Beware the Automotive SEO Snake Oil

How to measure your Automotive SEO on a CPC level

Is your Automotive SEO company really moving the needle for you, or are they selling you snake oil? I have watched a lot of dealers spend a lot of money on microsites, premium content, videos, blogs and more, all in the name of “SEO.”  I think it is time to discuss some ways to measure your SEO to make sure you aren’t the guy buying a muffler bearing warranty from your web company.

A couple of caveats before we move on: I am NOT calling all Automotive SEOs snake oil salesmen.  I DO realize that every situation is different in regards to dealer placement on the SERP. The purpose of this article is simply to discuss some methods of measurement to make sure you are getting the most from your SEO budget.

Remember that search engines make money by delivering the best, most relevant search results possible.  Therefore, your dealership should automatically show up in the results for queries like: “your dealership name,” and “your make your city.” SEO’s true value comes in on trickier searches like; “make, model, your city” or  “your make your metro” or “your make your state.” You should benchmark your search results on these types of queries on a regular basis.

Searches like these are easy to measure in your analytics.  Here’s how you can calculate exactly what your CPC is on your SEO keywords:

  • Log into your Google Analytics.
  • On the left hand side of the dashboard click Traffic Sources, click Sources, then All Traffic.
  • Adjust your dates to the last 30 days.
  • Navigate to the Source/Medium column and select Search Engine/ Organic.
  • You’ve now isolated your organic traffic. Find the dropdown menu called Secondary Dimension and toggle that to Keyword. Now you can see nearly all of the keywords that were searched in order to drive traffic to your site.
  • Go up to the search bar for these results.  Click on Advanced and set the search to Include, Keyword, and Containing. Type in your word and hit apply.
  • Now you can see exactly how many times these words have delivered a prospect to your website.

Add up these clicks and divide the number into what you’re spending for SEO. This gives you an approximate cost per click on your SEO keywords.  You can also measure the value of each click by analyzing the time on site and bounce rate for these words. Plus, you can measure any goals you have set up in your analytics by hitting the Goal tab at the top of the page.

I’ve seen dealers spending thousands of dollars per month on elaborate microsite SEO programs that were yielding very few actual visitors. Plus, when we looked at cost per click we found they were paying 10 to 15 times what they were paying for similar paid search clicks.

The point here is that if you are paying monthly for SEO you should measure the results to make sure that you aren’t paying for snake oil, or overpaying for clicks you could have gotten cheaper through a paid search campaign.

Dave Pavlu is a twenty-year veteran of the retail automotive industry and the founder and CEO of AdsUpNow is a full-service digital marketing agency based in Seattle, WA that specializes in online marketing strategies that drive and capture first-party leads for car dealerships.

Did You Know?

A friend of mine just sent this to me.

Did you know? Is a great video on Youtube that gives a little perspective to the speed at which our world is changing.  Both videos have essentially the same information. Version 2 has a couple of updates and has very mellow music. I am up to my eyeballs designing killer digital ad campaigns right now but I will try and relate some of these facts to (local) business at some point in the future.  Enjoy.

Jacks You Up:

If you have young kids may tear you up:

It occurs to me that tear (tear from my eye) and tear (tear apart) are spelled the same way…   You choose.


Napolean Hill Said it like this:

The moment you commit and quit holding back, all sorts of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance will rise up to help you. The simple act of commitment is a powerful magnet for help.

He couldn’t be more right.  There are a lot of doors that could open for you. All you need to do is commit and make sure that you are there when the door does open.

Internet marketing is a door that has opened for  many businesses. It can open for you as well. You need to choose a company that will to serve your interests.  Then let that company go to work for you and make it happen.

Make it Happen or Watch it Happen?

Go get em tiger!

Do you make it happen or watch it happen? When the playing field changes with new procedures, new products, or new techniques, do you adapt quickly and turn this into an opportunity? Or do you resist change and play the victim? John Wooden said, “Things turn out the best for those who make the best of how things turn out.”  Manage the rapids of change, master them, move with them, and develop the possibilities and you will create a better job, a better life and a better you.

Go get em tiger!

ROI on Advertising

Photo credit: Belltown Messenger

Here is an interesting video blog post from a wine salesman. It has quite few ads in it. This video was recorded in October of 2008 – The Seattle PI died today. How many other types of media will crash and burn while small business tries to figure out how to advertise on the Internet. Watch this then call me and let’s develop a plan for you.

You Down With ROI?…Yeah You Know Me

Whatever it Takes

Decide Then Go

Indecision and second-guessing are the mortal enemies of spontaneous brilliance and planning. Without action, your dream, goal, or plan has little meaning in the world. Living and risking are close companions. If you sense that you have made a good decision, have faith. Move forward.

These words are from a book called “Whatever It Takes” written by the late great Bob Moawad Senior.

Make it Happen!

Busy, Happy and Prosperous

I am sitting here, knowing I have to hit the publish button before I go home today.  I have several good starts, a couple hundred words on ROI and about 500 on radio advertising.  But nothing  I think I can publish today. There is a big sign on my wall that says forget perfection. I will tweak something to death if I get the chance. I remember reading a post from Seth Godin about how he decided to focus on blogging and not give some of the other social media any energy. When I went to go look for it I noticed this great x-, y-axis post he made today. He doesn’t even say a word in his post.

X, Y

I have some thoughts on this but I think saying too much is liable to screw up a really simple post.

Instead, I will just wish you a busy, happy, and prosperous year.


1995 Called, They Want Their Marketing Plan Back


Are you listening to the changing marketplace? People are connecting in different ways today. If you want to connect with more customers you need to adapt your marketing efforts accordingly.

The best way to connect with new customers is to understand what they want. They want to make meaningful connections using the Internet. Through opt-in newsletters and e-mail updates, blog posts, and social networking you give useful information to potential customers. They will respond to you through e-mail with questions and requests for more information. With this kind of dialog, you’ll earn the long-term business you’re looking for. Plus, you’ll leave a clear trail for additional customers to find you.

How many trails lead back to your business right now? What plans do you have in place to increase the number of these trails?

Internet marketing is not the only game in town, but it is amazing to see how many established businesses have no Internet game at all. You can jump in the game very easily. You could join a business-related networking site like Linkedin or Biznik. How about a social site like Facebook or MySpace? You can share your experience and knowledge on a forum, just be sure you leave a link to your site.

Basic Internet marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. But you do need to lay the tracks if you want customers to be able to find you today.

SEO Requires Vision

SEO Requires Vision

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a one-time event where a computer geek comes in and rewrites a few lines of code on your website, even though that may need to be done. SEO is more about content, relevance, vision and hard work.

SEO is simply the efforts put forth for organic search results in your market(s); it is the placement you can’t buy (luckily your competition can’t either). You have to earn it with a clear, long-term vision and daily, weekly, and monthly efforts. A solid optimization normally requires some “out of the box” thinking and implementation. The good news is that in today’s “local internet” it is infinitely easier to carve out a local niche, and claim first page results for your company.

Find the help you need to shape the vision necessary to slowly and consistently drive your business to the top of the pile for your market. Bring in a hired gun that sees more of the Internet than you do. You may want to consider a copywriter as well.

As you go along, you’ll find that leaving lots and lots of content on the Internet will help your company website find its way higher on the search engines.