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I have a question that’s been bugging me for awhile. I’m not even sure if this is possible or even worth the efforts. On my dealer website, www.tysinger.com, when you do a search pre-owned inventory and specifically click on a pre-owned car and view the source for that page I see no meta tags and/or meta names for that specific vehicle. I don’t have much knowledge of this but I would think that the search engines pick those meta tags and names up and would greatly affect the organic search. Correct me if I’m thinking wrong but for example, if I were a consumer and I was interested in a Pre-Owned 2006 Mercedes-Benz C C230 and I lived in Virginia Beach, I would type in “2006 Mercedes-Benz C230”. In real world I would like my specific inventory page to fall in the organic listings and preferably on the first page so that when you click on the search result it takes you directly to that specific 2007 C230 page in my dealer website. Well I have tried this numerous times, on different computers, different locations in the area and don’t see any of my dealer specific inventory pages on that particular C230 pop up. I use Auction123.com for my photos. They build all my Pre-Owned inventory pages and frame them into my dealer website. They also provide a feed to all my third party inventory classified sites. Maybe it’s Auction123 and their inability to do this, I don’t know. My new car inventory is posted by Homenet. I chose to use Auction123 because I have not seen anyone in my area that takes better photos then my rep. I do however have the ability to use Homenet for this service and still keep my rep. from Auction123 as the photographer. Am I missing something here? I welcome your thoughts and/or comments.

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Yes... It is important that your individual inventory detail pages be indexed by Google's Search Engine.
First, @Matt Watson, thank you for mentioning that article.

@Richard Klepach, I understand your concerns. Rather than get into distinctions between the different web and inventory vendors, I'll address this objectively (I am biased).

The best way to look at your situation is from a searcher's perspective. You are right, people who know exactly what pre-owned vehicle they want will normally start by searching for the specific vehicle. From there, two things can happen:

1) If they notice the sponsored results (PPC) that will most likely have local dealers and services offering this vehicle, they will click on those.
2) If they do not read the sponsored results and go straight to the organic results (which most people do) they will see general results that are most likely not related to their locations, so...

They will then enhance their search with location. In your example, you mentioned a search for “2006 Mercedes-Benz C230”. The sponsored results show local listings mixed in with national listings, but the organic results have nothing to do with your area. So, they enhance their search by adding "Virginia Beach" to the search term. Unfortunately, your site still doesn't show up in the top 3. In fact, no dealership does in this case.

So, what is there to do? Unfortunately, meta keywords and descriptions have very little to do with Google rankings anymore. A proper internal ranking strategy could work, or individually adding content and title tags would work as well. Still, this can be challenging, not only from a time-perspective, but also from the fact that once the car is sold, the page is either redirected or offered as a 404 error -- bad, bad, bad from Google's perspective.

One solution is PPC. There is a program available that highlights specific pre-owned vehicles in your inventory and sends searches directly to the vehicle listing page (again, I am trying to be objective here and avoid the tendency on this site to promote products).

Another solution is something that Google itself is doing. Local and personalized search are currently available and building up steam. I would venture a fairly educated guess that most vendors are either unaware or unprepared, but soon, as early as first quarter next year, we will be served localized results in our organic Google searches. This opens up SEO for those whose websites are prepared. In your case, it should help get you moved up.

Hope it helps - feel free to ask anything.

JD Rucker
949-310-1727
Relevancy of the content will probably have more weight than meta tags, but untl google divulges how they are going to determine what is relevant we can only guess.
I have been spending a significant amount of time on this topic as I have come to market with what I believe is a Google optimized inventory module for car dealers. My comments are from my research and design testing over the past year.

The issue about your car pages being indexed in Google is a common problem since there are only a few platforms that pass all of Google recommendations for SEO page design for car detail pages. You can get more information by reading Google's recently published SEO starter guide. I also wrote a paper which reviewed over a dozen car inventory platforms, which you can download here: ASMA Dealer Inventory Review.

The application of the Google SEO Guide for car dealers, in a nutshell, is a full formed URL with proper page titles and META description is ideal for SEO. Keywords were completely omitted from Google SEO guide. You can pull a copy from this link: Google SEO Starter Guide.

For example, if you are hosting your cars on your website, the 2007 C30 example you gave, could be best shown like this:

http://www.tysinger.com/va/2007/mercedes/c230/2007-Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-C230-Sedan.html

The key to this example is that your inventory is:

- not hosted offsite through an iframe or ajax

- has a well organized URL folder structure

- includes you State if it is not in your domain name

- The META Title tag could read: Used 2007 Mercedes Benz C230 Hampton Virginia | Mercedes Used C320 VA

- The META Description tag could read "Used 2007 Mercedes C230 for sale in Hampton Virginia. The 2007 C230 has 16,203 miles and exterior color black.

- The page name has details about the car. In this case it was: 2007-Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-C230-Sedan.html


Inventory modules that create pages that don't comply with SEO guidelines will eventually be fixed or they will go out of business. As someone stated, it doesn't cost anything to create pages properly so why not do them to comply with Google's recommendations. Easier said than done when software providers have to update hundreds of client's websites at a significant cost.

This URL design I am recommending can also be seen on the third party lead collector websites like autos.yahoo.com and edmunds.com. When you search for any used car is a local market, see who comes up on page one and often you will see website URL's that are highly structured.

Once you have an inventory module that is Google SEO compliant then the next issue is how to build links to these car specific pages. Pages that have zero external links to them will have a hard time competing against the third party lead collector websites like edmunds.com, cars.com, autos.yahoo.com or usedcars.com.

If you are serious about having your car inventory pages appear in search results, I suggest that you submit your car pages to Google Base, Craigslist and Backpage where you can get links or traffic to these inside pages. Craigslist has a "no archive" setting on all car pages so Google is instructed not to keep car pages in their index very long.

There are a number of other ways to get links to your internal car pages, but this is a good start. I hope this helps provide better clarification on car dealer inventory modules.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to All

Brian Pasch
12/25/2008
There are some very large problems indexed inventory can cause a site upto and including the whole site being deindexed from the search results if it is not done properly. Until those changes are made by solution providers it is not worth pursuing and it does not deliver the "perceived" value with the huge risk you are taking with your site.

I did a post about this very issue at http://ismintraining.com/traffic-to-your-site/search-spam-bad-marke...

To show the caveats of indexed inventory. It does have huge benefit but their is not a single provider offering it and actually following googles webmaster guidelines.
Richard,

You are right on the money. I work with Auction123 and we have made an initiative to accomplish this exactly without pay-per-click methods. Organic search is where its at and our inventory showroom now has an option for accomplishing exactly this. I have a live example I can show you anytime, and without any fancy online presentations. A simple google search with what you wrote above, y/m/m...

Thanks,

Scott
Scott@Auction123.com
Scott thanks for your input and replying to this discussion. Your information seems to be the most meaningful I have received this far. I guess it's because I am partnered with you. I'm not too happy about the aggressiveness and efficiency my rep at aution123 is but I guess he is just too swampped and can't fully handle all his clients in the area. Maybe I'm asking too much and maybe I just need to put a little heat on him. I don't think I shold have had to ask outside your company to get responses only to eventually get a reply from you. Please contact me either here or directly at my store ao you can frovide me with the information I'm asking for. Thanks again.

Richard
Richard,

I will contact you today.

Thanks!

Scott

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