CD Web Guide

Google's Top 10 Tips for car dealers

Time 11:12 pm, June 23, 2009

Richard Trinder is industry leader, automotive, at internet giant Google. If anyone knows about search, it’s him. Here he speaks exclusively to Car Dealer about his top 10 tips for being found on the net.

 google_logo1 Ensure you are found

Sounds obvious? You’d be surprised – this is where free tools like Google Webmaster can help out.

2 Combine natural and paid search

A combination of the two is far more powerful than treating them separately. Even if you have top ranking for ‘natural’ search (people typing terms into Google), reinforcing this with good paid-for search (sitting above them in the rankings) can have dramatic effects. 

3 Be always on

Your customers are always searching, even at the funniest times! You need to be ready for the shift worker who’s going to be looking for a car at 3am, by keeping your website as active as possible.

4 Integrate with offline

Customers respond to both: so, there’s no point in having a poster campaign with fantastic calls to action for your website, if you then can’t manage these extra leads. This is where analysis of your cross-media effectiveness is imperative.

5 Experiment and trial

You won’t have all the answers right away. So, don’t be fearful of experimenting. The only way you can see if something works is by putting it out there. Google’s intelligent technology means the ‘best’ method will always work, well, best. Even simple things like experimenting with word order can make a big difference.

6 Identify what stinks on your website

There are loads of analytics tools out there. These are vital! The data doesn’t lie: you don’t need to believe your hunch, or do as your boss instructs. Look at the data, for the real picture of what’s working and what isn’t.

7 Give customers what they ask for

If they search for a £10k hatchback, is that what you’re giving them? If it isn’t, you’ll lose them…

8 Beware the HIPPOs!

Tools such as Google Conversion Optimizer can help overcome the ‘highest paid person’s opinion’. Just because somebody thinks something, or likes something, does not mean it is working.

9 Target new online prospects

There are lots of tools out there, such as Google Ad Planner, which can serve as your ‘online marketing agency’. They can help you plan marketing campaigns. Remember, search is self-selecting – it is not limited to demographics, but is focused on specifics – hatchbacks, MPVs, etc. This flip-round of marketing logic means you need a different approach than you’ve traditionally used to do well here.

10 React fast

Customer behaviour is changing all the time. If you have majored on scrappage a few months ago, you would have been nowhere. But now, we can see the trend there has gone off the Richter scale! You should be aware of these changes.

Want more Car Dealer Guide to the Web? Find it here

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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