page contents Automotive Thought Leadership: Ralph Paglia: October 2018 My title page contents

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2018 SEMA Auto Industry Trade Show

About the 2018 SEMA Show


The SEMA Show takes place October 30 - November 2, 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center located at 3150 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, NV 89109.

The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. It draws the industry's brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more.

The 2017 SEMA Show drew more than 70,000 domestic and international buyers. The displays are segmented into 12 sections, and a New Products Showcase featured nearly 3,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more…

Note: The SEMA Show is a trade-only event and not open to the general public. 


 - Official Hashtag #SEMA2018


Registration Hours

Thursday, October 258:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.*
Friday, October 268:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.*
Saturday, October 278:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.*
Sunday, October 288:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday, October 297:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 307:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 317:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 17:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, November 27:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
*SEMA Show exhibitor only


Exhibit Hours


LVCC & Westgate Exhibits

New Products Showcase
Tuesday, October 309:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 319:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 19:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday, November 29:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.



Future Dates

2018 SEMA Show: October 30-November 2 
2019 SEMA Show: November 5-8 
2020 SEMA Show: November 3-6  

Monday, October 22, 2018

Using Conversational Marketing Events


2 PM ET/11 AM PT

Different stages of the customer journey often require different approaches.   How are you continuing an insight-based, customer-centric conversation throughout the customer journey from prospect to customer to evangelist?  This webinar will explore different event formats working for B2B companies by decision-maker, buying journey stage and customer success evolution.

  • Specific content formats for every stage of the buying journey
  • Samples of successful content that accelerates velocity and conversion
  • Webinar formats for every prospect and customer lifecycle stage

Our Guests:
Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing Inc., @heinzmarketing
Stephanie Stahl, General Manager, Content Marketing Institute, @EditorStahl 

Friday, October 19, 2018

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Where Oh Where Has the Service Department Gone?

Where Oh Where Has the Service Department Gone?

Where Oh Where Has the Service Department Gone?

Arguably, one of the most important marketing channels any dealership has is their website. Think about it. How much money do you spend simply to get customers there? When you combine all marketing efforts including, but not limited to, SEO, SEM, some third-party listing sites and more, dealerships spend tens of thousands of dollars (or more) per month.

Once that customer hits the dealer’s site, most dealers have the additional cost of all of the widgets it has chosen to adopt. Whether that’s a chat service, trade-in appraisal tool, inventory merchandising on VDPs, video and photo content and more, everything is designed to communicate with customers and/or provide the information that they need so they convert and purchase a vehicle.

But what about the most profitable area of your dealership? What about those customers that need vehicle service?
A huge piece of the puzzle is missing from most dealership’s websites: the service department.

According to NADA’s 2017 annual report, the average dealership’s service and parts department enjoyed sales of $6,793,905.00. But, when it comes to marketing, at many dealerships this profit center is overlooked.

That makes no sense whatsoever! Why would any dealership exclude marketing their biggest profit center when they could do so relatively easily?

All that money spent on SEO and SEM is mostly designed to attract car buyers. Ah, but many current customers go online when they have service-related questions, such as how to pair their iPhone with their in-vehicle entertainment system, how much does service cost, or to perhaps search for available coupons. The sad part is that far too often the dealership’s website has very little, and sometimes no service information at all. Those that do are often full of outdated information and expired coupons.

So, where do theses customer go to get that information?

While you’re completely focused on acquiring sales customers, your service customers are finding all the information they need in the worst possible place for the future of your dealership’s largest profit center… on independent repair shop’s websites!

And, at that point, where do you think those customers will go for service? It’d be silly to think that consumers aren’t motivated by low prices, offers of speed and convenience and attractive coupons.

But, the biggest problem many dealerships have in this highly competitive service space is NO MESSAGE WHATSOEVER! What is a dealership supposed to do? Why not pay attention to the very strategies independent repair shops have long used to steal your customers: implement a few of them and reclaim that service business.

Consider revamping your website and provide the information your customers are seeking -- rich service and parts content, tutorial videos, effective appointment scheduling services and more. Provide your dealership with every opportunity to serve these customers, establish value in dealership service versus independent repair facilities and this will quite simply help to prevent customers bouncing from your website to an independent’s.  That rich content will also attract new service customers.

Another huge benefit of relevant, user-friendly content which is continuously posted and updated, is that it helps your dealership rank higher in Google searches. The exact thing you desire on the sales side is much easier to achieve in fixed ops. In most cases, you are not in competition with manufacturers, third party listing sites, lead providers and so on, vying for customer eyeballs. You may even want to consider creating a standalone website on a sub-URL designed specifically for service.

It’s absolutely possible for your dealership to outrank PepBoys, Firestone, Midas and Jiffy Lube! In addition, because Google search results are now location-based, you have an edge over competing brand dealers to get that local service work by ranking higher in common routine maintenance searches.

Stop ignoring your service department and start using your online real estate as a powerful marketing platform for vehicle service.

Don’t be afraid to advertise service-related pricing, the independents do, and they are doing just fine. Take back the service work that is rightfully yours by adopting best practices that will drive service customers. Some of them, as you know, do convert to sales customers. The bottom line is; the more customers you have coming to your dealership – whether sales or service – the more profitable you will be and, in the end, isn’t that what you want?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Today's Car Dealers

Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for 2018 and 2019   

Vital Statistics to Understand SEO Over the Next 24 Months (Includes Infographic)
If you too rely on Google’s traffic as the main source to attract new customers to your business, it is very likely that you have faced the consequences – both good and bad – of the fact that SEO is always changing.
We did as well!
Technically, it is impossible (unless you have an IQ of 140 and you are into tech) to precisely zero-in on the factors that are improving your SERPs.

So here is a list of facts and SEO statistics that we accumulated to get some insights into the influential factors and figure out our SEO strategies.
We collected the information from authentic sources, including experts’ research results.
Reposted with permission from article written by: Hristina Nikolovska
SEO Statistics You Have To Be Aware Of
  • 67k searches are performed on Google every second
  • 39% of all global ecommerce traffic comes from search
  • 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine
  • Nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results
  • 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020
  • 58% of searches come from mobile
  • 97% of page-one results have at least one image on the page
  • 46% of all Google searches are local
SEO Statistics Infographic Outline
Below is a brief explanation of each of the points we covered in our infographic.
Consider it a spoiler of all the facts and stats you should expect to learn, as well as the tips and hacks that we have in store for you!

Search Engines

From 1993 when Archie, the first search engine was launched, seven more prominent search engines appeared on the world wide web, including Yahoo, Baidu, and Google, with Bing being the youngest. Google remains the most used one, holding 72.87% of the desktop and 92.59% of the mobile searches which is one of the most important pieces of information regarding search engine optimization stats.

Google Algorithms

Google has introduced several algorithm changes ever since it was first launched; the most important ones being:
  • Google Panda in 2011 (affected 12% of the searches);
  • Google Penguin in 2012 (impacted search queries by up to 3%);
  • Rankbrain in 2016 (providing users with the most relevant search results).

Who Controls the Market?

As mentioned earlier, Google holds the biggest share of the market. Baidu, the first Chinese licensed search engine, holds 12.85% of the desktop and 4.57% of the mobile searches, placing it in second place.
Bing has noticed a growing trend in the past few years, and today it holds 7.70% of the desktop and 1.16% of the mobile market share. Yahoo, Yandex, and other search engines hold the smaller part of the market share.

SEO Facts and Figures – Current and Future Trends in Search Volume

At this point, search engines are accounted for 39% of the global ecommerce traffic, of which 35% is organic, and 4% paid search. However, 70-80% of the search engine users ignore the paid ads and focus on organic results.
The future will see complete mobile domination and projections are that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Also, RankBrain is expected to become responsible for 100% of the search queries, improving the overall quality of Google search results.
When it comes to tracking the search volume, it’s clear that the audience growth over the past four years has been dominated by mobile users. Today, 58% of searches come from mobile. Also, 40% of people search solely on a smartphone.

SEO Fact Sheet – Advantages of Ranking on Google

Being in the top 10 results on Google brings some benefits among which the most notable are gaining high-quality leads and 30% brand lift.
Many factors influence your rankings, including page speed, content quality, and the bounce rate.
According to the first page of Google statistics, a top ranking website has an average speed of 1900 ms, longer and highly informative content, as well as 8.7% lower bounce rate than the ordinary websites.
The backlink profile, SSL security, CTR, images, LSI keywords, and the time users spent on the website are also some of the determining factors.

Local SEO Statistics and Ranking Factors

SEO is extremely important for local businesses, as statistics show that 46% of all Google searches are local.
Local searches result in higher traffic conversion; i.e., 18% of local smartphone searches led to purchase within a day compared to 7% non-local searches.
Link signals and on-page signals are the main local ranking factors. Next come the behavior signals, personalization, citation signals, review signals, and social signals.
The sections of the article below the infographic will elaborate on the aforementioned SEO statistics in detail.
And no, we won’t be talking numbers only!
We will also provide you with a multitude of useful tips and hacks to help you get the most out of your SEO strategy!

Search Engines: Who’s The Boss?

It is true that Google is a household name and a pioneer in the search engine market! Globally, it has over 72.4% of desktop and 91.82% of mobile search engine market share.
But the fact often overlooked by most SEO’s is that the Bing-Yahoo network has over 21.3% of US search market share.
Yahoo has been powered by Bing for many years now, with over 50% of Yahoo searches relying on Bing’s index. This means that search results are very similar on both search engines and optimizing for one will also work for the other!
That said, here’s what we suggest:
Don’t exclude Bing from your SEO strategies!
Especially if you have:
  1. An actual business website (The average cost per click for Google Ads is $1.83, whereas for Bing Ads it’s $1.07)
  2. Older target audience (Bing searchers are for the most part 35+ in age and usually within the 55-64 age range)
  3. A target audience from the USA  (85% of Bing users are located in the States)

By doing so, you will get numerous benefits, including:
  • Lower competition (any SEO stats checker will confirm that most marketers go to Google);
  • More money (Bing users in the USA spend roughly 22% more than other Internet users);
  • Better conversion rate.
SEO Statistics - Search Engine Conversion Rate
Although Google and Bing have different search algorithms, both companies share the same goal:
Provide right results to their search engine users!

Our Tip: Instead of concentrating on what algorithm – concentrate on what user! Try blending the ranking factors of both.
So, how to optimize a website for both Google and Bing?

Mobile Is Key!

No matter what search engine you are trying to rank for, a mobile-friendly website is one of the crucial factors for SERP success.
The mobile-first index is already wideout as of March 26th, 2018, positively influencing mobile-friendly websites ever since.
58% of all search is done via mobile, and 40% of people are searching on smartphones only. What is more, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.
Another stat that shouldn’t be overlooked is that 40% of people will choose a different search result if the first is not mobile friendly.
Projections show that by 2019, mobile advertising will represent 72% of all US digital ad spending.
SEO Statistics - Mobile & Desktop Search Volume
As the all of the above suggests mobile domination, it’s also noteworthy to mention that setting up a mobile website is not that hard.
Our Tips:
  1. Don’t use flash, auto zoom.
  2. Let users know what your website is about before they scroll down.
  3. Use bigger buttons and a font size of 14px.
  4. Add viewport meta tags.
Present and Future Trends: What Are You Missing out On?
As mentioned earlier, if there is something that is not changing in the SEO market, it is the fact that it is continuously changing.
Search engines are trying to evolve. So does SEO!
If you were to follow some old-school concept of buying some links, it would do more harm than good. 
Instead, you should keep track of the trends and plan strategies accordingly.
For instance, back in the days, it was all about primary keywords. But search engines now know that 50% of their search queries are four words or longer.
Wondering whether long tail keywords are really important for your SEO efforts? Consider the following search engine optimization statistics:
  • Long tail keywords have better conversion rates (According to WordStream, the top 10% of landing pages convert at 11.45%);
  • They provide context behind the content;
  • Long tail keywords are more specific than short ones; hence, they are less competitive;
  • They are good for mobile optimization;
  • They assist voice search.

Speaking of voice search, we must note that changes are also happening in this field, where searches can be longer than ten words. Check out the amazing SEO stats about voice search listed below!
72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine.
In 2017, 13% of all households in the US owned a smart speaker, and that number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.
Today, the speech recognition word error rate is 8% which brings about the popularity of this trend. It is estimated that, by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice activated.
If you have not considered voice search in your SEO strategies yet, you can get started with the steps provided below.
How to optimize for voice search
  1. Use natural language; that is how people use voice search;
  2. Voice searches are usually questions, so optimize your keywords in an interrogative format;
  3. Websites with around 2300 words of highly shareable content, HTTPS, and good loading speed are more likely to show up for voice search;
  4. Optimize your content with FAQs and featured snippets.
SEO Statistics - Voice Search
Beside these future trends, if you are doing serious SEO work, there is no way you can avoid the present trends – answer boxes and RankBrain.


Google started using RankBrain, the machine learning program, to provide more relevant results for the users. Today, RankBrain is the third most influential search ranking factor, right behind backlinks and content/keywords.
In the near future, Google is set to process 100% requests using RankBrain. So, what we want to say is – RankBrain is here to stay.

How to optimize for RankBrain
  1. RankBrain understands what your content is about, so you shouldn’t create pages for long tail keywords;
  2. Value user satisfaction and improve CTR;
  3. Decrease bounce rate and increase dwell time.
You could also check out Backlinko’s detailed guide on optimizing websites for RankBrain.
On the other hand, Google answer boxes get triggered for 25% of searches. You do not want to miss out on that either, especially when they grant you CTR of 32.3%.
Moreover, it is not that hard to hit the answer box position when you already are on the first page!
The best practices to hit the answer box position are listed below.
  • Find keywords triggering answer boxes;
  • Implement structured data;
  • Use lists, tables, and table of contents.

Important Ranking Factors
Although it is a changing field, some basics help search engines to function better and increase user satisfaction overall.
For instance, let us consider page loading speed. SEO statistics show that 47% of users would not wait more than two seconds for a page to load and there is a decrease in engagement rate by 8% with every delay of 500 ms.
Observing the research from Backlinko, a top ranking website has a loading speed of 1900 ms which is 17% faster than a site that ranks at number 10.

Content Quality

Among SEO facts, content has always been one of the key factors of Google rankings. But with the incidence of RankBrain, a lot has changed in what is considered as good content.
Google now measures whether the content is readable, comprehensive, and related to the topic (including all the LSI keywords).
So, long, detailed, and readable content is suggested, as top 10 results on an average tend to have over 1890 words.
Good and quality content will reduce the bounce rate which is yet another important factor for higher Google rankings.
Take into consideration that the bounce rate of a top-ranked website is nearly 8.7% lower than the one of a website at position 10. (These SEO stats vary slightly, but are good as reference)

Content Presentation

Let’s get this straight. No matter what niche you are working in, don’t expect your users to read all your content.
Most of them usually scan through the content.
That said, you need to make your content design readable and likable.
By doing so, you’ll reduce the bounce rate, increase your SERP click-through rate (experts claim that higher CTR leads to higher rankings), attract more interest, and boost your credibility.

Our content presentation tips
  1. Use subheadings that ask users to take action at regular intervals;
  2. Use images to explain complicated stuff;
  3. Use screenshots and other graphics.
Some SEO stats to validate the above: 97% of pageone results have at least one image on their page.

Time on Site

As mentioned earlier, a low bounce rate is not always a good measure.
So, what is a good measure of user satisfaction?
Their time on the site.
The more time users spend on your site, the happier Google considers them.
SEO Statistics - Bounce Rate vs Organic Rankings
Both Brian Dean from Backlinko and Larry Kim from Word Stream have confirmed these SEO statistics.


Google recently announced that they are going to label all sites that are without HTTPS as “not secure” ones.
Their SEO stats do not prove that SSL affects rankings of big percentages of websites yet. For now, only 27% of the top 10 search results use HTTPS. But we expect this to change soon.
So, to be safe, you better get an SSL certificate for your website. After all, it is quite easy to do so.

Local SEO

Local SEO can help your business stand out in the SERPs. If you take a look at the local SEO stats listed below, you will understand why.
  1. 46% of all Google searches are local;
  2. By 2021, mobile devices alone will influence $1.4 trillion in local sales.
Local SEO is bigger than ever. More and more SEO companies are exclusively dedicating themselves to local niche.
So here are more local SEO facts and tips that you can rely on for successful SEO for local businesses.
For 93% of searches with local intent, Google’s 3-pack local listings appear in the top spot.
So, if you are there on the top in those three spots, there is a good chance you make the most out of organic results.
82% of smartphone users search for a local business using search engines and mobile searches for ‘where to buy’ have grown 85% since 2015.
What’s more, local markets have a good conversion rate as well.  
For instance, 18% of local smartphone searches led to purchase within a day compared to 7% on non-local searches.
How to optimize your website for local SEO
  1. Make sure your website has information about NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number); including NAP info in the title alone will give you 24% ranking weightage;
  2. Make sure the inbound links you get to your websites include keywords related to your location. (Nearly 2/3 of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location);
  3. Include User Reviews (50+ reviews per product increase conversion rates by 4.6%, which are critical ranking factors);
  4. Use social media and incorporate social media share buttons;
  5. Optimize for mobile (60% of all searches being made on a mobile device).


See?! We promised we wouldn’t only talk about numbers.
As we’re providing rather detailed tips on SEO strategies, however, it was imminent that we supported them with some of the latest SEO statistics.
Regardless if you’re a business owner looking to raise brand awareness through SERPs or an aspiring digital marketer looking to learn the basics of SEO, the above will certainly help you set the right track towards web success.
Good luck ranking!
Reposted with permission from article written by: Hristina Nikolovska