How Local SEO and Google My Business Can Benefit Your Dealership

Whether you’re a single dealership or part of a national dealer group, it’s vital that you have a local SEO strategy to attract local in-market shoppers to your dealership. 

Google My Business and proper citation and directory management are two key parts of any effective automotive local SEO strategy. By optimizing your Google My Business listing and managing your citations and directory, you can increase your chances of local shoppers finding you in local search results. 

This article will teach you about the importance of local SEO, Google My Business and online citations and directory listings. We’ll also explain how your dealership can benefit from optimizing these local SEO elements.

 

How does local seo work?

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your dealership’s website and webpages to make them more visible to local shoppers in a search engine’s organic results.  

By optimizing your Google My Business and other directory listings, you can boost your local search signals to make it easier for Google to pick up on them. This helps increase your organic ranking in local search results. It can also help your dealership show up more often when an automotive shopper searches for your dealership

To provide the most relevant local search results to an automotive shopper, search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, etc) rely on signals from across the entire local search ecosystem (pictured below). These signals include local content, social profile pages, links and citations.

 

Whitespark-Local-Search-Ecosystem-US
The local search ecosystem (source: White Spark)

 

There are 10 local SEO factors that contribute to your organic search result ranking. They include:

  1. Verified/optimized Google My Business listing
  2. Google My Business categories
  3. Google My Business photos
  4. Bing Places
  5. Online Directories/citations (E.g. YP.com)
  6. Review site listings (E.g. Yelp)
  7. The velocity of positive reviews
  8. Reviews w/keywords & locations
  9. Responses to negative reviews
  10. Facebook business page

Out of the 10 ranking factors, three of them are related to your Google My Business listing. This illustrates the importance of Google My Business to your dealership’s local SEO strategy.

 

How Can Google My Business Benefit My Dealership(s)?

Google My Business is a free service that contains essential information about your business at a glance. This includes information like store hours, directions, customer reviews, services and more.

Your Google My Business listing is another way for you to connect with local in-market shoppers. Local shoppers can view your products and services directly on your Google My Business listing. 

Automotive shoppers who want to learn more about a product or service, or who want to see additional inventory, can click through to your website from your Google My Business listing. 

Google My Business listings benefit your dealership in four ways:

  1. Allows you to appear in Google Maps and local Google search results
  2. Enables people to leave reviews of your dealership
  3. Provides additional insights that give you helpful information about automotive shoppers
  4. Acts as a free and easy-to-use local landing page that helps you stand out to local in-market shoppers

Additionally, automotive shoppers are increasingly using Google My Business to research and search for vehicles and dealerships. According to a BrightLocal study, between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018, direct searches for a business name or address in Google search or ...

Keep in mind that the average car dealership receives 12,617 views each month (7740 search views and 4877 views on Maps). That’s a significant number of potential buyers looking at your dealership listing on Google. 

 

2020.02.19 Average Monthly Views on Search and Maps
Car dealerships receive the second most views (search and map views) per GMB listing

 

Further, website clicks from GMB listings also increased by 29 percent during that same time period. This means that automotive shoppers are using Google My Business more often AND are visiting your website after viewing Google My Business content.

Automotive dealerships are also seeing three core actions being taken on their listings that lead most frequently to a conversion. These core actions represent a genuine interest in your dealership and your offerings. Such actions include: 

  • Phone calls 
  • Website clicks 
  • Directions requests 

Dealerships see a monthly average of 167 phone calls, 576 website clicks and 145 direction requests from their Google My Business listing.

 


Car dealerships see the highest number of website clicks per GMB listing.

 

These statistics are significant because it means in-market shoppers are actively using your Google My Business listing to research and reach out to you when they’re ready to buy. 

Another way Google My Business benefits your dealership is by giving you valuable insights into how customers search for and find your dealership. 

In your Google My Business insights, you can see what search terms people use to find your dealership. This is a valuable tool that can be used to fine-tune your digital marketing campaigns.

 

2020.02.19 Search Queries - GMB Insights
View search queries that shoppers used to find your dealership in Google My Business.

 

According to BrightLocal, the average business receives 1,009 customer searches each month. Of those, 84% came from discovery searches (where a customer searched for a category, product or service that you offer and your listing appeared) and 16% from direct searches (where a customer directly searched for your dealer’s name or address). 

As you can see, automotive shoppers are ready to connect with your dealership. They want an easy way to interact with you by calling, shopping inventory, etc. 

Because more shoppers are using Google My Business, it makes sense to insert your dealership’s inventory and other information into Google My Business and other places where people are already going to find dealerships like yours. 

Make shopping easier for your customers by optimizing your Google My Business listing.

 

How do I optimize my Google My Business to improve local SEO?

Optimizing for local SEO can be a time-consuming and often complicated process. Did you know nearly 90% of dealerships are missing key elements in their Google My Business listings? This makes it harder for those dealerships to show up in local search results.

To make sure your dealership isn’t missing any key Google My Business optimization elements, we put together two Google My Business optimization tips to improve your local SEO: 

 

1. Track Branded Organic Clicks from Google My Business

The first way you can optimize your Google My Business to improve your dealerships local SEO is by tracking branded organic clicks from GMB. This is done by adding UTM tracking links to your Google My Business listing’s call-to-action (CTA) buttons and links. 

What are UTMs? UTMs are codes that attach to a custom URL. These codes enable Analytics platforms (e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, etc) to tell you where searchers came from and what campaign directed them to you.

There are four CTA locations on your Google My Business listing that need these UTMs: 

  1. Primary website CTA button
  2. Products & Services link
  3. Appointments link
  4. All of your individual product and services pages

 

2020.02.19 GMB Products & Services 1

 

2020.02.19 GMB Products & Services 2

 

By adding UTM tracking links to these four locations, you can learn more about the shopping activity of your customers. This added insight also allows you to fine-tune your paid search, social media and email marketing campaigns. 

If you need help properly adding UTMs to your Google My Business listing, check out this article: How to Add UTM Tags to Your GMB Listing.

 

2. Fully optimize your Google My Business listing

The second way to optimize your Google My Business listing for local SEO is by fully filling out your Google My Business profile. When you fully optimize your Google My Business listing, you’ll help shoppers find what they want easier while driving more traffic to your most important pages. 

There are nine ways you can optimize your listing:

  1. Add products and services
  2. Pick relevant categories that match your dealership
  3. Update holiday and department hours
  4. Solicit and respond to all reviews
  5. Include a cover photo and regularly post relevant, high-quality photos
  6. Add Posts
  7. Enter a brief description of your dealership
  8. Ensure all your dealership locations are verified on GMB
  9. Set your location pin and enter your service areas by zip code

For a more in-depth look at how to fully optimize your Google My Business listing, check out this helpful article: 10 Ways Dealerships Can Optimize Google My Business Profiles to Dri... 

 

Can Citations & Directory Listings Improve My Local SEO?

Yes, like your Google My Business listing, local citations and accurate directory listings can positively impact your local SEO by increasing your dealership’s visibility and improving your local organic search result rankings in search engines.

 

Citations

A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number (NAP record) for a local dealership. Citations help search engines verify that your dealership exists. 

To make sure your dealership is legitimate, search engines will look to make sure multiple credible sources have the same accurate name, address and phone number for your dealership.

Having an accurate NAP record will positively impact your dealership’s local SEO in two ways:

  1. Helps your dealership show up in relevant search queries to local shoppers more often 
  2. Increases the general awareness and visibility of your dealership by providing shoppers with more ways to find you online

 

Directory Listings

Consistent, accurate directory listings also positively impact your local SEO. Directory listings act as online phone books within a particular niche, location or category. 

They have information that includes NAP data. Some online directories (e.g. Google My Business) will allow you to include additional information like business photos, hours, etc. 

There are thousands of different Internet directory listings. Not all directories are the same, though. Some directory listings charge fees whereas others differ in terms of how long your dealership’s listing can remain active. 

So, how do you decide which directories to be listed on? We recommend first submitting your data to the larger, better-known directories. After that, you can start listing your dealership on the more niche, automotive industry-specific directories. 

Here’s a quick list of 10 directories that we recommend listing your dealership on:

  1. Facebook
  2. Apple Maps
  3. Google My Business
  4. LinkedIn Company Directory
  5. Bing
  6. Yelp
  7. MapQuest
  8. Yahoo!
  9. Super Pages
  10. Yellow Book

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it serves as a great starting point for your dealership. Just remember to submit consistent and accurate NAP data for each directory. Remember, all of your directories should have the exact same NAP information.

Hope this information helps!

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