The OEMs sure do, and rightfully so. Does that mean that your dealership should?
Let’s find out if model landing pages make sense for individual dealerships.
A model landing page, or MLP, is a page on your website that tells your visitors all they need to know about a specific vehicle make/model/year: what features it has, why they need to buy it, and how it could relate to their potential lifestyle. It addresses positive and negative demographics, all while serving as a “spec sheet” of information and technicalities.
We hear it often: “My OEM (original equipment manufacturers, like Chevrolet or Ford) says that I have to have model landing pages for all of my vehicles.” Mandating MLPs is pretty common, and from the perspective of the marketing team it makes sense. OEMs want to have their stores create model landing pages to win their model searches in Google. Seems rational. But can it get a little convoluted? Also yes.
According to Google, a vehicle shopper is likely to encounter model landing pages on a brand’s national website first. This is when they’re in the research phase of the funnel - or buyer’s journey - when they aren’t yet decided on a vehicle or ready to buy. After that, they will look to consumer reviews, YouTube, and dealership websites.
So the goal, of course, is for your dealership’s MLP to pop up in those top search results when a user (preferably near your dealership) searches for a particular make and model. Then, that MLP can help move the potential customer closer to the purchase decision with appropriate CTAs and page structures.
Now, for a dealership website to rank an MLP above the national site is almost unheard of. But guess what? We’ve done it. And that’s why we’re not afraid to toot our own horn about how awesome we are at SEO.
We broke down the data of individual dealerships to find out.
Below is an example of a small-city Toyota dealership. Toyota dealers are obligated to conform to quarterly website audits and part of that is having an MLP for each vehicle. Further, each MLP needs to contain very specific information in order to pass the audit. This data spans over the last 5 years.
What we’re seeing:
1. Their Toyota Tundra model landing page is the tenth most-popular page on their site.
2. It makes up only 0.85% of their total page views.
3. Less than 1% of those views is still almost 14,000 views (or just shy of 3,000 per year in a city of 40,000 people).
Looking at the last year, that changes to:
1. The 19th most popular page on their site.
2. Only 0.41% of total page views.
3. 1,500 people seeing it (again, a city of 40,000) in one year.
This isn’t specific to Toyota. When we look through years of Analytics data across different manufacturers, the statistics and patterns are very similar.
The data shows that users are “caring about” model landing pages less and less. This could be because they’re finding sufficient information on the national website, or that they’re arriving at detailed-enough inventory pages to find what they need.
While their popularity is declining, I would say yes.
As a marketer, it’s easy to see the bigger picture of an MLP outside of direct performance. There are bigger implications of strategic content marketing that should be considered:
• All of the content on your website is what search engines crawl to rank you. If you’re the absolute expert on Ford F-150s in your area with sufficient, relevant, and useful content: it will help you drive more users to your site, whether they land on the MLP or another page.
• Having the appropriate model pages can solidify your positioning in search engines when you’re competing against other same-brand dealers in your local area.
• It pleases OEM audits and that’s always nice (just don’t copy and paste what is already on the national website).
• It can show your users that you have the answers they need, and that you understand how your vehicles fit within your local market.
• A healthy content strategy is a mixture of pages and posts on your website that you can take and distribute across different channels in different ways to help grow your business. This creates awareness, frequency, proximity, and brand affinity. Even if they don’t click on the content, they know what your area of expertise is. It shows that you care.
Are MLPs the only part of a content strategy that matters? Absolutely not. But they do matter. Do you want to nail your audits, create bangin’ MLPs and work towards a well-rounded content marketing strategy? Let’s talk.