Automotive Digital Marketing

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Calling Out the Vendor Who Said Links Don't Work for SEO...

I don't enjoy calling out vendors. It's something that I think is unprofessional in most situations. Sometimes, when a vendor is truly hurting the automotive industry, it must be done and I have to do that today.

We have a client being hounded. This other vendor has been telling them that our philosophy of using onsite and offsite content to improve the dealership's organic search traffic is old. They've said that links are dead, that they're a non-factor.

At the recent Search Marketing Expo, a panel of experts moderated by Danny Sullivan tackled the issue of organic search ranking factors. One of the biggest takeaways was that inbound links are still alive. In fact, contrary to the beliefs of some (including the vendor in question), the influence that high quality links have on rankings is actually increasing.

The funny part is that this particular vendor added "link building" to their offering recently. When we examined the links they "build" we found that they were junk links. Directories, purchased links, and spam links do not qualify as high quality, yet this is exactly what they're using.

So, my warning to dealers is this: before listening to a vendor that tells you their strategy is better, make certain to vet out what their strategies actually entail. You may be surprised to find that the ones who complain the most are the ones who do it the worst.

Views: 561

Tags: Rant, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Vendors


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Comment by Jeff Glackin on June 17, 2015 at 8:45am

Very nice "shameless" link Steve...haha 

Comment by J.D. Rucker on June 16, 2015 at 12:26am

On more quick note to Tim: I considered calling out the individual vendor who prompted this article, but that would mean that there are several who could be deemed "acceptable by exclusion". Calling out the practice gives dealers a notice to discern and ask questions rather than to mark a handful off their list based upon a single opinion. We just need to acknowledge that links are still important, back up the claim with outside sources, and point out the talk tracks most often used to spread disinformation about it all.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on June 16, 2015 at 12:23am

Tim - calling out the practice, not the company. Not to hype us up too much, but Wiki and DA are on the "good side" of the debate. Most vendors, in particular most of the big website vendors, fall into the category of "link-deniers" and spam agents.

Steve - thank you.

Ralph - I love my old dancing video. We should put it to music.

Carl - I know you're in the same boat, particularly with so many big vendors who want to keep you down. Keep up the great work!

Brian - We've actually considered this for a long time. In many ways I'm a hypocrite for knowing the problem and not making the time or putting in the effort to fix the situation. You're absolutely right and that sounds like a rallying call of "stop griping, start fixing." It's time for me to stop being passive about the situation and actually start doing something about it.

Larry - well said.

Ralph - I don't disagree with you at all about user experience, but there's really no individual key to the formula. All play a role. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), that means putting in the effort to secure quality more than quantity.

Comment by Timothy Martell on June 15, 2015 at 12:04pm

Did I miss the "calling out" part? I would think dealers would want to avoid a vendor lacking expertise or worse, calling spam, high-quality!

Comment by Steve Tamulewicz on June 15, 2015 at 9:08am

The biggest problem with Search Engine Optimization vendors is that the people performing the work are normally not the ones selling it. So, you get a fast talking salesman that knows just enough to be dangerous saying whatever he can to close a sale. Truth and relevance be damned in the process. Although Google formula is constantly changing, back links are still relevant. You can't just buy them in bulk quantity as you did many years ago but they still work. I won't go into all the boring details of what types of back links there are, but if you ever want to prove that they work, get a back link from a government or education website and see how well that works for you. 

Comment by Ralph Paglia on June 15, 2015 at 1:02am

Brian Bennington wanted a JD Rucker video... So, I went and found one that is fairly relevant to this post:

Comment by Carl Maeda on June 15, 2015 at 12:28am

I can see your frustration.  It really chaps my hide too when competitors outright lie about what works and what doesn't. 

Comment by Brian Bennington on June 14, 2015 at 3:47pm

How disappointing, J.D.  As I was opening your post, I was hoping it would be a video, and when I saw the big photo, I was sure it was.  But, here I am, wrong again!  Even though my expertise is in a niche so small I've never experienced your situation, ADM has allowed me to witness the abhorrent proliferation of IT vendors, each proclaiming they've got the new "key."  (Of note, I do like the term "new key," but that's not my favorite way to use it.)

Anyway, I'd be inclined to think this won't be you're last problem because of them.  And, unfortunately because nearly every type of IT can be a bit "hazy" to its often "un-IT" buyer, you can be taken out simply because your competitor can deliver a better pitch on a worse product.  Then, you've also got the "big boys" to contend with.

However, with your unrivaled expertise and well-established celebrity status in the IT community, you might be the perfect leader to gather similar vendors of your caliber from across the nation.  Then, you could set-up a rigid set of standards and level of knowledge required for "membership," come up with a snappy name and emblem, combine some ad dollars to generate nationwide identification, and you'd have a pretty big axe to swing at your less than candid "interlopers."  Normally, I wouldn't endorse this idea, but because of the light-speed advances of IT, having a "both-feet-on-the-ground" credibility umbrella to cover your presentations might give you a long-term leg up.         

Comment by Larry Vestal on June 14, 2015 at 8:50am

I would have to say that the old way of automated link building no longer works, the way it used to.  It still works but not on it's on and it works in a different way.  Silo structuring your site, correctly is the first place to start, on page optimization.  Next it is quality content with quality links along with building domain authority.  SEO used to be fun, but now it is work.  It's still fun, if you enjoy the challenge.  If you are doing SEO it is always a good idea to stay in control of your links.  When the algorithm changes, you can adjust, otherwise your left scrambling trying to repair the damage or hiring someone to do it for you....What a pain....

Comment by Ralph Paglia on June 14, 2015 at 6:11am

As the Editor-in-Chief of this professional network, in any given week I receive multiple requests from various Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service providers to either remove links to their client's website from ADM blogs, forum discussions, comments, photos, videos, etc... OR, would I be willing to allow them the privilege of "Guest Posts", "Guest Blogs", etc. that will contain at most two links to their client's sites.  It is amazing to me that there is so much difference of opinion on both the value of links and what is a "Good Link" source versus "Spam Links".

In my opinion, its all about the user experience... If whatever it is that you have posted which contains a link to your dealer website, landing page or microsite has REAL VALUE to the automotive consumer, then your headed in the right direction and Google's Algorithm based site indexing automation will recognize and reward you for creating a better user experience.

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