Dealer SEO can be as Simple as Dealership Name

Recently I was speaking with one of our dealers, Todd from Todd’s Car Team, out of Nashville and he brought to my attention that when typing in his dealership name that he was no where to be found in the search result on Goggle or Yahoo!  I was immediately on the case.

The company name (dealership in this case) is usually the #1 search term for any businesses so I was alarmed.  For Todd, a typical consumer would type in either “todds car team” or “toddscarteam”.  The second phrase would obviously have been indexed because his website is toddscarteam.com, but the first phrase had no impact on the search result.

After further investigation, the dealer had actually changed the text on his website to read “Todd’s CarTeam”.  Aaaha!  No one would really search for “todds carteam” when compared to the number of consumers who would type in “todds car team”.  I made the change immediately and days later he was number one on the Goolge and Yahoo search results.

google1

* * Lesson: seems elementary, but text is everything on a website because that is what will be indexed by the search engines.  Check your dealership website to make sure your text and dealership name are search engine friendly.

Us using Us as a Marketing Platform

This is a bit off topic for car dealers but from a general marketing movement in the days of Web 2.0 I think it applies.  Check out the video I found on YouTube today presenting the web as a marketing platform:

youtube1

This goes along with the all important text of your website as well as all the social media available today.  AutoRevo is creating a whole initiative around social media for auto dealers and really working toward how we can leverage a community of buyers in the automotive space.  Social media is alive and vibrant out on the web today and I believe it will become a core piece of every dealerships marketing in the near future.

Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition

Internet sales at the dealership is finally coming of age.  Software is maturing, processes are improving, online shopping sites have a good grasp on users tendencies, and so here come the expositions!  This one is fairly young, but has great trajectory!

“It’s time to get serious about the Internet” is the theme of this 3rd Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition. The event venue, the Las Vegas Hilton, is the resort complex next door to the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the NADA Convention & Exposition is held.

Learn more at www.DigitalDealer-magazine.com

Dominion Enterprises Acquires Autobase, Inc.

I’m always trying to make sense of the purchases made by Dominion Ventures.  They snatch up companies continually where product lines may cross.  The acquisitions seem to be neither strategic nor financial, but hey if you have the money then by all means build the portfolio.

“NORFOLK, Va., June 12 /PRNewswire/ — Dominion Enterprises, a leading media and information services company, announced today that it has acquired Autobase, the leading supplier of auto dealership marketing and sales solutions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.”

Autobase states they have 1800 stores and 25,000 users.  They were definitely pioneers in the industry throughout the 1990s, and continue to be a big player in the ILM/CRM space today.  They compete with companies such as The Higher Gear Group, iMagicLabs, DealerUps, Cobalt, and others.
Dominion Ventures current automotive portfolio includes:
Dealer Specialties
@utoRevenue
Dealerskins
InterActive Financial Marketing Group
Cross-Sell
Just Automotive
Mailmark
SelectQu
XIGroup

At the current pace is seems like one acquisition per week.  Stay tuned.

Highlights of the NADA Data 2007 Report

It never ceases to amaze me at the number of cars sold in the United States each year.  AutoExec magazine (www.autoexecmag.com) came out with their NADA Data 2007 report (www.nada.org/nadadata) and 19 million used vehicles were sold last year.  Of the total units sold, 11.5 million were done through retail channels and 7.7 million sold through wholesale channels (AutoExec May 2007).  Consumers buying cars is a beautiful thing.

Another interesting high level note was that in 2006 the net dealership count fell by almost 300 stores.  The 2006 number is almost double that of 2005, which had seen 145 dealerships fall from the previous year. Today there stands a total of 21,200 new-car dealerships in the U.S. (Source: NADA Industry Analysis Division)

One final topic that always interests me is internet advertising.  Dealers spent $7.8 billion on advertising in 2006, of which 11.5 percent was allocated to the internet and almost 65 percent was spent on newspaper, radio, and television (Source: NADA Industry Analysis Division).  Where is the real value for the advertising dollar?  If 85 percent (or more) of car shoppers are online before they even darken the doors of the dealership, then why can we only come up with 11.5 percent of the advertising budget for these electronic shoppers?  I will say that the numbers are growing steadily at 9.9 percent in 2005 and 6.7 percent in 2004.  Breaking down the numbers a bit further, the average dealership spends $3,475 per month on internet advertising.  Consider the monthly entry point for an AutoTrader.com account is about $1200, approximately $800 for Cars.com, and about $750 for a dealer website.  This leaves $725 to spend elsewhere (eBay Motors?).  I would like to see a report demonstrating total number of internet sales to mix with this internet advertising dollars spent.  Let’s look at real value per dollar.  I’m off to find the data…

How Will More Potential Consumers Discover Cars.com?

Cars.com is at it again. If you will remember back when Cars.com ran a major television marketing campaign about 18 months ago on some of the popular cable networks, it created results for our dealers. The customers we talked with had a noticeable impact on lead volume from the site and an increase in sales as well.

As they are now taking over the Yahoo Autos “Sell Your Car” and listings for the site, the impact on dealer leads should be powerful yet again. May be a good time to rethink your Cars.com contract!

Check out the full article here