HTTPS Everywhere: What it Means for Your Dealership

Google uses over 200 factors to determine website relevancy, and now HTTPS has been thrown into the mix, with a rule that Google is calling “HTTPS Everywhere.”


From keyword relevance and backlinks to social shares and web page loading time, Google uses its ranking signals to determine which websites rise up and which fall in the search results. Some signals carry more weight than others, and Google has hinted that HTTPS may become stronger than it is now.

HTTPS Will Soon be Everywhere

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and is a communications protocol for secure communication over a computer network. Websites that use HTTPS transport data by means of the SSL/TSL protocol. These protocols encrypt data that is transported between a user and a website, and protect against common types of security breaches, such as man-in-the-middle attacks.

Earlier this year, Google called for worldwide adoption of HTTPS as the new web protocol standard. The search giant has long been a supporter of HTTPS, which is implemented by default for Gmail and Google Docs. Perhaps in an effort to further their agenda for a secure web, Google began testing HTTPS in their search ranking algorithms.

Tests were encouraging, so Google decided to go ahead and make the move.

HTTPS now plays a role in search rankings

Google states that “security is a top priority” and while currently HTTPS is only a “lightweight” signal that affects less than 1% of queries, “over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

AutoTrader’s Social Media Survey is a Total Sham

They say that if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. In the case of AutoTrader’s recent “study” about car shopping habits, it’s not just a matter of torturing the data. It’s about coercing the study to produce a result that puts into a negative light the biggest threat to their core business model.

Team AutoTrader

In a recent post on Automotive News, the advertising giant determined that a mere “1 percent of car buyers use social sites to shop for a vehicle.” Seriously? You needed to pay for a study to determine that Americans are not complete morons? I’m actually pretty shocked that as many as 1% of people would go to social media sites with the intention of shopping for a car there. It’s more likely that a handful of the 1900 people surveyed either misread the question or filled out a false response in order to be obtuse. Nobody goes to social media sites to shop for a vehicle.

Leave the Screen Open: How to Deliver Screen-Friendly Experiences

I found myself squinting at the letter “N”.

Responsive vs. Adaptive Design - do you know the difference?

That’s all I could see after I pinched and zoomed in on one guitar after another on the musicians’ gear website that appeared on my smartphone. I zoomed out a little so I could read a little more of the text, but I had to keep scrolling right and left and up and down to get the gist of the message. Do you know what I did? I exited the site… probably never to return. And I really loved one of the Gibsons, too!

Multi-screen shoppers

I’m sure you’ve experienced the joy of viewing a full website on a cell phone, or even a tablet. At last check, 31% of website traffic on the Cobalt networks is now coming from tablets and mobile devices. And that percentage is NOT trending downward. So it’s vitally important to have a clear multi-screen strategy in place for your dealership.

Let’s begin with your shoppers. An understanding of why consumers shop the way they do is central to delivering a good experience, no matter how they encounter you. As consumers ourselves, we know the operative word is convenience, and in this case that means they must be able to access your site (i.e., inventory, hours & directions page, why buy messaging, etc.) no matter what device they have at their disposal at any given time. And, when I say ‘access,’ I mean they must not only be able to get to it; they also have to be able to actually gather information and navigate successfully.

91% of those surveyed in the 2014 Salesforce Mobile Behavior Report said being able to access information however they choose was important to their shopping experience. The other 9% are apparently rife with spare time.

Speaking of spare time, today’s shoppers don’t have much,

Date: August 14, 2014
Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Event: Last Call for Dealer ThinkTank - Washington DC / Baltimore
Topic: Subject matter experts and thought-leaders providing strategies, discussing ideas, challenging ideology, and creating solutions for real-world problems facing the automotive industry.
Sponsor: DealerOn
Venue: Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel
(410) 730-3900
Location: 10207 Wincopin Circle
Columbia, MD 21044
Public: Private
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

DTT Logo Title


Dealer ThinkTank – Washington DC / Baltimore Thursday August 14th
The Washington DC / Baltimore Dealer ThinkTank is finally right around the corner and this is your LAST CALL to register!!

I have only a few half price ticket codes available, so HURRY UP and Register here using code “JK50“.

Eventbrite - Dealer ThinkTank Washington DC
Thursday, August 14th, 2014
9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sheraton of Columbia MD 

For some reason or another, the DC Metro area isn’t at the top of the list to host industry conferences. Other than the fact that the area is far from cheap (albeit a determining factor), it houses 3 major airports within 1 hour of each other. The Northern VA / DC area offers some great venues surrounded by your choice of beautiful mountain side landmarks and rich history or the upbeat urban – city culture of the Baltimore & Washington DC.

Whatever the reason may be, the DTT crew set out to change that! We all agreed it was an essential area for a Dealer ThinkTank.

DTT DC Cover

Calling the DealerRefresh community in the Washington DC / Baltimore area – here is your opportunity to attend a local conference with substance. Don’t miss out. Don’t look back in 2 weeks and wished you had attended.

We have such a jammed packed day full of education and sharing of best practices that you’ll be excited to take back to the dealership and implement.

My session - “Mobile Workflow – The Showroom Process of the Future” will have you asking yourself why you haven’t started using tablets on your showroom floor as yet.

You’re going to be blown away on how easy it is to:

  • Increase front end gross (Yup!)
  • Sell more products (insurances & warranties)
  • Sell more accessories
  • Increase CSI scores
  • Increase your closing ratio and sell more cars!

…by simply utilizing a mobile tablet (iPad) with the proper apps on the showroom floor and injecting it into your existing “road to the sale”.

Not only will your customers LOVE the new experience, but also your sales team will instantly appreciate how much more effective and confident they become. Ultimately resulting in more sales.

HURRY UP and Register! and don’t forget to use “JK50” (while they last) for half off.

P.S. Plan to stick around afterwards. Many of us are going to walk down to Clyde’s afterwards for food and “beverages”.

Eventbrite - Dealer ThinkTank Washington DC
Thursday, August 14th, 2014
9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sheraton of Columbia MD 
Unsolicited Attendee Reviews from Previous Events:

Cincinnati Dealer ThinkTank Review with Kevin Frye

Chicago Dealer  ThinkTank Review with Bill Havican

Boston Dealer ThinkTank Review with Pam Wildeman

Are VDP Views the Cause or the Effect of Better Digital Marketing?

Which comes first…the VDP or your dealership’s overall marketing?

VDP Views

Ever since the rise of dealership websites as a virtual showroom rather than the online billboards they started as in the beginning of the digital age, there has been a correlation between the number of people viewing vehicle details pages (or in some cases, inventory search results pages) and the number of vehicles that a dealership sells. Marketers have been attempting to crack the code of the correlation and usually come to the conclusion that if you get more people to view a dealership’s inventory, you’ll sell more cars and therefore the goal should be to drive people to these pages.

The question that has been coming to mind for a while now but that I’ve never voiced in a blog post is whether driving VDP views is improving marketing or whether better marketing is driving VDP views. It may sound like a silly question to ask; who cares as long as it sells more cars, right? In reality, it is the type of answer that can help dealers and marketers better position their efforts and focus solely on what is important, what is truly helping to generate more sales.

It’s important to keep in mind that the products that my company sells are geared toward driving VDP views through search, social, and third party sites, so even bringing up the question at all could be detrimental to business. However, it’s important for us and the rest of the industry to know how this dynamic works in order to market smarter and get the highest ROI.

One thing is clear

The Exit to the Sale: It’s No Longer a Road

The Road to the Sale is DEAD!

No longer a Road to the Sale

This concept that consumers arrive at a decision to purchase because we’ve walked them through a drawn-out series of steps is no longer realistic.

If the average prospect told us how they would like to buy rather than be sold, I highly doubt any would devise such a tortuous sequence of events as we’ve created for them.

We have to eliminate the idea that the “Road to the Sale” sells cars.