USED car dealers are being given unrealistic promises of top Google rankings by SEO ‘experts’, only to find out that that there is little or no improvement, according to Dragon2000, a leading provider of DMS solutions and car dealer websites.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the technique that many specialist firms offer and the results that they promise sound quite compelling. The cost can range from a few hundred pounds to many thousands but, before signing up, dealers should be cautious.
Having a new website built will not guarantee a jump in the rankings. A sudden change in the layout, the words and the structure of a new site is likely, in fact, to cause a drop in position in the short term.
Google’s infamous algorithms immediately think that someone is trying to game the system and, rather than allow the results to be tainted, it penalises change.
Karen McKenzie, operations manager at Dragon2000, said: ‘Dealers need to ask themselves, does it make sense to pay for the help of an SEO specialist?
‘We have seen some distinctly amateurish attempts to improve SEO for some of our dealer customers and in one case, the changes caused the website to crash.
‘All this might sound like dealers may as well give up on the idea of ever being found on the internet and abandon the idea of a website altogether. However, this is not the case. It’s so important to have a great website, as virtually all dealer sales now emanate from the internet.
‘The bit that SEO ‘‘experts’’ claim to improve is a dealer’s position on Google and we are all conditioned to thinking that Google is the only door-keeper. It isn’t and in the UK at least, we have a much better mechanism for customers to find their next car in the online classified websites.
‘The biggest is Auto Trader but Motors, Pistonheads and eBay Motors and a host of other established portals – coupled with newcomers Car Gurus, AutoVolo and QuidCarAds – act as a huge search engine for used cars. Consumers can search by make, model, price, colour and many other criteria.
‘Once a suitable car is located, the next stop is the dealer’s website, via the visit website button alongside the ad. If a dealer’s website is old-fashioned, hard to navigate or doesn’t scale well onto a mobile device, the customer may go elsewhere.
‘So, beyond someone searching for a dealership by name where they appear prominently in Google, we believe that paying for generic SEO services to improve site ranking on Google is probably a waste of money – unless the company offering can show very specific proof of having improved the rankings of UK-based car dealer websites.’
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