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High Quality Customized Automotive Website Content Is Effectively Free

I've decided to write more frequently about Automotive SEO, after a brief period of silence.


Recent research on Organic Search rankings and collaboration with industry leaders brought to light a very interesting observation.    

I want to thank Dave Page from Dealer eProcess for showing me some of his findings on how their company is lowering Adwords costs using their website platform and customized content.  They get it!!


Great content can be created for your website for free!


I'll back that statement up with some facts, so let me set the stage.  


Google Adwords Investments Are Increasing


Today, most dealers are using Google Adwords to drive traffic to their website.  It is hard to say what the "average" monthly spend is for dealers using Adwords, but I estimate that it is around $3,000 a month.  For most metro markets, $3,000 is not enough to maximize visibility in search, display, and video across all device types.  


A robust Google Adwords investment for metropolitan dealerships can easily be in the $5,000 - $10,000 range if a dealer is utilizating SEM, display retargeting, video retargeting, video pre-roll, promoted video, behavioral targeting, and mobile advertising.  

If I could save dealers 10%-20% off their Adwords spend, shouldn't they be interested?  That could mean an extra $1,000 a month to repurpose to sell more cars! 

SEM Campaign Budgets Are Influenced By Quality Scores


Some Adwords investments are billed on a pay per click basis (PPC), others on a Cost Per Impression (CPM).  The PPC cost is a function of competition for the keyword as well as what Google calls a "quality score" of the ad campaign.  


The quality score (QS) is a function of the keyword purchased, the text in the ad, Click Thru Rate (CTR), and the landing page that the consumer is taken to when the ad is clicked. A high quality score is 10 and a low quality score would be 1.  


For example, a Honda dealer purchasing the keyword "2013 Honda Accord", is already at an advantage over a Ford Dealer because Google knows their domain is a franchised Honda dealership.  


If the ad text contains the words "2013 Honda Accord", the quality score increases.  If the dealership sends the click to an optimized page for the "2013 Honda Accord", the quality score goes up again.  As the quality score increases for each keyword, the relative cost to the dealership is lowered.


If quality scores can significantly impact click costs, shouldn't there be more focus on the quality of Adwords campaigns and not just on the cost-per-click?   It is EASY to inspect the quality score of each Adwords ad group. 


High Quality Scores Require Optimized Landing Pages


Most franchise dealership websites today have a vehicle showcase page for each new car model that the franchise dealer sells. For example, Honda dealers may have a page dedicated for the 2013 Honda Accord, 2013 Honda Civic, etc. It doesn't mean that the Google Adwords company is sending clicks to that page, but some basic product pages area available for Adwords testing.


However, Google Adwords campaigns are just not for new model advertising.  Conquest campaigns, service campaigns, used car campaigns, and special finance campaigns all need a landing page that produces a high quality score.


The truth of the matter is that many Adwords management companies do not have the staff and processes in place to create the dozens of high quality content pages that are needed to completely optimize each Adwords campaign.  This is very true in regards to conquest campaigns; dealers need highly optimized content to conquest a competing brand without busting the bank!


You will be surprised to see how many ad clicks are sent to the home page or a low scoring page because no one has asked for a custom landing page to be created. 


Investments In Quality Content Are Paid For In Adwords Savings


What I have found is that dealers who invest in quality content, can effectively have those content costs funded by savings in Adwords campaigns.  That's right.  The savings realized EVERY month by high quality content, well designed landing pages, and/or microsites can pay for itself!


This was not the case in the past because:

  1. Dealers were not spending enough on Adwords to making the savings significant.
  2. Mass management of Adwords has created set-it-and-forget-it campaigns with low QS.
  3. Many OEM Adwords investments are not focused on Quality Score.
  4. Dealers are still not coordinating SEO content with them SEM providers.


The time has come to make the argument that high quality content pays for itself!

Time To Invest In Engaging Content


With these changes in the marketplace, I could not be happier.  As a boutique content provider and SEO strategist for dealers, the content writers at PCG Digital Marketing can create the customized landing pages to make popular Adwords management platforms sing.  


Whether a dealer is using TCD, Haystak Digital Marketing, Cobalt PowerBrand, or another Adwords management platform, CPC costs can be lowered by collaborative content development.  

A starting investment of $500 a month in customized content, can trigger an equal reduction in MONTHLY Adwords costs, as Google resets Ad Group quality scores.


Best of all, the customized landing pages create better consumer engagement.   That's right.  The content is effectively free and your local in-market shoppers will CONVERT better because you took their click to a landing page that had well written content.  Stop sending clicks to crappy landing pages or the dealership HOME page. 


So, if you want to lower Adwords costs to create a better consumer experience on your website that CONVERTS more visitors to leads, the time has come to invest in content that is leveraged by your Adwords campaigns.


PCG Digital Marketing Offers Affordable Content Packages


You can get started with a minimum investment to prove this strategy by calling Glenn Pasch, at PCG Digital Marketing. You can reach Glenn at 732.450.8200. Discuss how you can prioritize the content development for all your digital goals, and get a content road map developed for the next six months.  

You will be surprise how well things work when SEO content and SEM management are united!  Stop wasting money with Google because of low quality score.  Take those savings and create a highly engaging website!   That will differentiate your website from your competition.



Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting


Views: 533

Tags: adwords, automotive advertising, automotive sem, content, cost per click, quality score, sem


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Comment by Larry Bruce on April 17, 2013 at 4:06pm

Brian you are correct in a completely egregious situation where you are buying Honda keywords but your landing is about a Toyota Google is going to ding you on the quality score but if your CTR is high enough then your overall quality score for that keyword can still remain acceptable.

I wouldn’t recommend trying it but it is possible.

"The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is"

I didn't mean to imply that landing page quality has nothing to do with quality score just that it has a much smaller weight in the algorithm than CTR.

The problem with true landing page quality and quality score is 2 fold:

1. Google is limited to what it can crawl to determine landing page quality, at least on a large number of landing pages. Ironically however, that’s the way you want your landing pages graded. If you get one of Google’s Human Checkers involved, now it is subjective and that will usually not work in your favor.  

2. Google gets paid on the click so they are naturally going to weight the quality score on the keyword & ad combination that gets them the highest revenue. They are still a business with shareholders and quarterly numbers to hit.

So in the end it shouldn't surprise anyone the Quality Score is heavily weighed on the CTR.

“The point of my article is that Adwords management companies are taking your advice, and only focusing on CTR and not on the quality score.”

Brian, thank you for that vote of confidence but I don’t think my advice has anything to do with it. The reason adwords providers focus on CTR (at least the ones that do), is because that is all they can really control. Most if not all of them do not control the landing so they couldn't affect the landing quality score if they wanted to.

You're right there are a lot of structural problems I see in websites that would cause high CPC’s mostly stemming from the fact they are platform websites not truly owned by the dealer and so the site and the page isn't really optimal to the keyword being purchased and there is very little the dealer can do about it as they have little access.

The above is the reason why I stated in my comment:

“First if you want your content marketing to affect your landing pages then your internal link structure for your web properties network needs to be right or you will be generating a lot of content that will have no benefit on your landing pages at all.”

Finally I have to say AMEN…ALWAYS BE TESTING!

Great landing pages come from great testing scenarios, on that we absolutely agree!

Thanks for the post and the comments Brian always good to debate with you on these points. Hope the readers get as much out it as I do. 

Comment by Brian Pasch on April 17, 2013 at 6:01am


You make a number of solid points, regarding SEO strategy and testing, which was not the real focus of this piece.  What was a highlight of this piece was lack of focus on "quality score".

I have to strongly disagree with your statement: "Lastly we have found Google Quality Score is primarily based on CRT (Click Through Rate)".  

Quality score was designed to prevent advertisers to make a claim in an ad to get engagement, (High CTR) which takes them to a page that has nothing to do with the ad.  

In the old days, there was not penalty for advertising "Absolute Lowest Prices on Honda Accord" in the ad and taking the customer to a Toyota Camry page.  Google wants to create a positive advertising experience.  Their definition of how quality score is calculate can be found on this page, and is summarized here:

Every time someone does a search that triggers your ad, we calculate a Quality Score. To calculate this Quality Score, we look at a number of different things related to your account. By improving the following factors you can help improve your Quality Score:

  • Your keyword's past clickthrough rate (CTR): How often that keyword led to clicks on your ad
  • Your display URL's past CTR: How often you received clicks with your display URL
  • Your account history: The overall CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
  • The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is
  • Your keyword/ad relevance: How relevant your keyword is to your ads
  • Your keyword/search relevance: How relevant your keyword is to what a customer searches for
  • Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you're targeting
  • Your ad's performance on a site: How well your ad's been doing on this and similar sites (if you're targeting the Display Network)
  • Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices, like desktops/laptops, mobile devices, and tablets – you get different Quality Scores for different types of devices

A marketers can create an ad that has a high CTR, but the destination page and the consumers engagement with that page, is part of the quality score calculation.   

The point of my article is that Adwords management companies are taking your advice, and only focusing on CTR and not on the quality score. They have structural problems lowering quality score for non-traditional ad strategies. This causes higher cost per clicks, yet that information is not being shared with dealers paying for the Adwords campaigns.

Testing, testing, and testing is important, as you properly remind us.  It requires both a Adwords strategist and great landing pages that are tested to engage consumers and produce a conversion.  That is what is missing for most Adwords campaigns.

Comment by Larry Bruce on April 17, 2013 at 4:51am

Brian an interesting post, I wonder did Dave Page share any of the conversion rates with you?

We have found that content for content sake is actually does more harm than good, it takes good content and that is very different than high quality content as good content is in the eye of your visitor. So if you are creating content just to help out your landing pages you are missing out on the biggest benefits of content generation and your audience will see right through you.

Bottom-line I apologize for being redundant on this as many of you have heard this before:

SEO= 1)Good Content, 2)Keywords & 3)Backlinks, number 3 is the primary driver of SEO ranking and you get number 3 when you do number 1 & number 2 right.”

The trick is how do you determine what is Good Content to your visitors, NOT TO YOU? – Your audience is the key without them the content has little value.

What Keywords are you going to rank for? - If you don’t know this the SEO value of your content is wasted.

How to syndicate your content to get the back links you want? – If you don’t tell anyone about the content it’s useless.  

Basically what we are talking about here is a good Content Marketing Strategy.

We have found there is much more to a good Content Marketing Strategy than just writing the content, actually that is the easiest part.

First if you want your content marketing to affect your landing pages then your internal link structure for your web properties network needs to be right or you will be generating a lot of content that will have no benefit on your landing pages at all.

Second you have to know what keywords in what ad groups in your PPC structure you are driving content for. This gets especially difficult if you are not managing the adwords account on the same platform with the Content Marketing Strategy & the Landing Page Management Platform. They all work together and if you don’t control all of it all you can do is throw more money at it you can’t improve it.

Lastly we have found Google Quality Score is primarily based on CRT (Click Through Rate) so your ads are the primary key NOT the content on your landing page or linked to it. If you are looking to create content that will have a direct impact on the quality score of your adwords account you will need the following:

  1. You have to own the adwords account. If you don’t have a Google / MS ad Center login & Password to go directly to your adwords account, YOU DON’T OWN IT so you all the quality score work you do is wasted.
  2. The content you should be looking to write surrounds better ads for your ad words account. Break your ad groups down by geo-location & consumer intent and write your ads based on that.
  3. SPLIT TEST YOUR ADS! – Again I apologize for being redundant here if you have heard me say this before “THERE ARE NO EXPERT MARKETERS…THERE ARE ONLY EXPERIENCED MARKETERS AND EXPERT TESTERS.

In the end it’s not enough just to be good with internet marketing anymore the competition is too tight, as Seth Godin puts it “You have to be remarkable” that means you have to do it all right and you have to measure it all and you have to constantly test it all… All the time.

This comment has already grown much bigger than I intended so if you want more info on this or have a question you can email me at or call me at 855.444.4437 we are happy to help where we can. 

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