Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google Profiles takes advantage of Identity Searches

When you meet someone new and you want to find out more information about them, what do you do?  If you’re like a lot of people, you’ll head straight to Google and search for their name.  I would bet that a large number of potential customers perform an Internet search on your dealership after they’ve decided to purchase from you.  How often do you think they do the same on the name of the salesperson they are considering purchasing their vehicle from?

Typical search results are your social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn), as well as website on which your name appears (dealership site, news articles, etc).  Google is now allowing users to create “profiles” in which you can upload images, link to websites and write a personal bio.  This tool is available to anyone who creates an account on Google after you go through a screening routine to verify your identity.

What’s great about this tool is that, from a business standpoint, you can have full control over an entry in the search results pages.  Those who have completed the verification process have found that this “profile” is being shown on the first page of search results very quickly (though this isn’t much of a surprise since Google will of course want to promote their own products).

To start the process, go to Google Profiles.   It looks as though this could be another great way to manage your online reputation as well as increase the search engine optimization results for your personal brand as well as your dealership.  Let us know how it works out!

Online Automotive Marketing – Patience is a Virtue

As an auto sales person, you want to see the results of your selling efforts as soon as possible.  As a business person, you want to see the financial benefits of any money you spend as soon as you spend it.  Business and sales tend to be focused on the here and now, and rightly so.  Especially during this lull the sales volume of cars, waiting for benefits can be downright painful for your dealership.  But it’s also necessary at times.  In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), your auto dealership might have to wait to see the full results.  Here’s why:

Search Engine Bots Take Time to Crawl: Most search engine bots don’t look for new content every day.  If you’ve done an overhaul of your website and it’s content, it could take 3-4 months for each page to be indexed.

They Want to Make Sure You’re Legit:  Even if your web pages do get noticed and indexed, the search engine algorithms want to make sure your dealer website isn’t manipulating your links.  Over time, they’ve found that these black hat SEO tactics tend to be fleeting, while quality, meaningful links tend to stay on a website.

Gaining Attention Online Takes Time:  A big part of SEO ranking is the quality and quantity of websites that link back to your site.  It can often take a lot of time for a website to earn these inbound links.

This isn’t to say that you should wait indefinitely while your SEO company takes your auto dealership for a ride.  Make sure your dealership has access to the analytics that demonstrate your gradual climb up the page ranks, and when the time comes, that you actually see results.

Dealer Website Lynch Pin?

We’ve all heard the estimates about how many dealerships are going to be closing within the next year–NADA estimates that another 1000 dealerships will close in 2009 alone.  Of course this is a scary fact, but there are things that you can do to prevent your dealership from being one of them.  One of the first items is making sure people who are searching online (which 80% of those who purchase vehicles do) can find your dealership website.  Imagine missing out on 80% of all potential sales, sending them to your competitors, just because your website isn’t properly optimized.

Score Chrysler Dodge in Franklin, OH, recently shut their doors (January 5, 2009).  DealerOn wishes the best for all of their employees, as well as the community that will no doubt feel the impact from this dealership having to close.

I was curious though, how well their website ranked for relevant search terms, so I did a little research.  Their website (which is still up) looks as though it is optimized for three cities: Franklin (pop 12,000), Springboro (pop 12,000), and Middletown (pop 51,000).  The problem with this is that there are two, much more populous cities within 30 miles of Franklin (Dayton, pop 166,000 and Cincinnati, pop 330,000).

Here’s how they rank on the page for Google for the following terms (I stopped looking after the second page):

For the search term “Franklin Chrysler OH” the dealership website ranked second on the page, which is pretty good.  Except that Franklin is a town with a population of only 12,000 people.  The dealer website also appeared for the terms “Franklin Chrysler service” (16th) and “Franklin Chrysler parts” (13th).

But the good news ends there.  A news article about the dealership closing appeared when I searched for “Cincinnati Chrysler” (12th), “Cincinnati Chrysler dealer” (12th), and “Cincinnati Chrysler parts” (8th).  The dealership website did not show in the results for those terms.

Nothing about Score Chrysler Dodge showed in the first two pages of search results when I searched for the terms “Cincinnati Chrysler OH,” “Cincinnati Chrysler parts,” “Dayton Chrysler,” “Dayton Chrysler OH,” “Dayton Chrysler dealer,” “Dayton Chrysler service,” “Dayton Chrysler parts,” “Franklin Chrysler,” and “Franklin Chrysler dealer.”

Unless someone searched for their dealership name or one of the few terms that they actually ranked for, potential Chrysler buyers in this metro area wouldn’t find their dealership online.  This means that their website and dealership never had any chance to convert them into a lead or sell them a car.

You have to wonder…if the Score Chrysler Dodge website had been properly optimized so that those who were looking for a Chrysler vehicle in the Cincinnati-Dayton area would have found their site, would it have made a difference in their decision to close its doors?

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