Article

Snakes vs. Spiders: The Truth About Website Traffic

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Maxwell D. Skynard - Also by this author

Many of us have been charmed by the rattle of snake-oil technology vendors only to have our search engine placement bite us in the … ask yourself if this applies to you.
Getting website traffic happens in two ways – 1) Get High Search Engine Placement and 2) Advertise Your Website Offline. In this article we will focus on point one; next time we will continue our discussion of snakes v. spiders by focusing on point two.
 
Get High Search Engine Placement…

Search engine placement needs two things to work - 1) A well designed site that presents “readable” content to the search engine spiders and 2) relevant content – stuff that gets you to the top of the list.

Include Search-Engine-Readable Content

Search Engines (like Google, etc.) send out little programs to “crawl” over every site on the internet. These “spiders” report what they read on each site. The closer content matches the keywords used on the search engine, the more likely that site is to show up on top. Simple, right?

Robert Edwards, CEO of RTPro Services, a respected automotive search engine placement firm, sums it up like this, “Spiders are finicky. They read text in a particular way, and they don’t care if the site is HTML or Flash or Paper Mache’ as long as they see what their looking for.” Anyone that says otherwise is misinformed or misleading.

For an idea of what a spider “sees” try this tool www.TestDealerDomain.com. Good sites will have the following:

1) Plenty of text that mimics a user’s search

2) Links to pages within your site

3) Links to other sites

Include “Optimized” Content

Ask yourself, “What keywords are your customers likely to use to search for your site?”

Spiders index your site based on the similarity between readable content on the site and keywords shoppers might use to search for your cars. If this content is not targeted, then you might get high placement on useless keywords and low placement on important car-shopping-keywords. These “keywords” are not necessarily what’s found on your homepage or your “about us” page. That’s why working with an optimization consultant is so valuable.

Many software (snake-ware) companies claim to submit your domain to the search engines, but rules change so rapidly that a human touch is needed. Optimization services hand-submit for a small fee – well worth the investment since your time is better spent selling cars. The best, like RTPro, will even guarantee top-10 placement.

Some website companies call their sites optimized, when what they mean is “friendly.” For the record, “friendly” is not “optimized.” If you really want friendly, then shake the hand of a search engine consultant. They’ll work with you to determine which keywords are most important for your targeted content and hand submit your site to the search engines.

At the end of the day the proof is in the pudding. Go to Google and search “Huntington Beach Honda,” www.normreeves.com will be in the top. Search “Gwinnett Jaguar,” www.hennessyjaguargwinnett.com will be in the top. Type your city and make, where’s your site?

I don’t mean to offend any website developers out there; many do a great job. But if this shoe fits, then take a closer look; it might be snake-skin.
Search Engine
Readable Site
Optimized,
Unreadable Site
Optimized,
Readable Site
Search Engine Spiders
See the Site

Yes

No

Yes

Site Contains
Targeted Content

No

Yes

Yes

Site Gets High
Placement

Maybe

No

Yes

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