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The worlds of automotive social media and automotive search marketing are converging. We've known this for a while and I've been preparing for the collision in order to help our clients make the most out of the changes. The only thing I wasn't expecting was how tremendously complex it all was going to be.

For the last month, we've been pushing hard to help educate and assist dealers on both fronts, but social media has been my primary focus. Most know that I spent the early part of my career focused almost solely on search but the transition from search to social has been happening for a couple of years now. Today, I'm happy to say that the transition is complete and I'll be discussing more about the merging disciplines over the coming months.

To those who inquired, who were checking to make sure I hadn't fallen off the face of the earth, thank you for your concern and all is well. In fact, it's all very well. I'm continuing to explore new and innovative techniques that dealers can use to enhance their social media presence.

This leads me to the point of this post. I'm looking for participants, those willing to engage in case studies and discussions about the merging search and social marketing future that we all face. It can be dealers or vendors - I'm not picky. I just want to get some people together to bounce off ideas over email, at the upcoming conferences, on Google Hangouts - anything that works to make the industry better at the two most important components of marketing for 2014. If you're interested, contact me or leave a comment below.

The goal is to put out the best educational content available on the subjects. I'm not being completely altruistic with this - the more I learn, the better I can make our products. I've spent the last six years honing my skills in a bubble. Now it's time to take what I've learned and enhance it with what you all know. I look forward to seeing this move forward.

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Everyone knows that im a big advocate of all things Google.  Heck, I even rooted my brand new Galaxy s4 so I could get the Google edition ROM.

This morning though, I received an email with a title that I feel may be intentionally misleading.

The email linked to a blog post by Google AdWords Titled:

New research shows that 88% of ad clicks from mobile search are incremental to organic clicks
Posted by +Mark Burke, Google Engage Ireland
(Link is below)

This article basically says that when companoes paused their pay per click campaigns the clicls were not replaced by clicks in the organic search, so basically if you stop your adwords campaign you are in effect losing all those clicks.

It even showed a pretty infographic with Automotive being one of the biggest areas of loss with 86% of adwords clicks not being replaced by organic.


Here's why the post is BS

If you have an adwords campaign that gets 100 click per month [random number for easy math] you are usually buying that campaign because you want to be visible on Page One of Google and usually you resort to ppc because you're not on page 1 in the organic results right?

Everyone's research,  including Google research, shows that above the fold page 1 organic results get more clicks than any ppc adwords ad which is why this latest blog post by Google is so offensive.  It shows that even the great Google is willing to mislead us good old automotive industry folks if it will help keep the revenue flowing.

The problem that car dealers have is that companies lile amd Edmunds and AutoTrader have millions of dealership vehicles they are using to optimize search for each market, plus they have your dealership name amd address in those listings too [obviously they should so a consumer knows it is your car and that they need to contact you to buy it] but what is happening by listing your cars on these sites is that  organically their links are competing with yours and in many cases you lose.

Well,  you dont necessarily 'lose'because the consumer may go through the third party to contact you but let's face it,  the third party wouldn't be in existence without your inventory and if they didn't exist you're more likely to be visible on page one because you would be a more likely relevant search result. ..I digress.

The other challenge with AdWords is that you are competing with 3rd party sites like AutoTrader and Edmunds there too.

When I worked at, I was told internally that we were spending as much as $20,000 per day on AdWords / pay per click to make sure we were visible when people searched for cars in local dealer markets.

Of course this was in the dealership's best interest because the more shoppers on means more opportunity foror dealers right?

Sort of, except for the fact that they bid to grab the brand names, models and in some cases the dealership names which means dealers have to pay MORE to Google to compete with the 3rd parties that theyre already paying too much for as it is.

I say F that!

Be smart, organize, optimize, visualize and work on conquering organic results and see if you really need that adwords campaign after all.

If you're going to invest inan adwords campaign, Ask your local cars, autotrader and esmunds and CarGurus rep to get you a list of keywords they buy in your market (they have it in their adwords dashboard so their boss can get that list easy enough) and see if they are edging you out by bidding on your own name so b yiure not spending a pile of cash bidding against a company you're paying to advertise with. Heck,  if you're already paying it doesnt make sense to pay more money to compete with them via ppc.

Obviously If you are visible above the fold on page one in the organic search as it is, with relevant results of course, the chance of consumers clicking someone else's adwords ad over you is greatly reduced anywaybso let the other guys spend their money on PPC while you sneak in and crush them all using organic search. Heck, go click their ads a bunch of times so they waste budget, that'll teach them not to compete against their own dealer customers. [Just kidding, they never learn]

While I spend zero on ppc amd organically dominate my soace, I do believe at the end of the day there are great ways to use adwords as a dealer but I recommend partnering with a company that does more than just spin out an ad for you. The guys at AdSmart Online do a good job and actually create inventory level ads and my clients who use them are happy so you can see their info at

I would love to hear other thoughts and comments.

Helping the best get better,
Mat Koenig

If you enjoyed this post please share it, tweet it and +1 it

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Catch Me If You Can

There are always going to be those who are real experts offering real products or services with proven strategies and the ability to make changes to their techniques as the market and industries change. There are also always going to be those who put on the uniform, slide on the aviator sunglasses, and pretend like they know how to pilot a passenger jet. Sadly, the latter is starting to outnumber the former, particularly in the world of search marketing.

It happens in many industries, particularly ones where things get easier. For example, owning a custom computer shop was a nice, tight niche just a few years ago. Now, you can drop a paper airplane off a building and have a 50/50 chance of hitting someone who can build a custom computer. It isn’t that they are faking. It’s that the modular design and cross-compatibility of computer hardware components has made building custom computers as easy as building a LEGO house.

The arena of search marketing is different. In both PPC management as well as search engine optimization, there has been a tremendous influx of experts and services filling the ears and inboxes of prospective clients. It’s not that it is easier than it was in the past. In fact, it’s harder today than it has ever been in the past, particularly with the complexities, risks, and quality needs of SEO. The reason that it’s growing is because the pitch is easy. Search is obscure. It’s super easy to fall for the wrong pitch because they’re all starting to sound the same.

In Catch Me if You Can, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s portrayal of the infamous Frank Abagnale Jr. was an example of what I’m seeing more and more of today in the search marketing world. It’s a matter of being able to talk the talk and winging it when it comes to walking the walk. Everyone says the buzzwords. Unique content. Targeting competitors’ cities. Market coverage. Link building. Social signals. I’ve heard pitches from people who can barely spell “SEO” that made them sound like their services were rock solid until you asked them detailed questions or demanded more than one or two example of successes.

Therein lies the two biggest problems. Those who are buying SEO don’t know the right questions to ask or what the correct answers should be. More importantly, every vendor in the industry has at least a couple of examples of where their clients are ranking well even if they had no hand in making it happen. This happened to me first hand this week when a site that I had optimized to rank well two years ago was used as an example of search dominance by their website provider. Their rankings had fallen in the two years since we had optimized them but they were still good enough to be an example of this web provider’s excellence.

There’s really no way to fight this, unfortunately. For my own company, I’ll be collecting dozens of examples of SEO domination to give to the sales team, but what about the smaller companies that are doing it right? If they have a dozen clients and they’re all doing very well, they still look bad compared to the giant company with 2000 clients that has 8 examples of good performance. Is there a solution? Is there a way to wake up the industry and show them how to tell the difference between aggressive, solid search marketing and the type that isn’t worth a buck, let along hundreds or thousands a month?

I will be taking the comments from this post and applying them to the Automotive SEO Study.

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The Penguin has landed

Penguin 2.0 landed on May 23rd. So far I'm not impressed with what I am seeing. Dealer sites are dropping off the rankings. Most are blissfully unaware. They see their dealership in the map results and assume everything is OK. But the actual search results had entirely different people in them than a week ago. In some cases the dealership is still in the results but with their mobile site. One I was keeping an eye on dropped 65 spots, that's a 7 page drop from the #1 position. Luckily they are relaunching their site this week and should settle back at the top with their less spammy site.

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Google Penguin 2.0

There are two frames of mind amongst search marketing professionals when it comes to major updates such as the Google Penguin update last year and the upcoming Penguin 2.0 algorithm update. Some start to panic as they’ve seen these algorithm updates force companies to make major changes. In some cases, companies have had to close down because adjusting was just too much to bare. The other perspective is that these changes bring the game of optimization more in line with quality over quantity, strategy over brute force, and perhaps most importantly, art over science.

That’s what’s expected with the upcoming update based upon a mixture of common sense and some pointed Tweets by Google’s spam czar, Matt Cutts. The pursuit of quality links instead of having a large inbound link portfolio has been the focus of Google (and Bing) for over a year now and the coming update will likely be more of the same.

The art aspect of it all comes down to getting more value out of higher-quality content that can be enjoyed by real people versus meaningless links outside of content or on sites that have no real value to the search engines. Before, it was easy to stuff links on as many sites as possible to get the juice necessary for SEO. It made it to where the science was dominant – automated platforms, bulk link submission tools, and link generating scripts once ruled the search marketing world. Today, one strong article or infographic on a high-value website can get websites more coveted link juice than literally thousands of low quality links. This is where the artistry comes into play.

As businesses and marketing agencies continue to hone their skills and progress their strategies, it’s important that they understand this dynamic. It’s no longer a good thing to have dozens of link builders hitting up websites. Today and into the future, strong content creators with the connections to get their content placed on relevant and trusted sites are the most sought after resources in the industry. Everyone else is simply spamming up the system and Penguin 2.0 will punish those who do not adapt.

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As JD and others have pointed out, the almighty Google is altering the game with Penguin 2.0.  No longer are the 'Top Tier" SEO experts going to be able to manipulate search in the way they used to.  We are now, more than ever, going to have to come up with "fresh" content.  Notice I said fresh CONTENT, not necessarily fresh TOPICS.  Let's use our sheer numbers and help each other out.  I don't know about the rest of you, but one of the challenges of unique content is not one of creativity, but consistency.  I have the greatest ideas for blog content.....for about one week.  Then, like my desire to excercise and eat right, it fades.  I know that everyone on this site has plenty of time to set around and inspire the right side of your brain to come up with new topics, right? 


Here's where this site comes in.  For those who wish to participate, here's what I'm asking.

As a reply to this post, list as many content subjects as you can.

If we get some good participation, we could all have a healthy list of ideas.

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. —Oliver Wendell Holmes

Just topics, please.


5 Easy things to do to your trade in to increase it's value!

The Top 3 Reasons to use Synthetic Motor Oil!

5 Things your Company can do for your community!

Danny Benites

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Top Listing in Google

The statistic or something similar to it has dominated the sales pitches and marketing materials of search engine optimization companies for a very long time. I just saw a mention of it in an article from 2005 and it’s been reiterated again and again ever since. Nearly every study seems to come to the same conclusion. Nearly every study is wrong, at least from a business perspective.

If you torture statistics long enough, you can make them say anything you want. I could go into a long-winded breakdown of why this is a completely bogus statistic, but I’m going to appeal to common sense instead. If you take a second to think about it, the reality of search engine optimization becomes very clear.

If you include all searches, the number is probably accurate. The problem is that the majority of searches should not be considered when judging the importance of the top ranking in Google. They aren’t the type of keywords that need to be optimized. For example, the top keyword for 2012 was “Facebook”. It was searched for over 3 billion times a month in 2012. People wanted to go to Facebook, so they searched for it in Google. It’s the safest way to avoid the challenges of typos that take you to the wrong place, so they search for it. Guess what the first listing is for that keyword? What percentage of those 3 billion monthly searches do you think clicked on the top listing?

The second most searched keyword was “YouTube”, followed by “Hotmail”, and then “Google” (yes, people searched for Google in Google). Again, the top listing gets the lion’s share of those searches.

From a business perspective, the top keyword for the vast majority of companies will be by name. People who do a search for Dell with find at the top and that’s exactly what they’re going to click. People who search for “Richmond Ford” were looking for Richmond Ford and will click on the top listing which is.

The other searches, the important ones that people type in when they’re looking for something other than a specific company or website, are the money terms. They’re the ones that you will want to rank for in order to drive additional traffic to you website. These are the searches that drive down the numbers from being so high (near 100% when people do a search for Hotmail, for example) all the way down to 42%. Why? Because when people do these types of searches, they’re looking for choices. They’re not looking for a single website in particular. They’re looking for the right website. They will scan the listing and pick out pages that seem to match their needs.

People who are searching for “Richmond Ford” know what they want. People searching for “Virginia Ford Dealers” want options. It’s easy for to rank at the top for “Richmond Ford”, but the ability to rank at the top for “Virginia Ford Dealers” is the key to moving the needle. For those searches, the top listing does not get 42% of the clicks. The top listing gets more than the second listing, which gets more than the third listing, which gets much more than the fourth and fifth listings, which get much more than the next five listings. I’m not saying that being at the top isn’t important.

I’m saying that the right search strategy for the majority of businesses that have a diverse range of keywords that can drive relevant traffic to their site is to get the top spot for as many keywords as possible, but also top 3 listings for other keywords and even top 5 listings for others. Getting more keywords is more important than getting the top listing for fewer keywords.

The same effort that it takes to get the top listing for a challenging but semi-relevant keyword can be used to get top 3 or top 5 listings for dozens of other keywords. This is where the needle is moved. This is where the traffic is increased. Once the wide strategy is in place, it’s good to go back and move them up even further, but don’t get hung up on getting the top listing for single keywords. It’s good for ego but not necessarily for traffic.

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Hands Talking To Each Other

Let’s first take a moment to let the cover image of this story wear off a bit. It’s pretty freaky, I know. Once that’s done, let’s talk about how the evolution of search marketing has come to the point that we need to use freaky images to get your attention.

SEO and PPC are very different which is why for years it has been okay to have one company running one and another company running the other. They have always been complementary of each other but they didn’t necessarily have to talk to each other. The separation between paid and organic has for some time been considered a positive – trying to do both is hard because of the potential conflict in strategy and purpose.

Things have changed in 2013. The two must talk to each other. Whether it’s two different companies working each separately or through a single company that handles both with different departments, the best way to have a solid search marketing strategy is by making sure that efforts on both fronts are truly working together. When done properly, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Here’s why:

  • PPC Focus on Organic Weaknesses – SEO takes time. PPC is instant. When there are important keywords that are lagging from an organic perspective, the fastest way to bridge the gap is through PPC.
  • Organic Cannibalization – This is a debate that I would love to have with any search professional. If you’re ranked at the top organically for a mid-level search term, you don’t need to pay as much for it (or even buy it at all). Studies have shown that for the types of mid-level search terms that garner clicks based upon choice rather than position, PPC can take organic clicks away and yield the same basic results as not buying that keyword in the first place. In other words, the money is spent but the clicks don’t measurably increase. There is a very specific strategy behind identifying these types of keywords that would take more than this blog post to flesh out, but when the two sides are communicating, money is saved on the same number of clicks. In essence, ROI goes up as a result.
  • Double Down Principle – There are certain keywords with which it makes sense to dominate from both a paid and organic perspective. This is where having a shared understanding of the analytics driving both comes into play. For example, is a page ranks at the top organically, a consolidated strategy would have the paid listing pointing to a different landing page. When people click through to one, then the other, they’re greeted with two different types of propositions.
  • Rightsized Budgets – This is arguably the most important reason to have organic and paid talking to each other, even being the same entity. There are times when services should compete, but this isn’t one of those times. When the dollars are being managed separately, both sides want more of the budget to prove success. When the budgets are consolidated, the goals align to achieve the most high-value clicks for the amount of money being spent regardless of which hand is doing the spending. It’s the best path to achieve the highest ROI on search marketing spend.

Take a look at your paid and organic search companies. Are they talking to each other? Are either saying that they don’t need to talk to the other because they work independently? If so, it may be time to look at someone else because that sort of thinking is antiquated. Get the two hands talking to each other as soon as possible.

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Content Search Social

It's very possible that I'm beating a dead horse on this one, but I'd rather beat a dead one than a live one.

If you hear me speak or read my writing, you'll know that I've been pushing this concept for a long time. This is the last plea I'll be making. It's the eleventh hour, so everything I post going forward on the subject will be tips for those who have decided to do it the right way. No more heartfelt pleas - either you get it or you don't.

Social media is embracing search as a primary missing piece to the time-domination puzzle. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest - they all realize that being integrated properly with external search while allowing for robust search features of their own is the key to taking the tremendous amounts of personal data they have on us all and turning it into something useful for both users as well as the all-important advertisers and data-collection services.

Google and Bing are acutely aware that they have all of the outside data that they need. The only part that's been missing to some degree for a decade has been true human sentiment on a personal level that is not tainted by artificial inflation techniques. Finding that balance between understanding what the people really feel versus being manipulated by blackhat techniques is the last victory they need to make their search engines nearly perfect which is why both have been trying for three years now to properly integrate social signals into their search ranking algorithms.

Content is the binding force in all of this. It's very similar to the food that a restaurant serves. From a search perspective, understanding the way that food at a restaurant makes them feel is a key to getting a true understanding of consumer sentiment surrounding that restaurant. In other words, the things that people are saying about the food helps the search engines know which restaurants to recommend. From a social perspective, they need to be able to gather all of the data about the restaurants themselves. They know individual sentiment. Now they need to combine it to form conclusions.

This is the bare essence of the merging of search and social around the hub of content. Businesses that are creating high-quality content and using the right strategies to get this content out there from a search and social perspective are the ones that will win in the long run. Before anyone starts saying that they need strategies that work today, it should be noted that marketing is often like driving a car (warning - it's another analogy so brace yourself). You don't look at the road directly in front of the bumper on your vehicle to steer the car. You look down the road. You see what's happening beside you, behind you, and in the distance in front of you. When you're barreling down the highway and you see brake lights ahead, you put your foot on your own brakes.

The same holds true for internet marketing. Knowing that search and social are hovering around content as the key to both disciplines and uniting all three around a unified strategy is what we're seeing on the highway ahead. As a result, we're able to drive the road that we're on more efficiently, at a higher rate of speed, and with the knowledge that we're going to be able to make turns or hit the brakes before getting into an accident. This is the strategy that helped us be preparing for the Google Penguin update years before it was ever introduced. It is the strategy that helped us avoid the pitfalls of artificial page like inflation on Facebook well before it became more of a detriment than a benefit.

This is what's coming. Are your eyes on the road ahead or are you peering over your bumper to look at the road conditions right now?

Here's an infographic by Marketing Adept that gives a decent breakdown of what's happening now. Knowing that can help you look to the future.

Content Search Social Infographic

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The rise of content marketing and more importantly the focus that Google and Bing have put on website content engagement have changed the way we view the types of content we put on our websites. It’s no longer sufficient to focus all of your content on the basic search engine principles of keyword targeting. You have to have content on your domain that draws in the important social signals and time spent on site.

In other words, your websites have to be interesting to a wider range of people, not just those specifically looking for your products and services.

There are several types of content that go on websites, but the two we’re going to be talking about here are the two most important content additions. There is basic content that is relatively stagnant on your website; product descriptions and inventory items rarely have to change, for example. There are other types of regular content additions that somewhat influential as well such as press releases and service announcements. Those are the content types that we won’t be covering.

What we will be covering are often called different things depending on who is describing them, but I look at them as conversion content and conversation content. These are the pages that should be getting added to your website regularly and on an ongoing basis. If you can only focus on one major discipline when it comes to enhancing your website traffic, search rankings, and social significance, creating these two types of content would be the activity that I would wholeheartedly recommend at the top of the activity list.


Conversion Content

For those marketing a website, this is arguably the easiest to understand from a needs basis. This is the type of content that should have an immediate impact. It’s usually geographically targeted and almost always product focused, so there’s a clear understanding how it can help.

For example, a Honda dealer in Irvine, CA, should be ranking well in Google for the various Irvine searches with their homepage alone, but they may need to create a content page called, “2013 Honda Accord Santa Ana” to have a landing page geared towards those in neighboring Santa Ana.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and as a general rule anything that’s too easy is probably the wrong way to do it in the eyes of Google. In other words, automatically generating dozens, hundreds, even thousands of pages to hit the multitude of targets is the wrong way to do it. The practice is relatively common, so common that it often takes Google time to catch those who are doing it, but in the end they catch everyone. This type of blackhat conversion content creation leads to destruction (i.e. de-indexing or even a penalty).

Real conversion content creation is a manual effort, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be tedious or time-consuming. The page mentioned above should only take 10-20 minutes to create depending on what content management system is being used. It’s not rocket science nor does anyone need a PhD in SEO to make it happen. They simply need to create a page with lead generating tools on it that has visuals in the form of images and/or videos of the product and content describing it. The content itself doesn’t have to be long – a paragraph or two works though a little more would be better – and it can still be conversational.

There is no need to make the content keyword rich. As long as the title tag is set up properly and the content mentions the target keywords somewhere in there, that should be enough to start targeting the keyword appropriately. When you try too hard to get the keyword, you often make it harder to get.


Conversation Content

This is the type of content that I often have the hardest time convincing people to build. It goes against the nature of old-school marketing that has been embedded in most of us. In essence, conversational content has nothing to do with converting a visitor into a lead or a sale. It’s often whimsical, only loosely relevant, and seems to bring no value other than to entertain or educate.

Today, it’s the content that can have the biggest impact on search and social marketing. With conversation content, the goal is clear as day written in its name. You want conversations. You want people talking about the content on social media. You want people saving the content in their bookmarks. You want people talking to you about the content in the form of comments.

The image above was taken from a conversational piece of content titled “7 Charming Honda Vintage Ads”. There is very little chance that a Honda dealer is going to have any of the cars being advertised on the page. The page is not designed to sell anything, in fact. It’s designed to get shared. It’s designed for people to see it on social media sites, click through, and reminisce.

Most business website pages outside of the blog are not shareable. Sure, they might have social sharing buttons on them, but nobody is going to share an inventory details page of a 2009 Honda Civic. They aren’t going to share a service appointment page, a specials page, or an about us page. People share content that they find interesting.

Just as you want to be in the conversation with pages on your website, people want to share content on social media that can spark conversations. A page like this one will encourage people to share on their social networks because it’s interesting to see things such as vintage ads.

Social signals don’t just help with social media popularity. They don’t just help with the search rankings of a particular page. Their most important influence is that they help a domain rank better. The more pages that are on a domain that are getting shared well on social sites, the better chance they have of ranking for similar keyword terms as well. This dealership might not care about whether it’s ranked for “Vintage Honda Ads” but it certainly wants to rank for “Dallas Honda Dealers”. Social signals through conversation content pages help to this end tremendously.

* * *

As you continue to push the envelope and watch your digital marketing evolve, it’s important to keep in mind that things aren’t always obvious. They’re clear – that much is certain – but the techniques and strategies that have lower adoption rates such as creating the types of content in this article can be the differentiators between your own marketing and the marketing of your competitors. If you’re creating these types of pages and your competitors are not, you have the upper hand. It’s that simple.

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There’s a saying in online marketing that has been around for a while. “Content is king.”

The truth is this – before the last year, it really wasn’t. Content has always been important, but it wasn’t until recent updates in Google and Facebook that content took a huge leap from being a portion of search and social marketing to become the actual hub through which search and social marketing flow. Today, marketing starts from content and works its way down versus recent years where content was simply a tool in the marketing strategy.


Google, Facebook, Bing, and Twitter are getting smarter every day. They have more brainpower going into figuring out how to stop spammers than the spammers have dedicated into finding new ways to spam. In other words, any tactic that involves practices that aren’t focused on quality can only bring short term benefit and can eventually lead to doing more harm than good. That’s the way that online marketing is heading and that’s a very good thing for both internet surfers as well as honest businesses and marketing agencies.


The old days of automated link-building tactics and paid social media promos (other than advertising) are long gone. Marketers can only achieve a true impact from quality content. Thankfully, this means that, in many ways, we’ve reached the end of the road of major strategy changes. That’s right, the practices that go into proper online marketing today are the type that will last for a long time, perhaps indefinitely.


It’s a bold statement, but if you think about it, that’s exactly where we are. Sure, there will be opportunities to find better channels, new tools, and make adjustment to different styles, but the end game is upon us. Quality content on and off of a website is the cornerstone of search and social marketing today and will continue into the foreseeable future.

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Let’s Face It. Google Is Search.

Let’s call it what it really is, shall we? Despite efforts by Bing/Yahoo to stay relevant as well as efforts by Facebook and Twitter to enter the search game, there really is only one. For years, I’ve always had to add the caveat when discussing search marketing that “When I say Google, I mean Bing and Yahoo as well.”

I won’t be saying that any more. If we’re talking search, we’re talking Google.

It’s not that the others don’t exist. They do and they’re still somewhat relevant. Millions still use them on a daily basis so they cannot be ignored completely. However, when it comes to making decisions about search marketing, there’s only one algorithm that needs to be taken into account, one traffic source whose numbers should be used to steer the strategy.

The infographic below asks the question of whether or not Google is a monopoly. In reality, that’s not important, though the infographic points to a glaring fact that Google is the leader not only in market share but also in innovation and others, specifically Bing, are always just chasing the leader from a distance. The important takeaway is this: if you want to craft your strategy for search, particularly organic, mobile, and local search, then Google is the only thing to consider. Again, Bing and the other options are still valid, but if you build your strategy around Google, the others will eventually fall into line.

It’s been like that for a while. Google was the first to look at inbound links as a primary ranking factor and the others followed. Google was the first to truly integrate personalization and the others followed. Google was arguably the first to truly integrate social media into their search algorithm through the use of social signals, though in this case the competition wasn’t far behind. It doesn’t matter. Think Google when you’re thinking about your strategy and the rest will fall in line.

Paid search is a different thing altogether and many have found success with the cheaper clicks through other search engines, but even in that case the only way to truly hit a bulk level is through Google. Facebook is making strides in this arena, but they’re still worlds apart.

The funny part of it all is that Google is extremely vulnerable to manipulation, second only to Twitter when it comes to ease. Both rely more heavily on real-time data than the others, which is both their strength and vulnerability.

Here’s the graphic…

Source: Franchise Gator

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Titles Affect Blog Traffic Instantly

There are all sorts of tips, tricks, and techniques to drive more traffic to a blog. They usually involve either paying for it in some way, improving an avenue such as through search engine optimization, or building subscribers. The reality is this – all of these things take time. What doesn’t take time other than the effort that is required to make it happen is writing better blog post titles. The right titles can increase blog traffic. The wrong titles can desperately hurt it. This is an immediate effect.

More and more businesses are starting to blog today. They are syndicating, optimizing, promoting, and doing all of the best practices that the gurus are giving them. Still, they are only seeing small increases in traffic if at all. Every now and then, they see a post that spikes. Was it amazing content? Possibly. Was it shared by the right people on social media? Probably. Did it have the right title? Almost definitely.

It blows me away when I see so many titles that simply suck. Yes, they suck. They aren’t attracting anyone.

The title in the blog post above attracted people. It was wildly shared. It was blogged about on other websites. It made an impact. Despite being wildly popular and talked about around the web for weeks, the story itself wasn’t that interesting. It was good, but not good enough to make it the talk of the blogosphere for as long as it was. The title, however, was brilliant.

Depending on your style of business and blogging voice, here are some quick examples of blog post styles. This is a very basic sampling. You can do better.

  • Emotional StatementThe Biggest Reason Your Blog Traffic Sucks
  • Numbered List7 Reasons Why Top 10 Lists Still Work
  • Play on Common Phrases - Why Good Guys Really Do Finish Last in Sales
  • Contrary Statement to Common PhrasesGood Guys Finish First if They do These Things
  • Big Time PromiseCut Your Blogging Time in Half While Doubling Your Posting Frequency
  • Three Worders (use sparingly)The Blogger’s Conundrum
  • Nonsense Titles (that make sense)The Best Blog Titles Work Best if You “Backwards Them Write”

Again, there are plenty of other types of titles out there. The key is to check out the right sites. See how other blog posts are being written and what titles they’re using. Just because it’s a business blog doesn’t mean that it has to be bland and boring. Titles drive traffic quickly. Make them count.

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Chevy SS Website SEO Content

Back in the days when Yahoo was fighting against Alta Vista, when Bing was still called Microsoft Live, and when Google was trying to get the big Y to buy them, onsite content and meta tags were search. It was a day of keyword stuff, of hidden text, and of content scraping that helped porn sites rank for the term “toys” while male enhancement drugs could be found on searches for “big fun”. Google emerged as the leader in part because of their pure design, but also because they started looking offsite for signals about search rankings.

The days before Google’s innovation were the peak of onsite SEO. Google turned search on its head by focusing more on what other websites were saying about your website through links rather than anything you put on your site itself. PageRank changed search forever and helped to eliminate some of the poor spammy techniques that websites employed for the sake of getting search engine traffic. Of course, with any good thing comes the bad parts and spammers started learning how to manipulate offsite signals as well.

This persisted until about a year ago. It was at SXSW 2012 that Google’s Matt Cutts and Bing’s Duane Forrester told SEO guru Danny Sullivan that changes were in the works to help rein in offsite link spamming. A month and a half later on April 24th, search was changed forever with the introduction of the Penguin search algorithm update. It helped to eliminate a lot of the offsite spamming techniques, enough so to take some companies out of the SEO business (or out of business altogether).

The pre-PageRank days were the only ones when having the right website made more of a difference than it does today. With the rise of content marketing as a hub for SEO and social media marketing rather than a component of the two disciplines, having the strongest possible website content is essential in promoting a brand on search as well as social media sites like Facebook. You can’t just have a website and drive links to it anymore. Today, you have to “bring it” from a quality perspective. While it’s possible to have a dealer website that stays completely focused on the task of selling cars and services, it’s better to have one that’s diverse with information, articles, and other pieces of content that bring value to the visitors whether they want to buy something or not.

Google is smart. Bing may be smarter, albeit not at marketing themselves. They can tell the difference between SEO content and valuable content for the website visitors much better than most are will to admit. SEO spam is dying. Bulk is dying. Today, the search engines want to see effort. They want you to amaze people with the content you put on your website.

Link Building Basics 2013
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One of my many search and social conspiracy theories (of which often turn out to be true) is that the Penguin algorithm update on April 24, 2012, was actually two updates. There was a public update that went after low-quality links, splogs, and other SEO linking tactics. This sent shockwaves through the search engine optimization world. Most agencies had to change some of their practices. Some closed down altogether. It was the SEOpocalypse for many in the industry.

It was also an awakening for others. Some who had always focused on quality linking over bulk linking found that suddenly, their clients’ rankings were improving without effort. It wasn’t that their SEO suddenly improved. It was that many of the competitors were suddenly vulnerably. I am blessed to have been on the receiving end of the benefits of Penguin.

There was another change, one that wasn’t talked about publicly by Google. Social signals rose in prominence. Suddenly, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other respected social media sites were having more of an influence on search rankings. This had been the case since at least late 2010, but now they were more prominent. Google had doubled up on changes to camouflage the rise of social signals behind the fall of bulk link-building.

I remember being at SXSW and hearing both Google’s Matt Cutts and Bing‘s Duane Forrester reveal more than they ever had ahead of time. They told of a major change coming which turned out to be Penguin in Google’s case and an unnamed and semi-irrelevant algorithm change at Bing. It struck me at the time because they weren’t known to tip their hand much even after changes, let alone before.

All of this was about social signals. They did not want SEOs to focus on them. They wanted to test, tweak, and adjust the algorithm while everyone was scrambling to fix their link issues. They tipped their hand for the public change because they didn’t want anyone focusing on what was in their other hand. It was a masterfully played maneuver that worked. Even today, there are SEOs who are not focused on social signals despite data that shows the power.

Now that the dual-changes have settled in, had updates, and been corrected, they have an understanding of the risks of social media spamming for SEO purposes. They’re ready for it. It’s for this reason that when you’re tasked with getting social signals, you have to do it the right way. You have to play their game the way they want it played. In short, you have to focus (as you always should) on quality over quantity. In the world of SEO, particularly for local businesses, it’s extremely important to understand that amazing content is the best (and arguably only) way to get social signals that will help with search results.

The automated processes won’t work. The social buying services won’t help and might even hurt a bit. Social signals are real and the right way of getting them is by producing the best content in your industry. Over the next week, we will go into details about how social signals work, ways to get them properly, and signs that must be followed in order to find the path to true search engine success. Stay tuned!

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We’ve all heard about how inbound marketers need to get more creative with their content format by incorporating visuals, audio, and images. Heck, we’ve even created a free crash course (with templates) for non-designers tocreate visual content to react to this trend. With all these content types, aren’t we forgetting something?

Oh right. SEO. Even with the new glasses, Google still can’t read and index images, video, and audio content without a little help. Luckily, we have everything you need to know about SEO for non-written content, from images, to video, to audio content. Let's dive in, shall we?

Best Practices for Image SEO

To explain this concept, let's take a step back and imagine we're proprietors of a tasty ice cream shop. You've just created an infographic about the most popular ice cream flavors and toppings, and now you want to ensure it's optimized to show up in Google. Here's what you do.

1) Pick an image that's in a Google-supported format.

Before uploading your beautiful ice cream infographic, make sure it’s in the right format. Google can only index images that are saved as BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, and SVG. Don’t worry if your image isn’t in that format yet -- most image editors have the capability to save the file as a GIF or JPEG.

2) Name the file using keywords that describe the image.

Raise your hand if you have uploaded an image with a name like "IMG12934.jpg." (Guilty.) Instead of giving search engines a title that has nothing to do with the image, rename the file with a keyword phrase that describes what the image is. Google uses these filenames to index those images and sometimes the file name can even show up as the image title in a SERP. For this infographic, you might try a phrase like, “Popular-Ice-Cream-Flavors-Infographic.jpg”. Isn’t that better? Google thinks so, too. Don't forget to separate words with dashes--Google sees dashes as word separators and underscores as word combiners.

3) Add in helpful alt text.

The alt text of an image not only helps the search engines understand what the content of the image is so they can match it to a relevant search query, but it helps any searchers who can’t view the image understand what they would be looking at. Be as descriptive as possible in your alt text ... without keyword stuffing. Here’s a bad, better, best example for the ice cream example to see what I mean.

  • Bad: alt=””
  • Better: alt=”Ice cream”
  • Best : alt=”Popular ice cream flavors”
  • Avoid: alt= “ice cream flavor yummy vanilla chocolate Delicious"

4) Provide context for the image within content.

Remember, your image doesn’t live separately from the rest of your on-page content! Help search engines get a better sense of the story your page tells by referencing the image within your written content. Within your blog post, you might write something like, “On our popular ice cream flavors timeline to the left, you can see that cake batter is one of our newest flavor experiments.” See how I used the same keywords from the file name and alt text, but made it easy for the viewer to read? That’s an SEO win/win/win my friends.

5) Submit an image sitemap.

To make extra-super-sure that your ice cream flavor timeline is indexed by Google, submit an image sitemap to Google Webmaster. Sound scary? Don’t worry. Sitemaps are just an xml file that tells Google about a page on your website it might not discover -- the most simple sitemaps usually list the pages on your website. To create an image sitemap, add image-specific tags to a sitemap or just update one of your existing sitemaps with image tags. We’ll go more into making a sitemap in the video section, but here is exactly how to create and submit an image sitemap to Google.

Best Practices for Video SEO

Now that you’ve got the image basics down, it’s time to tackle video. MarketingSherpapublished a case study that found that videos attract 200-300% more monthly unique visitors who spend twice as long on-site. Sounds good to me! Let’s continue the dessert example, and pretend you want to embed a video on the recipes page with one of your chefs explaining how he makes your famous red velvet cupcakes (am I making you hungry yet?).

1) Save your video in a format that Google can crawl.

Like images, there are only some file formats that Google can read. Make sure your video is saved as a MPG, MPEG, M4V, MOV, WMV, ASF, AVI, RA, RAM, RM, FLV, or SWF. Most video editors will allow you to save your video in different formats.

2) Name your video file strategically.

Just like naming images, save your video file as a name that accurately describes what the file is within the context of the article without keyword stuffing. Luckily, this one is easy. Just save the video with a contextual keyword-appropriate title, like “Red-velvet-cupcake-recipe”.

3) Embrace your keyword strategy in your title, tags, and video meta-description.

You probably guessed it from the images section, but your title, alt text, and meta description should all help search engines understand what the content of your video is. However, keyword strategy from a user perspective is extra important here -- video is very likely to be viewed and searched independent of your website.

Your video title should reflect the keywords that your users are searching for, and that, of course, align with your video's content. Not sure what those are? Use a keyword tool to see what words and phrases people are searching to find your website.

Keywords are especially important to the description you provide for the video. In YouTube, you have up to 5,000 characters to describe your video. Since Google will cut off this description on the SERP to 156 characters, make sure your first sentence includes the keywords you’re optimizing for, but also gives the viewer a reason to click through. Then, continue your description with keywords and context that will help Google understand what your video is about. Finish off the description with alt text, or tags, that help paint a fuller picture for search engines.

4) Try to host only one video per page.

Your website may have a page that acts as a whole archive for its videos. This type of library can be extremely helpful for reference purposes, but from a search engine perspective, it's only a good idea if all the videos are about the same general topic. For instance, you might house all of your recipes videos on one page that's optimized to show up for a query like "dessert recipe videos." But if you want to get more granular, let's say getting found for your series on how to make cupcakes, you might want to create a separate page for videos that would ideally turn up around "cupcake recipe videos."

5) Enable sharing with embedding and specific anchor text.

Social sharing plays a role in SERP rankings for a specific keyword phrase. The Google update story can get complicated with Pandas and Penguins and the like, but one takeaway can be boiled down to four little words: more shares, better rankings. The more people embed your video in their own blog posts or share it on social media, the more the search engines love you (or your content, rather). Help your red velvet cupcake recipe video spread like wildfire by making sure the video is easily embeddable. The option to allow embedding is available on most video hosting services.

6) Create and submit a Video Sitemap to Google Webmaster.

Make sure your video is indexed by Google by submitting a video sitemap to Google webmaster. Like I said in the images section, Sitemaps are XML files with a site’s meta data that inform search engines about pages on their site that are able to be crawled. Bonus points -- submitting a video sitemap to Google Webmaster also encourages Google to include a rich snippet with your video on the SERP.

For the full story on creating and submitting a video sitemap, go straight to the source onGoogle’s Webmaster blog.

7) Include a transcription.

Sometimes, the best way for search engines to index non-written content is to make it written content by adding a transcription. Most video services, including YouTube and Wistia, include transcription services for free or for a small fee. Include a transcription on your page to help search engines and viewers who can’t watch now better consume your content. Even better? Once you have a transcription, you can repurpose that written content into another ebook or blog post. That red velvet cupcake recipe video transcription could easily be added to a recipe ebook with minimal effort or edits.

Best Practices for Audio Content SEO

We’ve talked a lot about optimizing images and videos for search engines, but what about audio content,  like podcasts? Just like Google doesn’t have eyes to view images or video, search engines also don’t have ears to listen in on your audio. But there are still ways to make sure that search engines hear the message. Since all those ice cream flavors and cupcake recipes have got me wanting to cheat on a diet, let’s make this podcast “How to Enjoy Desserts You Love Without the Guilt”.

Many of the SEO standards we discussed for images and video apply here for Google: alt-texts, titles, descriptions, and a unified keyword presence are all relevant for users to find your podcast on Google. However, when people are looking for podcasts, they primarily head to iTunes. To rank high in the iTunes podcast SERP (which often translates to better search engine ranks as well), here are some specific areas to hone in on.

1) Make your podcast easily navigable from the iTunes SERP.

Here’s a quick test to make sure you’re as easily found as you think you are: Work backwards from a viewer who has never heard of your podcast, but is searching for similar content. In this case, try searching “easy exercise tips” or a similar keyword phrase on iTunes. The process of typing in a search into the iTunes store, finding the podcast website, determining the podcast content, and listening and subscribing to your content should be easy as pie for the listener. By testing your own podcast from the beginning, you can identify hiccups from the user experience angle.

2) Optimize your content for strategic keywords.

Like video, keyword strategy is one of the most important parts of optimizing your podcast. Remember your keyword strategy when naming your podcast, episodes and writing descriptions. Research non-competitive keywords that match your content using a keyword tool.

3) Accrue subscribers.

There’s a difference between listeners who play your podcast once, and subscribers who sign up to automatically download a new episode whenever it comes out. When ranking keyword phrases, iTunes favors podcasts with more subscribers -- a higher percentage of subscribers communicates that your podcast is consistently valuable. Accrue subscribers by making it as painless as possible to subscribe (ideally with just a click of a button). Encourage listeners to take the next step to subscribe by clearly outlining the value proposition of your podcast, and include action verbs that encourage people to sign up now.

4) Solicit reviews.

iTunes also tends to favor podcasts with more reviews in their SERP. Podcasts with a higher volume of reviews indicate higher engagement. Ask listeners and subscribers directly for reviews. Include a review CTA at the end of every episode and on your podcast web page. Call out specific reviews in your podcast to show that you're listening to what your listeners and subscribers are saying. Check social media to see if there are listeners who frequently talk about your content and approach them for a product review.

5) Factor in the age of your podcast.

Another factor iTunes takes into account in their rankings is the age of your podcast. Podcasts that have been around longer are more likely to rank higher than newer ones. While there isn’t a lot you can do to manipulate the age of your podcast, the age factor is worth keeping in mind when you're considering starting an additional podcast.

6) Include a transcription.

There are plenty of services, like Casting Words, that will transcribe your podcast for as little as a dollar a minute. Translate your audio content into a written format to better help search engines and listeners digest your content, and to make it easier to repurpose that content for future use.

Best Practices for Non-Written SEO in Social Media

We’ve gone over what the SEO best practices are for individual non-written content assets, but how do those practices change within the context of social media? If you didn't already know, the two are kind of connected. And with social networks becoming more visual, optimizing non-written content is more important than ever.

But let me be clear -- the goal for non-written SEO in social networks isn’t necessarily to be found by search engines, but to make sure you’re using non-written content to its full advantage. Here are some resources for non-written SEO best practices for specific social networks. For a more general overview on optimizing your social media presence, here’s theultimate guide to optimized social media updates.


Since Pinterest is an image-centric network and has just come out with analytics, we thought thatSEO for Pinterest was an article all in itself. Best practices include the following if you're looking for the short synopsis:

  • Optimize your account name and description.
  • Include links back to your website on every pin.
  • Use keywords in the filename and alt text of images you pin.
  • Take time with each pin’s description to describe the image and include keywords.
  • Incorporate hashtags to amplify the social reach of your pins.

For more details, read this article on everything you need to know about optimizing your Pinterest account.


We have original data that indicates photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than average posts. Images and videos are obviously a huge part of encouraging fans not only to interact with your brand, but also consume content that moves them down the funnel, especially now that Facebook updated its cover photo guidelines to include CTAs. Read this easy-to-follow tip sheet to find the best ways to engage your Facebook fans with images that breaks down thebest practices for Facebook cover images and albums.


Twitter is buzzing with new image and multi-media updates. The biggest integration Twitter has with multi-media content is the new Vine video app. With Vine you have the opportunity to:

  • Optimize cover photos on brand pages and include CTAs within your profile
  • Showcase multi-media content with featured tweets.
  • Identify what keywords your account should focus on.
  • Create a Vine account and incorporate it into your video strategy.
  • Measure the ROI of Vine and Twitter to optimize conversions and reach.


The most important thing to think about with Google+ SEO is authorship. Having the author image next to an article’s listing in the SERPs makes it much more clickable than plain text. Here’s a more in-depth article that explains why Google+ authorship is important, and how to apply for it.

What are some of the best practices you use when optimizing non-written content for SEO? Got any great tips to share? Let us know in the comments section!

Image credit: starmist1

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Marketers across the globe are constantly plagued by the question; “should I spend my dollars on social media marketing, or search engine marketing?” To help answer this question, MDGAdvertising has produced a really nice infographic breaking down some of the various campaign components you would generally look at when assessing a marketing campaign. These include:

Lead Generation
Brand Awareness
Local Visibility
MDG’s review of Lead Generation performance included SEO, PPC and Social Media Marketing as the key metrics. The research which included interviews with more than 500 marketing professionals across B2B and B2C companies produced a single clear winner for lead generation; organic SEO. Although difficult to achieve without a lengthy campaign and a number of outside considerations, organic SEO is a clear winner for lead generation. But one must ask the question, at what cost? Because of the time and expenditure involved in achieving quality search rankings, is this a fair assessment when considering the ROI? Maybe long term, but this metric is very interesting none-the-less.

The Brand Awareness component of this infographic produced social media as the winner according to rankings in terms of objectives. Brand Awareness ranked #1 for social media marketing and #3 for search engine marketing. From my experience, this research is pretty undeniable. Search is great for lead generation, but social is excellent for brand awareness, and certainly a great bet for a quick return on your investment.

With this in mind, although there is still great value in using social media for targeting local users, consumers still rely on search for their local information requests. Consumers will almost always use search to locate information on websites as their starting point, and that includes services such as Google Places. Although social media has great potential in this area, search is still the winner at the moment if you’re looking to reach a local consumer base.

However if it’s interactivity and engagement you’re looking for, marketers will choose social media as their preferred platform, but interestingly not by as much as you would think. Although social media was a winner with 65% of marketing professionals stating they would use social media for increased interactivity, SEO scored 54% and Paid Search scored 34% indicating strong value across both of these channels if handled effectively.

Finally, with changes to search engine algorithms constantly in the mix and strong signs that social signals such as likes, tweets and +1′s affect search performance, the good money when comparing social vs search, is actually on a campaign that includes a mix of content marketing for SEO, and some strong social support for that campaign. As marketers survey the social and search landscapes, we are set to see a large shift toward marketing campaigns that comprise both platforms to achieve a well-rounded result for the content owner.


I agree with the conclusion that organic SEO is the clear winner for lead generation. The first thing that came to my mind was the value that video brings to SEO. When your business dominates the first page of natural Google for different searches you don't give the competition an opportunity to market their business. For example, if you have video in place that shows why your brand is better than your competitor when a consumer does do a search for your competitor your video will dominate the search. Equally important, is that like the article states search is great for lead generation but social is great for brand awareness. I've seen way to many owners that are from the "old school" not understand the value of social media for their business. So many still think that if they build these amazing dealerships that buyers will storm through the door however, that strategy may have worked in the 80's but it's a failing strategy today. In today's market we know that we must fish where the fish are.

At the end of the day consumers still rely on search for local information requests. And your mission if you accept it is to utilize SEO/SEM/PPC, social media and VSEO so that you can capture your consumers at the ZMOT or at their point of interest.

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I have just read an eye-popping article from the fine folks over at eMarketer titled, "Auto Industry Braces for Major Shifts in Search Marketing." If you don't have time to read it, I'll point out the highlights and give you some of my own thoughts. 

As all of us know, paid, as well as, organic search helps drive leads, increase a dealership's traffic, and sell vehicles. This remains true. Yet, the emergence of digital marketing and its impact on search is changing the way your customers find your dealership online. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of it, take a moment to check out this graph.  As you can see, there's a myriad of ways your customers, when shopping online, can find your dealership.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that MORE and MORE people are going online to search for their next car. (See: ZMOT; See also: it's 2013!! Everybody is going online first to do research before buying!!) So, how do you increase your traffic? Well, in a recent survey of US Auto Dealerships for, Datium found that 55% of respondents' digital ad spending went to paid search engine marketing (SEM).

Think of searching online like putting together a puzzle. You dump all the pieces onto the floor, and now you have to somehow make sense of the rubble and construct one collective entity. That's what customers are doing when they go online to search. They are trying to sift through all the information to eventually make a purchase, and hopefully with a sustainable and effective digital and search marketing strategy, it's made at your store!

The thing, however, that blew my mind reading eMarketer's article is this little tidbit of information: "Only 20% of new-car shoppers in the US buy the brand they first searched for, according to Google data."

As the article aptly points out, "OEM brand sites—often developed with major digital agencies, strong media support, and cutting edge SEM and search engine optimization (SEO)—attracted more attention in search results than dealerships." While this is certainly true, things are changing.

Dealership websites are becoming more and more sophisticated, user friendly, and even mobile-friendly. If we had a time machine, we could go back a few years ago and compare a dealership's website back then to what it is today. The difference would be astounding. More and more dealers are recognizing the power of  SEO as well as VSEO. The dealer with an optimized and indexed site is going to show up first on Google and as a result, draw in more traffic. After all, your goal should be to show up on the first page of Google. The recent studies have found this to be case as auto dealerships are in "direct competition for influence over U.S. Car shoppers." 

Lastly, according to a 2012 survey done by a conjunction of folks like Google, Compete, TNS Global, and R.L. Polk & Co., 74% of U.S. new vehicle shoppers visited used dealership websites via desktop. They also surveyed the sties on mobile phone and/or tablet during the buying process. 

This change in auto search marketing, due to advances in digital marketing, isn't exactly going to push OEMs out of the lineup, however. OEMs and other related agencies are still able to push foot traffic to your dealership thanks to such things like video content. 

Where do you see search in the automotive industry going in 2013? Given the advancements of digital marketing, video social, social media, online reputation, the best it yet to come when it comes to search!

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This is part 1 of 4 in an ADM series about setting Facebook goals:

  1. Define Your Facebook Goals Before Determining a Strategy
  2. Facebook Marketing Goals: The Safe Approach
  3. Facebook Marketing Goals: The Aggressive Approach
  4. Facebook Marketing Goals: More Aggressive Approaches


About a month ago I was asked when speaking before a group about what I thought the biggest mistake was that businesses were making on Facebook. I replied, “lack of coherent strategy” and went on about how too many business pages seemed like they were posting for the sake of posting, that they didn’t appear to moving in any particular direction, and that they were managing their social media presence on a day to day basis. If I could take back the answer (or better yet, elaborate further), I would.

I was wrong.

The actual biggest mistake that businesses are making starts a step before the strategy phase and would, in most cases, cure the ills that businesses are suffering with their strategy (or lack thereof). It really comes down to goals and the fact that most businesses are not defining their goals from the beginning nor are they adjusting them as their Facebook presence expands. THIS is the actual biggest mistake that they’re making. To those who heard me speak last month about this, I’m sorry to not give the most appropriate answer.


Every Facebook page should have a goal or set of goals that they want to achieve. Many will give the quick answer and say that their goal is to reach as many prospective customers and clients as possible, but this isn’t a real goal. Even in reach, it’s important to establish why you want to reach them and what messages you want them to receive. Are you wanting to reach them with your sales and marketing messages? Are you wanting them to see your logo and expand your branding? Are you wanting them to see that you’re involved in the various local and industry-specific conversations that happen on social media?


Keep in mind – “all of the above” is not a valid answer. That doesn’t mean that you cannot have a robust and diverse presence on Facebook that tackles multiple opportunities, but from a strategy perspective you’re message will get lost if you aren’t reinforcing it regularly. On average, only 16% of your fans are seeing your message at all and that’s if you’re doing a pretty good job at keeping your EdgeRank strong. While diversifying your message is important, keeping focused on a singular strategy should overrule the desire to be eclectic.


Over the next couple of days I will be diving into a wider range of specific strategies that you can employ. In the meantime, do you have any strategies that you’ve considered? Is there a technique that you’ve found to be effective or one that you think would work? I’m classifying the various strategy types into two categories: safe and aggressive. As with setting goals, determining strategies should be focused. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. You’ll end up spitting it all out on the table and embarrassing yourself.

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