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SEO?

AWNick

Over the Curb
Aug 26, 2017
70
53
First Name
Nick
The main problem is that its going to be pretty much impossible to compete with the vehicle aggregators like cars.com and autotrader, their backlink profiles and sheer number of links mean that you can't outrank them. You can probably get ahead on google map listings but the majority won't use those to find a used car.

Better to push money into other advertising vehicles, drive traffic directly to your website and then make sure the UX is good enough to maximise the conversions on your site.
I'm sorry to disagree but this is just not true at all. Our clients perform extraordinarily well in organic search in direct correlation to the SEO-work that we are providing.

What I'm curious about is how "SEO" providers in the automotive industry are doing their jobs. I haven't seen any other providers that go beyond "optimize your title tags and meta tags" and "3 blogs per month" yada yada yada - Bulls****. Is anyone doing it right? Does SEO have such a poor reputation in this industry because everyone is just selling snake oil?

I really want to know WHO is doing it right. Who is actively digging through your data and improving your search-ability? Which providers are actually looking through your Search Console data, your Adwords data, and your Analytics data to find your pitfalls and search for opportunities? Is anyone doing that? Or is everyone just selling you un-researched, arbitrary blog posts at $150 a pop and calling that SEO?
 
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AnthonyMaher

Full Sticker
Jul 11, 2018
13
9
First Name
Anthony
I'm sorry to disagree but this is just not true at all. Our clients perform extraordinarily well in organic search in direct correlation to the SEO-work that we are providing.

What I'm curious about is how "SEO" providers in the automotive industry are doing their jobs. I haven't seen any other providers that go beyond "optimize your title tags and meta tags" and "3 blogs per month" yada yada yada - Bulls****. Is anyone doing it right? Does SEO have such a poor reputation in this industry because everyone is just selling snake oil?

I really want to know WHO is doing it right. Who is actively digging through your data and improving your search-ability? Which providers are actually looking through your Search Console data, your Adwords data, and your Analytics data to find your pitfalls and search for opportunities? Is anyone doing that? Or is everyone just selling you un-researched, arbitrary blog posts at $150 a pop and calling that SEO?
Can you show any examples where a dealer outperforms an aggregator in organic SEO?
 

AWNick

Over the Curb
Aug 26, 2017
70
53
First Name
Nick
In every single local pack (obviously), and for any longer keywords or keywords that include a location.

That's also somewhat besides the point. While those sites perform well and can be good sources of leads, many shoppers are looking for dealerships or searching with longer queries.

You can rank very well for specials, offers, & incentives. You can also rank well for fixed ops terms, services offered, and service coupons. It's foolish to disregard the opportunities within good SEO, simply because you may get rank 3 when someone in your town searches "Honda Accord for sale."
 
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AnthonyMaher

Full Sticker
Jul 11, 2018
13
9
First Name
Anthony
In every single local pack (obviously), and for any longer keywords or keywords that include a location.

That's also somewhat besides the point. While those sites perform well and can be good sources of leads, many shoppers are looking for dealerships or searching with longer queries.

You can rank very well for specials, offers, & incentives. You can also rank well for fixed ops terms, services offered, and service coupons. It's foolish to disregard the opportunities within good SEO, simply because you may get rank 3 when someone in your town searches "Honda Accord for sale."
Sure, but the original point above is that SEO firms usually charge an absolute fortune- maybe it works but is it sustainable? and is the cost per conversion lower than other digital marketing efforts? I think one of the larger issues facing SEO firms is that they talk in terms of rankings and not in terms of conversions so even if they do what's promised there is no guarantee the client will be happy. At the same time the client is probably often focused on ranking for high volume keywords instead of high conversion keywords.
 

Alexander Lau

Under the Bridge
Feb 11, 2015
2,439
736
First Name
Alex
Firstly, it depends on how you define "SEO" and your dealer requirements. When I created and ran an Automotive SEO department, we had a number of tiers and we'd explain our deliverables VERY clearly, in order to set the correct expectations. Those deliverables did not include a promised #1 ranking.

Secondly, it's not national rankings that you're after as a dealer (unless you're some massive entity, in which case don't call an automotive agency), it's local rankings that matter most. Those are two different beasts entirely.

That said, here are two groups that do a great job (who's doing it right) that I've either done work for or outsourced to, due to overflow.
  1. http://strongautomotive.com/blue-print-automotive-seo/ (build blogs, etc. on subdomain for greater control and pull in actual live / dynamic inventory around the content) @Gayle Rogers
  2. https://www.autofusion.com/car-dealer-seo.html @CarlAutofusion
If you're looking for software and I've said this at least 25 times in these waters, go with https://www.gshiftlabs.com/web-presence-analytics/software/seo/ and https://www.link-assistant.com/news/50-tools.html.
 
Last edited:
Jul 5, 2018
7
4
First Name
Emmanuel
@AWNick

I think the core of the problem is that most of the car dealers know squat about SEO. They were told that it helps. And they want it to help them as well.
However they are don't even bother to find out what SEO is. What is considered good optimization and what is the bad one.

It allows the so-called SEO specialists to thrive.
 
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NickCybela

Boss
Jul 30, 2009
103
14
First Name
Nick
Most web providers have at least one version of their sites that are well optimized, but many have grown to a point where the majority of clients are on an OEM mandated format or have legacy clients not willing/ready to upgrade. That's going to be a huge factor in rankings.

Hiring a non-industry SEO company will generally waste both time and money for a dealership because while they may provide accurate insights the vast majority of those will be impossible to implement through the website companies (too technical, too much custom development).

It's often less about the company and more about the SEO Specialist assigned. Dealers that vet the technical person assigned to account (vs the salesperson) will always get better results.

Pretty easy to sort through the nonsense. If they're talking about voice search but can't show you results for your brand on an iPhone through SIRI and Android via Assistant you should move on. If they're talking local SEO but can't show examples and numbers then they're not very good. If they don't have everything set up in Google Analytics in a format you can act on and understand (or you're not sure what they're working on)-- you need to keep looking.

To me, SEO is part technical but equal parts thoughtfulness on how to drive leads. A good SEO strategy should be improving both traffic and conversion rate-- and any agency worth its salt will be able to give you an increase to traffic (from unique content specifically) and an increase to leads (based on past conversion rate before work).
 

Alexander Lau

Under the Bridge
Feb 11, 2015
2,439
736
First Name
Alex
How to optimize without spending all day optimizing
https://yoast.com/optimize-without-spending-all-day-optimizing/amp/

  • There are at least 3 links to other blog posts I’ve written that are relevant to the topic. If there are no relevant links, I need to either create more content or perhaps remove the blog post altogether.
  • There is at least one relevant high quality image and it has the focus keyword in its alt description.
  • I’ve written a compelling meta description.
  • My readability is green. And if it’s not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
  • My SEO analysis is green. And if it’s not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
  • I’ve checked old blog posts to see if I can link to this new blog post.
Yoast WP plugin is out there, so those of you with DI or DealerX, etc. have no excuse. It's cheap to free. Get them to install it or it might come by default.
 

Casey77

Full Sticker + Prep
May 18, 2018
21
19
First Name
Casey
@Alexander Lau

Great article, very long though. Couldn't finish it at one sitting.
Made me wonder whom I should write to to hold a phone with my name, maybe Beyonce?
 
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