It amazes me that in 2014, auto dealers tolerate obvious lame tactics to “fool” Google for the hope of improved organic search rankings. It also surprises me that dealers put up with poor English grammar on their websites -which creates a bad visual experience for auto shoppers that visit their home page.
The dealership’s home page is their most visited website page.
Take a look at the website shown on the right for Rydell Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac. It is the new responsive website platform created by DealerOn. The home page has two distinct sections; one white area and the gray area.
White Hat vs. Gray Hat
The white area is visually attractive and has clear icons for the consumer to navigate this dealer’s website. I like the design of this first section.
The second section, the area in the gray (a shade of black) is a completely opposite experience. The run-on sentences are filled with old school keyword stuffing tactics that once worked about 10 years ago and now are dangerous to have on a website.
Today this gray area is viewed by marketing professionals, (and likely Google) as a deliberate attempt to “fool” the Google search algorithm. When you read the text in the gray area, it was definitely NOT created for a consumer to read and value.
In fact, Google defines keyword stuffing on this page, (http://bit.ly/1GxMWHm) and cites that stuffing this includes jamming the names of cities on the home page of a website. The DealerOn website examples are a clear match to this definition by Google. They are also jamming vehicle model names, as you can see.
Additional information on this topic is provided by Matt Cutts from Google in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y-m_jiayLQ.
Here are some excepts, taken directly from the home page of Rydell Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac:
Crookston Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC Dealerships
Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac in Grand Forks North Dakota is one of the premier Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC dealers of new Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC & Used Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC vehicles in Fargo, Crookston, Thief River Falls, Grafton, Grand Forks. We carry the most complete selection of new Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC & Used North Dakota Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC available vehicles. At Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac in Grand Forks North Dakota, we are your one stop shop for all your Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC needs. At Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac, customer service is our number one priority. If you plan to buy a Enclave, Encore, LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, ATS, CTS Coupe, CTS Sport Sedan, CTS Sport Wagon, CTS-V Coupe, CTS-V Sport Sedan, CTS-V Sport Wagon, Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, SRX, XTS, Avalanche, Camaro, Captiva Sport, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express, Express Cargo, Impala, Malibu, Silverado 1500, Silverado 2500HD, Silverado 3500, Silverado 3500 Chassis Cab, Sonic, Spark, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse, Volt, Acadia, Savana, Savana Cargo, Sierra 1500, Sierra 2500HD, Sierra 3500, Sierra 3500 Chassis Cab, Sierra Denali, Terrain, Yukon, Yukon XL, you will always find the lowest prices and the best service at Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac.
Grand Forks Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC Dealer
We hope that you find our website helpful to your Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC needs. Although Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac serving Fargo doesn’t stay open 24 hours a day, the Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac website does. On our website you can research the new Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC car, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC truck, or Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC SUV van that you would like to purchase, search inventory of all the used vehicles that we offer at the lowest prices, request a vehicle price quote, find the value for your trade, view pictures and data about the Enclave, Encore, LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, ATS, CTS Coupe, CTS Sport Sedan, CTS Sport Wagon, CTS-V Coupe, CTS-V Sport Sedan, CTS-V Sport Wagon, Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, SRX, XTS, Avalanche, Camaro, Captiva Sport, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express, Express Cargo, Impala, Malibu, Silverado 1500, Silverado 2500HD, Silverado 3500, Silverado 3500 Chassis Cab, Sonic, Spark, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse, Volt, Acadia, Savana, Savana Cargo, Sierra 1500, Sierra 2500HD, Sierra 3500, Sierra 3500 Chassis Cab, Sierra Denali, Terrain, Yukon, Yukon XL, learn about our latest specials on new Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC cars and pre-owned Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC cars that we sell.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
This type of website design has to stop because it will hurt auto dealers’ online marketing investments. Good content takes time and money to create, but it has a great payoff.
Cheap text, like shown in the gray area of the home page, is foolish.
A consumer reading this page will think that the dealer is illiterate. The example I cite from Rydell Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac in Grand Forks, ND is not the only case I found of this shoddy work. This is a pattern of design that I was able to find on many dealer websites created by DealerOn.
Does this text make any sense to you?
“We at Old Saybrook Kia Mazda, serving Old Saybrook Connecticut, look forward to serving your Group needs and we hope that we can help you with your next new Group or pre-owned Group purchase. We have helped customers from Old Saybrook, Clinton, Groton, Madison and Guilford with their Group needs and we look forward to helping you.” (Source Here)
Here are other websites that have odd spammy text at the bottom of the home page which impacts all OEM brands.
As the auto industry evolves, we must be more conscious of the rules that Google sets for the marketplace. Dealers must be conscious of the consumer experience on our website. The examples I listed were just a few of the dozens of websites that I was able to find with keyword stuffing on the home page.
How long will dealers tolerate the risk that this style of content presents to their search engine rankings?
Are The Dealers Doing The Keyword Stuffing?
Of course an auto dealer could add any text to the home page that they want. Content Management Systems (CMS) allow dealers to create their own custom content. So am I being hard on DealerOn?
There is a pattern here that goes past any specific dealer’s actions. Follow some of the links above and you will probably come to the same conclusion that DealerOn thinks this is an acceptable marketing practice. It is part of a template that they use for select dealers.
It is important to note that not ALL websites created by DealerOn have this problem.
The “ugliness” of this style of keyword stuffing on the home page is exemplified by this example from Younger Toyota shown below:
There is no way that this is good for the brand impression of the Toyota dealer, and it is obviously not good for the consumer experience – yet this continues as if it has no downside for the dealer. I hope that this article brings to light this outdated website practice and that DealerOn takes immediate steps to stop this dangerous practice.
What do you have to say about this type of content strategy?
Automotive Website Research
Each year PCG Consulting reviews all the automotive website technologies used by auto dealers as part of the Automotive Website Awards selection process. The awards ceremony this year will be held on January 22, 2014 in San Francisco just prior to NADA.
PCG’s 300+ page annual report is the trusted buyers guide for automotive websites, CRM platforms, and marketing tools used by the dealer community.
Automotive professionals are invited to the awards ceremony and tickets can be purchased in advance online.
P.S. We did call Brian Rydell, owner of Rydell Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac to advise him to have this keyword stuffing removed from his website. He agreed with our findings and is in the process of correcting his website content.