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Car Dealer keyword competition is on the rise and car dealers will be paying more for targeted keywords in Google Adwords and Yahoo Search marketing .

As the stock market fails to provide emotional support for a stunned consumer market, many car dealers are digging in their heels and fighting back. Recent data from our automotive clients indicates that car dealers are diverting monies from traditional advertising channels and increasing their spending on Google and Yahoo. From our customer surveys, monies once allocated to print, radio and cable TV are being reduced and moved to new internet advertising platforms.

The shift in car dealer spending has many implications. The cost per click (CPC) for popular automotive search phrases has been steadily rising in October and November of 2008. This is a clear indication that car dealers are embracing the fact that 85% of new car buyers are researching their cars on the Internet prior to a purchase. With cash flow tight and car sales dropping, Sales Managers are increasing their bids for the top positions in Google Adwords.

The increased keyword competition poses some interesting challenges for Automotive Marketing companies due to the risk of a bidding war erupting, and everyone involved being hurt. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is an important part of any car dealer’s digital marketing strategy. However, SEM alone can be very costly in the long term.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies can provide car dealers with sustainable, low-cost lead flow to supplement leads purchased through SEM. Automotive microsites are another tool which provide car dealers with a highly ranked website designed to capture local car buyer information. As PPC costs continue to rise, SEO strategies look increasingly attractive.

One SEO strategy example is a microsite designed for the release of the 2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible. We created a microsite on the domain www.infinitig37convertible.com for Infiniti of Santa Monica. It ranks #1 in the USA for the search phrase “Infiniti G37 Convertible” and is on Google page one for other search phrases like “2009 G37 convertible” or simply “g37 convertible”. The site had a low, on-time cost to create and has generated hundreds of consumer leads located in California who are interested in this new model. When the Infiniti G37 convertible finally is released in the spring of 2009, Infiniti of Santa Monica could end up being the West Coast sales leader for this car.

As car dealers look for effective marketing strategies, SEO and SEM will continue to rise to the top of a list of channels that produce the best ROI for local consumer car leads.

In time we'll also know more about using free services such as Craigslist and social networking platforms to attract qualified local car leads. The market is continually evolving and your automotive marketing strategies need to be evaluated on a monthly basis. Car dealers take the time to learn more about effective SEO and SEM strategies, by reading articles on DrivingSales.com, will be well rewarded in what looks like a very challenging year for car sales in 2009.

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