updated 2/4/2011 3:18:07 PM ET 2011-02-04T20:18:07

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sorgenfrei, a consulting, competitive intelligence and market research firm, today released its third annual study measuring the search engine optimization (SEO) success of 284 automotive dealer website builders. For the third consecutive year, Dealer.com led all companies, followed by the Cobalt Group.

Though the study was commissioned by Dealer.com, it uses a consistent and transparent methodology which gives all builders a level playing field. In fact, the study was expanded this year from 12 automobile brands to 32 brands to ensure that a larger group of web builders were represented, including smaller, regional companies.

"When a customer searches online for a new or used car, they are inundated with search results and 'noise' on a search results page," commented Peter Sorgenfrei, founder and managing partner of Sorgenfrei. "Landing on the first page of a Google search is vital and generates 90 percent of click-throughs. Of course, landing the top spot on a Google search is what separates a great SEO strategy from a good one."

The study examines automotive dealer website builder performance in 20 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. Searches were conducted on Google for each of the 32 brands in each of the 20 markets by entering a brand, "dealer" and a city (e.g., "Mazda dealer Nashville"). Only the resulting organic listings were examined, omitting paid listing results. The 6,400 search results were then catalogued by:

  • Position on the search engine results page
  • Number of pages indexed per site
  • Website vendor that built the site

The results showed continued dominance by Dealer.com and the Cobalt Group. 

  • Of all the top 10 placements, Dealer.com websites accounted for 17.8% and Cobalt Group websites for 12.9%
  • Among top five placements, Dealer.com had 21.7% and Cobalt Group had 14.6%
  • In number one placements, Dealer.com had 25.8% and Cobalt Group had 18.8%

"This year's study shows that Dealer.com and Cobalt Group consistently deliver results for their clients by optimizing sites to work well with search engines," added Sorgenfrei. "While some smaller companies have figured out how to compete with these large providers, the two leaders still maintain a significant advantage."

The complete report can be downloaded without charge from www.sorgenfreillc.com

About Sorgenfrei

Sorgenfrei is a consulting, competitive intelligence, and market research firm based in New York. The firm's principals come from the automotive, financial services and consumer goods industries and have experience in corporate strategy, marketing, market research, finance, and investment banking. The firm's focus on client responsiveness and precise data analysis has helped it generate a client list consisting of some of the world's most influential companies, such as Toyota, Mazda, Sony, and American Express.

CONTACT: Peter Sorgenfrei

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