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In-House SEO vs Hiring a Marketing Company

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by Devin Outfleet, Nov 14, 2018.

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  1. Devin Outfleet

    Devin Outfleet
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    Devin
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    Fastlane Enterprises
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    Hello Dealer Refresh Family! I'm somewhat of a new-comer to this industry and even newer to these forums. My background is in digital marketing and providing SEO services for local businesses and after picking up my first dealership client last year, I've decided to dive into the automotive industry head first. As someone on the younger end of the spectrum in this industry, with admittedly less experience - I have an extremely pressing question that has been on my mind. *Skip to the end of the post for the question, although I provide a lot of context to help build an understanding of the thought processes that lead to this idea*

    The first thing that I'll say is that there are lots of reasons for my decision to take on this industry. Some of those reasons are that box companies getting too big, brands cracking down on their verified vendors, and an overall low competition environment on Google for me when I see just how shitty of a job the big box companies are doing.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying ALL automotive marketing companies are bad. In fact, there are owners and employees of great marketing companies here on these forums. Nor am I saying that the SEO your dealership has done or paid for is inherently bad. I'm not looking to bash the competition or toot my horn in any way. All I am saying is that I see a trend developing where huge automotive marketing agencies are not providing their high paying clients with the care they deserve.

    For me, I only have 3 dealerships under my belt at the moment and am currently in a place where I'm perfecting my strategy, creating case studies with my results, and preparing to scale. One thing that I can say with a year in this industry, is that it is no different than any of the other SEO that I've done for other local businesses. When I think of "hard" SEO, national terms, the health niche, lawyers, real estate, supplements, and other nasty industries come to mind.

    As a part of my preparation to scale I attended an SEO event out in Nashville, Tennessee and was fortunate enough to brush shoulders with Kevin David - a pretty influential figure in the digital marketing industry. I got the chance to sit down with him for a few minutes and tell him my discovery within the automotive niche, in hopes that he would give me some advice on how to scale or maybe reach more dealerships.

    As I was telling Kevin about the plight within the automotive industry and how I was having trouble getting in contact with dealerships who were dead set on their "proven" companies who were driving them straight into the dirt. He asked me if I had ever considered creating a course to teach dealerships how to rank in-house.

    After thinking about the idea for a course non-stop for the last few days, I decided to come here in an effort to get feedback on whether or not the Dealerrefresh family thinks this is something that the market would be susceptible to or not. As I said, I have limited knowledge of this industry due to only being in it for one year. So any feedback from automotive professionals of any verticle would be appreciated.

    To help you conceptualize my idea a bit more, take a look below to see how a course like this might be structured. Is this something that the market could be interested in? It would take tons of work and months to complete.

    SEO Course
    • A full comprehensive course on how to rank on page 1 for relevant terms regardless of any current knowledge about SEO
    • Facebook Group to provide support and give exact direction to members
    • How to use the link resources that all automotive marketing agencies are using

    Pros of moving SEO inhouse with the course
    • Save money
    • Put a halt to vendor communication or lack thereof
    • Save money
    • Take control of your results

    Please let me know as I think this is a good idea, however I'm not sure! Would love to start making youtube video with FAQ on dealership SEO to provide some up front value while I create the course if this is something you guys would be interested in.

    Thank you,
    Devin Outfleet
     
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  3. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder
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    What if we did this together Devin? A DealerRefresh SEO academy. Want to hop on the phone to discuss?
     
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  4. Devin Outfleet

    Devin Outfleet
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    Yes sir, 801-865-3388
     
  5. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder
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    I will call you after the kids are out the door.
     
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  6. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder
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    Devin and I had a very productive phone call this morning.

    We have some details to work through, but if things work even half as well as we're thinking… :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
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  7. C Dorman

    C Dorman
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    If you could pull it off and keep it up to date, that would be awesome sauce!

    Here's my Numero Uno SEO point, so much of SEO success is baked into the website that if you select the wrong provider, you're fighting a losing battle. Please, please, please if you're going to go down this road, educate dealers on the importance of selecting the right vendor. This will of course mean a lot of the OEM approved vendors are deal breakers. Yes, there are some limited niches you can do ok on with SEO on OEM approved sites, but they are very limited compared to what you can do with a real website that's got SEO at it's development core.
     
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  8. Jeff Kershner

    Jeff Kershner
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    @Devin Outfleet@Devin Outfleet thanks for joining the community. I see you and Alex have already spoken. I'm sure he will bring me up to date later today. Looking forward to your participation.
     
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  9. Alexander Lau

    Alexander Lau
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    I'll say it again for good measure... from https://forum.dealerrefresh.com/threads/seo.5015/page-3

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    What does Google want? They want relevant, real content on the internet that people want to read and tell other people about. If Google doesn’t bring you the most relevant content when you search, they aren’t doing their job. So by definition, even the word Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means to “game” the Google search engines (and others) to get your valuable content ranked higher than it would be if left alone to the forces of the Web. The bottom line is that all external SEO efforts are counterfeit other than: writing, designing, recording, or videoing real and relevant content that benefits those who search, within a quality user experience / website platform.

    We can sit around and act like we're not trying to take advantage of Google's algorithm (would be a lie), but the fact of the matter, they change it up because SEO groups get VERY GOOD at manipulating it for organic ranking purposes. Google is quite happy fiddling with their algorithm for "best practice" reasons, but in reality, they just want to convolute the ranking equation process in order to get you to BUY more of their PAID AD space. Now that the space (itself) has been limited, it's even more competitive.

    BTW, don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with fundamental SEO work and choosing quality web platforms (Dealer Inspire, Dealer Fire, DealerOn, DealerX, fusionZone, etc.). However, let's not lie to ourselves about the manner in which many SEO groups attempt to get ahead of competitors through gray and dark gray hat SEO techniques outside of core fundamental work and quality platform provisions.

    and... I wrote that many years ago @C Dorman@C Dorman, but wouldn't you know it, we agree (web platform part). Which we seem to do 99% of the time. Funny...
     
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    #8 Alexander Lau, Nov 14, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
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  10. Devin Outfleet

    Devin Outfleet
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    I'm looking forward to the value that we can provide together!

    Keeping it up to date would be key, Google updates its algorithm every day. A prerecorded section to get everyone started, followed by weekly webinars to answer over-the-shoulder questions is important to making this whole thing work.

    As for website speed and doing SEO on OEM approved vendor sites. Website speed is absolutely a ranking factor, however, there are thousands of ranking factors that can make up for Site Speed. Some of those factors are your citations, socials, on-page, off-page, link strategy, consistency, content, proper optimization of your GMB and more. The only test that needs to be done in order to prove that a slow OEM website can rank on Page 1 in your market is to do a quick market analysis. Google the terms that you would like to rank for, and if an OEM website with a slow site speed is on Page 1 - then that means your OEM website can be there as well.

    While we constantly want to improve our site speed, we don't want to have a mentality that blocks us out from seeing a solution because of what we've been told about site speed.

    SEO at its core really lies within the files that are sent while our servers are communicating with Google's servers. Within each .html file that is sent to Google, there is meta-data that tells Google what your website is about. No matter what platform your website is built on, Google will be able to read your meta-data and award you relevancy.
     
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  11. Alexander Lau

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    @Devin Outfleet@Devin Outfleet I think what Chip and I are getting at with judging the entire auto web provider platform as opposed to an (.htm) page itself is the fact that a lot of the platforms come pre-wrapped with applications that'll enable a dealer to get their content / settings out there smarter.

    Whether it's a blog system w/ AMP tech, showroom technology (actually tend to rank well), sitemap app, schema app, image / video description apps or SEO plugins (Yoast, All-In-One-SEO, etc.), etc., etc., (loads of auto website providers are now on WordPress), the platform itself makes it easier on a dealer or agency to globally push / load their content or adhere to Google Search Console / Webmaster requirements.

    I don't mean to piss on your idea parade or anything like that, but an ultimate guidebook seems like a huge undertaking as we all know the search engines' algos are going to constantly change (https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change and https://moz.com/mozcast/). Maybe a best practice automotive guide (updated for 2019) sounds like a good idea. Could be useful, especially with an update, sourcing some of the SEO data from 3rd parties.

    Here is my go to for Google's Ranking list (Brian Dean is killer, he's my go to for SEO; Greg Gifford is next in Auto SEO)
    Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2018)
    https://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors

    SEO Powersuite and gShift have always worked for me, in terms of analysis and reporting.
    50 TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED if you have SEO PowerSuite
    https://www.link-assistant.com/news/50-tools.html
    gShift, measure what converts, not just what ranks
    https://www.gshiftlabs.com/web-presence-analytics/software/seo/
    Illuminate the Dark Funnel
    https://www.gshiftlabs.com/community/resources/what-is-dark-funnel/
     
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    #10 Alexander Lau, Nov 15, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
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