Hedges & Company https://hedgescompany.com FULL SERVICE AUTOMOTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY Tue, 11 Dec 2018 18:16:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://hedgescompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/cropped-hedgescompany72dpi320x240-32x32.gif Hedges & Company https://hedgescompany.com 32 32 149236298 Tesla Owner Demographics: Income, Age, Gender and More https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/11/tesla-owner-demographics/ https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/11/tesla-owner-demographics/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 16:02:00 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=11012 Curious about Tesla owner demographics, including Model S and Model X owners? Read on! Tesla owner demographics: average income of a Tesla owner The average household income of a Tesla Model X owner is $143,177 per year. As a comparison, the median household income in the United States in 2017 was $61,372. (Full disclosure, we’re […]

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Curious about Tesla owner demographics, including Model S and Model X owners? Read on!

Tesla owner demographics: average income of a Tesla owner

tesla owner demographics incomeThe average household income of a Tesla Model X owner is $143,177 per year. As a comparison, the median household income in the United States in 2017 was $61,372. (Full disclosure, we’re comparing two different things. If you’re confused about “average” vs. “median” look here.)

The average household income of a Tesla Model S owner is a little higher, at $153,313.

There are other online sources of Tesla owner demographics including this one that says owners have income over $100K. There’s also this survey from Teslarati that puts Model X and Model S owner income significantly higher.

Note that geography matters with vehicle ownership and “average household income.” The average luxury car owner has an average income of around $100,000 (2014), but many Tesla owners are in California where the cost of living is higher than average. When Kantar Media TGI studied luxury car owners for the New York Times, the average income was about $100,000, but that average ranged from $83,891 to $155,548, by state!

This data is pulled from a total universe of 2,650 Tesla owners with a margin of error of +/-2.5%.

Tesla owner demographics: average age of a Tesla owner

Tesla owner demographics ageTesla owners are an older demographic.

Our data shows that the median age of a Tesla Model S and Model X owner is just under 54 years old, compared to 38 for the US population.

The median age of a Model X owner is 52 years old and the median age of a Model S owner is 54.

These numbers line right up with the Teslarati survey. Our margin of error is +/-2.5%.

Tesla owner demographics: gender

Tesla owner demographics genderWe looked at the gender of current Tesla owners, including Model S and Model X.

Owners of the Model X have a higher percentage of women owners. Women own 29% of Model X vehicles and men own 71%. The Model X is a gull-wing SUV (according to Tesla) or CUV (according to many in the automotive industry).

A higher percentage of women makes sense since many CUVs tend to have a higher percentage of women owners.

tesla owner demographics genderThe Tesla Model S, a four-door sedan, tends to have more male ownership than the Model X. Males own 77% of Model S vehicles and women own 23%.

Our numbers are based on a universe of 253 Tesla Model X owners and 1,225 Tesla Model S owners. We’re very curious when more Model 3 data becomes available, how that gender breakdown will look.

There’s a comparison of male/female ownership of Tesla along with popular SUVs and CUVs over at Teslarati.

Tesla owners have high percentage of home ownership

Tesla owner demographics home ownerDue to the high household income and older age of Tesla owners, this should not be too much of a surprise.

88% of current Tesla owners own their own home. That leaves only 12% of Tesla owners as home renters.

As a comparison, the percentage of Americans who own their own home has fluctuated between about 64% to 67% in recent years. That puts Tesla owners a full 21 to 24 points higher for home ownership than the general population.

The median value of a Tesla owner’s home is $348,167. Since many Tesla owners are in areas where real estate values are high (California, for instance), that number is naturally skewed higher. Still, it’s obvious the Tesla owner tends to be well-off.

Other Tesla owner demographics

Tesla owners tend to not have children in the home. 66% of all current Tesla owners don’t have any children in the home, vs. 34% who do have children in the home.

The ethnicity of Tesla owners skews toward Caucasians, at 87%. Owners who identify with Hispanic ethnicity make up 8% of Tesla owners, leaving 5% to other ethnicities.

Where are the Tesla Model 3 demographics?

You may have noticed Tesla Model 3 demographics are missing from our analysis! The Model 3 started shipping in the second half of 2018 and the model is too new for us to have enough data to publish reliable, accurate numbers. But please come back and visit our blog again: when enough data is available to publish Model 3 demographics we’ll have it right here. People interested in buying a Model 3 are younger than other Tesla owners according to Quantcast.

Methodology used in the demographic analysis

This data comes from the master vehicle owner database of 175+ million vehicle owners, including large amounts of consumer-level data, which is overlaid on vehicle records. This gives us a great deal of accuracy when we pull and analyze demographic data, without having survey errors from self-reported data or other types of “sampling errors.” Most of the statistics cited on this analysis have a margin of error of +/-2.5% at a 95% confidence level.

Do you need to reach Tesla owners with a postal mailing list? We can help you with that, just give our office a call or click on this button below to fill out a simple form.

Fast List Quote

 

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We Bust 3 Myths About Selling Auto Parts During the Christmas Shopping Season https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/11/3-myths-selling-auto-parts-during-holiday-shopping/ Mon, 12 Nov 2018 21:38:49 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=10722 Can you sell auto parts online for the Christmas shopping season? The shopping season isn’t just about sweaters. We analyzed Google search trends over the past few years and bust some myths. Myth#1: Black Friday: the most important online shopping day of the year? This myth is definitely busted. Black Friday isn’t even in the […]

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Can you sell auto parts online for the Christmas shopping season? The shopping season isn’t just about sweaters. We analyzed Google search trends over the past few years and bust some myths.

Myth#1: Black Friday: the most important online shopping day of the year?

This myth is definitely busted. Black Friday isn’t even in the top five best online shopping days. Depending on the products you sell, it may not make the top 10!

Black Friday is the day everyone thinks of that kicks off the holiday shopping season. But, the most important online day is Monday after Thanksgiving, which kicks off Cyber Week.

Your most important online selling days are Mondays, ending Dec. 17. Sundays and Tuesdays are important, too. Depending on what you’re selling, the biggest Sundays would start either the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25, 2018), or the Sunday 10 days after Thanksgiving (Dec. 2, 2018).

Black Friday has evolved into a general term to use all year, and eBay even used it in March and April.

Myth #2: Christmas shopping is for gifts, not for auto parts

Definitely busted.

Daily search queries for automobile engines and engine parts, 2017 shopping season. Source: Google, used with permission. Not a projection for 2018.

All consumers know there are sales after Thanksgiving. They’re online looking for deals.

Here are some examples of daily search activity for auto parts that are not considered “gift” products. In these heat grid charts, the busiest search query days are darkest.

This first example is a heat grid chart for daily search queries for engines and engine parts. Search queries peaked on Cyber Monday, November 27, 2017. Black Friday was relatively slow.

You can see how strong search activity is on the Mondays leading up to Christmas. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are strong, too. Either pistons are the perfect Christmas gift, or consumers are looking for deals for their winter project in the garage.

Daily search queries for performance parts, 2017 shopping season. Source: Google, used with permission. Not a projection for 2018

Here’s another heat grid chart, for performance parts search queries.

Again, search queries peak on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

You can see search queries are generally strong on Mondays and Tuesdays, and they taper off through the week. Fridays and Saturdays before Christmas are weakest. Search activity increases on Sunday and peaks on the Monday of each week.

In both heat grid charts, notice that search activity also increased on the Tuesday and Wednesday after New Year’s Day, which was on a Monday in 2018. These search peaks are on January 2 and 3, 2018. These are probably consumers just looking for deals.

Translated to this season, these peaks would be Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 2 and 3, 2019. Keep these dates in mind as you plan your digital strategy this shopping season.

Myth #3: December is the slowest time of year for auto parts

Wow, busted. Just, busted.

Online sales success during December is up to you.

Seasonal click trends for car mats showing a spike in October, November and December. Source: Google, used with permission.

Many successful auto parts online retailers have adapted their product line to sell more products in December, adding products they may not sell at other times of the year.

Others emphasize products that normally sell well in December and put a promotional spin on them. For example, look at the seasonal click trends for car mats. There is definitely a spike as winter approaches, that only makes sense. Knowing this, if you sell cat mats, do you feature these as a gift item? Do you suggest these as a great Christmas gift on your website? Do you promote these in email?

The heat grid chart for car mat search queries show the peak days for car mat searches are Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays after Thanksgiving.

What’s your digital marketing strategy for auto parts?

As we publish this post (November 12, 2018), the holiday shopping season is upon us. If you haven’t looked at your digital marketing strategy for December now’s the time.

Do you do paid search marketing on Google? If you do, do you have your ads ready? Is your merchant center feed in good shape for Google Shopping? We’re a Premier Google Partner digital agency and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about your online marketing, for this coming December or for all of 2019.

 

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How Big Is the SEMA Show? https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/10/how-big-is-the-sema-show/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 20:39:39 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=10210 It’s a common question, how big is SEMA, so just how big is the 2018 SEMA Show? The SEMA Show is the aftermarket industry’s annual trade show in Las Vegas at the massive Las Vegas Convention Center and it’s hard to describe if you haven’t attended. It’s a four-day event that brings in 162,000 attendees […]

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It’s a common question, how big is SEMA, so just how big is the 2018 SEMA Show?

The SEMA Show is the aftermarket industry’s annual trade show in Las Vegas at the massive Las Vegas Convention Center and it’s hard to describe if you haven’t attended.

It’s a four-day event that brings in 162,000 attendees including more than 70,000 buyers from the industry. Attendees come from all over the U.S. and 140 countries. They come to see more than 2,400 exhibiting companies.

One of the interesting statistics is the length of one of the exhibit halls, the Upper South Hall where you find truck products, business services, powersports companies and some first-time exhibitors. This is only one of several halls that contain the SEMA Show.

How big is SEMA?

The Upper South Hall is 464,658 square feet and is approximately 1,690 feet end-to-end. The Empire State Building is a “mere” 1,454 feet tall including the spire. If you could somehow lay the Empire State Building on its side with its base at the entrance to the Upper South Hall, the tip of the antenna would end between the Alliant Power booth, #34310 and the Motor City Aftermarket booth, #34307.

how big is the sema show?The other halls combine for 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space, plus 1 million additional square feet of attractions around the convention center and in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino next door. There are 1,500 feature vehicles scheduled and over 3,000 products featured in the New Products Showcase.

For more information on the 2018 SEMA Show, held Tuesday, October 30 through Friday, November 2, 2018 visit SEMAShow.com.

See you in Las Vegas and use the hashtag #SEMA2018 on social media. And of course if you’re attending AAPEX use the hashtag #AAPEX18 on social media.

 

Source for Las Vegas Convention Center dimensions: Google Maps and Vegas Means Business.

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Number of Licensed Drivers in USA 2018 https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/10/number-of-licensed-drivers-usa/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:08:14 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=10183 The post Number of Licensed Drivers in USA 2018 appeared first on Hedges & Company.

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How many licensed drivers are there in the United States?

We get asked a lot, how many drivers are in the USA? What’s the percentage of Americans with drivers licenses? This information isn’t always easy to find so we put some stats together on the number of licensed drivers in USA 2018.

We pulled data from the Federal Highway Administration and added our own analysis and projections to answer the question, “how many drivers are in the USA?” and many other related questions.

YearLicensed Drivers in US
2019 (projected)227,752,100
2018 (projected)225,720,700
2017223,707,325
2016221,711,918
2015218,084,465
2014214,092,472
2013212,159,728
2012211,814,830
2011211,874,649
2010210,114,939
2009209,618,386

Statistics on how many drivers in the USA

In the 1950s the number of drivers in the USA increased an average of 3.6% every year. In the 1960s the number of drivers in the USA increased at a lower average of 2.51% each year. The 1970s saw the annual increase rise slightly to 2.84%.

The 1980s was much slower in terms of annual growth, with an average of a 1.46% increase in the number of licensed drivers in the US. In the 1990s that continued to drop, to an average annual increase of 1.24%.

The 2000s saw a continued slowdown with an average annual growth of 1.14%. The 2010s had the lowest annual growth since the 1950s, at 0.81%.

As we pointed out above, 2012 was the first year with a decline in licensed drivers in the US from the year before.

Percentage of Americans with drivers’ licenses by age

We looked at how many drivers are in the USA by age. Here is the percentage of Americans with drivers’ licenses and compared to the total population, with population estimates from the Bureau of the Census.

Across all age groups, 84.6% of all Americans have a drivers’ license.

The lowest percentage of total licensed drivers is among 16 to 19-years-old, where 51.7% of the population have their driver’s license.

Statistics are based on 2017 population estimates.

Age Group% Licensed Drivers
All ages84.6%
16 to 1951.7%
20 to 2479.1%
25 to 4989.5%
50 to 6992.3%
70 to 8484.7%
85 and older60.8%

Drivers’ licenses by men and women

The question, “how many drivers are in the USA?” often also leads to gender questions. The split between drivers’ licenses held by male licensed drivers and female licensed drivers is very even. Base on 2017 data 49.4% of all licensed drivers are male, and 50.6% are male. Part of the reason the percentage is higher for female licensed drivers is related to life expectancy. In a younger age bracket, ages 16 to 24, 50.6% of all licensed drivers are male, 49.4% are female.

Percentage of Americans with a drivers license vs. population

Overall there are more licensed drivers in California than any other state, with more than 26 million licensed drivers. 84% of the population of California that is of driving age is a licensed driver. The second highest state of licensed drivers is Texas, with nearly 16 million, followed by Florida with over 14.6 million licensed drivers.

The state with the highest percentage of licensed drivers vs. the driving age population is Vermont. The state with the lowest percentage of licensed drivers vs. the driving age population is Kansas.

How many Uber drivers in the USA?

According to CNN there were 750,000 Uber drivers in the US in 2017. That’s an increase from 327,000 Uber drivers in the US in 2015. and according to Uber there are 3 million Uber drivers in 2018, around the world in 65 countries. If you need the NAICS code for Uber drivers follow this link.

How many Lyft drivers in the USA?

It has been claimed that there are 700,000 Lyft drivers in the United States and 1.5 million around the world.

How many CDL drivers in the USA?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 1,871,700 Americans heavy-duty truck and tractor-trailer drivers in the US in 2016. These drivers would have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The BLS is forecasting an increase in 108,400 jobs through 2026.

Sources for this article, including number of licensed drivers, are the US Census Bureau, the Federal Highway Administration and Department of Transportation, with additional analysis by Hedges & Company.

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Automotive SEO Services: A Quick How-To Guide https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/10/automotive-seo-services/ Wed, 10 Oct 2018 20:29:17 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=9984 Automotive SEO services: does it really matter? Yes, automotive SEO services matter, and here’s why: Organic traffic is the biggest source of web traffic for the average automotive website. In 2018, the average automotive website received 50% of total traffic from organic (source: Hedges & Company and Google Analytics). We view automotive SEO services as […]

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Automotive SEO services: does it really matter?

automotive seo servicesYes, automotive SEO services matter, and here’s why: Organic traffic is the biggest source of web traffic for the average automotive website.

In 2018, the average automotive website received 50% of total traffic from organic (source: Hedges & Company and Google Analytics).

We view automotive SEO services as a long-term strategy. You’re building a solid foundation for the future. With a strong SEO (search engine optimization) strategy in place, you’ll see long-term gains in site traffic and revenue.

We like to tell clients that with SEO, results tend to show up in two to three months. The results should continue to build over time. Faster results are possible, but any reputable SEO agency agrees, that can’t be guaranteed. On the other hand, if you do need results fast, automotive paid search (PPC) is more likely a better strategy for you. With paid search you can see results within a week or two.

Start with an audit before using any automotive SEO services

automotive seo services adding propertyIt’s simple SEO 101: Any new automotive SEO client starts with an SEO audit. If you don’t know where you are today, you can’t create a road map to get anywhere.

Here are some really simple things to check on first in an audit, before starting automotive SEO services:

  • Does your website have an account set up in Google Search Console?
  • Does the website URL match the property set up in Google Search Console (see the screen shot)? If your website begins with “www” it must be in Google Search Console the same way. If your site is “https://” (it should be!) it must match the URL in Google Search Console.
  • Are XML sitemaps created and submitted to Google and Bing? These sitemaps should be crawled and pages in these sitemaps should be indexed.
  • In Google Search Console under the “Performance” menu, are pages showing for search queries? What are those queries?
  • In Google Search Console under Index > Coverage, are there any issues with indexing? The Google index should include pages in your site map.

Another good way to continue with a quick automotive SEO audit is to look at third party tools like free tools at Moz.com, try Ahrefs or use some of the free features at SpyFu.

Create your action plan with goals for automotive SEO services

automotive seo services google search console

It’s important to set goals for your automotive SEO project. Determine if you want to focus on average daily clicks (as with this brand-new automotive website), or organic traffic from Google Analytics, or something else, but track your progress against your goal.

Now that you’ve done a quick audit the next step is to create your plan. And of course, any good SEO plan should include goals.

Review your business goals and decide what you want to accomplish using automotive SEO services. Determine specific goals, whether it’s growing overall sales or focusing on particular product categories or pages.

Finally, define how you will measure progress. For example, if you use Google Search Console as the source for data, do you want to reach a certain number of clicks (see screen shot)?

By the way, here’s a quick tip for “Average position” in Google Search Console. Don’t worry too much if the average position looks bad (like here it’s 26.2 for this new website). That’s an average across all keywords, perhaps thousands, including automotive keywords that may be ranked quite low. In this case, this new automotive website has plenty of search phrases ranking in the top 10.

Some of our guiding principals for SEO strategy

Today our view is that SEO is more about topics than it is simply about keywords.

Google is getting really good at latent semantic indexing, or LSI. This means Google understands how search topics and sub-topics relate to each other. We discuss how this influences automotive SEO briefly here and you can read more about LSI on Search Engine Watch.

Focusing on topics does a better job at automotive SEO because many consumers search on topics. They may not know exactly what they’re searching for in the beginning. But, as consumers narrow their search and become more educated, they continue to search within a main topic.

Another important principal in SEO strategy is to focus on user engagement and clickthrough rate.

Hungry for more SEO knowledge? Try E-A-T

automotive seo servicesA good automotive SEO services strategy should take into account Google’s “E-A-T” guidelines, for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

Google published a 164-page document with guidelines for ranking pages and E-A-T is an important part of those guidelines when it comes to rating a page. Google has a Page Quality Rating that takes into account a webpage’s purpose, the E-A-T characteristic of that page, and the quality/amount of content.

Simply put, E-A-T takes into account the expertise of the page creator. For example, if you have an automotive webpage that describes how to tune an engine, you must look at the E-A-T of that page. Write a page’s content in an authoritative manner. In this case, do a good job of describing how to tune an engine. Make sure the page is comprehensive and factually accurate. Clearly state who is responsible for the content and state who is responsible for customer service. The party responsible can be an individual or a “publisher” (the company). These are all components of a high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

Google looks for content created, “…with a high degree of …effort…”.  Google also looks for content created with, “…expertise, talent and skill…”

Find and fix technical issues that can interfere with SEO rankings

Did you know page and site speed are officially ranking factors with Google? Audit your automotive website’s performance and eliminate technical issues that will interfere with your organic rankings. Lighthouse is a good source of information on how your website functions.

Did you know there are separate organic ranking indexes for desktop searches and mobile searches? It pays to check the mobile version of your website. There are several free tools you can use including this one from Think With Google. Page load time is incredibly important for mobile searches.

Conclusions on using automotive SEO services

We hope you find this page informative for your automotive SEO project. Breaking it down into a pre-project SEO audit, then defining goals helps a lot. If you have questions on automotive SEO for auto dealerships for auto parts retailing websites please reach out and give us a call.

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SEO Marketing in the Automotive Industry: Recent Trends https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/10/seo-marketing-automotive-industry-recent-trends/ Tue, 09 Oct 2018 19:28:26 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=9864 SEO marketing in the automotive industry is changing significantly. Here we take a look at recent trends for SEO marketing as well as PPC for auto dealers. All marketing, not just SEO marketing, plays a heightened role as the automobile industry struggles with lackluster sales. Even though the first half of 2018 was up from […]

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SEO marketing in the automotive industry is changing significantly. Here we take a look at recent trends for SEO marketing as well as PPC for auto dealers.

All marketing, not just SEO marketing, plays a heightened role as the automobile industry struggles with lackluster sales. Even though the first half of 2018 was up from 2017, automotive industry experts are now calling for a sales slump in the last half of 2018.

Trend 1: Video used for SEO marketing in the automotive industry

seo marketing automotive industry

Graphic courtesy Think With Google

Video plays a bigger role than ever in SEO marketing for automotive. A recent statistic from Google shows that video influenced the shopping habits of 75% of automobile shoppers. That comes from a July 2018 Google/Ipsos research study, “How People Shop with YouTube.” It was conducted among 18–64 year olds who go online at least once per month and also purchased a car in the last year.

That’s a major change for auto dealerships that traditionally rely on traditional media like television advertising.

But video helps today’s research-obsessed consumers discover new vehicles, and compare potential purchases. SEO marketing in the automotive industry targets in-market consumers. On the other hand, traditional television advertising reaches anyone, whether they’re looking for automobiles or not.

Trend 2: SEO marketing in the automotive industry depends on good data

seo marketing automotive industry

Data-driven attribution selection example courtesy Google Ads blog.

Automobile dealers face new challenges with proper utilization and analysis of data, to be able to evaluate SEO marketing. A case in point is accurate attribution, specifically data-driven attribution vs. the outdated last-click attribution model.

This primarily affects PPC for auto dealers, instead of SEO. But, this search trend is important to understand for either channel because of the increasing need to understand proper attribution.

The search process doesn’t begin or end with consumers searching for the same thing. Today’s consumers are obsessed with research, and don’t necessarily know the exact product to look for. Shoppers will click on many ads and many organic search results before converting to a buyer. This makes it difficult to give proper attribution to the conversion.

Last-click attribution is the default choice in Google Ads, and ignores all clicks except the very last, “buy the exact product I know I want” ad click. Or in the case of an interaction being the conversion, “reserve a test drive for the exact car I know I want” ad click.

SEO marketing in the automotive industry is more effective if you manage SEO for these various paths to purchase. Understand people don’t always know exactly what they’re looking for. They also don’t know exactly what they’re going to buy. The reason data-driven attribution is important for PPC for auto dealers is the same reason effective SEO marketing is about topics instead of keywords. We discuss this in our next trend on semantic search.

Trend 3: Semantic search affects SEO marketing for automobile industry

seo marketing automotive industryLatent semantic indexing, or LSI, affects SEO marketing and to be truly effective you must understand how LSI influences consumer search. SEO has changed and today, SEO marketing is more about topics than it is about individual keywords. That’s how latent semantic indexing plays a role in SEO marketing.

To be effective at SEO marketing for automobile consumers, you must first understand the topics you need to be visible for and how LSI relates to specific sub-topics.

For an example, look at these search suggestions. This is a typical topic used in SEO marketing for an automotive website. If you created a page targeting the topic “best new family cars” you shouldn’t focus only on synonyms that are LSI keywords. You should also consider keywords that relate to the basic topic. Examples on the left include “best new small family cars” and “best deals on new family cars.” Also note the search suggestion “best new small family cars under $20,000,” which would indicate that families searching for cars might also be interested in finding good deals.

LSI is also important for PPC for auto dealers, not just SEO.

Trend 4: The increase in “near me” search, for SEO marketing for the automotive industry

seo marketing automobile industry

Graphic courtesy of Think With Google blog.

There has been explosive growth in local searches, including “near me” search, as reported by Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP Marketing for the Americas.

According to Google, “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” have grown over 500% over the last two years. In 2017, Google observed that smartphone users dropped location qualifiers such as ZIP codes or neighborhoods from local searches. This is because smartphone users now assume their local search results will be relevant to them because of their phone’s location.

There has been more than a 200% increase in “near me” searches related to automobile and truck dealers.

These include searches like “car dealer near me,” “Ford truck dealer near me,” or “Buick dealer near me.”

Local search also uses phrases like “…open now near me,” “…near me right now,” indicating the immediacy of these local searches.

To take advantage of these local searches, automobile dealership websites must have NAP information. NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone and this information should be on every page along with hours of operation. These should all be marked up with schema like JSON-LD code to help search engines understand the information.

It should go without saying an automotive dealer website must be mobile-friendly. After all, these local searches are being done on mobile devices.

For PPC for auto dealers, it is important to include location extensions in Google Ads. These extensions can show distance to a location, a location’s street address, or clickable call button. It also gives access to information about the location such as hours, directions or photos.

Do you have questions about SEO for the automotive industry?

If you have more questions on anything in our article, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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Pickup Truck Owner Demographics: Who Buys Pickup Trucks? https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/10/pickup-truck-owner-demographics/ Wed, 03 Oct 2018 16:44:04 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=9703 Here is some information on full-size pickup truck owner demographics from our automotive database. This article helps answer the question, “who buys pickup trucks?” in 2018. Demographics of pickup truck buyers vary a lot from make to make. Light trucks (and SUVs) absolutely dominate new vehicle sales in the U.S. right now. For every one […]

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pickup truck owner Here is some information on full-size pickup truck owner demographics from our automotive database. This article helps answer the question, “who buys pickup trucks?” in 2018. Demographics of pickup truck buyers vary a lot from make to make.

Light trucks (and SUVs) absolutely dominate new vehicle sales in the U.S. right now. For every one automobile sold in the U.S., 1.9 trucks and SUVs are sold. Sales in the first half of 2018 are 5.2 million trucks and SUVs compared to 2.8 million automobiles.

Ford F-150 buyer demographics

ford f150 demographicsThe Ford F-150 is the single most popular vehicle in the U.S. today and the most-popular vehicle in 44 states. Here are the answers to “who buys Ford pickup trucks?” with demographic information on new F-150 owners.

The average age of the new F-150 buyer is 55. It may not be too surprising that about 16% of new Ford F-150 owners are female/84% male. About three-quarters of all new Ford F-150s are purchased by white males, although Hispanic buyers account for 22% of total incremental growth of new F-150 sales from 2010 to 2017.

Despite any TV ads you see with F-150s in a rural or country setting, the vast majority of these new trucks are in large and medium-sized cities.

The average household income of a new Ford F-150 owner is about $82,000 per year. By comparison the median household income in the United States was $61,372 in 2017. (We admit it, we’re comparing two different things. Confused about “average” vs. “median?” Look here.)

If that average household income sounds high, remember for a truck with a base MSRP under $30,000, a 2018 Ford F-150 Platinum Edition with all the bells & whistles and accessories can go for over $74,000!

Chevrolet Silverado owner demographics

Chevy Silverado owner demographicsThe Chevy Silverado is the second most popular pickup truck in the U.S.

When it comes to new Silverado 1500 buyer demographics, the average new Silverado 1500 owner is one year younger than the F-150 owner and the ownership by females or males is almost an exact match to the F-150 owner. New Silverados are just slightly more popular among Hispanic buyers than new F-150s.

The average household income of a new Silverado owner is about $76,000 per year and like the F-150, despite those romantic country images you see in advertising, the majority of new Silverados are owned in large and medium-sized cities.

Ram 1500 pickup truck buyer demographics

The Ram 1500 is the third most popular pickup in the U.S. and here are demographics of new Ram 1500 owners. The average buyer of a new Ram 1500 is a bit younger than our first two examples, with an average age of 50. New Ram truck owners also skew very slightly higher with females, with female ownership at 19%.

Average household income of new Ram 1500 owners is about $77,000. More new Rams show up in rural settings than the Silverado or F-150, too, with nearly half of Ram 1500s owned in rural or small towns around the U.S.

GMC Sierra owner demographics

GMC Sierra truck owner demographicsThe GMC Sierra is the fourth most popular full-size pickup in the U.S. New GMC Sierra owners are a bit upscale compared to owners of its twin, the Silverado. These GMC Sierra owners have an average household income of over $80,000.

New GMC Sierra trucks have the highest percentage of males so far in our truck lineup, at 15%. It is slightly more popular among Hispanic buyers: about 10% of new Sierra owners are Hispanic.

Like the Silverado, new Sierras are more likely to show in cities and towns, not in the country.

Toyota Tundra truck buyer demographics

The Toyota Tundra is Toyota’s full-size pickup and the fifth most popular full-size pickup in the U.S.

Demographics for owners of new Toyota Tundra pickup trucks are more upscale than even the Sierra. Average household income among new Tundra owners is over $83,000 per year. The average age of a new Tundra owner is similar to the other trucks in this article, at 54, but it also has more women owners. Women own 17% of new Tundras. It also skews a little higher among Hispanic owners: 11% of new Tundra owners are Hispanic.

New Toyota Tundras are also the most likely of all trucks in this article to show up in cities and towns, with nearly seven out of 10 Tundras owned in metropolitan areas and their suburbs.

Toyota is one of the “big three” brands of Hispanic market sales along with Nissan and Honda. A recent study by Cox Automotive shows Hispanics account for 6% of total full-size pickup sales so the Tundra is significantly ahead of that.

Mailing lists of full-size pickup owners and truck buyers

Do you need to reach owners of these full-size pickups? We can help you with that, just give our office a call or click on this button below to fill out a simple form.

Fast List Quote

 

Note: truck images are courtesy Ford Motor Corporation (F-150) and General Motors (Silverado, Sierra).

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Google Shopping Feed Specifications: New Requirements For Auto Parts Images https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/09/google-shopping-feed-specifications-auto-parts-images/ Fri, 14 Sep 2018 01:11:25 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=9131 If you use Google Shopping, you may have an email that says images are disapproved because of Google Shopping feed specifications. Maybe you received Google’s “risk of disapproval” email, followed by the “preemptively disapproved” email. Or, if you’re a distributor or manufacturer, maybe you recently (Sept. 2018) have an email from one of your major […]

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google shoppingIf you use Google Shopping, you may have an email that says images are disapproved because of Google Shopping feed specifications. Maybe you received Google’s “risk of disapproval” email, followed by the “preemptively disapproved” email.

Or, if you’re a distributor or manufacturer, maybe you recently (Sept. 2018) have an email from one of your major resellers, along with a spreadsheet of disapproved products due to image problems.

There are a lot of changes with Google Shopping images right now. But don’t worry, we break it all down for you, right here:

Google Shopping management for aftermarket parts

google shopping feed specificationsGoogle Shopping is a great way to sell aftermarket or OEM auto parts. It also has a nice conversion rate and ROI. For many companies selling auto parts online, Google Shopping is their primary source of paid search revenue.

It’s a big deal when auto parts drop out of a Google Merchant Center product feed.

It takes time to fix, and your Google Shopping campaigns do not show these products.

We’ve seen Google getting stricter on reinforcing Google Shopping feed specifications for aftermarket auto parts in recent months (as of Sept. 2018). When you get warnings from Google on your auto parts images, it may not make total sense. This article explains how Google’s image disapprovals work and how you can do a better job at Google Shopping management.

Google’s image requirements for Google Shopping are pretty clear. We’ve also seen a trend where images are at risk of disapproval if they don’t also follow Google Shopping best practices.

Google’s artificial intelligence scans your images

Google is getting better at identifying images that don’t pass quality guidelines. Images below Google’s quality standards are flagged. Sometimes, the algorithm is a bit too aggressive, too.

Disapproval due to missing image, a real Google Shopping management headache

google shopping feed specificationsMissing images are bad for Google Shopping management, and always have been. Google doesn’t like auto parts with missing images. If you got by with missing images so far, you are lucky.

You’re under the microscope when you’re “caught.”  Eliminate all auto parts with missing images now. Don’t wait for images to be disapproved. That way, you avoid close scrutiny in the future.

Google Shopping doesn’t allow auto parts listings without an image, or with a generic “missing image” image.

Google Shopping disapproval due to “promotional text or logos”

google shopping feed specification image exampleGoogle’s shopping feed specifications do not allow text to appear in an auto parts image. Google’s image requirements state, “…all items on Google Shopping require an unobstructed image that does not contain additional promotional elements.

google shopping feed image specificationsIn the first example, we pulled this crate engine image from a popular aftermarket auto parts website. It’s a great image for a website! But, this image violates Google’s policy on promotional text or logos. This product image will be disapproved.

The “FREE SHIPPING” icon is the reason for the disapproval. This product has a secondary image without the icon and in this case, that secondary image would be perfect for Google Shopping.

In this second example, two logos appear in the exhaust parts photo. These logos are in violation because these are “promotional elements.” This image does not comply with Google Shopping image specifications.

Google Shopping disapproval when an auto part image has text

google shopping feed image specificationSome auto parts, shirts or hats have text or logos on them. Do they fall under the “no promotional text or logos” rule?

No. These product images are fine to use in Google Shopping. Occasionally, Google’s algorithm “reads” text in the image and interprets it as promotional text or a logo. Recently, it seems like these misinterpretations have increased.

If you were previously flagged for a disapproved image, you’re also subject to additional scrutiny like with missing product images mentioned above.

Here’s an example of an image for a Banks Monster-Ram. It could potentially be flagged as having promotional text. If this image would get disapproved, Google has a method of requesting a manual review of disapproved images. There’s a link to request a manual review in the email you receive from Google.

Google Shopping disapproval when a kit has multiple parts in an image

google shopping feed specificationsgoogle shopping feed specificationAnother automated disapproval comes from images showing multiple parts because they’re part of a kit.

This is actually fairly common.

Here are two examples of auto parts. One is OK but the other one violates Google’s image specifications.

The first example is a kit. In a Google Shopping feed, Google’s artificial intelligence may disapprove this image because it shows several parts instead of one.

This first image is actually OK for Google Shopping. If you get a disapproval notice, submit this for manual approval like the Monster-Ram above.

The second example shows an auto part in one image from two different views. It displays two parts, but it sells in units of one. In this example, the quantity required is 1, UOM (“unit of measure”), is “ea” (“each”).

If used for Google Shopping, it violates Google Shopping specifications. It needs a new photo showing just one product, not two.

You must use two separate images to show a product from two angles.

Google Shopping disapproval due to image background

google image feed requirementsGoogle’s description of low image quality says, “…we recommend your main image…use a solid white, gray, or light colored background.

Don’t believe that it is merely a recommendation.

To be safe, consider this recommendation a requirement.

Google evaluates images on best practices, as well as published requirements. We recommend all images use a solid white, gray or light colored background. Images that don’t have a solid white, gray or light background risk disapproval.

This example shows a product on a black background. This is great for a product page but this photo is not a valid image for a Google Shopping feed. It doesn’t comply with Google Shopping specifications.

Google Shopping disapproval due to watermarks

google shopping image specificationsGoogle Shopping feed specifications don’t allow watermarked images. “Watermarked” means a logo appears on top of an image. This is prevents others from stealing the image from a website.

While watermarked images may not be flagged at first, once they do, Google sends a “risk of disapproval” email. You must submit new images within about 30 days.

This example is a clear violation of Google Shopping feed specifications. It does not comply with Google Shopping specifications.

If you have concerns about someone stealing images from your Google Shopping feed, don’t worry. Unless someone is logged into your Google Merchant Center they don’t have access to your full-size image and it can’t be stolen. They can only copy the tiny version displayed in Google Shopping.

Some eCommerce platforms let you display a watermark on top of an image programmatically. This lets you display a watermark on your own website but also keeps the image clean for Google Shopping. It also avoids the need to manually add watermarks and maintain two separate files of images.

Google Shopping management: other reasons for image disapproval

Image size is important for Google Shopping. Auto parts images must be at least 100 x 100 pixels or larger. They must be less than 16 MB. Images for apparel, including automotive T-shirts, hats, jackets or hoodies, must be at least 250 x 250 pixels.

Google Shopping feed specificationsImages must be photos of the actual product, not a placeholder, “looks like” image, or a “representative part” image. Image formats must be non-animated GIF (.gif), PNG (.png), JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg), BMP (.bmp), or TIFF (.tif or .tiff) files.

There are two Google Shopping categories where an illustration is acceptable: Hardware and Vehicles & Parts. Illustrations still can’t show text, part numbers, frames, or multiple products in one image.

Questions on Google Shopping management for auto parts? Call us

We’re experts in using automotive data to build, manage and optimize Google Merchant Center feeds. We manage millions of rows of data for Google Shopping. We’re also experts at Google Shopping feed specifications as well as the new Smart Shopping campaigns. If you need help with your Google Shopping management we’d love to talk to you!

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Registered vehicles by state: fun facts https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/07/registered-vehicles-by-state-fun-facts/ Thu, 26 Jul 2018 20:50:29 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=7639 Looking at registered vehicles by state in the US we found some interesting things that you can use for your next trivia contest for categories like “registered vehicles by state” or “number of vehicles in US.” Most popular vehicle by state The most popular vehicle by state is a runaway victory for the Ford F-150. […]

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Looking at registered vehicles by state in the US we found some interesting things that you can use for your next trivia contest for categories like “registered vehicles by state” or “number of vehicles in US.”

Most popular vehicle by state

registered vehicles by stateThe most popular vehicle by state is a runaway victory for the Ford F-150.

It may surprise you that in every state except for six plus the District of Columbia the most popular vehicle in the US is the best-selling Ford F-150 pickup truck.

For the rest of the states it is either the Toyota Camry (California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and D.C.), the Honda Accord (New York and Connecticut) or the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck (Hawaii).

That’s a lot of hauling.

Popularity of EV and hybrid vehicles by state 2018

hybrid vehicles by stateHybrid and electric vehicles are gaining in popularity so we wanted to look at the distribution by state. This map shows the popularity of plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), gas and electric hybrids (HEVs) and electric (EVs) by state.

The highest percentages were on both coasts, in Washington and Oregon (surprisingly not California) on the west coast, and Vermont, Massachusetts, Virginia and Maryland on the east coast. You can’t see the District of Columbia on this map but the percentage for D.C. is actually the highest in the country so if you could see it, it would be dark blue.

Hawaii is also one of the highest percentage states for hybrids and EVs.

Here are the most popular electric vehicles in these states:

  • District of Columbia: Tesla S
  • Hawaii: Nissan Leaf
  • Maryland: Tesla S
  • Massachusetts: Tesla S
  • Oregon: Nissan Leaf
  • Washington: Nissan Leaf

Popularity of flex fuel vehicles by state 2018

flex fuel vehicles by stateFlex fuel vehicles (FFVs) have been dropping as a percentage of the total vehicles in operation according to our vehicle registration data. Flex fuel vehicles have dropped from 19% of all vehicles in 2012 to 12% in 2018.

Still, flex fuel accounts for a significant portion of vehicles on the road.

This is especially true in the Midwest where the corn used to make flex fuel and ethanol is grown.

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Auto Parts SEO Technical Guide for Marketers https://hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/07/technical-auto-parts-seo-guide/ Thu, 26 Jul 2018 17:30:18 +0000 https://hedgescompany.com/?p=7582 We put this auto parts SEO guide together because technical issues may prevent your auto parts site from ranked organically. For automotive SEO, content and inbound linking is critical but you also need a good technical foundation to build on for SEO success. Here is our guide to auto parts SEO covering technical issues such […]

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Auto parts SEO guide: Technical issues may prevent your #autoparts site's great content from being ranked organically.
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We put this auto parts SEO guide together because technical issues may prevent your auto parts site from ranked organically. For automotive SEO, content and inbound linking is critical but you also need a good technical foundation to build on for SEO success. Here is our guide to auto parts SEO covering technical issues such as site coding, site speed, page load speed, URL structure, category structure and mobile-friendliness.

First, why is SEO important for your auto accessories or auto parts business?

auto parts seo guide for search queriesBefore we get into the auto parts SEO guide, let’s look at search volume.

Each month, there are more than 400 million searches on Google for auto parts or auto services. There are 120 million searches on Bing for auto parts and services, and about 80%  of those Bing searches are unique to the Bing audience.

Those are big numbers!

Search engines are where consumers turn to first to find auto parts and services so if you don’t show up for these searches your company is pretty much invisible.

Even manufacturers need to optimize for SEO today. Consumers are actively searching for manufacturer websites even if they’re going to buy an automotive part in a retail store or from an online retailer.

In a recent Think With Google posting, Google says consumers are research-obsessed. Google’s post says, “Consumers use search to optimize their lives. It lets them feel more confident and less anxious.”

Finding 404 “Not Found” errors are important for technical automotive SEO

auto parts seo guide and 404 not found errorsDo you regularly check your auto parts website for 404 response code errors? These 404 errors cause more problems for your organic rankings than you may realize, which is why we wanted to start this SEO guide covering 404 errors.

Those 404 errors are when someone clicks on a link to your website for a page that no longer exists.


Auto parts SEO guide: Finding 404 'not found' errors are important for technical automotive SEO.
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These missing pages create technical problems for your auto parts SEO efforts because while inbound links/backlinks are great to have, backlinks to non-existent pages are kind of a wasted effort.

Here’s why: Inbound links are great and they pass “link equity” to your website and to the specific page they link to. When they link to a missing page and instead return a 404 “not found” error that link equity doesn’t get passed along.

Also, these errors can make crawling your site more difficult for search bots, which in turn makes it harder for your auto parts site to index and rank for your targeted automotive SEO keywords. 404 errors can also have an impact on your off-page SEO by causing you to actually lose those valuable backlinks.

And of course, 404 pages are just bad for user experience — your customers can’t buy your products if the pages don’t work!

Next in our technical auto parts SEO guide, let’s find and fix those 404 errors

find 404 errors for auto parts seo guideThe next step of our auto parts SEO guide are locating all those 404 pages. The 404 errors are easy to find using Google Search Console. If you don’t use it, we recommend it. It’s a free tool from Google.

Google Search Console will report all 404 “not found” pages that it finds and it’s a great resource to check with in a regular basis. Bing Webmaster Tools has a similar report, too.

By checking your auto parts site, you can identify 404 errors that are occurring and plan accordingly to fix them. It’s important to identify all missing pages with 404 errors and have a method to redirect these pages to working live pages.

Whenever possible you should use 1:1 redirects  — meaning that broken pages should be redirected to an updated live version of the page, or the closest counterpart possible. With some platforms, like WebShopManager or Magento, there are built-in functions to create redirects. WordPress has free plugins to create your page redirects that are simple to install.

When 1:1 redirects are not possible, blanket redirects can be implemented — meaning redirecting pages directly to your site’s homepage.

Site speed affects your auto parts SEO rankings and your conversion rate

page speed and auto parts seo guideNext up in our auto parts SEO guide is an important topic: page load speed. It’s not only important for organic rankings but if you’ve ever waited a long time for a page to load you know how frustrating it can be for your customers.

Although Google officially introduced speed as part of their ranking algorithms back in 2010 it has become very important in 2018, especially on mobile pages. Mobile page load time is now an official Google algorithm for mobile rankings as of July 2018.

Page load time also affects user experience and shows up as a higher bounce rate and lower conversion rate, as shown in this graphic. We created this graphic from Google’s stats but there are plenty more stats where that came from. For example, 53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

Page load time is relative, it is not a single point in time. In an effort to guide the process, Google says, “…it’s an experience that no one metric can fully capture.” Google measures page load time as a single standard to all pages, regardless of the technology that was used to build the website.

Technical auto parts SEO guide next step: track your page load time

auto parts seo guide and site speedFortunately for your technical auto parts SEO project, tracking page load times for your website is easy.

In Google Analytics go to Behavior > Site Speed > Overview and you’ll see something like the graphic here.

For auto parts websites we like to see an Average Page Load Time at 3 to 5 seconds or less. Certainly the faster, the better.

It’s a good idea to watch your site speed and if there’s a spike, like in this graphic, track down the reason. Maybe there was a server problem on a particular day, for example. If your site speed is trending upward have a conversation with your auto parts SEO agency or your web developer. If there are any questions on how important page load time really is, just refer them back to this auto parts SEO guide for more information.

The structure of an auto parts website can influence SEO, here’s how

auto parts seo guide site structureThis next part of our technical SEO guide is more involved and may require programming or web development help.

Give some thought to your site’s structure because product category and subcategory pages are great ways to create additional indexable content for your website.

We see too many auto parts websites where category pages and subcategory pages are not fully optimized from an automotive SEO standpoint. Don’t overlook these pages.

Site structure and automotive SEO could be an entire blog post so we won’t go into great detail here, but as you consider your structure and your navigation, remember that as customers navigate through your site the URL structure needs to change based on category > subcategory or based on filters like year > make > model.

Also make sure your URLs make sense to a human reader. A URL full of unintelligible code and text strings is not an optimal format for your auto parts SEO project.

And finally make sure your rel=”canonical” tags are implemented correctly on your product pages and category pages.

The slides from our original technical SEO webinar

Here is the original presentation we did on technical SEO for auto parts websites.

Did our technical auto parts SEO guide help?

Hopefully you made it down the page this far, and hopefully this information has helped you in your project to rank higher in Google. If you have any questions on technical SEO feel free to reach out and contact us.

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