Every week it seems that a new social media website or micro-blogging platform comes to market and your circle of friends invite you to join. I don't know about you but how does the average person evaluate the benefits of using these new digital marketing tools? Are you overwhelmed? Do you feel that you are dodging bullets?
In the past 60 days you may have been invited and joined:
I thought I would share with you some of the processes I use to evaluate the many requests that come across my desk each month. In my experience, some websites serve as useful Automotive SEO tools, others as Automotive Social Media tools, and some just fail to do anything. The key is to know how to evaluate your investment in these websites. You must have the tools to evaluate which websites are worthy of your continued investment of time and energy.
Your time is valuable so treat it that way!
For car dealers, automotive advertising strategies have never been as diverse and confusing as they are today. Dealers are faced with deciding how to find the correct balance of traditional marketing, social media, SEO, SEM, blogging, email marketing, re-marketing, and the list goes on. All of the sites that I listed above may have been presented to dealers as "worthy" of their staff time and content.
Which new websites are really delivering on those claims?
All of the sites listed above may be suited for car dealers. However, some may be better for personal branding. In either case, the question comes down to your time investment. Should you engage or not?
If a website is introduced to you as a new Automotive SEO tool, there are some quick ways to measure that claim. First, make sure you are using Google Alerts, Yahoo Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools. Setup Google Alerts for your dealership name and your personal name.
I like to use Google Alerts to see how fast a blog post I created is picked up by Google. This is a measure of how often Google pulls and indexes content.
For example, I posted content on www.Quora.com, recommended by my friend Eric Miltsch, under my name this past week. One question I posted was about Frank Herbert and Dune books. I received a Google Alert within an hour of posting and from the screen shot below, you can see that it is now in the Google index. This site is definitely respected by Google.
In contrast, all the social media sign-ups that I have done on Branchout.com in the past two weeks have not triggered any Google Alerts. In the first case, Quora.com is getting into the Google search stream and Branchout.com seems to be limited to inside of Facbeook. Branchout.com fails on the SEO front and we will have to see how it does on the networking front.
As I stated in another blog post this week, www.CarDealerWiki.org is showing strong SEO visibility and links. Take a look at this search query for a dealer who is leveraging the page publishing power of CarDealerWiki:
Secondly, if your posts or articles on micro-blogging platforms are being respected by the search engines, any hyperlinks in your posts should be showing in Yahoo Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools to your main website. If after 30-60 days your links are not showing, you can assume you are not getting SEO back-link benefits from these posts.
Other websites that are not designed for Automotive SEO may claim to increase your networking potential. In these cases, I recommend that you use a tracking phone number on all posts to these sites. This can be in the form of a user profile or a signature block that you add to all articles. In addition to tracking numbers, you can see how many people are commenting on your posts.
For example, IMFaceplate.com is a new micro-blogging platform. I have posted about 12 articles on my profile so take a peek: Brian Pasch. The comments on my articles have not been very interactive or meaningful. In addition to low engagement, I have not been seeing Google Alerts coming in for my efforts. I will give this website another month or content and if I don't see any positive confirmations form the search engines, I will stop.
As a side note, www.imfaceplate.com has slow website response times which I think is hampering their search engine credibility.
With so many new websites in play each month, just be careful about how you invest your time. Measure the search visibility, link counts, or contacts you get by engaging in any new community.
If you want some proven strategies for content publishing and link building, there are many articles that I have published in the past. If you need an updated Top 10 List, just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll send you my Top 10 Content Publishing websites that can assist car dealers with search visibility, links, and traffic generation.
P.S. Dealers who want to develop the strongest digital marketing strategies for 2011, are coming to the 2011 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference Feb 1-3rd in the Napa Valley prior to NADA. You can be there as well, register at: http://www.digitalmarketingstrategies.org