Author Archive

Chris Burns

I am the owner and Chief Operations Officer of Drive Digital Group. My role is to oversee the operations of the company across all products & Services.

How To Make Drive & Determination Last

Automotive Digital Marketing

At our company we have weekly team building meetings hosted by Heath Panginiban, our Director of SEO & Video Production. The purpose of these meetings is to get together as a group and share thoughts, ideas, and inspiration around a topic of the week. This helps to keep us all as a group motivated, focused, and sharing our strengths with others.

automotive seo companyThe topic of the week of January 2nd was Drive & Determination. It’s common no matter what job you have that after your initial probationary period ends, you tend to start taking shortcuts, easing up on the gas pedal, decreasing productivity and potentially over all slacking.

We met as a team to discuss the challenges that keep us from maintaining a high level of productivity, energy and enthusiasm in our jobs as time goes on. I will list the bullet points of what I wrote down along with any necessary descriptions for each one below.

  • Plan Ahead. By planning ahead you are able to accomplish goals better as well as help to control your pace. Thinking about tomorrow at the end of your day or possibly even planning out your goals for the week on Monday can really help you stay focused on what you need to accomplish.
  • Keep A Schedule On A Calendar. This kind of graphical reference really helps to keep you on track throughout your day with visual reminders of what needs to be accomplished and when.
  • Focus on One Thing when inundated with work. It’s easy to get so flustered that you don’t even know where to begin. By focusing on one single task you can drowned out the rest of the work and just focus on getting something done. Prioritize your list and then attack things one at a time. Don’t work on multiple projects at once when your feeling flustered already.
  • Make lists.
  • External Motivations. Sometimes it’s good to read books or watch videos. Getting ideas and feeding off the energies of others has a two pronged benefit of giving you motivation and also educating yourself.
  • Send your lists to yourself via email. If you have an email you are forced to read it and better able to hold yourself accountable to the list your create for yourself.
  • Seek Motivation on Long Projects. When you start to feel like your butting your head against a wall or you’ve been working on something so long you are going cross eyed, it can help to get an outside opinion. Often something as simple as reassurance or a second opinion from a fresh viewpoint can keep you motivated on your task at hand.
  • Call Clients. By calling a client and informing them you are about to perform some work for them you are locking in an outside influence to get that job done. By communicating your intention to do something with a responsible party you are forced to hold yourself accountable to getting it done!

These are some of the things that our team does in order to keep themselves driven and determined to get things done without losing their fire inside for the job.

Please feel free to share with us any ideas or tools you use that can help!



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Does Semantic Markup Help SEO

Automotive Semantic SEO | Structured Data

Many people are beginning to hear about and attempt to get a full understanding of structured data markup on automotive websites. This articles will hopefully shed some light on the true purpose, history, and future of structured data on websites.

What is the Semantic Web Initiative?

Automotive Semantic Web The Semantic Web is an initiative that began over a decade ago and has remain largely unrealized in practice even to this day. The Semantic Web initiative is one that aims to make content on website easily readable, understandable, and able to be simply categorized by machines such as search engine spiders. The Wc3 (World Wide Web Consortium) initially implemented RDF markup as a way to begin to structure data in a standardized way across the web. The process of marked up content on automotive websites in a structured way allows machine readers like search engine spiders to be told explicitly what the element being marked up actually is. When a website marks up content in an structured way using vocabularies like RDF then the content on the page becomes crystal clear to the reader, it no longer has to guess and use multiple elements to try to determine exactly what that content is. With a deeper understanding of automotive website content that is properly marked up with a structured vocabulary schema, search engines can then provide much better and richer search results to their users.

Search Engines Get Serious About Structured Data On The Web

Schema.org is an initiative launched in 2011by search engine giants Bing, Yahoo, and Google to provide an even deeper structured data strategy for webmasters that will be universally accepted by the search engines. The initiative included already existing structured data schemas such as RDF and Microformats and provides a much wider range of use using various vocabularies that are specific to types of content on automotive websites. Early adopters included review sites, restaurants, and movie databases. The project has expanded over the last two years to have vocabularies for other verticals including the automotive industry. As the search engines crawl and parse the structured data into usable bits of information, they are now able to provide much richer search results page to their visitors. It’s becoming more common to see review aggregate information, recipe ingredient information, authorship images, pricing on parts and more in the search engine results pages. You can see an example of automotive google authorship and automotive semantic markup on ratings that we have blogged about previously. The Future Is Structured Data To date, Google and other search engines maintain that they are using structured data on websites only to enhance the data provided in their search results. There is currently no publicly stated benefit for structured data to have an impact via the ranking algorithms being used by search engines. I would like to point out that this is one case in which, by chasing the benefits of the users, we are able to take advantage of a clear future SEO benefit of implementing identifying (authorship) and relevant (rich text snippets) content that is enhanced by being marked up in schema.org compliant structured data format, WILL have a positive impact on a web page in search results performance. Google continues to file patents relating to semantic markup on websites including not only text and images, but also documents and videos. If the use of this information is beneficial to users, and a website that is properly marked up and sending clear structured data to it’s search engines is providing a benefit to the users of the search engine, it only stands to reason that in the very near future search engines will want to show preference to websites that provide this extra valuable information over ones that don’t to their users. We have chosen to become an early adopter of structured data and are utilizing an automotive vocabulary that is accepted by Schema.org on all of the inventory on our dealer automotive websites. We also include identity linking, vehicle ratings, hcard information about the dealership and more via our semantic markup on dealer websites.

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Semantic Markup For Higher Click Through

Automotive Semantic SEO | Digital Marketing

automotive seo

The ultimate goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to increase revenues for a business utilizing organic search results on a search engine. Since this is the case, it makes sense for anyone with a commercial website to begin to utilize semantic markup on your website as part of your SEO efforts. This blog post will take a look at the effects that properly marking up your website with rich text snippets can have on your bottom line.

What Is Semantic SEO?

You will find a couple of definitions of what Semantic SEO really is out there. In both cases the ultimate goal of Semantic SEO is for Google to deliver the most relevant results as quickly as possible to people searching on their site. In the past searches have been strictly keyword based with very little context considered. Google now is getting quite clever in the way they deliver search results to users. In addition to suggestions and instant search results, they now try to analyze the usage of the keywords you enter and deliver you the most relevant results based on what they think you are intending to search for.

As web developers, we encompass marking up dealer websites with rich text snippets as another usage of Semantic SEO on a website. Utilizing standards that Google & Bing have agreed to and published on their schema.org project, we now markup pages of the website and especially vehicle data with rich text snippets. This encoding allows Google & Bing to crawl your website and get very specific information about the content of the pages, allowing them to better use your website content when they deliver search results to users on their platform.

Semantic Markup In Action

It’s all well and good to talk about these types of concepts, but what does it really mean to a user? That’s a great question and this is a situation where an image can speak a thousand words. Please check out the image below to get a sample of what a search engine results listing can look like when you mark up your website properly with some rich text snippets:

automotive responsive website

As you can see the search results are showing extra data that Google is picking up because the website has been properly coded with the use of schema.org approved rich text snippet markups.

User behavior tells us that the eye will automatically be drawn to this new search result data, even if it is not in the first three positions where users would normally click. Because of the extra data about our websites that Google is providing to the users, we gain instant credibility and a higher click through rate, even if we are not in the top organic placement! More click through to your site means more visitors that you can attempt to turn into real business opportunities.

Drive Digital Group has embraced the next wave of Google’s future by including full implementation of Semantic Automotive SEO on all of our websites.

Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will talk about further manipulating search results with Google Authorship implementation! What do you think, can your website benefit from taking advantage of the next level of SEO and web markup?



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Thanksgiving Food Drive

The Food Pantry program serves the families of Woodland Middle School and is available to families in need that have a student at the Middle School in Venice, Florida.

The pantry is open twice per month for the school families. The program relies on food donations from local companies like Drive Digital Group in addition to the local food bank. 68% OF THE Woodland Middle School family’s population is on free or reduced lunch programs. Last year Ms. Rowland’s pantry program provided Thanksgiving dinners to roughly 30 families across the pantry with some 8 and 10 children.

This is a great program started by a local high school teacher built to help families of the school in need. Drive Digital Group was fortunate enough to be able to participate this year and we strongly recommend all companies reach out to their communities and also do what they can to enrich the families in the communities they serve.



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Instant Search Automotive Inventory

Automotive Websites | Instant Inventory Search

Drive Digital Group is proud to finally showcase a new standard for automotive websites, and we call it Instant Search!

Why Instant Search

automotive instant search

Vehicle inventory pages are by far the most trafficked pages of a car dealer’s website. We know this to be true as we monitor analytics on a wide variety of Independent and Brand dealer’s automotive websites. Since we know that the primary reason people are visiting the dealer’s website is to get to their inventory and sift through it to find what they are looking for, we know that the faster we can get them to what they are looking for, the better their experience will be and the more likely they are to stay on your site looking at the vehicles they are interested in.

Previously, the best way digital web providers have found to allow users to find the vehicles they are interested in is by implementing many drop down pick list search options. The user would have to enter a year range, make, model, trim, price range, body style, and possibly many other options before searching through the results and trying to find the vehicles they are interested in.

While automotive web providers have found many creative and interesting ways to quickly lead users to these inventory search forms, the ultimate problem has remained that it is cumbersome and time consuming for users to find what they are looking for.

As all of the usability studies on website users will show, people’s attention spans drop to infantile rates when they are on automotive websites. Imagine asking them to sort through 4-6 options followed by sifting through inventory results to find what they are looking for. They might do it, but only because no matter which automotive website they go to, they will have to work their way through a very similar interface. But no longer!

Enter Instant Inventory Search

automotive digital advertising

Drive Digital Group is the first automotive digital marketing agency to implement instant search. Instant search is a simple search bar that is powerful and intuitive. We conveniently place the instant search bar in the header of the website globally, so that no matter where the user is on the web page, they are only one or two keywords away from quickly finding the vehicles they are looking for.

By simply entering any keyword in the search bar, our instant search tool will begin showing results underneath the bar instantly! Our instant search shows them exactly how many matching results we could find and we break it up by new and used vehicles for the user.

Relevance is key!

The instant inventory search results will display the most relevant inventory results that we can find in your inventory based on the keywords the users is searching. If, for example, the user searched for a 2012 Blue Civic, we would obviously show any of those vehicles you have in stock. if you don’t have any of that particular vehicle in stock, we will show 2012 civics, blue civics, civics, and other 2012 depending on what you have in inventory.

Instant Automotive Inventory Searching

This is the future of automotive inventory searching on car dealer websites! As an automotive website provider we are very proud to be able to offer this smart instant search tool to our customers. When combined with Semantic Markup, Drive Digital Group Automotive websites are a powerhouse for car dealers looking to dominate their local markets!



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What Is The Real Value Of A Facebook Page Like?

Automotive Social Media | Car Dealer Digital Advertising

automotive social media

As a full service digital marketing agency we are asked one questions when we talk about social media far more often than we would like. what is this questions?

  • How many likes can you get is within X time period?

I have to be honest with you when I tell you that I absolutely hate that this is the most commonly asked questions when we are talking about social media. In all honesty I would wager a bet that Mr. Zuckerberg himself doesn’t want people to be asking or thinking about this either!

Regardless of whether we like or not, the fact remains that this is the most pressing questions on our customers minds when they think about Social Media (in particular Facebook) marketing. While other companies might be willing to indulge a bad questions with a bad response, we prefer to change the entire mindset of the customer and point the direction of the conversation from volume to quality. More specifically to talking about engagement versus an arbitrary number of people that have pressed the like button on your fan page.

What is a Like?

A Facebook page like is essentially a person that has visited your business page and decided to like it. Once an individual likes the page, they are able to receive updates in their feed whenever you add a new status update on your business fan page.

The fact that they like your page will also appear on the individual’s timeline for all their personal friends to see. Once they are connected to your page you are able to essentially market through your Facebook page directly to all of the “fans” of your page.

It’s natural that when your potential customers visit your fan page, you want to have a large number of people that are a fan of your page. This shows what we call “social proof” of your products, services, and your reputation. This is about the only correlation between having a large number of likes on your business page and a positive net benefit to your business.

What Is The Correlation Between Likes and Potential Business Opportunities For My business?

Now here is a question that merits some discussion!

There are scores of new companies starting up and offering page likes for a very low cost. When you hire a automotive social media company and ask them how many page likes they can get you, if they are responding with a definitive number… it’s time to worry about how they are acquiring those likes and just who those people are that they intend to get to like your page.

Buying likes is typically going to get you a triple dose of bad. Paid likes are typically not going to be in the vicinity of your business, they are most likely not interested in what you offer, and worse yet they may very well be fake Facebook accounts.

If you are going to organically grow your like count, it’s impossible to give an exact number of likes you are going to generate for a business page. If you put 100 people in a room and ask them if they like seafood, you might think you will know a roundabout percentage that will say yes, but how can you possibly say that 70 will yes within 1.5 minutes? You can’t, unless you have paid off at least 70 of those people to respond in the way you want within the time frame you want, in which case you are not really getting a true finding from that group. So it is with social media. People are individuals, each of us have different tastes and motivations. It’s impossible to promise a definitive number of likes within a certain time period unless you are going to rigging the game!

This leads into our biggest discussion when we talk about automotive social media. Forget about the volume of likes on your page and ask yourself what kind of engagement you are getting from real people that are potential customers in your backyard!

It’s All About Engagement!

automotive social media

If you are selling cars in Brooklyn, New york, why would you want thousands of people from India, Pakistan, or even Sarasota, Florida to like your page? Worse yet why would you pay someone to get them to like your page? Are these people going to potentially buy a car or refer a family member to buy a car from your dealership?

You know the answer to those questions.. it’s NO!

So what SHOULD you be doing on Facebook? How do you go about getting real fans who are going to be potential buyers to like and engage with your Facebook page?

We recently wrote a guest post on Driving Sales called Facebook Marketing: Are You Doing It Right? We encourage you to take a look at that post to get ideas about how to properly grow your Facebook page following organically in a meaningful way. You can get some ideas on how you can reach out in a positive way to local people that have a good chance of becoming a sales opportunity and how to use them to help you market your own pages to their local friends and family.

For the purposes of this article we want to talk about what engagement is. Engagement is getting real people that are potential customers for your business to like, comment, or share your content on your Facebook business page. If you are stuffed with fake profiles liking your page and people that are not interested in what you do or are in another country, how likely do you think they will be to engage with the content you are providing through your business page? The answer is not very likely!

If you cultivate a real community on your fan page that is within a realistic buying radius from your business and has some type of personal tie in to the content you are providing, you will have a far greater chance of really engaging with that person through your content.

Our CEO often described Facebook as a cocktail party. You wouldn’t want to go to a party with people that you have absolutely nothing in common with and will likely never see again. You also wouldn’t want to be the person at the cocktail party that is incessantly talking about selling your products or services the first time you shake hands with someone! You want to be the charming likeable person that everyone is gathered around as you tell about the good you are doing in your community, finding out what others are doing in the same community, and sharing tasteful & funny anecdotes that everyone can relate too! Once they like you it’s only natural to talk about work, what you both do and eventually how you can save them money on your products.

That is the proper way to engage with someone at a cocktail party. It’s called a soft sell and that’s exactly what Facebook pages are built for. You NEED to let your fans know about everything you are doing in the community. You NEED to let them know about any free tickets to local sports games you might have and make a fun giveaway out of it. You NEED to show them your satisfied customers and how those customers feel about doing business with you. Ask those customers to take a picture or a video and let you post it on your Facebook page. Tag them in it and let them share it with their family and friends! Your hard selling should be sprinkled into your Facebook marketing strategy like seasoning on a steak. Too much and you overpower the real flavor, but just enough gets the job done perfectly!

Engagement metrics are provided by Facebook page insights. You can see how many people are viewing your posts, how many are liking them, sharing them, and commenting (talking about) them. This is the true measure of how good of a job you are doing with your Facebook marketing strategy. If people are truly interested in your business or what you are promoting, they will engage with your content. It’s up to you (or the company you hire to implement a comprehensive Automotive social media marketing strategy) to organically grow your pool of quality Facebook fans and continually engage them in a meaningful way over time. Only by doing the hard work will you reap the rewards of having a positive image of your business on Facebook and opening up new potential customers to your dealership.



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