Tracking Digital Results For Car Dealers

As we are starting to get into the rhythm of 2017, it’s critically important that each and every dealership know exactly what they are getting from their marketing strategies. The only way to know how well your strategies are performing is to have a transparent and comprehensive reporting available to you.

There are some providers that try to force you to use their own analytics and tracking tools, we urge you to push back and require any vendor you work with to integrate fully with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Doing this will allow you to standardize all of your KPIs through one reporting platform. Google is the most widely used and trusted source of data on the internet today. There is no good reason that any web provider, SEM company, or other digital vendors that can’t pass data into Google Analytics for your independent review in 2017!

trust data

Like most advanced automotive digital marketing agencies, we have chosen to fully embrace Google Tag Manager. This allows us to only have to add code to your website one time. Any future scripts, third party add on trackers, and even tracking events can be setup at any time in the future without ever having to touch your website code again once it’s already on the site. This is a huge benefit when many of the vendor approved website providers are incredibly slow and unresponsive when trying to manipulate anything on your automotive website. They are built to scale, not for customer service. Having Google Tag Manager greatly reduced the reliance and headaches with having to continually make service request from your unresponsive website vendor.

Through Tag Manager we are able to track anything and everything. This means setting up A/B testing, setting up triggers and tags for conversion tracking, setting up call tracking scripts, etc. Google Tag Manager events allow us to setup goals in Google Analytics for many complicated things that allow you to easily see and utilize data from your website.

An example could be chats. As a website vendor ourselves, it has always been frustrating that we handle the automotive website, automotive SEO, and automotive PPC for a client, but when it comes to reporting we couldn’t paint the full picture of what our results were delivering in the past because of third party integrations with our websites such as chat, finance applications, service schedulers, etc. Now with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics we are able to get a full picture for our customers on what we are truly providing them. We can show not only intent to fill out those third party applications but also how many chat interactions and even chat leads we delivered to them through our Drive Digital Group websites!

analytics goals

Our Account Managers are able to get a comprehensive look at our various digital marketing channel performances and report the full picture to our customers in their monthly strategy calls. This also uncovers very interesting points that, without full tracking, you would never know about. For example we have a client that wanted a very large “schedule test drive” button as the only conversion point on the SRP (Search results Page) and displayed prominently on the VDP (Vehicle Details Page).

As you can see from the graphic above you should be tracking the following

Core Engagements Measured:

  • Lead Form Submissions
  • Phone Call Conversions (Sales & Service)
  • Chat Conversations
  • SMS/Messenger Conversions

Secondary Engagements Measured:

  • Intent for Conversions Not Able to be Tracked
  • Car Fax Downloads, Specials Printouts, and Window Sticker Downloads

One thing to be aware of is that even if you are being provided this level of information from your vendors, are they making any sense of it for you? What I mean by that is these goals are simply measuring all conversions on the site. They are not segmented by source or channel. For that we provide custom dashboards to our customers so that they can easily see all of the above information but only as it relates to the sources of the traffic.

Below is an example to highlight what a dashboard might look like to segment all of that goal tracking only by paid search as the source. The dashboard shows all the relevant information using the Google Analytics Goal data, but only if the conversion originated from a paid search visit to the website.

ppc dashbaord

As a full service automotive digital advertising agency we use many more tools to gather data and make good decisions based on the data we collect. We are also using the Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics tools for much more than just what we have talked about in this article, this is simply a plea to car dealers to make sure that you are being provided with the necessary information you need to make informed decisions about the money you are spending to drive traffic and ultimately sell cars for your dealership.

Too often we see how loyal people have become due to relationships or habits and no one is actually looking at any real data to determine if changes need to take place. Don’t be one of those dealers! You are the customer, even if you are mandated to use certain vendors, it’s your right to get this information to be able to run your business effectively. It’s 2017 and it’s high time you start working with partners that have YOUR best interest in mind and whose livelihood depends on delivering real results that are measurable.


SEO: On-Page Optimization Guide

The purpose of this guide is to share insights from extensive hands-on experimenting, and is not necessarily a definitive guide of EXACTLY what to do. Similar to how there is more than one way to eat a Reece’s – there are many ways to go about optimizing your webpages, but this guide will help you better understand all the different elements that come into play and how they function together.

Normally, your website/page will rank somewhere in the top 100 with just content and few or no links. The lower your competition, the higher you should rank with just proper on-page SEO.

If you are not ranking well for easy keywords, then your site/page is probably being filtered due to poor keyword density.

Luckily, this usually can be fixed by simply adjusting site structure and keyword usage.

Before we get started, let’s check out these quotes from Matt Cutts, former Head of Web Spam at Google:

“Probably the ranking signal that SEOs worry about, that they shouldn’t really be worried about, is probably keyword density. You know, you continue to see people who are a little new to SEO come and say, ‘What should my keyword density be?’, and you know, focusing at that level of detail is not as helpful as compared to reading it aloud, seeing if it makes sense, showing it to people, seeing if it makes sense, having natural copy that doesn’t sound artificial or stilted, that’s the sort of thing that I would concentrate on rather than my keyword density should be ‘this’.”

“The first time we see word on the page, count it a little bit more. The next time, ok a little more, but not a ton more. And then, after a while, we say, ‘You know what? We’ve seen this word. Maybe this page is about this topic.’, but that doesn’t really help you to keep repeating that keyword over and over and over again. And, in fact, at some point we might view that as keyword stuffing and then the page would actually do less well, not as well as just a moderate number of mentions of a particular piece of text.”

Keyword density is the most important on-page SEO factor, and ignoring it is not really an option (despite what Mr. Cutts would want you to believe).

According to the latter quote, 0% keyword density will not rank for anything, and 50% density will not rank for anything.
Therefore, there must be a range of density that performs best.

With that being said, every site is different so we will dive into why density requirements vary from site to site.

On-page keyword density and link anchor text go hand in hand. They work together to optimize a page for a certain keyword or keywords. If you have low on-page density, then you can get away with having more exact match anchor texts, and vice-versa. Exact match anchors also multiply the power of your on-page keywords, basically intensifying their power.

Since you cannot always control the anchor texts that you receive from other sites, it is important to be ready and able to adjust your on-page density.

On the other hand, you could also build more authoritative links to overcome a penalty, which is what most SEOs do. However, it’s often easier/faster/safer to just adjust on-page density.

Right out of the box, WordPress will often over-optimize your site. All the default tags, widgets, categories, and menus will make you end up with a dangerously high keyword density.

It may not seem like a big deal, but even injecting your keyword 2 or 3 extra times can tip your page over the edge. Tweaking the default settings can often help stabilize rankings over the long-term.

    Keyword Densities Guide:

  • One-word keyword: 0.8%-1.1%

  • Two-word keyword: 0.7%-1%

  • Three-word keyword: 0.5%-0.7%

(There are a couple free tools out there that will determine your keyword density for a certain page.)

Rule of thumb: If it’s not broke, then don’t fix it!

If you’re already ranking somewhere on the first page, do not tweak your on-page. Instead, focus on building more quality links.

On-Page Elements:
Various parts of the page provide different degrees of optimization. For example, using your keyword in the body of your text is not as powerful as using it in the H1 or title.

The title is going to be your strongest optimizer. The more words you have in the title, the more diluted it becomes. If your page is receiving too much exact match anchors, then consider switching the title to a LSI related term.

The H1 tag is going to be your second strongest optimizer. Similar to the title, the optimization power can be diluted by adding words. Also, if your page is receiving too much exact match anchors you can change your H1 tag to an LSI related term. Another option is to just remove the H1 altogether. Sometimes your WordPress template will automatically inject a H1 tag, so diluting it will be your only option.

The “slug” is the URL of your article, and this is the third strongest optimizer. If you’re still having problems with being over-optimized, you can also alter the slug.
However, it is NOT a good idea to change your URL after the page has been indexed. Sometimes it is better to just use an LSI term in the URL from the get-go.

Bold, Italics, and Hyperlinks:
These are also forms of optimization. If you bold a keyword, it is like you’re using that word twice, and same goes for italics and hyperlinks.

With the addition of an adjective to a keyword, this “modified” keyword is no longer the same as the root keyword. For example, “dart board” is not the same as “best dart board”.
A rule of thumb is to use an unmodified version of the exact keyword you want to rank for in the title and H1 tag.

The pages of your website work together, with a sort of synergy, that can either propel the over-all rankings of your site, or drag them down.
If one or more pages is not optimized correctly, it can act like dead weight to the rest of your site.

This is especially apparent when you’ve properly interlinked your pages.
When all pages are well-balanced, they extend positive energy from page to page, and bring better rankings.


Why Local Citations are so important in capturing potential customers

car dealer digital advertising

It’s important to fully optimize your website to have the best results and the highest visibility in organic rankings. The same goes for local business listing on external sites such as Google My Business and Yelp to gain visibility in major search engines. A local citation or business listing is an online profile that contains information about your business such as NAP (name, address, phone number, etc). Without these Local Citations, your competitors will have better exposure when searching for products or services you may provide. Meanwhile, you are nowhere to be found.

The significance of Local Citations today:

  • 92% of consumers have used the internet to search for a local business in the last year, according to BrightLocal.
  • Distribution of yellow pages has declined over the years, ending their door-to-door delivery in some regions.
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews (vs. 29% in 2014), according to BrightLocal.

We can see that searching for local businesses is increasing especially in this day and age; where we find everything we need in the palm of our hands, just a click away. You may now be questioning, what should I do next? There are excellent citation tools available to you online. Check out these tools below for a simple and quick way to determine the health and visibility of your business listings.

Moz Local (powered by Google) is a free tool in which you can use to check your current business score. Moz checks to see if your business listing is correct, consistent and visible across the web in order to ensure that search engines and new customers can find you.

automotive digital marketing

BrightLocal is a paid platform that allows you to clean up your existing citations as well as create new business listing. One of the luxuries of BrightLocal is that it recognizes citations that have yet to be claimed and gives you the option to claim it with a direct link. It also helps spot incorrect business NAP which is harmful to your local search rankings.

automotive digital marketing

The good news about building your Local Citations is that it’s simple and free! Increasing your online presence by creating business listings will most definitely help your organic performance. Our dedicated team can help clean up your existing citations as well as find quality listings and make sure each one has the same consistency so it’s accurate across the board. Boost your local authority on major search engines by locking up your Local Citations!

automotive search engine optimization

Marketing to Millennial Car Buyers

The good old days of car buying, when the customers would wander from dealer to dealer looking at cars on the lot, is over for many buyers. A good example is the Millennial buyer, typically considered a person born from the late 1980s to the 2000s. These customers have grown up with the Internet, and use it daily as part of their lives.

automotive search engine optimization

Millennials rarely set foot in a retail store, they probably don’t read a newspaper in printed form, and they may not listen to commercial radio stations. They research online, they critique online, and most important they buy online. This is perhaps the most fundamental change in the auto industry in the last 20+ years. If you intend to sell to Millennials, you are expected to have an internet presence. As important is how you react to them on social media. If they ask you questions on your Facebook or Twitter page, they expect a prompt response. If you don’t have a social media presence, you probably won’t have Millennials as customers. Here is what you need to do if you want to engage Millennials in your business:


SEO is so Fetch!

Many people think that SEO is not as important as it used to be. However, organic search engine optimization is far from dead. Organic Search really works! Over the years SEO has changed so drastically that people really need to discover to think of it as less of a marketing tactic, and more of a branding play.

automotive digital marketing

I like to look at SEO as an investment with a tremendous return. By binding both SEO and Web analytics data, you’ll observe certain keywords having great conversion rates for which you rank only on page #2 on Google and know that you’re leaving money on the table. By Lifting your rank to the top 3 spots on the first page, where most clicks go, can provide a massive return on your moderate investment into SEO.

Every time you update your website, with its search algorithm, Google and other search engines change the way they look at your website. Things that didn’t exist a few years ago, such as social media indicators, are now given fairly high importance in terms of their impact on your rankings. Not building a healthy content profile spread out months and years is likely damaging to your business, as it is one of the factors Google evaluates when looking at your site.

If you happen to be engaged in social media like Facebook, than you’ll love knowing that SEO plays an important role with social platforms; content shared by users on social networks are directly related to SEO specific parameters like Title Tags and Meta Descriptions. This is what you see when people share posts and stories on their Wall, Google+ profile, Instagram, or in a tweet or share.

It’s important to remember that your competitors are doing it! SEO is truly a never ending process! If you’re not moving forward and improving, you’re losing ground to a competitor who are. That’s a simple fact of how the whole process works. So don’t let your competitors become more successful than you by ignoring this valuable tool for your business.


Automotive Marketing Trends Infographic 2015

Automotive Digital Marketing | Responsive Website

Drive Digital Group and Google have worked together to create an interesting infographic for the automotive industry. With statistics taken directly from our account representatives at Google, we have compiled a nice breakdown of marketing trends that dealers should be interested in taking a look at. Below the infographic we break it down in text format.

automotive responsive website

Automotive Digital Marketing Trends

The web is crucial in the automotive path-to-purchase.

Here is a brief recap of the above infographic:

Device Trends

40% of all searches for car dealers are now coming from mobile devices.

Mobile devices include smartphones and tablets.

Auto Queries Over Time

Queries peaked in summer months and reached lows between December and January.

Mobile Use

1 in 3 auto shoppers perform a mobile action while physically on a dealership lot.


46% of auto shoppers visited a dealership after watching a video online.

Vehicle Research

52% of car buyers see search engines as the most important source for vehicle research.

Good Display Network Insights

The Google Display Network reaches 9 out of 10 buyers who consult and average of 24 resources while they are considering a purchase

Brand Insights

Consumers are open to considering new brands. 57% of auto shoppers say a video introduces them to new brands.

Best Practices

  1. Location Extensions – Drive customers from search to your location
  2. Call Extensions – Make your phone ring during business hours from search
  3. Conversion Tracking – Better understand important actions
  4. Call to Action – Give customers specific direction with ad creative
  5. Remarketing – Build loyalty to increase returning customers
  6. Display – Influence customers who are in the market to buy