Grading Automotive Website Providers

Disclaimer: I must preface this by saying it not intended to make any enemies or friends. This is not meant to hurt anyone’s business, call out how they perform for their clients, highlight weaknesses or put stock in one product over another. This was nothing more than a simple experiment.

I was out to dinner with my wife recently when I ran into an old college acquaintance. Very quickly I discovered that she works in our industry for a startup website provider. I tell her that I, too, work in the industry (not in the same category), but wondered what made her tool stand out above all others, to which she replied “We have the best SEO in the business.”

I chuckled out loud. I’ve heard this before. What secret sauce could one website provider have that the biggest and best providers do not? This is a constant uphill battle for dealers trying to differentiate one vendor from another. So I took it one step further. We at DealerKnows believe in practicing what you preach. If you have the best SEO in the industry, certainly your own website marketing efforts are up to par, correct?

I decided to run an analysis on many of the primary automotive website providers (culled from another forum’s vendor ratings page as well as a few industry mags I read) using Hubspot’s Marketing Grader tool. This is one of the very same tools that my good friends at PCG Consulting and PCG Digital Marketing use to evaluate potential clients’ websites. This tool measures elements of your website marketing such as

• On-site/off-site SEO
• Indexed pages
• Inbound authoritative links
• Blogging frequency,
• Social media performance
• Analytics and more

Hubspot also puts on some of the best information-packed webinars about Internet operations in the world, so I figure their evaluation tools (while not perfect) would provide me more details about the prowess of these vendors’ websites than I could personally analyze myself.

By no means is this meant to sway your opinions of your current or potential website partners. DealerKnows doesn’t have any horse in this race, and, truthfully, don’t even have any specific knowledge or experience with a couple that made the Top Ten. Either way, we assembled a downloadable whitepaper that you can review to see how the different website companies very own sites stack up in comparison to their competitors when using a third-party tool, such as the Marketing Grader from Hubspot. Once again, we are not claiming this tool is the answer to all marketing prayers or has any relevance as to how well they market their own clients’ websites, but Hubspot’s Marketing Grader is utilized by some of the leading SEO providers in our industry, so it has some credence.

With that, I’d like to congratulate the TOP TEN !

• AutoRevo                  (Grade of 91)
•               (Grade of 90)
• DealerFire                 (Grade of 88)
• Naked Lime              (Grade of 87)
• LiquidMotors             (Grade of 83)
• DriveDigitalGroup      (Grade of 82)
• VinSolutions              (Grade of 81 – tie with eCarList)
• eCarList                    (Grade of 81 – tie with VinSolutions)
• DealerOn                  (Grade of 80 – tie with DealerImpact)
• DealerImpact            (Grade of 80 – tie with DealerOn)

By Hubspot’s standards, these providers have done a great job optimizing and marketing their own websites. Great job, everyone!

If you’d like to see how all other website vendors fared in the Hubspot ranking study, please visit our DealerKnows blog and download the complete whitepaper with the full list of grades. While there, please comment and let us know what you think about this experiment. Would you like to see other vendor categories compared?

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