Meta Keywords and Meta Description Don’t Help Your Google Rankings

May 24, 2011

Almost every week we receive requests from dealers to update their “meta tags” to help them rank better on Google. As it turns out Google doesn’t use the Meta Description or Meta Keywords tags to determine your ranking in web search results. While we don’t necessarily expect car dealers to know this information, it should be common knowledge to those working in the SEO space that Google places no value on these.

In September 2009 Matt Cutts of Google announced that Meta Keywords were not used as a ranking factor for web searches. In this same post they also announced that they don’t use the Meta Description for ranking purposes. Google and other search engines often (but not always) use the Description Meta tag as the text for the search results snippet, so it’s more important that the meta description be compelling rather than keyword stuffed. Ideally you want someone to click through to your page and not avoid your listing because it looks like keyword stuffed spam.

While Bing has been less vocal about the death of the Keywords Meta tag our own tests have shown that meta keywords isn’t likely a factor in rankings for them either.

We do however recommend that some keywords be used in the meta description because these terms, if they match the search query, will be bolded on the search results page and could draw the user’s eye to your listing.

One of the few cases where the keywords meta tag would still be valuable is with some site search tools that can be configured to utilize this information.

So, if you’re dealing with an SEO expert or firm that recommends updating your meta keywords tag or stuffing your meta description with every possible keyword combination, we suggest that you look for someone else to help you with your dealership’s SEO needs or ask one of our account executives or sales team members about our FUSION SEO packages.


Stop Google Analytics from Tracking Your Visits to Your Dealership Site

March 4, 2011

With recent issues of privacy concerns running amuck in the online world, Google is providing ways for users to opt out of being tracked in Google Analytics. While we don’t think the uptake on these browser add-ons will be substantial or affect user tracking on dealer websites in any major way; they can be valuable to site owners that wish to block their own traffic and movement within the site.

Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome users can download the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on (beta) at Opera browser users don’t yet have access to this tool but a similar extension is available at

Use of these browser tools will help ensure that your own search and navigation tendencies don’t adversely affect decisions about how real users are finding and making use of your site.

Squashing Domain Squatters

March 2, 2011

Those familiar with the terms “Domain Squatter” or “Cybersquatter” will envision spammers using a company’s name with the intent of getting web traffic and stealing customers. In the car dealer space there are many vendor parties that may have legitimate reasons to register domains related to dealership names. But what happens to those domains when relationships end and what are the legal ramifications?

First, let’s look at how Wikipedia defines Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price.

The first defense against cybersquatting is to trademark your business name. The process for trademarking a business name isn’t terribly difficult and most any lawyer can help or recommend someone they know that specializes in trademark registration. In addition there are a growing number of inexpensive services specializing in trademark registration that a dealer can utilize.

The second step is to purchase as many domain names relevant to your business name as possible, including domain names with dashes separating words. While you’re at it look for domain names including “I Hate,” “Stinks” and “Sucks” variations which could be damaging to your dealership’s online reputation if they end up in the hands of a disgruntled customer. We’ve even seen clients purchase misspelling variations on their primary domain name and point those to the default domain. The most important top level domains include .com, .net, .org and .mobi variations. However, you may want to consider expanding this to include some of the newer .co, .us, .info, .biz, .ws and other extensions. Fortunately, domain name registration has become relatively inexpensive, allowing dealers to purchase several domains at minimal cost.

When ClickMotive purchases domains for clients or at a client’s request, the client is subsequently billed for those related changes with the understanding that we are simply providing this as a service for them. Dealers maintain ownership of the domains afterwards for as long as they wish. While this is standard practice for us, and most of the other reputable service providers in the industry, there are plenty of others that don’t.

While this will help with limiting the domain squatting opportunities it won’t completely eliminate them. Any time you work with a vendor making domain name purchases make sure you’re the one footing the bill and, if necessary, have a portion of your contract or an addendum to the contract specifying that domain names purchased for your dealership or related projects are your property.

Visit ClickMotive at NADA Booth #4454N

February 3, 2011

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to meet with us at NADA San Francisco 2011 to learn about our all new Dealer Website platform that leverages cutting edge technologies and combines the power of the Web, Mobile, Search, Social, and Video into a complete digital marketing solution designed exclusively for the automotive industry. Schedule an appointment today or look for us at booth #4454N.


November 17, 2010

ClickMotive is very proud to introduce ClickMotive Fusion Mobile – Version 3!

Fusion Mobile V3 takes our industry-leading Fusion Mobile platform and pushes us even further into the lead.  This is a ground-up re-write taking advantages of industry & technology changes from the past 6 months.  The world of “mobile” is changing very fast compared to the rest of the world and ClickMotive continues to lead.  Here are some highlights of the major improvements:

Pictures everywhere!

Touch-enabled phones like iPhone & Android can produce eye-popping display – and it’s the right medium for pictures – lots of pictures.  We’ve taken this to the extreme.

  • Almost all listings (Vehicles, Models, Specials, Incentives, etc.) have pictures on them – making it easier to see where you’re going – no more reading required –just click the picture of what you want

Photo galleries dramatically upgraded for ease of use and fun – now they work a lot like Facebook galleries – just flick through to see more

More Designs!

ClickMotive pioneered fresh, clean websites that look & feel like native Apple iPhone applications.  This created an edge in the market that all our competitors have since copied.  It’s time to innovate again!  Using the new Fusion Desktop Palette engine, we have released 6 new Palettes (color schemes) for mobile websites giving us a total of 7 designs and 14 configurations:

More Customization

Dealers can now customize their mobile websites more than ever before – to break away from the pack with a distinct look all their own.  In addition to the eight exciting new color palettes, they also have the choice of two very distinctive looking home screens, shown below:

You can also re-order or change any of the items on the home page in just seconds.  In this version we also added the ability for custom markup pages to extend the functionality even further!

Faster Launch Times

We decreased the size of files for initial load resulting in a startup time that is 3 to 7 Times Faster than our previous version (our previous version was already the fastest in the industry)

Speed, Speed, Speed!

In Fusion Mobile v2, we pioneered a new technology for improving application performance. We call it “predictive loading”.  The idea is to figure out what the user will click before they click it – and pre-load it.  The result is navigation performance that is faster than the human eye.  In Mobile v3, we amplified this even further:

  • We invented and implemented a queuing prioritizing engine that analyzes user behavior and prepares details behind the scenes  – the result is a seemingly zero-load time on most pages
  • We programmed in “predictive loading” that increases the psychological sensation of speed.  This is in use on almost all forward navigation.
  • Faster shortcut navigation everywhere – for example, in the previous version, if there was only one used Toyota in stock and it was a Camry, the user would click “Used Inventory”, then “Toyota”, then “Camry”, then see a listing (with one Vehicle) and click the listing to get to the Vehicle.  This is 5 clicks.  The last click would take 1-3 seconds.  In Fusion Mobile v3, the user clicks “Used Inventory”, then “Toyota (Camry)” – 2 clicks and usually zero seconds of wait.

Huge Inventory Searches

With all the big performance optimizations – we’ve suped up Fusion Mobile to be able to handle some of the biggest inventory lists in the world!  Dealer Groups, Manufacturer Regions, or nation-wide  sites are now ready-to-go on the most responsive platform ever!

More Screen Shapes & Sizes

More & more hand-held devices are being released every day – and not all of them have the same shape & size of screen. With Fusion Mobile v3, any size, any angle looks great.

More Ways to Get Leads

  • Every single Model, Trim, Vehicle, Special, Incentive, Department, & Video has the option to Call, Email or Text.
  • Every call to action is represented with both text and an icon – no reading required, just touch the picture you want.


  • Deep Linking – (a Fusion Mobile breakthrough!) – the new iPhone technologies used by most companies are very cool and slick – but not very SEO friendly.  ClickMotive has pioneered a technology that combines the best of both of these words – rich interactive pages that can take very deep links from search engines, bookmarks, sharing programs, and future concepts like phone scanned inventory tags and more.
  • Friendly URLs (a Fusion Mobile breakthrough!) – URLs are rich with keywords and organization that search engines love.
  • Optimized Mobile SEO (a Fusion Mobile breakthrough) – all pages are correctly tagged for cataloging by mobile search engines
  • Fusion Meta Engine – this feature from Fusion Desktop allows SEO experts and consultants to tweak title tag & meta tag formulas for each page.
  • Markup – add your own custom content to your Fusion Mobile website.

Stay-In-Page Improvements

Fusion Mobile v3 relied on external applications like Google Maps & the Video Player for some functionality.  The problem was this forced the consumer to leave the website.  Most consumers will not be smart enough to know how to get back.  All of this is solved in Mobile v3 with “Stay-In-Page” features like:

  • Videos now play “in page” – with full controls that work just like the video player on YouTube – but without ever leaving the site. [i]
  • Photo Gallery “Flick-Through” Browsing – never leave the page while you casually flick through one picture after another – featured on Vehicle & Research pages.

Improvements for low-end phones

Older phones (and some newer phones!) do not have the same capabilities of rich touch-enabled devices like iPhone and Android.  We still want these users to get the most they can out of the mobile experience.  Several new features have been added to support this group of users.

  • Incentives – these were left out of the last version
  • Video Gallery – uses all the capabilities of lower-end phones
  • Map – stronger integration with Google Mobile Maps
  • Markup – the content is shared with the “Mobile Touch” interface.

More High-End Platforms

  • More new devices mean more shapes and sizes of screens – Fusion Mobile is now 100% flexible and can change shape and size as needed.
  • Landscape mode – when the screen gets “wider” than it is “tall” the entire screen, including picture galleries and more – all adjust automatically.

More Devices Detected

We audit the world of mobile once per month and add new device detection code – supporting more and more mobile devices.    For the month of July we added detection support for HTC Smart_F3188, LG GR700, LG LN240, LG VN250, LG VN250L, LG VN250P, Motorola Evoke, Nokia C3, Nokia E73, Nokia N8, SAMSUNG GT-M3710, SAMSUNG I8910, SAMSUNG SCHR100, SAMSUNG SCH-U750P, SAMSUNG SGH-i917, SAMSUNG SPH-M570, SonyEricsson M1i, SonyEricsson U5a, SonyEricsson U5at, SonyEricsson U5i, Toshiba TG02, Samsung SCH-i910, and HTC ADR6300

In Summary

Well, Fusion Mobile was already one of the hottest products on the market.  Dealers, Regions, Groups, & OEMs everywhere are waking up to the fact that many of their customers use phones to surf the web these days.  To be ready, you MUST have a fast, full-featured, rich, engaging web presence in mobile If you do, you meet car buyers where they want to talk – and the results speak for themselves.  Even in our current version we see conversion rates way above 40% on a normal basis.

Fusion Mobile V3 is the next step – it’s a free upgrade to all current Fusion Mobile customers.  Contact our sales team at 888-518-5513 for more information.

[i] Works on devices which natively support HTML5 video tag.  Other devices are provided a link to play the video externally

ClickMotive Wins Peak Performance Automotive Website Award (AWA) For Search Marketing

November 12, 2010

PCG Digital Marketing announced that ClickMotive was chosen to receive a Pinnacle 2010 Automotive Website Award (AWA) for search marketing. The awards were presented to the leading automotive website companies at the AWA breakfast ceremony in Las Vegas.

The Pinnacle award is the highest recognition the AWA provides in the AWA Search Marketing category. The companies receiving this award have designed and delivered search compliant websites that stood above their peers. Pinnacle Platform winners deliver outstanding digital marketing platforms for dealers that will provide clients with a strong competitive advantage online and will enable dealers to create an unfair competitive advantage in their local markets. The ClickMotive platform reached the pinnacle for scoring in the AWA benchmarks and live testing, and is why we were selected for this prestigious award.

The 2010 AWA Whitepaper stated that “ClickMotive takes a different approach on the design of their inventory pages. Their sub-directory structure is not traditional but effective.” What this statement says is that we went additional lengths to ensure that we are using a directory structure that organizes our content well and makes it easy for visitors and search engines to know exactly where they are and what they are looking at on our sites.

The 3rd annual Automotive Website Awards (AWA) was created by PCG Digital Marketing, recognized leaders in automotive digital marketing strategies. For 2010, PCG Digital Marketing recognized the industry’s best website platforms across three different categories: design, technology and search marketing.

The Automotive Website Awards seek to provide car dealers with an unbiased evaluation of automotive website platforms and integrated search marketing tools. The 2010 AWA study included a review of over 50 automotive website providers.

This year’s published study includes 160 pages of valuable information regarding automotive website platform choices, search marketing performance, design and technology. The report is the industry’s reference guide for the best in automotive website technology and design.

To download a full PDF version of the Automotive Website Awards study, please go to .

Not-So-Friendly URLs

October 29, 2010

You may think your website has Friendly URLs – let’s stack it up to what Google says and expects.

There is a lot of confusion in the automotive industry around the definition of a friendly URL.  Many dealers (and website providers) seem to think that if you stuff a bunch of keywords into a URL, that this somehow makes it “friendly”.

When you stack this up besides what Google actually recommends, you can see a big difference!  Very recently (2010) Google published a 32 page book called the Search Engine Optimization Start Guide to help clarify some of the dreadful misinformation that exists in the SEO community.  Although this book, as its name implies, is only a “starter guide”- it is embarrassing how many websites don’t even follow the simple rules found in it.

If you are a car dealer – take a look at your own website and see how well it stacks up to some of these recommendations from the ultimate authority – Google themselves!

The information on friendly URLs begins on page 8 of the book.  Here are a few of the highlights if you don’t have time to read it for yourself:

  • Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words
  • If your URL contains relevant words, this provides user and search engines with more information about the page
  • Avoid using lengthy URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs
  • Avoid choosing generic page names like “Page1.html”
  • Avoid using excessive keywords like “baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseballcards.htm”
  • Create a simple directory structure – Using a directory structure that organizes your content well and makes it easy for visitors to know where they’re at on your site. Try using your directory structure to indicate the type of content found at that URL
  • Avoid having deep nesting of subdirectories like “…/dir1/dir2/dir3/dir4/dir5/dir6/page.html”
  • Avoid using directory names that have no relation to the content in them

For those of you who aren’t as technical – there’s one detail worth mentioning here.  When this book talks about “directories” or “folders”- it means words separated by a “/”character in a web address or URL.  The “/” character has a very special meaning to computers.  It is very different from a “plus” (+), a “dash”(-), and “underscore”(_), a “question mark”(?), an “ampersand”(&), a “pound sign”(#) or other characters you might see in a URL.  Only the slash (/) implies the organization that Google and others are looking for in this book.

Even at that, the “/” character also should mean that if you chop off the URL just before or after the slash, you should get meaningful content.  If this doesn’t work correctly, the slash character is as meaningless as the others mentioned above.

The example that Google uses to drive this home is from a fictional baseball card site – although the analogy to a car dealer website is pretty easy to see.  Here’s what the baseball directory structure looks like:

Some Bad Examples

Now, let’s take a look at some good & bad examples found in on car dealer websites (surveyed now in November 2010).  The dealer domain names and vendors have been removed to protect the innocent and the guilty.  I hate to point it out – but these ARE from some of the very most popular dealer website providers on the market.

Bad Example #1



There is so much wrong with this, it’s hard to begin!  Not only is the word “details” meaningless and never searched, if you try to visit the details folder on this particular site – it returns an error!  Car buyers may not do this – but a Google spider will.  All the “+” signs do nothing to create structure.  The VIN right in the middle (separating the trim) is just sloppy.  The “%20” is a rookie mistake from leaving a space in a URL.  There is also no location anywhere in the URL – this could be a car in Boston or Bangladesh!

Bad Example #2



You might think that the “new-inventory” folder is good structure – unless you tried to visit it on this dealer’s website – it returned an error.  This vendor & dealer have used underscore (_) characters to improve readability – but they do not add any structure.  Again, we have a big ugly VIN and the meaningless “.aspx” just looks geeky and intimidating.  The location is conspicuously absent again.

Bad Example #3



On the surface, there seems to be some good in this one – but once again – a search engine spider will see right through it.   The VIN is intimidating – could be mistaken for a SessionId or other meaningless text Google warns against.  The word  “Acura” is in the URL twice – Google warns against this.  Finally, and worst of all, if you try to visit the folders, you get some terrifying results.  For example, the path /new/Acura returned a broken page and just /new returned the home page.  Once again – we have no idea where this car is.

Bad Example #4



You should be getting the hang of this by now.  It’s easy to spot the many problems with this format.  For example, the word “web” has no value.  The word “vehicle” has very little value (no one types it!).  Your guess is as good as mine why there is a folder (fake at that) called 582248.  After that we get keywords stuffed together with dashes – and worse – lots of %20 characters.  Once again, this is what happens when a website doesn’t care enough to remove spaces from the URLs – it is a problem that has been around since the beginning of the internet and some people still don’t get it.  You have to admit – it looks pretty scary.   Now – imagine you are a car buyer.  How do you feel about a car that has been marked with “condition_Id=10425”- is that some kind of inidicator as to what its condition is (perhaps damaged?)  We just don’t  know – but it does nothing to make the URL more friendly.

Now things go downhill fast on this site.

Visiting just part of the URL causes all kinds of problems:

/web/vehicle/582248 – returns the same page as the full URL – this is called duplicate content and Google does not like it

/web/vehicle – returns a listing of all used inventory – not bad except that the vehicle we were looking at earlier was new!

/web – returns a blank template page

Some Good Examples

Here, I will name names – these folks deserve some recognition for their efforts.  It probably goes without saying – but building out a folder structure, like Google recommends, is much more labor intensive and expensive.  That’s probably why so many sites just stuff keywords into file names and hope people think this makes them “friendly”.  You will notice that all of these except one is a national aggregator – these guys often spend the big bucks to do technology right.  You may find yourself competing for them in search engine rankings too.  Don’t worry,  there’s an honest, but self-serving plug for ClickMotive Fusion websites in this section too.

Good Example #1 ––TX

Good use of folders.  Location included.  No mystery characters.  Has good “buying words” like “for-sale”.  About the only valid critiques ere would be that the Tahoe is a truck – and it’s located under the  “cars” folder.  This is not bad – and may be intentional since many people refer to cars, trucks, SUVs,  vans,  etc. collectively as just  “cars”.

This structure also goes away when you actually visit a specific unit – but again – this is a very good example.

Good Example #2 – (and a bad example too)

Wow – this is clean!  Easy to see just what you’re going to get if you go to any of these folders – and they all actually work!  This is the research section of this site.  When you actually search inventory – the URLs are not nearly as nice.  Here’s one:

Good Example #3 – ClickMotive Fusion

Here I’ve used a San Antonio based Ford dealership running on ClickMotive Fusion.  I feel obliged to point out that ClickMotive Fusion Mobile runs on the same platform – so it will have a folder structure and friendly URLs that are similar to the desktop sites – this is extremely rare with mobile websites.  Let’s take apart the URL:–Black-Truck/3302213/

Notice, there are still keywords present – that’s needed for the search engine to understand what a single page is about – but notice that the URL itself is organized into a meaningful folder structure.  The one cryptic number is way out to the right – and as short as it can be (not a VIN!).

If you remove portions of the URL, it helps the spider understand not just what the page is about, but how it is related to other pages in the site.  For example, the URL above can be chopped off one folder at a time to produce results like this: this returns all new Ford F-150s – this returns all new Fords – this returns all new Ford trucks – this returns all new inventory

In future versions, we plan to have /San-Antonio/For-Sale return the sales department page and just /San-Antonio will return the map page.   These features are still under development, but in the meantime, these pages do a Google-recommended  “301-redirect”- that means, we tell the spider I computer language how to navigate correctly from this folder without producing any duplicate content, blank template pages, or error messages.


Now you should be able to understand what Google means when it says “friendly URLs”- it may be very different from what you have on your website or what your vendor says a friendly URL is.  The reasons to make sure your website has friendly URLs are very clear!

  • Google says it’s the best way to do it
  • Consumers are not confused or intimidated by scary URLs
  • It’s easier to make third-part links to relevant material inside your site for link building campaigns

And, there are plenty of reasons to avoid using a site that does not follow these rules:

  • When Google detects abuse of a feature, it has been known to change its algorithm to decrease rankings or remove websites that have this abuse detected.  Google pointed out that lots-of-words-separated-by-dashes-to-create-content is not the right way to go.  If they ever decide to downgrade sites with an algorithm, my money is that they will hit the ones that have the most characters like -, +, _, ?, &, etc.  The only character that’s safe is the “/”- which means organizing folder
  • Google does not publish their ranking algorithms, but it is well known (and stated outright by Google) that organization of the site can play a role in it.  To be organized, this means the folders in the URL must mean something.  That means they must return meaningful content when you visit them.  Whether car buyers do this or not is not of concern.  The spiders will do it – and the spiders need to like what they see to keep them from thinking this is an unprofessional, badly organized site.

If you would like to see even more examples of how ClickMotive Fusion uses real friendly URLs and not just keyword stuffed filenames – contact our sales department for a free demo by calling 888-518-5513.

Now Dealerships Can Post Review Responses on Google Maps

August 5, 2010

Yesterday the Google Maps team announced that verified Google Places business owners can now publicly post responses to reviews written by Google Maps users. The post from Google even directs car dealers on how to respond to reviewers in a way that will be beneficial to prospective buyers whether the initial review was positive or negative. Example responses are even provided to use as a guideline. Read the rest of this entry »

Are Imposter Websites Ruining Your Reputation?

June 16, 2010

The Better Business Bureau of the Metropolitan Dallas area has received several reports from local auto dealers that impostor websites are falsely using their business information to solicit wire payments under the dealerships name. The BBB in Austin has received over 175 requests for information relating to the confusion. Read More

How Do I report Internet Fraud?

If you wish to file a complaint about Internet fraud, please see the website, hosted by the Federal Trade Commission, which is a joint effort of consumer protection agencies from 17 nations at or go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).  To file a complaint about unsolicited email, contact Department of Justice contact us page.

Google Caffeine is Here!

June 11, 2010

Don’t Panic and Don’t Expect to See Major Ranking Changes.

At SMX Advanced in Seattle earlier this week Matt Cutts, Head of Web Spam at Google, spoke about the full release of the Google Caffeine update. Here’s what you can expect to see, or not see. Read the rest of this entry »