None of us like being copied. We want to be unique, have our own style, our own design. Now if we’re talking about our business marketing, we definitely want to be unique, especially if your dealership is paying good money for a website, and thousands more on paid SEO. Unfortunately for many dealers nationwide, they are saddled with a cookie-cutter design for their website’s fixed operations pages. It’s surprising how many dealers are not inspecting their fixed ops pages for unique, quality content, while also comparing themselves to their competitors. Many of us get caught up in the efforts to deploy marketing campaigns to drive the variable (sales) side of the dealership, while often neglecting the all-important fixed ops side of the business.
We all know that properly-run fixed operations not only deliver strong margins but can also feed the sales side if properly paired with equity and loyalty programs. However, with most of the paid search and social campaigns I inspect, there is little attention paid to service. Dealers may run a handful of service keywords, or deploy some canned service display campaigns, but to me it always feels like an afterthought. Dealers need to recognize that they are competing with the Jiffy Lubes, Pep Boys, and other companies who wake up each day figuring out how to win the digital marketing fixed ops game. Rarely will dealer listings appear on page one search for key fixed ops terms.
I also have many dealer-customers who are paying a third-party for monthly managed SEO. When I hear they are paying for SEO, and paying the same vendor who provides paid search, I always become a bit suspicious. Why? I know that paid search can be a low-margin business, and agencies will at times prop-up the margins of paid search, with higher margin managed SEO. Once the dealer gets me involved on the managed SEO side, the hard questions come out and the weak providers will show themselves. When you ask what work is provided for the monthly fee ($1,400-$1,700 per month), the answers may not be encouraging. Breadcrumbs, backlinks from unknown sites, etc., but very little discussion around creating original content designed for specific missions. My attention quickly goes to the fixed ops pages of the dealer’s website. If a dealer is paying a hefty monthly fee to a managed SEO provider, but their fixed ops pages still have the canned, cookie cutter content that the site was launched with, I begin to feel the dealer is not receiving the value they deserve.
It is easy to determine if the dealer’s fixed ops pages are full of canned, duplicate content. You simply grab a section of text (one that does not contain the dealer’s name), place it into a Google search. Adding double quotes (“ “) to each side of the search will help you find exact matches.
If the search pulls up hundreds of other dealers’ fixed ops pages, with the exact same verbiage (as in this example above), you now know a few things. One, you know that your fixed ops pages contain the same content as hundreds of other dealers. You also know that Google will not reward these pages, since they do not want to deliver multiple, duplicate content pages to the user. And finally, you know that your monthly managed SEO fees are not going toward building custom content for these fixed ops pages, and I believe they definitely should be.
If you’ve discovered that you have significant duplicate content on your fixed ops pages, simply let your managed SEO provider know and ask them to get this content developed. Ideally, they begin by determining which services the dealer would like to be known for, or what fixed ops offers they would like to highlight. Once the message is determined, you can then start building relevant (and unique) content, including keywords you expect a shopper to search for. Of course, you don’t want to keyword stuff, but instead make it flow as part of natural language for the reader.
Once you have high quality fixed ops pages built, you need to leverage this new content with your paid search and social efforts. These campaigns should now start driving traffic to the new pages to test, optimize, and improve these pages for conversions.
The lesson here is to hold your agencies or internal teams accountable for how they’re spending your managed SEO dollars and inspect the quality of what they are producing for you each month. If you don’t have time for a monthly review call, at the very least get a list of the work performed, and the key success metrics that hopefully are moving in the right direction.
If you’re attending DigitalDealer24 in Orlando Florida, April 10-12, I’ll be presenting a session on how to grow your used vehicle operations, please join me! If you are an automotive retailer, I would love to help you with a complimentary digital marketing audit, including analyzing your paid search spending. I can help you improve your return on ad spend and gain more transparency with your digital marketing investments. Details here: generationsdigital.com
Author: George Nenni
With three decades of IT and automotive experience, George Nenni educates the automotive industry about emerging technology by writing, speaking and sharing his vision for how dealers can maintain a competitive edge. George has spent countless hours over his automotive career with dealers training them in-store on best practices, software applications, and with adoption of new technologies. He not only trains on software implementation and usage, but also consistency in platform-level process and associated accountability. Today George is principal consultant with Generations Digital, providing digital marketing consulting to automotive retailers. He also is an adviser to T3, providing consulting to automotive vendors.