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I discussed briefly some of the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in a previous blog post. At that time, my main concentration was the basics of SEO. Since then, we have had a few posts that relate to SEO as it pertains to listing titles on Craigslist and eBay as well as the importance of keywords.

For this post, I wanted to touch on the basics of SEM. SEM is generally used to refer to the use of paid advertising to promote your website. This is how I will use it as well but it should be noted that SEM technically include any means of promoting your website including the use of Search Engine Marketing.

Below is a simple diagram of a search results page on Google. You can see highlighted the areas covered by Organic Search or SEO as well as the Paid Search area or SEM.

Google Search Page

You cannot receive placement within the Paid Search area without paying. This method of getting your website link placed on search results is often referred to as “Pay-Per-Click”. Each link within the Paid Search area has an associated ‘bid’ that allowed it to be placed there. When a visitor clicks on the link, the purchaser is charged for that click – hence, they pay per click. There is a complex formula used by Google to determine which paid links display per search and it is no longer simply who is willing to pay the most for each click.

That is a very basic introduction to SEM. It is also important to note that other sites accept paid advertising as well as Google. While, I plan to go into further detail in the future. For now, please see the poll below and let us know your experience with Search Engine Marketing.


Most searches on classified sites are done by title only unless the user opts in for title and description. The primary example is eBay where 99% of all searches are done by title. It is critical to understand the way each site you advertise on produces search results on their site. Craigslist is a great example of a site that searches both title and description as the default search. I have run a few searches below to show how this can be unitized in your marketing efforts.

Here is an example where 2003 was used and 18 results returned:

Craigslist Dodge Caravan

Here 03 is used instead of 2003 and you can see only 7 different results were returned:

Again Chevrolet versus Chevy you can see below:

Craigslist Chevrolet vs. Chevy

Craigslist Chevy Truck

The point of these examples is simple WHY not make sure your vehicles show up in BOTH forms of the search! Need help doing this correctly post your comment, tweet your question or contact your Liquid Motors account manager for a walk through.

Please be sure to leave your comments, feedback, re-tweet or just add valuable information to this blog as our goal is to educate car dealers so they can be better today than they were yesterday. Make sure you follow Liquid Motors on facebook, Twitter and our blog for a variety of information for car dealers.

A great selling technique on eBay Motors, the Best Offer option helps sell vehicles even quicker, allowing you to close a listing the moment you receive an acceptable bid — without having to wait until the listing ends. Many dealers are experiencing great success using Best Offer pricing, especially on listings for vehicles five-years-old and newer. Average sales prices and conversion rates have shown dramatic improvement.

You can easily set up a Best Offer following these 4 steps:

1. Choose the Fixed Price format instead of Auction when listing the vehicle.

2. Enter your ask price (Buy It Now price), being sure to select the “Best Offer” option.

3. Place your Buy It Now price + “or Best Offer” in the description section of your listing.

4. Manage your listing by either accepting or rejecting any offer, then begin negotiations with prospective buyers within the text field.

Has best offer been working for you? Let us know.

With a rebounding stock market, home sales starting to slowly trickle up and March and April being the most positive car-sales months in the past year and a half, the time is right to make sure your online classified marketing presence is buttoned up and firing on all cylinders; and not just a 4 cylinder, but a fire breathing twelve. Online classifieds are not a new concept and you may believe that not much has changed in their creation and distribution. As with all aspects of our business, with focus comes success, or at least a better opportunity for success. Success can also be a byproduct of performing the basic “blocking and tackling” accomplished in a methodical and measurable process. If you take the time to focus on your online classified program and make sure the basics are covered, believe it or not, you will be ahead of much of your competition and seeing results. Of course all of these recommendations will be minimized if the ad copy is not detailed, thorough, and honest, so that is the obvious first consideration.

Here are some of the basics:

Use a toll free phone number

The ability to track the marketing source of a classified lead is a great plus, along with the opportunity to review the call and see how your sales people are doing. Make sure the toll free numbers are all functioning and directed to the proper contact at your store. What could be worse than generating interest in a vehicle, motivating the customer to pick up the phone and call your store, and the number is not working, or forwarding to the wrong person or department? Basic blocking and tackling, but this mistake is taking place every day.

Use multiple pictures

Once again, just the basics here, but the more high-quality pictures you use, the greater the potential for an interested prospect.10 pictures is a great baseline, and increased results come with up to 40 pictures. The more images the better. Make sure your lot services company or your on-staff photographers are getting appealing, clear images of a clean vehicle. Also, beware of overlays on these images if they promote a different TFN than the one being used in the copy. We’re not trying to confuse the buyer here.

Location, location, location

As with other sales leads, online classifieds is a location and numbers game, so why limit your exposure and opportunity? A combination of paid and no-cost classified sites is the recommended mix. Many of you have your standard and accepted sites that you post to and adding a mix of no-cost sites is an excellent compliment. These no-cost sites deliver high Search Engine Results, so you have to be marketing on these sites as well. Some of these sites have restrictions and can take time to master, so Learn all you can about how to post successfully on these sites and the results will come. Content is king; so using ad-builder software that automatically generates SEO titles and content will get you to the top of the results pages.

It’s very easy to be enticed by the latest and greatest sales tool that claims to revolutionize your sales process. Many of these tools should be assessed, but make sure the basics are covered first. A strong foundation allows you to build a powerhouse store that will easily handle the bumps and curves of the road. I welcome your feedback and comments.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how search engines find and analyze the keywords in your content, tags and titles after last weeks blog you may be ready to ask another common question.

How many Key Word Targets Are Too Many Keywords on One Page?
The general rule of thumb is two or three keyword phrases per page. Here’s why:
It’s the repeating patterns that make keywords stand out as important. Put too many repeating patterns (keywords) into your page content and suddenly, nothing stands out. In other words, if you try to tell a search engine that five or six phrases are all “important” by using them often in your content, the engine is likely to decide none of your words are important.
If you look at this example of text, you can easily see “Toyota Camry” standing out.

toyota camry text

However, if I show you a section of text that includes all three of my example phrases you’ll notice there are so many things trying to stand out, that nothing stands out.

toyota camry stand out text

What happens here is a jumble of keywords all competing for attention. The engine can’t sort out which one is the most important in your page of content and your keywords lose all effectiveness.

Please be sure to leave your comments, feedback, re-tweet or just add valuable information to this blog as our goal is to educate car dealers so they can be better today than they were yesterday. Make sure you follow Liquid Motors on facebook, Twitter and our blog for a variety of information for car dealers.

Search Engines Can’t Read ok I may be overstating it a little bit, but in the most literal sense of the word, search engines cannot read. They detect patterns and match patterns, but they do not comprehend what they’re reading. This means they don’t come to your site thinking “gee, I’m going to learn about Toyota Camry’s today, I hope this site talks about them.” Instead, they visit your site and look for patterns of letters that happen over and over again. Then they realize those patterns define the content of the site. You must take time to creatively integrate your desired keywords into well crafted content. How many keywords are too many? Look for next week’s blog where we will discuss this in detail.

toyota camry text

Please be sure to leave your comments, feedback, re-tweet or just add valuable information to this blog as our goal is to educate car dealers so they can be better today than they were yesterday. Make sure you follow Liquid Motors on facebook, Twitter and our blog for a variety of information for car dealers.

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