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Suddenly Everyone’s an SEO Pilot with a Team of Experts at their Arms

Catch Me If You Can

There are always going to be those who are real experts offering real products or services with proven strategies and the ability to make changes to their techniques as the market and industries change. There are also always going to be those who put on the uniform, slide on the aviator sunglasses, and pretend like they know how to pilot a passenger jet. Sadly, the latter is starting to outnumber the former, particularly in the world of search marketing.

It happens in many industries, particularly ones where things get easier. For example, owning a custom computer shop was a nice, tight niche just a few years ago. Now, you can drop a paper airplane off a building and have a 50/50 chance of hitting someone who can build a custom computer. It isn’t that they are faking. It’s that the modular design and cross-compatibility of computer hardware components has made building custom computers as easy as building a LEGO house.

The arena of search marketing is different. In both PPC management as well as search engine optimization, there has been a tremendous influx of experts and services filling the ears and inboxes of prospective clients. It’s not that it is easier than it was in the past. In fact, it’s harder today than it has ever been in the past, particularly with the complexities, risks, and quality needs of SEO. The reason that it’s growing is because the pitch is easy. Search is obscure. It’s super easy to fall for the wrong pitch because they’re all starting to sound the same.

In Catch Me if You Can, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s portrayal of the infamous Frank Abagnale Jr. was an example of what I’m seeing more and more of today in the search marketing world. It’s a matter of being able to talk the talk and winging it when it comes to walking the walk. Everyone says the buzzwords. Unique content. Targeting competitors’ cities. Market coverage. Link building. Social signals. I’ve heard pitches from people who can barely spell “SEO” that made them sound like their services were rock solid until you asked them detailed questions or demanded more than one or two example of successes.

Therein lies the two biggest problems. Those who are buying SEO don’t know the right questions to ask or what the correct answers should be. More importantly, every vendor in the industry has at least a couple of examples of where their clients are ranking well even if they had no hand in making it happen. This happened to me first hand this week when a site that I had optimized to rank well two years ago was used as an example of search dominance by their website provider. Their rankings had fallen in the two years since we had optimized them but they were still good enough to be an example of this web provider’s excellence.

There’s really no way to fight this, unfortunately. For my own company, I’ll be collecting dozens of examples of SEO domination to give to the sales team, but what about the smaller companies that are doing it right? If they have a dozen clients and they’re all doing very well, they still look bad compared to the giant company with 2000 clients that has 8 examples of good performance. Is there a solution? Is there a way to wake up the industry and show them how to tell the difference between aggressive, solid search marketing and the type that isn’t worth a buck, let along hundreds or thousands a month?

I will be taking the comments from this post and applying them to the Automotive SEO Study.

Views: 1262

Tags: "Search, Engine, Optimization, SEO

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Comment by Alexander Lau on June 12, 2013 at 5:56am

Tim, I've mentioned many times that Search Content Marketing or SCM might be a better name for SEO, but there's some disagreements in the "community" about it and I think it should be mentioned.

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2270206/The-Myth-of-Content-Ma...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkrogue/2012/07/20/the-death-of-seo-t...

In short, SCM uses SEO as a foundation.

Content marketing isn't separate from SEO and isn't the new SEO. It doesn't replace SEO. It is SEO just like all the other items mentioned are SEO.

SEO isn't just search engine optimization anymore. It is, as Cutts suggested a little while back, search experience optimization and it covers everything on the website, either directly or relationally.

Comment by Timothy Martell on June 12, 2013 at 3:12am
Thanks Ralph. And you're right. He can keep deleting my comments, but it won't change what they are. It's shameful really. And the worst part is that it wouldn't be hard for an agency to become what he proposes in his article if they would just do the work. Seems
thats still the 4 letter word most people are afraid of.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on June 12, 2013 at 12:02am

I love it when Tim Martell pulls back the curtain to expose the man pulling the levers for the great and wonderful OZ... The best part about the vendor who posted the article on ADM that Tim refers to in the comment below, is that this network will usually expose such hype for what it is... Thank you Tim!

" Comment by Timothy Martell 8 hours ago Delete Comment

See now this is the kind of garbage that really pisses me off. Here we have some random vendor that posts a pitch article on ADM here: http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/profiles/blogs/does-your-...

The premise is exactly what this article is about. Legitimate digital marketing. They sling this BS about how they do the real work and then you run a free marketing grade on their website and find this: http://marketing.grader.com/site/qmarketinggroup.net

DISGUSTING! PUKE! BLAH!

This is even worse than the kind of crap big website vendors provide. They may as well send spam email out. Wait, I'm sure the indian company they outsource their SEO to already does. How the hell are you going to call yourself a digital marketing company when you can't even market your own freaking company!!!!???? 

Its infuriating. This is the kind of crap a real digital marketing company has to compete with every day and most dealer's can't tell the difference between the two.

ARGH!"

Comment by Tom Gorham on June 11, 2013 at 5:26pm

Our friend Keith is right.  As far as the jackwagon, LOL!

Comment by Timothy Martell on June 11, 2013 at 4:41pm

Tom, its my pleasure. Hell I almost don't even want to acknowledge thanks for doing the right thing... Keith Shetterly said it best, "Whats the ROI of doing the right thing? The right thing gets done."

In other news, that jackwagon from Q-Marketing Group deleted my posts on his pitch blog. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on June 11, 2013 at 4:19pm

Tim, thank you!  "An amazing thing happens when you stop worrying about shortcuts and just try to make the best product possible... it works."

Comment by Timothy Martell on June 11, 2013 at 3:02pm

And you can't even view any page of their website except the home page on Safari! Sorry Mac users!

Comment by Timothy Martell on June 11, 2013 at 2:59pm

See now this is the kind of garbage that really pisses me off. Here we have some random vendor that posts a pitch article on ADM here: http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/profiles/blogs/does-your-...

The premise is exactly what this article is about. Legitimate digital marketing. They sling this BS about how they do the real work and then you run a free marketing grade on their website and find this: http://marketing.grader.com/site/qmarketinggroup.net

DISGUSTING! PUKE! BLAH!

This is even worse than the kind of crap big website vendors provide. They may as well send spam email out. Wait, I'm sure the indian company they outsource their SEO to already does. How the hell are you going to call yourself a digital marketing company when you can't even market your own freaking company!!!!???? 

Its infuriating. This is the kind of crap a real digital marketing company has to compete with every day and most dealer's can't tell the difference between the two.

ARGH!

Comment by Timothy Martell on June 11, 2013 at 2:50pm

Alex, what we do now has no remaining gaming factor. Really SEO should be a misnomer now. The evolution has really resulted in content marketing/curation. At least, our approach no longer includes gaming elements. I'm sure many would find it hard to believe that you can deliver consistent results without massive link building or some "trick" that votes their content up. The trick is in coming up with great content day in and day out and creating an affordable model that doesn't rely on outsourcing the work to india. 

Really, that is what separates us from the majority of "SEO Companies."

We write great content. Every aspect of what we do is done by american employee's. We consistently deliver results. We don't use any tricks. No gaming. None.

Hard to believe, I'm sure. 

It's funny, we got a call from several of our non-automotive clients who really pay very close attention to analytics right after Penguin 2.0 hit. They asked us what we did in the last week to send their website traffic through the roof. 

They couldn't believe the answer was nothing. It was simply that everyone else got penalized and we were reaping the reward of their failure from trying to game the system.

An amazing thing happens when you stop worrying about shortcuts and just try to make the best product possible... it works.

Are there still tricks that work? Yup. Some really nasty ones too. Its just not how we choose to play the game. And once you realize how few people in our industry produce anything remotely close to quality, thats a magic moment. Because you can win every time playing it straight. You just have to unlearn bad habits--and shortcuts are bad habits.

Comment by Alexander Lau on June 11, 2013 at 7:32am

Agreed Tim. There absolutely is a gaming factor, there has to be, it's the reality of SEO.

Anytime I try and sell SEO, it's always by stating, "there's no such thing as an SEO expert. If anyone tells you such a thing, run the opposite direction." There are best practices to be applied and keeping up with those best practices and performing white hat techniques is where you need to be. If no sustainable (important) results are witnessed then by all means stop the service.

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