Defying the cookie-cutter approach to dealership websites and SEO
Citygate Automotive Group joined forces with BWP Group with the bold aspiration of mixing up the automotive industry and its place within it.
Historically, like a large percentage of its competitors, Citygate’s website was a default, reskinned, off-the-shelf solution that offered little flexibility or insight into the consumer. Likewise, broader digital focus and activity was both uninformed and unstrategic.
This is where BWP came in.
We developed an integrated strategy to elevate the Citygate website to the next level in design, usability and functionality – all focused around the core objective of driving customer enquiries to the dealership sales teams.
Having initially built a bespoke website – www.citygate.co.uk - that was fully owned by Citygate, we embarked on a two-stage approach. Starting with improvements to website performance we followed up with a full evolution informed by usability studies, user interaction and on-site data and performance. This process put user experience at the heart of every decision and eliminated subjectivity or guesswork.
Laterally, we implemented a robust SEO and link-building outreach programme that demonstrated significant improvements in Citygate’s rankings and organic traffic, and the subsequent conversions.
Following the initial bespoke website build and subsequent collection of data, analysis of site usage and user journeys provided valuable insight into who was visiting and what they were doing there. We implemented hotspot / heatmap tracking and site usage recording technology to fully inform these data findings.
Insights discovered included:
- Used cars was the most popular click area
- Used car visitors hit 47% more pages than the average
- They also spent almost 40% longer on the website
- The price filter wasn’t being used on the homepage search, but was on the ‘Used’ page filters
Taking this a step further, BWP Group created core customer personas based on the data, which then informed the recruitment criteria for undertaking a usability study. Five representative individuals (in person) were asked to undertake several realistic tasks on the website, vocalising their intuitive thought process and feedback on the user experience. The sessions were recorded for analysis and, whilst overall results were positive, there were some clear actions to be applied to the next website iteration.
This multi-faceted acquisition of information through quantitative, qualitative and industry research allowed us to achieve the best possible customer experience across all devices, and gave Citygate confidence that they could continually review site performance in line with business objectives.
As part of the website evolution BWP completely redesigned the site to be more visually engaging and intuitive to navigate and digest.
Page layouts for the homepage and new cars, for example, were visually lifted by impactful imagery and videos, aligning them with the feel of pages that customers may have experienced when researching on manufacturer sites.
Additionally, associated sub-models or current finance offers were made accessible from the same page, directing a seamless flow of interest and information aimed at expediting a customer enquiry.
We ensured that cognitive-load was reduced where possible. By identifying and understanding areas showing a lack of interaction or limited functionality, we were able to improve the number of processes or steps required to reach a conversion point.
Previously, Citygate’s online rankings for key search terms were extremely poor. In most cases, including its own brand terms, it wasn't ranking in the search engines.
Gaining meaningful insight into the experience of the visiting traffic was impossible due to the lack of in-depth analytics or on-site tracking available. Subsequently, the calculation of ROMI or ability to make informed strategic decisions was virtually impossible.
Having a website that delivered on a customer-first promise was a critical business priority, as well as a strategic approach to ensure the brand could continually be found occupying high search rank positions for customers actively searching for new or used vehicles.
The SEO strategy and onsite optimisations BWP applied thereafter resulted in positive results, including:
+1,146 ranking keywords
since start of the SEO project
+26% in traffic
vs. 2015 monthly average
increase since launch and link building project