Cars.com Acquires Dealer Inspire

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If you spend a bit of time at auto conferences and around the social media watering holes where auto folks hang out, you’ll find that there’s a family in this industry. We may compete vigorously for customers and customer budgets, but I count so many people in this industry amongst my closest friends. Auto is a family and when a family member has a good day, it demands acknowledgement.
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DealerOn Event Series: Digital Strategy Summit

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Here’s the deal. We’re going to take you right to the source…the source of digital excellence, that is. We’re pleased to announce that our next Topgolf event is OFFICIALLY on the books. DealerOn’s signature Digital Strategy Summit is going to be held in Chicago, on August 2, at Topgolf Wood Dale! We’re partnering with Google once again, to bring you a ton of premium knowledge on all things digital in the world of automotive.  Continue Reading

DealerOn wins 5th DrivingSales Satisfaction Award

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Derwood, Maryland – February 24, 2016 – DealerOn is the recipient of a “Top Rated” Website award in the seventh annual DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards.

Upon hearing the news, Ali Amirrezvani, DealerOn’s CEO and Co-Founder responded, “We are extremely proud DealerOn was able to take home the Top-Rated Website Provider Award, for the fifth year in a row. Our goal has always been to provide the very best support to our dealership partners and this award further validates that our continued commitment is paying off”. Ali continued, “Because the DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards are chosen by the very partners we aim to please day-in and day-out – our dealer customers – this award is particularly meaningful. If anything, this makes us want to work harder and we can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring.”

This award further validates DealerOn’s status as a top website provider in the automotive industry and showcases why they are the only company in the auto industry that offers a Guarantee that dealers will see an increase in leads when the move their website to the DealerOn platform. DealerOn’s website customers have seen a documented lead volume of 250% on average, across nearly 1,000 websites.

In addition to their award-winning dealership websites, DealerOn’s new offerings in automotive SEM and SEO are quickly becoming industry standards. As a Google AdWords Certified Partner, dealers that combine their Paid Search with the power of a DealerOn website see complete integration and optimization of the AdWords efforts. Dealerships that opt for their Elite SEO package reap the benefits of a Google-Optimized website architecture as well as Advanced Reporting, Custom Content, On- and Off-Site SEO, Social Media and Reputation Management.

“We congratulate DealerOn on being a ‘Top Rated’ Website Award recipient and for being recognized by its dealer customers for high levels of excellence and customer satisfaction,” said DrivingSales CEO and Founder Jared Hamilton. “For seven years, and through over 25,000 validated reviews, DrivingSales Vendor Ratings has helped dealers make smart, more informed decisions, leading them to outstanding service providers such as DealerOn.”

The DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards are based on cumulative ratings tallied and verified over the calendar year (January–December) at DrivingSales.com Vendor Ratings. DrivingSales Vendor Ratings is the industry’s only neutral, comprehensive vendor rating forum featuring real-time peer reviews and honest competitor comparisons, and provides dealerships with important information from actual customers who have hands-on experience using vendor products / solutions in their stores. Each rating is verified as coming from an actual dealership employee.

Full award results are available online here.

Facebook Reviews – Are You Missing the Boat?

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Your dealership probably has at least one review portal that your marketing efforts are focused on…Google? Facebook? Yelp? DealerRater? Which portal works best for your car dealership? Is your focus in line with the portal your customers prefer to use?

Mike Blumenthals, a local search and Google Places expert, recently created a Google survey to find out where American adult Internet users prefer to leave reviews online. After filtering out the 77.8% of survey takers that self-reported that they never or almost never leave reviews, Blumenthals asked the following question:

When you leave a review online for a local business, which site are you most likely to use?

  • Google – 32%
  • Facebook – 20.6%
  • Yelp – 17.5%

While the margin of error allows for Yelp and FB to be neck and neck, this does show a growth in the desire to leave reviews on Facebook, even though they aren’t necessarily known as a review aggregator.

So, while users prefer to leave their online reviews on Facebook, it’s unfortunate for small businesses like your dealership that Facebook doesn’t highlight business reviews, nor does it really promote them. In fact, it can be downright difficult to find the reviews on your dealership’s business page. What is your dealership to do?

First, continue to focus on Google reviews. They are still the clear leader, and provide the most bang for your marketing buck given their dominance in the search engine market. Having a healthy number of reviews consistently flowing into your Google+ Local page gives your dealership a better chance of a high ranking in Google’s search results.

But don’t sleep on Facebook Reviews. They are a smart company, and they will put more of a focus on business reviews in the future. Given that their platform has almost accidentally become the 2nd biggest consumer review site, it is just a matter of time before business reviews become a highlighted part of Facebook for businesses. Make sure your dealership is ahead of the curve. Spend some time and effort building positive reviews on Facebook, since many consumers are already looking at them, and the number is likely to grow dramatically over time.

As for Yelp, could the recent controversy surrounding the quality and validity of their reviews beginning to discourage consumers from leaving reviews there? If you have shied away from Yelp, one thing you should be aware of is that Google’s recent Pigeon change (which I wrote about last week) has given Yelp reviews MUCH more visibility in Google (see this article by Matt McGee). But, it may just be easier and smarter for the long term to focus on building your dealership’s review volumes on Google and Facebook, since there’s little question about their long-term consumer influence. Has your dealership seen an increase in Facebook reviews?

How Last Week’s Google Update Impacts Your Dealership

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In an effort to further optimize local search results, Google has begun rolling out a new tweak to its algorithm that some in the SEO community have tentatively labeled Pigeon. Dealer’s need to be aware of these changes because the Pigeon update is designed to improve local search listings for businesses (like car dealers).

According to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land, Google told them that “the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more”. In addition, Google said that this new algorithm “improves their distance and location ranking parameters.”

It is not clear exactly how all of these changes will impact each dealer, so you should probably Google some of your top traffic-driving organic search keywords, and check the customer experience for anyone searching with local terms like “Toyota dealers near me” or “Ford dealers in Baltimore, MD”.

You should also check your Google Analytics account and compare this last week’s Organic Search Traffic vs. your prior Organic Search traffic levels, so you can determine the impact on your traffic and leads. If you would like any help doing this for your dealership’s Google Analytics account, whether or not you’re a DealerOn customer, just submit your contact information on our site or email me back, and include a comment “Google Analytics Help”.

Many Google users have reported seeing more listings from local directories when making searches – for example, searching for a restaurant name is now more likely to give you results from Yelp, Urbanspoon, OpenTable, and TripAdvisor. This increased focus on aggregate sites may make local search that much more difficult for your dealership website if it carries over into the automotive vertical.

These changes mean it is even more important than ever to ensure your dealership’s business information is the same (and accurate) across the Internet. Google looks for the NAP (name, address, phone number) of local businesses across the Internet, and is more likely to serve up your listing if it is consistent across all sites. Are you using a consistent business name (CDJR vs. Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram)? Is your dealership using the same address across all local platforms? Your dealership website should be the main source for this type of information, so whatever you are using on your site (name, address, phone number) should be reflected throughout the Internet.

If your dealership is confused about where your business information is listed, consider using a tool like Yext. Yext scans local directories to identify and claim existing listings and reports your standings across hundreds of platforms. From there, you can manage your listings, correcting any errors you may find and help ensure that your dealership’s information is accurate where it matters most.

Need or want some assistance making sure your local directory listings are in order? Please contact me or DealerOn and we can help you through the process. It’s something our team routinely does as a part of our Client Results program, and would be more than happy to help your dealership stay on top of Google’s algorithm adjustments like the Pigeon update.