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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jim Bell

Jim Bell Performance Manager

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Cobalt Surges in SEO with New Product: PowerSEO

Over the last few years, Cobalt has been trying to win over their dealers and build confidence in them as a website provider.  In the last 12-18 months, they have really switched gears and wanted to focus on SEO.  With the help of Google Guru, Brian Pasch, they made some changes in how they can help dealers with their websites.  The biggest change in the last 18 months is the url’s on specific vehicles are now including year, make, model, and city with Brian’s suggestions which will optimize the search within Google, Bing, and Yahoo. 

Fast forward to July 21st.  Cobalt just released PowerSEO.  There are only a handful of dealers on the program right now as it has just been rolled out.  PowerSEO is targeted to generate more organic traffic to the dealer’s website, which we all want.  Each dealer will be assigned an SEO specialist which will monitor and optimize the dealer’s website and pages with the dealer’s marketing goals.  They will do it all for you. 

  1. They will set up all of the business listing pages on Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.  They will also synchronize all of the information on online directories and yellow page websites. 
  2. Monitor and analyze their website continuously for keyword content.
  3. Perform regular optimization to improve the visibility of their website to search engines.
  4. Do quarterly review of PowerSEO performance with the dealer.

Dealers will be able to access performance reports in the Dealer Command Center on a daily basis to see how they are performing in the search engines and see what the keywords that are working the best are.

Cobalt did do a pilot with 5 different GM dealers prior to the launch of the product.  They saw significant improvement in their organic traffic.  Traffic was up about 10% just due to the optimization tweaks that Cobalt did with the SEO Specialist.  The pages that they focused on were the New Vehicle Search, Used Vehicle Search, Finance, Hours & directions, and Parts and Service.  Here is a shot of what was improved:

 There There are obvious benefits to this program.  It will drive more organic traffic to your website, which has a higher closing rate than your third party leads.  Make you more visible on all of the search engines.  Increase your Google, Bing, and Yahoo search results pushing your competitors down the page.  The one thing that I liked is that it takes a lot of work off the dealer’s hands and they can focus on what we do best, and that is sell some cars. 

If you are a Cobalt dealer or have an ADP Digital Marketing package, you can contact Ellen Jones or your representative from Cobalt and they can get you set up with this program and take you to the next level. 

 

Bryan Armstrong
Thanks Jim. I guess a lot would depend on the cost. The benefit is obvious and I have great respect for Brian and his work. I guess this begs the question, why is correctly optimizing my site an "extra" service? Does this mean the next time I contact a contractor for home repair I need to clarify that the bid includes labor and not just the use of his tools? Websites are stupidly overpriced in the Auto Industry and finding ways to add to that expense for functionality rubs me wrong.
Terrence Gordon
Direction/Map-related keywords? That's a strategy I haven't come across before.
Ellen Jones
Bryan, thank you for your feedback. If I can propose an alternative analogy, one can buy the best set of golf clubs but you won’t win the US Open unless you put the time in to practice. Brian has validated that Cobalt has a great set of clubs for dealers (the SEO-optimized website platform). The challenge is that there are lots of competition from highly motivated competitors and third party sites investing in SEO services to get them in top position on the search engine results page (SERP) to capture your prospects. If you want to “make the cut” (Page 1 of the SERP) in a competitive market you will need to put in the additional time to out-shoot them. You can do this work yourself, work with an agency or have us do it for you with PowerSEO.
Ellen Jones
Hi Terrence, based on customer research and our very own analysis of automotive car-buyer search behaviors, these are keywords that drive qualified and high converting traffic to dealer websites.
Brian Pasch
Jim Thank you for the mention and yes, Cobalt has been working in improving their full on-site SEO architecture over the past year. Cobalt was previously only focused on home page optimization and not inner page optimization. Today that is vastly different with the Power SEO offering. I will be writing a more in depth article which outlines the features of the new platform, including their SEO offering "Power SEO" this month. This is part of the review notes we take when we conduct an in depth platform review for the 2011 AWA. Cobalt is one of the companies being reviewed for the 2011 Automotive Website Awards (AWA). This will be the fourth year for the awards. The 2011 AWA luncheon will be held at the Bellagio on Sunday August 9th at 12:30 pm. This corresponds with the kickoff of the DrivingSales Executive Summit. The awards recognize the top automotive website platforms, enhancements, and this year we will be adding awards for social media tools and strategies. Invitations to this VIP industry awards event can be secured by emailing Carrie Hemphill at: carrie@pcgmailer.com or calling our offices at 732.450.8200. Carrie's is at extension 2. Past winners can be viewed on the AWA website: http://www.automotivewebsiteawards.com

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