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SEO is an investment… Don’t give up too soon!

In this week’s Wednesday Workshop, we talk about shifting how you think about SEO. Too many dealers think of SEO as an expense that needs to be tolerated… when actually, SEO in an investment in the future. SEO isn’t about big gains and winning tomorrow, it’s about incremental gains that help you dominate in the future.


Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn. This week’s video is short, because I’m on a plane to Venice today. I’m speaking at a digital marketing conference in Portoroz, Slovenia tomorrow and Friday.

One of the things we always say about SEO is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t do a little optimization work today and see higher rankings tomorrow. The things that you’re doing today are affecting your site’s visibility months down the road.

The problem is, even though most dealers understand that SEO takes time, they don’t approach SEO as an investment. For most dealerships, organic visits are the largest source of traffic and leads. For many dealers, more traffic and leads come from organic visits than all other sources combined.

It’s pretty common for dealers to swap out digital marketing providers every 6 to 8 months. Some dealers change even more frequently. They feel like the money they’re spending should have yielded results, and when they don’t get what they’re expecting, they switch to someone else.

If we all understand that SEO takes time, we need to commit to sticking with it until we see results. Far too many dealers will give up after only a few months. It’s pretty much standard to hear a provider say that you should wait 6 to 8 months to see big results from SEO. Google released a blog post last year that said most SEO results won’t be evident for 8-12 months.

Don’t assume that you’ll be different and you’ll see results faster. Or that since you have a buddy at another dealership who doubled his organic traffic in 3 months that you’ll be able to do the same thing.

You have to think long term. It’s not about the money you spent for the first few months when you’re not seeing results. It’s about all the benefit you’ll receive a year from now when you’ve got amazing visibility and tons more traffic.

Stop thinking about SEO as an expense – it’s an investment. It’s not about big wins, it’s about marginal gains. SEO isn’t about winning tomorrow, or next month, or even 4 or 5 months from now. SEO is about dominating your competition in the future.

Think of it this way. For all of our SEO clients, we average about a 43% increase in organic traffic after 1 year of service. Now, obviously, it’s the cumulative effect of everything we do that produces results, and seasonal factors influence search behavior and traffic.

BUT – if we broke that down into equal monthly increments, that equals only 3.5% improvement each month. Since we know it takes time to see results, we know that you won’t see any traffic improvements in the first month. So if after 2 months and several thousand spent, you only see maybe a 3% improvement in organic traffic, it’s pretty underwhelming. After 3 months maybe you’ve seen 3 to 5% improvement. It’s easy to lose sight of the end goal and think about switching vendors.

BUT – if you’re looking at SEO as an investment, it’s easier to see the incremental gains as positive progress towards an end goal that’s much further in the future.

So that’s it for this week’s Wednesday Workshop. As always, if you’ve got questions or comments, leave ‘em down below and we’ll get back to you shortly. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week with another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Author Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at DealerOn. He has over 16 years of online marketing and web design experience, and has specialized in automotive SEO for the last 8 years, helping hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession. Greg speaks internationally at both automotive and SEO conferences, teaching thousands of small business owners and marketers how to get their sites to show up higher in local search rankings. Greg also spends his spare time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  •' Elisha Monken says:

    I enjoy watching your videos and use to watch the DealerOn webinars, but felt I shouldn’t ask question b/c we didn’t use DealerOn, well, we bought a new dealership and we it uses DealerOn. So here are my questions. We are who you are talking about in this video. We have changed SEO/SEM providers 3 times over the past few years. I feel the one we have now is focused on Facebook ads(some Adwords) and the ones in the past were focused on Google Adwords. Is there such thing as paying a business to focus on backlinks, business citations, checking the way our website is set up, etc, to help with SEO, or is paying for FB ads and Adwords the best way to gain SEO?

    • Greg Gifford says:

      Elisha – There’s definitely a need for both types, but it’s interesting that they’d focus primarily on Facebook ads… not really the strategy I’d suggest. BUT, that’s definitely an SEM company, not an SEO company. They’re two different things. You might find the same provider/agency to handle ads and SEO, but it’s going to be two different departments or teams.

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