Pros and Cons of linking to the RV Manufacturers websites

Typically when an RV Dealer sets up their website they will include a Showroom page to display the NEW models they carry from each RV manufacturer.  They will also link those images or model names to the manufacturers website so that visitors can check out floor plans, decor options, standard and optional equipment, photo galleries, etc.  Adding all this content to your website would be very, very time consuming and maintaining it would be a full time job, so adding the links to the manufacturers websites just makes sense. 

As with everything else in life, there are pros and cons that I wanted to let you know about when it comes to linking to the RV Manufacturers websites:

Pros:

  1. As long as the manufacturers maintain the model information on their website, your visitors will have access to the most up-to-date content.  (Example:  http://www.lonestarrvs.com/showroom.asp)
  2. Reciprocal links between your dealer website and the manufacturers website will help you both increase your popularity and rankings in the search engines.

Cons:

  1. If the manufacturers don’t keep the model information up-to-date on their websites and your visitors are looking for the new models, this link would be worthless.
  2. Most manufacturer websites have a “Locate Dealer” button / link that allows visitors to search and possible buy from another dealer – and your website sent them there.
  3. Your visitors will have access to all the models the manufacturer makes even if you don’t carry or sell them all, which could lead to frustration or confusion for your visitors.
  4. When the manufacturers change their website design most often the model links change, this means the links you have on your website will go to error pages or Page Not Found.  (You’ll notice this problem on http://www.lonestarrvs.com/showroom.asp – click on the Sportcoach models in the top line and you’ll see what I mean.)

Does the search engine bump you get from reciprocal links with your manufacturers outweigh the cons listed?  Also, I’ve noticed some of the manufacturers websites have the dealer links buried so far into their websites that the search engine spiders can’t reach and index them.  This makes them useless to the dealer whose linking to them for the search engine bump.

You do have alternative choices.

  1. You can link those models to your NEW inventory page.  So if you have Fleetwood Bounder on your Showroom page, you would like visitors to your new inventory page and list on the Bounders.  This would keep visitors on your website and allow them to shop what you actually have in stock.  (Here’s an example of a Dealer that links directly to their Prowler models:  http://genuinerv.com/new_rvs-p594-prowler.asp.)
  2. You could download the PDF brochures for each model from the manufacturers websites and then link the model images on your website to their corresponding brochure.  Once again this keeps visitors on your website and gives them all the new model information they would typically find on the mfg’s websites.
  3. If you are an RVUSA.com Dealer Partner, you could use our SpecBase tool.  It’s a huge database of all the NEW model information gathered directly from the mfg’s websites including:  floor plans, photo galleries, standard features, optional features, interior color choices, exterior color choices, specifications and PDF brochures.  You can set SpecBase to show the most current model year on your website but many of the models have archive information, which your visitors will be able to access as well.  All this information is maintained by my team – all you have to do is login to the Dealer Management Console, click SpecBase and then mark the models you carry for each manufacturer.  The changes you make there are instantly reflected on your website.  Here’s a dealer that’s using our SpecBase tool on their Showroom page:  http://www.beilsteincampersales.com/showroom-p903.asp and here’s another:  http://www.houseofcamping.com/rv_showroom-p623.asp

If you have any questions, please let me know how I can help you.

Cindy Spencer  🙂