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My good friend and fellow SEO practitioner JD Rucker recently posted an example of how a dealer can leverage their content to attract social signals or votes for higher Google organic ranking.
Since JD has a strong social media clout and followers, when he shares content on social syndication platforms like "Digg.com", it generates significant traffic. In the screen capture below, an example of a blog post that JD "digged" a few days ago has already received 64 "diggs" and 35 Facebook likes.
JD references is his article on DrivingSales.com that the Willy's Jeep blog post he promoted generated over 32,494 unique visitors to the dealership website in just 3 days. In addition to visitors, the article also picked up a number of Facebook likes, which again are strong social signals in Google's eyes.
However, the example he chose brings up a bigger strategic question, so here is my feedback on this strategy.
Is getting unqualified, raw traffic to your dealership website JD's real goal here? No. He wanted to increase the social signals for a post on this dealer's website. This was accomplished.
JD suggests that these social votes assist in Google's ranking algortymn, which is true. However, there are some caveats with his strategy.
Could getting social votes in this way have some negative repercussions?
First, if you are running retargeting code on your website, your audience counts will explode with consumers who are not in your local market. The 32,000+ visitors from JD's sharing most likely are nowhere near the dealership. This will inflate audience counts and could drive up your PPC retargeting costs depending on how the campaign is setup.
Second, will the unqualified traffic dilute your ability to read website analytics and spot trends with changes in local advertising, SEO, and PPC budgets? Does this complicate the Internet Managers job to explain to the dealer principal why the increase in traffic did not increase leads or calls?
Yes you can manually filter our visitors to your "Jeep" page but that takes time. What if this "traffic flooding" strategy is going on a few times a month. Explaining the benefits of website traffic that normally is 10,000 unique visitors a month to 70,000 unique visitors a month will be a fun discussion with the dealer.
These local consumers are the ones that you want to include in your retargeting lists, invite into Facebook, and join your Google+ circles.
Local consumers buy and service cars. That's where my view and JD's seem to digress. I'm not saying that JD doesn't promore local SEO but his example may be not the best place for dealers to focus.
There are many controversial, historical, and social activities (like sports) that will interest local consumers. These types of articles with compelling infographics or photos can be leveraged in the same way as JD suggests but with better long term residual value to the dealer.
Pinterest is a perfect tool for increasing local consumer clicks and votes if you have the right LOCAL content strategy. Imagine creating a blog post with a photo of the local basketball team winning the State trophy.
Or an Infographic of the State Tournament Elimination process. Pinning that on Pinterest and sharing that blog link on social media portals will increase local clicks to your blog with more qualified traffic.
Those are the consumers I want to retarget.
It is also prudent to note that JD's example of 32,000 visitors in 3 days is an extreme case because of his superstar status in social media and how many people follow this posts. A dealer following this same strategy would be lucky with their new Digg and Redit account to get 500 visitors.
So, it is a great case for hiring JD to lead up your social media and Automotive SEO strategy but not a good example of what you can do yourself. There are only so many dealers JD can post for so you are well advised to create a strong local search and social strategy that you can build with qualified traffic.
And yes, I would love to have access to JD's social media accounts for a few days!!
The great news is that at the 2012 Automotive Boot Camp both JD and I will be sharing our latest strategies for social media and search engine optimization. And in addition to the two of us, we will have a number of experts on SEO, SEM, Social Media, Mobile Marketing, and more to give attendees the most comprehensive education to create a winning digital strategy.
Click on the image below to download the latest 4-Page Boot Camp Brochure