All I see is SEO trolls burning this topic to the ground. We could go on for hours about SEO tactics, but lets face the facts here, if you work harder than your competitor you will always be ahead of the curve. We're not dealing with national websites, we are dealing with local websites that are providing car buyers with ammo to purchase a new or used vehicle.
Just to set the record straight, I've been saying SEO is dying in the car industry for years now. I have websites that rank well in the SEO realm, but that's because we are selling products for a very niche markets.
Back on topic. I have no problem with CMS that offer an easy to use solution for car dealers as long as they are providing dealers with flexibility. My biggest issue with a lot of dealers is that they want to make changes to their sites that have no real impact on sales and leads. My biggest concern with CMS dealer providers is that they do not allow you to do real world testing for your websites. For example, running A/B testing with Google website optimizer. Would it be great to have 5 different website designs, and within each of those 5 designs you have 5 variations for your inventory layouts as well to find out which designs, content and variation combinations are providing your dealership with the best results? I do!
I believe that many dealers are missing the big picture when it comes to their website. This all falls under the "always be testing" category. To just develop a site that you have full control over is just a small piece of the puzzle here guys. Don't just do it small, do it big! Lay it all out on the line and make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Find out what is working for your dealership in the online digital advertising arena, especially when it comes to our website.
If you'd like to get more info about how you could run website optimizer feel free to ask me questions.