Being online is good. Being found online is better.
Google My Business (or GMB) is a free tool that helps businesses manage how they appear online and generate local web traffic.
Google is all about customer experience and a dealership’s GMB page should be built with that in mind. Since these pages appear in both Google search and Google Maps results, it’s important that they contain all the information shoppers need to narrow down their search.
This includes ensuring that every dealership department has its own GMB page, including sales, service and parts.
While Google My Business is a fantastic resource for any business with a physical presence, it has proven to be especially valuable to automotive dealers.
Car dealerships receive the highest number of calls and website visits from GMB, and the second highest number of views on Search and Maps after hotels2.
Never underestimate the importance of local search results, and since GMB is focused primarily on local searches, this free tool is an amazing resource to help dealers be found online.
When people shop for a vehicle, especially in the days of physical distancing, they want a vehicle that’s easy to get to. Online car shoppers are looking for a vehicle nearby, and people searching for parts and service are looking for a local option as well.
Google ranks local search results to help searchers find the best match for what they are looking for. The Google algorithm could decide that a location is more likely to have what the searcher is after, even if it’s farther from their location. If this is the case, it will rank higher.
This looks at how closely a page matches what the searcher is looking for. You can optimize your GMB to increase its relevancy by making sure your business information is detailed and complete. This will help Google understand your business better and match you with the most relevant searches.
This one is simple as it looks at your location and how close that is to the location in the search. Some searchers don’t specify a location. In that case, Google uses any information they have about the searcher’s location to measure the distance.
To put it simply, your prominence just means how well your business is known. Local search results try to match your business’ prominence in the offline world. Very well-known event venues, hotels, landmarks and restaurants will rank higher in local search results than newer ones that are less known. But that’s not the only source of prominence you can rely on to rank higher in local search. Google also uses information it can find about a business online from sources like online news articles, external links, online reviews and your Google My Business page.
In a time when vehicle sales are down worldwide, most dealerships are increasing their focus on revenues from their service and parts departments.
One great way to get these departments noticed more online is to optimize your Google My Business presence and ensure your sales, service and parts departments each have
their own GMB page.
If your dealership only has a GMB focused on sales, then when a potential service customer Googles where to go for an oil change nearby, your service department won’t come up, and even if it does the hours shown will be your sales floor hours. There’s a good chance that the service department is still open, when the GMB may report is closed.
Online reviews are one of the best ways to showcase your integrity and transparency, as they give your customers a platform to publicly share their experiences doing business with you and your team.
Integrate your reviews right into your website, so potential customers can see you’re a trustworthy dealer without leaving your page.
Online reviews also play an important role in the way you rank in Google searches. Google looks at the number of reviews you have and how high they rank. More positive reviews will improve your ranking, so make sure you have an online review strategy that includes requesting reviews and responding to them.
Consumers turn to Google for reviews more than any other site – 64 per cent say they check Google reviews before visiting a business, and 21 per cent agree that Google reviews are one of the most important factors in their search for a local business – having more impact than price and location.
AutoVerify Reviews can be automated to request reviews from customers on your behalf, and allows you to manage multiple GMB accounts at the same time, so you can increase the number of reviews coming in for your sales, service and parts pages with very little manual effort.
So it’s official – online reviews are very important, but once you’ve invested the time and effort in generating the reviews, how can you make it more likely that potential customers will see them?
By making sure you have fully-optimized GMB pages for each of your dealership’s departments so their location, information, promotions and reviews are easily available to anyone searching for “Mazda service near me.”
So you have a great website, and a lot of online listings. That’s awesome. You think that your online traffic is coming from your social media efforts, or your billboards, or your radio ads, and you’re happy to have that traffic, so you invest resources into more social media efforts, more billboards, or more radio ads.
But what if those don’t work?
Thinking you know where your traffic is coming from just isn’t enough. It’s important to be certain – to measure the impact of every single one of your marketing efforts.
While it’s true that marketing can often be trial-and-error, without measuring exactly where your traffic is coming from and how those online visitors are interacting with your online presence, you are basically just out there guessing.
Google My Business takes the guessing game out of how customers are finding your listing and how they interact with it.
Not only will GMB Insights tell you how many people found you online in each of these categories, but it will also tell you the phrases customers are searching to find you, which can inform the words you use in your advertisements and promotions.
These people searched your business name directly. They already know you and they’re wondering how to find you or when you’re open. These are customers with high-intent, making it extra important to have your sales, service and parts department separated so these customers are finding accurate information on your GMB.
These people found your listing through organic keywords or categories relating to your business. They likely have never heard of your business, and a fully-optimized GMB that focuses on the right keywords and categories is crucial to helping them find you.
These people found you by searching a brand that is related to your business, like an OEM name or set of parts.
GMB Insights will also teach you where your customers are viewing you on Google (search or maps) and the actions they are taking once they find you.
All of this information is key to helping you make informed marketing decisions that are based on data and not assumptions.
We get it – there’s a lot to learn, and we know that there’s a lot for you to focus on right now. But regardless, it’s clear that Google My Business is a FREE tool that any business hoping to connect with customers as they shop online cannot afford to ignore.
See AutoVerify in action here.Back to Dealer Resources