Dealers United Offers SEO – Their First Offer to Dealer Members

Dealers United offers SEO

dealersunited logoI’ll assume most of the community members and readers are aware of Dealers United and their mission “to place the power back into the hands of private dealers by leveraging the purchasing power of many dealerships and turning it into BIG savings.”

Basically a group buying service for dealers where Dealers United sift through industry vendors that offer a particular service, while choosing the “Best of the Best” to be presented as the offer. Click here to learn more about Dealers United.

In a few days Dealers United will be launching their first group buy offering to dealer members (free to sign up).

Their first offering — SEO.

My Opinion: I haven’t spoken about nor given Dealers United much publicity on DealerRefresh, and maybe for a few reasons. Despite my really good relationship with Jesse (founder) over the last several years – I can’t seem to figure out how Dealers United is going to effectively work for dealers. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in their mission and what they’ve set out to accomplish BUT I’m not sold on the end product with long term stability.

Not every service fits every business. Plus your placing someone/organization in the middle of the group buy, allowing for opportunities of confusion, mistakes and possible mis-representations worries me.

Then to have SEO as the first offer??
OUCH. There are too many variables in SEO to try and BIG BOX into a group buy. IMO, Dealers United would have been better off choosing a more simplified product that most all dealers “Get and Understand” but are not executing on. A service that’s more straight forward with less consistent change and variables.

That’s my current opinion around Dealers United. Again, nothing personal towards the Dealers United crew.

For this first offering, Steve Stauning was in charge of digging through several SEO providers to choose only the best for dealers. This has brought up some heated discussion amongst some of the other industry forums. Apparently some believe having Steve as part of the process of choosing an SEO company could be tarnishing due to possible self interest.

A few questions for the community…

1. Do you see value in Dealers United?
2. Was SEO a wise decision as the first offer to launch with?
3. Should dealers merely outsource their SEO / Social campaigns with having NO education around the medium?

Below is an article written by Steve to help promote the first Dealers United offering. I encourage you to read it and then offer your comments…

Picking The Best of The Best - Steve Stauning

As some of you may know, I served as the director of ecommerce for the Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE: ABG) a few years ago. One of the most rewarding things about working for a publicly-traded MegaDealer Group was the ability to not only negotiate from a position of strength (we had over 120 franchises back then), but also the luxury of relying on a team of experts to help us always select the best of the best providers of any product or service.

While our process was exhaustive (we once issued an infamous – and wholly unnecessary – 33-page RFP during a search for a new website vendor); we had a distinct advantage that most private dealerships do not have: we had the time to fully and deeply investigate all potential vendors. Our corporate staff didn’t have to worry about selling cars or responding to leads, so we had plenty of time to properly vet the suppliers.

Snake Oil Sellers Need Not Apply…

I’ve always had a passion for cutting through the BS in the automotive vendor world; and it actually makes me sick to read some of the gaming that goes on in the blogs (including this one from time-to- time). Not because it’s allowed – I don’t think it’s the editors’ jobs to investigate the veracity of every discussion post – but because private dealers are most often the victims of these opportunists. At Asbury, we could easily see through the smoke screens and sniff out the snake oil; for private dealers, this is not always so simple.

That’s why I’ve been so excited by what’s going on at Dealers United.

As some of you now know, I’ve had the privilege of helping Dealers United with their ambitious launch. Among the very cool things I get to do, is leading the vetting team for Dealers United approved vendors. This process, as I will describe briefly below, is hands down the most intensive investigation I have ever heard any company undertake to find the best of the best providers in our industry. (Even more exhaustive than the searches we conducted at Asbury.)

It’s No Beauty Contest…

I can tell you that assisting the Dealers United team has been unbelievably rewarding. The first deal (releasing March 28) is for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services, and we left no stone unturned.

We didn’t just pick the most famous, most vocal or biggest names in automotive SEO and hand one of them a contract; although we certainly invited these companies to participate. We also didn’t care what the blogs said about a company (I already wrote that those can be gamed); so a self-made industry reputation and lots of dubious industry awards only got you an invitation to participate in the search.

These particulars didn’t sway us just as they should never sway you; and I can guarantee these wouldn’t influence the publicly-traded MegaDealer Groups when they’re looking for a provider. Simply put: we were on a mission to find the best, not the loudest.

A Dealers United Vetting is not for the Weak…

We started with 35 SEO Companies (yes, thirty-five); and over the following four weeks, we completed

an intensive investigation into their abilities (both stated and not). We examined the search engine optimization content they were capable of creating (and replicating and maintaining) for their clients; and we studied hundreds of their client websites and tested these for search visibility on Google and other search engines. Additionally, we scrutinized their processes, strategies and tactics to ensure everything they provided was true “White Hat” SEO.

Finally, we studied their ability to generate meaningful (and authentic) offsite content and links for their dealer-clients.

So, after four weeks of this thorough investigation that included webinars with those we felt were the top six vendors, we whittled it down to the very best provider. This supplier not only has a fantastic SEO solution, but they also understand private dealers enough to know that their job is to deliver great search visibility, while allowing the dealers to sell cars.

In other words: they are physically doing the SEO work, and not busy trying to train your team on the ever-changing world of search engine optimization. (While we value private dealer education above nearly all else, the realities of SEO and dealership turnover do not lend themselves to wasting a dealer’s money on SEO training for his/her team. As I’ve learned over the years, your team should be busy selling cars, not writing SEO content.)

It’s Not About Price…

The best part about our process is that we only considered a vendor’s ability to provide great SEO to the Dealers United members. We didn’t care about personalities; we didn’t allow any gaming; and we weren’t swayed by anyone’s PR machine. We were singularly focused: great SEO and nothing else.

It wasn’t until we felt we’d found the best of the best did we consider pricing in the equation. In fact, pricing was not even contemplated or discussed with 29 of the 35 invited companies – their solutions (for various reasons) were obviously no fit for our dealer-members, so why ask how much it cost?

Once we found a great fit with an exceptional company providing world-class SEO, we worked to negotiate a deal… and boy oh boy, did we negotiate one phenomenal deal for our dealer-members. (Sorry, but you’ll have to wait until the deal is released to our members on March 28 to learn the details.)

I Know There Will Be Sour Grapes…

During my days at Dealer Specialties and Reynolds Web Solutions we occasionally lost large OEM bids; and each loss stung for a short period of time. The difference between those losses and the ones that we will dish out every month with Dealers United is that being selected from an OEM RFP process is most-often associated with providing the lowest price, not necessarily the best service. So the “endorsement” value a winning company would receive from an OEM bid was often worth very little.

Not so with Dealers United.

Given that we’re still experiencing phenomenal growth – while already three times larger than all of the publicly-traded MegaDealer Groups combined – a winning vendor in our search can truly hold their head

high, because unlike an OEM RFP, this is not about price; and unlike industry awards or ratings sites, the Dealers United vendor selection process is intensive, exhaustive and comprehensive; and it cannot be gamed.

By the end of the last week of this search I was physically drained; but I can state without reservation that we selected the best of the best – and that makes me genuinely proud to be associated with something this important to dealers.

Good selling!

Jeff Kershner

I’m the founder of DealerRefresh. I got my start in the dealer business when I was 18. From there I've worked throughout several departments within fixed to variable ops. Whether it’s managing the desk, perfecting sales process or studying online marketing and media trends, I absolutely love this business and the challenges it brings. On top of keeping up with DealerRefresh, I consult with dealerships and key industry businesses. My passion has been and continues to be helping dealers leverage new media to sell and improve customer service.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

20 comments
Wikimotive
Wikimotive

I'm sure a "big box" solution is fine for a majority of dealers out there who would rather not take the time to learn enough to hold their vendors accountable. But I thought this basically already existed within many of the better web solutions providers out there. Hasn't everyone heard of dealer.com by now?   Wikimotive is an SEO solutions provider and even as a young company focused on growth, we never even considered for a moment offering our services via DU. While the growth would be nice now, it would completely undermine the values of our company in providing the very best service to a single dealer in each market.    You can't very well scale market exclusivity. You can't very well scale expectations for results when you're held to the same results timelines in a rural area as you would be in a competitive metro area. And if contracts are a concern, I think our motto says it all.   I think the mission of DU is nice and last I checked none of us are in the non-profit sector so for those companies who are willing to slash their profitability for large scale access to dealers, I think that's great for them and DU.   As for us, we work too hard and produce far too much to give so much away. The idea that you can take a good SEO company and drop a ton of clients in their lap and expect scalability is just absurd. Last I checked there weren't graduating classes with thousands of SEO degrees coming in to the market place. How can they hire and train true experts to deliver consistent results?   Steve S is a sharp guy, but with all due respect, SEO is about gaming. Of course, you want your SEO company to follow ethical guidelines, but the idea that this great extensive testing is necessary is just foolish. Run a few google searches and you know who's who. Hell there is free software out there that will do it all for you and compile the reporting. It just sounds like he shifted the "loudness" of those purporting their expertise, to... well...himself...    That's my 2 cents...   -M   Wikimotive - No Contracts, No Commitments - Just Results! http://wikimotive.com  

Wikimotive
Wikimotive

I'm sure a "big box" solution is fine for a majority of dealers out there who would rather not take the time to learn enough to hold their vendors accountable. But I thought this basically already existed within many of the better web solutions providers out there. Hasn't everyone heard of dealer.com by now?   Wikimotive is an SEO solutions provider and even as a young company focused on growth, we never even considered for a moment offering our services via DU. While the growth would be nice now, it would completely undermine the values of our company in providing the very best service to a single dealer in each market.    You can't very well scale market exclusivity. You can't very well scale expectations for results when you're held to the same results timelines in a rural area as you would be in a competitive metro area. And if contracts are a concern, I think our motto says it all.   I think the mission of DU is nice and last I checked none of us are in the non-profit sector so for those companies who are willing to slash their profitability for large scale access to dealers, I think that's great for them and DU.   As for us, we work too hard and produce far too much to give so much away. The idea that you can take a good SEO company and drop a ton of clients in their lap and expect scalability is just absurd. Last I checked there weren't graduating classes with thousands of SEO degrees coming in to the market place. How can they hire and train true experts to deliver consistent results?   Steve S is a sharp guy, but with all due respect, SEO is about gaming. Of course, you want your SEO company to follow ethical guidelines, but the idea that this great extensive testing is necessary is just foolish. Run a few google searches and you know who's who. Hell there is free software out there that will do it all for you and compile the reporting. It just sounds like he shifted the "loudness" of those purporting their expertise, to... well...himself...    That's my 2 cents...   -M   http://wikimotive.com  

Wikimotive
Wikimotive

I'm sure a "big box" solution is fine for a majority of dealer out there who would rather not take the time to learn enough to hold their vendors accountable. But I thought this basically already existed within many of the better web solutions providers out there. Hasn't everyone heard of dealer.com by now?   Wikimotive is an SEO solutions provider and even as a young company focused on growth, we never even considered for a moment offering our services via DU. While the growth would be nice now, it would completely undermine the values of our company in providing the very best service to a single dealer in each market.    You can't very well scale market exclusivity. You can't very well scale expectations for results when you're held to the same results timelines in a rural area as you would be in a competitive metro area. And if contracts are a concern, I think our motto says it all.   I think the mission of DU is nice and last I checked none of us are in the non-profit sector so for those companies who are willing to slash their profitability for large scale access to dealers, I think that's great for them and DU.   As for us, we work too hard and produce far too much to give so much away. The idea that you can take a good SEO company and drop a ton of clients in their lap and expect scalability is just absurd. Last I checked there weren't graduating classes with thousands of SEO degrees coming in to the market place. How can they hire and train true experts to deliver consistent results?   Steve S is a sharp guy, but with all due respect, SEO is about gaming. Of course, you want your SEO company to follow ethical guidelines, but the idea that this great extensive testing is necessary is just foolish. Run a few google searches and you know who's who. Hell there is free software out there that will do it all for you and compile the reporting. It just sounds like he shifted the "loudness" of those purporting their expertise, to... well...himself...    That's my 2 cents...   -M   Wikimotive - No Contracts, No Commitments - Just Results http://wikimotive.com  

Wikimotive
Wikimotive

I'm sure a "big box" solution is fine for a majority of dealer out there who would rather not take the time to learn enough to hold their vendors accountable. But I thought this basically already existed within many of the better web solutions providers out there. Hasn't everyone heard of dealer.com by now?   Wikimotive is an SEO solutions provider and even as a young company focused on growth, we never even considered for a moment offering our services via DU. While the growth would be nice now, it would completely undermine the values of our company in providing the very best service to a single dealer in each market.    You can't very well scale market exclusivity. You can't very well scale expectations for results when you're held to the same results timelines in a rural area as you would be in a competitive metro area. And if contracts are a concern, I think our motto says it all.   I think the mission of DU is nice and last I checked none of us are in the non-profit sector so for those companies who are willing to slash their profitability for large scale access to dealers, I think that's great for them and DU.   As for us, we work too hard and produce far too much to give so much away. The idea that you can take a good SEO company and drop a ton of clients in their lap and expect scalability is just absurd. Last I checked there weren't graduating classes with thousands of SEO degrees coming in to the market place. How can they hire and train true experts to deliver consistent results?   Steve S is a sharp guy, but with all due respect, SEO is about gaming. Of course, you want your SEO company to follow ethical guidelines, but the idea that this great extensive testing is necessary is just foolish. Run a few google searches and you know who's who. Hell there is free software out there that will do it all for you and compile the reporting. It just sounds like he shifted the "loudness" of those purporting their expertise, to... well...himself...    That's my 2 cents...   -M   http://wikimotive.com

Wikimotive
Wikimotive

I'm sure a "big box" solution is fine for a majority of dealer out there who would rather not take the time to learn enough to hold their vendors accountable. But I thought this basically already existed within many of the better web solutions providers out there. Hasn't everyone heard of dealer.com by now?   <a href:"http://wikimotive.com">Wikimotive</a> is an SEO solutions provider and even as a young company focused on growth, we never even considered for a moment offering our services via DU. While the growth would be nice now, it would completely undermine the values of our company in providing the very best service to a single dealer in each market.    You can't very well scale market exclusivity. You can't very well scale expectations for results when you're held to the same results timelines in a rural area as you would be in a competitive metro area. And if contracts are a concern, I think our motto says it all.   I think the mission of DU is nice and last I checked none of us are in the non-profit sector so for those companies who are willing to slash their profitability for large scale access to dealers, I think that's great for them and DU.   As for us, we work too hard and produce far too much to give so much away. The idea that you can take a good SEO company and drop a ton of clients in their lap and expect scalability is just absurd. Last I checked there weren't graduating classes with thousands of SEO degrees coming in to the market place. How can they hire and train true experts to deliver consistent results?   Steve S is a sharp guy, but with all due respect, SEO is about gaming. Of course, you want your <a href:"http://wikimotive.com/seo-company">SEO company</a> to follow ethical guidelines, but the idea that this great extensive testing is necessary is just foolish. Run a few google searches and you know who's who. Hell there is free software out there that will do it all for you and compile the reporting. It just sounds like he shifted the "loudness" of those purporting their expertise, to... well...himself...    That's my 2 cents...   -M

dealerrefresh
dealerrefresh moderator

We’re honored to announce that Dealers United selected KPA’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) product out of 35 SEO vendors as their first offer to Dealers United members.

The fact that Dealers United selected KPA for its first deal is proof of the leadership position we have taken in the automotive industry for product excellence, and commitment to client service and satisfaction. KPA acquired TK Carsites and its Website, Social Media, and SEO products in 2011. Since this acquisition, we have invested significantly in the client service of these Internet marketing products.

 

Client service and expertise is the foundation for the trust and reputation that over 4,000 auto dealerships have in KPA’s products. This includes more than 500 automotive dealerships who use KPA’s Search Engine Optimization since we acquired TK Carsites last year. TK Carsites was one of the pioneers of SEO in the automotive industry, offering SEO services since 2003.

While members ultimately have to make their own decision to buy KPA SEO at the best negotiated terms available in the industry, all automotive dealerships should take advantage of the educational programs KPA offers. KPA’s complimentary educational webinars presented through www.dealerwebinars.com is already the industry leading educational resource with over 100 webinars per year where dealerships can educate themselves on SEO, automotive social media, website development, and other industry topics.

 

If you are interested in the Dealers United SEO offer, please visit www.DealersUnited.com. For more information about KPA SEO, please visit www.kpaonline.com/seo.

 

Best wishes,

Vane Clayton

CEO

 

dealerrefresh
dealerrefresh

We’re honored to announce that Dealers United selected KPA’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) product out of 35 SEO vendors as their first offer to Dealers United members. The fact that Dealers United selected KPA for its first deal is proof of the leadership position we have taken in the automotive industry for product excellence, and commitment to client service and satisfaction. KPA acquired TK Carsites and its Website, Social Media, and SEO products in 2011. Since this acquisition, we have invested significantly in the client service of these Internet marketing products.   Client service and expertise is the foundation for the trust and reputation that over 4,000 auto dealerships have in KPA’s products. This includes more than 500 automotive dealerships who use KPA’s Search Engine Optimization since we acquired TK Carsites last year. TK Carsites was one of the pioneers of SEO in the automotive industry, offering SEO services since 2003. While members ultimately have to make their own decision to buy KPA SEO at the best negotiated terms available in the industry, all automotive dealerships should take advantage of the educational programs KPA offers. KPA’s complimentary educational webinars presented through www.dealerwebinars.com is already the industry leading educational resource with over 100 webinars per year where dealerships can educate themselves on SEO, automotive social media, website development, and other industry topics.   If you are interested in the Dealers United SEO offer, please visit www.DealersUnited.com. For more information about KPA SEO, please visit www.kpaonline.com/seo.   Best wishes, Vane Clayton CEO  

JesseBiter
JesseBiter

It seems this post hit DR twice.  Below is my reply to the other post:

 

Jeff,

 

Thanks for the post,,,, I feel the more questions we can answer about Dealers United, the better. To answer your question about SEO,,,, from day 1 we decided that we wouldn't go out and suggest to dealers what they needed. Instead, we surveyed our dealers and they told us which products they wanted us to go out and research for them. We plan to do one product per month and since SEO received the highest responses we figured we'd start there. Our SEO deal launches March 28th and I'm certain our members will be happy with our research. But, keep in mind, we AREN'T an SEO company. Next month we'll be off of SEO and on to the next deal.

 

You mentioned:"IMO, Dealers United would have been better off choosing a more simplified product that most all dealers "Get and Understand" but are not executing on. A service that's more straight forward with less consistant change and variables. "I'd love to know what you had in mind. We surveyed our dealers with a list of 20+ different products we could help with, we also left an open "comment" box,,,, but we are always looking for new ways to help dealers.As to your comment:"I just haven't been able to "see" where Dealers United really fits into the landscape for dealers. Don't get me wrong, I believe in their mission and what they've set out to accomplish BUT I'm not sold on the end product with long term stability."I'm glad you believe in the mission. It's the mission that gets us out of bed each morning and keeps us excited to work hard for our dealer members.

 

As for the end product and the long term stability,,,, I can certainly appreciate those concerns. I would understand them more from someone that doesn't know me well vs someone who does,,,, but, nonetheless, I can appreciate them. The end product will be a non-biased company that lives each day to advocate for the dealers. I/we dont' expect dealers to say OK and accept it,,,, we will work hard each and every day for as long as it takes to prove to each dealer in the industry that we are on their side. As to the long term stability,,,, we'll, financially I'm in good shape and I won't stop at anything to ensure Dealers United is around for the long term. Regardless, our members never sign a term contract so,,, no matter what, our members are always free to move on should, God forbid, anything happen to us.

 

kcar:I'd love to see you elaborate on your comment. Are you not in favor of what Dealers United is doing or just not interested in SEO?

 

Yago de Artaza Paramo:Great response, thank you! Without giving away too much detail about our first deal launching next week --- we have always considered what to do with such a broad dealer base as ours. We engage with vendors that are able to offer more than one product when necessary to accomodate the needs of our diverse dealer base. You will see that our provider not only has a best in class solution (wow, I sound like car guy ;-) but that they have something for everyone. Stay tuned. Feel free to throw anything my/our way. I'm always interested to get your honest feedback. 

 

Sincerely,

Jesse Biter

Co-Founder, Dealers United

JesseBiter
JesseBiter

It seems this post hit DR twice.  Below is my reply to the other post:   Jeff,   Thanks for the post,,,, I feel the more questions we can answer about Dealers United, the better. To answer your question about SEO,,,, from day 1 we decided that we wouldn't go out and suggest to dealers what they needed. Instead, we surveyed our dealers and they told us which products they wanted us to go out and research for them. We plan to do one product per month and since SEO received the highest responses we figured we'd start there. Our SEO deal launches March 28th and I'm certain our members will be happy with our research. But, keep in mind, we AREN'T an SEO company. Next month we'll be off of SEO and on to the next deal.   You mentioned:"IMO, Dealers United would have been better off choosing a more simplified product that most all dealers "Get and Understand" but are not executing on. A service that's more straight forward with less consistant change and variables. "I'd love to know what you had in mind. We surveyed our dealers with a list of 20+ different products we could help with, we also left an open "comment" box,,,, but we are always looking for new ways to help dealers.As to your comment:"I just haven't been able to "see" where Dealers United really fits into the landscape for dealers. Don't get me wrong, I believe in their mission and what they've set out to accomplish BUT I'm not sold on the end product with long term stability."I'm glad you believe in the mission. It's the mission that gets us out of bed each morning and keeps us excited to work hard for our dealer members.   As for the end product and the long term stability,,,, I can certainly appreciate those concerns. I would understand them more from someone that doesn't know me well vs someone who does,,,, but, nonetheless, I can appreciate them. The end product will be a non-biased company that lives each day to advocate for the dealers. I/we dont' expect dealers to say OK and accept it,,,, we will work hard each and every day for as long as it takes to prove to each dealer in the industry that we are on their side. As to the long term stability,,,, we'll, financially I'm in good shape and I won't stop at anything to ensure Dealers United is around for the long term. Regardless, our members never sign a term contract so,,, no matter what, our members are always free to move on should, God forbid, anything happen to us.   kcar:I'd love to see you elaborate on your comment. Are you not in favor of what Dealers United is doing or just not interested in SEO?   Yago de Artaza Paramo:Great response, thank you! Without giving away too much detail about our first deal launching next week --- we have always considered what to do with such a broad dealer base as ours. We engage with vendors that are able to offer more than one product when necessary to accomodate the needs of our diverse dealer base. You will see that our provider not only has a best in class solution (wow, I sound like car guy ;-) but that they have something for everyone. Stay tuned. Feel free to throw anything my/our way. I'm always interested to get your honest feedback.    Sincerely, Jesse Biter Co-Founder, Dealers United

Terrence Gordon
Terrence Gordon

Nobody can argue against group-buying power.   But SEO is probably the last service that works in regards to scalability.  SEO (if done the right way) is an extremely customized solution that requires actual human man-power to generate (content, etc).  I can't think of any worthwhile SEO company that would be able to deploy service for 300 accounts at once without some type of "boxed" program - in which case sounds spammy to me. 

 

SEO as a stand-alone solution, or a stand-alone vendor also does't make sense anymore as website vendors have increased their SEO knowledge and serviceability.  Not to mention, a stand-alone SEO company still has to ensure the website vendor allows access in order to conduct the SEO.  I have always said, the best company to do your SEO is your website vendor. So select your website vendor accordingly.

 

Best of luck to Dealers United.  Maybe Inventory Management Software should have been your first offering  (sorry - small plug there ;) 

Terrence Gordon
Terrence Gordon

Nobody can argue against group-buying power.   But SEO is probably the last service that works in regards to scalability.  SEO (if done the right way) is an extremely customized solution that requires actual human man-power to generate (content, etc).  I can't think of any worthwhile SEO company that would be able to deploy service for 300 accounts at once without some type of "boxed" program - in which case sounds spammy to me.    SEO as a stand-alone solution, or a stand-alone vendor also does't make sense anymore as website vendors have increased their SEO knowledge and serviceability.  Not to mention, a stand-alone SEO company still has to ensure the website vendor allows access in order to conduct the SEO.  I have always said, the best company to do your SEO is your website vendor. So select your website vendor accordingly.   Best of luck to Dealers United.  Maybe Inventory Management Software should have been your first offering  (sorry - small plug there ;) 

BrianPasch
BrianPasch

Jeff

 

I agree with you that picking SEO for a first product was a risky move.  Since PCG Digital Marketing provides SEO services to dealers, I have first hand experience with speaking with dealers who regardless of how many reports we provide, just don't stay with SEO for the long term.

 

PCG demonstrated our service to Steve Stauning and we were not selected.  This is not a sour grapes post, just a confirmation that satisfying and scaling an SEO service for 200-300 dealers is not an easy task for any selected vendor.

 

It wouldn't surprise me that at the 60-90 day mark, a number of dealers cancel the service.  It will not be because they vendor they chose did a bad job, it will because they will not see much change.  

 

The attention span for a dealership on SEO strategy is very short.  In fact, dealers who have a little knowledge of SEO will expect to be on Page One for a high traffic terms like "Used Cars" and won't be satisfied unless they see that happen.  They may also suggest that they appear in multiple geo-targeted locations in 60 days, which depending on their market, may not be realistic.

 

Since Dealers United requires no long term contracts as part of the deal, it will make it easy for dealers to jump ship. 

 

As we all know, Google is constantly change what impacts search results, Misteray is correct that cookie cutter solutions will have less of an impact on organic results.  For what our research reveals, SEO strategies will require move involvement with the dealer to leverage video and social signals of quality. It will require more unique, original content.

 

It will be a challenge for the SEO vendor, who has initial no relationship or bond with the dealer, to make that connection and get that commitment.  So we will have to wait and see what this new "middle man" model brings to the table.

 

One of the bigger questions that seems to be unanswered is what type of handcuffs do the selected vendors have in regards to incremental business.  For example, Dealers sign-up for SEO vendors service today but the company upsells a portion of the dealers with other products they offer.  Does Dealers United require a commission on those new opportunities as well?  Does Dealers United become a perpetual "partner" in all future sales?  

 

Could the push to get thousands of Dealers to signed for Dealers United really be a larger play picture to capture the  future sales commission for dozens of initial products and dozens of future products sold through the initial connection via DU? 

 

That will be something to discuss over time...

 

 

 

 

 

BrianPasch
BrianPasch

Jeff   I agree with you that picking SEO for a first product was a risky move.  Since PCG Digital Marketing provides SEO services to dealers, I have first hand experience with speaking with dealers who regardless of how many reports we provide, just don't stay with SEO for the long term.   PCG demonstrated our service to Steve Stauning and we were not selected.  This is not a sour grapes post, just a confirmation that satisfying and scaling an SEO service for 200-300 dealers is not an easy task for any selected vendor.   It wouldn't surprise me that at the 60-90 day mark, a number of dealers cancel the service.  It will not be because they vendor they chose did a bad job, it will because they will not see much change.     The attention span for a dealership on SEO strategy is very short.  In fact, dealers who have a little knowledge of SEO will expect to be on Page One for a high traffic terms like "Used Cars" and won't be satisfied unless they see that happen.  They may also suggest that they appear in multiple geo-targeted locations in 60 days, which depending on their market, may not be realistic.   Since Dealers United requires no long term contracts as part of the deal, it will make it easy for dealers to jump ship.    As we all know, Google is constantly change what impacts search results, Misteray is correct that cookie cutter solutions will have less of an impact on organic results.  For what our research reveals, SEO strategies will require move involvement with the dealer to leverage video and social signals of quality. It will require more unique, original content.   It will be a challenge for the SEO vendor, who has initial no relationship or bond with the dealer, to make that connection and get that commitment.  So we will have to wait and see what this new "middle man" model brings to the table.   One of the bigger questions that seems to be unanswered is what type of handcuffs do the selected vendors have in regards to incremental business.  For example, Dealers sign-up for SEO vendors service today but the company upsells a portion of the dealers with other products they offer.  Does Dealers United require a commission on those new opportunities as well?  Does Dealers United become a perpetual "partner" in all future sales?     Could the push to get thousands of Dealers to signed for Dealers United really be a larger play picture to capture the  future sales commission for dozens of initial products and dozens of future products sold through the initial connection via DU?    That will be something to discuss over time...          

Misteray
Misteray

The concept sounds good, but there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.  I assume Dealers United will be getting kickbacks from the venders...which leaves them open to accepting those vendors who pay the most rather than give the most.  It may not be true, but it is suspect.

 

As for SEO, it is no surprise that dealers put SEO at the top of the list.  SEO/SEM is a mystery to most dealers (and most SEO "experts").  Having done SEO/SEM for several years I can tell you it's the easiest hardest thing to do.  It's easy to get dealers first page placement for keywords that have no relevance and/or very little traffic.  It's not so easy to get high rankings for keywords that actually drive traffic.  And, since the search engines are constantly changing the algorithms, its not something you can do once and forget...it takes a lot of work and constant monitoring to get (and stay) on the first page for premium keywords.  Most of the dealer sites I've looked at have hundreds of keywords in their meta-tags, not realizing that SE's really only look at the first three.  All those "extra" keywords just dilute the keyword density...same goes for SEM (PPC).  It's an art, not a science.

 

Unfortunately the lack of understanding of technology makes dealers prime targets for 3rd party vendors selling the NBT (Next Big Thing).  Dealers have lots of money and very little knowledge...and that makes them easy "pickin's" for vendors.  They WOW them with all the bells and whistles, but I have yet to find an SEO vendor that performs above mediocre.  They're proud of their 2% CTR and have convinced the industry that it's a great return.  I get 25 -30% CTR's and ten times the traffic for a tenth of the cost.  Yes, it can be done, but not by a BIG BOX vendor who gives a snotty-nosed kid who has never set foot in a dealership (much less sell a car) twenty dealer sites to manage.  SEO/SEM is not a one-size fits all proposition.  Nor is it a set it and forget it operation...although that's how most of them work.

 

Maybe Dealers United can solve the problem, but I doubt it.  I don't know them, but IMHO, I think they're just another middleman reaping a profit from ignorant dealers.  I hope I'm wrong and mean no disrespect, but like I said at the beginning, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch," they're making money someway, somehow.

 

I just caution any dealer before signing up for any service to talk to dealers who are actually using the service to get their feedback.  Visiting DealerRefresh Forums is a good start.

Misteray
Misteray

The concept sounds good, but there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.  I assume Dealers United will be getting kickbacks from the venders...which leaves them open to accepting those vendors who pay the most rather than give the most.  It may not be true, but it is suspect.   As for SEO, it is no surprise that dealers put SEO at the top of the list.  SEO/SEM is a mystery to most dealers (and most SEO "experts").  Having done SEO/SEM for several years I can tell you it's the easiest hardest thing to do.  It's easy to get dealers first page placement for keywords that have no relevance and/or very little traffic.  It's not so easy to get high rankings for keywords that actually drive traffic.  And, since the search engines are constantly changing the algorithms, its not something you can do once and forget...it takes a lot of work and constant monitoring to get (and stay) on the first page for premium keywords.  Most of the dealer sites I've looked at have hundreds of keywords in their meta-tags, not realizing that SE's really only look at the first three.  All those "extra" keywords just dilute the keyword density...same goes for SEM (PPC).  It's an art, not a science.   Unfortunately the lack of understanding of technology makes dealers prime targets for 3rd party vendors selling the NBT (Next Big Thing).  Dealers have lots of money and very little knowledge...and that makes them easy "pickin's" for vendors.  They WOW them with all the bells and whistles, but I have yet to find an SEO vendor that performs above mediocre.  They're proud of their 2% CTR and have convinced the industry that it's a great return.  I get 25 -30% CTR's and ten times the traffic for a tenth of the cost.  Yes, it can be done, but not by a BIG BOX vendor who gives a snotty-nosed kid who has never set foot in a dealership (much less sell a car) twenty dealer sites to manage.  SEO/SEM is not a one-size fits all proposition.  Nor is it a set it and forget it operation...although that's how most of them work.   Maybe Dealers United can solve the problem, but I doubt it.  I don't know them, but IMHO, I think they're just another middleman reaping a profit from ignorant dealers.  I hope I'm wrong and mean no disrespect, but like I said at the beginning, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch," they're making money someway, somehow.   I just caution any dealer before signing up for any service to talk to dealers who are actually using the service to get their feedback.  Visiting DealerRefresh Forums is a good start.

autodealers
autodealers

Hi Jeff,

 

I was searching something else when I saw a stat for the "2011 Automotive eShopper Experience Study". The Dealers United article was at the top of the page. I watched the video and it had me emotionally hooked..."Apple Pie", "American Dream", etc. all emotion evoking phrases, but to see that the first service offered is SEO seemed a bit odd. You hit all the key points dead on Jeff.

 

Something more helpful would have been to address one of the stats in the eShopper article...Only 6% of dealers call leads the first day they receive them!!!! If that is the best auto dealers can do someone needs to do a serious evaluation of the entire industry.

 

I've written on this before, but 4 years or so ago I audited an auto dealers web based CRM to discover only 50% of the Internet leads they bought had even been opened and looked at by the BDC or a sales person...that was only 1 years data.

 

As a lead generator for the auto industry I get a few leads returned from dealers each month...with a slightly disturbed tone that they bought a lead, but the person had already purchased a vehicle; After some research I discovered that auto dealers with caps were missing leads that sat in our system till the following day to be delivered, but the prospect didn't hear back and contacted another dealership.

 

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!! when it comes to working Internet leads! (And only 6% of dealers respond the same day?)

 

Increased SEO services, social media, pay per click, etc. doesn't matter if dealers cannot increase their follow up time with prospects.

 

Imagine if an auto dealer increased their same day follow up time by 10, 20, 30%, what would that do to the bottom line?

autodealers
autodealers

Hi Jeff,   I was searching something else when I saw a stat for the "2011 Automotive eShopper Experience Study". The Dealers United article was at the top of the page. I watched the video and it had me emotionally hooked..."Apple Pie", "American Dream", etc. all emotion evoking phrases, but to see that the first service offered is SEO seemed a bit odd. You hit all the key points dead on Jeff.   Something more helpful would have been to address one of the stats in the eShopper article...Only 6% of dealers call leads the first day they receive them!!!! If that is the best auto dealers can do someone needs to do a serious evaluation of the entire industry.   I've written on this before, but 4 years or so ago I audited an auto dealers web based CRM to discover only 50% of the Internet leads they bought had even been opened and looked at by the BDC or a sales person...that was only 1 years data.   As a lead generator for the auto industry I get a few leads returned from dealers each month...with a slightly disturbed tone that they bought a lead, but the person had already purchased a vehicle; After some research I discovered that auto dealers with caps were missing leads that sat in our system till the following day to be delivered, but the prospect didn't hear back and contacted another dealership.   TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!! when it comes to working Internet leads! (And only 6% of dealers respond the same day?)   Increased SEO services, social media, pay per click, etc. doesn't matter if dealers cannot increase their follow up time with prospects.   Imagine if an auto dealer increased their same day follow up time by 10, 20, 30%, what would that do to the bottom line?

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