Is Your Web Site Provider A Search Engine Optimization Expert

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Ali Amirrezvani - Also by this author

Selecting a Web site provider knowledgeable in the science of Search Engine Optimization can give your dealership the competitive edge it needs to be successful online. Many providers chose to completely forego this essential aspect of Web site creation because it requires in-depth knowledge of the various search engines and their proprietary algorithms. In addition, the process of properly optimizing a site is ongoing and requires constant revision and careful maintenance. The simple solution for many providers has been to outsource this painstaking task. The question then becomes should I go with a provider that out sources this important process or with one that has built their platform from the ground up, taking search engines into account? Obviously, the latter will provide better results in the long run. Simply put, a third party company may not be able to edit your site’s framework as easily as your Web site provider and therefore, may not be as effective in giving your site high placement on search engines
These aforementioned questions require careful consideration when choosing a Web site provider. Below are a few ideas to help you make the right decision.
Keyword Research
An immensely important part of the optimizing process is the identification of relevant keywords and keyword phrases. A Web site provider should cultivate the right list for your dealership in the setup process taking into account your market and franchise. This is a highly specialized and time consuming process requiring industry expertise. Once your provider has identified a good list of terms, they should provide them to you for a review and update.

Site Review
This is an important consulting task where the site is evaluated from a technical aspect. In order for a Web site to be given high placement in search results, the site needs to be indexed and analyzed by the search engine. Search engines accomplish this by sending out small computer programs, called ‘Spiders’ to compile this data about your Web site. The Web site needs to be built in such a way that it can be easily accessed by these spiders. For instance, search engine spiders do not like flash, heavy graphics, and frames. The proper Web site provider should use these elements as strategically as possible.
Manual Submission

It is important to manually submit to major search engines and directories, as well as having a Web site provider that will send you the submission confirmations. Submission alone does not guarantee good positioning; it's the optimization of pages that determines high rankings due to good content and properly coded pages.

Paid Inclusion

These are fee based listings, available in various search engines and directories. Overture's SiteMatch service will get you listings in Yahoo!, AllTheWeb, AltaVista and other portals for $10 to $49 per URL. Another important paid inclusion for commercial sites is the Yahoo! Express listing.

Link Popularity Strategies

What's important here is to get high traffic sites to link to you. This is not easy to do these days, and the proper Web site provider knows how to get quality links without resorting to link farms.

Pay-Per-Click Options

Many times, a good balance between paid and organic search is required to meet site goals, and a good Web site provider will utilize paid search and paid inclusion.

The main advantages of choosing a Web site provider with SEO expertise is that you will get better results when experts do it for you. SEO is a complex process that requires proficiency to maintain long term results. SEO work requires a lot of trial and error and has a steep learning curve because of ongoing changes in search engine algorithms.

Reviewing the above information while or before interviewing a Web site provider should help you arrive at a sound final decision.

Vol 2, Issue 5

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