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Pulse rates are different depending on what artery you check and what method you use. Checking someone's carotid artery by hand can yield a slightly different result than taking it with a machine through the brachial artery. The same thing happens in the car business, which is why I like to talk to different people from different parts of the industry.
Today, a good friend gave me a pulse check on his dealers' opinions about SEO. The feeling he was getting is that all SEO products are the same in our industry. This took me by surprise because I see SEO from the exact opposite perspective; the differences between what one company considers SEO and what another company considers SEO is like comparing apples and orangutans. Some have bite. Others bite.
The reality from a completely biased source, me, can tell you with certainty that once you peel back the top layer, the differences are very clear. If there are multiple layers to peel back, the fruit is no good. Why? Because SEO isn't hard to understand. It's not complicated. It's not even that difficult to do. However, doing it right is time consuming. This is why so many companies opt for a magic trick version of SEO rather than actually rolling up the sleeves and getting to work.
The magic trick approach means that they like to use misdirection (and even redirection) to point to this factor and that action that they're doing in order to achieve a result that may or may not be clear. They produce reports that have lots of numbers and well-organized color charts. The have an SEO guru/expert/wizard who sounds like a literal snake oil salesman from an old Clint Eastwood movie.
The real approach builds content on and off site, takes advantage of the power of social media, and makes certain that the boring technical aspects like citations and Schema.org (though small those components may be) are in order. The reports are clear - substantial organic traffic increases with acceptable time on site and pages viewed as well as ranking tracking for important keywords.
The real approach also focuses on one thing: increasing business. No level of reporting and no acts of wizardry will accomplish this. If you're not selling more cars and getting more service business, your SEO isn't working.
Using cliches and analogies is the only way I can keep from getting upset by the state of the search engine optimization world for car dealers. You deserve better.