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CHICAGO — Officials from the Chicago Automobile Trade Association highlighted some of the new features of its Web site, DriveChicago.com, which recently was revamped by Automotive Internet Media.

CATA mentioned that DriveChicago.com features expanded content and tools that can help guide consumers through the vehicle shopping experience. Officials pointed out the redesign incorporates new colors and graphics and completely new navigational tools.

What CATA likes best about its revamped Web site is how it's in better position for search engine optimization.

"Any statistics you read, from all the industry studies indicate that consumers are using search engines to shop for new and used vehicles," noted Kevin Mize, chairman of CATA.

"With more and more consumers moving to search and with the market of steep online competition, we felt that we had to step up our SEO (search engine optimization) game," Mize added.

CATA went on to note that during the next few months the association will deploy new tools and features at DriveChicago.com. Officials said they plan to monitor and change the visual and interaction design of the site stemming from popularity of each application.

"Once the consumer finds the site, the key is to optimize the user experience," CATA officials stressed.

CATA chose AIM to lead this Web site undertaking because of a strong relationship between the two organizations.

"We are delighted to have the relationship with CATA and DriveChicago.com," noted Tony French, president and co-founder of AIM.

"Despite a challenging economic environment people are still purchasing new and used vehicles. Our goal with DriveChicago.com is to ensure they locate and purchase them from a new car Chicagoland dealership," French continued.

AIM chief executive officer and co-founder Michael McDonnell echoed French's position and elaborated about the importance of SEO.

"DriveChicago.com has been a local destination site since 2000. The goal of the redesign is about delivering more leads to the CATA members by developing the right SEO strategy," McDonnell contended.

"The process of SEO has changed and will continue to change. Buying keyword-rich domains, writing a few articles and tweaking the titles will no longer get you on the first page in search returns," he continued.

"What's important to understand about SEO is there are no constants and no absolutes. At AIM, we understand that SEO is a moving target and our job is to continue to focus on the target," McDonnell concluded.