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Why Graphic Ads For Car Specials are Anti-SEO

automotive ad agencyAutomotive advertising agencies – you are being called to task.  It is very common for car dealers to have their ad agency create a sheet of monthly specials like the one shown for Audi cars. These ads are used in local newspapers but they are also being used for dealer websites.

Unfortunately, the ad agencies are not telling automotive sales managers that these graphical contribute practically NOTHING to attractive car shoppers via Google and Yahoo search. Most traditional automotive advertising agencies don’t understand search engine optimization (SEO).  They didn’t grow up with SEO.  Their job is to produce auto ads every month, on schedule, and they are happy for the business.

Well, if I was the owner of a car dealership, I would not be happy how these ads are being used on the web. You see, these ads have text that Google cannot index.  Google cannot read the text on a photo.  They are in effect a blank page to the search engine spiders.  If car dealers expect for consumers to find their monthly specials online, they have to take the time to type the details in plain text.

You may think this is a simple task and one that should be commonplace on dealer websites.  But take a look at 20 car dealer websites by clicking on their “Specials” page and you’ll find that most are graphical ads with the pertinent information on an image. 

So should dealers login into their website administrative panel and add their car specials in text?  This is where things get interesting.  Creating a good looking text page on most automotive website platforms is not easy.  Yes, most platforms claim that they have easy to use HTML editors but in common practice, they are not easy to use.

I have worked with a number of HTML editors on car dealer websites and they all are tricky at best.  The skills to create “tables” or aligned text requires skills that are beyond the average Internet sales manager. Copying preformatted text into these embedded editors can cause more trouble that it’s worth.

So, Sales Managers take the least path of resistance and drop in a graphic advertisement on their specials page so it’s not blank.   Just keep in mind that these graphical ads do ZERO for drawing new customer via search. Even worse, pages that only contain one image will most likely never even get indexed by Google.

If car dealers take the time to create car specials and incentives, they should also take the time to publicize them on the web.  In an ideal world, you would have a dedicated web page for each car you have on special that month.  This way the HTML Title, META Description and content can be optimized for the offer. In addition to their own websites, specials can be posted on free services like Craigslist, MerchantCircle and social networking sites.  The dealers, who make the effort to give Google what they expect, will be rewarded with better search visibility.