Google Caffeine – Your Dealer SEO

In case you haven’t heard, Google is changing their search criteria again! To see how your dealership ranked before, and how you rank now, read this article from Dealer e Process.

In order to stay on top of the search engines, you must make sure your auto dealership website has updated SEO. Google is coming out with a major change that is currently in the beta stage called Google Caffiene. Auto dealer websites and software providers will be affected dramatically if their SEO is not updated.

At Dealer e Process we have been preparing for this change for the last couple months so rest assured our dealers will be pushed even further to the top of the search engines.

With the surge in popularity of “real-time search” via social networking sites, Google has recognized that search engines have to deliver content at speed. Granted, but there have already been some negative comments, although I don’t wholeheartedly agree with them. According to marketingpilgrim.com, “…Google’s attempts to include more social media “real time” results, it turned the dial to 11, when 7 would have worked just fine. Another clue that Caffeine is focused on speed – perhaps at the sacrifice of relevancy – is there appears to be more ‘Similar’ only and less ‘Cached’ results.” Personally, I have only seen a shift in relevancy, not sacrifice.

So how does all this compare? According to tests at mashable.com, the new search was “lightning fast”; double the speed. Next, they tried accuracy. They commented that: “Both sets are very accurate, but subjectively, the set displayed by the new Google search more accurately reflect what a user would be looking for.” Then followed a test of temporal relevancy, or how breaking news was returned. The answer: “about the same”. Their conclusion was that Caffeine is:
• very fast and it often doubled the speed of the old Google;

• it relies more on keywords and;

• it places “more reliance on keyword strings to produce better results”.

Clearly,” they wrote, “a priority for Google and Bing…with both Twitter and Facebook launching real-time search engines, they needed to respond.”

Dealer e Process websites are now integrated with 61 social networks allowing dealerships to extend their reach all over the USA while appealing to a wide spectrum. More information on auto dealer social networking call 866-925-1750 and ask to speak to a sales representative.

Advertisements

Is Google Changing SEO?

I have been to so many conferences of late, read some great books, watched some great videos on line I thought it might be fun to write what I have noticed recently in the ongoing evolution of the Search Engine industry. To help set the stage – allow me to provide a little background of myself and the auto industry.

That was then…

I was very active in building sports websites in the mid to late 90’s, I know that was decades ago! As a blessing in disguise for what would become one of the main focuses in the auto industry, I learned a great deal about how to help my clients get their websites into good positions on the search engines without using what is referred to today as “Blackhat SEO”. Eventually my interest in developing websites while running fixed operations for 9 years the Gillespie Auto Group.

Through an usual turn of events that led to the formation of  Dealer e Process – I ended up walking away from The Gillespie Auto Group and started Dealer e Process with Mike Gillespie and a couple investors. 2 years later we are currently working with over 250 dealer groups selling a website solution that is TOP in the market.

Our original claim to fame was optimizing our dealer websites for the search engines using the technology I developed when building sports websites in the 90’s.

Having been “in the search (SEO) industry” for nearly a decade, I was certain that it would be alot easier challenge to compete with the likes of car dealerships versus the sporting industry. Auto dealer websites are targeted towards their locations where as sporting websites are targeted for the entire world.

I had learned all the tricks of the trade and all the new do’s and don’ts of modern day SEO. Turns out, there’s a new bag of tricks being used, but the old fashioned, tried and true methods of generating valuable content – still apply today just like they did 10 years ago and are still rewarded when found by the search engines.

So there you have it, an unusual perspective at best. It is really fascinating to see the changes that have taken place in SEO and be in a position to compare them to the way it was a decade ago.

So many companies prey on auto dealers to earn their SEO business because they know a lack of deep knowledge exists at the dealership level.

What follows are some key observations and occasional postulations on where I think the Internet search industry might be headed.

The Hawthorn Effect
For those that aren’t familiar with the term “Hawthorn Effect” here’s a brief definition and explanation.

The term Hawthorn Effect refers to the tendency of some people to work harder and perform better when they are participants in an experiment. Individuals may change their behavior due to the attention they are receiving from researchers rather than because of any manipulation of independent variables.

So… how does this relate to Google in this century?
Google is watching you. I don’t mean in a negative or illicit way – but in a user behavioral and beneficial manner. I just finished reading a book called Planet Google and learned Google is working on several products and projects that will eventually reshape how the search engine will respond to your interaction. Google captures your request for information and measures the response to the data it provides to you. By measuring your response, Google obtains key data that helps them understand how to better manipulate the results that are being returned to you. There are several tools currently in place or that are in various stages of beta testing to help them determine their course of action and refine their process in their effort to produce a better user experience for you – their customer.

One such tool is the “Web History” utility that is now available to all users of Google Search. Using this tool, Google will collect information about the sites you visit and use it to generate a better response to your queries. Some of the key points of the utility are:

1) The ability to view and manage your web activity – search across the full text of the pages you’ve visited, including Google Searches, web pages, images and news stories.
2) Get search results that are more personalized and based on the things you’ve searched for on Google and the sites you’ve visited.
3) Get reports on your trends and web activity – how many searches did you conduct and at what time of the day. Which sites do you frequent the most?
You can read more about the capabilities and features of Web History here: http://www.google.com/psearch

How will Web History affect the Search Engine industry?
It will help Google provide you with results that you want to see the most, and, when combined with another tool in the beta process, will help remove items that you are not interested in seeing in your search results.

Want to try an experiment?
Begin by creating a user account with Google. Then turn Web History on for a week or so, and chase your tail looking at keywords that are specific to the ranking of your website or a site you are maintaining. Check several times a day, closing and relaunching your browser each time you check. Eventually you are going to see a message near the top of the window that the results of your search are being influenced by… you guessed it… Web History. Pay attention to where your site is ranking with Web History turned on.

Now, after a week of allowing “Web History” to collect some information… go to your Google account and turn it off, and check your page positions on Google for the same Keywords? Did you see any difference? You did! Google is watching you and capturing your behavior and they are manipulating your search results to match your expectations and what they perceive is your preference based on the “experiences” they have collected from you. If Web History perceives that blue cars by a particular manufacturer are important to you in the majority of your searches, they will bubble to the top of the page while other Blue Donuts by different manufactures will sink lower and lower.

Is it the end of the Search Engine Optimizing Industry?
Probably not, factors that will account for the appearance of one sites links above another may not be completely limited to the users interaction and preference in the future, other traditional factors such as content and page ranking may continue to play a part in winning the position on the page ahead of some of the clients perceived preferences, in addition to other new developments currently underway.

Does it end here?
I for one don’t think so. There’s at least two more prominent areas where Google can capture user preferences and then modify the result set to meet their expectations, and they are actively testing or running programs to do exactly that right now.

I will be back with more to stay tuned!

Dealership SEO Strategy

Search engine marketing even when speaking in terms of car dealerships involves keeping your content and vehicles fresh, using keywords that put you at the top of the first page and obtaining as many links to your site from other “relevant” websites as possible (auto sites).

Take Care Of The Search Engines, They Take Care Of You

1. Search engines really like updated and fresh content. Pay attention to which sites show on the first page of a Google search and you will notice that among the sites in keyword competition. Its usually the dealer sites with the most updated content that win out in the long run. I would strongly suggest you either write your own reviews in cars or articles about the dealership and upload your own graphics and photos or outsource the job to freelancers.

There are many freelance writers for reasonable rates. Ever think of looking to a local college? With one good writer or writing team, you can improve your dealers site’s rankings dramatically. Make sure the writer you choose understands auto dealership SEO so the writing contain the keywords that make sense.

2. Keyword strategies include going for those people who instead of searching for ‘used cars’ search for ‘used cars in Chicago’ and other more specific terms. We have performed this SEO service for Freedom Auto Depot in Chicago and they dominate the search engines on Google for “used cars Chicago” or “used cars in Chicago” etc.

Do not stuff your pages with keywords? The recommended density of keywords is between 2 and 3 percent of the text on your page. I find it increasingly funny to view dealer websites pages that have words stuffed all onto the home page which includes all the location around the dealerships as well as all the model vehicles the dealership sells.

Excessive keyword phrases are not only recognizable to search engines as ‘stuffing” they can ultimately affect the quality of the writing and the ranking of the dealers website. This is where LSI comes in. LSI involves using phrases that are synonymous with your original keyword phrase. Learn about LSI! Google it!

3. The more relevant sites that link to your page (auto dealer websites), the better your rankings will be. For example, if you sell new Chevy Cars in Chicago, try putting links about your dealership in an article that talks about the “new Chevy Traverse at Chicago Chevy Dealers“. This is one way of ‘piggy backing’ on the keywords used by other sites.

Write your own articles and car reviews or have a freelance writer write some for you. Submit them to article directories or other social networks and allow other sites to use them. It is a ‘take care of me and Ill take care of you” strategy and it works for both sides.

4. You can use your dealerships blog for more search engine marketing. Dont’t tell me you don’t have a dealer blog yet do you? If you update your blog daily and ping it with blog directories, you will see an increase in your dealership blog’s search engine rankings. Link to your dealers site from your blog. This is another means of piggy backing.

5. Monitor your dealers site traffic on at least a weekly basis. I strongly recommend you use a Google analytics tag because I am extremely skeptical about third party website companies providing the analytics. Note how much of your traffic is coming from pay per click search engine marketing and how much from natural search. After a couple of weeks of tracking, make small changes to optimize your site’s search engine rankings. Continue looking for ways to improve on your dealership site.

Gather all the information you can find on each of these strategies I mentioned above, and take it in. Its the wave of the future for auto dealerships so I suggest you start to learn it now. Search engine marketing, as with all other forms of marketing, is constantly changing. Stay up to date on everything there is to know about search engine marketing and you will see your sales increase considerably! The Game Is Changing, Are You? Let Dealer e Process do the work for you!

Auto Dealer Page Rank

What is our dealerships website Page Rank? How good is your Dealer Web site?

There are third party websites (tools) actually websites that will measure the ranking of your dealers website. For dealer personnel that don’t know what Page Rank is; (it’s a tool) put together by Google that determines the effectiveness or efficiency of your dealership and for that matter all websites.

The higher your page rank in combination with many other factors, the higher your dealers website is listed in the various search engines.(More traffic to your site) This means more people are looking at your new and used vehicles, service and parts departments, thus putting more money into circulation for the dealership.

If more people are going to your dealer website, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to know less traffic is going to your competitors’ website. Unfortunately most people that work in a dealership don’t even know what Google page rank is but those visitors that do will place your dealership website in a higher respect than your competitors and feel that your content is much more valuable and insightful leaving a better chance to get bookmarked.

The next question is, how is page rank determined? And more importantly how do you increase the page rank for your dealers website?. Let’s look at the first part of that question.

One way to help determine your page is when another (relevant auto site) site links to your page with a back link. The more back links you receive from other pages that have content relevant to yours, the higher your page rank.

This process of building links can get quite involved and very confusing which is why we recommend a Dealer e process auto dealer website to sort through all back links, since they don’t all carry the same weight or force. Leave that to our SEO team. The higher the page rank that a link is coming from, the more beneficial it is in terms of boosting your page rank of the dealers site. So if you get back links from a lot of websites with low page ranks (p1, p2) it will not have as strong an impact as a few pages with higher page ranks. Most dealership websites range in the realm of Page Rank 3 or 4.

There is complication to this process; If your dealers website has a page rank of 4 and it is already linked to 8 or 12 other pages then it will NOT be any more beneficial to you than a page that has a page rank of 2 or less.

Another way to improve your dealership page rank is through the use of web directories and no name search engines. Dealer e Process SEO PowerPage Rank technology takes care of all that on a monthly basis. Not only will the use of our SEO services increase your page rank, but it will also increase the traffic to your dealers website.

There are alot of other factors that will definitely help you to increase your ranking and the general traffic to your dealers website. If you are curious about the page ranking of your own dealer website after reading this article, you can see exactly where you stand by doing a Google search for “page rank”. Once you find a site (or download the Google Toolbar to your desktop) all you have to do is put your dealership URL(s)in the web address field and you will have your answer.

SEO on Your Auto Dealership Website

I have spoken to many dealership GM’s, internet managers about marketing their dealership online and I am constantly asked “How do you get to #1 position on Google?” While this article is not specially about how to get your dealership to #1 status for various search terms – I will explain what the process is and what’s involved for you to succed.

As much as dealerships have used the internet in increasing numbers the last couple years, I am always surprised by how many GM’s and internet managers have no idea what SEO (search engine optimization) is about. Most people can tell you WHY they like to click on that first listing in the natural results (cause its at the top) but they don’t have the first clue HOW it got there to begin with. A funnier way to look at is the fact that the internet world is largely unregulated and still being figured out which basically means that everyone has their own “secret practice” and definitions of SEO.

I always tell dealers that their gut feeling of WHY they trust the first listing is because its the best result for the phrase they typed in. In layman’s terms, dealers seem to understand that. However most dealership personnel do not really understand why one dealer website would be better than another so here goes with a layman’s explanation.

What is SEO, in layman’s terms that is?
SEO is the process of configuring a website so that it has a chance to show up in a search result for a particular phrase as close to the first position as possible. In other words it is our way of telling Google, Yahoo, or MSN what we think our site is about and designing it in a way in a way it reads like a “table of contents”. Many of the search engines have a slightly different formula (algorithm’s for technical terms) for how they determine these results. But the short version is that they look at different factors and most importantly the constructions of each website page, rank them and then give those results to you. The whole idea is to have a “good search experience” for the person typing the phrase into the search engine.

So Why is SEO So Important?
Two words sum it up for me; competition & Free. There are as many as 20 billion web pages being indexed (listed on Google, Yahoo, MSN) at any given time. The major search engines do their best to go through these pages from dealer websites for example and catalog them so that they can tell you about it if you use their website to search. With so many dealership website pages out there competing for similar phrases (used cars in Chicago for example)it is absolutely critical to make sure you are using every tool at your disposal, make sure your dealer website is constructed correctly to make sure your customers can find you when they are looking.

So What Should I Be Doing for SEO On My Dealership Website?
The bad news is that doing SEO correctly for your dealership’s website is very complicated and time consuming and requires regular attention in order to maintain results. My advice unless you plan on purchasing a Dealer e Process website (We do it for you) is to ethically follow these easy guidelines for best long-term results:

Correct Dealer Website Structure; as easy as this sounds many dealerships would not even think to look at this. Every day we see dealership websites with heavy flash animation (Dealerskins websites for example), dated frame designs (Ebiz & Cobalt websites for example), pages that don’t work and broken links. The bottom line is; if you can’ as a consumer easily navigate a dealerships website without problems, chances are the search engines can’t either (technical terms “spider the website”). And if a search engine spider can’t crawl your dealer website you have absolutely no chance of showing up for a key phrase – no matter how “pretty the flash”.

Good Meta-Data; Most dealership GM’s & Internet Managers often draw a blank stare when I talk about the next this one. Meta-data is tech-speak for the page titles, page descriptions and keywords that you enter for each page. Each page on your dealership website should have a unique title and description that summarizes what that page is about. (Reynolds & Reynolds websites for example)

We often see 2 problems with meta-data. The first is that it is simply overlooked (The Netlab does this for example). I am shocked at how many sites have “Dealership name” as the page title for every page! A complete waste of online real estate.

The 2nd problem is “spamming the search engines”. Putting in a page title or description about the dealership website that does not accurately match what the page is about is considered “spamming” a search engine. Doing this on your dealership website will get your page thrown out of the index (thrown in the Google sandbox) and ruin any chance of showing up for a key phrase that you want a great listing for. Some dealer website providers do this to you and you have no clue.

Relevant Content; Dealer’s seem to understand that good content about vehicles (like custom comments on used and new cars) is really what customers are looking for when they search for a vehicle. By “relevant” we mean that the content is specific to the vehicle in question and recently updated. More and more we are seeing dealers websites that have regular updates or a dealership blog showing up higher in the search results than websites which have larger quantities of content on them. The reason being is the content is fresh!

My personal recommendation is to add well written (maybe add a Google blogger addition), grammatically correct content to your dealerships website on a regular basis. This ensures that, over time, your dealer website will become a “resource” to those looking for phrases related to the automobile business in relation to selling new and used cars, service and parts.

Link building; This is the least understood part of SEO. Search engines consider a link from another website (a relevant link) to your website as a “popularity vote”. Simply put, the more sites which link to yours, the more “votes” you have! The website with the “most votes” has a much better chance of getting a #1 ranking for a particular search term. Dealer e Process dealer built websites get free links to our network of “auto related” websites (7203 links that is)dramatically pushing you to the top of the search engines.

So there you go, SEO explained in layman’s terms. Like most things in life, it’s not really that hard but it requires discipline and focus which is where most people get sidetracked. If you would like help with SEO for your dealership website, or other internet related needs we would love to hear from you at Dealer e Process. There is nothing “internet related” that we don’t understand when it comes to dealership websites online.