Industry News & Trends

Look-Out AutoTrader and Cars.com, There’s a new Guru in Town

Toiling in the trenches, way under the radar, a feisty little automotive internet startup is making all the right moves with its cross-hairs fixed on you, on me and all of us in our industry… the automotive internet/retail industry.

First, a little background…

I am constantly tinkering and improving our site, trying to improve our Google Search Results. 2-3 times a month, I’ll do long tail keyword analysis on Google for phrases like “used Ford Taurus near Syracuse NY”. I keep seeing this lil-start-up site popping up on Google everywhere and I mean everywhere! “So what!” I murmured to myself… “I see car classified-site wannabes scraping and puking out millions of pages of junk all the time. They appear… then disappear a week later.

But this lil’ start-up looked different. This Classified ad site was amazingly thorough in its search results and its pages had depth and effort. Curious, I looked into it’s About-Us Page where I found an eye-popping list of 21st century Internet Kingdom builders including the founders of eBay Motors and TripAdvisor! Woa! To say I was impressed was an understatement. From the Board of Directors on down, its pedigree drips with MBA’s and Computer Science engineers from Harvard, MIT, and on.

Then I looked in cities all over the USA and I saw their master plan…

What we have percolating under our feet, is the architecture of the most SEO friendly, robust automotive classified ads site that I’ve ever seen, run by experienced world class Internet entrepreneurs (not newspaper companies). It’s time you get to know… www.CarGurus.com.

Let’s look deeper. Way off everyone’s radar, CarGurus.com is working hard to rank for phrases like:

  • used Acura MDX near [city] [state]
  • used Buick Lucerne near [city] [state]
  • used Chevrolet Equinox near [city] [state]
  • used Ford F-150 near [city] [state]

For my market, I ran 100 phrases & here is the Average Position SUMMARY:

1. Cars.com……….6.2
2. CarGurus.com……7.4
3. AutoTrader.com…86.0
4. UsedCars.com…..89.7

WOW! See for yourself, the 100 Google search results I ran are here.

Is CarGurus.com strong in your City? Simply add your city & state with your major market and see for yourself. In AutoTrader’s defense, they rank very well in major markets, but, CarGurus.com is still top 10 in these markets too.

CarGurus.com super dominates local search. Google sees what’s going on. But the “big prize” for CarGurus.com is ranking for a top 3 position for Google’s HOT HI-VOLUME short tail terms like:

  • cars used
  • used cars
  • cars for sale
  • cars sale
  • used car
  • used cars sale
  • used cars for sale
  • used vehicles
  • buy cars

On the national stage, CarGurus.com is way off the radar:

1. Cars.com…………..13.4
2. AutoTrader.com…15.4
3. UsedCars.com…..23.3
4. CarGurus.com…..91.8

My report for this  is here.

Our business is automotive retail… its LOCAL retail and Google knows it. CarGurus.com is hitting on all cylinders and IMO, IT WON’T BE LONG before Google’s quality team manually flags CarGurus.com as an “automotive shopping site of authority”. If and when that happens, they’ll catapult onto the national stage. If & when that happens, you best have your lead volume caps in place as CarGurus.com will hit critical mass and 3rd party lead counts will blow a hole in your bank account! 😉

Can it happen? Absolutely.

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors at Google, but, in my exhaustive studies, Google’s army of quality control people do oversee and manually override search results. You can bet that Google’s quality control executives personally know all about the stellar work of CEO Langley Steinert and the board members like Simon Rothman, Steve Kaufer and others. IMO, it’s only logical for Google to flag CarGurus.com to rank higher for nation-wide terms like “Used Cars”, and when that happens, the shopper counts will go into the stratosphere over night. CarGurus.com is an all-star in the AAA minor leagues… looking to step up to the bigs. One stroke of a Google Keyboard is all it’ll take.

It doesn’t end here…Retailers BEWARE! CarGurus.com leads are DANGEROUS.

Visit this CarGurus.com thread in our forum —  Used Cars – CarGurus.com – vAuto and the Travel Industry.  It details the CarGurus.com “marketing hook” where the shopper knows if your price is high or low and by how much. 3rd party resellers HIDE the lead source, so, your lead is a set up for a fire fight on the sales floor. You’ll also see an open letter that I sent to Renee Porter, from the partnership division of Cars.com. I am trying to warn Cars.com that leads from CarGurus.com (a cars.com partner) need to be clearly identified as a cargurus.com shopper.  A very in-depth and interesting thread FYI.

Additionally, the CarGurus.com platform needs help with its price comparison tool. Our industry produces very poor used car details and this is the reason why no-one has been able to produce a true blue VIN to VIN shopping tool (GIGO: Garbage IN, Garbage Out).

So, from my seat, CarGurus.com has some internal marketing hooks to perfect, but, its site architecture has no equal. Top rankings on Google are a zero sum game. Look out AutoTrader.com, Cars.com. The Guru is building its empire, one city at a time and if they go national, your iron grip on our marketplace will diminish. CarGuru’s model forces shoppers into producing a lead, its “Marketing hook” helps reinforce the confidence needed to submit a lead. Your dealers will notice a “butt-load” of leads from CarGurus.com partners and comparatively little from you. To maintain share, you’ll need to spend more on TV and tinker with new lead generating tools and wrestle with more dealer unrest as the new comer’s pay for performance model and its leads are eating into your dealer’s budgets.

2011 is going to be very interesting indeed.

B
@Joe

This site has been on my radar screen for months and I commend their SEO and website architectural team on their accomplishments.


As you pointed out, they have a very good core architecture. As you know, I have had my hands busy creating the page design and architecture for the AAN.


If I am not mistaken, I saw an AutoUsa advertisement that lists CarGurus.com as one of the websites that feeds them leads.


I have done some deep dives on this site and will be including them in my fall conference seminars at DD9 and Driving Sales Executive Summit.
E
Amazing insight from Dealer Refresh again! This type of real time, actionable information is why I will always rely on Dealer Refresh as my NUMBER ONE source ideas and conversation DIRECTLY RELATED to our business!


Bravo, Joe! Thanks for education and enlightenment...again!
J
TY Edward Shaffer. Glad you liked my work. I'm not a writer, I blew the draft out fast, but boiling it down and making it shorter... takes forever! It's nice to be recognized by the Park Place team.

thnx again,
Joe
Killer post Joe!


I'm hoping we have a well-rounded comment session with input from some of the third-parties mentioned.
D
You know from what I see here it looks like AutoTrader is not the hottest thing since sliced bread like they claim to be. I dont personally use them but I do know many dealers paying 3-6k per month on it and it appears that they use the more is better instead of quality is better.
J
Dawn,


In the internet classifieds biz, The winner is NOT the long tail site, it's the short tail site. Autotrader smacks the ball over the fence with "Used Cars" vs and gives up "Used Toyota Tundra near Flatness Kansas".


Google has one job. To give the searcher a great experience (so you'll come back again). Google defends the top honors to those national sites that offer a great shopper experience. My research tells me that CarGurus.com has what it takes to be a nationwide "Short Tail" car shopping site of authority (aka blessed by Google to be ranked well).


Before you throw AutoTrader under the bus, take a look at how they stack up: <a href="http://siteanalytics.compete.com/autotrader.com+cars.com+cargurus.com/?metric=uv&amp;months=12" rel="nofollow">http://siteanalytics.compete.com/autotrader.com+c...</a>

Last Month:

autotrader.com 6,917,716

cars.com 2,971,532

cargurus.com 760,390


AT is 2:1 &gt; cars.com and AT is 10:1 greater than cargurus.com... but, thats not the story&#039;s theme. CarGurus.com 760k shoppers are all LONG TAILERS and it&#039;s well documented (and logical) that Long Tailers are far more committed to a purchase than is a short tailer.


This may explain why Cars.com has 50% less shoppers, but the lead count in my market out-performs AT.
J
If you&#039;re hell-bent on REPLACING Autotrader.com&#039;s ads with other lead generating opportunities, put together an aggressive Google/Yahoo Pay Per Click campaign, run it for 6 months and see what your lead counts from these PPC ads are like.

My PPC budget is equal to all 3rd party $&#039;s and PPC wins hands down. I know it&#039;s not a fair fight. Classified ad shoppers want to remain anonymous AND PPC shoppers are on my site where I can see them. A PPC shopper is on my site, comparing prices to no-one else. That last fact alone has enormous value.

That being said, car shoppers are everywhere! I remain committed to AT and Cars.com because they have a valid business model and it fits our inventory profile.
D
Good point Joe but in my experience with AutoTrader I have not seen big gains which is why I said they focus on quantity and not quality.


I think my big beef with AutoTrader is that if you dont have premium listings you will NEVER show up first no matter how you price your vehicles or what you do. The premium always shows first.


Like when a consumer searches for a Nissan Altima and I have a featured listing and my competitor has a premium, mine is priced less and is better equipped with less miles and they are both the same year...I lose no matter what bc when the consumer organizes the cars from cheapest to most expensive, they are first though they are more expensive. When the consumer is looking for less miles and organizes the data low to high miles mine is not first even though it does have the cheapest price or it does have the least miles.


This is deceptive and some consumers may not realize that their requested data filter is not ALL vehicles. I can see where AutoTrader benefits bc they can sell these outrageously priced packages and they make out like bandits from it LOL. I however feel differently about my ROI from that $5k per month.
M
  • M
    Marvin Finuschky
  • August 10, 2010
I can imagine the howls of indignation if cars or autotrader placed an indicator in dealer&#039;s listings saying &quot;this is a fair deal&quot; or &quot;this is a bad deal&quot; like cargurus is doing. As happened when CARFAX started posting its opinion about how much vehicle history adds to or decreases a car&#039;s market value, there would be much ballyhooing about killing dealer grosses, not sticking to a core business and trying to get between the dealer and the customer.


Would you advertise in a paper if the publisher insisted on prominently placing their opinion of your pricing in your ads?
J
Marvin writes: &quot;...Would you advertise in a paper if the publisher insisted on prominently placing their opinion of your pricing in your ads?&quot;

Batten down your doors Marvin... Internet Technology is knockin&#039;.

Maybe you should have a chat with your GM and let him/her know how pissed you are. Be sure to call on your new 4G iPhone so you can have a live video conference with your GM on his iPhone so he understands how pissed you are. Your GM will check CarGurus.com on his iPad that&#039;s hooked to your stores wireless LAN that gets to the Internet via FIOS. (Sorry Marvin, I can&#039;t help myself sometimes... I&#039;m a sucker for sarcasm)

Marvin, This is just the 1st shot over the bough. More will come. vAuto paved the way, demonstrated that it&#039;s possible and elected to sell the data to dealers.

GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).
CarGuru&#039;s missing trim/package data keeps the comparison results from being 100% true (you can thank lazy dealers for that... but thats a whole &#039;nother subject ;-).

I am ready for battle, but the carguru.com leads come to us BLIND and the shopper thinks we know what he knows... NOT A SNOWBALLS CHANCE IN H***.

Shopper has his CarGuru.com printout (we&#039;re $1700 high), we give him a trade-in offer, shopper drops the &quot;Guru Bomb&quot; on the deal and a fire fight erupts.

All the Dealer knows is the leads came from ______(insert 3rd party lead seller&#039;s name).

Not Smart.

I am 100% aok with it all until the lead hits us without the &quot;Guru Shopper&quot; warning. Heck, we could be $1700 under and we accidentally give away the house when we didn&#039;t need to.

CarGuru is all about transparency, let&#039;s finish the job, transparency all the way to the end!!

CarGuru Execs take note!!

&quot;Don&#039;t Bite the Hand that Feeds You!&quot;
J
If you&#039;re trying to reach me, Please don&#039;t call my stores (I work from Home :) !!


Try: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joe-pistell/14/726/410" rel="nofollow">http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joe-pistell/14/726/41...</a>

or my gmail accnt: joepistell[at]gmail.com
D
Fantastic analysis Joe!


For now, dealers need to put the name of their store on the lead photo (thumbnail photo) of every vehicle. Just the store name, big enough to be legible in the thumbnail. Magic City Ford in Roanoke, VA has the right idea. About 1/3 of the traffic coming from used vehicle listings never phones, emails, or chats. Give your customers a chance to know your good name is behind the vehicle and where they can walk in to see it.


As good as this site is on SEO, it is equally bad on sales integration. The demonstration is poor. The seller&rsquo;s notes appear to cut off at 778 characters (926 with spaces). Cars.com allows up to 2000 characters, plus another 2000 in the batch tag line. The shopper will never see most of it. The pictures cut off at eight. Cars.com provides up to 32. If CarGuru provides video, I have not found a single example of it.


These things are fixable, but the site is not going to generate a lot of consumer loyalty and advocacy with a lead generation model, no chat, no map, no directions, no address, and trickle poor demonstration of the vehicle. My guess is that over 80% of the shoppers visiting this site leave and visit Cars.com and/or AutoTrader.com. SEO gets shoppers looking, but you still need to get the shopper excited about the vehicle and let them contact the store any way they want to.


My new book, Sales Integration, will be out later this month. Unless these Ivy Leaguers read what this old boy has to say, they ain&rsquo;t never gonna catch Cars.com and AutoTrader.
R
I wanted to do some research before commenting and in my opinion I think we are missing the elephant in the room.


The inventory hosted on Carguru.com is being supplied by several different agencies. These are companies that we the dealer are paying to display our inventory on their sites. Sites like Car.com, Vehix, Usedcars.com (Dealix) are just a few.


From what I have gathered Carguru.com is paying some of these companies for our inventory feed. Why else would a company like Cars.com or Dealix supply a competitor with an inventory feed, if that competitor had designs on beating the stuffing out of them? There must be some kind of symbiotic relationship between them that goes beyond what we the dealer sees on the surface.


In addition to that, the same companies that we are paying to host our inventory are spreading it all over the web to countless car sites. The end result is that not only are we guilty as dealers of allowing our inventory management companies to shot gun our cars to all the Vast&rsquo;s and Oodles of the parasitic car shopping world, but we are also paying companies to sell our feed to the Cargurus of the world, and then having them sell it back to us. Not to mention the dilution of SERP&rsquo;s, and a battle for organic search results in your own back yard for the very vehicles that you have purchased and placed up for sale in the hopes of making a profit.


Is this the third party lead providers game plan to counteract the organic SEO efforts that dealers are using for GPOM? We cannot assume that these companies are completely ignoring what Brian Pasch has been saying for a very long time regarding the third party and free inventory sites. They have to fight back to regain their market share of the SERP or they will cease to exist.
C
Great article, Joe. I just read thru your Used Cars &ndash; CarGurus.com &ndash; vAuto and the Travel Industry forum and you are right on! The way I see it is cars.com has some vested interest in CarsGurus.com and cars.com is just trying to get more of the pie with yet another 3rd party website. Do you think the consumers are as confused as the dealers when they receive a welcome letter from cars.com after submitting an inquiry on CarsGurus.com?? So much for sourcing.
J
You nailed another one Carol!


&quot;Do you think the consumers are as confused as the dealers when they receive a welcome letter from cars.com after submitting an inquiry on CarsGurus.com?? &quot;


Great observation.


In Cars.com&#039;s defense, it&#039;s paying CarGurus.com for leads and NOT passing along the cost. Dealix re-sells them.
E
Yet another extraordinarily insightful post. You always give a great analysis. CarGurus could be a game-changer and certainly represents another step in the evolution of online car selling.


They do face some challenges: While they optimize really well on market-specific long tail searches (Used Acura MDX near Boston), that&#039;s not how most customers enter AutoTrader.com or, I presume, Cars.com. Both of these giants have spent years and hundreds of millions building huge name recognition. During my time at ATC, I was privy to the data. A tremendous number of used car shoppers simply type AutoTrader.com directly into their browser. And then, for those customers that use Google, another huge number simply do a Google search for &quot;AutoTrader.com&quot;. We have to assume that same goes for Cars.com. One problem for CarGurus is ATC and Cars have established themselves as THE pre-owned search engines.


All the research says retail customers love 3rd party sites. In large part, because of the ability to compare, side by side, cars from competing dealers. I fully respect that fact the you do a phenomenal job attracting shoppers away from the &quot;Big 2&quot; to look at your inventory without the competition right next to your cars. I also respect the fact you recognize that ATC and Cars will attract a (significant) number of shoppers and embrace those sites as well.


CarGurus needs two things: eyeballs and inventory. You can&#039;t get or keep one without the other. I searched &quot;used Acura MDX near boston&quot;. ATC was #1 &amp; Cars.com was #2 (organic). CarGurus was #8. The ATC link took me to 251 used MDXs near Boston, the CarGurus link to 94 MDXs near Boston and the Car.s com link to a generic national landing page. The number #3 organic result was FirstAcura.com with a great site from optimization wizards CapitiveLead.com.


If nothing else, CarGurus drives home the point that car shoppers love to compare. And they make it even easier than it was before. Having the right cars, bought right and priced right is more important now than ever!
J
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • August 11, 2010
Cars.com and AutoTrader.com have a &quot;Brand&quot; that rivals can not currently compete with.


CarGurus will also need a brand to truly compete with the above rivals.


@Joe, I&#039;ve been asking leads providers to be transparent on where their leads come from for years. Their excuses for not doing so have always been lame.
A
Hi Joe,


In a field full of misinformation (automotive SEO) and snake oil salesman it&#039;s great to see and educated, empirically driven individual writing about topics that aren&#039;t even on most people&#039;s radar yet. Great article!


We too have noticed CarGurus.com for over a year now. We fully understand the notion of the small start up that&#039;s flying under the national radar quietly doing it&#039;s thing :) We are that! BTW Ed, thanks for the props.


CarGurus core application and their automated SEO is in a league of its own. The link structure, URL structure, geographic organization of various inventories, etc, are (in a single word)...elegant. To dominate the long tail key phrase means appearing at the top of the search results for A LOT of key phrases while showing up for short tail key phrases means show up A LOT for relatively few key phrases.


Currently, due to the elegance of the core structure and informational organization of their site/inventory they&#039;re doing exquisitely well for long tail. And as you said, once they get the Google quality team&#039;s blessing, they&#039;ll start competing (if not dominating) the short term key phrase game as well. Once that happens, the other retail sits (AutoTrader, Cars.com, etc) will suddenly find that they have a serious threat, not on the horizon, but in their back yard.


Next gen SEO has always been part of our core infrastructure which is why and how we&#039;ve managed to dominate the long tail game for terms as competetive as &quot;used honda accord boston&quot; or even &quot;used honda accord new england&quot; etc. We&#039;re in latter phases of the next version of our applications which emphasizes heavily on quantum leaping even our own SEO game. Although the details SEO strategy of a retail portal are slightly different than that of a dealer&#039;s local site, the over riding principals remain the same. CarGurus is so far ahead of the SEO game, and the industry so very heavily reliant on SEO (including AutoTrader and Cars.com) that once CarGurus gets Google&#039;s quality blessing, brand or no brand, they will be a heavy weight contender and if I were in the retail game...I&#039;d be very concerned.


When CarGurus hits critical mass and attains an organic yet signifcant brand, it&#039;s the equivalent of Mohammad Ali fighting George Forman.


Here&#039;s my two cents when it comes to the formula for the success of any auto retail portal:


Brand + Google&#039;s blessings + great site structure/relevance = Eat their lunch!


Thanks for a great article Joe, looking forward to more insights from you.


Best,

Alan Ezzati

Managing Director,

Captive Lead LLC.
J
My buddy Ed Brooks writes: &quot;...that&rsquo;s not how most customers enter AutoTrader.com or, I presume, Cars.com. Both of these giants have spent years and hundreds of millions building huge name recognition. During my time at ATC, I was privy to the data. A tremendous number of used car shoppers simply type AutoTrader.com directly into their browser... another huge number simply do a Google search for &ldquo;AutoTrader.com&rdquo;. We have to assume that same goes for Cars.com....&quot;


I was going to write an article on this because I get a kick out of this cycle of madness.

AutoTrader and Cars.com claim to be the car shopping internet sites search engines, found exclusively on the internet. Yet, if you go down to the local bus station and ask some one, any one, if they wanted to buy a used car, where would they go, 95% of them would say google.

Summary: &quot;Car Shopping Solution&quot; = google.

Then, you look at how (and why) AT and Cars.com uses traditional media
<a href="https://dealers.autotrader.com/dc/portal/atc_portal_broadcastexposure.jsf" rel="nofollow">https://dealers.autotrader.com/dc/portal/atc_port...</a>

&quot;Our big network media buys and local radio advertising drive serious shoppers to AutoTrader.com. Our broadcast exposure is one more reason AutoTrader.com is the largest automotive marketplace in the world&quot;

AT continues: &quot;Our TV Spot will be seen 2billion times by 147 million people&quot;

Cars.com is right there running a parallel biz model: <a href="http://findingcarbuyers.com/" rel="nofollow">http://findingcarbuyers.com/</a>

So... what do we have here?

Google is &quot;the&quot; search solution in a vacuum (aka search brand). AT and Cars uses TRADITIONAL MEDIA to drive traffic to its internet sites, where dealers all pile in and display their inventory in a highly competitive format, compressing margins to get looks that lead to sales.

Do you see the madness?

Ed, you were privy to the stats, the 2 largest classified sites on the planet get direct traffic only from traditional media. Oh and don&#039;t think for a minute that AT or Car.com has reached &quot;Kleenex&quot; status. Once the ad campaigns have stopped, People new in market will not remember to key in AT or cars.com, but will default to &quot;the&quot; universal search solution... Google

I&#039;ll say it again, Do you see the madness?

While we all abandon TRADITIONAL BROADCAST MEDIA Cars and AT are workin&#039; it.
J
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • August 12, 2010
&quot;if you go down to the local bus station and ask some one, any one, if they wanted to buy a used car, where would they go, 95% of them would say Google.&quot;


Joe, I&#039;ve done this and continue to do this all the time, random people, friends and family at random times. I hear you loud and clear that most start with a &quot;search (engine)&quot; but what the customer is thinking and what they are doing are 2 different of the same.


Through my years of asking this question &quot;if you were in the market for a vehicle, where do you start your shopping&quot;. I have received and continue to receive multiple answers. From Autotrader, Cars, newspaper (I still hear that but very little), Google, Edmunds, last week I heard YouTube, go to the dealership, my previous dealer, AOL, Yahoo, and someone just the other day replied with Vehix..go figure.


However, for many of these people that start out with an online information or inventory portal website..and this always kills me...are using Google to get there.


Let&#039;s go to Autotrader - open browser - Google or bing appears - type into Google &quot;auto trader&quot; or &quot;autotrader&quot; or even &quot;autotrader.com&quot;. Viola, the power of branding. Yes, using Google to get there but getting there non-the-less.


Again, I hear you loud and clear but I challenge your what seems to be dismissal of Branding and using traditional media (TV) to do so.


A solid Branding strategy uses several channels of marketing. Cars and AutoTrader are nowhere near the level of Kleenex but they have no doubt built &quot;brands&quot; to capture the audience of in market shoppers. This isn&#039;t an easy task considering consumers are in the market on average every 3-5 years.


The hard part: It&#039;s become so fragmented, where do you place your advertising dollars? People are inundated with advertising..what sticks? What works? Where do you Brand and where do you convert?


There you go Joe..encouragement for that post! :)
E
Jeff,

Thanks for making the argument that I planned on making. Not only does arguing on behalf of my ex-employer feel a little unseemly, when I argue with Joe I always feel like the guy who brings a knife to a gun fight. Joe is just way too smart.

Joe Pistell and Alan Ezzati form CaptiveLead are two of the smartest guys I know, but I think they both overestimate ATCs reliance on SEO. While ATC has been working to better their SEO, the strength of their &quot;Brand&quot; shouldn&#039;t be underestimated. Even 5 years ago, consumer awareness (aided) was over 80%. This is a huge advantage.

Google simply is not designed for a consumer to do a specific used-car search. Cars.com and ATC are. If we believe - and I do - that consumers want to compare cars from different dealers side-by-side, then the &quot;Big 2&quot; wins that battle hands down. If Google ever begins to list pre-owned inventory in a &quot;Shopping Results&quot; return like they do 40&quot; Sony TV&#039;s, then the &quot;Big 2&quot; have a problem.

I think this is a bigger issue for the SEO advocates with pre-owned than new cars. I also think the smart move is to do like Joe does and Alan helps his clients do: continue with better and better optimization on pre-owned to drag as many customers as possible away from the very comparative environment of ATC and Cars and direct them to their own site with no competition.

Joe does a great job making his cars stand tall with lots of great pictures, with video and excellent descriptions. This rich content helps on his website as well as on ATC and Cars.com. My advice to any dealer would be to get this &quot;basic&quot; down before you begin work to show up more often. Attracting customers to bad content, or cars with little demand that are priced more than the competition is the recipe for failure. After you have the content right figure out where you want this inventory to show up, whether it&#039;s on Google, ATC, Cars.com or CarGurus - or all four!
M
Thanks for sharing this valuable and detailed information.
M
  • M
    Marvin Finushky
  • August 15, 2010
Joe wrote: &quot;... the 2 largest classified sites on the planet get direct traffic only from traditional media. Oh and don&rsquo;t think for a minute that AT or Car.com has reached &ldquo;Kleenex&rdquo; status. Once the ad campaigns have stopped, People new in market will not remember to key in AT or cars.com, but will default to &ldquo;the&rdquo; universal search solution&hellip; Google......&quot;


But there&#039;s no reason for the ad campaigns to stop. Both AT and Cars have been increasing their consumer marketing efforts both in traditional media and online.


The majority of consumers already know who their local Toyota, Ford, Honda dealer is and can (usually) easily find them online. But consumers want to compare pricing and available inventory at other dealers. Car-shopping experts advise consumers to shop around and compare and that&#039;s not something a consumer can easily do, except by hunting down each dealer&#039;s site individually, assuming they even know the dealers&#039; names in their neighboring cities. If the local dealer or neighboring dealer is doing a poor job of SEO or SEM, the consumer may not even see them in a Google search. Therein lies the consumer appeal of AT and Cars: a comparative inventory marketplace, searchable by radius, with links to individual dealers, boosted by a boatload of branding in traditional media. Most consumers are not Internet-obsessed geeks like those of us who inhabit these forums and blogs for dealers and Internet managers.


Since, as Jeff Kershner points out, the typical consumer is in the market to buy a car only every 3 to 5 years and spends much more time watching TV than studying the various intricacies of hundreds of online car shopping sites, it makes perfect sense (and benefits the dealers) for the &quot;Big 2&quot; to heavily brand their sites through traditional media.


My 2 cents.
J
woa guys,


I&#039;ve over complicated the point I was trying to make. I am not pro-seo, I am not anti-classifieds, My point got lost... let me re-phrase it.


Isn&#039;t it interesting how Internet Goliaths like AT &amp; Cars use a boat load of TV advertising to drive traffic (whereby Dealers buy this traffic from them)?


Isn&#039;t it just a little bit funny how retailers abandon traditional media and embrace internet marketing, while the automobile internet classifieds feel the need to do broadcast marketing via traditional media.


Woa, hang on now, you don&#039;t need to explain anything, I know it&#039;s not a perfectly aligned observation, The comment stands on it&#039;s own.


Where I got crossed up was trying to connect this observation to the journey the shopper takes to arrive at the internet classifieds. That journey is post and raging discussion all by itself.
A
I have been looking to buy two vehicles and found this web site, love it. This will be my number one place to go.
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    Watt DeFark
  • October 15, 2010
Searched cargurus for a manual trans Caliber and the first listing I clicked on had a lovely picture of PRNDL (displaying the odometer reading so I know it wasn&#039;t a stock photo)


As you say, dealers are lazy with postings. Why do they want to piss someone off who finds them, one way or the other, by searching for a specific vehicle plus attributes? How much time would it have taken for this dealer to put in the correct trans instead of letting the listing default to standard vehicle specs?


Don&#039;t bother if you&#039;re not going to do it right. It&#039;s an insult to your customer
J
CarGuru.com update.

Following up a post today from our token Indian Geek from Calcutta, Anirban in the DR forums: http://forum.dealerrefresh.com/f43/google-confirms-algorithm-change-1608.html Anirban is working while we're sleepin and always has his pulse on the hottest tech news. I read his posts often.

Google has reset its algo yesterday. I checked Google SERP positions for CarGurus.com and in my market, they got wacked... bad.

Looks like they just broke out last month. http://siteanalytics.compete.com/cargurus.com/ I ck'd their short tail ranks and see little change from what I recorded here 7 months ago. (today = 2.25.2011)

AutoTrader.com got better, cars.com fell just a tad, UsedCars.com fell far more than cars.com. It's almost like seniority of the site was a big signal.


I checked my sites long tail and I improved 1-3 positions in 90% of the phrases. A few examples are:

used Buick Enclave near syracuse ny
used Buick LaCrosse near syracuse ny
used Buick LeSabre near syracuse ny
used Buick Lucerne near syracuse ny
used Cadillac CTS near syracuse ny
used Cadillac DeVille near syracuse ny
used Cadillac Escalade near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Colorado near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Corvette near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Equinox near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet HHR near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Impala near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Malibu near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Silverado 1500 near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Suburban 1500 near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Tahoe near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet TrailBlazer near syracuse ny
used Chevrolet Traverse near syracuse ny
used Chrysler 300 near syracuse ny
used Chrysler PT Cruiser near syracuse ny
used Chrysler Town &amp; Country near syracuse ny
used Dodge Avenger near syracuse ny
used Dodge Caliber near syracuse ny
used Dodge Caravan near syracuse ny
used Dodge Challenger near syracuse ny
used Dodge Grand Caravan near syracuse ny
used Dodge Ram 1500 near syracuse ny
used Ford Edge near syracuse ny
used Ford Escape near syracuse ny
used Ford Expedition near syracuse ny
used Ford Explorer near syracuse ny
used Ford F-150 near syracuse ny
used Ford F-250 near syracuse ny
used Ford Flex near syracuse ny
used Ford Focus near syracuse ny
used Ford Fusion near syracuse ny
used Ford Mustang near syracuse ny
used Ford Ranger near syracuse ny
used Ford Taurus near syracuse ny
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    JoePistell
  • March 22, 2011
CarGurus.com a long tail SEO monster has vanished after panda algo. I consider CarGurus.com startup, the single biggest brain trust in our industry. Their model was all about internal linking and very little on page content and has taken a giant hit with the new algo.
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    JoePistell
  • March 22, 2011
HAHAAHA, I LOVE IT!
Look at what the upstart guys at CarGurus have built already! http://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used-Buick-Enclave-Albany-d1029_L23445

See reviews down left side bar.
N
that simply a great information....
visit: http://www.groffr.com
P
  • P
    P
  • April 9, 2019
Excellent read 8+ years later
P