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Dealer.com customers-do you use DDC's SEO program or an outside specialist?

Dealer.com customers-do you use DDC's SEO program or an outside specialist?
We are in the midst of looking at improving our SEO content on our Dealer.com sites, so we had a phone conference today with them.  Before I start, we are not against using DDC to strengthen our SEO-however, if we don't use them it seems we will not have the ability to:

1.Edit URLs

2. Alter the H1, H2,3 tags

3. Edit meta titles (they might give us permission)

4. Submit to Google-they only do this once-at the original set-up of the page.  Strange considering we have new inventory daily.

All of this is extremely important in order to have a strong SEO campaign, but if we don't pay, we don't have access to this.  


Has anyone out there found a way to get DDC to agree to open up these area's without the monthly charge and set-up fees?

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Comment by Terrence Gordon on February 15, 2011 at 11:23am

The company who built your website and has direct access to your website is and always will be the best / most cost-effective way to get your website optimized....with the condition that they have an in-house SEO program or specialist.

 

 

Comment by James Stayton on February 14, 2011 at 7:59am

Angela, 

We do SEO for a number of dealers that have dealer.com sites (we optimize their's for free to add to our service value) so we have to have it down well. Brian makes a good point, while onsite you are very limited to what you can do (but aren't most manufacturer mandated sites) you can do the meat of your internal pages. Create create create that's our theme song, we build pages on everything from weekend sales to employee personality pages. A video of an employee can go along way to help with SEO. I would also suggest landing pages, drive that traffic to where YOU want them and not where they stumble onto.

I hope this helps some, 

James  

Comment by Aj Maida on February 11, 2011 at 10:21am

Angela,

We actually use a combination of both. We have DDC's marketing package and use an outside company to help with outside link building. A little extra $$ but the increase in daily unique visits and conversion has more then justified this.

I have never had a problem editing meta data on our DDC retail site. I can alter H tags in any editable areas. As far as URL's are concerned I can build a custom URL when I make a new page but once the page is published to change it I think you would have to build a new page and supplant the other page in navigation. Matt can correct me here if I got any of this wrong.

Comment by Michael Wise on February 10, 2011 at 11:41am
Brian is exactly right and I would be surprised if Dealer.com would charge you so much to make those changes to your site.  Also, in support of using a third party like Brian, sometimes it helps to have someone with a new perspective and outside experience work on a templated site like Dealer.com's.
Comment by Kelsey Jones on February 10, 2011 at 10:20am

If you purchase a basic or advanced website with VinSolutions, it includes SEO. Our SEO specialists (I'm the manager of the SEO and Social Media department) will create custom meta tags as well as submit your site and sitemaps to the top search engines. In Motosnap, our customers with admin logins have the ability to edit their own meta tags and custom content. The only thing that VinSolutions customers can't do is edit all URLs. You can change the page title of custom content pages though.

 

An SEO website also includes occasional guidance and updates from our support staff and our SEO staff as needed. We are always willing to talk SEO strategy with our customers. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at kelsey.jones @ vinsolutions.com (remove the  spaces).

Comment by Angela Martin on February 10, 2011 at 6:42am
Thanks Matt!  We appreciate that!
Comment by Matt Murray on February 10, 2011 at 6:24am

Hi Angela,

 

I have some good news - You now have the ability to edit per page meta data.  For training on how to use the feature please contact your AM.

 

It is true that if you hire another SEO firm that they will not have access to all of the same tools that the Dealer.com team does.  That is one of the advantages of working with your website provider on these types of things.  That being said, any new page created in the Composer can have it's own distinct and searchable URL, strong title and meta tags... PageBuilder was designed to aid in the expansion of the sitemap while adhering to SEO best practices.

 

If you would like to discuss our SEO program more, feel free to reach out to me.  All in all, it's great that you are going to invest in this strategy, regardless of who you partner with to get it done!

Comment by Brian Pasch on February 9, 2011 at 5:59pm

To be fair, the basic Dealer.com SEO package is less than our Digital Marketing Package. That said, I have not heard that Dealer.com would NOT let you edit the META titles and descriptions, if you asked for permission to do so.  I know that most vendors want to protect their customers from making edits that will hurt their sites.  I'm note sure why, if you were educated, why they would prevent you from editing your static pages.

 

Comment by Angela Martin on February 9, 2011 at 2:56pm
Thanks Brian.  The problem is that i cant change any of those area's on our websites without paying DDC quite a bit of money.  They may be capable of setting it up, but wouldn't you think if those are such "basic" SEO that it would be included in our original set-up of our websites? 
And if i want to take the time to go in and fill out that information that we would have access to do so. 
Their program for this basic stuff costs more than yours and I know yours is much more in depth.  That is why i posted this question out there, I want to know if the cost is worth it.
Comment by Brian Pasch on February 9, 2011 at 2:47pm

Angela

The tasks that you outline here are called on-site SEO and represent the very basics of Automotive SEO.  Google will search and index all pages on a Dealer.com website so "submitting" is not needed.

Dealer.com is very capable of creating effective Page Titles, META Descriptions, and Sub-Title Tags.  Once this is done, it's done.  Meaning, that as long as new pages you create follow good SEO practices, on-site SEO is a short term cleanup.

 

The thing that moves the needle most is off-site SEO links pointing to these optimized Dealer.com website pages.  Relevant content is not new and as more dealers wake up to SEO best practices, link building is the next logical step.

 

So the bigger question is what is your strategy to use off-site content that links back to your optimized pages to give them more relevance to your local competition and national lead collection sites.

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