When I get calls from dealers who are facing dramatic declines in search traffic, I can usually guess the root cause: bad vendors and website providers. And as a vendor, that makes me angry. While it means I have less quality competition, it is also means that more and more dealers are becoming skeptical and completely disinterested in outsourcing SEO and social media due to bad experiences with vendors.
I want to tell you three important things that your vendor is not disclosing about SEO, so you can be ready for your next meeting with a current or potential service provider.
Optimization Only Does So Much
Fifteen years ago, site optimization was worth a lot more than it is today. While it is important for your site and content to be optimized for relevant keywords, it’s only one piece of the SEO puzzle. If all your SEO is offering for $500 a month is optimization, I think it’s time you told them to hit the road.
To rank in 2014, you can’t out-optimize your competition. You have to create better content that focuses on not only converting more customers, but providing the best information possible.
Their Inbound Links Are Worthless
While there are some innovative companies doing amazing things with content, most automotive SEO vendors simply hide behind the vale of buzzwords. “Content Marketing,” “Link Building,” and “Inbound Marketing” are routinely thrown around with little to no knowledge of how to actual perform the jobs behind those words.
Now, I worked in dealerships for over 15 years, doing every position imaginable. I know that GMs balk at this type of presentation. That’s why your vendor needs to be able to show you how their work is bringing in more ready-to-buy customers.
If youe vendor’s SEO strategy relies on inbound links, ask them to show you each link they’ve built for your dealership. I’d be more than willing to bet that the sites linking to your dealership have little to no authority in Google’s eyes and also happen to link to all of their other clients as well.
Your Website Has Duplicate Content
Throughout this year, Wikimotive has worked to expose and reverse the effects of duplicate content spread by website vendors. This practice, which puts the same cookie-cutter content on each and every website powered by a particular provider is not disclosed to dealers upon receiving their completed site, and is often not removable.
The Solution: Hold Vendors and Website Providers Accountable
I’m of the mindset that if you pay for a service, you should get what you paid for, and I hold my company to that standard.
It’s become clear, however, that not every vendor shares that fundamental philosophy. That’s why it’s important for dealers to treat their service providers the same way they treat their staff. If a salesman was ignoring customers or your internet team didn’t follow up on leads, you would be furious. Because that’s how vendors and website providers are treating dealers, and frankly I’m sick of it.