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For the most part, search engine optimization (SEO) is a recognized necessity of running a successful auto dealer website. Not just in the auto industry, but there are still some hold-outs that think building websites and content to be found by search engines is a little spammy.
According to Matt Cutts, the head of Google's web spam fighting team, his company does not consider SEO to be spam. "We don't consider SEO to be spam," and SEO is a "valid way to help people find what they're looking for via search engines". While he does denounce black hat SEO tactics, Cutts emphasizes that Google's goal is to return the best possible search results they can, and sites with quality SEO help them achieve that goal.
So the next time someone tries to tell you that SEO is spammy, direct them to this video, and then hopefully to your search engine optimized auto dealership website at the top of Google page 1.