Buy One “Driver” Get One FREE

April 16, 2013

Supercharge Your Website Leads With Digital Retailing from Dealertrack

What is “digital retailing”? Simply put, it is a new way to let your website visitors perform more of the vehicle purchase process online — and it’s built right in to your Dealertrack website. We have two digital retailing components today, FinanceDriver and PaymentDriver, and will be rolling out TradeDriver this summer.

Blog-PostFinanceDriver

» Online Credit Pre-Qualification
» Improve the quality of your website leads

PaymentDriver
» Vehicle-Specific Payments and Offers
» Lender and manufacturer rebates and incentives

As a way to introduce this powerful new technology from Dealertrack, we’re offering a buy one get one free offer to all of our website customers.

The fine print: you have to have a Dealertrack website and you have to sign up for one of the “Drivers” by April 30, 2013. The regular price is $200/mo for each, but until the end of the month it’s $200/mo for both.

Even better, this offer is NOT just for a short trial-period… you’ll save $200/mo as long as you have your Dealertrack website and these 2 “Drivers”.

Pretty sweet deal! To learn more and sign up, call our sales team at (888) 336-7016  today. Remember, this deal is only available until April 30th.

Last Month in Organic Search – March 2012

April 4, 2012

Each month we like to take a look back at industry changes and news stories that affect SEO for the automotive industry. If you have any questions about anything in this post feel free to reach out to Chris Desrochers our SEO Specialist at 972-905-2004 or by email at cdesrochers@clickmotive.com.
Google announces new “over-optimization” penalties
Google’s Matt Cutts mentioned a new over optimization penalty that will be introduced into the search results in the upcoming month (or weeks). The purpose is to “level the playing field,” Cutts said. “To give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great but do a better job with SEO.” Although no specific guidelines have been released, the SEO industry has been speculating what this could mean for sites. Our own Bill Allen posted some thoughts on what Google may consider “over optimized”.

Google Algorithm changes for March 2012
For years Google has made algorithm changes in secret causing rumors and misinformation to abound in the SEO community. Over the past few months Google has become more transparent in their algorithm changes and have begun to release monthly updates. This month Google announced a Panda refresh which affected about 1.6% of all searches. This algorithm change is expected to target and remove low-quality, stale results. While the primary focus has been around increasing fresh, relevant results and pushing down stale content, tweaks have been also been made to sitelinks, anchor text, and personalized search signals; just to name a few. Check out Google’s blog post which details the changes.

Bing and Google target link networks and online junk to reign in quality
Several news stories surfaced in March showing a focus on eliminating link building network sites and online junk from results pages. Dr. Harry Shum of Bing highlighted several improvements the search engine was making to remove dead links, soft 404s, parked domains, and other low quality content. A few days later, BuildMyRank.com, confirmed that Google deindexed an “overwhelming majority” of their network as of March 19, 2012 causing the site to shut down. BuildMyRank.com is one of many link building services that charge to provide inbound links to a subscriber’s domain in hopes that it boosts their organic ranking. This practice directly violates Google’s standards and BuildMyRank.com is just another example of why website owners should stick to “white hat” SEO practices.

Bing tests new Local infused results pages
Bing has been busy tweaking how local results appear on their search engine results pages (aka SERPs). Following Google’s footsteps, Bing has been testing a number of layout changes to put a great emphasis on local search. We believe these changes will have significant impact on traditional organic results. Dealer’s that have their local business listing up to date will benefit the most from these changes. Myles Anderson of BrightLocal.com discusses these changes in greater detail and includes some helpful screenshots.

Firefox considers enabling Google Secure Search by default
In October, Google announced that users who we’re logged into Google would have their search queries encrypted by default. As a result website owners have begun to see an increase of (not provided) when reviewing organic keywords in Google Analytics. Today we’re seeing 8-15% of all organic search queries affected by this change. On March 21st, we received word that the popular Firefox browser is considering enabling Secure Search by default for all Google queries. The problem is that Firefox users represent about 21% of the browser market meaning that we could see more of our valuable analytics data missing in coming months. We will continue to monitor this story and keep our dealers posted.

comScore releases February 2012 US search rankings
Google continues to dominate the search market with 66.4% market share as of February 2012. Bing/Yahoo!’s search alliance now accounts for a combined 29.1% of the US market. This means that 95.5% of all search traffic is coming through Google or Bing. That’s 14.4 BILLION search queries for the month! Not too shabby. Take a moment and read more about comScore’s findings here.

Photo Credit: Google history: hourly search activity by luc legay. Used by permission with a Creative Commons license.

Google to Penalize “Over Optimized” Sites

March 22, 2012

There has been quite a bit of talk in recent days about an announcement that Matt Cutts (Google Engineer and head of the Spam Team) recently made at the SXSW conference where he said that Google would soon be penalizing over optimized sites. With this news has come a series of questions from clients about how this could affect their rankings. While our default content and SEO efforts for clients on the FUSION SEO Pro package don’t have anything to worry about  Here are some of our thoughts…..

Too many keywords on a page…
In Matt’s discussion he specifically mentioned “too many keywords on a page” – here are some things that Google might look for…

Page Titles: Long page titles with excessive keyword stuffing
Meta Keywords & Meta Description: While Google hasn’t used these for ranking purposes an over saturation of keywords in these areas might serve as an additional signal that you’re attempting to spam. Bing uses meta keyword stuffing as a spam signal as well.
Content: Abnormally high concentrations of keywords in site content. Long lists of keywords either listed as bullets or in body copy as comma separated values.

Link Exchanges
Are you participating in link exchanges or building sites to point to your own domains? If so then this part of the “over optimization” penalty could apply to you. Here are some things that Google might look for…

Run of site links: if you’re receiving an abnormal number of links from other sites that appear everywhere on that site (footer links for example).
Keyword Anchor Text: if you’re receiving a high volume of links with anchor text specifically targeting keywords as opposed to a better mix of brand related keywords.

These kinds of things are avoided in both our out-of-the-box SEO and our FUSION SEO Pro package so we don’t anticipate issues with clients unless they’ve undertaken these kinds of practices on their own. However this is something we’ll continue to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months.

For more information there’s a very good article on this topic at SearchEngineLand.com.

The NADA 2012 Experience in Las Vegas

February 23, 2012

NADA 2012 was a huge success for the ClickMotive team. Automotive Dealers had an overall sense of optimism that the New Year would bring more sales opportunities and increased customer loyalty. That excitement brought hundreds of dealers into the ClickMotive booth asking us how we can help them attract more prospects and keep their existing customers coming back for more.

The buzzword in the ClickMotive booth this year was Digital Voice. We have spent the last 6 years developing a portfolio of digital marketing products for car dealers, and this year was the year to showcase the strategy behind our award winning dealer website solution.

The dealer community gave great feedback, and the Digital Voice strategy was well received as dealers were already looking at finding ways to take advantage of new channels in advertising like social media marketing and review monitoring.

Overall, this was the most successful NADA to date for ClickMotive. Thanks to everyone that came by to visit our team and we are excited to see where 2012 takes us!

Oh, and check out our NADA 2012 recap video if you have a chance.

ClickMotive Booth NADA 2012

ClickMotive Licenses Dataium Data Technology to Optimize Website Performance and Consumer Experience

February 2, 2012

ClickMotive announced today that it has licensed Dataium’s advanced visitor recognition technology to enhance its visibility of consumer engagement on the websites it hosts for thousands of automotive dealerships. The agreement will provide ClickMotive with unprecedented analytics on what design, features and functionality drive optimum auto shopper online engagement and user conversion.

“Dataium provides us the ability to truly understand how our websites engage consumers in the auto buying process, and thus allows us to design websites and deliver content which dramatically impacts the performance of the websites we host”, stated, Stuart Lloyd, CEO, ClickMotive. He added, “In addition, Dataium data solutions will power a whole suite of services and new functionality which will drive lead volume, auto shopper buying behavior, and ROI.”

Further, under the agreement ClickMotive customers will have access to Dataium’s advanced business intelligence reporting to provide their local dealership with the latest in next generation inventory market alignment, SEO, lead behavior and management, marketing campaign attribution, and advertising effectiveness analytics.

“We are always honored when a leading software company like ClickMotive selects our data services to power their technology solutions”, commented Jason Ezell, President, Dataium. He continued, “as the data utility company for the auto industry we are committed to helping empower companies like ClickMotive to fully realize the power and potential their products and services can deliver, by utilizing actual shopper behavior from across the Internet.

The Importance of Phone Prospects

January 25, 2012

As technology evolves automotive website providers are able to take more of the car buying experience online, but purchasing a vehicle still requires more than just a click of a mouse. Consumers still need to come into the dealership to complete their purchase and take delivery of their vehicle, so the goal has always been to get the consumer to the showroom floor.

Early on it was about generating foot traffic by using billboards, or getting someone to call in after seeing a 30 second spot on TV. Now car dealerships seem to be hyper focused on website visitors, email conversion rates, and Facebook fans, so they might sometimes forget the importance of a phone prospect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we know from the National Automobile Dealership Association (NADA) is that 75% of all auto purchases initiate from a phone call, and other studies show that phone prospects are likely to purchase a vehicle within 2-5 days after that initial call, so why aren’t automotive website providers focused on getting car dealers more phone leads? The truth is that responsible car dealer website providers are focused on getting dealers more phone leads. At ClickMotive we see 10 phone call leads for every 2 email leads on traditional websites, and 10 phone call leads for every 1 email lead on mobile websites.

Our philosophy has always been to get our dealerships lower-funnel, higher converting visitors and leads, and consumers that are submitting email leads are likely to be higher in the purchase funnel than someone that is calling into the dealership. This information isn’t meant to discount the importance of an email lead. I believe that an email lead like a phone prospect is just a means to the end, which is to get the consumer to the dealership. Since most opportunities start with a phone call, car dealerships need to focus on making the most of their phone leads. Timely manager involvement with phone prospects, and continuous phone training could potentially help a dealership save half of their lost opportunities.

Top SEO, SEM, Social & Analytics Happenings of 2011

January 16, 2012

2011 was a busy year for car dealers and other small businesses trying to keep up with what’s going on in search engine marketing. Here’s a quick list of what we feel were some of the most important happenings in 2011.

Google “not providing” organic keyword data for logged in Google users.
Back in October Google announced they would no longer pass organic keyword query data for logged in Google users performing searches. As a result in Google Analytics and other analytics applications will receive a value of “(not provided)” in place of the users query. While Google is approaching this as a security feature for users there is no personally identifiable information available to webmasters that would present a security or privacy issue. This is what has webmasters and site owners up in arms about the loss of information that will help build better experiences for users. For most of our car dealers the impact is relatively small. We’re seeing approximately 10% to 13% of dealer traffic being affected by this.
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/making-search-more-secure.html

Google’s “Panda” Algorithm Updates
This year Google released a series of algorithm updates that affect poorly written, copied or other content deemed poor quality. Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land referred to the initial shift as the “Farmer Update” because content farm type sites were primarily affected. Google later called the updates “Panda,” named after the engineer behind the formulas used to identify the content. Over the course of 2011 Google released additional iterations and tweaks of the algorithm with a variety of implications including: improved ranking placement for video content for some search queries and downgrading signals for sites/pages that aren’t offering relevant content in relationship to overall page content. Sites heavy on ads have been noticeably affected. Overall, very few automotive sites have been affected unless there were issues of poorly written content, content duplicated from other sites or content heavy on grammatical and spelling errors.
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/finding-more-high-quality-sites-in.html
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/05/more-guidance-on-building-high-quality.html
http://searchengineland.com/minor-google-panda-update-on-november-18th-101891

Bing’s Stance on Meta Keywords
We’ve known for more than two years that Google doesn’t make use of the meta keywords tag but we’ve not known for sure what Bing’s position was. Leave it to Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land to get to the bottom of the story and learn that Bing does make use of the keywords meta tag, …. as a SPAM SIGNAL! Basically Duane Forrester of Bing confirmed that they see a high correlation between keyword stuffed pages and keyword stuffed meta tags – so they use that information accordingly.

While ClickMotive continues to make limited use of the meta keywords tag for non SEO purposes; we regularly see dealers and so called third party “SEO Experts” recommending changes to meta keywords tags. Hopefully this new information will serve to educate all concerned.

Google Expanded Site Links
For many brand specific queries Google introduced an expansion of sitelinks. Sitelinks normally appear below an initial listing with links to some deeper pages of the site that a user might be interested in. The expanded links for most brand searches now consume the area of the results page above the fold. For business owners this is a great feature that makes it easier for users to find relevant content but also pushes some review, directory and third party site content further down the page; a real plus from a reputation management perspective. The new format (shown below features larger links with urls and snippet text to help users. In some cases businesses can have up to 12 sitelinks in addition to the primary link for the homepage of the site. Most car dealerships are seeing up to 6 sitelinks.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/evolution-of-sitelinks-expanded-and.html
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/08/googles-expanded-sitelinks.html

Google Places Updates
In the past two years Google has made numerous changes to how local business search results are displayed.  One of the biggest changes in 2011 was the expansion of information provided for queries for specific businesses or points of interest. Where Google feels certain that it knows the intent of the user they now display additional map, image, business details and review information to the right of the search results listing. This new information with the previously introduced expanded site links means that fewer users are likely to have to scroll down the page or refine their search queries to find exactly the information they are looking for. Notice how the sitelinks mentioned above also help fill a large portion of the page.

http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2011/10/new-way-to-get-information-about-real.html
http://searchengineland.com/google-raises-local-search-stakes-with-new-places-serp-99627

Google Places Reviews
This past year Google started using their own review information as the primary source for star ratings meaning that reviews submitted on DealerRater, Yelp and other third party sites were given less weight. As a result many dealers that had previously ignored Google in favor of third party sites may have seen star ratings plummet. While Google is still the biggest dog on the block and an obvious choice as a primary source of reviews we’re in favor of gathering reviews from wherever users are able to leave them.

Google Introduces Modified Broad Match Type in Adwords
In 2011 Google introduced a new keyword match type “Modified Broad Match” which gives PPC practitioners greater control over how Google matches on keywords. With this new match type we can specify that one or more keywords in an expression must appear in order for an ad to be triggered. In the past a broad match term like “Ford Dallas” could cause an ad to be triggered for a wide variety of terms where either of the individual words were used or even searches using similar words that might be unrelated.

Changes to Google AdWords Algorithms
Yes you read that correctly…. Google does make changes related to Adwords and in October they made an adjustment that affected landing page quality that had the potential to impact quality scores for AdWords advertisers. Fortunately our dealer clients’ sites didn’t suffer as a result of this change.
http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/10/ads-quality-improvements-rolling-out.html

Google Analytics and a Year of Updates
Google Analytics introduced version 5 of the popular free analytics package and more changes in 2011 than in any previous years that we can think of. From an update of the interface and reports to a new version of the Analytics Help Center and tons of new ways to slice, diced and segment user activity on websites Google has really outdone themselves.
While there are more new features and updates to easily list here a complete list can be found at http://analytics.blogspot.com/search/label/New%20Google%20Analytics and check back here in the coming weeks for more details on how car dealers can make use of some of the most important features.

Basic Keyword Research for Car Dealers

January 5, 2012

Here at ClickMotive we make heavy use of the Google Keyword Tool for helping us choose keywords to target and determine which terms are more important. Several times a week we show car dealers how to make use of these best practices to ensure they’re familiar with the most important keywords for their market. We used this kind of keyword research to make sure that some of the most popular keyword combinations used by buyers are baked into our website platform. Here’s how dealers can use the Google Keyword Tool for keyword research.

1.      Go to the keyword tool at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.
2.      Enter the keywords that you would like the research into the “Word or Phrase” box
3.      Check the filter that says “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms” under the “Word or Phrase” box and click search.
4.      After the search has completed, on the left side, under “Match Types” check “[Exact].” This will allow you to see how many people search using the exact keywords you’ve entered.
5.      Now you can download the all of the results into Excel to sort by search volume and make sure you’re prioritizing your keywords correctly.

car dealer keyword research basics
Google Keyword Tool

As you’re looking at the data that the keyword tool reports here are some points to consider:….

  • Make sure you’re looking at “Exact” match keywords. Many SEOs tell you that there are hundreds or thousands of searches for a particular term when in fact the exact match search volume the numbers are considerably smaller.
  • Look at terms using geographic modifiers associated with your city and area. Trying to rank for “MAKE dealer,” while valuable locally, won’t be nearly as valuable as “CITY MAKE dealer.”
  • “Local Monthly Searches” as shown in the Google keyword tool isn’t “local” for your area. It actually corresponds to the traffic for your location (USA) and language (English).
  • Search volumes reported as <10 or dashes (representing zero) don’t mean that there are no users searching for those terms but that the search volume is low (think one or two a month). With that in mind feel free to test keyword variations and keep those that bring you valuable traffic.
  • High rankings won’t always bring you the traffic and being on page 1 isn’t always enough. For the top terms like “CITY MAKE” and “CITY MAKE DEALER” Google is almost always going to put a dealer in the city at the top of the list. The further you are from the city being searched the less likely users are to click your result and buy from you.

.CN & .ASIA Domain Name Scams

June 16, 2011

Domain name scams are nearly as old as domains themselves and a popular one is making its rounds again via email.

The scam begins with an email to someone listed as the contact for your domain with a subject line of something similar to “Internet Domains dispute: your-doman.” In the email a representative of the “registration and solution center in China” announces that they’ve received an application from someone trying to register .cn, .com.cn, .net.cn, .org.cn, .hk, .com.hk, .in, .tw, .com.tw, and .asia versions of your primary domain.

Basically this company will ask you to contact them to dispute the purchase by the third party or ignore the message and they’ll release the domain to be sold. If you contact them to dispute the third party’s claim to the domain name they try to sell you the domain names to avoid them being purchased by other parties. In reality there’s actually no one trying to buy these domains – this company is trying to scam you into buying domains you don’t need at exorbitant prices.

The likely hood of someone in Asia actually purchasing your domain is pretty slim. We’ve seen cases where even two years after the initial email scam that the Asian versions of the domains are still available.  Site owners that still feel the need to register these domains can use sources like GoDaddy.com; or a web search for “.cn domain registrar” or “Asian domain registrar” should provide more than enough options.

You can find multiple references and additional details on this scam on Google:                                             http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=asian+domain+scams

Mobile Inventory Videos

May 25, 2011

Studies show that a striking 92% of adults in the United States own a smart phone.  Also, as consumers’ lives get busier and busier, more of them are resorting to using time during lunch or waiting in line at the bank to do things like research for their next automobile purchase.  Smart phones have made researching on-the-go possible for consumers by giving them the ability to carry an infinite amount of information wherever they go.

So how can dealerships use this fact to their advantage?

Because an increasing number of consumers are using their mobile phones for surfing the web and collecting information, the best way a dealer can take advantage of this is by spending more time and resources in enhancing their mobile websites.

Mobile websites typically produce a higher percentage of leads compared to visitors than any other form of advertising.  Think about it.  When a consumer is searching through your website and stumbles across your phone number, it is almost effortless to just tap the number and call right then and there as opposed to watching an ad on TV and scrambling to pick up a pen to write down the number, only to put off calling to a more “convenient” time.  Speaking of, does anyone still watch ads on TV?

What can dealers do to enhance their mobile websites?

On the surface, dealers should start with some basics such as having an app style website that is fast and easy to use or adding phone number and email links to every page to increase leads.

But more importantly, dealers should focus on engaging consumers with their mobile websites and what better way than with pictures and videos?

Having stunning graphics and interactive videos increases the likelihood of converting a visitor into a lead, especially in an industry where looks matter.

With that being said, go ahead and saturate your mobile website with more and more pictures.  Your customers will thank you for it.  But in this day and age, pictures can get boring fairly quickly and the consumer will most likely want to see the car in action before making the decision to actually stop by the dealership, and this is where videos come into play.

Having videos on your mobile website is a huge value-add, especially since many mobile web providers still do not have the capability to add video.  By making the decision to add videos to your mobile website, your dealership could be at a first-mover advantage versus the competition.  Videos have the ability to strongly engage customers because it makes it a whole lot easier to gain knowledge about a vehicle by watching a 30 second video on-the-go as opposed to navigating through the mobile website only to read the same information.

So what do you do when simply having a video on your mobile website isn’t enough?

Here’s a checklist of things you should make sure your video has in order to gain even more exposure to your dealership:

□        Does your video have stay-in-page technology?  Many of the mobile web providers who have the ability to place a video on your mobile website do not have the capability to make it play in-page.  This is important because without stay-in-page technology, your consumers will be directed to another window or video player in order to watch the video and will be directed away from your website.  Studies show that most consumers will not know how or will forget to go back to the page they were viewing on your website after being directed away to watch a video.

□        Does your video improve your SEO ranking?  Many videos found online do absolutely nothing to improve SEO.  Knowing that SEO plays a huge role in the amount of organic traffic your website gets, why wouldn’t you want all aspects of your website to help your SEO ranking?  Making sure that your videos are sent to Google and syndicated on third party websites that link back to your site will ensure that your video will have greater SEO value.

□        Does your video syndicate with YouTube, Facebook, or Cars.com?  Welcome to the new age of social media.  If your dealership is not currently utilizing social media websites such as Facebook or YouTube, then it will surely fall behind the competition.  Making sure that your videos automatically syndicate with YouTube or Facebook, allowing them to play on those sites, will help keep your social media websites up-to-date with zero effort from you.  By keeping these websites up-to-date, you will also reach a much larger community of car buyers who could potentially become your future customers.

Having an enhanced mobile website, with videos that include the above properties, is essential to making sure your dealership remains relevant and gains even more exposure.  ClickMotive’s mobile inventory videos offer everything you need to get started with your newly enhanced mobile website, positioned for even more customer engagement and greater potential for leads.  Contact our sales team at 888-518-5513 for more information.


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