How any auto parts e-commerce site can compete with the big boys, using long-tail search engine marketing techniques.
Auto parts e-commerce can be a complicated business. There are so many ways to optimize a part for search engine rankings, that it can be hard for an e-commerce manager to know where to begin. You should always start by putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. After all, Google has optimized their search engine to work not for your business, but for the search engine user.
I’m the proud owner of a Volkswagen Jetta TDI with 214,000 miles on it, so let’s use that as an example. We will pretend my Jetta is a 2003 and that I am shopping for shocks and struts. My Jetta is the MK4 body style which means that the same shocks will fit the 1999-2004 Jetta. It will also fit the 1999-2006 Golf and the 1998-2008 Beetle. When I perform a Google search this is what I find:
First I should point out that two videos that I shot and edited of a shock and strut installation for my Volkswagen Jetta shows up in the #3 and #4 position at the top of the search results. If you are not promoting your parts business with DIY installation videos on Youtube, you are missing out on big money. But this blog post isn’t really about Youtube video marketing. Search engine optimization is centered on the keywords being in the Page Title, URL and content. This is the biggest mistake that most auto parts e-commerce businesses make. They have so many parts that fit so many different vehicles that they are only able to focus on the part type, brand and part numbers. If they do focus on the year, make and model they typically focus on the year range of 1999-2004. By doing that, you are missing out of my business because I searched for a 2003. The fitment of the vehicle is treated as secondary SEO data. This is a losing strategy that requires big time marketing budgets to pull off (think Rock Auto, Auto Zone, Advanced Auto Parts, etc…) You CAN compete with the big boys with little to no marketing budget. If you want to sell me a set of shocks and struts for my 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, then you should have a product listing on your website with:
- the Page Title: “2003 Volkswagen Jetta Shocks, Struts”
- a URL formatted like: www.myautopartsstore.com/2003-volkswagen-jetta-shocks-struts
This strategy can be difficult to pull off and manage. Because essentially we are talking about taking a part number and duplicating it times every year, make and model that it applies to. So one part number alone could have hundreds of landing page listings for it. How can you possibly manage the inventory for these items??? Well that’s simple. Most e-commerce platforms like Magento offer what’s called simple/child products and bundle/parent products. So what we do is setup the child product to carry the inventory. The bundled product is tied to the child product’s inventory so if the simple/child product goes out of stock, so does the parent/bundled product. So you can literally make hundreds of duplicate bundled products all tied to the same child product which makes managing the inventory a breeze.
This strategy could certainly be implemented manually, going through and setting up these listings one by one. Or you could hire an e-commerce firm like Inspire to automatically take your ACES fitment data and literally create millions of unique, SEO-friendly product pages.