Is SEO More Important than "TLC" Online?

People like acronyms, they always have. Acronyms are easy to understand.

I want to talk briefly about the acronym - “S.E.O. “. This has been the most common "word" found in subject lines, in every dealer’s email inbox this year. It is a very misunderstood word lately, it doesn't mean to "get customers" . It’s fun to say - and hip to talk about, but what does it mean?  

                     

 

 Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic). In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users       -that’s from Wikipedia

 

 

 

  Please take a minute and imagine something with me. I could fill a lot full of prospects, but it wouldn’t be your lot. It would be just a flat stretch of land, somewhere. It would however, be your cars but you would not be allowed to have any salespeople there. Again, this would not be your lot at the your store, the customers would not be able to see all the value you have built into your location before deciding. The question is this: "What kind of return could you expect from those prospects?"       (…simmer on that)

 

 The very important part of the S.E.O. definition that everyone should understand, is also the most misunderstood part of the word - via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic”)   -from definition

  The fact is that Google doesn’t care about the car business in particular. Their rating system and others like it is in place to protect themselves, and customers using their search algorithms. What they are aiming to decide for those customers is which content that searcher will find the most useful to their search. Their goal is not to pick winners, they try to let the people using their engine for these searches do that, and they do!

 

There are two types of SEO as defined on Wikipedia:

  1. Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception practices.
  2. An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines' guidelines and involves no deception practices.

 

Wikipedia goes on to say this:

White hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing”.  -wikipedia

 

Ask yourself,” which color hat does the SEO guy I have been talking to wear”? 

What sort of ideas does he have? Is he building value? Or is he just “stealing” traffic?                       

  

 

   If you are blasting videos and irrelevant content (to the user) all over the web and nearby markets just to get hits - or if you are posting tons of video content that actually hurts the “perception of quality” of your overall store everywhere online, then your virtual storefront is just like that lot in the middle of nowhere with no presentation value. There is lots of opportunity, a lot of vehicles, and no real value. The prospects that are being generated here by “black hat” SEO can’t wait to leave back to the search site because the content is undeserving of the rating. Google has a word for when people “leave” content right away. It’s called “bounce-rate”, and it is one of the most important factors in organic Search Engine Algorithms (a high % is very bad).

 

"Time on Site" is a another HUGE factor in organic SEO - part of the reason quality videos that really get watched, and shared - are the absolute best for SEO. (visits, unique visitors, page views, time on site, good video helps everything!) If prospects were looking for just vehicles they would have went to Autotrader to look. Prospects coming to your individual site are looking for value in your store, not searching for your cars.

 

  If the content you are putting out for your customers to access is bad, and is also getting a lot of attention anyway you may actually be accidentally telling Google and other engines that people don’t like your content (this actually hurts your organic SEO).  Adding more users to those equations, users who also “vote with their mouse” only tells Google that lots of people actually don’t like the content at your storefront. That might work for as long as you are comfortable cutting a huge SEO check every month in order to keep you on the top, and you’re also “ok” with not building any real value in the process… BUT, there is a better way to spend your money!...

 

  It isn’t hard to imagine what the internet shopper wants in an online experience. I believe it is the same thing they want in person, on the lot. The point is that if dealers focus their aim on things that their customers want in a website(informational things), not on the things they want to put in those websites (sales things) then the customer’s reaction to your site  -  and your content, will optimize the site for you. Plus, this is free of charge and  the results will last.

 

  In addition to that, all of your other forms of internet traffic are fed back to this relevant content once you have it, and they will “share” it, and “comment” it, and “like” it for years to come.  All those users have friends who see them do this and those friends will come down the same paths to your content, and eventually to your vehicles. Tricking Google to feature a site up front that doesn't have content that is useful for the searcher is like sending a copy of that book you have been working on to your publisher, before your editor. But if your book is good, (i.e. if your “content” is good from the prospects’ perspective) everyone will come and find that book, and they will buy it no matter where you put it.

 

 

  The last thing that matters to add is this: This is basically a conversation about advertising, and in advertising there is really only one thing that matters:

“What does it cost, and what will I get in return?” – The old risk vs. reward equation.

 

 So let’s talk about 5 major benefits for stores investing in White Hat tactics of optimizing/advertising:

  1. When Google picks your site/store organically, it’s because your customers (their searchers) picked your site, and you never have to cut anyone a follow-up check to keep your store on top.
  2. When your site is optimized to sell appointments, and build value for you… EVERY other form of advertising will make more sense, and be more effective. (including/especially "black hat" SEO efforts)
  3. “Advertising doesn't create a product advantage. It can only convey it”-William Bernbach Show your customers market superiority by investing in their online customer experience with your company.
  4. Google loves content that is shared and so should you! – If you make content FOR the customer they will distribute the content for you, and this will push your SEO for free, and sell cars!
  5. We (the U.S.) are a country of Brands(©). Identifying your store and what you do differently in the marketplace with relevant content at the point of sale, will gain and retain real customers!

 

 

 

Andrew Myers - 206.478.8721 - amyers@whatsnext.pro

www.whatsnext,pro

 

 

I would like to end by saying it is not all bad to have an SEO guy that wears both hats sometimes,

but if my content was poor I wouldn’t want to trick ANYONE, to come see it.

(…that would cast a very bad 1st impression on a potential client)

below is an interesting review of black hat methods – They are not all bad!

http://www.expertreviews.com/black-hat-seo-methods/

Another review: (http://blackhatguide.net/blog/what-is-blackhat-marketing)...eek

 

 

   

 Promote it!

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Comment by Andrew Myers on January 6, 2012 at 2:29pm

The answer to the question is always, "build more value"!

Comment by Thomas Mitchfield on January 6, 2012 at 1:41pm

Awesome! - Couldn't have said it better. Paying for dirty SEO is like paying someone to pump the water out of your leaky basement rather then fixing the leak! Can't wait for your future posts!

Comment by Andrew Myers on January 6, 2012 at 11:00am

Readers - if you agree with this post, please Promote it!

Comment by Jason Grace on January 6, 2012 at 10:27am

Love it.

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