Best PracticesDealership Marketing

Should ROI Principles Dictate Your SEO Spend?


[highlight color=”#F0F8FF” font=”black”]Let’s give Jerry a warm welcome for his first contribution in article format here on DealerRefresh. I’ve know Jerry for sometime now so when we bumped into each other at NADA, we got into some heavy conversation. One subject we both are passionate about is SEO and how dealers are measuring the ROI around whatever SEO strategy they may have. I invited Jerry to put together some of his thoughts on paper (digital) around the subject to share with our readers. After reading, take notice to the questions at the end and share your answers in the comments. – Kershner[/highlight]

Have you ever considered that your typical ROI principles may not be the best metric in developing your dealers SEO strategy?

I am sure a number of eyebrows were raised with that question. ROI (return on investment) has been and will likely continue to be the way most dealerships detwemine if their expenditures, are good/bad for the dealership. But Return on Investment is only ONE metric. I can tell you that other industries look at ROI as a mere component of the overall justification of the expense.

Allow me explain.

Let’s say you’re considering a widget to capture more leads from your dealership’s website, a trade appraisal tool for example. You sign up and install the widget, and in return you increase overall conversion that results in more leads. At the end of a given time period (typically month to month) you add up the total gross made on each trade appraisal lead sold, then subtract the total cost of the tool to determine your ROI for that particular widget.

If the ROI is in the green and the gross exceeds the cost by a considerable amount, then it’s a justifiable expense. Most of the time.

How does ROI relate to your dealerships SEO strategy?

There was a time before Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithms when “gaming” the system was easy. Remember the days when you could “keyword stuff” pages and get away with it? How many of you had (I hope no longer) hundreds of micro-sites?

Today, the SEO road map to best practices are much more defined and freely available and it basically comes down to two words – Relevant Content.

What is relevant content?

Relevant content is that your online visitor finds informative, engaging and helpful. This is why websites that use such content are rewarded with top placement on SERPs. Search engines, like Google, highly value relevant content because of the heightened experience it returns to the visitor.

Tip: Leverage your Google webmaster tools and take advantage all of the free advice provided. From guidelines around HTML improvements to understanding structured data are there for reference and additional education.

What can you do TODAY for immediate results?

The short answer is NOTHING. Nothing you do “today” is going to have an immediate impact in increasing unique visitors, driving higher conversions and getting your dealership website to rank higher. There is NO silver bullet. Believe me, I have been looking for one for 10 years!

The long/right answer is CONTENT, content and more…content. Google has set the rules, there is no fighting it.

The most effective way to add content to your dealership website is to have a blog type platform included (in the root domain / URL). Blogging takes a strong commitment. A commitment to consistently writing crazy sexy content that’s relevant, informative AND optimized for the search engines.

Most high performing blogs, are not being used to directly sell a product. Instead they include reviews, product data and information while engaging the reader. Articles should be published on a regular basis. I recommend at least 2 per week that contain at least 250 words.

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget your Specials!

I am not referring to the new and used car specials pages already included on your dealership website. I’m saying take it to the next level by creating individual pages (or blog posts) around your specials each month that are content driven for additional SEO value. If you’re re-purposing your print ads or having your agency re-create your specials into one large image for your website, STOP, as it provides zero value to your SEO strategy.

Remember, you can’t allow general ROI principles to govern your SEO/Content strategy. A solid strategy takes time, time to mature, dedication, and consistency. I have seen numerous dealers who were not looking for the “quick fix” or “silver bullet” eclipse their competitors by having a sound SEO strategy. This typically happens when the GM or Dealer Principle share the vision and understanding of its importance. The ROI on your SEO strategy MUST be viewed in an iterative basis as opposed to what did we get for it today, or this month.


Does your GM and/or Dealer Principle share the vision and understanding of a solid SEO Strategy?

How are you currently measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) of your SEO Strategy?

What type of content have you found to have the most impact on increasing your traffic?