Who Does Your Site Work For?
DOES YOUR SITE WORK FOR YOU OR THEM?
It's Labor Day 2016 and what better question to ask than, who does your site work for? This question should be taken seriously and given deep consideration. Many of you may be thinking "well it works for me! It's my domain name and my logo and contact info is on the site so it must be working for me. I hate to say it, but most of you are wrong in saying this. Let me explain.
After we started Equipment Locator we came to realize that dealers needed websites too. It was a progressive thing to do at the time (1996) and so we set out to do it. This was in the days of Netscape Navigator and the built-in AOL web browser (we still have a brand new Netscape floppy disk mailer but no 3.5 inch floppy drive haha). The strategy at the time was to build a customized inventory listing page for each dealer and it was then linked to it from the dealer site.
Things really started to change with the adoption of iFrames a couple of years later. That allowed us to show the content of the dealer page on ELS/EquipmentLocator.com within their own website. Great news, right? Sort of. It helped keep visitors from completely losing track of where they had been but you had a styling issue where the page in the iFrame typically didn't match the dealer's website. We did some customization in that area, but it was never enough and was fraught with headaches of keeping up with the dealer site style changes. An unplanned benefit we gained was that it gave our site traffic credit with the search engines. Because the site in the frame is not the dealers, the source website gets credit for things like time on site, number of visitors, number of pages viewed, etc. The search technologies and ranking algorithms like Google use take these and factor them into a site's relevance. The algorithms still weren't as advanced as today, where they calculate other metrics like page footprint (the number of pages a site has). Now you need good quality content and the more the better.
In late 2011 we began developing our first Private Label dealer website for Titan Outlet Store, Moorhead, MN which launched in early 2012. It was groundbreaking at the time because within 3 months the site had over 15,000 pages indexed by Google and they were relevant rich content pages. With that success we knew that for every dealer website we built thereafter we wanted to make it the best we could. It took nearly two and half years but we eventually phased out all other types of websites from our offering. That includes static HTML sites. We WILL NOT build a static HTML site when we can build a private label for the dealer. If a dealer wants a static HTML site, they don't know what they are missing. Our competitors still offer them for $995 per year. I refuse to do something that is not going to put the dealer in the best possible competitive position on the web. In July they announced that they will begin offering non-iFrame websites but have yet to do so. I'm interested to see how they turn out.
When we mate our proven SEO with our Private Label technology a dealer is getting the best possible website that can be built. We took that same approach when we began creating New Product information on the dealer site to resemble the manufacturer content. This keeps the visitor from leaving your site and going to the manufacturers to find model and specification info. Again, more rich and relevant content for the search engines and visitors. That's who we design for and who the search engines now set ranking and relevance for. Before they set rank and relevance based on keyword counts, etc. but now they are using artificial intelligence type algorithms to mimic how a human being will react to the site. Pretty exciting times. Unless you are building static HTML or iFrame sites.
If you're fortunate enough to have the day off, enjoy it. Take a moment to consider how the hard work of our forefathers continuing up through yourself has contributed to the strength and wealth that our country enjoys. At Equipment Locator we are working harder than ever to make dealer websites work as hard as the dealers they represent. We will be closed this Labor Day so use the Get A Quote link below to reach us or call us at 8am Tuesday Sept 6th. :)