Help Stop Stolen Content From Outranking Your Dealership Website

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It’s a pretty common practice for people to Google their own name. Sometimes out of curiosity, but sometimes to help ensure your name (or your dealership’s name) isn’t showing up on webpages you don’t want it to. You Google your dealership name to help ensure it appears where you want it to (and doesn’t where you don’t), but do you Google your dealership website’s original content?

Google is known for punishing websites that have duplicate content on their site, meaning the exact content appears on other websites. But in a recent Matt Cutts video, Google’s head of search spam announced that Google’s position has shifted and the search engine company is now making strides to group websites that have the same content, and showing the best of that group in search results. This helps them not punish sites that are validly quoting or referencing content, while still maintaining a cleaned up search results page.  That is why it’s so important to know which websites are using content that you created, especially if your dealership website is not the one of the sites chosen for display.

So how does Google know which website had the content first, which sites are using it after the fact, and whether or not the content is being used properly? No one truly knows how the Google search algorithm is written, but Google has now given us a way to let them know when you find your original content on another website without your dealership’s permission.

Go to the Google Scraper Report, enter the URL of the page on your dealer website which displays the content, the exact URL of the offending site (where your content is being used), and the search result URL that shows your website being outranked by duplicate content.  You can find these offending pages by taking portions of the content you or your advertising agency has created for your dealership website and search for it on Google using quotation marks around the phrase or sentence. The search results pages that show should display all sites that have that content on them. Are any of them outranking your dealership website? Use the Google Scraper Report to let the search engine giant know.

This is your best way of alerting Google to duplicate, SPAM filled websites that are using your original content to outrank your dealership website in the search results. It will also help Google improve their search results listings by helping to ensure the original content gets ranked above scraper sites.

The scraper tool doesn’t promise any resolution, but it’s a start. Check to make sure the content your dealership creates isn’t being used to help someone rank above you.

Don’t Neglect This Basic SEO Factor

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There are thousands of things to manage in each and every dealership, including your dealer website.  So much attention is devoted to leads, conversion rate, vehicle detail pages, etc., that sometimes it’s easy to forget one of the most basic SEO factors for your website – the speed at which it loads.

According to KISSmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of people will leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. When you factor in the immediacy of information most Americans are used to using their smart phones and other mobile devices, are you serving your dealership’s website to potential buyers fast enough?

Why a Fast-Loading Dealership Website is Important:

Google – Google made it clear years ago that they use site speed as a ranking factor – it appears that their algorithm is designed to penalize websites that are slow to load. This gives your fast loading site a leg up on your competition in search engine results.

Visitors – A quick loading website can help reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates. The faster your visitors are able to access the content they are looking for, the less likely they are to go to another dealership website. You’ve probably designed your dealership’s website to help visitors find the vehicle they’re interested in as quickly as possible, so make sure you aren’t slowing them up with a slow load time.

 

How to Tell:

There are a number of free tools online that will test how long it takes your website to load, and most offer suggestions to increase the speed. Just enter the URL you’d like to test. I’ve listed a few below, but you can search online for “site speed test” to find more.

Page Speed Insights (from Google)

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Another, simple way to test how quickly your car dealership website is loading is to do it yourself! Use different devices (for mobile, test on both wi-fi and the mobile network) to time how quickly your website loads.  Remember that Google factors in page speed for each type of device (desktop, tablet and phone), so make sure you test the top pages on your site for each device type.

 

What You Can Do:

Minimize the types of files that auto-load when your site is launched – things like videos, music, or animations can slow down the initial load time. When possible, simplify the design of your website. Talk to your website provider about how their websites are structured and coded, and what they can do to help you achieve your site speed goals.

Using Google Analytics to Understand Your Mobile Traffic

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As of March 2014, the average car dealer website gets more traffic from mobile devices (including laptops) than from desktop computers.  Many of the dealers that we work with have no idea how their traffic breaks down between desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone.  They are used to visiting their dealership’s website on a desktop computer at the dealership or from their home at night, so they have a good understanding of how their site looks for customers using their dealership’s site on a desktop computer.  But most dealers don’t spend enough time understanding the mobile customer experience on their website.

According to Google, search is the most common starting point for mobile research. In fact, 42% of automotive shoppers start on search engines, while 27% of automotive shoppers start on branded websites. Those are both huge percentages of people looking for your dealership online – but how do you know if your mobile site is delivering what they need?

The best way to learn whether or not your dealership mobile website solution, regardless of which technology platform you’re using, is meeting the needs and expectations of your visitors is to use Google Analytics. GA data can help you determine if your adaptive website design is set up properly. For example, if mobile traffic is visiting traditional, desktop pages, you have a problem with your adaptive design or switchboard tags. Do you have a disproportional bounce rate on your mobile site? This could indicate that your website isn’t showing properly to mobile visitors.

DealerOn has talked before about the importance of having Google Analytics on your dealership website, and how to use that data to sell more cars, but with the drastic shift to mobile internet usage, dealers need to make sure that their website provider has coded their site so they can easily measure site performance on mobile vs. desktop vs. tablet at a minimum.

It’s also important to understand how to analyze your website data differently for traditional and mobile website visits. Your dealership should probably be tracking different KPIs for mobile traffic than you do for desktop.  For instance, some of the most common and important KPIs for desktop traffic are:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Time on Site
  • Pages per Visit
  • VDP’s per Visit
  • Leads
  • Conversion Rate
  • Calls

For mobile traffic, many of these may not be appropriate.  In fact, you may just want to track things like Calls, Clicks to Maps, and Vehicle Views for your website’s mobile traffic.  Whatever KPIs you want to measure for mobile, you should make sure that you work with your website provider to set up goals that can measure each of these metrics and ideally assign a value to each of them so you can begin to measure the return on your mobile traffic.

These are the types of questions you need to talk to your digital marketing provider (or website company) about to make sure you’re getting the readily available, valuable data out of your Google Analytics.  It is no longer just a good idea to measure, analyze, and optimize your website’s mobile traffic.  In 2014, it is essential to getting the most out of your marketing budget.

Clearing Up the Responsive vs. Adaptive Debate

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Everyone is telling you that your dealership website NEEDS to be responsive…but what does that really mean?

Responsive web design means that the same URL and HTML are passed to each website visitor, regardless of what device they are using to view that website.  This is different from adaptive web design which first detects which device is accessing the website, then serves a potentially different site to the website visitor.  Most car dealership websites today are built on an adaptive platform.

Okay, so now you know what people mean when they say responsive…but how does having a responsive website benefit your dealership?

Google recommends responsive website design for three reasons:

  • A single URL makes it easier to share/link your content
  • Sites load faster since there is no need to redirect users in order for them to get an optimized view
  • Google site crawlers only have to crawl your pages once, on one device, thus increasing efficiency

Another thing to consider – the average dealer website gets traffic from literally hundreds of unique screen sizes each month.  Without a responsive website design, you’d have to design for every single unique screen size, or risk missing the opportunity to serve each user the best experience.  And next year, when new phones and tablets hit the market? You’ll have to add those design sizes to your portfolio as well.

MobileDevicesResponsive sites lend themselves to better SEO results as well.  Aside from being Google’s recommendation, having a single URL for each page of content, with faster load times, is a huge benefit to your site’s search engine rankings.  Also, there is less of a chance for user error – building just one version of your website means users will have a unified experience and you don’t have to worry about errors trying to communicate to Google which pages on the mobile site correspond to desktop pages.

Granted, your dealership may not be in a position to switch to a fully responsive website platform. It can take a lot of work, time and resources.  Don’t worry, you’re not destined for failure, but there are things that your website provider absolutely needs to do in order for an adaptive website platform to work effectively.

Most likely, your site is currently using a mobile sub-domain.  This would be the /mobi or m. you’ll see in the URL when on a mobile device. If your dealership website is built this way, you MUST implement switchboard tags properly – this helps Google understand the connection between your mobile and desktop pages, and tells Google which pages on your desktop platform correspond to the same page on your mobile platform.  When set up properly, switchboard tags help clear up any potential indexing and link equity issues with Google.  When correctly placed on your website, this can be a great way to see a lot of the benefits having a responsive website would give you without having to switch platforms.

Unfortunately, most of the website providers in the automotive space aren’t placing switchboard tags properly. Make sure you ask your website partner how they’re helping your adaptive website keep up in a responsive world.

NADA 2014 Recap – A DealerOn Perspective

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In Events

The National Automobile Dealers Association convention came back to New Orleans this year.  NOLA never disappoints with its memorable blend of unique culture, food and music.  If you’ve never attended the NADA convention you might be overwhelmed by the size difference when compared to smaller events.  NADA is the “Big Show” and anybody and everybody in the automotive space shows up.  From OEM’s like Ford, GM, Dodge to big vendors including ADP, DealerTrack and hundreds more, you can’t miss the magnitude of NADA.

DealerOn was more than ready to hit the exhibitor show floor this year and the company projected a magnetic energy that drew crowds all weekend long.  More on that later…

The convention is loaded with workshops and this year our own Chris Deringer and Jeff Clark were presenters.  This is a great accomplishment for DealerOn and for Jeff and Chris personally as NADA is known to have the strictest guidelines and review processes for selecting speakers.  The workshops are all dealer focused and intended to provide “how to” insights for dealers to take back and put their knowledge into action.  Jeff presented “Proven Digital Strategies That Increase Fixed Ops” and Chris delivered “Sell More Cars With Google Analytics”.  Along with the workshops NADA offers a select number of keynote presentations and this year they spent big bucks on Hillary Clinton as their closing keynote speaker.  In years past, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.  Bush have all keynoted NADA.


Let’s get back to how impressive DealerOn was this year at NADA.  If you’re a DealerOn team member, give yourself a pat on the back, a high five and hug another team member because the collective effort was well represented in New Orleans.  From production, design, creative, support, sales, marketing, behind the scenes and customer facing, EVERY person on the DealerOn team is related to what we go to market with and EVERY team member should be proud.


The booth was rocking all weekend!  With eight demo stations available we were able to showcase the pure awesomeness of DealerOn from a very impressive booth.  We were very excited to demonstrate our new responsive website technology and dealers loved it!  With dealers constantly in our booth we also offered the comfort of three couches where they could rest their tired feet.  If that wasn’t enough, we served them coffee, water or their choice of several tasty adult beverages.  In addition to rest, relaxation, demonstration and a beverage of choice the DealerOn booth constantly pulsed with music.  These elements combined with the DealerOn team members at the show helped us make a huge impact this year at NADA.  We were so grateful for the opportunities to spend time with current and soon-to-be clients.

Thanks to the entire DealerOn team for making NADA 2014 a smashing success!