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RV Dealers and RV Industry

Getting Better Results with RV Classifieds Starts with the Basics

Posted by Drew Clifton on Feb 18, 2014

Get the basics right, then decorate

Get the basics right, then decorate

Did you know that not including information in your RV classifieds can disqualify your inventory from appearing in Google/Bing/Yahoo search results – and – internal searches on RV classifieds websites? In reviewing ads from our site – RVT.com – it is clear that many RV sellers – mostly dealers – are neglecting one or more available info fields.

Because it is difficult to anticipate exactly what criteria a searcher is going to use when searching online for an RV, it is important to complete as many of the available data fields as possible; missing some could literally mean less potential buyers! Let me break it down…

Shoppers need to start somewhere (usually with a search)

Not everyone knows what year, make and model of RV they’re looking for; at least at the outset. They may be on a journey of discovering and finding a favorite brand and model, which can happen early in the buying life cycle. RV shoppers will narrow down the vast array of RVs for sale by using various constraints on their searches such as:

  • RV length
  • GVWR (e.g. the max towing capacity of their car or truck)
  • Dry weight (towables only)
  • The number of slides
  • The number of people the RV comfortably sleeps (e.g. the size of their family)
  • Fuel type
  • Odometer reading
  • A price range

These fields and others are likely to be available to be on dedicated online RV classified sites, and some of them are included in the search forms on these sites. As such, it’s common for visitors to put these kind of qualifiers on their searches.

Other kinds of obvious fields include:

  • RV Category/Type
  • Manufacturer
  • Manufacturer’s Brand
  • Model Number/Floor Plan
  • A properly formatted text description (using HTML tags) that reads well (I hope to get a post up about HTML tags in the near future)

And maybe not so obvious:

  • Indicating whether the price is above or below the NADA price guides value
  • A sale context title e.g., “For Sale”, “OBO”, “Reduced”, etc.
  • A caption – a short lead sentence which, if you have one, can show up on search results pages to help set your ad apart from the rest

So hopefully that covers the first point, the information has got to be there in the first place, neither Google nor an online RV marketplace will fill in the blanks for you when a search is performed. It’s surprising how often this happens…

If you’re an RVT.com customer and you’re not sure how to get some of these fields into your listings, schedule an RV Sales Maximizer today can help you out.

Searchers (may) be getting more specific over time!

There is evidence to suggest that for some years now people have been getting increasingly more and more savvy (i.e. specific) with the way they search. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to use Google, so why not start out your search “mission” by asking for exactly what it is that you’re looking for? You might just find it! If that doesn’t work then you can successively broaden and adjust your queries until you start getting some results that look right.

However, with the vast quantity of information available on Google, many searchers will leave Google after their first query, because they have found a result that looks promising enough. It’s the same on an RV classified site; with thousands and thousands of RVs available, searchers are likely to find some units that indeed do match the exact parameters they were searching for.

But, what if your listing was actually a better match for them, possibly at a better price and/or a closer location?

They’ll never know it if they found something else instead, because your particular listing simply lacked that particular information. Thus, if complete information is not included on all of your inventory, then generally speaking it simply won’t be visible in search results for those parameters, and it’s those parameters that make your ads stand out among the thousands or RVs that may outwardly look similar and be similarly priced.

Not all data is created equal

“But,” you might say, “… it was in the description!!”

Let’s examine why that may or may not have worked for our RV shopper.

Marketplace search engines have advanced search forms to look at these specific fields (like fuel type, RV length, etc.). The engine won’t “crawl” through the description text when someone explicitly wants to know how many slides an RV has; descriptions are too loosely put together for that – they’re an example of what we might call “unstructured” data.

We need to use the proper fields mentioned above as our signals, so that we don’t lead searchers astray; this data is more structured and probably placed in a prominent location in the ad.

So, as you can see, just as it’s crucial to fill in all of the structured data fields, as well as have a well written description.

Send me your comments and questions below.

References:
http://www.hadeninteractive.com/changes-in-peoples-search-habits/

Author: Drew Clifton

PG Drew Clifton is a Web Analytics and Search Engine Optimization consultant with RVT.com.

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