To blog or not to blog?

Evan Brown
I realize the power a blog has to local SEO but I've had a tough time keeping it up to date, creating good posts etc. After listening to a great local SEO speaker yesterday at CDDC7 I've decided to reboot my dealership blog. Do you use your site vendor for your blog, a blogspot or other vendor? Who posts for you? What topics do you try and stick to? Any advice or examples would be greatly appreciated!
Mark Frost
Hey Evan, If you're struggling with the time it takes to produce quality content, it's probably best to hand it off to a vendor. If it's something you really want to take a shot at yourself, here's a link to an awesome resource that will get you started: http://marketpunch.com/car-dealer-blog-resource-pack/
Carl Maeda
Ideally, you'd use your site vendor for the blog. That keeps everything consistent. At a minimum, hire a designer to setup a blog on a web host that will give you a professional looking site. As far as who is posting, again, ideally, someone at the dealership should create the content. You know what its' like locally, you know the industry, etc. But it is time consuming and not all dealerships have time to properly maintain a blog. If that's the case, hand it off to a vendor. Topics - local interest, automotive and a little bit of sales. I also think its' important to create a persona for the blog. What does the dealership care about outside automotive? Common interests could include: the environment, animals, etc. Explain your story. These interests could add flavor to your blog and it could draw customers with similar interests into your dealership. One of the most important things to keep in mind is to post regularly.
Grant Gooley
Carl, well said. Local input is so important when blogging, couldn't agree more. We are in a position today where our conversations that used to happen on the golf course, at community events etc. are just as likely to happen online. Use blogging as a value ad to consumers looking to LEARN about their purchase. In my personal opinion this would be hard to do accomplish if a vendor was writing blogs for you.
Kyle Orlando
Hey Evan, I agree with Grant's comment above. I've been writing blogs for our Vendor Website and Sub-Prime lead generation department since 2009. One significant change has happened in that time. Like most content on your site today, Blog content CAN HURT your site as much as it can help your website (this was not true just over 2 years ago). I know the term "Quality Content" get's thrown around a lot, but I don't know how often people feel confident in defining "Quality Content". In the context of your dealership website blog, stick to these principles: 1. Original Content. Don't copy and paste content 2. Make your point CLEAR. Don't beat around the bush. 3. Your posts should be CONCISE. Don't use 5 words if you can use 2. 4. Stay RELEVANT to your Brand, Community, and/or Value Proposition. Many of the Dealer blogs (including my own partners) can have a negative impact on their site by providing low quality content which drives up Bounce Rate, and drives down Pages per visitor. This in turn can hurt your organic rank because your telling the search engines - "We aren't relevant". Nothing could be more true of a blog than the old saying "If you want it done right, do it yourself." In respect to hosting. 100% host the blog on your primary domain. A quality blog helps drive additional traffic to your site, which in turn makes your site/domain more relevant to the topic of car buying/shopping and your brand. That is the goal.
Cody Jerry
I would definitely suggest handing it off to a vendor, but making sure you know how to monitor results. We manage many blogs for car dealers, and generate a lot of visitors through the posts. However, we are able to do that because we do keyword research before each post, keep on top of what gets clicks and shares socially and reevaluate everything each month. If a post type isn't working, then it is time to make adjustments. This research is critical to getting results. I've seen dozens of blogs that have been going to for years, and haven't gotten more than a handful of visits ever. They typically just regurgitate what the OEMs are posting, and don't have any keyword or social focus. Writing quality content is very important. However, quality content does boil down to the signals that an algorithm can read. The big things to focus on are length, grammar and topical focus. Longer form content has the natural benefit of forcing you to use additional phrases to describe the topic. You will benefit from this with some long tail traffic (people that use 3 or more words in a search). You also want to stay focused. The algorithms try to determine the relevance of a page based on what is on it. If you keep bouncing around topics you will likely confuse the bots. Stay focused. Some of the rules I would suggest using are: - More than 400 words (ideally over 1000) per post. - Be grammatically correct. You need a system that includes content editing. - Utilize keyword research, but don't keyword stuff. - Set Goals and Time Lines. - Content should be 80% or more original. - Cite your sources.

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