Seo Vendor Comparison Study

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Transcript of Seo Vendor Comparison Study

  • ReachingAutomotiveConsumersOnline ADealerWebSiteBuilderStudy

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    AboutSorgenfreiSorgenfrei,LLCisaconsulting,competitiveintelligence,andmarketresearchfirmbasedin New York. The firms principals come from the automotive, financial services andconsumer goods industries with experience in corporate strategy, marketing, marketresearch, finance, and investment banking. Our focus on client responsiveness andprecise data analysis has helped us generate a client list consisting of some of theworldsmostinfluentialcompanies,suchasToyota,Mazda,SonyandAmericanExpress.

    NOTICE

    ThecontentinthisdocumentrepresentsthecurrentviewofSorgenfreiasofthedateofpublication.BecauseSorgenfreirespondscontinually to changingmarket conditions, thisdocument shouldnotbe interpretedasa commitmenton thepartof Sorgenfrei.Sorgenfreicannotguaranteetheaccuracyofanyinformationpresentedafterthedateofpublication.

    Copyright2009,Sorgenfrei,LLCAllrightsreserved.

    Sorgenfrei,LLC

    320WashingtonAvenue

    Brooklyn,NY11205

    Phone:(646)6961701

    Fax:(646)3907547

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    www.sorgenfreillc.com

    ContentsIntroduction........................................................................................................................4

    SearchEngineOptimizationBestPractices .....................................................................4

    AutomotiveOnlineResearch..............................................................................................5

    WhoGetsBetterPlacement? .............................................................................................7

    StudyMethodology ............................................................................................................7

    StudyResults ......................................................................................................................8

    AggregatedResultsacrossAllBrandsandMarkets............................................................8

    PathtoBestPlacement ....................................................................................................10

    Summary ..........................................................................................................................11

    Appendix...........................................................................................................................12

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    IntroductionThedaysofsearchingtheSundaynewspaperforanewcardealarebehindus.Internetsearch engines have changed the way consumers shop for everything; new vehiclesincluded.A consumer who is looking to buy a new vehicle will likely spend most of her timeresearchingontheinternet.Onceshehasnarroweddownthemakeandmodelshewillthenneedtofindadealerforatestdrive.ChancesareshewilluseGoogleandendupwithhundredsofresultsorganizedinpagesof10.Thoseresultsarenotnecessarilythedealerclosesttoherorthemostrelevanttoherquery.Rather,theyarethewebsitesthatarethebestdesignedtobefoundbyGoogle.What is the likelihood that she will click on the first listing, the tenth or go tosubsequentpages?Howdoesasiteownergettheirlinkstoappearinthemostclickedposition?ThispaperwillanswerthosequestionsandwillexaminewhichautomotivedealersitebuildersdothebestjobgettingtheirclientsinthefirsttoptensearchresultsonGoogle.Wewilllookat12brandsin20marketsandcatalogatotalof148builders,2,400sites,and670,733pages.But first, letus lookat some fundamentals.TheprocessofdesigningandmodifyingawebsitetobebestfoundbysearchenginesiscalledSearchEngineOptimization(SEO).SearchEngineOptimizationBestPracticesSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is more art than science. The search engines areconstantlymodifyingtheiralgorithmsandmostkeeptheirmethodologyasecret.Withthatsaid,therearesomefundamentalprinciplestofollowwhendesigningasitetobeeasilyfoundwhenaconsumerconductsasearch.Beyondprovidingclear,concise,relevantandregularlyupdatedcontentandprovidingconsumers with an easy to understand URL (www.atlantabmw.com is better thanwww.helmutsbayerischemotorenwerke.com)threedesignprinciplesstandout;makingyourcontenteasytofind,labelingitandprovideamap. Easytofindcontent:Searchenginesuseautomatedscriptstoscourtheinternetto

    findandindexcontent.Thesescriptsarecalledspidersandifthespidercannotfindyour content, it cannot index it for the searchengine to serveup later. Themorestraightforward a site is designed the more spiderfriendly it is. For example;simplyusingHTMLinsteadofFlashincreasesasitesabilitytobeindexed.

    Labeling your content:Oncea spider finds your site, it needs tobeable toeasilyunderstandwhatyoursite isabout.The first step is touseuniqueanddescriptive

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    titletagsoneachpage,andtosupportthetitletagcontentwithrelevanttextonthepageitself.Headingtagsandlinklabelsareadditionalexamplesofcluesthespidersuse to identify themes contained within your web pages. This content helps thesearchenginesinmatchingyourwebsitetorelevantsearchqueries.

    Mapping your content: Anotherway to help the spider find its way around is to

    provideitwithasitemap.Givingthespideracheatsheetofwhatiscontainedonthe site, makes its job easier and it will index the pages properly. Photographyshouldbeeasytoforspiderstofindaswell.Imagesshouldhavedescriptivenamesandtags.

    Thegoalofbeingspiderfriendlyistoallowthesearchenginetofindandindexontheirservers as much about a site as possible; the more information that is indexed, thebetterthechanceofbeingservedupwhenaconsumersearchesforsimilarcontent.AutomotiveOnlineResearchNow that we have covered the fundamentals of site design, let us look at how theautomotiveconsumerusestheinternet.In theU.S., internetaccess is increasingandsearchengineuse isproliferating:73%ofconsumershaveaccesstotheinternet1and49%ofthoseconsumersusesearchenginesonadailybasis2.Thetop5categoriesaccessedonlineareHealthandMedical,Travel,OnlineVideo,ShoppingandClassifieds,Entertainment3.TheautomotiveconsumerfallsintotheShoppingandClassifiedscategoryandaquarterofthevisitorstothatcategoryusesearchenginestogetthere.Whatdoesthatmeanfortheautomotiveindustry,specificallythedealers?Researchshowsthat73%ofinmarketconsumersusetheinternettoresearchtheirnextvehicle4.Theyarelookingfortheinformationyouwouldexpect:pricing,specifications,safetyinformationandphotos.Theyareatthetopoftheshoppingfunnel.Astheygetclosertopurchase,overathird(37%)arelookingfordealerlocations.

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    Autoshoppersinformationsoughtonline Pricinginformation 53%Fueleconomy 48%Performanceinformation 43%Modelspecifications 40%Safetyinformation 39%Photos 39%Interiorfeatures 38%Dealerlocations 37%Vehiclecomparisons 35%Modelavailability 33%Consumersaremost likelyusingasearchenginetoconductthisresearchandtheonetheyaremostlikelytoturntoisGoogle.Itaccountsforover70%ofallsearchresults.Theclosestcompetitor,Yahoo,onlygarnered19%withMicrosoft falling intoadistantthirdplacewithonly6%ofthesearches.5Knowing themostused search engine is useful, but understanding the importanceofrankingoftheresultsbyGoogleiscritical.42%ofclicksonaGooglesearchresultspageareonthefirstlistedresult,whereasthesecond listing only gets 12% of the clicks on the first results page. The top 5 resultsreceive74%oftheclickthroughsandthefirsttenresultsonresultspageaccountedfor90%oftheclickthroughs.

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    Figure1:Percentshareofclickthroughsbyposition

    Inotherwords, like realestate, location is theonly thing thatmatters in theworldofsearchengines.Gettingorganic(free)trafficfromGoogle,meansbeingatthetopofthesearchresults,andideallythenumberonereturnedresult.WhoGetsBetterPlacement?Wehaveidentifiedthefundamentalbestpracticesfordesigningawebsitethatiseasilyfoundbysearchengines.Wethenshedlightonthefactthatasignificantpercentageofautomotive shoppers use the internet and more specifically, Google, during theirshoppingprocess.The next question is how can auto dealers use this information to better reachcustomers?Iftheyuseathirdpartyvendortobuildtheirwebpresence,whichvendorbest utilizes the fundamentals of SEO and site design to get their clients high on theGooglesearchresultspage?Weconductedananalysisofsearchengineresultsfromaroundthecountrytofindout.StudyMethodologyForthepurposeofthisstudywepicked12brandsthatrepresentacrosssectionofthebrandsofferedontheAmericanmarket.Thebrandsincludethetop5brandsbyvolume,domesticandinternationalbrands,andluxuryandmassmarketbrands.Thebrandsare:Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Jeep, Honda, Hyundai,Mazda,MercedesBenz,NissanandToyota.

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    8.4%6.0% 4.9% 3.9% 3.4% 3.0% 2.8% 3.0%

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    Wethenchose20majormarketsgeographicallydispersedthroughoutthecountry.Themarketswe researched areAtlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland,Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York City,Philadelphia,SaltLakeCity,SanDiego,SanFrancisco,SeattleandWashingtonD.C.InordertoduplicateusersexperiencesearchingGooglefromaroundthecountry,weusedGooglesAdwordstargetedadpreviewtool6.ThisallowedustoseeGoogleresultsas if we were in all the cities above despite being at our offices in New York. ThesearchestookplaceduringthelastweeksofDecember2008.Usingthetool,weenteredbrand,dealer,andcity(e.g.:BMWdealerLosAngeles)forthe12brandsineachofthe20markets.The resulting listings included deal