3 Ways To Make Used Vehicle Descriptions Shine Online

December 2, 2013

There’s an art and science to crafting compelling descriptions for used vehicles—and plenty of questions among dealers about how to make their descriptions shine online.

deluxeOne common misconception: The descriptions that appear on Search Results Pages (SRPs) and Vehicle Details Pages (VDPs) on classified and dealer websites aren’t really the best home for dealers’ search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

The reason: Descriptions change as vehicles come and go from a dealer’s inventory, making them too temporal to gain sufficient rank and relevance from search engines. In addition, search engines would give more weight to the back-end coding and keywords (e.g., header and title tags) than terms embedded in a vehicle description.

But descriptions are absolutely critical to catch the eyes of shoppers as they’re scouting online to find the “right” used vehicle. Here are three tips to make your descriptions more compelling:

1. Know that the first part of the description counts most. On AutoTrader.com, for example, an SRP includes 72 characters of description for each vehicle—a truncated version of the full description that appears on a VDP. While the number of characters visible on an SRP varies from site to site, a “front-load it first” approach appears best to give a vehicle’s most compelling attributes prominent play.

2. Highlight the popular equipment and features that distinguish every car. Most dealers recognize that “navigation,” “leather seats” and “rear DVD” add-ons can make-or-break a consumer’s decision to click on a vehicle for a closer look. These consumer-appealing attributes are the ones dealers should include as they “front-load” vehicle descriptions to capture consumer attention.

3. Don’t waste valuable description space on make/model information. For a description, this is essentially redundant information as most consumers arrived at an SRP or VDP after filtering or searching for make/model information. Similarly, the coding and titles on SRP and VDP pages typically contain this information.

My research into the art and science of vehicle descriptions also revealed that some classified and dealer website providers do a better job than others with coding SRP and VDP pages to maximize SEO benefits. I’m learning more on this topic and will share my findings here. Stay tuned.