Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing

Why Should Dealers Care about Google's Panda 4.0 Update?

By DrivingSales News on May 29, 2014

Google provides the platform and we all play in their space. This was among the topics discussed in the article that we wrote about the Panda 4.0 update to the Google Search Algorithm. We provided a quick overview of the change, as well as winner and losers, however some of that information has changed. Let’s start with an update.

EBay, first seen as among the biggest losers to the latest Google update, was quite possibly unaffected by the change. An anonymous source, as reported by, has indicated that Ebay was rather levied with a manual penalty by Google. The online auction site faced what looked at first like an approximately 33% reduction in its organic traffic, seemingly overnight. The root cause was thought to be the Panda rollout, however, a source close to the situation says that it’s due to EBay having “category pages” created to bolster search results. This led to Google reportedly taking action against EBay.

Our last article also touched on that estimation that the Panda 4.0 Update should only have noticable impact for 7.5% of the english-speaking Google search results. Can a change on that scale have an impact on the organic traffic to dealership websites? This question was posed on the forum and not one person declared seeing a reduction in traffic, with one individual reporting an actual uptick.

If this update doesn’t impact dealers as far as those who have responded can tell, what about a future update with major implications? What if an update changes a lot of the standards by which your marketing campaigns are crafted? How will your dealership be ready? How do you stay current? A few industry insiders provided their thoughts. 

Grant Gooley, Director of Marketing at the Zanchin Automotive Group said that, “keeping up to date means constant research. I use tools as well like SEO MOZ. It's great for keeping on top of all Google changes. " Matthew Smith, Marketing Director at Darling's said that, "Unfortunately, there is no easy way to stay up to date on these changes. It’s a lot of work and it’s not always clear how potential changes might affect your sites. The best strategy is to read as much as possible from as many sources as possible. I also make a point to talk to people I know at various website providers, both automotive and otherwise, to get their thoughts. Information is power and it’s the only way to make smart decisions. Lastly, Robert Karbaum explained that, I feel operating solely on the latest digital media advancements can be problematic.  So often with Google big changes or new advancements are made, only to revert back weeks or months later.  The real skill is being aware of what is new and exciting and making long term, calculated decisions on how you will proceed.  Changing your entire marketing plan for every Google update will have you running around in circles; instead wait to see how the market reacts to new advancements before you jump on the bandwagon."

Other ideas include setting up Google email alerts on topics related to Google algorithm changes and following industry insiders on social media. Whatever your plan is, it’s simply important to have one. In order to stay ahead of the game, dealers need to know how changes at Google could impact their carefully crafted strategy. While with Google it seems that we never quite know what they will do next, staying on top of what they decide to do could be the difference between being ahead of, or behind the game. 



Well said

May 29, 2014

Most interesting that eBay got slapped. That's a big slap.

Jun 4, 2014

Comments 1 - 2 of 2

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:


DrivingSales News' Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Content Marketing is the New Advertisement

    Content development is likely the most necessary step in keeping a website relevant to search engine algorithms and users.  This need will only increase in years to come.  Companies should focus on having adaptable content marketing strategies to ensure they are available when customers are searching for them. While PPC search engine advertising can certainly do a decent job of getting interested customers to a website, content is what ultimately gets people there without having to pay for each visit.  The more original content appears on a site that benefits people in a way that they find what they are looking for, the more the site should eventually rank for the keywords involved in that content. Thus, determining keywords and creating useful content based around them can ultimately help both customers and company owners alike.  Also, content marketing helps with social media as good, current and relevant content is easier to share and more likely to be passed along. Companies...Read post

  • RECALLS - The good and the bad

    Looking at the recent projected numbers by NADA, it appears that fixed operations is in a position to increase on their 2014 total of service and parts sales of $91.73 billion. In this latest report NADA was projecting a modest increase of four to five percent in the customer mechanical number. However, there was a twenty percent projected increase coming from the warranty side, obviously we can thank the increased volume due to recalls. Recently I was presenting in meeting with a group of high functioning CJD dealers and looking at their composite year to date we found that warranty repair was getting close to thirty five percent of their total labor sales. This number is huge when you take in consideration it has typically been in that twenty to twenty five percent range.   So why do I think this is a bad thing? We all want the added income, right? Warranty/Recall work is providing a substantial increase to all of our income, but is it here to stay. I believe that the litigious ba...Read post

  • Consumers Are Taking Their Complaints to Social Media. Are You Responding?

    In the past, consumers were limited in their options when they had any sort of complaint or service issue with a particular business. Those options, however, have progressed and today’s consumers have moved on from phone calls and e-mails to air their complaints. They now turn to review sites and social media in an effort to get businesses to rectify a perceived wrong. Yes, some of these complaints may escalate into a revenge-sort of rant by an unhappy customer. But, oftentimes a consumer is simply at their wits end after attempting to get the problem solved via traditional methods. Consumers are now getting wise to the fact that taking their unhappiness to social media may be the best way to get their problem solved.   A recent article on, described several situations in which consumers tried to get problems solved via traditional methods, to no avail. One story involved a man who purchased a refrigerator which did not work correctly. After more than four service visits ...Read post

  • Google Auto Says Mobile is the Place to Be

    In a study published this month by Google’s Automotive division titled, “The 5 Auto Shopping Moments Every Brand Must Own,” it’s crystal clear that dealers need to have a strong mobile strategy in order to stay in the game.   The study breaks the car buying experience down into five moments. Three of them are dominated by consumers using mobile devices to gain information. This information is key to what they buy and where they buy it.   According to Google, the five auto shopping moments every brand must own are:   1.     Which car is best? 2.     Is it right for me? 3.     Can I afford it? 4.     Where should I buy it? 5.     Am I getting a deal?   Once the consumer reaches the, “can I afford it?” moment, they turn to their smartphones. “Search interest for MSRP and list prices is at its highest level ever, growing 25% in the past year, driven in large part by mobile, which accounts for 70% of these searches,” the study stated. Fr...Read post

  • This Week in Social Media

    Keep your customers in mind when you’re posting updates to your social accounts, and you’ll be sure to keep them coming back for more. No one wants a social media feed that’s log-jammed with nothing but sales pitches and offers, so instead, provide quality content that offers information on relevant topics of interest. Check out some tips to get you started when it comes to posting information that keeps your followers interested and looking for your online content...Read post

  • Don’t Creep Out Your Shoppers

    Many consumers don’t know why, but they do know that every time they reach out, their phone blows up with sales calls or they start receiving emails containing information about exactly the products they’ve been looking for—even though they haven’t communicated that information directly to you. Since your dealership may be able to gain insight into the consumer journey without individual shoppers handing the specifics to you, it’s important to approach the situation correctly and delicately in order to bring potential customers to your dealership instead of sending them running in the opposite direction. In order to approach your target consumers in a strategic manner, here are some tips to keep in mind...Read post

  • In this Age of Extreme Political Correctness, Should Businesses Care?

    If you’re on any social media platform, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen or heard of a multitude of topics where someone somewhere was offended. Not counting obvious religious, political or other volatile topics - there are many that seem, well, baffling. Take for example, the University of Ottawa’s decision to cancel its yoga class over concerns that cultural issues could offend students. Another recent example involved Starbucks decision to remove Holiday words and symbols from its traditional red cup which quickly went viral with detractors claiming that Starbucks hated Christmas. Target got into a mess recently with a Christmas sweater they sell that has the words “Obsessive Christmas Disorder” on it. People called them insensitive to those with mental health conditions. There are far too many examples of this recent phenomenon of unintentionally causing offense infiltrating and dominating social media conversations.   It’s a given that you can’t make everyone...Read post

  • Recall Masters Launches New Website: A One-Stop Source of Automotive Recall News, Data, Training and Communications

    Recall Masters, Inc., a leading provider of automotive recall news, data, training and communications, today announced the launch of a brand new website for the automotive industry. The company recently expanded its solution to multiple automotive businesses, including automakers, factory authorized dealers, pre-owned car dealers, fleet operators, rental car agencies, auto auctions, marketing agencies and other potential vendor partners. The website has been redesigned and expanded for more efficient navigation and to better explain all of the company’s solutions and product offerings. The site has also been built to fill a void as far as information and resources concerning automotive recalls. It is designed as a one-stop source of automotive recall news, information, marketing, training and other resources. Automotive businesses can visit the site to leverage the industry’s most comprehensive source or recall owner information for most every major auto make, get updated on all the latest news, and even request a free open recall report, tailored for their market area. Other educational resources include a recall communication sample, recall estimate by distance, recall summary report, Recall Masters Academy best practices curriculum, and company’s may request a free trial of the software services including API access and Inventory VIN Check. Read post