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Search shenanigans (Part I of II)

Fair warning, we’re going to start this off in a “non-auto” related manner, but then quickly bring it back around. Stay with us, you just might learn something!

Search engine optimization, or SEO to all the tech-heads in the know, is the process of augmenting the quantity (and quality) of website traffic to a given site. Companies, people or basically anyone that wants their site to have traffic (who doesn’t) uses SEO. I imply “everyone” rather loosely as of course not everyone is engaged in adhering to or employing good SEO tactics. However, in 2019 nearly all free website platforms like WordPress and the like have SEO functions built in. In fact, WordPress analytics have evolved tremendously over the years and now communicate what key words/phrases you should be using and how frequently to pepper them into the site. The end goal – being picked up by search engines such as Google when someone in Des Moines plugs in “cool goldfish for my 8-year-old.” If your site is related to “goldfish” (selling, talking about or in the general goldfish arena), and you’re located in Des Moines, then it’s likely your site will show up high in the search rankings which will give you a better shot at converting would be customers.  

Ok, so that’s SEO in a nutshell. Now where do cars factor in? The main search engine on the planet is Google. Like any industry (cars, rocket ships, smart-phones, search engines, etc) updates are required. Even Google for all its power and prestige needs updates every now and again. In March of this year Google applied an update which was supposed to help searches become even more accurate and aligned with SEO strategies by firms and people alike. Cars.com is a massive auto marketplace that you’ve likely heard of. Post the March 2019 Google update, Cars.com witnessed a whopping 49% increase in their search visibility. In the tech world, this is odd. The media quickly jumped on this and contacted Cars.com SEO Director David Greene who not surprisingly lauded his SEO strategy, specifically around performance updates and content. But even Mr. Greene noted there were some parallel issues at play. And one of those had to do with Cars.com’s fiercest rival, CarGurus.com.

This gets juicier, stay tuned for Part II.

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