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You may have noticed in my previous posts regarding Search Engine Optimization that I was overwhelmingly one-sided as far as the search engine referenced. I admit I am a fan of Google for my Internet searches. I use it at home, I use it at work, and I use it when I talk about SEO. There is a good reason for this – Google accounts for the lion’s-share of the search engine traffic within the United States.

According to an analysis of search engine traffic conducted by comScore, www.comscore.com, Google accounts for about 66% of all searches conducted within the U.S. Yahoo accounts for just under 17% of traffic and Bing (Microsoft) accounts for 11% of the traffic.

search engine traffic

Taking these numbers at face-value, it is apparent why Google is the main player when discussing Search Engine Optimization. The other players’ market share is minor compared to the Google giant. Therefore, you get the most bang for your buck by following the Google guidelines when optimizing your site.

But can you just ignore the other guy? Up until now, the prevalent wisdom has been yes; go Google and go Google hard. But there’s a new kid in town and he is itching for a fight. The new kid, in this case, is not the current #2 (for reasons you will see later) but the #3 player – Microsoft’s Bing. You are probably aware of Bing and may even use it yourself. Microsoft did not spare any money when they released their new search engine and launched a massive marketing campaign to go with it.

So why is it that Bing has caused a shake-up in the world of SEO? There are several factors but three major ones:
• Microsoft has enormous resources, money, and influence. This has allowed them to bring about the next two factors.
• Bing partnered with Yahoo earlier this year to provide the search results for Yahoo sites
• Bing has partnered with Facebook to incorporate the ‘likes’ of Facebook users and their friends

Microsoft and Yahoo announced earlier this year the plans to have Bing power the search results for users on Yahoo sites. Their stated expectation is to have this transition completed by the end of the year or early next year at the latest. As far as SEO considerations, this effectively merges the #2 and #3 players in the search engine market. Google’s 66% share still dominates the now combined share of Bing/Yahoo’s 28% but this makes it awfully hard to justify a Google-only attitude.

Perhaps the change with the biggest potential to cause Google headaches is the Bing / Facebook partnership. This partnership represents the first full marriage between a search engine and a social networking site. The fact that Facebook has become THE social networking site makes this all the more relevant. While there is some debate about how much the initial influence of ‘like’d pages will have on consumers’ searches on the Internet, there is no denying the potential for this partnership to drastically alter the world of SEO.

So with all that being said, what’s my point? Google has real competition and Bing should no longer be ignored. I don’t think there is a need or value in running out and trying to drastically alter the best practices proven to be effective for SEO. Bing and Google appear to use the same key elements for their rankings – good relevant content, pages with concentration on one subject, alt tags, keyword-rich page titles, site maps, etc… So there really isn’t a stark contrast between Bing SEO practices versus Google SEO practices although they obviously apply different values based on differences in their search results. For now, I would recommend the following:
• Be aware Bing is a potential up-and-coming player and watch for any more major announcements from them.
• Check out the Bing Webmaster Tools (similar to the Google Webmaster Tools) at http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmasters/Default.aspx• Submit your site to be indexed by Bing using the Webmaster Tools
• Submit any site that links to your site to be indexed by Bing
• Run some searches to see the differences between the search results using this neat little tool: http://www.bing-vs-google.com/• If you haven’t already, get a Social Media plan in place and begin implementing it (see some of our other great blogs for details on that)
• Don’t Panic

At Liquid Motors we continually train our dealers on doing the basics when it comes to Internet marketing…high quality photos with the proper angle, flow and lighting and most importantly plenty of them, 30+, custom vehicle descriptions and customized titles for SEO on all vehicles. These 3 things are key to your Internet marketing success, and Show More, Tell More, Sell More is a slogan to remember. If you are a dealer who is not doing these things or are not doing them well, it’s never too late to start, and start NOW! When trying to correct something you have been doing wrong seems overwhelming, take a step back and take those changes slowly. Hey walk before you run. If you do just one thing better today than you did yesterday you are much better off, and more importantly, you have started to lay the ground work for proper Internet marketing. Let’s say you have 150 vehicles in inventory, make an effort to update 10 a day until they are all caught up. If you focus on those 10 and any new vehicles you bring in, in a little over 2 weeks you will be caught up and enjoying the results of your efforts. If you are already doing a great job with your preowned vehicles, then you should move your process over to your new vehicles. If you want to run with the big dogs, you are going to have to photo your new vehicles as well. Don’t think you have to be perfect tomorrow because you don’t, but you should at least try to be a little better than you were the day before and continue that process. If you need help establishing a process or want to see the studies behind this type of advice please give us a call today. I guarantee if you: Show More and Tell More, you will Sell More!

While there are a lot of great products and services in the marketplace I think that as a whole we need to get back to focusing on the basics. Answering your phones within a few rings when someone calls, following up on emails, creating greater consistency and quality in your online marketing efforts, following up with existing customers, and more. By figuring out how to seamlessly manage these most basic fundamentals you will be amazed at how all of the pieces seem to come together. Call your competitors, go visit their store; get a feel for why your top competitor is #1 in your area. What are they doing that is so different? Is it because their cars are better than yours? Are their sales people better than your sales people? I think you will be amazed to see that when it comes down to it…they are doing the basics just a little bit better. Show your customers and potential customers what makes your store remarkable. Go the extra step to ensure that your store is presented online in a way that makes people want to pick up the phone and call you. Everything that you do at both your physical location and your virtual location reflect how people view your store. Again, take a step back…look at things from the outside in and make sure your phones never go unanswered.

One of the great things about working with Liquid Motors is that we stay on top of what you are and are not doing. Whether it is testing out your 800 numbers to make sure they are ringing to the right place or ensuring that your staff is up to date and trained on the latest Internet trends or advances to our system, we understand that if you aren’t answering your phones, or using your tools to their fullest you won’t be successful and in turn WE won’t be successful either.

To learn more about what it takes to get back to the basics and gain greater control of your online marketing efforts give us a call as we would be more than happy to help.

Liquid Motors Internet Marketing Help Line: 1-877-573-6877

Craigslist has been a great lead generator for automobile dealers over the last few years. Recently dealerships have noticed when posting that their listings are not actually showing up on Craigslist’s site. They post through their account that shows the listings are active, but an actual search on the site reveals nothing. This is called “ghosting”. Liquid Motors encourages you to actually go to Craigslist when posting your vehicles to make sure your ads are active. If you are finding that your listings are being “ghosted”, it is probably time to reevaluate your posting process. If this is happening to you please don’t hesitate to reply with details of your issues and we will be glad to help. Make sure you are following Craigslist’s TOS (Terms of Service).

think we would all agree that when it comes to internet marketing, the one place you want to lead customers is your website. So then I have to wonder why a dealer would put links on their site to send someone away to a social media site or even eBay. You have already hit the jackpot..they are on your site to buy a car or consider you for service. Sure, you want someone to be your fan on Facebook so that hopefully you are in the forefront of their mind when they are in the market to buy a vehicle, but if they have landed on your website, they are already considering you. Just a thought..instead of having a link on your home page, why not have a pop up as the customer is leaving your site asking them to become a fan?

I would love to hear your feedback on this topic.

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