How dealers can make the most of the web

Time 13 years ago


THESE days just about anyone hunting a car turns to their computer as a first step – even before they’ve decided what sort they want. And of course any car dealer interested in more business is on the internet.


Problem is, that’s not enough, according to independent sales site, which has pointed out that more than three quarters of those customers looking for cars on the net, go first to a single starting point – Google.


‘Latest figures show that the Google search engine is the first port of call for 77 per cent of consumers whether they are looking for a new or used car,’ Daniel Phillips, marketing manager of, told Car Dealer. 



‘So a dealer has not only to be on the net, they have to ensure that Google finds them, and that they rate sufficiently highly in its search results. Otherwise they can remain a very small insignificant drop in a very large ocean.’


Achieving such recognition, Daniel says, is immensely complex – Google constantly sends out ‘spiders’, effectively automated electronic programs that analyse each site they find, but they don’t just check whether a site has been recently updated. ‘There are some 200 algorithms Google uses to rate each site it finds, ranging right across the way a site is built, its links etc. All count towards where the site will appear on the results when a customer performs a search.’


Dealers, of course, know how to sell cars, not how to attract electronic spiders. So the simple answer is to partner with specialists in achieving consistently high search results – and rates at the top.  


While only 18 months old, the company has used its expertise to ensure it appears in the first page of results on virtually any car search made using Google – as well as on the other UK search engines, many of which actually use Google to present their results.


Wide-ranging searches are consistently heading straight to, whether the customer types into Google fairly vague entries such as ‘used jaguar in midlands’, specific details of the make and model they are looking for, or even all-embracing terms such as ‘used car’.


Used dealers who have put their stock on the site have seen particularly impressive results – gives each dealer specific pages on the site, not just a classified listing, and the results of even especially specific searches for a particular car held by a dealer have listed its entry on several places above the dealer’s own site.



The cost to a dealer of putting their cars on the site is less than many think – a maximum of £60 a month whether the outlet offers 10 or 500 cars. ‘It’s around the cost of selling two or three cars a year, to place your entire stock in front of everyone who might be interested in a purchase, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,’ Daniel explains.


Dealers are discovering other, less obvious, advantages to being on – they are benefiting from leasing and contract hire too. 


‘Dealers are benefiting from cross-selling,’ said Daniel. ‘Many visitors to the site are hunting their next car but haven’t necessarily decided how to buy it. So they start off looking at the used cars section, but then they realise that instead of paying out for monthly finance on a used car they can actually have a new car on a lease programme for less money a month.’


More recently the site has expanded to offer a service where dealers can purchase new car leads on a pay-as-you-go system. The site – – is  still very new but many dealers are already discovering that they can hand-pick quality leads, right down to specific manufacturers in a particular region – and all from £2 per lead.


Scott Stenning of Arbury has been using the system to effectively turn the internet on its head, winning back local business that has come under threat simply because those customers are going first to the net. ‘Local dealerships have to make sure that they recognise the threats and opportunities of the web,’ said Scott. ‘Using the system we can buy leads and win business from local people who might have gone further afield in their search.’

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Daniel is in no doubt that all dealers, no matter what size, can gain big benefits from the net – but they can’t do it on their own. 


‘They need to ensure they are always at the top of a very large pile – and by far the most effective way to do that is to use a site such as ours which is committed to remaining on that first Google page no matter what the customer is looking for.’


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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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