankings. A new client to GForces discovered this when they more than doubled their first page keyword rankings in Google, from a mere nine to twenty, within just three months of migrating to NetDirector® Auto-e.
Keywords ranking on first page has increased from 9 in October to 20 in February 2019
It goes to show just how we’ve identified and factored in best practice SEO elements, as well as technical features that go above and beyond what other platforms provide. Where possible, we’ve also automated SEO tasks, helping our clients save time and resources. And, we are continuously updating the platform with new SEO features in line with Google Algorithm updates – something vital in today’s ever-changing search landscape.
But, perhaps most importantly, the platform is built with the nuances of automotive SEO in mind. It’s just one of the reasons why our clients see such significant uplifts in organic visits when they start working with GForces. The client below experienced a 51.8% increase in organic visits to their website following the move to NetDirector® Auto-e.
January 2016 – January 2017. 453,770 organic visits for year on competitor platform.
January 2018 – January 2019. 689,056 organic visits for year on NetDirector® Auto-e.
Migrated to NetDirector® Auto-e in November 2018. 58.25% increase in organic traffic over the first three months on platform YoY.
And it’s important to point out that with the right tools in place, better results can be seen very quickly. Another client saw a staggering 58.25% increase in organic traffic in just the first three months on the platform.
So, here, we cover ten of the SEO features built into our NetDirector® Auto-e platform and why they are specifically beneficial to automotive websites.
1. Meta management tool
Meta titles and descriptions are really important in helping your web page rank well in organic search results. They are elements of HTML code found in the head of a web page, and are used by search engines to understand the topic of the page and how it should be ranked in its index.
On most platforms or custom site builds, you would need to implement meta data on a page-by-page basis, but NetDirector® Auto-e allows you to template the meta data for entire site sections. This enables extremely efficient implementation of meta data across every page on a website within minutes, rather than hours. Using this tool also means that even if you create a page and forget to add in a meta title or description, it will still be automatically populated.
2. Page level controls
A lot of platforms require development work or hard coding to implement certain tags or rules for SEO benefit. But, this isn’t the case with NetDirector® Auto-e. We provide easy-to-use page level controls for all necessary areas, including:
- Meta Title/Descriptions
- H1, H2, H3 etc. tags
- Alt Tags
- No index option
- Canonical tag option
- Open Graph
These are all elements within the HTML of a page that Google crawls for SEO ranking purposes. For a page to rank well in the search results, these elements need to be well optimised. With NetDirector® Auto-e you have all the tools you need to optimise your page and get it ranking at the top of the search results.
3. SERP snippet preview
How your meta title and description appears in the search results is critically important to further engagement. You need to entice users to click on your search listing rather than that of your competitors. So, ensuring it is the correct length and well optimised is vital. Especially as Google likes to experiment with changing meta data length.
Our SERP snippet preview tool enables you to check how your meta title and description will look before being published to search results.
4. Landing pages
Our Landing Pages tool is not just great for SEO, but also PPC and social campaigns as well. You can create search engine friendly landing pages populated with the stock criteria of your choice, and you can really drill down to detailed levels. For example, if you wanted to have a landing page which displays all your red, Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi stock from a specific location, you can! This is great if you want to create marketing campaigns for a stock overflow, and from an SEO perspective, it’s a great way to target longer tail keywords – which are on the rise with the increasing use of voice search.
5. Mobile first
As of March last year, Google moved to a mobile-first index. This means that Google will look at the mobile version of your website before desktop, and it’s the mobile version that it uses for ranking purposes.
All NetDirector® Auto-e websites are responsive and mobile first, and all content you add is consistently displayed, whether you are on a desktop, mobile, or tablet.
6. Automated schema markup
Schema or Schema.org, is a markup language created after a rare collaboration of all the major search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex. They wanted to understand the context behind the content on a page, and Schema markup is the language created to achieve this.
Put simply, Schema markup helps search engines return more informative results for users. With most platforms, you need to manually implement schema mark up for all relevant elements on every page. NetDirector® Auto-e does it for you. You can read more about our platform wide schema roll out here.
We’ve seen some fantastic results from this feature and we’re starting to see sites appearing for rich snippet voice results since implementation:
7. SSL Ready
As of July 2018, Google Chrome now labels any Non-HTTPS website as not secure. And if a user sees this message, there’s a good chance they will leave your website.
There is also research to suggest having a HTTPs website correlates with higher rankings. All websites built on NetDirector® Auto-e are HTTPS secure.
8. Automated Sitemaps
XML sitemaps are used by search engines to understand which pages you would like crawled on your website. It’s important to keep your sitemap up to date, so Google is always crawling any new pages you add. NetDirector® Auto-e automatically updates your sitemaps every day, and only includes search engine friendly pages. But, if you do want to manually manage them, you have that option too.
9. Robots.txt management
The robots.txt file is the first port of call for search engines when it comes to crawling a website. It tells the search engine crawler where to visit, which is important. After all, you wouldn’t want them wasting time on pages with no value and missing those which are important.
NetDirector® Auto-e has a default robots.txt for every website, optimised to provide optimum efficiency for search engine crawlers. But, in line with the flexibility built into the platform, you still have the option to edit your own robots.txt file should you choose to.
10. Enforced Rules / Navigation
It’s very common for websites to suffer a number of technical SEO issues, all simply caused by not having basic rules in place at platform level.
For example, you can have duplication issues if you are able to create a trailing slash and non-trailing slash version of the same URL e.g. www.example.com/page/ and www.example.com/page. Or, you could create URLs with a poor structure, or have pages buried so deep within the site hierarchy search engines are rarely able to crawl them.
NetDirector® Auto-e deals with these common technical pitfalls by enforcing a number of rules which prevent duplication or technical errors. And, the hierarchy of your site is clean and easy for search engines to follow as a result.
If you would like a free, full SEO audit of your current website, or would like to know more about the SEO features and benefits of NetDirector® Auto-e, get in touch today.