search engine marketing

Are you ready for the Mobile World?

October is the month of the tablet! Apple iPad mini, Microsoft Surface, has amazon kindle fire couple months ago possible new 10in Google Nexus tablet. With all these devices and smart phones there is an exponential amount of people using these devices, it’s time to ask yourself. Are you ready for the mobile market?

Think about when you’re out running errands or shopping and you decide to find a restaurant. You grab your phone and do, what you expect to be, a quick search.  Typically, you pick something you’re in the mood for then look for a place relatively close. Lastly, you look at the reviews. If a restaurant has bad reviews you’re probably going to move on to the next one.

Put that in perspective of your dealership. Mobile traffic can make up to 15% of your dealerships traffic. That may not sound like much but that 15% is HOT leads. They may in fact be on you lot at that very moment! If you don’t have a well-functioning mobile site you are going to have a harder time converting that lead into a sale.

Dealer Impact can equip your dealership with a conversion friendly mobile site. Your dealership will have:

  • Quick load capabilities
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Accurate Inventory
  • Video of your vehicles
  • And so much more!

Tell us your thoughts of the mobile world. Are you utilizing a mobile application? If not, if you have any question or to find out more information emailing us at sales@dealerimpact.com.

The Factor x 10 drives traffic from social media and video portals

The Factor of 10 increases a website’s chances of being found by a factor of 10. The program creates 10 Points of Presence (POPs) out on the internet to increase your chances of being found and at the same time increasing your current website’s popularity with all the search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

Each of these pages is specially formulated (SEO) for the search engine spiders to find and index their content, thus by creating these satellite websites out on the web we create a network of doorways for people to find you. These satellite pages can exist anywhere, even inside the Facebook network.

Factor x10 - Increase your website's searchability by a Factor of 10

The Factor x10 Examples:
Satellite Pages

Facebook Fanpages

YouTube Channels

Please contact us to find out more about the Factor of 10 and make it easier for customers to find you vs. your competition.

Brian Cox

President

Dealer Impact Systems

www.dealerimpact.com

Start Taking Search Seriously

Paid search is a proven winner, yet some marketers don’t take advantage of its full potential. Here’s why you need to put SEM at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Search engine marketing isn’t a perfect marketing medium. But compared to every “innovative” marketing methodology that’s come along in the past five years, search is a hands-down winner. This is why Google has become a multi-billion dollar powerhouse and why hundreds of marketers are reaping ROI, increased market share and branding benefits from being active participants in search.

The reasons SEM has taken off are both elementary and revolutionary. As a marketing channel, it offers the following strengths: 

  1. Paid search campaigns happen in real-time, making it possible for marketers to obtain almost instantaneous marketing ROI. Search’s real-time nature provides for the ongoing fine-tuning of all variables in the campaign in a continuous process of optimization, which means that marketers can learn and improve their campaigns over time.
  2. Paid search advertising is by its very nature the most unobtrusive way of getting the word out about one’s product, service or brand. Instead of pushing a messages in the face of an uninterested and possibly unwilling audience, SEM is a low-key “pull medium,” responsive to the user’s intention to engage. Therefore, calls to action are more likely to be heeded because users perceive them to be relevant to their intent.
  3. The data generated by paid search campaigns can have enormous value to marketers, in terms of providing business intelligence, extending CRM efforts and scouting out audience segments that may have been neglected by existing marketing plans. Given that search behavior is highly responsive to non-search marketing efforts (both on- and offline), such data can provide a reliable indication of the effectiveness of all other marketing efforts.
  4. Paid search is still a relatively inexpensive medium and search campaigns can be dynamically scaled up or down to accommodate varying needs. Applying targeting and segmentation technologies can dramatically reduce (although not completely eliminate) the problem of non-converting clicks.

Unfortunately, each one of these strengths comes with major caveats. The fact that search happens in real-time provides both opportunity and risk. Minor campaign errors can quickly result in significant financial losses unless they are quickly corrected, so the onus is on the marketer to continually monitor search campaigns to ensure peak performance.

The mere fact that search provides the ability to systematically test campaign elements doesn’t ensure that such steps will be taken. Nor do many marketers actually use the rich data from search to inform their non-search marketing efforts. Teams can be overloaded with data, and many function in departmental isolation where they are insulated from high-level marketing strategy conversations.

Finally, while paid search is inexpensive relative to other media, media management costs are proportionally higher. Unlike other channels where the media is expensive (such as television) but media management costs are low (because the media is easy to buy), search presents the exact converse. The media (keywords) are cheap but the costs of managing campaigns may be significant — especially for sophisticated search campaigns.

Given these difficult issues, many marketers choose to simply outsource some or all of the search campaign process to an outside agency, either one that already handles their online media buying or a specialized search shop that does nothing else but search. In my view, there are definite risks with going the big agency route, because big agencies rarely have access to the sophisticated technology required to deliver top-performing search campaigns. Nor does their economic model (which depends on marking up media bought in big chunks such as radio/TV buys) favor intensive work on search. You can’t really blame big agencies for regarding search this way, because it’s only natural for agencies to focus their efforts on media buying opportunities where the profit potential is greatest.

Specialized SEM agencies provide an alternative to the big agency route, but once again, marketers need to exercise care before committing their search budgets to such organizations. Many SEM agencies are new and don’t have more than a few years of operating experience behind them. While many promise to deliver unparalleled campaign results using “proprietary” technology, the fact is that many of them license the same off-the-shelf campaign management tools used by the big agencies, limiting their ability to provide truly customized solutions.

As there are no industry benchmarks for evaluating such agencies, a good selection rule is to look at the agency’s client list, seek out positive, unbiased testimonials from those who have used them in the past and, perhaps most importantly, examine how much their existing clients have grown since the agency took over their accounts.

However the work gets done, marketers need to understand that search isn’t just another marketing channel, but a fundamental organizing method by which users and marketers can find each other in the terabytes of data constituting the digital world. While it’s attractive to think that search can just be bolted onto existing media plans, it is far better to regard search as an integral element at the heart of the marketing strategy, because the demand that you drive through your media efforts is all harvested in the search process.

Source: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/20470.asp

SEO vs SEM – Part One

September 13th, 2008 | by Paul Rushing Published in SEO

  • Is search engine marketing (SEM or PPC) really a wise investment of marketing capitol?
  • Is a dedicated search engine optimization (SEO) investment worth the money and effort?

The obvious answer to both is a resounding yes. But first you need to define your goals before starting on either one. They both have their place but they two very distinct purposes.

To often though is SEM used as a crutch to make up for deficiencies in SEO.

You should not have to buy your money terms with pay per click advertising. Money terms meaning your stores name, and your brand and location combination’s. Ranking for these keywords is child’s play in the grand scheme of things, if your site is properly optimized and you obtain a few relevant back links.

Only 25% of your of your websites search engine presence is determined by your on site efforts. The other 75% is determined by the number of votes it gets from other sites, back links. However the 25% factor may make a huge difference on how effective the other 75% is and how long it takes to see results.

Key elements to be concerned with on site.

Meta Data

Meta tags tell the search engines what users will find when they arrive at your site. Think of it as how your site is cataloged in their index.

  1. Page title: This is the most important element. The title is what describes what your page is all about very much like a book title. It is also what people see in the search engines in the results pages and in the browser bar. It gets more weight than anything from the search engines when they index your site.
  2. Page description: It is a summary of your page and is what shows for a description of your site under your title in some of the search engines. It is very important to include your main “money terms” in your page description.
  3. Keywords: It was once the most weighted of all meta data but as people discovered this it was the most abused. People would stuff as many keywords as they could imagine to describe their site to the search engines many time even if they were not relevant. Now they do not give them as much weight however most SEO experts will agree because the search engine spiders still scan them and if your content matches they do provide some weighting. Having more than 8 keywords is a waste of energy and more than six is probably over kill and may even sandbox your site.

Website vendors should give you access to manipulate these items to help you build the relevance of your site. No one can describe your business better than you so it should not be left up to them. I laugh when I see websites by vendors that basically have broiler plate meta descriptions with just minor changes for dealer name and location. It is like they just fill in the blanks. Each page on your site should have unique meta data. Each page delivers a different message let the search engines know what you are showing your visitors.

Heading Summaries:

Heading summaries are sub headings on your site. These tags help people read your web page but also help the spiders understand more about your page is targeted too and what its the most important parts. For example you will see different sections of this post show different headlines through out the post. This is through the use of head tags. <h2> is a second level title and
<h3> a third level title. Heading summaries above is an <h2> element.

Image summary:

The search engine spiders cannot see images like your website visitors can. So you have to tell them what the image is or says especially if it is an image mostly comprised of text.

Source: http://ismintraining.com/seo/seo-vs-sem-part-one/

Where Is the Top of Google?

by Mitch Turck

If I had a dime for every dealer who demanded to be at “the top” of Google…trouble is, most of them don’t know where the top actually is. Or, they know where the top is and (as usual) prefer to invest money for instant ROI rather than invest time and effort for long-term ROI. In both of these cases, the dealer inevitably lands on spot #2: the top of paid search.

But folks, that ain’t the top.

If you’re a dealer asking questions about getting to the top of Google, then you already have some understanding of the power and value of search engine presence. But what you haven’t realized – or refuse to realize – is that “paid search” (PPC) marketing is not the magic bullet of search engine marketing. While PPC is highly cost-effective and can be tracked and analyzed to no end, it’s still just rented ad space. If you don’t pay for your ad to be there tomorrow, some other competitor will take your place… just like print ads.

Organic SEO on the other hand, builds upon itself. These are the results that “naturally” list out along the left side of the page; the sites which Google has deemed relevant to what users are searching for. The closer your site gets to the top of that area, the more clicks you receive, the more Google values your site, and the higher your site will go. It’s the snowball effect, and there’s really nothing like it in any other area of automotive advertising. Build a high-quality site and maintain it frequently, and you could be on top of the natural listings within a few months. That’s the discipline to keep in mind: the top of Google is in the organic/natural listings, not the paid listings.

The #1 result in the organic listings (Spot#1) gets about 40% of the click share on Google and other search engines. The #1 paid result doesn’t even come close (maybe 20% of the click share on a good day when listed above the organic side (Spot #3), and more like 10% at the top of the sponsored side (Spot #4)), and often you get better results as the #2 organic listing (Spot #2) than you would as the #1 paid listing. That means the majority of people are going to look past your PPC advertising efforts to find the page that Google has declared the most relevant page on the queried topic. That’s because users know PPC marketing listings are ads, and to a degree, they’ve trained themselves to avoid looking at such listings. It’s also because the organic results deliver more information in their results, so the user has a better idea of what they’re clicking on.

Now there are still a ton of people who mistakenly or purposefully click on paid listings, and I’m not suggesting you give it up. It is, after all, the second best marketing expense in this industry right now. But it’s still an expense, and that’s why it’s in the same boat as newspaper, direct mail, radio and TV advertising: when you stop paying, you stop getting leads. If you’re on a tirade about being #1 in Google, your first step is to realize that it’s not going to happen overnight, and that PPC marketing is not what gets you to #1. Your second step is to find a website developer who rocks at SEO and can build you a killer site… unfortunately, that means looking outside the offerings within this industry.

SEM, SEO, PPC, CPC..please define

by Jeff Kershner 

I had a nice conversation with someone the other day and we were talking about how it’s so easy to get all these acronyms mixed up. You read an article in one magazine that talks about SEM and the next article you read refers to what seems to be the same thing as SEO. I myself have even been guilty of using different acronyms but not necessarily clarifying with the right terms.

So, I thought I would put together a few of the common acronyms to help clarify. I know these might seem elementary and obvious to many of us but it’s easy to get confused or just forget sometimes.

So lets review;

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

The term used to describe the technique of preparing your dealerships website to enhance its chances of being ranked in the top results of a search engine once a relevant search is undertaken. A number of factors are important when optimizing a website, including the content and structure of the website’s copy and page layout, the HTML meta-tags and the submission process. This can also be referred to as Search Engine Positioning (SEP). Some companies commonly include SEO under the same umbrella as search engine marketing (SEM).

Search Engine Marketing (SEM):

The act of marketing your dealership website via search engines, whether this be improving rank in organic listings (search engine optimization), purchasing paid listings (PPC management) or a combination of these and other search engine-related activities (i.e. local listings, the new Google local coupon or link development). SEM is not always include SEO, so be sure to clarify this when you are speaking with an SEM vendor.

Cost-per-Click (CPC) or Pay-per-Click (PPC):

This is where an advertiser (or you the dealer) pays an agreed amount for each click a consumer makes on a link leading to your dealers web site. This is also known as “Paid Placement.”

Organic/Natural Listings:

Listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings, CPC and PPC). Instead, your dealer’s website appears solely because the search engine has deemed it editorially important for your web site to be included. There is where your dealers’ website SEO comes into play.

There you have it. If anyone would like to share some thought or comments, please do so.

Source: http://www.dealerrefresh.com/my_weblog/2006/08/sem_seo_ppc_cpc.html

How will Flash alter the SEO landscape?

By Michael Estrin
News of Adobe’s decision to work with Google and Yahoo to make Flash searchable spread like wildfire. But so far, agencies aren’t sure what this change really means.

When John Romano, a senior web developer for marketing firm Capstrat, sits down to build a website for a client, he worries about a lot of things. But one concern foremost in his mind is whether anyone will see the cutting-edge work his team is tasked with creating. While Romano’s work is the kind clients pay handily for and users love, it’s not the sort of content that is search engine friendly. But that will soon change, as the two leading search engines and Adobe, which makes the tools Romano uses, have joined forces to help make his work more accessible by indexing the web for rich media files. 

For Romano, and many like him, the problem can be summed up in a word: Flash. Adobe’s powerful multimedia tool has become the instrument of choice for interactive agencies eager to deliver fully immersive online experiences that do more than simply hurl text at today’s fickle users.

But while 98 percent of internet-connected desktops have Flash Player installed, few users are likely to find a website rich in Flash.

“Getting Google [and other search engines] to connect users with specific Flash content has been a real problem,” Romano confesses, “and it’s been something the industry has been struggling with for years.”

Since the beginning, search engines have been fixated on text, rather than images or other forms of reach media. The result has been that pages heavy in images and rich media don’t rise to the top of the natural search results, even when they are more relevant than their text-based counterparts. To counteract this problem, digital agencies have employed an array of cumbersome solutions to help users find the more dazzling sites employed by major brand clients.

But the solutions — a patchwork of proprietary fixes designed to boost SEO efforts for Flash-heavy sites — have been far from ideal. Often developers find themselves duplicating efforts in both Flash and HTML, which can be both expensive and time consuming. The announcement earlier this month from Adobe, Google and Yahoo could change all that. At least, that’s the plan. But as is often the case, a barrage of questions followed from the agencies charged with leveraging the latest technology development on behalf of their clients. 

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So how much does Flash weigh?
Mention the words “SEO” and “change” and you’re bound to get the attention of a lot people working in interactive. Little wonder. Being found is the name of the game for anyone working on the web. But the decision to begin indexing Flash has raised the web’s constant question: what does this mean for my business?

According to Google and Adobe, developers using Flash won’t need to make any retroactive changes, and they won’t need to do any special work to make their files accessible to the search engine spiders. But finding the Flash content is only the beginning, according to Ivan Todorov, CEO of BLITZ, an interactive agency that has worked with clients ranging from FX Networks to Lincoln.

“In the long-term, we think this will have a huge impact for the future of interactive,” Todorov says. “But right now, the primary concern is how Flash will be weighed by the search engines.”

Unfortunately for Todorov, that question isn’t one Google or Yahoo is likely to answer because it would mean sharing proprietary information related to their algorithms. While Todorov and others say they would like to be part of that conversation — presumably to argue for giving Flash maximum value — agencies are likely to be kept in the dark where SEO is concerned.

But according to Tom Barclay, senior manager, Flash Player at Adobe, all parties fully expect the Flash developer community as well as SEO experts to develop best practices for optimizing rich media content under the umbrella of an Adobe/Google/Yahoo collaboration.

“Existing Shockwave Flash (SWF) content is now searchable using Google search and, in the future, Yahoo search, dramatically improving the relevance of rich internet applications and rich media experiences that run in Adobe Flash Player,” Barclay explains. “As with HTML content, best practices will emerge over time for creating SWF content that is more optimized for search engine rankings.”

But in the meantime, Andrew Lovasz, director of search marketing at Moxie Interactive, says the change is likely to reorder natural search results where smaller operations were benefiting because their competitors were relying almost exclusively on Flash.

“This is definitely going to raise the barrier to entry,” Lovasz says, pointing out that big brands that are more likely to have Flash-heavy sites can expect to see a rise in their natural search results.

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The devil in the details
While searchable Flash raises the immediate and obvious question of “weighting” rich media as a content category, the truth of the matter is that the search engine ranking debate will always rage, whether the topic relates to text, Flash, video, audio or any other format. But behind the question of how all this newly ranked content will be integrated into natural search results, agencies will still have to grapple with the mechanics of developing for Flash.

“The headline was really nice to hear,” says Cheryl Haas, VP Fleishman-Hillard. “Hearing that Google, Yahoo and Adobe are all working together is a great start, but I think we’re still a long way off.”

What looks like the proverbial flip of the switch — Adobe’s decision to partner with the two leading search engines — in reality raises a slew of technical questions.

According to Lovasz, and many others, Yahoo, Google and Adobe have been long on excitement, but short on actionable details.

As a simple administrative matter, Google has said that it will take several weeks to index the vast amounts of Flash strewn across the web. Yahoo will begin indexing the web for Flash at an undetermined point in the near future. But while the indexing process is underway, Haas says her team has concerns that neither Google nor Yahoo will be able to crawl JavaScript, which is used to execute Flash content. That’s true, according to Google, but the search giant says it’s working on remedying that, and officials at Adobe say they’re attacking that problem as well.

But Haas’ concerns may highlight a larger problem for Adobe and its search engine partners. While agencies have uniformly praised the news, many have expressed concern that the Flash developer community remains largely in the dark regarding the establishment of best practices for building the Flash sites of tomorrow.

For its part, Google admits that there is no established best practices guide that is endorsed by all three companies. However, Google has its own online resource for developers, as does Adobe.

But a lack of communication — perceived or real — could slow the development of a Flash-friendly web, Romano says, and points out that it will be up to the armies of disconnected developers to figure out the mechanics of this latest tool.

“Our technical people have punched a lot of holes in this, and that’s not surprising given the fact that matching Google’s technology with Adobe isn’t easy,” Romano explains. “This is only the beginning of the solution, and it is likely going to take years to solve because it will require developers to ultimately build Flash sites differently.”

But that doesn’t mean that Adobe is operating independently of all developers. Stephen Jackson, CEO of Smashing Ideas, the largest independent developer of Flash in the U.S., says Adobe works hard to communicate changes with a core group of companies that use its products.

“I think a lot of the disconnect here is that there are millions of Flash users out there,” Jackson says. “So working with all of them makes it rather hard to conduct business.”

What will this mean for interactive?
Across the board, agencies do seem to agree that the decision by Yahoo, Google and Adobe to work together will be a good thing for the interactive advertising business. But just how good is hard to say.

What seems unlikely to some is the idea that improved search optimization for Flash will lead to more Flash development. As Haas put it: “You won’t see people building in Flash just for the sake of having Flash; there has to be a reason.”

But improvements in Flash should have an indirectly positive effect on the overall industry, according to Jackson, who says that getting cutting edge content in front of more users — especially from a Google or Yahoo query — should help drive impressions and clickthroughs.

“It all depends on impressions and clickthroughs,” Jackson says. “If this makes that happen, then you’ll see more advertisers increasing their online budgets.”

Source: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/20032.asp

Yellow Pages and Search Engine Marketing

A couple of questions today. First, are you still running an ad in the yellow pages? Of course you are, right? And you’re also running an ongoing search engine marketing (SEM) program, right? No? Really?

Here’s the thing. Google is well on its way to killing the yellow pages. In my house, we tossed our yellow pages book the day we got a laptop and wireless internet. If you’re not spending twice as much capturing leads online as you are through the big yellow book, you’re probably missing the boat.

Let’s say someone finds you in the yellow pages. They still have to pick up the phone or drive out to your dealership (or visit your website – your web address is on your yellow pages ad, right?), but online they can be out on your site searching your inventory and completing a financing application in a matter of seconds.

It’s a sign of the times and it’s time to adjust your spending accordingly.

D. Jones
Marketing Strategist/Creative Consultant
SmackDabble, LLC