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Gary Sanders

Gary Sanders Sales Manager

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Does Your Website Have Too Many Exits and Not Enough Doors?

Today, customers have many avenues online when it comes to search. By updating your dealership website with the addition of micro sites (separate, often smaller sites that supplement your main site), you can open doors for more visits and better conversion.
 
Over the last two years, I have requested over 200 additional pages to be added to our website, www.stevinsonlexusoflakewood.com. I have manually added content to these new pages that have little search authority, from ‘accessories’ and ‘parts’ to used car terms and Lexus model library pages.
According to our Google Analytics’ “top landing pages,” our dealership Home Page is our top landing page. But, by adding the additional pages, we were able to increase visits to our site.
 
For example, with the addition of our “Lexus Extra Care Warranty” page, from 8/1 – 11/30 of this year, we achieved over 100 landing page visits. I also added links back to it in a Free Press Release and added the page to our Blog. Some of the keywords that landed a visit to that page include: Lexus platinum extended warranty, Lexus extended warranty, Lexus platinum extended warranty, Lexus vehicle service agreements.
 
*Note what is missing from the key words that landed a visit: Our dealer name - Stevinson Lexus of Lakewood.
 
Manage your site: support it with Micro Sites

This year, the addition of micro sites to support our main dealer URL is slowly showing progress. I use the term ‘slowly’ because I did not add them with the intention of taking over Carguru, Autotrader, Everycarlisted or UsedCars.com; I just wanted them in the game.
 
As an Internet Manager of a Lexus Dealer near Denver, Colorado, our two micro sites (www.DenverUsedCar.org and www.UsedCarsDenverColorado.com) have generated more exposure for us in Google searches.
 
Meanwhile, our Cobalt site continues to be strong for searches that include: Stevinson Lexus of Lakewood, Stevinson Lexus, Denver Lexus Dealer, Denver Lexus, Lexus Denver, Lexus Colorado.
My goal is to gain traffic from search terms like: Used Cars Denver Colorado, Used Lexus Denver, Used Lexus Cars For Sale Denver, Used Lexus RX 350 Denver, Denver Used Toyota Sequoia, BMW 3 Series For Sale Denver, Used Honda Accord For Sale Denver, Etc…
 
Getting Started

When selecting a URL name for your micro site, you are going to find the most obvious sites, like UsedCars.com, are taken. A term like “used cars” is so competitive that a micro site is unlikely to show up on Google page one anyway. Look at the two site names I selected; try to grab a more regional term or major city the dealer serves. You may find you can snag a .org or .net site, (i.e., www.UsedCarsSaltLakeCity.org). Don’t assume that they are taken. You may be surprised to find that many are still available.
 
A helpful tool for finding out how many times a phrase is searched is Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool can help you decided whether or not it makes sense to purchase an available URL. Frequently, I have found that if the .com is available, there is a reason; the term is not a high volume search term.
 
Example for “Used Cars Denver Colorado”

This term has a broad search of 1600 times a month, and an exact phrase 480 times a month. As a comparison, the term “Used Cars” is broadly searched 6,120,000 times a month and searched as an exact phrase 823,000 times a month. Nevertheless, because Google rewards exact matching URLs, I am happy with our site showing up in the exact 480 searches.
 
Where to Host your site?

If you are a beginner (or not) when it comes to websites, I would recommend WordPress.org (not the free WordPress.com). It is user-friendly and offers templates you can install. But before that happens, you will need to buy your site name. On http://wordpress.org/hosting/ I am using the Blue Host tool. Blue Host allows you to search and purchase domains for $10.00 and offers a quick install into Word Press.
 
Tools

I got my start with micro sites through the PCG Automotive Advertising Network. This tool uses a simple script to create pages or post on any Word Press site (it also supports Blogger and Typepad). I have also done an A/B test using our Dealer.com Craigslist tool. I added the HTML code as a post, but had better search results with the PCG AAN tool.
 
PCG Tool: http://www.denverusedcar.org/used-cadillac-srx-for-sale-denver/
 
Tracking

Google Analytics tracks any given keyword that results in a click to a website. What I have found with our keywords for our micro sites is that the searches are broader and most of the terms only produce one or two clicks from each term. Though it may only be a few clicks, your main dealer site may not be showing up in search for the same terms thus making your micro site efforts worthwhile.
 
To support this, I located the keywords in Google Analytics that resulted in a click: “shop Denver used Subaru Forester with manual.” Although it is not a competitive term (or phrase), it did result in a click to www.DenverUsedCar.org. Comparing this term in our main Cobalt site Analytics, YTD we did not get a click from the follow terms: shop Denver used Subaru Forester with manual, Denver used Subaru Forester with manual, Denver used Subaru Forester, Denver used Subaru.
 
So what are the micro site search results for the term “shop Denver used Subaru Forester with manual?” As of 12/1/2010, this was ranked second (#2) on page one:
 
Denver Used 2010 Subaru Forester For Sale VIN# JF2SH6AC8AG709265...
Denver Used Cars. Stevinson Lexus of Lakewood ... 2010 Subaru Forester
2.5X Manual. Posted by admin on November 4, 2010 Leave a comment (0) Go to comments
 
Additional Search Terms

Another search strategy is to add pages for each model of the primary make you sell. This, along with micro site support, can also add clicks to your website.
(Searches completed on 12/1/2010)
Search “Used 2009 Lexus ES 350 for sale Denver”
Our micro site is #3 & #4 and main site #5 & #6
Now some may ask ‘who is going to search that way?’ I’d say ‘good question.’ So, what if someone excludes the year?
“Used Lexus ES 350 for sale Denver” - I have a page for that…
Main site #2 micro site #3 & #4
 
Now some may ask ‘who is going to search that way?’ I’d say ‘good question.’ So, what if someone changes models?
 
“Used Lexus ES 330 for sale Denver” - I have a page for that…
Main site #3
 
Summary

It is very difficult to know how a customer was sourced if that customer did not submit a lead or make a phone call. Every store has “floor” consultants selling used cars that are logged as a “Fresh Up”. As much as an Internet Sales/Manager would like to see every deal go though their department, they have a duty and responsibility to the store. And when this happens, it’s because of the pages, posts, micro sites and exposure you have added for your dealership.
 
Internet Sales Mangers are silently rewarded

Internet Managers already market your cars with good photos and comments and drive online traffic to the phones and to the floor. For these reasons I will continue to build our Cobalt site, create links, add posts and support pages on our micro sites. Support your site, support your micro sites, support your media outlets and you will be rewarded.


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