Kelley Blue Book was an 80-year-old company that found itself having to compete in the modern, online automotive space. While name recognition made them the #1 automotive destination online, they didn't have the internal expertise to manage their online presence. During my tenure at Autobytel, I had secured the top three organic listings for the phrase "Kelley Blue Book", and now I was being asked to help KBB take back their brand.

When I came on-board, I found the problem was bigger than I had originally anticipated. The site was being run on an older CGI app that was no longer supported, so updates were difficult. To further compound the problem, the site used a combination of cookies, sessions and expiring URLs that made deep-linking impossible.


I headed up a cross-functional team of product managers, business analysts, UI/UX designers and programmers and set out to rebuild the site. We chose as the platform, and redesigned every aspect of the site. We embedded solutions to our needs around tracking, linking and sharing content right into the framework for maximum adaptability.

The next step was to build out SEM and SEO teams. I hired the teams and built out a suite of tools and reports that allowed us to select, track, bid and report on a growing set of keywords. On the SEO front, we instituted a content calendar to synchronize and schedule test drives, video reviews, press releases and new car launch promotions, maximizing their impact and value.


Within a year, we had relaunched the web site, resulting in millions of pages listed in the SERPs, compared to approximately 100 when I joined, and we again regained the top listings for our branded terms. This resulted in a doubling of organic traffic in a declining automotive market. For a site that was already the #1 automotive destination on the web, this was no small feat.

As for paid search, the monthly PPC spend went from under $100k to almost $1 million, while increasing ROI from a negative to over 50%, generating $4 million in gross annual profit.