Use Google Posts to Advertise Dealer Lease Offers & Specials

I may sound like a severely broken record here, but not a month goes by without Google changing the way the game’s played. This month’s offering? The inclusion of a new “Offer” category within Google Posts.

You may be asking yourself, “Why should I care about Google Posts?”

Just hear me out, would ya?

Once a virtually dead feature for car dealers, Google Posts has finally come full circle, evolving into a powerful tool that adds supplemental value to branded paid search campaigns. With the most recent updates in the Google My Business platform, dealerships far and wide can now utilize the revitalized Google Posts to highlight daily, weekly, or monthly vehicle lease offers and finance deals. What an exciting time to be alive!

Google Offers Dealership

The Lowdown on Google Offers for Dealers

Before the implementation of an official “Offers” category, Google limited users to publish “What’s New” and “Events” posts. As a dealer, you likely saw limited benefits from either of these types of posts. After all, your potential leads want easy access to concrete data when researching vehicles—prices, savings, percentages, interest rates—not just information about a monthly sales event. The new Offers category opens many additional doors for those leads to walk through.

Here’s how it works:

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7 White Hat SEM Tactics to Become Google’s BFF

Breaking into a bank vault and making out like a literal bandit can be easier than pushing to the top of a SERP. But D. B. Cooper did it, so why can’t you? As you whittle away at those rankings, be sure to befriend Google and its mysterious algorithms by taking a stab at these white hat SEM tactics. Before you know it, you’ll be finishing each other’s…sandwiches.

Organic Search Decline

Source: Merkle

7. Diversify Your Branded Marketing Strategy

Of no surprise to anyone whose work has been to whack through Google’s weeds over the years, organic traffic is way down (see above). Where has that traffic gone, you ask? Google has kidnapped it, locked it in a dark-search basement, and there’s no ransom note for its safe return. You’re now having to replace that traffic with Google’s own properties: Reviews, Ads, Knowledge Panels, Answer Boxes, Maps—and the list goes on each time a new Google feature is released.

Yes, it’s true that Google has all your information. Yes, it’s true that over 34% of searches now result in NO CLICK AT ALL. Yes, it’s true that Google controls about 93% of the market. But you do have options to build a branded SERP.

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The Art of Marketing to Millennials Using Animated GIFs

Much like the way YouTube amassed and captured an audience in need, GIFs are doing the same with millennials like moi. They’re the gifts that keep gifing, allowing us to comment on situations or reply to questions with brevity — we all know that people don’t like reading anymore — and a bit of much-needed levity.

As a guy who grew up watching low-budget American sitcoms, pay-per-view wrestling events, and MTV music videos, the rising popularity of animated GIFs — pronounced with a hard “G,” and you’ll get a clobberin’ if you dare disagree — is a nostalgic breath of fresh air. While I confess to sometimes oftentimes going overboard with my GIF responses, nothing is as pleasant as finding and texting the perfect animated gem.

“Danny, wanna grab some lunch?”

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Breaking News! The Future Of America’s Auto Industry Is Changing With Ford

The opening quarter of 2018 has been an eventful one for the auto industry. First, continued concerns about Tesla factories and worker hardships flooded the web, along with newer issues related to its (literally) driverless cars. In March, the horrific accident involving Uber’s self-driving vehicle showed us that perhaps autonomy isn’t where we all thought it was. Then there were a few scary weekends in which U.S. auto stocks fell after talks of tariffs and a global recession.

Such stories dwarfed normally important industry news, pushing otherwise front-page headlines onto the third page, such as GM’s switch to quarterly reporting and a wave of subscription and rental services offered to dealers.

Now that those viral-friendly pieces have seemingly come and gone, it’s time to focus on what we feel is the biggest automotive story of the year: Ford’s aggressive plans for the future, including the elimination of nearly every sedan in its lineup.

Breaking Ford News

“What?! Did I Miss Something?”

If you haven’t yet heard about Ford’s five-yearish plan, then yes, you’ve missed something. Announced within the official Ford 1Q Financial Statement, the automaker’s strategic framework is as follows:

  • By 2020, Ford will cut ties with all sedans and cars not named “Mustang” or “Focus.”
  • The new Focus Active crossover will be the only holdover.
  • Approximately 90% of the Ford portfolio will be made from pickups, SUVs, and commercial vehicles.
  • By 2022, Ford will produce 16 electric-hybrid models, including the F-150, Escape, and upcoming Bronco.
  • Ford will focus extensively on developing a so-called “viable autonomous technology business” to offer ride-hailing and the delivery of goods.
  • The company will also scale its Transportation Mobility Cloud product and Ford Credit program.
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Secret SEO Audit Strategies to Assess Client Websites

“How are you going to make us number one?”

We get asked this on the reg, and so long as the planet revolves around the sun – I guess I did retain information from elementary school, after all – SEO specialists and marketers will continue to answer that question. It’s some sort of unbreakable rule written in digital stone.

Most salespeople shoot buzzwords from the hip when approaching new business. And that tactic works well since buzzwords are designed to excite, draw upon humankind’s innate neediness, and build up a euphoric sense of gratitude for being allowed entry into some mysterious, clandestine club. (Few have ventured past these doors and lived to tell their tale!)

However, unlike buzzwords, there’s nothing sexy about the term “SEO audit.” Consider how you would react if someone said they were auditing you. Just hearing the word—audit—makes you want to spit in the face of the first person to look at you funny. Say it out loud: Audit. Emphasize its syllables: Audit. Doesn’t it make you hate babies and want to stomp flowers into dust?

SEO Audit Tips

That, my friends, is no buzzword: It’s a buzzkill!

But should it be? The benefits of selling yourself as an expert SEO auditor typically outweigh the risks of mentioning it, so why have we slapped it with the “unsexy” label when it’s more like “nerdy chic”? Well, there’s no time like the present to take a stand and revolt. Follow these secret SEO auditing tips from the pros, and together we can Make Audits Sexy Again.

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Ranking the 7 Most Important Review Sites for Auto Dealers

Is your dealership the prom king or class clown?

Review Site Ratings

Just like your high school, crawling up the internet’s ladder is a popularity contest, and the dealer with the most votes wields the crown and scepter come prom night. If you’re like me, whose middle name might as well have been “Supremely Unpopular Nerdo” in school, you probably read that sentence and hit upon a vein of teenage-propelled PTSD. (Weren’t we told that no one cares about popularity after college? Those liars.)

The fortunate news is that dealers can overcome this new-age digital popularity contest far easier than 18-year-old me could go from yearbook outcast to classroom royalty. A diverse array of good dealership ratings across the most relevant sites is a good start, but there are a few review platforms that may be more worth your while. Here’s our list of the most important dealership review sites to focus on in 2018.

1) Google Reviews

The head honcho. The big enchilada. The top dog, VIP, grand poobah. That’s Google when it comes to review platforms—or just about any digital platform, it seems.

“That’s some big talk. But how important are Google reviews, really?”

If you’ve had a tough go of making the top of the “first page,” we don’t blame you. More than 3.5 billion people hit the Google SERP stream per day—that accounts for over 75% of search engine traffic across desktops and mobile devices—and organic rankings are noticeably taking a backseat to the various Google-owned SERP properties, such as paid ads, Google Maps, knowledge graphs, image carousels, YouTube videos, Google products, and the almighty local pack. Online visibility in all categories may be at an all-time high, but so too is your competition.

Aside from location, one key driving force for SERP placement, whether that’s in the local pack or organically, appears to be a dealer’s reviews.

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Answers to All Your Google Q&A Questions

Ah, Google: Always on the cutting edge of, well, everything. Now, with the implementation of Google My Business Q&A, they’re attempting to answer commonly asked questions right from the Knowledge Panel. Some may see this update as yet another way Google is stripping power from business owners, but this new feature offers a lot of potential for brand growth—if handled properly.

 

Google Q and A

Photo: smallbusiness.googleblog.com

What is Google Q&A?

In the fall of 2017, Google pushed “Questions & Answers” out on their Google Maps app (Android). In December, this feature rolled out to mobile and desktops. “Great,” you say. “But what does it do?”

As the name suggests, users can ask a business owner specific questions related to their services, products, or policies. Owners of that Google My Business listing can then respond to these questions.

How Does Google Q&A Affect My Business?

Customers ask questions; owners answer said questions. Easy-peasy, right?

Not quite, as anyone with a Google account can also answer these questions without having a direct connection to the business property. Even competitors can ask and answer questions on your Google property, which should be alarming to anyone whose rivals are snarky weasels.

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Significant Digital Marketing Stats to End 2017

Ah, a new year! What better way to celebrate the conclusion of a turbulent 2017 than with some nerdtastic digital marketing data? Some of these “significant stats” may excite. Some may surprise. Some may make you shrug a shoulder. But they’re all true, so there’s that.

Enjoy.

Automotive Page Speed

Photo: marketingcharts.com

22 Seconds

The average mobile website takes more than 22 seconds to load completely. The average user abandons an unloaded mobile site after just 3 seconds. Can you see the dilemma there?

Within our direct market (automotive), the average mobile site speed comes in at a blistering (/s) 9.5 seconds. If you’re seeing high bounce rates on your dealer site, start by inspecting your site structure and caching settings, including how you’re utilizing mobile ads, banner graphics, vehicle images, and add-ons that may not generate a lot of attention in your heat maps.

320 Characters

In early December, Danny Sullivan (hi, Other-Danny!) officially announced Google had increased the character limit for meta descriptions, expanding the snippet length from ~160 to 320 characters.

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6 PPC Ad Copywriting Tips Every AdWords Manager Should Read

As marketers, we know to add call-to-actions, value propositions, and keywords to our paid search ad copy. Data strongly suggests these techniques work, but there are even more ad writing tactics that may be flying under your radar.

If you’re an AdWords manager whose PPC-stardom is reliant on garnering quality leads for your clients, be sure to take a look at these essential ad copywriting tips before you build another campaign. (Words are powerful, friends.)

1. Answer Readers’ Questions (Mirror User Objectives)

User Ad Objectives

Photo: wordstream.com

 

Ads on the SERP aren’t meant to be entertaining (yet?)—they’re meant to provide users with insight and a tangible reason to click. So, ask yourself three main questions when considering how to earn that ad click:

  1. What would I search for if I wanted to [find a local porcupine hairdresser]? (example)
  2. How can I make my ad stand out against other ads for [porcupine haircuts]? (again, just an example)
  3. Will my target audience be likely to visit my [porcupine barber shop] website if I write copy this way? (once again, we in no way offer rodent hair styling services)

Certain phrases may be more enticing in your niche—you’ll find some common advertising language that sparks interest further down this post—so keep that in mind when choosing words. The goal is to attract high-value readers, not those people who have time to kill and a smartphone at their disposal.

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Why Do Google Search Results & Keyword Rankings Vary?

As digital marketers working toward those big-picture SEO results, we get this question pretty frequently: “Why do I see a different Google first page than you?”

The answer, as you may have guessed, is nuanced thanks to Google’s search algorithm complexities and extensiveness. Upon searching for a certain keyword or phrase, you may see a set of links on your home computer that differ from those on your smartphone or tablet. The same can be seen when comparing results between your location in, say, Las Vegas and your pal’s home in Reno.

While these subtle differences on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) might appear like a jumbled mess—for businesses pushing their brand, it can undoubtedly be inconvenient—we assure you that everything is working as intended…for the most part.

SERP Results Different

Different Google Search Page Results: Contributing Factors

Remember when keyword rankings were cut and dry? Oh, how times have changed! A decade ago, you would likely see the same results for certain keywords no matter your location or device. Now, Google considers a variety of factors that influence the first page, including:

  • Device (desktop, mobile, tablet)
  • Location by IP address
  • Browser
  • Search history (cookies, cached data, bookmarks)
  • Google account access
  • Ads shown
  • Keywords
  • Interpreted intent (micro-moments)

This SERP personalization has arguably been beneficial to users, but it can be an SEO headache for brands and marketers looking to make waves past local geographic borders. Because we’re such nice people, here are a few SERP tips and tricks to help you navigate these somewhat nauseating waters.

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