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:
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:
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.