I wrote what turned out to be such a lengthy commentary and response, I wanted to share it with the ADM Community:
You have written a well thought out essay on a subject that is the source of much activity, anxiety and many millions of dollars being spent by both car companies and dealers. Each OEM has taken an approach with variances and features different from the other OEM's. In my opinion none of them have a perfect solution that addresses the issues you raise. However, if you take a look at, for example, what Ford Motor Company has done, which is quite a hybrid approach, you will see that there are no hard and fast dictates or negative repercussions for those dealers that decide to excel beyond what is being done for them by Ford's programs. The DealerConnection web site program is primarily an internally managed and maintained dealer website program which is automatically included with the entire Ford eTools suite at a very minimal cost for an entire package... Yet, each dealer is allowed to create their own web sites above and beyond what the DC sites provide. Lead Management tools can be the Ford supplied SalesPoint, the ancestor of which was one of the first lead management tools, CarPoint from Microsoft, but is now supplied by Reynolds and Reynolds... However, dealers are free to choose from multiple compliant supplier based tools using the Alternative Lead Management program which routes leads in the appropriate format to that supplier's CRM or lead management tool at the dealer's discretion...
Even the 14 month old Dealer Advertising Co-Op program allows the dealer to get OEM funded advertising expense reimbursement for both Search Advertising and Display Advertising, regardless of whether the ads point to the Ford supplied DealerConnection website, or the dealer's own independantly purchased website. The Co-Op guidelines discourage predatory practices such as bidding on other dealer's names and distressed merchandising that hurts the Ford or Lincoln mercury brands, such as "Getting Ready to Go Bankrupt" sales camapaigns.
Could the 12 year old Ford Digital marketing programs be improved? Of course they can... But, I am intimately familiar with over a dozen of the leading OEM programs and Ford's programs have many features that are more progressive and dealer friendly than other OEM's.
You make a strong point about the OEM's need to communicate directly with practitioners at the dealer level. Ford does this through a combination of ongoing forums, groups, blogs, and communities for ISM's, weekly eNewsletters from both IMN and Outsell that provide several channels for all Ford and Lincoln Mercury ISM's to interact and communicate directly with the Ford Digital marketing team in Dearborn... And, to support and compliment all the technology tools, channels and communication mediums there are 18 regionally based 100% Ford paid Digital Marketing Consultants that visit 18 different Ford dealerships in person every work day of the year (minus a couple weeks vacation and conferences that Ford send them to). My team at ADP Digital Marketing supplies the consultants for the Ford DMC program, but they are 100% dedicated to Ford and the dealers and ISM's in each of their assigned Ford Regions.
You will not see too much written or publicly announced by Ford about these Digital Initiatives because Ford considers them to be a competitive advantage, therefore they shun the limelight in regards to their leadership in these areas. But, given the clear and focused subject you brought up, I felt compelled to share just a few of many program information points that every Ford dealer has access to. Within the FMCDealer.com Ford dealer information and communications channel, there are complete details and tools available to every Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer that are unmatched by the rest of the OEM's doing business in the USA. For example, Ford tracks every lead and reports the disposition of those leads to every Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer... When ABC Ford receives a lead from Jjohn Doe, and John Doe subsequently buys a new Ford from XYZ Ford 15 miles away, the original lead receiving dealer, ABC Ford can see exactly where, when and what the customer purchased. As a Ford dealer or ISM you can use the Dealer Lead Reports to see if the leads you are receiving are bing sold by any particular competing dealer in lesser or greater numbers than other dealers, and if the customers are being switched into different models than what the original lead inquiry referenced. Again, I am not suggestion perfection, but the people who work for Ford's Digital Marketing team in Dearborn have been improving and refining their programs and dealer support for over ten years and continue to do so on a daily basis.
When Ford saw that many dealers were buying outside supplier web sites to get additional features, Ford Digital marketing worked together with FordDirect and selected ClickMotive to supply a comprehensive customization package, including powerful video marketing capabilities which at $395 to each dealer represents an outstanding value.
I would love to talk about the Ford and Lincoln Mercury Digital Advertising program for dealers (FLMDA) which is administrated by ADP Digital Marketing, but that would come off as too self-serving and the genuine purpose of my response is to simply say that although many OEM's have great programs in place, there is one OEM that truly exceeds all the others in breadth, scope and flexibility of their dealer website and digital marketing programs for dealers, and that OEM is the Ford Motor Company. Other OEM's have a long way to go in catching up to Ford in this area, and although the specific names will be kept confidential... Many OEM executives have confided in me that they would like to do "this or that" digital initiative, saying "like the way Ford has it set up..." truly a compliment to the digital marketing professionals in Dearborn, but one in which I wish more Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers would appreciate.
Lastly, I enjoy working with all the OEM's and there is not enough space to talk about Honda's dealer web site certification program, which is excellent in several respects. Or, how about Mazda's newly created program to supply various OEM powered widgets and applications on a plug and play basis so that dealers can incorporate them into any, or multiple web sites... The Mazda program is sheer genius and other OEM's could learn a lot from their unique and first ever approach to supplying web based ASSETS instead and mandating a particular web site supplier. Personally, I think the new Mazda programs are the best solution yet to an OEM providing dealers with dealership website tools, without force feeding a particular supplier, while ensuring a positive consumer experience with accurate OEM brand and model information.
Feel free to check out Alex's originating article at the following URL:
From the Ford DealerConnection Public Website:
What is my DealerConnection website?
DealerConnection is the name given to Ford Motor Co. Dealer websites all Dealers are required to have. Consumers will find your DealerConnection website when searching for a Dealer on Ford-brand websites (like fordvehicles.com) or when searching online at sites such as Google and Yahoo. On average each month, 1.5 million customers conduct 4 million new vehicle searches and 3 million used vehicle searches on DealerConnection websites. With an average closing rate at 18 percent, your DealerConnection website is the best and highest source for closing referrals.
Will I have to pay for referrals generated by my DealerConnection site?
Nothing has changed. You will continue to be billed a monthly subscription fee for DealerConnection, as part of the e-Tools suite of products on your Parts and Accessories statement. There is no per-lead fee.
Where can I call with my questions?
Please note that there is a new DealerConnection Assistance Center with a new phone number. Please call Technical Support at 1-866-762-FORD if you need additional assistance or have more questions. The DealerConnection Assistance Center is staffed Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. eastern standard time.
Where can I get trained on how to update my site and use the Dealer Maintenance Tool?
To activate the key options and set your basic preferences, see the step-by-step Quick Start Guide. For in-depth training on additional features and functionality, please reference the user guide or the links under Training University.
What happens to the settings and personalized information on my old site when the new one launches?
FordDirect will try to carry over as much of your settings and personalized information from the old site to the new one. We encourage you to log-in to the test site before the new site goes live and confirm your settings are correct.
How do I access and log in to the Dealer Maintenance Tool?
Log in to dealermaint.dealerconnection.com. Your user name and password are the same as what you use to access fmcdealer.com.
Will dealers have the ability to customize the new DealerConnection platform?
At launch the DealerConnection platform will offer dealers the ability to select from multiple pre-configured templates that provide for a seamless consumer brand experience. The sites will also allow dealers to position their local brand by adding dealership photos, staff pictures and customized welcome text. In the first half of 2007, the DealerConnection sites will add the ability to further customize the home page, add dealer specific coupons and integrate more multi-media components. Dealers will not need to contract with any 3rd party vendor to access and update their DealerConnection website. FordDirect will communicate to all dealers as we continue to enhance the features on the DealerConnection platform.
Can Dealers replace their DealerConnection websites with a 3rd party solution?
The DealerConnection platform is the only Dealer Website solution supported by Ford Motor Company and FordDirect. Dealers may not replace their DealerConnection sites with a 3rd party solution. Today the DealerConnection sites receive millions of visitors each month via the brand sites and from search engines. The DealerConnection sites are an important part of the Ford Motor Company integrated marketing plan and will continue to increase in prominence as a valuable sales channel for all dealers. Leads generated from the DealerConnection platform deliver the highest close rate of any leads in the industry.
Is ChannelNet and its eRA product (eRetail Advantage) affiliated with DealerConnection in 2007?
ChannelNet is an independent provider of technology services that supported the DealerConnection platform in 2006. In 2007 FordDirect and ChannelNet will cease to have a commercial relationship to deliver any portion of the DealerConnection platform. The eRA product (eRetail Advantage) is a 3rd party website product offering from ChannelNet, much like Cobalt or DealerSkins. Ford Motor Company and FordDirect do not endorse any component of the eRA product. Dealers should carefully consider their options before enrolling in any dealer website program.
Do Dealers need to sign any additional documents to participate in the DealerConnection platform?
Dealers do not need to sign any paperwork to launch their new DealerConnection websites. We advise all dealers to carefully review any contracts they may be presented with regarding any 3rd party website provider.…
James A. Ziegler I just had a lengthy conversation with Alex Vetter senior VP at Cars.com. They are owning the situation and the conduct of their affiliate and they will not stop working on this situation until it is fixed. I feel really good about what was accomplished today and the way they (Cars.com) have handled it so far. JIM
James A. Ziegler Back off to DefCon 4
January 31 at 2:21pm
Brian Pasch Alex Vetter is a stand-up guy and I knew that Cars.com would be responsive. As soon as I saw your post Jim, I called them to inform of the situation and to get back to you immediately. It looks like a few people did the same because of your readership. Bravo!
January 31 at 3:31pm
Mary Ann Gonzalez I'm concerned with cars.com's partnership with car gurus. Send yourself a lead on car gurus (you will see that the age of your vehicle is right on the listing telling the consumer it's an old age unit so they should ask for a better deal...plus you will see a few other not so dealer friendly things on the listings), and you will see that the emails you get back are links to other similar vehicles at OTHER dealerships. They send one to the customer every single day asking them to look at other dealerships vehicles. Just something for dealers to take a look at!
January 31 at 4:23pm
James A. Ziegler Car Gurus is the textbook description of anti-dealer
Chris Spensley Nice going Cars.com!!!
Amy Eddins Hughes Hello, if any of our Atlanta dealers would like to voice your concerns and have a local management contact keep you up to date, please do not hesitate to message me directly- Amy Hughes, Regional Sales Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
January 31 at 6:08pm
Emily Davis Central and North Alabama dealers are welcome to contact me as well- Emily Davis, Regional Sales Manager -email@example.com for additional information. David DeSantis, I'll be happy to keep you posted with information if you'd like.
January 31 at 6:50pm
ivities and our general productivity:
Tool #1 – Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool
Although the free Keyword Research Tool offered by Google’s Adwords doesn’t offer as many features as standalone SEO programs offer, this resource is a great option for checking general search, competition, and CPC metrics on the fly. Be sure to check out the feature that allows you to brainstorm keywords by URL in order to uncover the keywords your competitors may be targeting!
Tool #2 – Google Trends
With Google’s new freshness update in effect, picking up on and capturing breaking news stories and trends is a must for SEO. Google Trends is one of the best places to find this information, so make it a habit to regularly monitor this service for trends in your industry.
Tool #3 – Buzzfeed
Another site we use to identify the hot trends within our industry in order to rank highly for QDF (query deserving freshness) SERPs is Buzzfeed, a popular news aggregation site that covers a wide variety of niches. It’s also a great place to keep up on the latest memes and popular sayings floating around in Internet culture.
Tool #4 – Google Insights for Search
Before you launch any new SEO campaign, check out Google’s Insights for Search tool to confirm that there’s consistent demand for the particular search terms you’ll target. A few minutes of research on this free service can save you a fortune by preventing you from going after the wrong keywords!
Tool #5 – Google Related Searches
Any time you conduct a search in Google, you have the option of selecting from a number of other potential queries that Google considers to be substantially related to your original term. This data can be found in the left-hand sidebar of any Google SERP (under the “Show search tools” menu), and it provides a great opportunity to find potential LSI keywords for your blog posts and content marketing articles.
Tool #6 – Google Correlate
One final Google tool to take a look at is Google Correlate, which will help you determine if trends that exist in your target keywords’ search volume variation correspond with trends in the real world. This can be especially helpful when understanding unexpected SEO behavior or when predicting the potential variability of search volume for future projects.
Tool #7 – Alexa
Although the Alexa ranking system itself has some weaknesses, the service’s webpage offers website owners data on visitor demographics, top search queries, potential target keywords, and other helpful SEO metrics. Simply enter your URL into the company’s homepage search bar to get started!
Tool #8 – Keyword Discovery
Keyword Discovery is one of the most widely used, standalone keyword research tools on the web, and its breadth of features easily demonstrates why this site remains dominant in the competitive field of market research programs. Give the site’s free Search Term Suggestion Tool a try, and then consider signing up for a free trial of the site’s paid keyword research and competitive intelligence tools.
Tool #9 – Keyword Questions
Wordtracker’s free Keyword Questions tool is a godsend whenever you’re struggling to come up with article topics for your site or for your marketing campaigns. Simply enter your target keyword into the engine, and it will return specific questions that people have entered into the search engines that relate to your topic, providing you with instant article-writing fodder that’s guaranteed to interest your audience!
Tool #10 – SearchStatus plugin
Yet another SEO aggregation toolbar, the SearchStatus plugin deserves special mention for its keyword density measuring feature, which allows you to quickly measure the specific keyword usage rates found on other industry websites for your own competitive analysis.
Tool #11 – KGen
Want to know which words on any webpage will be deemed most important by the search engines? Then install the KGen plugin for Firefox, which enables you to view websites through the eyes of the search engines and uncover potential opportunities to outrank your competitors for valuable keyword phrases.
Tool #12 – Soovle
Another fun keyword research tool to take a look at is Soovle, which pulls search suggestions from the seven top search engines. Simply start typing your target keywords into the site’s free engine, and you’ll automatically receive related keywords that can be used to power your own SEO campaigns.
Tool #13 – Google Analytics
If you carry out any SEO activities at all, you simply must have a web analytics program in order to measure the impact of your campaigns. Google Analytics is by far the most commonly used option, and it’s easy to see why. The program is free to use and provides a wealth of data, including advanced event and goal tracking features that allow you to conclusively measure the ROI of your SEO campaigns.
Tool #14 – SEOQuake
SEOQuake is one of many different SEO extensions (available for both the Firefox and Chrome browsers) that return information about individual web pages, as well as about the listings within individual SERPs. Use this tool to check things like web page PageRank, Alexa traffic rank, site age, number of backlinks, and more crucial pieces of information to uncover when conducting competitive research.
Tool #15 – SEOBook browser extensions
By signing up for a free SEOBook account, you’ll gain access to the site’s selection of free SEO tools, including “The SEO Toolbar,” “SEO for Firefox,” and “Rank Checker.” Much like SEOQuake, these Firefox plugins pull several different SEO metrics that can be used to identify potential link partners, uncover weak spots among industries and competitors, and much more.
Tool #16 – SiteTrail for Chrome
The SiteTrail for Chrome plugin allows you to pull up various website SEO metrics, including site rank, site traffic, and site analytics, from a simple link within your right-click menu. The tremendous amount of information this tool provides and the speed with which it generates SEO data make it a great option for conducting market research on the fly.
Tool #17 – SEO for Chrome
One final SEO research plugin to consider is the SEO for Chrome plugin. In addition to providing data on key SEO metrics from within the Chrome browser, this tool takes competitive web marketing research one step further by providing information on a given site’s social media presence.
Tool #18 – SEOTools for Excel
Although Microsoft’s Excel program may seem outdated, it can be turned into a productivity powerhouse with the addition of the free SEOTools for Excel add-in. Once installed (see the instructions here for tips on setting it up correctly), you’ll be able to use this tool to conduct on-page analysis, monitor backlinks, pull Google Analytics data directly into Excel for further exploration, and more!
Tool #19 – SEOSiteCheckup.com
Want to get a feel for whether your site’s SEO is on track compared to established best practices? Enter your URL into the SEOSiteCheckup.com analysis tool and get a free custom report measuring a number of different SEO factors.
Tool #20 – Hubspot Marketing Grader
Formerly Hubspot’s Website Grader, the new Marketing Grader service provides free reports that measure your site’s progress in three key areas: your promotional efforts, your on-page conversion optimization, and your website analytics.
Tool #21 – Majestic SEO
When it comes to competitor backlink research, a tool like Majestic SEO, which lets you view and analyze all the links pointing at other websites within your industry, is an absolute must. Although you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version for full access, even the free version provides some data on both your own site’s backlink profile and your competitors’ link collections.
Tool #22 – Open Site Explorer
The Open Site Explorer provides similar type of information as Majestic SEO, but since the two tools pull from different data sets, it’s worth comparing the results between both services to get a better feel for the health of your site’s off-page SEO activities. Again, the program offers both free and paid versions with different levels of access and functionality to suit your specific needs.
Tool #23 – Affiliorama SEO toolbar
While the Affiliorama SEO toolbar pulls many of the same pieces of information as the previous plugin recommendations, this free extension deserves a spot in any SEO’s tool chest as a result of its dofollow/nofollow feature, which highlights link attributes that are crucial to consider as part of your linkbuilding campaigns.
Tool #24 – Google Alerts
Google Alerts, which allows you to receive email updates whenever your designated keywords are mentioned online, can be used for a number of different SEO needs, including identifying potential backlink sources that reference your target keywords and uncovering negative brand mentions that should be fixed using Linkception.
Tool #25 – Onlywire
When used correctly, social bookmarking can be a good way to reach new followers and build brand awareness for your website, but since the process of hand-submitting links to multiple sites can be time consuming, take a look at the free Onlywire service. It will automatically post your links to the networks you participate on.
Tool #26 – Seesmic Ping
As another automated social bookmarking service, Seesmic Ping is a similar option to consider for your web promotion and SEO needs. Expanding on its predecessor’s (Ping.fm) weaknesses, the new Seesmic Ping service allows users to post from their iPhone, iPad, Android device, or email, in addition to providing advanced spell check and preview capabilities.
Of course, this is only a small selection of the thousands of SEO productivity tools out there. If you have other recommendations you’d like to share, please include them in the comments section below!
Tool #27 – SEMRush
SEMRush is the “Mac Daddy” of the SEO world when it comes to understanding the true monetary value of your traffic or the potential of your target keywords. It’s pricy, but it’s often worth the cost, given the amount of information made available through the service.
Tool #28 – Traffic Travis
While there are plenty of SEO tool suites out there, there aren’t many free ones that are as fully functioned as Traffic Travis. Whether you’re a beginning user or a more advanced SEO, Traffic Travis’s free collection of keyword research, search engine, PPC, and page analysis tools can help you to compile a significant amount of SEO data quickly and easily.
Tool #29 – Market Samurai
Market Samurai bills itself as a comprehensive SEO suite, and with good reason. Not only does this single program include keyword research tools, rank tracking, link sourcing, and more, its one-time fee makes it a great value compared to similar programs that require a paid monthly subscription.
Tool #30 – Raven Tools
According to the company’s website, “Raven’s SEO, advertising, and social media tools help you work faster and smarter.” And there’s really no arguing with this statement when you take a look at the breadth of SEO information that’s pulled from SEMRush, SEOMoz, MajesticSEO, WordTracker, Google, and other services for aggregation in the program’s “Research Central” dashboard.
Starting at $99/month, it’s a more expensive SEO productivity solution, but the ROI of a toolset like this could be high if you’re able to secure higher SERPs rankings as a result.
Tool #31 – SEOMoz Pro
One final comprehensive SEO tool suite that you should consider is SEOMoz Pro, which combines the expertise of the SEOMoz community with top-of-the-line SEO monitoring and social media marketing products. Of special note is the service’s “Q&A” feature, which allows you to get expert answers to any SEO questions you encounter, a “must have” for new SEOs and webmasters.
Tool #32 – SEO SERP Workbench for Chrome
If paid SEO programs aren’t in your budget right now, check out a fun, little tool called the SEO SERP Workbench plugin for Chrome. It won’t do everything that the paid services listed above will, but it does give you a quick and easy way to check the position of multiple sites (including both your page and your competitors’ pages) for a given keyword in the SERPs.
Tool #33 – Spyfu
While Spyfu primarily offers paid services that allow you to “spy” on your competitor’s PPC campaigns, the free edition of the company’s “Spyfu Classic” service also provides free information that’s valuable from an SEO standpoint, including top organic keywords and top natural search competitors. Give the free tools a try, and then investigate some of the more complex options available in order to improve the effectiveness of your PPC advertisements.
Tool #34 – Google Adwords Editor
Once you start getting into PPC advertising on a serious level, you’ll likely find that manually creating campaigns, ads, and keyword groups within your Google Adwords account becomes tedious and time consuming. A better alternative is to download Google’s free Adwords Editor application, which will allow you to bulk edit your campaigns from your desktop and then automatically sync them to your online Adwords account.
Tool #35 – Microsoft Adcenter Editor
Similarly, if you advertise your website through Microsoft’s AdCenter program as well as Google Adwords, the Adcenter Editor program is a “must have.” In addition to allowing you to edit your PPC campaigns more efficiently from your desktop, the program offers performance alerts that will notify you whenever key campaign metrics dip below a certain level.
Tool #36 – SocialOomph
As social media continues to play a larger than ever role in search rankings, building and establishing your profiles on these sites should be considered a primary SEO priority. Since carrying out social networking marketing campaigns can be time consuming, consider adding an automation tool like SocialOomph, which allows you to schedule tweets for future updates, set up “following” rules, and more.
Tool #37 – Tweriod
In order to improve the effectiveness of the messages you send to your social networking followers, you need to know when they’re most active, and, therefore, when they’ll be most receptive to your offers or conversations. For this purpose, check out Tweriod, which will compile data on your Twitter followers’ online activities and provide you with recommendations on the best times, by the hour, to engage with your community on this social site.
Tool #38 – Twiends
If your social networking following isn’t as robust as you’d like, take a look at services like Twiends, which will allow you to quickly connect with potential new community members based on your shared interests.
Tool #39 – Triberr
Similarly, the Triberr website enables you to multiply the reach of your social marketing efforts through the formation of teams that automatically promote each other’s content to their own followers. Look for existing networks within your industry and request an invitation, or simply start your own “tribe” to effectively expand your social networking reach.
Tool #40 – Google Documents
Whether you collaborate with virtual workers around the world or simply need to share files with your colleague down the hall, Google’s free document editing and storage solution offers a great way to share and collaborate on files. As an added bonus, the program’s easy-to-navigate permission settings allow you to control exactly who can see and edit each file in your account.
Tool #41 – Dropbox
Another alternative for sharing files across teams is Dropbox, one of the web’s top file storage solutions. After you sign up for a free account, you’ll be able to automatically sync files from your desktop computer to your online account, allowing for enhanced backup protection as well as easy collaboration with other Dropbox users.
Tool #42 – Basecamp
Basecamp is the “Mac Daddy” of online project management and collaboration programs. It’s expensive, but the features this tool offers in terms of detailed task tracking and delegation across multi-person teams is unparalleled among free competitors.
Tool #43 – Evernote
Evernote is a great option for capturing ideas on the fly, whether that includes potential web development opportunities you encounter while working on your SEO campaigns or new target keywords you think up while running errands on your day off. We at Single Grain especially love the fact that the program syncs easily between mobile, web, and desktop applications, making it nearly impossible to forget the brilliant ideas you have while on-the-go!
Tool #44 – Skype
If you work with team members or clients in various locations, installing Skype is an absolute must. Not only does this free tool enable you to quickly set up text-based chats, phone calls, or video conferences, it’s also easy to record your Skype conversations for later reference (additional add-in tools may be needed).
Tool #45– Trello
Trello is a free project management utility that allows you to collaborate across teams through the use of project boards, activity cards, and task lists. Although it doesn’t offer all the same features as Basecamp, it’s one of the best free alternatives available today, and it’s one that we use frequently at Single Grain.
Tool #46 – Notable App
If you manage SEO campaigns for clients, you’ll occasionally run into situations that require you to obtain feedback on different web activities. Instead of asking clients to type out lengthy comments and explanations, the Notable App enables you and your clients to capture shared screenshots and add notes in an intuitive click-and-drag format, resulting in huge time savings for both you and your customers!
Tool #47 – HipChat
If you’re still using AIM, Gchat, or other free internal chat services to share messages among your team members, take a look at HipChat, a business-oriented solution for group chat needs. We love the fact that it operates across platforms, as well as the professional environment the app creates for business communications.
General Productivity Tools
Tool #48 – Excel
Excel and the rest of the Microsoft Office suite might seem like dinosaurs in this new world of online apps and cloud-based programs, but don’t count them out yet. When paired with the SEOTools for Excel add-in discussed earlier, this comprehensive data management program can be transformed into an SEO powerhouse that’s capable of providing many of the same features found in expensive paid SEO programs.
Tool #49 – Adobe Reader
Chances are good you already have this standard program installed on your computer, but are you really using its full capabilities? The Adobe Reader package can be used to search PDF documents, track comments across multiple parties, and even verify digital signatures, making it an important tool for any SEO’s arsenal.
Tool #50 – Jing
Jing is a free screen-capture utility put out by Techsmith (the makers of the popular Snagit and Camtasia programs) that can be used to take screenshots, record screen-capture videos, and collaborate on images taken by the tool. While it won’t substitute for a full-fledged image or video editing program, it’s a great option for visually sharing quick ideas between team members.
Tool #51 – Photoshop
While it’s true that Photoshop has a pretty sizable learning curve compared to Jing, it’s worth learning this full-featured program for a variety of SEO campaign needs. Whether you’re simply resizing images for web deployment or creating custom graphics for use on new websites, Photoshop has the advanced features needed to make your SEO activities more visually appealing.
Tool #52 – Filezilla
Every SEO worker needs an FTP program, and Filezilla is by far our favorite. It’s free, easy to install, and offers plenty of options for controlling the security of your remote web connections, making it an ideal solution for your file sharing needs.
Tool #53 – Boomerang for Gmail
The Boomerang extension for Gmail can help you take control of your inbox by allowing you to schedule outgoing messages, as well as set archived messages to be returned to your inbox at set times. It’s a major time saver over digging through your email account to find that one important piece of information you archived months ago!
Tool #54 – Gist
These days, professional networking requires more than just contact information, which is why you need a social CRM system like Gist. This tool integrates with your mobile devices and email accounts to pull additional social data on your contacts, including their most recent social networking activities, blog posts, and more. It’s a great way to get the conversation rolling with new and existing business contacts!
Tool #55 – Notepad++
Finally, when it comes to modifying code to improve a client’s on-site SEO, our favorite tool for the job is Notepad++. This free tool goes above and beyond the standard Microsoft Notepad editor, offering a number of features, including support for multiple coding languages and higher execution speeds, that are critical for efficient code editing.
Digital Marketing Agency
Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Single Grain, an SEO Agency based in San Francisco, CA. Single Grain specializes in helping start ups and Fortune 500 companies with their digital marketing strategy. You should follow Sujan on Twitter.
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