This woman standing by the side of the road in the middle of Death Valley, is a frequent irritation to some of the largest companies in the world. Her name is Brenda Priddy, and her job is “Spy Photographer“. She’s the worlds foremost automotive spy photographer and she specializes in getting shots of new vehicles before anyone else has ever seen them.
Car companies hate having these spy photos taken for a lot of reasons – most of them competitive. But a problem most auto executives probably aren’t aware of is the SEO impact these spy photos can have on model year specific vehicle name keywords. Once these photos go out to Automotive enthusiast websites like Jalopnik and Left Lane News they spread fast and virally onto blogs, forums and tweets.
Quite frequently the blogs and forums link back to Jalopnik or Left Lane News and use anchor text in their link – Example: 2011 VW Touareg. So what’s the problem with this? It gets the vehicle a little buzz from enthusiasts that may eventually buy one of the cars, but when car companies launch their web pages for these new vehicles, the chances are they won’t even be showing up in the top ten search engine results for model year specific searches like 2011 VW Toureg.
With time – sometimes up to months, the Auto manufacturer websites usually will surpass the the enthusiast site as they accrue anchor text links link to their websites with the same model year specific anchor text. But the opportunity of having a top ranked listing during the launch of the vehicle for that model year specific keyword is lost. There really is a serious amount of search traffic on these words.
These kind of links meet the definition of Editorial Links:
These are links which are not paid for, not asked for and not traded for. These are links which a web site organically attracts because that site is producing good content and marketing that content via social media sites such as Dugg or Reddit, linkbaiting, syndication and public relations.
Why are Editorial Links better than other types of links for SEO? Loren Baker from Search Engine Journal says:
It’s an old push/pull philosophy, if people link to you with intention of rewarding or citing your original content, then those links are more trusted.
If you link to yourself by paying others and promoting your own content on sites like article distribution portals, those links are not going to be worth as much.
So what’s the solution for the auto-manufacturers? They need to get over their competitive fears and beat Brenda Priddy to the punch. They should create “Hand Raiser” pages with their own viral photos and content well before they end up test driving in the desert. They need to be getting the same viral links from those same blogs and forums that publish the spy photos. Notifying their Twitter followers of the content would spread it very quickly. And when the day comes to finally release those new vehicles and put up an official web page with the vehicle, they need to use a 301 Redirect to redirect the “Link Juice” from that Hand Raiser page to the new vehicle page.
A healthy dose of press releases with those model year specific anchor text keywords within the content of those pages will get even more “Editorial” links from the same blogs and enthusiast websites, because they usually just cut and paste the text of the press release (anchor text and all) right into their article or blog post.
Now who is interested in seeing pictures of the 2012 Ferrari S12 Hybrid?