Cars.com Have you looked at your dealers' SEO rankings since March 12th 2019?

Mar 28, 2019
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David
@11dealerships when observing the organic declines (ranking position or traffic) for those who experienced them post 3/12 Google update we see consistent patterns/trends across the variety of SEO tools leveraged. The tools leveraged such as the publicly accessible SEMRush or Ahrefs track millions of keyword positions.

I am no great fan of the free tool https://www.alexa.com/ (sorry Alexa!) which allows users to input any website to explore search traffic trends, but even Alexa is showing the search traffic declines we are observing within our tools.

Regarding the Carfax graph unfortunately I can’t provide an opinion as there is no left axis to it; a school professor once told me to be cautious when examining a graph when an axis is hidden so I will abide by her advice. I hope it helps!
 
Apr 3, 2019
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Jim
@11dealerships when observing the organic declines (ranking position or traffic) for those who experienced them post 3/12 Google update we see consistent patterns/trends across the variety of SEO tools leveraged. The tools leveraged such as the publicly accessible SEMRush or Ahrefs track millions of keyword positions.

I am no great fan of the free tool https://www.alexa.com/ (sorry Alexa!) which allows users to input any website to explore search traffic trends, but even Alexa is showing the search traffic declines we are observing within our tools.

Regarding the Carfax graph unfortunately I can’t provide an opinion as there is no left axis to it; a school professor once told me to be cautious when examining a graph when an axis is hidden so I will abide by her advice. I hope it helps!
Haha, appreciate the clarification - sounds like you are saying its not just 4k keywords but the pattern holds across the spectrum. In that case, what about the google link I previously sent that said cars.com was -1% in traffic since the change? Further and most importantly, assuming you believe it's sustainable, have we begun to see results? If it's high volume, low conversion words, that traffic is generally less lead-generating. But our rep recently stopped by, pitching over 12 consecutive months of traffic growth but had none of the other metrics that cause dealers to always speak highly of Cargurus ROI, and since there is no integration into our DMS/CRM systems . We are just looking at generic traffic data without regards to quality or other useful data. In a nutshell: while interesting since March 12th it appears cargurus traffic has dropped somewhat and either your traffic dropped less (the -1% comment from google) or it grew (your chart), how meaningful, and sustainable, is this from a practical point of view?
 
Reactions: Alexander Lau

Alexander Lau

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Feb 11, 2015
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In which geo(s) was this report(s) generated? International (National), Local or Mobile or all three?
 
Mar 28, 2019
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David
Thanks @11dealerships , the article at the link you sent across doesn’t unfortunately contain a complete enough picture to formulate a reliable assessment. When determining winners and losers the articles methodology compares one day (3/17) vs one day (3/10), that’s too small a timeframe to gain enough insight of this significant algorithm change.

Impact of the most recent Google algorithm update continues to the present. Our assessment of SEO traffic/rankings leverage multiple tools and a variety of timeframes. We look at the entirety of March 2019 (vs March 2018 vs March 2017), trends for the year to date (vs last year), trends looking back 1,2 and even 3 years all to be sure that what we are observing is not being skewed/influenced by elements such as seasonality.

I’m sure that if the article expanded the timeframe of its assessment to beyond a one day view the trends revealed would be in line with what’s been observed across all other competitive monitoring tools. Appreciate you sending over the article and for your helpful comments.
 
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Alexander Lau

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So... I heard it through the grapevine that Cars.com put together a very thorough report (sent out to dealers) where they went into great detail openly using terms like "gaming," and "blackhat," regarding CarGurus' SEO efforts. They even detailed instances of their (CG) efforts visually with screencaps and posted excerpts from Google's TOU. A highly scrutinized report.

It's hilarious that Cars.com is trying to make this all appear to be random and play the passive educator role in forums like this. This was not as random as they're saying. Did Cars.com "report" CG's practices to Google? Look at Carfax jumping in on it. I'm sure somebody shared this report with them too. Was there a time we had heard about "SEO" from Carfax? Hmmm...

What say you @David Greene, representative of Cars.com and Carfax employees?
 

Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
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The silence tells you all you need to know gents.
 
Apr 3, 2019
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Alex: any luck? We didn't receive anything, nor have anyone we spoken to. And the data seems all over the place. We spoke to our Cargurus rep who largely said the same as you - algorithims always change, and they always adapt, and they have many other sources of traffic. I'd be interested in this presentation to see if there is more to back-up either of cars or carfax's claims.
 

craigh

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May 19, 2011
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Has anyone seen a change in activity/leads or is it just these traffic numbers?
 
Apr 11, 2019
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Just saw this thread and wanted to throw in my 2c.

As much as the big portals will always be on each others case about traffic, tactics and generally making the others look bad to make themselves look good, it's a mute point.

As a dealership, your aim is not to compete with the portals, it's to use them to your advantage.

Instead of focusing on who does what when it comes to CG or Cars.com, I would focus on strategies and tactics that are within your control as a dealership owner.

Focus on things like -

- Local Google Ads and Re-marketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA)
- Re-market visitors from your website on social platforms like Facebook
- Local Search (when was the last time you answered questions or concerns on your Google Maps?)
- Leveraging third party sites (like the portals, are your profiles updated, etc.)
- Are you keeping in touch with your clients? E-mail marketing? E-mail nurturing?
- Does your website focus on 'research' and 'after market' searches? IF you're a Ford dealer, can customers find your website when they search for Ford Parts? Servicing? "Best Wheels For My New Ford Focus?"

Worry less about what the portals do, worry more about what you can do to improve your dealerships online experience.