Automotive Digital Marketing

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Invest 5 Minutes to Protect Your Brand Online

I have been educating dealers on the concept of a POD Score this month and I wanted to give ADM members advice on how to increase their POD score. You should also read the latest post on how POD Score is calculated. (Read Article)

One of the fastest ways to protect a car dealer's BRAND and Page One search results is to purchase the .NET and .ORG versions of their brand name(s).

I am amazed at how many dealers have not purchased the common alternative domains for their brand. Many dealers only own the .com version of their brand.

Larger dealer group are notorious for not buying their individual store domain names. These dealers have relied on their group site to magically appear for all brands that they carry.

The industry is at the boiling point as dealers are realizing that group portal sites are NOT the magic bullet. In fact, when consumers search each store individually, larger dealer groups control very few of the 10 organic listings that show on Page One for a specific store name. (i.e. Low POD Score)

Large Dealer Groups

I'll outline some practical advise using a fictitious dealer group with five OEM brands. The group is called the Paschonate Auto Group and they operate the Paschonate Auto Mall which carries Chevrolet, Ford, BMW, Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge brands.

Their group website is They have operated traditional advertising campaigns for years that uses radio, TV and print to drive traffic to

What this dealer group does not understand is that IF a consumer does not hear or see their traditional advertisement, consumers will search for an OEM brand in their area. Often, group sites DO NOT show in organic results because they don't have the specific OEM name in their URL.

Don't get is on the way.

Protecting Your OEM Brand

Most OEM's require a dedicated URL, so in this example the Paschonate Auto Group has,, etc with their mandated OEM sites. Some dealers pay little attention to their OEM mandated sites and this is a mistake. (I will discuss this in a separate article.)

An equally damaging mistake is that car dealers NEVER purchase the .net and .org version of their domains.

In this example, the dealer group should purchase and They can use these domains to place websites, WordPress blogs, or NING social communities on these domains to PROTECT THEIR BRAND NAME.

When setup properly, the .net and .org sites will show when consumers search for a car dealer's name. This will increase the channels and paths to direct consumers to the dealer website and showroom. If it is not done, that traffic will most likely be directed to hostile forces or direct competitors.

Buying the domain is NOT good enough. Dealers need to place content, like website, on these domains. The websites can be NING communities that cost $20 a month. The websites can be WordPress websites at $70 a year. The key is that dealers need to own their brand domains and publish content on the .com, .net, and .org versions.

The #1 organic search phrases that brings consumers to a dealer's website is a search for their name.

Adding websites on the .NET and .ORG domains will increase their Page One visibility, control, leads, and POD Score.

Take 5 minutes to buy those domains for your dealership or dealership group and lock in your Page One control when a consumer types your dealership name into Google.

The ADM community members that invest the 5 minutes to buy these domains will be well rewarded in years to come.

Views: 67

Tags: domains, one, page, pod, score, websites


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Comment by Brian Pasch on October 6, 2010 at 8:34pm
I did another webinar today for 40 dealers and everyone we tested did NOT have their alternative domains purchased. This is such an NO BRAINER for immediate (30-90 day) ROI to protect your brand, increase your POD Score, and to stop spending money to assist your #1 competitor.

Comment by Ken Nix on October 1, 2010 at 9:23am
Brian, as always, this is great information for dealers. When I worked for ReyRey, I visited at least 50 dealer sites a day. About 99% did not take the time to secure their properties and/or put any effort toward branding their company online. Big mistake. I'm amazed more cyberquatters and domain scalpers haven't gone after dealership properties online more than they already have.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 1, 2010 at 12:18am
Brian - What never ceases to amaze me is that there are so many of us who understand what you explain in this blog post, and the strategy you outline has been proven over and over again across multiple brands and different parts of the country... It is essentially what I was doing in 2004 and 2005... Yet, it is still so difficult to get dealers to invest a few hundred dollars to implement these domain names across a set of relevant and appropriate web based assets (micro sites, blogs, websites, etc.) out of an overall advertising budget that is sometimes over $100K per month! All I can say is thank you for continuing to spread the sound advice and guidance, because there are a lot of people out there who have given up convincing anyone, simply selling these skill sets and knowledge to dealers who "Get It" and not "wasting any time" on those that do not...

It is inspiring to see you continue to explain these fundamentals, because ultimately it is the repetition and consistency of messaging that will turn the tide and empower more dealers to implement a genuine digital marketing strategy instead of putting up one website and thinking they have the online world handled. The chart shown below illustrates the core website and microsite structure I built in 2005 based on many of the principles you outline... From this core we continued to layer on over 50 microsites based on specific areas of interest expressed by car shoppers in the phoenix market as evidenced by the volume of searches being done... The most popular search terms, such as make and model resulted in a domain purchase, and then we would build microsites that delivered what we thought people using those search terms would want to find when they landed on them... The dealership sold 11,000 new and used cars in 2006, with well over 300 units a month from Internet originated sales opportunities...

What you described works... PERIOD. This is not experimental, it may have been ten years ago, but not any more.

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