Help! My Site’s Content is a Dumpster Fire!

woman looking at a computer screen with a dumpster, on fire, floating through a flood-ravaged street

Creating good content for dealership blogs and landing pages sounds like it should be relatively straightforward. Get together some informative and concise text, some fun photos and videos that showcase the vehicles, a hyperlink here or there redirecting to inventory or other models, maybe some test drive forms and… presto! You’ve got yourself some hot content. Hot content is easy to make and fun, however, making that hot content for a relevant audience and marketing that content properly to said audience is a different beast entirely. Continue reading “Help! My Site’s Content is a Dumpster Fire!”

Chess, Not Checkers: Why Your Dealership Needs a Digital Strategy

wood chess pieces on board game. brown vintage background

When most dealerships are faced with the question, “Does your business have a digital strategy?”–the usual answer is (hopefully), “Yes, of course!” And this would be great, but are you truly utilizing this strategy? Or, even worse, are you not using a strategy at all? We’re not saying that not having a digital strategy is borderline criminal (though it is)–we’re just here to help.

Strategy, according to Wikipedia, is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. In short, a strategy is an in-depth plan. For your dealership you should be thinking of the long-term advantages your dealership provides compared to your competition, and how you can defend that competitive advantage. Continue reading “Chess, Not Checkers: Why Your Dealership Needs a Digital Strategy”

Finding SEM-o: When You Can’t Find Your Search Ads

disoriented clownfish searches for his paid search ad frantically

I tend to walk around randomly during phone calls. A few years ago, I realized this as I saw my reflection in the glass patio doors and saw myself walking along the top of the couch. No idea why, but I’m at peace with this. I even move around absentmindedly on short calls, such as activating a new credit card, which I had to do recently.

I called the bank to complete the process, and after a few questions confirming my information, the rep completed the task and was very helpful throughout. I prepared to hang up and stop parkouring around my kitchen when she suddenly launched into an aggressive sales pitch for multiple other products offered by the bank. Identity protection, credit limit increase, insurance coverage – you name it, she was selling it. Continue reading “Finding SEM-o: When You Can’t Find Your Search Ads”

Steel Waiting: What American Tariffs May Mean for Canadian Automotive

Two businessman pulling a rope in opposite directions over sky background with copy space

At Strathcom, we make a point of taking our client’s concerns seriously, which means staying up-to-date with the Canadian auto industry that keeps our (and our clients’) bread buttered. Talking to clients in recent months revealed a widespread concern over one issue in particular: the looming prospect of American trade tariffs that may hold serious economic implications for Canada’s automotive sector.

With the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a target of considerable “gutting”, the big fly-in-the-ointment takes the form of aggressive tariffs on Canada’s steel and aluminum, effectively stabbing the very heart of our nation’s automotive sector. Taking aim at such a significant economic driver generates huge concern throughout Central and Eastern Canada.

Continue reading “Steel Waiting: What American Tariffs May Mean for Canadian Automotive”

You Ask We Answer: Paid Search

pay per click lolo

Welcome to a brand-new installment of “You Ask, We Answer!” (*still waiting on that production budget, Bill*). We know navigating the vast tapestry of the internet can sometimes be difficult and a little overwhelming, which is why we host our weekly webinars for you to up your online savvy without the negative, thick-framed glasses-wearing, man-bun connotations that come along with it! 

For today’s webinar, we asked our Director of Online Advertising and Home Alone aficionado, Nathan Leverette, to answer any of your questions and concerns regarding Paid Search (as the organic search specialist writing this blog begrudgingly sat and watched in the corner while we recorded). We’ve embedded the webinar video below, along with a transcription of everything we discussed so you can follow along below!

Continue reading “You Ask We Answer: Paid Search”

When Numbers Talk: What Defines Success in a Marketing Campaign Report?

Another little boy in math class overwhelmed by the math formula.

Not everyone is into numbers—and that’s fair. For some people, the math can be annoying because it’s hard to understand, confusing as hell, and I often wondered if I’d ever use it in my life again (which is why I hated it so much in school). But much like my own math teachers and Shakira’s hips, the numbers don’t lie. As a matter of fact, they can tell us plenty of stories about how well your online campaign is doing; the hardest part is actually listening and paying attention to what they have to say.

Continue reading “When Numbers Talk: What Defines Success in a Marketing Campaign Report?”

Chronicles of the Last Intern: Working at Strathcom Media

Working at Strathcom Media

Hi again! Its Josh Do, the last surviving intern. I was assigned a blog post to do for my last days at Strathcom Media and I’d like to thank Boris for this nomination (and for his excellent donair recommendations).

Over the last month, I was working on a video project for my school. The project required that I present the company and show some work that was related to my academic studies. Instead of going in with the boring traditional PowerPoint ordeal and reading off each slide, I decided to do a creative project as my presentation. This was also a great opportunity to work on my video and editing skills! I wanted to capture my experience at Strathcom as well as show what the company is all about. In this video, I give an awkward tour of the office environment, interview some amazing people from different departments, and reflect on my growth here at Strathcom Media.

I hope you enjoy watching this video as much as I did editing it! Thank you again to my Strathcom family for the amazing opportunity and experience.

Oh, What a Tangled Webinar We Weave!

questions, business concept

Here’s the thing—sometimes something perfectly good gets replaced. Even if the original didn’t need improving (*cough* New Coke *cough*). But sometimes, even if the older version was fine, a change can be absolutely reinvigorating. Life-changing even. Now, am I suggesting that the changes we’ve made at Strathcom are going to change your life? Damn straight. Continue reading “Oh, What a Tangled Webinar We Weave!”

What Are Meta Descriptions?


What Are Meta Descriptions?

You know that little blurb at the bottom of the link on Google that kind of tells you the answer when you hastily searched for “weird growth on big toe”? That’s a meta description. They’re often used to preview text from the content when sharing to social media, but we here at Strathcom Media think it’s so much more than that. Even though Google recommends you to only write up to 155 characters, we’re going to tell you how you can make the most out of this small box of information. Read on to learn more about the importance of optimizing your meta descriptions for better visibility on a search engine results page (SERP). Continue reading “What Are Meta Descriptions?”

What Are Title Tags? | Strathcom Media, Edmonton, AB

suit coat with my name is sticker reading title tag!

Title tags are used to specify the title of a web page; they’re clickable elements that lead you to the content on a page. It is what you see in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), tab headline, or social media description. Frequently, you will hear people referring to title tags as SEO titles, or meta titles, but these terms generally all mean the same thing.

Continue reading “What Are Title Tags? | Strathcom Media, Edmonton, AB”

A Modest Request…

child dressed up as retro business man

In the wonderful world of web, we as consumers are exposed to subliminal messages and overbearing marketing lists that have become second nature. And while automotive dealers have a plethora of knowledge, having seen the industry progress firsthand, some of the marketing ploys they ask for get lost in translation due to the stimulus-overload we are already in the midst of. Simply put, there are too many features available on websites, and everytime we add a new feature something gets lost in the shuffle. We, as designers, are often tasked with creating carousel slides to catch the eye while there are better tools available. If you read my last blog, about trusting your designer, then you’ll remember that sharing your vision and goals is an important part of the process — but letting us help guide you with our professional knowledge is just as important. After all the main goal is to improve the communication from Dealership to Marketing Manager to Designer, culminating in getting the message through to the customer loud and clear. And as a former dealership employee, marketing manager, designer, and customer, I can tell you with all honesty that these lanes of communication could be improved. Continue reading “A Modest Request…”

How To Do A 5 Minute SEO Audit of Your Website

If you’re struggling for page views and leads on your site, it is time for you to revamp your SEO, and you can start with a SEO audit. Why you ask? Well, gone are the days when you could add a new post or page to your site and expect that people will come to read it. Right now, experts estimate that there are almost 60 million new blog posts alone published each month, that is 2 million a day! And this number doesn’t even include landing pages and other published online content. That is a big sea of content and because of this, standing out has become increasingly difficult online.

This is where SEO comes in. Search engine optimization has always been important. This is probably something you knew before you started reading this post. But what you might not know is what you can do to improve your site’s SEO. That’s why you need to dive right in and do an SEO audit of your site!

Continue reading “How To Do A 5 Minute SEO Audit of Your Website”

Five Easy Ways To Improve Your SEO You Can Start Doing Today

For those new to SEO, the concept of search engine optimization might seem like a combination of voodoo witchcraft and sheer good luck. But you don’t need a magic wand or a four leaf clover in order to improve your SEO on your website today. In fact, there are a few easy things that you can start doing right now in order to bump up your ranking across Google and other search engines. Starting to make small changes will help to drive traffic to your website, and we have 5 easy tips to get you started on improving your SEO today.

How to Improve Your SEO in 5 Quick and Easy Steps - Photo from istockphotos
Optimize Your SEO Easy Today!

First of All, What is SEO and Why Should You Care?

Continue reading “Five Easy Ways To Improve Your SEO You Can Start Doing Today”

10 Topics to Heat up Your Blog This Summer

Useful and shareable car dealer blog topics for the summer

From a meteorological point of view, there are signs that summer is just around the corner. From a car dealerological point of view, it means greater foot traffic and more vehicles rolling off the lot.

But what’s going to help keep your store top of mind over the competitors down the street? Your blog:

  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase because of blog post
  • Companies that blog get 97% more inbound links
  • Small businesses with blogs receive 126% more leads

To save you the trouble of brainstorming blog subjects in time for summer, we took the time to stockpile some of the most interesting and shareable topics you can write about. Feel free to steal a few ideas and start your summer blogging series on the right foot!

Continue reading “10 Topics to Heat up Your Blog This Summer”

NEW VIDEO: 4 Reasons to Start Blogging

Have you been thinking about starting a blog on your dealership website? You definitely should!

From driving more traffic to your site, building trust with your audience, and boosting your organic search rankings, blogging is one of the best ways to get people interacting with your online content.

Most importantly, it brings in more leads. Continue reading “NEW VIDEO: 4 Reasons to Start Blogging”

NEW EBOOK: 29 Tips & Tricks for Planning and Creating Content

Last week we published our guide to the essential SEO considerations you must address before launching a healthy website. And later this month we’ll release another online companion about selling cars through social media along every stage of the sales funnel.

But for now we tackle an even more direct subject: how to create the stuff with which your audience interacts. Websites, blogs, newsletters — this new ebook covers it all!

Continue reading “NEW EBOOK: 29 Tips & Tricks for Planning and Creating Content”

15 Winter Blog Topics for Your Car Dealership

Winter is already here in some parts of Canada, and if you live in Edmonton (or almost anywhere not on the coast) that means you can look forward to mother nature’s icy death-grip for the next six months or more.

When snow slows down sales at your car dealership, it helps to have an online strategy in place to give you a steady supply of warm leads. Your car dealership’s blog is a great place to start, and if things are already slowing down at your dealership then it’s also a great time to sit down, pull out your pen (or keyboard) and get writing.

Last September we gave you 15 topics to get your car dealership blog started. We already covered how important it is for your car dealership to blog regularly. Google loves fresh content, and a healthy blog shows Google that your site is always being updated and properly maintained. Blogging also increases your chances of receiving more inbound links, which act like online recommendations. When people like the content on your website, they are more likely to share it and online recommendations are a ranking factor.

Companies who blog on average have 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t blog.

Now that we agree that blogging is a great way to get more online leads, how do you get started? To get your creative juices flowing, we have 15 new blog topics that your car dealership can use in the cold winter months to come:

Blogging Works

15 Winter Blog Topics

1. How to Choose the Right Winter Tires for Your Vehicle

2. Do You Really Need Winter Tires if you Have All-Seasons?

3. Winterizing Your Vehicle: Why and How

4. How to Jump Start a Car

5. How to Shop for a Car without Getting Frostbite (find it online & then come in to our warm showroom)

6. New Car Features to Keep You Warm This Winter

7. Remote Car Starters – How do they work?

8. Block Heaters & Plugging Your Car in

Download a Free Ebook on The 5 Biggest Blogging Mistakes & How to Fix Them

9. Is There a Difference Between Summer & Winter Wiper Blades?

10. Best Windshield Coatings for Winter

11. What Winter Fluids do I Need to Keep my Car Running Safely?

12. What Should be Included in a Vehicle’s Winter Emergency Kit?

13. What to do When You get in a Winter Accident

14. How to Drive Safely on Ice and Snow

15. The Benefits of All-Wheel drive in Winter Conditions

If you already have your blog set up on your website. Check  out our video on how to post a blog post so it’s SEO friendly.

Posting an SEO friendly blog post

 

Or if you are interested in signing up for our blog service for your car dealership website, contact us today.

For more  tips on Blogging the right way download our e- book on the 5 Biggest Blogging Mistakes and how to fix them.

5 biggest blogging mistakes & how to fix them. Download Free today

Now get blogging!

~ Samantha Goettel

Can a Car Dealership Blog Increase Web Traffic by 55%?

Having a blog on your car dealership’s website shows customers that you are an authority in your industry. By posting unique content you not only show customers that you know what you’re talking about, but you also show Google that your website is a valid authority.

That’s important, because getting in Google’s good books is the key to boosting your website’s placement in SERPs (search engine results pages). Stats compiled by Hubspot found that websites with a blog had 55% more visitors on average than sites without, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages.

Car Dealer Blog

What does this mean for you?

  • More online visitors mean more leads, conversions and sales.
  • More inbound links boost your authority in search engines, helping your customers find you.
  • More indexed pages increase your website’s visibility in Google.

How Do I Get My Car Dealership Blog Started?

how do you start a blog?

You can get your car dealership’s blog added right to your website domain with Strathcom Media’s Blog Package. By having your blog on your car dealership’s website domain, your main site will gain the benefit of the additional traffic brought in by your blog and rank better in Google. Want to know more? Contact us for more information on this new service.

If you’ve already signed up and you’re wondering how to take the next step, check out our ideas on 15 topics you can use to get your blog started.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

Check out this video for key points to keep in mind that separate successful blogs that bring in valuable traffic and leads with blogs that flop from the get-go:

  • Post unique content:

Copy-pasting content from the web WILL NOT HELP. Keep it original. Why would Google rank a blog post that was already written somewhere else? It’s just logical that they are going to rank the original owner of duplicated content.

  • Always link to other pages on your site:

This encourages users to visit other areas of your website and reduces bounce rates.

  • Pictures speak a thousand… you know the rest.

Blog Posts with pictures are more likely to attract readers, especially when the photos are entertaining. Browse Google Images and save any image that pertains to your post. Add relevant keywords to your titles, including your city’s name. For example, if you have a photo of winter tires, a good title would be “[City Name] Winter Tire Sale.”

  • Remember to add SEO title and description tags:

WordPress defaults the SEO Title to the title of your blog post, but if there is extra room add some more key words. Your description only allows 156 characters including spaces, so try to use all the space provided. Be sure to mention your city name in the description to improve local traffic.

  • Share it out!

Don’t forget to share your blog post across all social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

Rankings vs Leads and Conversions for Car Dealerships

Not to rail on ranking reports, but when it comes to bringing in business there’s more to building a website with SEO than just ranking for keywords.  If you start out with the goal of ranking on a specific keyword, say “custom truck accessories,” that’s fine and dandy – but the question you need to ask yourself is how your web traffic will transform into leads and conversions.  When ranking reports become your only evaluation for success, you can lose sight of your real goal of getting people to walk into your dealership and buy a car.

There are a number of factors that can skew ranking reports:

Google Account Login

  • Personalized results (results based on things like user behavior)
  • If you are signed into your Google account at the time of search
  • Your IP address (Which location you are searching from)
  • Local results, video and images
  • All the possible variations on keywords
  • If you have visited a certain website in the past

Ranking reports ignore searches based on personalized results and don’t take into account how previous user behavior can change the results for a search based on websites. They also miss results for searches that include local results and other media types like images and videos that can still bring users to your website.

With fluctuating ranking results and constantly evolving search engines, it’s nearly impossible to have a consistent metric to report on. It’s unfortunate that many agencies use ranking reports as the primary metric to define their success because this leaves the doors open for unethical and short-term strategies to improve ranking results while leaving long-term, devastating consequences for a website.

A better strategy is to examine what keywords are bringing you traffic and if they are converting to leads. These can give you a deeper insight into how people are actually reaching your website, and can help you change your strategies to capitalize on it. Even if you’re not successful in ranking for your target keywords because they are highly competitive, you can still focus on what you already do well and build on it. This gives you the opportunity to change your strategy to target how people are actually finding your website.

You can’t rank for everything. Sometimes people get greedy and try to rank for every search term that’s even somewhat related to their business. It’s more effective to research the top 10 – 20 keywords you want to rank for and focus on those. It’s better to be at the top on 10-20 keywords rather than just rank “OK” on everything. And if you change your SEO tactics in attempt to rank on everything, you can lose the top coveted spots that you already rank well on. Once you have chosen your top keywords, it’s time to focus on conversion rate optimization.

Conversion rate optimization

The bottom line is converting your web visitors to customers, and this is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in. Ultimately, the way you should be judging the success of your website is bottom-line revenue, and increasing your conversion rate by even a few percent can have dramatic benefits in dollars and sales.

One of the top methods of CRO is improving overall website design and ensuring you have relevant content that effectively delivers your business proposition up-front. Taking advantage of long tail key phrases based on what you learn from Google Analytics traffic reports is also an essential method of bringing in paying customers. Someone searching the phrase “Buy used 2003 Nissan Sentra Alberta” practically has their wallet out, while someone searching for “used cars” is likely just browsing the market. And keep in mind that the high-competition keywords “used cars” would rarely be searched on their own, and in most cases will be part of another long-tail search phrase.

top tips

  • Set up goals for each action you want your users to perform on your website. Some examples are:
  • View Contact Us page
  • Fill out Contact Us form
  • Sign up for newsletter
  • Sign up for RSS Feed of blog post
  • Other tips include:
  • Have relevant ad copy.
  • Ensure the main heading (H1) closely resembles your chosen key phrase. Searchers need to find the info they initially searched for on the page they land on.
  • Use relevant, quick-loading images and captions.
  • Prioritize key features and benefits in the body content.
  • Have visible calls to action & clean design with lots of white space.
  • Conversion rates often increase when calls-to-action are placed on the right sidebar.
  • Keep your message on-point and consistent; avoid off-topic content and distracting images.
  • Include relevant and reputable testimonials.
  • Phone-track those who call you from your website.
  • Getting your dealer receptionist to ask customers who come into the dealership where they heard about you.
  • Keeping a spreadsheet & analyzing the data on a monthly basis.

The next time you look at a ranking report, ask yourself “how does this impact my conversion rate?” If you’re not ranking for your desired keyword but still have more customers visiting and buying your products due to a successful web solution, don’t worry about it! There is much that can be learned from traffic trends and natural search results. If you keep an open mind, you will find ways to improve your online business that you never thought possible.

Michael Fisher & Samantha Goettel

Creative Authority Link Building for Car Dealerships

If your website were a political candidate, its votes would come in the form of backlinks on the web.  Since the late 1990s search engines have used links as votes representing the web’s democratic opinion, and the more websites you have linking to yours the higher you rank in the ballots as read by Google. Link building can be a long and frustrating process but remains the ace in the hole to reach higher rankings. There are a number of ways to build links to your site. If you have already started your own blog, you can maximize your social media impact by making easy-to-link to blog articles. For example, you can build a “101” list for an automotive topic, say “the top ten myths about car maintenance,” and then promote them through social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. The more people who share your article and link to it, the higher you move up the authority ladder.

Be a Creative Authority in your Automotive Industry

Link building isn’t easy. Traditional link building techniques have included buying links from other sites and asking them to link to yours, but today Google is cracking down on websites with suspicious backlink profiles. That means many businesses have abandoned traditional link building strategies. The new game is Authority Building, an ethical link building strategy which relies on other websites to naturally link to yours. Authority building uses a number of strategies at one time including SEO, marketing, branding, and PR. It increases the value of your business overall and its benefits last. Content is King How can you get other websites to link to yours? Quality content is one of the best answers, and a good way to add fresh content to your site is by blogging and posting relevant articles on interesting topics. When you incorporate informative pages on your dealership website you can also increase your backlinks. For example, consider adding a vehicle history page to describe the background of some of your popular car models (say “history of the Corvette”) or incorporate how-to videos and articles detailing popular car features like Bluetooth. You can do this on your own or hire a professional consultant to build your website with SEO optimization and quality content in mind.

Here are a few ideas to get you started with website authority building:

  1. Study your competitor’s links. What are the trusted websites from where they are getting links? Use a resource like Open Site Explorer to find backlink details for competing websites and see how you can replicate their strategy.
  2. Ensure you build links using different types of anchor text. Use keywords within the anchor text, domain exact match and the company name. You want your links to look natural and not “built.”
  3. Submit your website to local directories like Yahoo directory, Dmoz, Yelp, HotFrog & Google Places.
  4. Hold a contest and promote it online. Make it interesting and unique, people will share the links to your contest across social media sources. The more people are talking about your company the more authoritative you will become online.
  5. Become a sponsor for a local charity event and promote it on your website and social media.
  6. Send out a press release and syndicate it to as many article sites as possible like EzineArticles, GoArticles, iSnare and others.
  7. Release interesting infographics. They can be about anything, but the point is that they’re easy to link to and easy to share.
  8. Get well-known bloggers in your community to blog about a vehicle or experience they had with your dealership. Have the blogger link back to your website within their blog.