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There have been many debates on Driving Sales about organic SEO versus pay per click advertising over the years. Google Places - the maps listings - is a topic that normally gets classified separately as it's not as easy to "buy" one's way to the top.
Or is it?
That's the topic of another discussion, but first let's take a look at the reasons behind the dual-top-rankings that are filling searches for car dealers on a regular basis.
Google started putting an emphasis on maps and changing them to what we're seeing today as the enhanced Google Places offering on October 16th, 2010. I remember vividly the call I received from TK Founder Richard Valenta something he had just seen with the adjusted maps. Moments later, it was gone, but he had screen shot evidence. I looked it up on SEO forums and "secret groups" in which I participated and nobody had seen it. We were onto something and didn't want to tip our hand so we simply watched and prepared.
What dealers and customers see today when searching for high-volume keywords like "Minneapolis Toyota" is one variation of the new Google. It has been changing rapidly over the last year and a half, consolidating in some ways and branching out in others, but for the most part we are seeing the transition into mobile search and the emergence of hyper-localization. For savvy dealers and vendors, this is a beautiful thing because it allows us to have a two-edged sword in our fight for clicks.
The numbers on Places clicks are rising. The amount of mobile searches are rising. The need to be at the top twice (three times if you include PPC) is rising. It means that the best-optimized dealers have an amazing opportunity to take more than their fair share of the search volume in their area.
We'll discuss this more in detail in the future, but first I wanted to share our latest video on Car Dealer SEO Tips. The video is below but the link takes you to an expanded explanation of each of the 7 tips.
Enjoy, and as always, feedback is strongly encouraged.