It’s getting increasingly difficult for any local business to rank highly on Google, but car dealerships are one of the most competitive and complex sectors for local search engine optimization.
Customers nowadays conduct a significant amount of their research online before they ever walk into a car dealership showroom. (And many individuals have no idea what kind of car they desire when they begin shopping.)
When it comes to searching for a new automobile, the average motor shopper visits only two car dealerships, according to Google. That is why it’s more vital than ever for auto dealerships to rank highly in local search results.
Car Dealerships, on the other hand, are more complicated than other local enterprises, making their digital marketing efforts more so. Car Dealerships frequently sell new automobiles from several different manufacturers with a variety of makes and models.
This is where the phrase “buyer beware” comes into play. There are more used automobile dealers now than ever before because so many people trade in their old vehicles when they acquire new ones. Car Dealerships also have a service department that offers auto maintenance and repairs, such as manufacturer warranty work, oil changes, tire rotations, recall repairs, and more. (A dealer’s website alone is a sophisticated technology!)
A car dealer is essentially three businesses in one: a dealership selling new and used automobiles, as well as automobile repairs. This implies that your SEO strategy approach must be multi-faceted as well.
Furthermore, if you search the automotive dealership in your city, you’ll undoubtedly discover at least one with numerous locations. These multi-location families of dealerships may be located in the same city or neighboring cities.
Finally, depending on the car dealership family, they may have one website or many websites for each location. (Many vehicle manufacturers demand dealerships website to maintain distinct websites if they sell certain rivals’ cars.)
So if you’re assisting automobile consumers with search engine optimization, you’re undoubtedly wondering about the many manufacturers, sorts of cars sold (new and used), repair services available, number of websites and locations you’ll oversee, manufacturer demands — among other things.
So, what are some of the search marketing methods that you should employ while working with a car dealership? Here are some SEO recommendations.
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Google My Business
The Google My Business program has been linked to improved local SEO, especially in the Google Local 3-Pack.
The first step in increasing your company’s web visibility on Google My Business is to ensure that the car dealer’s website information is correct and contains helpful information for searchers.
This is essential in competitive markets, especially when only a few of the top Google search results are visible. The following are some of the most important Google My Business capabilities to utilize:
Name, address, and phone number
Make sure the dealership’s name, address, and phone number are correct. (If you have a toll-free number, double-check that your LOCAL area code phone number is correctly reflected on Google My Business.) It’s critical that all local online directories list this information in the same format.
Google My Business is a tool that allows you to showcase your business in a few simple steps. You may use it to describe what your company provides by creating categories (a primary category and any number of supplementary categories) for it. Keep in mind that although the criteria you choose have an influence on local rankings, they are only one of many factors involved
Search engine marketing is smart and uses the keywords that you input to help people find what you offer. These categories can connect you with potential car buyers who are looking for what your automobile dealership offers.
You may choose a major category as well as additional ones, but don’t go crazy by selecting too many categories. Be precise.
To express that the category you want to use isn’t accessible, choose a relevant general category. You aren’t permitted to create your own categories. Here are some potential categories to consider:
- Car Dealer
- Used Car Dealer
- BMW dealer
It’s important to remember that if you’re not ranking as highly as you desire, adjusting your categories might improve your rankings. You may need to fine-tune your categories until you get it perfect.
If you modify or add a category in your listing, Google may prompt you to validate your business again. (This simply confirms that your company’s information is correct.)
Google uses photo engagement on Google My Business to boost local search rankings. Display photos of the new and previous cars you have for sale at your dealership — and make sure they’re up to date frequently.
After you’ve completed a transaction, get a photo consent form signed and ask if you can snap a photo of your delighted clients with their new automobile and upload it to Google My Business (and other social media platforms.)
Getting your salespeople to post photos to Google My Business might be difficult for a digital marketing agency or a dealership’s sales manager. By automatically sending text message reminders, Steady Demand’s LocalPics tool makes it simple for salespeople to share photos of delighted consumers with their new vehicles.
You just specify the frequency of these notifications. The LocalPics tool immediately sends text messages to salespeople, reminding them to upload their photos:
Customers can just save their pictures to their phone and all of the sales representatives have to do is that. You program text message reminders for each sales representative, and they only need to check their phones when they get a text message reminder.
The sales team simply has to upload photos from their cellphones using the text message and the images will be immediately published (They can also send pictures to their Google My Business from their phone at any moment (They don’t have to wait for the reminder text messages, either.)
Google has just started allowing companies to include 30-second videos in their Google My Business profile. Videos are an excellent method to distinguish your business from the competition.
It’s video marketing at its finest, and it works for just about every business. It may take some trial and error to figure out what’s working best for you, but once you’ve done that, the results should speak for themselves.
While videos help us recall memories more effectively than words do (on average), they can also make people feel like
When consumers search for the type of vehicle that is correct for them, as well as the dealership where they should buy it from, online reviews are critical.
Make sure your Google My Business listing has a link to your Google My Business profile so that customers can leave reviews on it and you can keep up by responding to all of them.
Questions & Answers
Many companies still haven’t heard about the Google My Business Q&A feature, which has been available for months. It’s critical that you pay attention to questions asked of your business and respond appropriately.
Anyone may answer questions that are posted on your Google My Business profile — which implies it’s simple for fake information to spread about your dealership and the vehicles on it. Make sure you have a person on your team who is responsible for monitoring the Q&As asked of your business listing.
Also, be sure to frequently check your GMB dashboard. Remember, anybody with internet access has the ability to make updates to your Google My Business listing. You should double-check to see whether anyone has tampered with your data without telling you.
Online directories (especially car directories)
Online automotive directories are an excellent location to start when it comes to enhancing your dealership’s rankings and backlinking profile. Submitting your business’s website to a general online directory or an automobile category-specific online directory can help improve your backlink profile. Additionally, many of these online directories feature on the first page of Google results, so if your business isn’t listed in them, you’re leaving money on the table.
There are several paid-for and free automotive online directories. Yelp, Google, Bing, and other major general internet directories provide dedicated automobile categories in which you can have your business listed for free. Check that your dealership’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are identical to the details you’ve supplied on Google My Business.
Online reviews are crucial. People are less likely to trust you if your dealership has several negative evaluations. Vehicle and automobile dealer review websites exist.
Sites like Kelley Blue Book, DealerRater, Cars.com, and Edmunds are just a few sites that make it easy for consumers to check out dealership reviews. Consumers can also leave comments about their experiences with employees at a particular dealership on DealerRater.
Positive feedback is one of the most crucial aspects of any business — particularly in customer-oriented industries like automobile sales, truck rentals, and finance.
If they have a negative experience with your dealership — or one of your employees — you can bet that unhappy customer will leave a review. (And remember that reviews are not only left about your new and used car sales — they are also left about your repair shop as well!)
There are software platforms available that may be installed on your company’s website to make it simpler for customers to leave feedback.
These applications also allow you to manage and deflect negative comments to certain review websites.(It’s worth noting that Google recently revised their guidelines, prohibiting “review gating” software that prevents a bad review from appearing on Google My Business. )
Note: Although it might be tempting to accept manufacturer-sponsored turnkey programs in order to get more cash, keep reading. Many auto manufacturers provide dealerships with coop dollars that may be used for advertising and special offers; however, if they utilize specific turnkey solutions from manufacturer-approved vendors, it can be simpler for them to obtain the money.
For example, if you provide a reputation marketing software program to a dealership that can help them acquire internet reviews, the dealer may be incentivized to utilize DealerRater instead since they’ve been “approved” by the manufacturer. (And this applies to other forms of marketing and advertising — not just reputation marketing.)
Select long-tail keywords
Selecting the appropriate keywords has been an important part of SEO since the beginning. You want to choose terms that have a high search frequency, moderate competitiveness, and are relevant to your website’s content — as well as keyword phrases that your potential buyer customers are actually using to search for cars and services from your business.
Long-tailed keywords (e.g., “2018 Ford Mustang GT features”) have a better chance of ranking highly in Google search results than a short-tailed and generic keyword phrase like “Ford cars.”
When it comes to car-related search terms, there are several that you should add to your arsenal. Keywords such as “MSRP” and “list prices” are just a couple of examples.
According to Google, searches for “photographs of [automotive brand]” are up 37% year over year. This implies that when you’re uploading pictures of the automobiles for sale on your car lot, include the words ” photographs of” and the brand name, make, and model where appropriate.
For example, if you’re displaying the inside of a 2018 Dodge Challenger, you may want to name the picture file “picture-of-dodge-challenger-2018-awd.jpg” and utilize the alt tag “Pictures of Dodge Challenger 2018 AWD Front Seat Interior for Sale in Cedar Rapids.”
The “pictures of” approach, like with everything SEO-related, should be used with caution. Overdoing it isn’t a good idea, but it’s important to include it in your image optimization plan to a certain extent on specific car overview pages.
Optimize for local connections
Many vehicle dealerships overlook the significance of establishing local connections, not only for local SEO reasons but also for community confidence and support. On at least one of your site’s pages, you should make a connection to what’s going on in your local area.
On your About Us page, for example, you might include a link to a city-specific page that discusses what’s going on in your area. Is there a July 4th parade? And if so, are you making a float or giving the mayor of your town a convertible to ride in?
It’s a fantastic idea to include the name of your business and its involvement with a local charity or Chamber of Commerce on one of these localized pages (of course, mentioning your city’s name).Is there a planned charity walk or do you give to a local animal shelter? Share photos (and make sure to use alt tags) as well as describe what you’re doing to aid.
All of this data not only helps you improve your local SEO by utilizing the city’s name you’re attempting to rank for, but it also builds goodwill among potential consumers. You can also include a link to your site on their websites, and you may request that they create a link back to yours. Local backlinking at its finest!
Using schema markup will help Google and the other search engines better understand what your website’s pages are about, allowing you to get a leg up on your competition. Although this might seem like a minor difference, schema markup provides significant benefits for both customers and business owners.