SEO | MXS Solutions

Why Dealer Websites fail to deliver

Creating and maintaining a normal website can be difficult.  Add in compliance, need for original content, graphics, high competition, and it seems like the impossible task.  The average internet director, doesn’t have the analytical, sales, 2D design, HTML, SEO / SEM, technical and persuasive writing skills necessary to manage a dealership's internet presence.  Although we’ve seen the gambit of those that have some, or even most of those skills, it seems only the mythical internet director of legend is capable of running the show on their own.

Each one of those skills is needed to successfully optimize the revenue coming from your website, and we’re going to discuss two areas of those skills and how the lack thereof causes fatal flaws in most self - run dealership websites.

First up, we have:

The Artist: (SEO / SEM)

These are the ones who missed their calling in life.  Beautiful websites, clean, eye - catching designs, and yet nothing is happening.  Hardly any traffic, no leads, and not a clue what to do about it. 

If you don’t know what you’re doing with search engine optimization, or you rely on platforms to optimize your site for you, that is what you see.  What are people searching for?  Of the people that arrive to your site, what keywords were bringing them in?  Are the right keywords being used on your site?  Are you tagging all the content with relevant keywords?  Is your content even relevant?

Or, are you clicking the “Add suggested tags/keywords” button and praying?  Not only does careful planning have to take place when attempting to capture traffic from organic search results but, monitoring and interpreting the data that you get from the traffic you're receiving is an intimate part of optimizing your website.

Followed by:

The Technician:  (2D design / Sales)

Like the green pea, faithfully following his up around the dealership waiting for them to say they want to take a car home, he’s got all the words, but doesn’t know how to say them.  The site is topping the charts, traffic is amazing, yet the bounce rate is 9 for 10 and you haven’t received a call yet. 

While getting people on your site is the first step, the next step is getting them engaged with the website.  The website has to welcome them in with interesting graphics and easy to use navigation.  Phrasing that gets them thinking about making a purchase decision without blowing them out with cheesy one liners.

Graphic design takes talent.  If you don’t have it, stay away from that part of the website’s design.  Just smile and nod while those with talent discuss whatever it is they do to make people want to stare at the banners for a couple slides, for no other reason than they look nice.  Think about all the times you’ve purchased some brand over another because the box looked nicer.  Don’t lie to yourself and let your website remind people of the store bought brand.

How can I get all of this done quickly and to get my business booming?

Outsourcing some of the work might be the answer, or it might not.  For some of those internet directors of infamy, it may be just the trick to get an outside contractor to pick up the slack.  Then again, it might be better to invest in a quality company that can deliver results.  Either way the number one reason dealership websites fail, is because someone there thinks they can do it all themselves. 

No company in the internet marketing business has one person handle everything for a client. I wouldn’t dare let Janice, from the graphics department, handle all the analytics and reporting for a client, and you shouldn’t either. Whether it’s in-house division of labor, or outsourcing to a reliable name in the industry, don’t let anyone go at it alone.   

Giving AdWords a Dynamic Boost

Most folks that use AdWords on the surface and don't dive too deeply into it may thing that Ads are just what they create for the product or service that they are pushing.  They may not realize that they have an excellent resource at their fingertips (or mouse click) called Dynamic Search Ads.  These can "auto-build" ads based on the content of your website.  This means that if you have an expansive website, this may be a great addition to have in it's own campaign (so you can budget it much easier).  We generally recommend creating a Dynamic Ad Campaign in conjunction with traditional ad campaigns within your account.Google Dynamic Search Ads

Google Dynamic Ads: Defined

According to Google:

- Dynamic Search Ads uses Google's organic web-crawling technology to automatically target relevant search queries based on your website content

- Incremental traffic from Dynamic Search Ads can fill in gaps in your keyword campaigns for great return on investment (ROI)

- Dynamic Search Ads offers a powerful way to target ads to many queries through an easy campaign-creation workflow

Google Dynamic Ads: Defined by MXS

We love our dynamic ads here at MXS.  While you can just use them and nothing else, you may not be able to compete with others that are going after the same market.  If they have specific keyword phrases being targeted and you do not, they generally will win.  The bonus here is that you can have campaigns that target specific pages with specific keyword phrases, and bid appropriately for them.  With the dynamic ads, this will literally "pick up the rest".  In some cases, the dynamic ad may be better suited for a customer's keyword search phrase than the actual keyword phrase we use in another campaign.  This means that the algorithm that Google AdWords uses picked it for various metrics and the bid is less (sometimes a lot less) than what it could have been with the exact phrase.  Sound Greek?  It's Ok, all you need to know for your business is that having Dynamic Ads around is a good thing that can yield additional leads to areas on your website.

Top 5 Google AdWords features you should be using

Those that have been around the Internet are very aware of Google and know that they are constantly innovating their products.  This equates to new releases on existing platforms and introductions to new products.  AdWords, being one of their keystone products, has released hundreds of new features just over the last year alone.  Many of these features were not even announced publicly, but rolled into the framework regardless.  Some of these updates may not affect the masses of AdWords users, but some may and should be put in order of importance.Top 5 Google AdWords Features

Top 5 Google AdWords Features

We've compiled a list below of the top 5 Google AdWords features that you should be using.   For sake of transparency, it is possible for anyone using Google AdWords to use their online website to perform most functions required to have successful online campaigns, but these tools below can make more efficient use of your time when setting up or updating your online campaigns.  These are in order of importance (in case you wanted to start with #1).

  1. Google AdWords Editor
    We like to use the AdWords Editor as a training tool.  New AdWords workers that we train have to do things "the hard way" first all online, and then we show them the Google AdWords Editor program.  This way, they can draw parallels to what they are doing offline with the online version.  The Google AdWords Editor allows offline edits to Campaigns, AdGroups, Ads, Keywords, Locations and all things in between.  One of the biggest bonuses from using the offline editor is the ability to copy-and-paste data.  You cannot do this online.  Say you have eight campaigns, and you decide to add a new location.  Online, you would have to go to each of the eight campaigns and add the location.  With the Google AdWords Editor, you still have to go to each campaign, but because it's offline, you don't have to go "page-to-page" for the updates.  You can copy-and-paste the value for each campaign.  This literally shaves off minutes of work per each action.  When your done with all your "offline edits", you simply upload/publish your changes back to Google AdWords.  Speed wins in this equation.

  2. Call Tracking Features
    Mobile is now dominating online searches.  If your website is not mobile friendly, stop reading this blog and contact us immediately to help you out.  If your website is mobile-friendly, then you can rest assured that your site, if the same (and similar metrics) as a competitor site that is not mobile friendly, yours should always outrank it.  Click-to-call is the name of the game ladies and gentleman.  Google acquired Grand Central Station many years ago and it is now known as Google Voice.  With this technology, Google now uses a virtual number for "click-to-call" buttons that show with your Ads opposed to just using your number (although that is still an option).  Using their proprietary system, now website calls from the ads shown have deeper analytics other than "yep, they called", or just bypassing the button altogether to call the business directly.

  3. Targeting Ads using Demographics
    Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter do a great job of targeting demographics.  Did you know you can do the same thing with Google AdWords? This idea stared a couple years ago with Google to have keyword searches and display ads using targeted demographics.  This setup gives you insight into who was clicking on or viewing your campaign ads.  The information you can gather here is good, but don't expect to get things like their blood type or other really-specific information.  You will be able to see data like age, gender and if they are parents or not.

  4. HTML5 Ads
    One of the more recently added tools added to the Google AdWords arsenal is the updated Web Designer.  This allows you to create nice, great-looking, interactive and/or animated ads in HTML5.  If you remember the days that Adobe Flash was all over the Internet with interactive banners, now this can be done with the click of a mouse on Google.  HTML5 does not require an extension like the predecessor of animation "Flash" did.  These ads exist on the Google Display Network, so you may want to consider this style of ads if you are already using this form of advertising within Google.

  5. Ad Callout Extensions
    Ever wish that you could have 5 links instead of just the primary link you are pushing in your ad?  Callout extensions exists for this reason.  Underneath your primary ad's text, you can have things like "Get your special price here" or "Schedule a call 24/7 here", etc.  These callout extensions are used to highlight parts of the business.  These are different from the traditional sitelinks as sitelinks are design to send customers to specific pages of a site and/or give them a quick preview of a designated page.  Callouts are good to use to give the ad an extra push for what you are selling.

These are a Top 5 Google AdWords features, but there are plenty that we use on a daily basis that did not make the list.  Some may be more complex in nature and not designed for our audience.  The features we listed above can be used by businesses that thrive on "weekend warrior" style work or full-blown businesses that have many employees.  Google has done a good job trying to have tools to cater to almost every business.

 

Google's Right-Side Ads Disappearing Act: How it really worked.

In the middle of February, give or take a few days, Google snuffed out the ads that were showing on the right-side of the screen for desktop-oriented search results.  What this has ultimately done is increase awareness (and competition) for the top-bar results that show directly underneath the search box.  Some have speculated that this is going to make cost-per-click (CPC) go up exponentially, while others like us, assumed that it may increase slightly, but not be catastrophic.  Many also assumed that Google was doing this solely just to increase their profits.  That is a loaded statement.  Sure, Google is always pursuing new ways to earn money, but what for-profit company isn't?  Wouldn't you look at new ways to be profitable if it meant staying in the black versus the red?  If anything, Google has a good track record of being purposeful for changes to it's Google Search Engine and Google AdWords engine.

Google AdWords

Google Adwords: Small Businesses are still competitive

Just because there is less Ad real estate on searches doesn't automatically exclude those with smaller budgets out of the competition.  We have seen a slight uptick in Click-Through-Rate (CTR) after the Google SERP update in mid-February.  Perhaps that was one of the many reasons why Google did this?  Another reason why businesses with smaller budgets like $10k per month versus bigger companies that spend $100k per month is the fact that traditionally, the business with the smaller budget pays more attention to the details of their budget.  Other factors include improving quality scores with modifications to the landing pages, etc., to go with the Ads being shown.  The idea is not new, and Google has mentioned the "how" on this several times over.  We have become in tune with making our clients beat out the manufacturer's ads on several occasions, so we know it can be done despite a larger budget.

Google SERP: Results of the Change

One of the biggest changes that SEOs (MXS included) noticed is the drop in Impressions for our Ads, and this was across the board.  It makes sense that instead of seeing up to 11 Ads on a search results page, we now see it capped at 7 Ads.  If you don't show up in those 7 (or less), then that is (1) impression less than you had before.  We strive to hit (and keep) our clients in the #1 spot for very targeted keyword phrases that make sense for their business.  With having less Impressions now per Ads, and keeping someone consistent click average, our CTR is increasing somewhat across the board. 

Mobile

We can't have a better, more descriptive heading than "Mobile".  This word can come in many forms, but for Google AdWords, this is the new King-of-the-hill word that Google wants to see in their Ads, the sites and landing pages for these Ads.  If your page, site and/or Ad is not going the mobile-friendly route, you are going to be losing traffic to your competitors that are mobile-friendly.  This uptick has been happening for a few years now, and mostly caught fire in the last two years with no signs of slowing down.  Desktop, still has searches, but Mobile, for some of our clients, has eclipsed Desktop searches on average.  This does not include Tablet searches as they are in their own category.

Improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you just started your business website or if you have had it for years, you should know that it is very important to rank in search engines like Google, Bing and others.  So, how do you start ranking?  Will Google or Bing just "magically" come find my site?  Unless some other website is linking to your website, the answer is no. Improving your SEO for your Business

Not to worry, everyone who has ever taken their business online has gone through this exercise in some form or fashion.

Search Engine Basics

SEO is critical in order to increase traffic to your website and get all the content you worked so hard on shown to the world.  There are some very basic things that you can do to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with your website.

Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask and many other Search engines have algorithms at their core that figure out where a website should rank from a given search.  These algorithms are not "set in stone" and updated several times per year.  The search engines are not all the same, but there are several inner workings of each that are common. 

At the end of the day, this is what the Search Engines are looking at for ranking purposes:

  • - Content Type (and how much you have of it)
  • - Optimization Level (did you pay attention in SEO school?)
  • - PageRank (popularity - just like the high school days)

 

SEO:  Slow and Steady

In the old days of bumping up a sites PageRank (we're talking maybe a few years here), it was a common practice to spam links to essentially junk "farm" websites that hold tens of thousands of links creating what is known as "backlinks".  What these backlinks from these spammy sites did was create a false sense of importance of the website they were pointing.  The more unique sites having these links, the higher the search engine would rate the PageRank.

Don't SPAM backlinks to improve your SEO PageRank

Hold the Spam

According to Matt Cutts, Distinguished Google Engineer, he has stated that backlinks are safe... for now.  There is an internal effort going on at search engines like Google (and others) that has been reevaluating the value of backlinks.  Matt Cutts was quoted as saying:

"I think backlinks still have many, many years left in them," he said. "But inevitably what we're trying to do is figure out how an expert user would say this particular page matched their information needs. And sometimes backlinks matter for that."

In the interim, backlinks will still be viable, but be cautious of the type of backlinks you are creating trying to drive traffic to your website.  You should stay way from the "fly-by-night" link-building companies that may boost you for a few weeks or months, but search engines like Google are aware of these tactics and working towards a solution.  Matt Cutts continues onto saying:

"So I think, over time, back links will become a little less important," he said.

Quality over QuantityQuality over Quantity with SEO

 Google seems to be leading the charge when pioneering the way that websites are assigned their reputation for the website as a whole and/or individual pages.  They are taking the focus off of backlinks and putting it back on the quality of the content of the particular pages.

Wait, there's more...  pages written by experts and professionals in their particular field will be given more precedence and weight.  Page authority is going to become part of the new norm.  There is speculation to how Google will determine whether experts are "experts", but they are Google, and I'm sure they have something in the works.

 If you want to check out the video for the backlinks that was done by Google Webmasters, check it out below: