Ford Flex SEO Audit: The Importance of Paying Attention to Consumer Searches

Ford Motor Company, in reference to the Flex brand, does a good job at paying attention to key search terms of their product name used by their customers on Google in which their Ford Flex website appears high in the search. In these cases, Ford does not waste advertising dollars by paying for multiple paid advertising Google spots if their site encompasses a large portion of the first search page. For example, when searching the phrase “Ford Flex” the Ford Flex website appears in the first four non-paid links. Since the website appears multiple times in this category, Ford does not pay for advertising space on this page; however, several car dealerships do participate in paid advertising for this search page. For phrases like “Ford Crossover” where the Flex appears as the second non-paid link with another Ford crossover vehicle appearing as the first link, Ford has a paid advertising spot for their company’s website linking to a comparison of both the Edge and Flex crossover vehicle websites. When searching for the keyword “Ford,” the Flex’s website appears as a sub-link under the Ford Motor Company website (first link), which will help direct interested Ford car buyers to this vehicle for a potential option. The Ford Flex also appears as the seventh non-paid link when searching the keyword “Flex,” which shows that the product name was carefully chosen to be easily found by interested buyers and have few competing names when those buyers performed searches about the product. 

Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Unfortunately, past obvious search terms that directly relate to the Ford Flex name, Ford does not appear high in key term and phrase searches relating to the features or common descriptive words used for the Flex vehicle. For example, the Ford Flex does not appear (on the first or second pages) for the following phrases: spacious vehicle, alternative to soccer mom van, safe family vehicles, best large family vehicle, affordable midsize suvs, vehicle for large family, kid friendly luxury cars, best crossover and crossover. These phrases were derived not only directly from the Ford Flex website but also from known Ford Flex vehicle owners as terms they use to describe the vehicle. Terms such as “crossover” do not present Ford Flex links; however, Chevrolet has taken part in a paid advertising spot for this term. A similar instance occurs when searching for “safe family vehicles” and “alternative to soccer mom van,” in which the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota names appear frequently on the first page of links. Jaguar has taken a paid advertising position when searching for the phrase “luxurious family vehicle,” which is a phrase most commonly used to refer to this vehicle by current Flex owners. When searching the phrase “affordable midsize suvs,” the Flex does not take advantage of being voted the #3 most affordable midsize SUV as shown when clicking on the first non-paid link directing users to the U.S. News; however the Ford Fusion does appear when searching for “best affordable family cars.” The Ford Flex features the SYNC navigation system and the 3.5L EcoBoost Engine delivering the fuel economy of a a V6 with the power of a V8; however, the vehicles website does not appear when searching for “family vehicle with navigation system,” “vehicle with navigation system,” “family vehicle with good gas mileage,” “vehicle with good gas mileage,” “family vehicles with SYNC” or “vehicles with SYNC.” The use of car or vehicle in the key phrase search did not appear to effect the ranking or appearance of the Ford Flex website. 

Spacious interiorCourtesy of Ford Motor Company

I believe Ford must take into account top of mind descriptions and features of their vehicles when working on their search engine optimization strategy. If an interested car buyer does not know the Ford Flex vehicle by name, they will most likely come across other automotive brands before Ford or the Ford Flex when searching for key terms and phrases listed above.