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Do you work for an auto dealership? Do you want to improve your automotive digital marketing? Want your website to be the best in town?
Then you need to be using Open Site Explorer.
If you just typed “Open Site Explorer” into Google to find out what the heck it is, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Even though the tool has been around for more than six years, many people still don’t know what it is, let alone why they should be using it for search engine optimization (SEO).
That’s why we’re writing this post. We want dealers like you to take advantage of this powerful tool so you can improve your auto dealership SEO.
What Is Open Site Explorer?
Open Site Explorer is, in short, a link analysis tool. Developed by Moz and freely available to anyone with Internet access, Open Site Explorer helps you with all your link building efforts.
Before you go to Google again, let us explain: link building is the practice of getting other websites to link back to your own site. These are also called inbound links or backlinks. Backlinks are crucial for a killer SEO strategy.
In fact, link building is one of the most important things you can do for your auto dealership SEO — and it’s also one of the most overlooked.
To rank higher in Google, you need other websites linking to your content — it’s that simple. But not just any websites. Google values quality over quantity. It’d be better to have a single backlink from Motor Trend than 50 backlinks from random sites no one’s ever heard of.
So, where does Open Site Explorer come into play? Well, in order to improve your inbound links, you need to know how many you already have, right? Open Site Explorer helps you discover and analyze those links — and it even identifies other opportunities for link building.
The linking data available from Open Site Explorer is powerful stuff. By simply pasting a URL into the search bar, you can access that link’s Domain Authority, Page Authority, Just Discovered Links, Established Links, and even social likes and shares from Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. To learn more about the metrics Moz uses for Open Site Explorer and how you can use them for SEO, read this.
Open Site Explorer takes all that info one step further by dividing it into eight different sections: Inbound Links, Just Discovered Links, Top Pages, Linking Domains, Anchor Text, Compare Link Metrics, Link Opportunities and Advanced Reports. To get the most out of Open Site Explorer, you’ll want to explore each of these sections at length.
You can run up to three reports a day for free, but if you want more, you’ll need to sign up for a Moz Community account (which is also free). If you want unlimited reports — and unlimited data — you’ll need to sign up for a Moz Pro account (which is not free, although you do get a free 30-day trial).
We strongly recommend you become a subscriber. Not only will you get access to Open Site Explorer, you’ll also get access to tons of other great content about SEO and more.
Why Should I Use Open Site Explorer for Auto SEO?
Hopefully you’ve got an idea of why Open Site Explorer is important for automotive SEO, but if you like things spelled out, here are a few highlights.
Evaluate Your Own Link Building Strengths and Weaknesses
Is your website lacking in backlinks? Or maybe you have plenty of links — maybe it’s the quality of those links that’s lacking. Either way, identify those areas of improvement.
On the flip-side, if you’ve got some pages that are performing particularly well in the link building department, notice the trends there. What strategies can you emulate for future pages?
Evaluate Your Competitors’ Link Building Strengths and Weaknesses
Since all Open Site Explorer needs from you is a URL, who says it has to be your URL? Type a competitor’s website into the box, and see what comes up. If their results look good, look for ideas you can (legally) steal.
Open Site Explorer also has a fantastic competitive analysis feature that allows you to see two websites’ results side by side. It’s a really useful tool for finding similarities and differences at a glance.
Find Other Opportunities for Backlinks
Jealous of your competitors’ backlinks? Don’t just sit there and stew about it — go out and get those backlinks for yourself!
It might sound sneaky, but try reaching out to some of the websites that are linking to your competitors to see if those sources would be willing to throw some links your way as well. In exchange, offer to link to their content on your own site. Hey, it’s fair game!
If you dealership has multiple stores, consider building backlinks among your stores to increase your page rank. It might seem counterintuitive, but you’re really just linking to yourself, so you’ll reap double benefits!
How Do I Get Started with Open Site Explorer?
Open Site Explorer is super easy to use. All you do is copy and paste a URL into the search bar, and the tool will automatically pull all the linking data for that page. You can then click around to dive deeper into the metrics that are important to you.
Told you it was easy!
But maybe you find yourself a little lost amid all that data. Or maybe you understand it, but you’re not sure how to implement it for your auto dealership SEO.
In either case, feel free to contact us for help. We’re familiar with all things automotive SEO, and we’d love to talk through your questions.
If that’s too intimidating (and we hope it’s not — we don’t bite!), we invite you to sign up for our webinar series on automotive SEO. If you already missed one or more of the webinars, you should still register, because we send all the recordings to all registrants after the webinars are done. Don’t miss out!