3 Types of Content Errors That Hurt Your Reputaiton, er… Reputation

man panicking looking at computer

Your ninth-grade English teacher isn’t the only person who cares whether or not you spell “reputation” correctly. Potential car buyers care, and Google does too. Content quality is an indicator of trustworthiness and knowledge, so if your ad copy and website content read more like rough drafts than final versions, your reputation could be suffering.

That’s a big deal since 59 percent of auto shoppers choose a dealership based on reputation. So what do you do about it? Here are three types of content errors to fix.

Typos, Poor Grammar, and Incorrect Punctuation

First impressions matter. Today, your prospects first experience your dealership online, not when they walk through your doors. If your site visitors have to slog through grammar errors, incorrect or excessive punctuation, run-on sentences, typos, missing words, incorrectly used words, or unnecessary capitalization, that’s not a great way to shape their opinion of your dealership.

For example, read through this paragraph, which was inspired by real errors we’ve spotted on dealership websites:

“Here at XYZ Motros our Customer is our priority !!! We want too help you find the car of you dreams! We are a family owned an operated business since the 1980’s. We are experts in cars, our entire Team value people and getting people in the right cars!  Do want to make sure its serviced even after the sale? Your in good hands! Our servicet technicians are trained and certified to ensure repairs are done correct the first time!”

If you have content riddled with mistakes like these, you lose credibility with site visitors (and with Google, but more on that below). In a Harris Poll survey done with Dictionary.com, 59 percent of respondents said that improper grammar is one of their biggest pet peeves about the English language. Even 74 percent of millennials, who get a bad rap for destroying English, say they can’t stand poor spelling and grammar.

You may be the most honest, friendly, and efficient dealership on the block, but poorly edited content sends a different message: lack of attention to detail and professionalism. Editing is like detailing a car – the process isn't glamorous, but the results are.

Pricing Mistakes

How would you like to sell a car for $1? No dealer would agree to that, right? Surprisingly, that’s exactly what one Australian dealer ended up doing several years ago. After listing the vehicle for auction, he failed to notice that the starting bid was set lower (just a little) than he’d intended. And that’s how he sold a BMW to a customer for a single dollar.

This cautionary tale shows why it’s important to triple check pricing in ads, in emails and on your website. While you likely have a legal disclaimer that protects you from having to honor the incorrect price, is a potential customer going to respond well to not getting the price they expected? Not a chance. Are they going to leave a negative review and tell their friends and family about their bad experience? You bet. If potential customers feel they can’t trust you, your reputation (and sales) will plummet.

If you do happen to publish an incorrect price despite your best efforts, make sure you correct it ASAP and monitor mentions of your dealership online so you can resolve complaints promptly.

SEO Gone Wrong

Years ago, search marketers discovered that they could manipulate their online content to trick Google into displaying their websites higher up in the search results, giving rise to black hat SEO. Soon, Google caught on and began penalizing websites using these tactics. Google continues to emphasize high-quality content, meaning you should write for people – not for search engines – and avoid tricks designed to increase search rankings.

What exactly do these tricks look like? As one example, XYZ Motors might try to squeeze in some extra keywords on their website with copy like this: “We offer a wide selection of used Honda vehicles, used Toyota vehicles, used Ford vehicles, used GM vehicles, used Volkswagen vehicles, used BMW vehicles, used Nissan vehicles, and used Hyundai vehicles.”

If content is filled with unnecessary keywords or links, it looks spammy and instantly decreases trust. Not to mention, the site will go down in search rankings. If XYZ Motors wants users to browse their inventory, they’ll have better luck with content that’s easier to read: “Browse our wide selection of used vehicles.”

To be clear, we’re not saying you have to avoid using all keywords. Keyword-targeted content is good – but it has to sound natural. Remember: Write for people. Google rewards high-quality content that’s unique, easy to read, up to date, well organized, and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

Is your content helping you build the kind of reputation you want to have?