Google must be serving too much espresso at HQ; two major changes in SERPs this week.  Yesterday I wrote about how Google Adwords will show in the SERPs, and the blue arrow shows how ad units will be clearly identified.  Today, I was testing some other search phrases, as I prepare for client meeting in Minneapolis, and saw some additional SERP enhancements for automotive searches.

subaru-forresterThis is NOT Google Cars but it is clear that Google has built a database of model information that they are using for the Knowledge Graph today, that could be leveraged for the upcoming Google Cars program.

I’ll have updates on that program when it expands out of its beta testing area in the San Francisco Bay area.  However, it is clear that the pieces of the puzzle are being assembled.

Take a look around and you will see that the Google model database is very robust to feed the Knowledge Graph.   Here is an example of the level of detail they go into for a Subaru Forester.

This change has to do with providing vertical search features from the SERP; a weakness of Google in the past.  In my example above, if a consumer searches for a 2014 Toyota Corolla, the search assistant will appear on the right hand side.

This feature is known as a Knowledge Graph and now Google is expanding the program for automotive information.  The Knowledge graph shows some basic information about the Corolla (MSRP, MPG, and HP), but see how it also lists the different model configurations.

If a consumer is at the start of their search, Google’s new layout can help narrow their search to a specific model type.  The Knowledge Graph is a vertical search enhancement for new car shopping that needs to be watched, and may have some implications on how your setup your Adwords campaigns and landing pages.

Toyota Corolla Vertical Search in SERP

When I clicked on the “L Automatic” hyperlink in the Knowledge Graph, here is what was displayed:



Notice that the keyword in the search box changes to a “2014 Toyota Corolla L Automatic” and the Knowledge Graph changed to give specific information about that model configuration.  When the search keywords changed so did the Adwords ads.  This is not something to ignore.

My initial takeaway is that all dealers should be testing which models Google displays in the vertical search assistant.  These EXACT Keywords should be a part of your Adwords bidding strategy, and I would suggest that you have individual landing pages created to each of these Google defined models.  The goal is to make sure that for those specific keywords, you have the highest quality score.

Since Google is has moved to provide vertical search assistance for automotive shoppers, and will be delivering Google Cars soon, this will impact how consumers use third party websites for drilling down to get specific model information.  Since Google is not collecting leads from this change today, it seems to be an Adwords centric change.  This is the on-deck hitter before Google Cars steps up to bat. 

Action Item: This demands a conversation with your Adwords provider to make sure that the phrases that Google chooses to “pre-populate” in the search box, you are well optimized.  Make that call today.

Change In The Air

dmsc-250-logo (1)Digital Marketing is constantly changing and progressive car dealers must understand and adapt to these changes.

If you would like to get a better view into the upcoming changes in our industry, I encourage you to signup for the 2014 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Napa, March 16-18th.  The conference is being held at the Napa Valley Marriot, which has been recently redesigned and renovated!

This exclusive automotive industry event will be attracting the top thought leaders from our industry and from the companies that will shape our future.   DMSC is design for automotive decision makers and marketing directors who want to stay ahead of their competition.  Keynotes, workshops, and working sessions makes this a must attend event.

Some the keynote speakers that have been confirmed include:

michelle-morris-250Michelle Morris is the US Auto Industry Lead at Facebook.  Michelle recently left the Google Automotive Division, focused on OEM relationships, and moved to Facebook. As Facebook ramps up their advertising strategy for the auto industry, attendees will hear first hand what is ahead and how they can benefit from a partnership with Facebook. DMSC 2014 will also be featuring case studies of dealer success with Facebook advertising, so you will not want to miss out on how to leverage the world’s largest social network for your business.
seth-250Seth Besmertnik is the CEO of Conductor and directs corporate strategy, guides product vision and develops strategic partnerships with their award winning SEO platform. Today, Conductor is the market leading SEO Platform for companies with SEO teams, and the agencies that support them. The company boasts the biggest customer list in the category including more than 500 Fortune and Internet Retailer 500 brands like General Electric, Toys R Us and Federal Express. Since Google is blocking organic keyword data in Google Analytics, learn how Seth is advising his clients to remain competitive with a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy that overcomes these recent challenges.
doug-mooney-250Doug Mooney is a Senior Sales Manager at Twitter and is working directly with the Automotive Industry.  The automotive industry is embracing Twitter advertising, especially since the addition of photos in the news stream. Doug will be sharing how Twitter is expanding its reach and helping to Automotive Industry connect their brand with consumers using Twitter. You will not want to miss out on this cutting edge discussion and first to market strategies that you can employ at your dealership. We will also be showcasing successful Twitter advertising campaigns for car dealers that will make you think twice about ignoring Twitter advertising investments.


So, I hope to see you in Napa this spring, and in the meantime make sure you take a look at your Adwords campaigns and make sure that your dealership is leveraging the new vertical search assistant in Google SERP’s.  If you found this article helpful, please use the social sharing button to share it with your colleagues.



About the Author

Brian Pasch is the founder of PCG companies. PCG provides customized marketing and training solutions for businesses that are committed to dominate their local market.