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DealerRater Leverages Adwords To Drive Traffic To Their Portal Using Dealer Names

Tonight I am in Minneapolis Minnesota and I was checking a few searches for the Morries Automotive Group, who I will be visiting with tomorrow from my iPhone.


When I searched the phrase "Morries Reviews" this is the search results page that Google displayed on my iPhone:



You will notice that is paying to advertise their review platform.  It seems that they are specifically buying this dealership name and the word "Reviews".  Why do I think this is the case?  


I tested typing in other names of businesses that were not dealers and the word "reviews" and their ads did not show.  Meaning, they were not buying any search phrase with the word "reviews" which of course would be costly and ineffective.


As an aside, check and see how visible reviews are on this search in the organic listings.  If you haven't tested a mobile search lately, listings are jumping to the top of many searches on car dealer names.    


Search your dealership name and the word reviews on your mobile phone today and see what is displayed.


By the way, do you have a Yelp strategy?  Have you looked into their enhanced listing program?  More on that in an upcoming article after chatting with the Yelp team about the auto industry! Adwords Landing Page



When I clicked on the DealerRater Adwords advertisement, I thought I would be directed to the review page for one of the Morries stores in the Minneapolis area.


However, this is where I landed.  The home page!



So, there are two scenarios that I can think of and maybe you have others.


Scenario #1 - Bad Adwords Setup


The ad clearly implied that DealerRater had "35 Seller Reviews" for a search on this brand but it did not take them to a Morries page.  I know that the ad did not say Morries Reviews but you can connect the dots here when you consider what was searched.  


If the consumer visited the Morries pages and could not find a dealership location with 35 reviews, would they feel misled?


Scenario #2 - Keeping Web Traffic Up has decided to increase their website traffic by investing in Adwords.  This would include buying dealership names and directing them their research website and not a specific dealership review page.


Since they are not using the name of the Dealership in the ad text copy, there is no violation of Adwords TOS or Trademark Laws and may be a savvy Adwords strategy, if the ROI is there.


Since I'm trained to observe and document changes in search strategy that impacts car dealers, I felt compelled to share my findings on ADM.




Brian Pasch CEO of PCG


Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing
Text PCGedu to 75674 get information on our upcoming conferences
Brian Pasch

Views: 478

Tags: adwords, autos, brian pasch, cars, dealerrater, dealers, pcg digital marketing, reviews


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Comment by David Brondstetter on December 26, 2011 at 9:38pm

I'm not sure why they would buy dealer names, their sites typically will show up in organic when you type a dealer's name in search. So, to buy traffic in SEM would be a waste. That said, where dealers are not paying for their service, a review page that is SEO optimized to a dealer's name is (in effect) attempting to get traffic through the use of said dealer's name, especially when that review site advertises for competing dealerships as does dealerrater. I am not commenting on whether it is right or wrong, I am just stating the facts and in my opinion Michael hits on that to some extent with mention of organic. A good example is a client of ours (KIA of Puyallup). Just type their name into Google search. You'll note that they have a SureCritic Business Review Page at page 1, position 2 (feel free to click on it and check it out). You'll see down further that there is also a DR site for this dealership with a couple of reviews. If you click on that, you'll note that they are "Not Active" and as such, the site shows other competing dealership names. Although the "adwords" part of this is probably not the case, certainly Michael's comments beyond the first sentence have merit. 

Comment by Adam Barish on December 19, 2011 at 12:21pm

Thank you all for the educational dialogue.  Motivation aside...Good info.

Comment by Keith Shetterly on December 14, 2011 at 11:40am

Eeeek!  A DealerRater thread and I have no comment.  Eeeek!  :)

Comment by Ryan Leslie on December 14, 2011 at 9:15am

No offense Michael, but your Risk/Benefit analysis based on the false premise that DealerRater is attempting to "divert traffic" is majorly flawed. The benefit analysis of a process to collect, interpret and leverage reviews doesn't fit neatly in the "get consumers to the website" for lead generation box regardless of portal or platform. ZMOT clearly confirms that if you don't believe me. I think you are assuming far too much about the consumer's motivation for entering terms that would return this result.

The article was clearly an accusation, and an offensive one at that, that "DealerRater Leverages Adwords To Drive Traffic To Their Portal Using Dealer Names." Chip's response was pretty clear, DealerRater does not "divert traffic" from a dealer based on their name, never has. Let's let this discussion run its course with a response from Brian to clarify his assertion if he chooses to do so.

If you are interested in a complete Risk/Benefit analysis of DealerRater I'll be happy to discuss that with you in another thread or offline.

Comment by Michael Sos on December 14, 2011 at 8:34am

The real question is not the semantics of how this adwords campaign came about or how long it has existed but whether it benefits a car dealer to have their traffic diverted to Dealerrater. In my opinion the existence of Dealerrater as a viable website is due to dealer's graciously sending consumers to create content on their site. This was a mutual benefit when the content was being placed in the path of the consumer in Google places, which is not the case now. A bi-product of creating content is that the Dealerrater site will rise in the organic search results which will make it a potential destination for new customers. This is not optimum for a car dealer who would like to get that consumer to their website to become a lead. So the risk benefit of working with DealerRater has changed and the adwords campaign adds extra attention to an uncomfortable truth. An interesting article, thanks Brian

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 14, 2011 at 7:55am

Chip and Brian -  just wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed both the blog post and Chip's response... Being fairly familiar and friends with both of you, I could not help but chuckle when I read Chip's response. Also, I have to say that Chip's response was enlightening in several aspects.  Personally, I find the combination of DealerRater Certification, Yelp Enhanced Profiles, Google+ Business Pages, Facebook Pages, Google Places claimed and the dynamic duo of Merchant Circle/Insider Pages claimed as well... To be the minimalist core approach to reputation management for car dealers.  Some might suggest this is too much work for a dealership, but before saying such a thing, try to evaluate how important a car dealer's reputation is to the store's revenue stream.  If anyone would like to see an example of a two store group creating a landing page to direct all customers to for the purpose of acquiring customer reviews, check out

Comment by Chip Grueter on December 14, 2011 at 6:48am

Hi Brian,

"Since I'm trained to observe and document changes in search strategy that impacts car dealers, I felt compelled to share my findings on ADM."

It's great to have someone watching over the landscape so closely....except we've been running the same CPC campaign since late 2009.  Literally.  In fact, the campaign name is called "2010_Search_Keywords".

What's even more relevant?  We don't bid on a SINGLE dealership name to have our ads show up...  We bid solely on OUR name, variations and trademarks, as well as generalized review related queries "car dealer reviews", "dealer ratings", etc... 42 key phrases in all.  Kind of hard to shoehorn all 40,000 of our dealers into 42 phrases, no? 

What you saw is Google's Related Query Algorithm (GRQA) which will show advertisements for what it thinks are related to what you are searching for.  This is especially popular for searches that don't have any advertisers keying the query "Morries Reviews" and why our ad popped you to the homepage and not to a review page.  We know when, how and why to do that....

The 5 star, "35 Seller Reviews" is the ranking Google gave DealerRater and not related to "Morries", that's Google's Seller Rating Extension (GSRE) and has been around since June of last year.  Google aggregates reviews from the web and rolls them up into a "seller score".  That's how that works.

"Since I'm trained to observe and document changes in search strategy that impacts car dealers, I felt compelled to share my findings on ADM."

Money back guarantee on that training?


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