When people ask me, “Chip, what do you do?” my standard format one sentence reply is something like this, “I’m a digital marketing consultant who helps car dealers with their Google and Facebook Analytics so they can make data-driven decisions.”

Sounds good, but what does that really mean to the average car guy?

Unfortunately, not much.

So I’m giving you some examples of what I did yesterday for a client.

These are all things you need to do too to keep up with the latest Google changes.

When you’re done with them, I hope you can see that everything in digital marketing is connected, and all of these connections form the framework and foundation for your success or failure online.

Analytics is not just about measuring what’s working and what’s not. It’s about building a system that will automatically alert you when something needs attention before it costs you a lot of money.  It’s about keeping up with the constant changes in digital marketing and technology so that you can reap competitive advantages and not fall behind. Even the boring day to day grind of monitoring results can yield new opportunities and spot potential problems.

If this is too complicated for you or you just don’t have the time, please give me a call at 949.910.0421. I’m not that expensive. I can probably set you up with everything for about a $1,000 bucks.

Enough with the pitch, here’s what you need to do now to keep up with Google’s recent changes:

Mobile First Indexing is in play. Check your Google Search Console to make sure your site is good. Check to make sure your sites are using your HTTPS URL in Google Search Console.

Site Speed is now being released to all users is an official ranking factor. Google says it’s really only going to affect the slowest sites. What’s slow? Naturally Google won’t say. But common sense and all the data will tell you that slow sites suck. Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, here are some resources that can be used to evaluate a page’s performance.

  • Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions
  • Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages
  • PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations

HTTPS Secure Sites. Beginning this month, in conjunction with the release of Chrome 68, Google will start marking all sites that have not migrated to HTTPS as Not Secure! If your dealer’s real website hasn’t already done this, contact your website provider immediately. It’s fast, easy, and there should be no charge. Conversely, if you have a crappy OEM mandated website like Dealer.com that you’re trying to bury with negative SEO, do nothing. Just let it be and it will do the job for you.

Canonical URL. A canonicallink element is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “canonical” or “preferred” version of a web page as part of search engine optimization. When you make the switch to HTTPS, make sure your Canonical tag points to your HTTPS site. Your website/SEO provider should do this automatically when you make the switch, but don’t rely on them, double check.

Go to your website, right click and then click on view page source. Hit Control F (Ctrl + F) and type in canonical. You should see something that looks like this:

 <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://yourdealerssite.com/” />

If you don’t see a Canonical reference at all, you have larger problems with your website/SEO provider.

Google Analytics Property and View Settings. Since Google treats HTTP and HTTPS as different sites, you need to check your Property and View Settings. Go into the ADMIN section of Google Analytics for your site and click on Property Settings. Make sure your Default URL points to your HTTPS site. Then go into your View Settings and make sure your Website’s URL is set to track your HTTPS site. Be careful that you have the correct setting for each View if you have multiple views.

Google Search Console. Again, since Google treats HTTP and HTTPS as different sites, you need to go into your Google Search Console and add the HTTPS version of your site. You can’t change or edit your site’s URL like you can in Google Analytics, so you’ll have to set up a new site.

 

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