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Revised POD Score Formula and ADM Contest Announced

Based on feedback from members of the ADM community as well as other automotive leaders, I have created a revised formula for calculating a POD Score™ that is designed to give dealers a quick measure of how well their name is being defended/protected online when consumers perform a "direct search" on their name in Google.

Related to this new formula, ADM members can submit their Page One Screen shot to win an Apple Macbook or an Apple iPad. ADM members with a POD Score of 75 or higher can submit your dealership and Ralph Paglia will pull the winning dealers from those submitted at the 9th Digital Dealer Conference.

One winner will receive a new Apple Macbook (laptop) and the second dealer to be pulled from the hat will win and Apple iPad. So read the article, and if your dealership has a POD Score of 80 or higher, send a screenshot of a Google Page One search of your dealership name to:

New POD Score Formula

The elements in the revised POD Score™ are:

  • Google Adwords Campaigns
  • Google Maps
  • Organic Listings

The revised formula also changes the weighted value of listings in the first five positions of Google organic results as compared to the last 5 listings on Page One.

A car dealer’s name is the number one keyword that drives traffic to their website in organic search. It can also be in the top five most clicked keywords if the dealership name is purchased in Adwords.

Consumers who search for a dealers name are most likely further along in the sales funnel than a consumer typing a broad search phrase. Consumers who search for a dealers name can be searching for a phone number, responding to an advertisement seen or heard offline, and an existing customer looking to service their car or ask a question.

Avoiding Disruptive Attacks

Since these consumers have set a search goal to connect with a dealer, it will take a disruptive event to divert a significant amount of traffic from a dealers website. I am suggesting that some of the more common disruptive events on Page One can be:

  • A targeted PPC campaign showing by competitors or OEM.
  • Strong negative reviews and low star ratings on Google Maps.
  • Significantly higher stars on Google Maps for a competing dealer.
  • A top five position for a complaint on aggressive websites like
  • Targeted microsite attacking the dealers name like

Based on real life observations and data I have collected on multiple websites, I am convinced dealers should observe and take action for what appears on Page One for a search on their name. The degree of urgency will most likely depend on a dealer’s past experience with negative posts, employee attacks or aggressive competitors.

With that said, is just one element of their overall digital marketing strategy. Its beauty is that it clearly demonstrates the impact of digital marketing strategies, SEO and PPC, used to gain visibility for a car dealer’s name. Dealers will have to determine if their revised POD Score™ merits action.

What POD Scores Are Not Intended To Accomplish

  • POD Score™ is not to be used to measure Page One results on random keywords. It is designed to measure the Page One results for a search on a business name.
  • The POD Score™ (Page One Defense) is not designed to measure the exact financial impact of owning Page One.
  • It is not a measure of the financial impact of PPC bidding or not bidding on a dealer name when no competing Adwords campaign are present.
  • Most importantly, it is not meant to imply a measurement as to the net value of click traffic generated by PPC Ads vs. organic listings that show on Page One for a dealer’s name.

The Revised POD Score™ Formula

The revised formula is an acknowledgment that when a consumer types in a dealer's name, there can be a number of things that can negatively or positively impact a dealer. The revised POD Score™ measures the dealer's awareness of these attacks and their efforts and actions to stop brand leakage and attacks. There are three scoring elements in the revised formula, which are outlined in this document.

I. PPC Scoring Elements

In regards to PPC Ads, adding a scoring element can be tricky because budgets and schedule impact what is seen on Page One on any given moment. The dealer is in control of calculating their POD Score™ and that includes the scoring element for PPC.

Dealers can easily ask what keywords they are purchasing in Adwords.

For purposes of POD Score™, if a competitor's ad or OEM ad is running at the top of organic search results for a dealer's name, and if the dealer does not purchase their own name in Adwords as a defense, ten points will be taken off their score (-15). If a dealer recognizes their name is being targeted, and runs a competitive ad for their name, they will be rewarded five points (+15).

Circle BMW POD Score

In the example above, Circle BMW get 15 points for creating a PPC campaign to mitigate the brand leakage created by BMW USA. If they did not create a PPC campaign, many leads would be siphoned off to BMW USA.

If there are no competitor PPC ads running for a search on a dealer’s name then there is no “top of page” attack and no POD need to direct funds at an Adwords campaign. That money can be spent to increase control of organic listings on Page One. Some Adwords experts have stated that buying a dealers name when no attack is present is great for lead generation. However, for the purpose of POD Score there is no reward.

II. Google Maps Elements

In regards to Google Maps, we firmly believe that dealers should edit and verify their own Google Maps listing. If the dealer's Google Maps listing shows unverified, it can have incorrect data, phone numbers and website addresses. This is not a desirable event and an unverified listing will result in 10 points taken off their score (-10).

Reviews are an important element in Google Maps and highly visible when a consumer searches for a car dealer's name. Bad reviews can be a disruptive event and can derail a consumer who was intending on doing business with the dealer.

Dealers should be defending their name by asking customers to post positive reviews. If a dealer ignores this element of Google Maps, most likely only negative reviews will show. Dealers should have dozens of positive reviews posted directly on Google Maps.

If a car dealer has at least five positive reviews directly posted into Google Maps and their average is over 3 stars in Google, they can add 15 points to their POD Score™ (+15). If a dealer has less than five positive reviews, or an average Google score under 3 stars, they will subtract 15 points (-15).

Brickell Honda Reviews

In the example above, Brickell Honda has numerous Google positive reviews so their scoring for the Map component of POD Score would be +15 points.

Dealers With Cities In Their Name

For some dealers, their dealership name includes a city like "Mercedes-Benz of Beverly Hills.” A search can trigger Google Maps to show multiple dealerships if a consumer types "Mercedes-Benz Beverly Hills" and leaves out the word "of.”

In this case, dealers should be aware of the relative scores presented if other Mercedes-Benz dealers appear. A dealer who has significantly less reviews and stars than their direct competitors, they are inviting the consumer to click and compare.

We understand that for some dealers, Google may not show all their ratings on third party websites. In any case, dealers should be balancing where reviews are placed and since Google controls the maps listing, posting directly to Google must be part of your Internet Reputation Management strategy and the POD Score™ reflects that need.

III. Organic Search Listings

Members of the automotive community suggested that all organic listings do not have the same click through rates and thus should not be viewed equally for scoring. Additional feedback included that all organic listings are not shown above the fold so unless consumers scroll through the page, some listings may not influence customers at all.

It is our conviction that all listings on Page One are important but we agree that weighting is needed to reflect the energy needed to control the most important listing positions.

Negative Review Focused Sites

Bay Ridge Nissan

For example, a or listing in position 3 (shown previously for Bay Ridge Nissan) will be a more disruptive event than in position 10. This is simply because for many browsers, the listings in positions 6-10 need the user to scroll down to see them.

However, on my new Mac workstation, I can see all 10 without scrolling for most searches. The work needed to push this listing off Page One from position 3 will also require more work than if in position 10.

For POD scoring, a direct negative post, like or, with the dealership name in the title that appears in the first five listing is considered disruptive event and will result in a deduction of 10 points (-10). If the review is in positions 6-10, deduct five points (-5). This can include direct attacks like which we have seen many times.

So when a dealer calculates their scores for organic listings that they have full control of, they will be weighted as follows:

  • Position 1 - 15 pts
  • Position 2 - 15 pts
  • Position 3 - 10 pts
  • Position 4 - 10 pts
  • Position 5 - 10 pts
  • Position 6 - 5 pts
  • Position 7 - 5 pts
  • Position 8 - 5 pts
  • Position 9 - 5 pts
  • Position10 - 5 pts

Total points awarded for a dealer owning all 10 organic listings on Page One is 75 points. In order to achieve a POD Score™ of 100 or higher, a dealer must gain points from their Google Maps positive reviews or their PPC defense strategy.

To clarify what counts for POD Score™ points in the organic listings we have created this table:

Dealership Main Website(s) Third party lead car websites
Dealership Microsites Third party automotive sales websites
Dealership Press Releases Yelp, InsiderPages, CitySearch, etc.
Dealership Blogs Business Directory Websites
Dealership Videos YellowPages Type Websites
Dealership Color Brochures Automotive Forums
Dealership Facebook & Twitter News Websites
Dealership NING Communities Better Business Bureau
DealerRater Certified Dealers Dealer Pages

We would like to clearly state that third party lead collection websites or advertising websites are a vital part of the automotive community and provide valuable services to car dealers. We however, do not feel that they should be appearing on Google Page One for a search on a dealers name.

POD Score™ Point Scoring Summarized

How to Get to 100 Points

A dealer that owned all 10 organic listings, had no one attacking them using Adwords, and had good reviews would receive a score Maps (15) + Pos1-5(60) + Pos6-10(25) = 100.

A dealer can also get to 100 points by defending their name with Adwords, if attacked by someone using Adwords, and not have all the organic listings under their control.

The following examples show how the new POD Score is calculated on car dealers that are local to our office where Adwords campaigns would be expected to show.

Red Bank Volvo POD Score

Red Bank Volvo

Red Bank Volvo has a POD Score of 10 because of the following three section scores:

  1. Adwords - A competitor is running a Google Adwords campaign on their name and they are not running a campaign the two days we tested this local dealer. (-15)
  2. Maps - They do not have five positive reviews on their Google Maps listing and the last two reviews at the top of the list were damaging. (-15)
  3. Organic - They control only positions 1, 2 and 3 in the organic listings.

Gold Coast Cadillac POD Score

Gold Coast Cadillac

Gold Coast Cadillac has a POD Score of 40 because of the following three section scores:

  1. Adwords - Multiple competitors are running a Google Adwords campaign on their name and they are running a defensive campaign at the top of search listings . (+15)
  2. Maps - They do not have a three star average rating on their reviews on their Google Maps listing and they have only 1 direct Google review. (-15)
  3. Organic - They control only positions 1, 2 and 4 in the organic listings. (+40)

Views: 209

Tags: adm, content, dd9, pod, score


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Join Automotive Digital Marketing

Comment by Richard Valenta on September 30, 2010 at 10:19pm
It's not just about the advertising dollars they spend today. It's also about protecting what they have invested in for years, in many cases, generations.

Comment by Richard Valenta on September 30, 2010 at 6:45pm
I believe the revised POD Score is a simple tool to give a dealer a quick snapshot how how well they are doing in defending their own name. It only makes sense that a dealer would not want others feeding off the brand they have worked so hard building. Both in sweat and dollars. Hopefully, this brings clarity and cuts through the bull.
Comment by David T. Gould on September 29, 2010 at 12:12pm
@ Brian @ Ralph I was not being critical. Brian's POD (Revised) Score takes more factors into consideration making it's calculation (not the results) more complicated than the initial basic premise. I like any "tool" that helps simplify digital communications. (side note... SEO of "POD Score" is impressive ; ) ) Good Selling! DTG
Comment by Brian Pasch on September 27, 2010 at 7:55pm
It's a check on SEO, IRM and one package.

Comment by Jason Walter on September 27, 2010 at 7:50pm
Good info...and easy way to track your effectiveness in the world SEO!
Comment by Brian Pasch on September 27, 2010 at 8:49am
Carlito...I just tested it and it works. You can also send it to me at
Comment by Carlito Mojica Jr. on September 27, 2010 at 8:26am
The is inop. Please advise
Comment by Brian Pasch on September 26, 2010 at 8:19pm
That is a very generous offer for ADM members and your Presto Reviews websites will definitely help dealers with the organic section of the scoring as well as the Google Maps focus.

I'm smiling for the four dealers who will be shown "the light" as they gain confidence that they can change their POD Score with a little effort and that it impacts ALL their advertising spending.

Thanks again for pitching in...this is exactly what the POD Score was all about..empowering dealers to understand this reality and then to engage with companies that participate on ADM that can offer POD Score increases!

Comment by Scott Falcone on September 26, 2010 at 8:11pm

I'd like to make an offer in support of your POD Score contest.

Currently you have a drawing for dealerships with good scores-I'd like to offer the first 4 dealers who respond and who have a POD Score at or below "40", a Presto Reviews site at no charge for 60 days to help improve their score and to help educate them in how this type of user generated content will help them sell cars (which is what this is really all about).

This will especially help those who are struggling with having enough of their own listings on page one and are scoring poorly because of this vs. a ppc issue. I'm confident that we will see some traction for them in perhaps as little as a week.

They will also receive an Internet Reputation Management Portal (I.R.M.P.) site that will help them gather reviews for other important review sites that need to be managed. This will be a valuable tool for the digital beginner or veteran and will come with a fully functional blog, the dealer's facebook badge, and the ability to add links to the dealership's various digital properties to further aid in keeping hijackers off of page one. Here is an example.

I suggest that dealers who are interested contact you first at so they can be evaluated and then we can proceed to assist from there.
Comment by Brian Pasch on September 26, 2010 at 5:52am
Thank you for the vote of confidence. The revisions to the original formula was assisted by great feedback from active members of ADM and other forums. We will be building a simple online tool that will assist a dealer to calculate their POD Score, similar to the WebsiteGrader tool.

Until then, any ADM member who would like me to calculate their POD Score, can just send me an email on the ADM site or as a comment here. Any ADM members with a POD Score of 75 or higher will qualify to win a Mac Laptop or an iPad, Ralph will pick from a hat of those who enter.

The POD Score in itself is just a tool to provide insight. In essence it takes what this community has been discussing (IRM, SEO, and SEM) and help a dealer to agree that they should know what displays on Page One because they are spending thousands of dollars each month to promote their brand name.

Type in "Hilltop Nissan" in Google and click on the reviews on Google Maps. Do you think that the hundreds of people that read those reviews each month, that some will decide not to do business with them?

Since I'm in New Jersey, I can see three PCC ads running on their name and not one is going to the dealer's website.

So as this dealer spends money each month to promote their brand, they are sending customers into a competitors bear trap and a review picture that basically says, "Find another Nissan dealer to do business with!".

Now a dealer principal may not understand PPC or the importance of IRM and reviews, but if you told him that his POD Score was 0/100 and that it was impacting ALL advertising that is building awareness of his store name, then they will ask the simple question, How do I get that score higher?

That's where members of this community can answer and help. They key here is that we now have a "number" that dealers can understand that reflect the complexities of what can happen on Page One.

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