If You Only Make One SEO Goal in 2018, It Should Be This

Most dealers are bewildered by the concept of search engine optimization, and it’s not hard to see why. SEO is a constantly changing landscape, and tactics that may have sat at the forefront long enough for them to learn about it are frequently relegated to the back bench no sooner than the dealers have gotten a full grasp of it. However, one thing about SEO has never been clearer:

seo-searcher-intent

Modern day SEO is all about user experience.

Continue reading “If You Only Make One SEO Goal in 2018, It Should Be This”

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”

3 Misconceptions About Ad Quality According to Google

In a recent edition of Google Best Practices they laid out the difference between auction-time quality and the 1-10 quality score. Regarding your quality score, here are 3 things that matter:

  1. The User’s Device
  2. Relevance
  3. Performance on Related Keywords

Hands typing on laptop computer - there are several misconceptions about quality score on Google

I don’t think that there is anyone out there that can argue that these factors do not effect your quality score. But here are some factors that, contrary to some opinions, do not matter: Continue reading “3 Misconceptions About Ad Quality According to Google”

HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC

T-Shirt from HeroConf 2017 that says PPC Nerd

From April 17th-20th, I had the opportunity to attend one of the largest gatherings of PPC nerds in North America: HeroConf 2017 hosted in Los Angeles.  This was my first PPC conference and I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t have felt more at home at the conference among other people who live and breathe PPC.

It was a busy week filled with learning, networking, and free drinks. Despite all the fun, I came home excited to share my new knowledge with the Strathcom team. Here are my key takeaways about what to expect in the world of PPC in the future.

 

It’s Time to Move on From Last Click Attribution

Attribution Modeling was one of the hottest topics discussed at HeroConf. Speakers from all industries agreed that it’s time to ditch the last click model, and focus on other touchpoints that lead to a conversion. However, there is no magical way of knowing which model is right for you. Speaker Jeff Greenfield of C3 Metrics discussed the importance of not waiting around for the perfect model, but to test and test again. The only way to prove the value of attribution models is to test until you become less wrong. Attribution modelling is extremely important in the automotive industry as we move away from the standard sales funnel, to a customer journey with multiple touchpoints. By ignoring the touchpoints a customer reaches today, we may never see them again for another 3 years.

Integrate Your Paid Social & Paid Search Strategies

Continue reading “HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC”

Reputation Management & How Dealers Can Use It To Make More Money

2016 was the beginning of the big push toward establishing your dealership’s brand and ‘brand management’, and it has only continued in 2017. What most dealerships seem to miss is the difference between their brand and their reputation (or that there is a difference in the first place).

Your brand creates an impression that makes a customer think or feel something when they think of your dealership. Your reputation is what gives your customers an expectation of your future behavior based on past experiences – either their own, or from other customers who have dealt with you. Continue reading “Reputation Management & How Dealers Can Use It To Make More Money”

4 Ways to Make Your Mobile Site Better, According to Google Best Practices

In the latest article from  Google Best Practices, Google gave 4 Tips for a Frictionless Mobile Experience. Not all of their tips necessarily apply to the automotive industry, but these are 4 simple ways to make your mobile site better.

Woman using tablet at night, visiting a mobile site

Make it Responsive

Continue reading “4 Ways to Make Your Mobile Site Better, According to Google Best Practices”

Online Presence: why it is vital in today’s car buying process

typing on a laptop

As consumers, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. It’s no doubt that the research process during the car buying experience has changed dramatically. According to studies by Google, “consumers in their early research moment, such as which car-is-best or is-it-right for me moments, are signaling intent to visit a dealership within a week”. A visit to your website is ideally followed by a visit to the dealership. So, for automotive retailers, having a strong digital presence is crucial.

According to Google, the car buyers’ thought process looks a little something like this:

  • Which car is best?
  • Is it right for me?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Where should I buy it?
  • Am I getting a deal?
Which car is best?

One of the most impactful mediums for consumers looking to make a vehicle purchase is video. In fact, when buying a car, 69% are influenced by video opposed to other mediums such as TV, newspapers or magazines. When using the search network, the most common searched terms are “[brand/make] + reviews”, “[brand/make] + specs” and “best luxury cars”. 

Is it right for me?

After consumers have narrowed down their search, they begin their hunt to find out if the vehicle is right for their lifestyle and needs. This is where the consumers discover features/options and the interior/exterior aesthetic. This is mainly a visual process, and a majority of time is spent looking at photos. The photo searches of “[brand/make]” is up 37%  and 80% of these searches are now happening on mobile.

Can I afford it? Where should I buy it? Am I getting a deal?

After the first two questions have been answered, the consumer generally begins searching for a dealership. This is where the individual dealer’s web presence will become a factor. Dealers need to make sure that they are showcasing OEM incentives, internal promotions, as well as leasing/financing information. But most importantly, prices need to be shown because that is what the customer is ultimately looking for. Dealers should also make sure that their site provides a positive user experience; something as simple as having an unresponsive webpage can impact whether or not a user decides to visit the dealership.

Dealers also need to utilize tools such as Google+ reviews, automotive forums, Unhaggle, and other mediums that customers use to help them make their decision.car salesman congratulates a family for buying car

Despite the evolving methods of how consumers access information, the end of the process always ends at the dealership. As consumers come into dealerships equipped with their researched knowledge, they expect sales staff to also be product-experts. In order for manufacturers and dealers to fully understand the decision making avenues of the buyer, they must understand the small “micro-transactions” involved throughout the entire procedure. Having a strong digital presence in each of the avenues will always set a dealer ahead of the competition.

To find out more about how to improve your online presence and get more leads, give us a call today or subscribe to our newsletter!

How are You Not Running a Paid Search Campaign for Your Dealership Yet?

While there is a good chance that your dealership is currently running a Paid Search Campaign, there are still (surprisingly) a good portion of dealerships that aren’t.

There can be many reasons for deciding not to: lack of marketing dollars, lack of expertise, lack of knowledge, lack of time, etc.

Nowadays, it goes without saying that businesses have a plethora of digital marketing options to choose from, but I’d like to make my case on why dealerships can’t afford not to be running a paid search campaign. Continue reading “How are You Not Running a Paid Search Campaign for Your Dealership Yet?”

eMarketer’s Automotive StatPack, 2016

eMarketer has released their Automotive StatPack for 2016. This statpack gives an overview of digital automotive trends in 4 categories:

  1. Industry Sales & Transactions
  2. Ad Spending
  3. Buyers & Consumer Behavior
  4. Consumer Attitudes Toward New Automotive Technology

Below is a quick summary of the report; even though it contains primarily U.S. data, there are still trends in ad spending for OEMs and Dealers, as well as changes in consumer behavior that are relevant to the Canadian market.

Happiness of Buying a New Car Continue reading “eMarketer’s Automotive StatPack, 2016”

A Look Back at a Successful Year

2016 was a very successful year for Strathcom Media.

We strengthened partnerships, made new partnerships, and even developed and launched a brand new WordPress website platform.

New Website Platform

Last year we had a dream. A dream that resulted in us investing over a million dollars into developing a brand new website platform that was jam packed with new tools for dealers.

Less than a year later, we began moving our dealers onto our all new WordPress platform with technologies like Personalization, Geo-Fencing, Notepad, Silent Salesman and more. This new platform is faster, more secure, and more user friendly so dealers can spend less time making changes to their site and more time selling cars.

New Opportunities with Google

We spent a lot more time with Google in 2016, and even achieved Premier Google Partner status!

In addition to Google breakfasts and hangouts in Vancouver and Toronto, we also held our very first Google event in our hometown of Edmonton, Alberta in June. We also held a contest in September to bring 6 lucky winners to Google’s newest & coolest office in Waterloo, Ontario!

New Partnerships

In 2016 we became a Provider for the Mercedes-Benz Canada Dealer Website Program, and a Preferred Website Vendor for the Kia Dealer Website Certification Program.

We also became a Facebook Marketing Partner and recently hosted our very first Facebook webinar for FCA dealers!

New Conferences

In addition to speaking at conferences like AR Canada and DSES, we also had the opportunity to speak at the first annual Women & Automotive conference in Toronto. We also attended several events including Western Canadian Dealer Summit and ThinkAuto.

We were also included in AR Canada’s Power 200 List for 2016!

New Office

And finally, last month we packed up and moved just up the road into our new office. A new location means a new atmosphere, and a new atmosphere means fresh ideas for the new year.

Thank you to all of our customers for their support, and we look forward to what 2017 has to bring!

How to Reach More Customers in January, According to Google

As we near the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, Google has shared 4 ways that you can optimize your online strategy this year according to their data.categories seeing higher traffic from Google in January 2016 than October 2015

Use click share to drive more engagement

We all know that, generally, the closer to the top position you are on Google, the higher engagement you will see from shoppers; especially on mobile. As shown in the chart below, for the Vehicles & Parts category you will need about a 15% click share to be competitive in reaching the top positions. How do you increase your click share? Increasing your bids as well as your ad relevance are good places to start.

Create a strategic seasonal campaign

Having a separate campaign for certain products at certain times (winter tires, for example) allows you be more flexible with your budgets for these products.

Use custom labels to create seasonal product groups

Use custom labels to create a segmented product group in your campaign for products like winter accessories for vehicles. This allows you to adjust your bids for winter accessories and to monitor your click share.

Remarket your products to previous shoppers

Remind your customers of the products they viewed in the holiday season but didn’t convert on – chances are they are still interested in finding the best deal!

For more information on how to optimize your site for the Google SERP, give us a shout or subscribe to our newsletter!

Google’s Top 5 Principles from Think Auto

Back in the fall, we attended Google Think Auto and gave you our key takeaways. Now Google has given us their top 5 principles from their 2016 Think Auto research!

Google talked to 5,000 Canadian car buyers while they were in the “thinking”, “researching”, and “buying” stages and found out how Canadians shop for cars and how dealers can reach them in the key moments of their buying journey. We have summarized the results of their research and what these results mean for Canadian car dealers.

customer buying stages

Continue reading “Google’s Top 5 Principles from Think Auto”

Why Honda Dealers Should Choose Strathcom Media

So, you have decided to have work done on your website or online marketing. But who should you leave in charge? Many dealers figure they’re going to wind up with the same end result no matter the provider. Wrong! Value is what counts, and we are proud to offer just that to our Honda and Acura dealers across Canada2017 Honda Accord Sedan

If you are unaware, we have been working with Honda and Acura Canada for the past 7 years on the Power Honda and CUV program and sending your certified used inventory to a number of different portals.

Our expertise in website design, online advertising, dealer tools, inventory management and much more makes us confident we can help you improve the results you are getting online. Why are we so confident we can help Honda dealers? It’s simple, we have proven ourselves to be a valued partner to Honda and a number of Honda dealers for over 17 years.

Here are a number of other benefits that Strathcom can offer you as a Honda or Acura dealer

Honda CivicStrathcom Media works with Honda to build websites that meet your brand guidelines, making it a smooth experience to develop a website that stands out and converts. You can also increase your online exposure through Strathcom as we can send your inventory to over 70 automotive and media portals across Canada.

Strathcom offers DMS automation and we are a Reynolds and Reynolds certified provider. If that doesn’t sound familiar, this means we can take the information from your DMS and drop it right into the back end of our easy loader market platform where you can adjust pictures, pricing and descriptions very easily.

If you are contemplating entering the online advertising world, or you’re not sure if your money is going to the right place, we can offer you a free online advertising review and we can develop a tailored strategy for your area. We would be happy to audit your campaign and let you know what’s working well and the opportunities available to you to improve your results.

Give us shout, we would be happy to sit down with you and answer any questions you might have!

Adjusting AdWords For Mobile Traffic

According to a Google study of mobile traffic, 96% of people use their smartphone to get everyday things done. To meet those needs, people will use search functions – the resource 87% of people turn to first. In moments of need, people turn to their smartphones.

Secondly, they found that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in-store had turned first to their devices for information about that purchase. To tie it back to the previous finding, they found 92% of those who search on their phone made a related purchase.

So what does this mean for you?

This means that you need a strong mobile strategy. Smartphone owners utilizing searches are likely to make a follow-up action, and another after that, until they meet their needs. Having a strong mobile campaign in your AdWords will ensure you are taking advantage of this knowledge.

mobile traffic

What can you do to have a strong mobile campaign?

  • Mobile-only campaign
  • Mobile-specific bids – mobile bids are different from desktop bids, so why treat them the same?
  • Mobile-specific ads and extensions – with extended-text ads, you currently can’t make ‘mobile-preferred’ ads; however, the mobile-only campaign will make sure these ads show only on mobile devices. Use mobile CTAs as much as possible. If you have historical data on extensions (that’s good), use it as a starting point in optimizing your mobile campaign.

At the end of the day, your AdWords account should be built with a mobile perspective first. Need some advice about mobile traffic? Contact our online marketing team today!

Read the referenced Google material here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data.html

Cross-Device Remarketing, Finally!

Advertising has come a long way since the days of Madison Avenue executives, in their glass towers coming up with the next great marketing campaign.
madmen
We are able to target people based on age, gender, location, interest, if they are in the market to buy your product, and so much more. Remarketing (showing ads to someone that has previously visited your site but has not converted) is one of the coolest targeting methods, but for a long time there has been something us advertisers have been waiting for… cross-device retargeting.
Cross-device remarketing has been on our wish-list since 2013, and it’s crazy to think it has taken this long for Google to enable it.

Why is cross-device remarketing important?

To try and put this in perspective, let me ask you a question. How many devices do you use a day? 2… 3…? I personally use 5:
• Work Laptop
• Home Laptop
• Mobile Phone
• Tablet
• Apple TV

And according to Google, this is standard for the average person.

Up until now, if you wanted to remarket to someone like me, you had to do it separately for mobile and for desktop, which makes it tougher to keep your story consistent; and because most online conversions start on one device and end on another (60%), telling a single story, with consistent and linear branding to your audience, is essential. This is now possible with cross-device remarketing, where – in an advertising sense – you are able to view someone as a single person, instead of Person A on mobile an Person A on desktop.

This also give us greater control with how often those potential customers see your message, as we can cap the frequency your ads are shown overall to that person, instead of separately on mobile and desktop, which had the possibility to show your ads too often.
A user has to be signed into their Google account for this to work, but considering Google now has over 1 billion monthly active users, that is a big pool for you to pull from.

Want to start cross-device remarketing or have questions? Feel free to reach out to info@strathcom.com.

5 Ways to Improve Your Google Ranking

seoEveryone wants to have that number one spot on the Google Organic Search Results page.  Here are 5 simple things that can help to improve how you rank on Google:

1. Create useful, relevant content

Quality content created specifically for your intended users will not only help with user engagement, but will improve your site’s authority and relevance, which will increase your rank on the Google Search Results page. It’s also important to update your content regularly.  Regularly updated content is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy. Be sure not to use duplicate content throughout your website, though; this could harm your ranking.

2. Have a blazing fast website

Page speed is an important factor on how you will rank on Google. A slow page speed means that search engines crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budgets, which negatively effects your indexation. Page speed is also important for user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates, and lower conversions.

Not sure what your page speed is? Google has a great tool to test it!

3. Make sure your website is responsive and optimized for mobile users

Responsive sites are designed to provide optimal viewing and easy navigation on any device or screen size. This makes it great for users viewing the site on a mobile device. Even though you may have a separate mobile site, Google has started to punish sites that are not responsive or mobile friendly, causing them to rank lower in the search results pages.

4. Make sure all of your citations are correct and up-to-date

Citations are online references to your business name, address and phone number (NAP). Some examples of citations are your Google+ Page or YellowPages. Google uses these citations when evaluating the authority of your business website, and is a key component in Google’s ranking algorithm.

Citations from well-established portals will help increase the relevancy of your business.  Make sure your address, website url, phone number and business name are consistent across each website.

5. Blog!

Blogging is a great way to help boost your ranking on Google. Google crawls blog content more frequently than your web page content because blogs are constantly being updated.  A blog page is essentially another web page and every web page is another opportunity to rank in the search results page.

Blogs can also help you become a local source of knowledge and with lots of great keywords written into the content you can rank for many different topics related to your brand and dealership.

If you have any other questions on how to improve your organic ranking on Google, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our team or subscribe to our newsletter!

Why Strathcom Has “The Power to Surprise” for Kia Dealers

kia lineupThinking about switching current website providers?  Looking for a solution to help with your online presence?  Kia is committed to providing their customers with high-quality vehicles and is committed to making ownership a satisfying experience.  Strathcom is also in the business of providing a great experience for users shopping online.

So why choose Strathcom to build and maintain your Kia website?  Here are a few reasons why – just like Kia – Strathcom has “The Power to Surprise”:

Kia Compliant Websites 

  • From having the correct fonts, colours and logos, we work closely with Kia to ensure all of our sites meet Kia’s standards.

24/7 Online Chat

  • With the changes to Kia’s website standards, all sites should include an online chat. We work closely with CarChat24 to provide Kia dealers a 24/7 online chat solution that is monitored by actual people, and not robots.

Incentives

  • Present the monthly cash, finance and lease incentives right on your vehicle description page.

Responsive Design

  • We will make your website look good on all devices and screen sizes.

Brand Standards for Online Advertising

  • As a Google Partner we work closely with Google to create high quality AdWords campaigns to generate you more clicks and leads. We will also submit all of your co-op claims!

Syndication Services

  • We currently syndicate to over 70 destinations like Kijiji, and Trader. We make sure your inventory gets in front of the right people.

On top of all of these kick ass features, we also offer Blog Services, Ongoing SEO, and Google Certified Representatives that will help take care of the ever changing online landscape.  We also offer technologies like Personalization, Geofencing, Silent Salesman, Notepad, and more.

Let us be your one-stop-shop for all things Kia. Contact us today to find out more, or subscribe to our newsletter!

kia sportage

7 FREE Google Tools to Start Taking Advantage Of

website performance

Did you know that Google has several FREE tools that they have made available to all users to see how they are performing online?  Here are 7 of the best to help you be more effective online:

  1. Google Analytics: Probably one of the most powerful Google tools that you can use, and if you don’t have it on your website, you should. You can learn so much about your customers as well as track the success of your website.
    https://analytics.google.com/
  2. Structured Data Tool: This is Google’s tool for validating schema.org, microformats and other structured data. It handles HTML, marked up with microdata, RDFa, RDFA light and JSON-LD, by direct input or by fetching an existing URL. Translation? This tool separates the boys from the men in the SEO world and determines if your site is labeled properly for easy Search Engine Indexing.
    https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/
  3. Google PageSpeed Insights: Simply type in your website’s URL, and see how fast your business site is working on desktop & mobile. The higher the score the better, but generally aiming for a 70 on desktop and a 50 on mobile are a good starting points.  Fast and optimized pages’ lead to higher customer engagement, retention and leads.  Pagespeed Insights help you identify performance best practices that can be applied to your site.
    https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
  4. Search Console: Another free tool that helps you understand what’s going on with your website. This is the primary mechanism for Google bots to communicate with webmasters.  This will help you identify issues with your site, such as having broken links or dead pages.  It can even let you know if your site has been infected with malware.
    https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
  5. Mobile Friendly Tool: In April, Google announced mobile-friendly ranking labels which boosted qualifying sites to the top of the page. Wondering how your site fares after this Mobilegeddon? Check it out.  This tool will simply give you a pass or fail grade – your site is either mobile friendly or it’s not.  Since the average person in North America checks their phone 150 times per day – mobile-friendly websites are the new entry fee to play in the industry.
    https://www.google.ca/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
  6. Google Trends: Trends is a cool tool that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. This is a goldmine for blog topics, social media posts and to keep an eye on your brands relevancy.  “Google Hot Trends” is an additional Google Trends which displays the top 20 fastest rising searches of the past hour in the United States.
    https://www.google.ca/trends/
  1. Google Alerts: Use this tool to monitor the presence of your businesses mentions online. Google emails you when new web pages are published that are relevant to the alert you entered. It will not catch every single page, but it does catch a good chunk of them, especially the ones from authoritative websites. Track your brand name, your competitors and your leadership team or sales staff.
    https://www.google.ca/alerts
  2. Test My Site: Similar to the PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly tool, Test My Site is an easier tool to help understand how your business is performing online.                                                                                                          https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/

If you have any questions about any of the above tools, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our Google Certified Representatives!

And for more tips & tricks like these, sign up for our newsletter!