Car Dealer SEO: Rank In Local Search With Google My Business

Car Dealer SEO: Rank In Local Search With Google My Business

Are you looking to enhance your car dealer SEO through digital marketing? Integrating search engine optimization, Or SEO, into your business strategy is crucial in the digital landscape. Car dealer SEO improves your website’s visibility Results, resulting in ranking high on Search Engines. This can potentially draw more visitors to your site, resulting in a substantial boost in sales.

Yet, it’s essential to acknowledge the competitive environment where websites and businesses compete for the exact keywords. This dynamic presents its own set of challenges. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore practical techniques to enhance your local search rankings in search results using the power of Google My Business.

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Importance of SEO for Car Dealerships

Here is the importance of having a car dealer SEO strategy:

Online Discovery Dominance

Approximately 94% of car buyers research online before purchasing. Effective search engine optimisation (SEO) ensures dealerships rank higher in search results to capture potential customers during their research phase. This directs them to the dealership’s website for information and increases conversion chances.

Local Traffic Conversion

Around 78% of location-based searches on mobile devices lead to offline purchases. Optimising local SEO helps car dealerships attract nearby customers who are actively looking to buy, bringing online searches into showroom visits and test drives.

Competitive Edge

A carefully planned automotive SEO strategy provides a competitive advantage, with over 70% of clicks going to the top three organic search results. Dealerships that invest in solid SEO strategies attain higher visibility, outperform competitors, and increase brand credibility and conversions.

What Is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool that helps local businesses control how they appear when people search on Google, even on Maps. A Google My Business listing has essential information that helps customers decide, like:

  • Business name
  • About the business
  • Where it’s located
  • When it’s open
  • Website
  • Pictures
  • What customers say

If businesses get their Google My Business details right, people nearby will likely trust them. Google uses this information in search results to make a special list called the “Local 3-Pack” on Maps, which shows at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).

What Is the Role of Google My Business (GMB) in Local SEO?

Google My Business (GMB) is important for local SEO because it helps businesses be seen by people nearby. Here are three examples of how GMB impacts local SEO and how you can benefit from it to enhance your car dealer SEO strategy:

Further Boosts Visibility

Picture a potential car buyer searching “car dealerships near me.” Google My Business ensures vital details like the dealership’s name, location, and hours are visible, enhancing the likelihood of local customers discovering and visiting.

Better Map Navigation

When users search “car dealerships” on Google Maps, GMB shows the dealership’s location, website, and contact details. This seamless navigation directs customers towards the local dealership, increasing preference over distant competitors.

Showcases Positive Reviews 

GMB’s reviews and ratings enable users to assess others’ experiences. Because positive feedback builds trust and influences decisions, car dealerships’ GMB reviews significantly shape reputation and local SEO effectiveness.

Local SEO for Car Dealerships

Local SEO optimises a business’s online presence to improve its visibility in local search results. It involves strategies to make a company more discoverable to customers searching for products or services within their vicinity. For car dealerships, local SEO is essential due to the following reasons:

  • Targeted Audience: Car dealerships primarily serve a local customer base. Local SEO helps them connect with potential buyers in their area who are actively searching for vehicles.
  • Foot Traffic Generation: Many customers prefer visiting dealerships in person to see and test-drive vehicles before deciding. Effective local SEO ensures that when people search for “car dealerships near me” or related terms, the dealership’s information, location, and directions are readily available.
  • Mobile and Voice Searches: With mobile and voice searches, people often use phrases like “find car dealerships near me” or ask voice assistants to locate local dealerships. Effective local SEO ensures that the dealership’s information is easily accessible to users utilising these search methods.
  • Trust and Credibility: Showing up in local search results with positive reviews and accurate information enhances a dealership’s credibility. Potential buyers are likelier to trust dealerships with good reviews from local customers.
  • Cost-Effective Marketing: Local SEO is a cost-effective marketing strategy compared to traditional advertising methods. By targeting customers interested in car-related searches in their area, car dealerships can achieve better conversion rates without spending too much on other campaigns.

How Does Local SEO Differ from General SEO?

Local SEO and general SEO have distinct focuses and strategies. Here are three critical differences between them:

Geographic Emphasis

Local SEO concentrates on optimising a business’s online presence for location-based searches. It aims to connect the company with local customers by optimising for “near me” searches and specific geographical terms.

General SEO focuses on broader, non-location-specific keywords. It aims to improve a car dealership website’s visibility in search results on a global or national scale.

Search Intent

Local SEO targets users with high intent to make a local purchase, visit a physical store, or avail of local services.

General SEO addresses various user journey stages, from information gathering to purchase consideration. The intent may be more immediate or localised.

Google My Business and Local Citations

Local SEO optimises Google My Business listings and local citations (online references to a business’s name, address, and phone number) on various directories and platforms. This helps companies to appear in Google’s “Local Pack” and local search results.

General SEO focuses on on-page optimisation, backlink building, and a website’s technical aspects to improve overall search engine rankings. While local citations can be relevant, they’re less central to the strategy than local SEO.

5 Important Steps to Optimise Your Google My Business Profile

Step 1: Claim and Verify GMB Listing

Secure your Google My Business profile by claiming ownership and verifying your listing. This builds credibility and control over your business information.

How to Add Your Business Using Google Maps

  • Access Google Maps on your computer and log in.
  • There are three ways to add your business:
  • Enter your address in the search bar. Click “Add your business” in the Business Profile on the left.
  • Right-click on the map, then select “Add your business.”
  • Click the menu in the top left, then “Add your business.”
  • Follow the prompts to create your Business Profile.

How to Claim Your Business via Google Maps

  • Open Google Maps on your computer.
  • Type in your business name in the search bar.
  • Choose the correct business from the list.
  • Click “Claim this business” and select “Manage now.”
  • Click “I own or manage another business for a different business.”
  • Pick a verification option and follow the provided instructions.

Choose Accurate Business Categories

Select relevant categories that precisely describe your car dealership’s offerings. This helps Google understand your services and improves your visibility in relevant searches. Some examples include: 

  • New Car Dealership
  • Used Car Dealership
  • Auto Financing
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Car Rental Service
  • Auto Detailing Service
  • Car Leasing Service

Create a Compelling Business Description

Create a captivating but short description that showcases your dealership’s distinctive attributes and services. Emphasise what separates you, such as wide vehicle selection, excellent customer service, or special promotions. Incorporate relevant keywords related to car sales and services to enhance your visibility in Google searches.

Upload Quality Photos and Videos

Enhance your GMB profile with high-quality images and videos showcasing your dealership, showroom, and vehicles. Visual content captures user attention and offers insights into your offerings.

Manage Reviews and Ratings

Actively respond to customer reviews, both positive and negative. Engaging with customers shows your commitment to quality service and improves your overall reputation on GMB.

Step 2: Ensure NAP Consistency and Local Citations

Consistent NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) for car dealerships to establish credibility, ensure accurate local information, enhance online visibility, build customer trust, and maintain a professional brand image. This prevents confusion and boosts local search rankings.

To ensure NAP consistency:

  • Regularly audit your business’s NAP information across various online platforms, such as your social media profiles, website, and business directories.
  • Update any outdated or incorrect information promptly.
  • Use a standardised format for your NAP data (e.g., use “Street” instead of “St.” for address).

Step 3: Leverage Google Posts for Engagement

Google Posts can be a great way to share updates and promotions with your audience. They allow you to create short, engaging content that appears directly in your Google My Business listing, helping you communicate directly with potential customers searching for your business on Google. 

Here are some best practices to help you create Google posts that capture attention and drive engagement:

Determine the post type: Creating a Google My Business post involves selecting a post type (update, video, inventory change, service addition, or offer launch) in your dashboard’s Posts section.

Compose your post: Keep it under 1,500 characters and include photos or videos of your location or products. 

Publish it: Click “Publish” to make your post live. Google Posts last seven days before being automatically removed.

Interact with your customers: Interact with customers’ reactions. A post might lead to reviews or queries. Responding is vital, especially for GMB, due to the prominence of the evaluation in local searches.

Step 4: Showcase Inventory Through Google My Business

Add Vehicle Catalogs to Your GMB Profile

Approximately 90% of online users are more likely to visit a store if they can check product availability in advance. Google’s tool prevents customers from calling to check if their desired car model, like the Mustang GT, is in stock. It lets them view inventory, prices, ratings, and specs, aligning with an omnichannel strategy.

Keep Inventory Information Up to Date

Update your business profile if things like hours or contacts change. Customers don’t like finding you closed during supposed open times. Adjust holiday hours, too.

Share news, offers, and events with Google My Business posts. Edit via business.google.com or search your business name on Google Search or Maps for quick changes.

Encourage User Interaction with Inventory Listings

Your Google Business Profile lets you interact with potential customers and discuss your offerings. Prospects can easily call you from Google Maps or Search with your phone number in the profile. You can also activate real-time chat through Google My Business to engage them further. Finally, you can respond instantly to queries using the chat feature.

A customer might inquire about a specific car’s availability and features through the Business Profile. Instant messaging lets the dealer respond conveniently, even during quieter moments at the dealership.

Step 5: Connect with Potential Customers

The Q&A feature in Google My Business lets customers inquire about a business on its listing. It enriches your profile as you answer, show customer queries, address common concerns, and share info about your offerings with Google.

When addressing Google reviews, it’s crucial to appropriately handle positive and negative feedback to satisfy customers and prevent potential issues. Here are tips for effective responses:

Positive Reviews

  • Express gratitude: Thank the customer for their kind words.
  • Encourage return: Invite them to visit again or try new offerings.

Negative Reviews

  • Be empathetic: Acknowledge their concern and show understanding.
  • Apologise: If there is a genuine issue, express regret and responsibility.
  • Take offline: Suggest moving the conversation offline for privacy.
  • Keep it professional: Maintain a courteous tone, even in challenging situations.

Utilise a review response template as a foundation: Responding to a negative review in a defensive manner can harm your online reputation. Using a template helps mitigate your emotional response to sound more considerate.

Show empathy and propose resolutions: Responding vaguely to a customer’s complaint isn’t enough. To respond effectively, ensure you present a concrete solution.

Ask questions when the review isn’t clear: Some reviewers give negative ratings without explaining concerns, leading to vague reviews that challenge issue identification.

Best Practices for Google My Business

Here are some best practices for Google My Business that can help optimise your online presence:

Allow Online Booking and Appointment Scheduling

Integrating online booking with your GMB listing streamlines customer scheduling. Customers can book appointments directly through GMB, boosting convenience and conversions. After checking features, pricing, and compatibility, choose an online booking system like Acuity Scheduling, Calendly, etc.

Geo-tag Posts and Stories

Using geo-tagged posts and stories on Google My Business (GMB) boosts online engagement. By tagging locations, businesses connect better with their audience, sharing relatable content. This adds context and a personal touch, elevating customer interaction. 

Geo-tagging involves associating precise coordinates with your image to indicate its location. Since Google My Business and achieving a high position in local SERPs rely on your business’s location, geo-tagging becomes crucial for enhancing your visibility in search results.

To geo-tag your images, follow these steps:

  • Open any web browser and navigate to tool.geoimgr.com.
  • Enter your business name and ensure the accurate location is selected. The latitude and longitude must be a perfect match for users searching that area.
  • Upload the image of your business that you want to showcase on your profile.
  • Click on “Write EXIF Tags” and allow the tool to incorporate location data into the image.
  • Finally, click “Download” to save the newly geo-tagged image, which is now embedded with location information.

Monitor Insights and Analytics

GMB insights provide valuable data to help you understand how users interact with your business listing on Google Search and Google Maps. Here’s a breakdown of the data that is available through GMB Insights and how you can use them to refine your local SEO strategy:

How Customers Find Your Profile

This refers to how users discover your Google My Business (GMB) profile. It includes direct searches (users entering your business name) and discovery searches (users finding your business through related keywords or categories).

By understanding the balance between direct and discovery searches, you can tailor your content and keywords to attract existing customers who know your brand and new customers searching for relevant products/services.

Search Queries

Users use these specific keywords or phrases to find your GMB listing. It provides insights into user intent and the terms they associate with your business.

Analysing search queries helps you optimise your listing’s description, content, and website for relevant keywords. This enhances your listing’s visibility in search results for those terms.

Where Customers Find You on Google

This shows the platforms where users encountered your business listing, such as Google Search or Google Maps.

Knowing where users find your listing, you can prioritise your efforts on those platforms and optimise your content for each platform’s specific features.

How Customers Interact with Your Profile

This includes clicking on your website, requesting directions, and making phone calls directly from your GMB listing.

Understanding these interactions helps you tailor your listing to encourage specific actions. For instance, you can improve your listing’s visibility by emphasising essential information like phone numbers and directions.

Direction Requests to Your Business

This metric tracks how often users request directions to your business through your GMB listing. If direction requests are high, ensure that your location information is accurate. You might also use this data to consider adding more details about landmarks or nearby attractions to aid navigation.

Phone Calls to Your Business

This measures the number of times users called your business directly from your GMB listing.

High phone call volume indicates strong engagement. Ensure your phone number is accurate and easily visible. Call tracking is used to measure the effectiveness of different marketing efforts.

What Your Business Is Known For

This reflects the products, services, or attributes users associate with your business based on their interactions with your GMB listing. Capitalise on what your business is known for by featuring those aspects in your listing. Highlight these in your descriptions, posts, and photos.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I Manage Multiple Locations Through One Google My Business Account?

You can manage multiple business locations through one Google My Business account. There is no specific limit on the number of places you can manage within a single account.

This feature mainly benefits businesses with numerous branches, franchises, or service areas. It simplifies management, allowing you to update information, respond to reviews, and provide accurate details for each location.

What Types Of Media Should I Upload To My Google My Business Profile?

You should upload high-quality media that accurately represents your business on your Google My Business profile. This includes:

  • Logo: Helps customers recognise your brand.
  • Cover Photo: Represent your business visually at the top of your profile.
  • Business Photos: Showcase your premises, products, services, and team.
  • Short videos (up to 30 seconds) highlighting your offerings or providing a virtual tour.

Can I Edit My Business Information After Verification?

After verification, you can edit your business information on Google My Business. This helps you update your details, apply changes, and maintain accurate information.

How Can I Encourage Customers To Leave Positive Reviews?

Encouraging customers to leave positive reviews involves creating a positive experience and subtly prompting them. Here are some strategies:

  • Deliver Outstanding Service: Providing exceptional service naturally leads to positive reviews.
  • Ask Personally: Politely ask satisfied customers face-to-face or via follow-up emails to leave a review.
  • Provide Clear Instructions: Make it easy by giving clear directions on where and how to leave a review.

Enhance Local Success with Google My Business

Google My Business is crucial for local success online. It offers helpful tools to share info and connect with local communities. By utilising them, businesses can gain trust, build relationships, and shine in local searches. Using this platform isn’t just an option; it’s a smart way to boost local success and shine online.

Boost Sales with Video Marketing

Curious how video can transform your dealership’s sales landscape? Imagine the impact of strategic storytelling on your results. Why not explore the possibilities? Unlock your roadmap to success with our video marketing strategy!

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Mahmoud Smiai
Mahmoud Smiai
Co-Founder of Digitexe | Digital Marketing Expert & Data Analyst

Co-founder of Digitexe and a search engine marketing expert, enhancing business growth by leveraging data-driven SEO and PPC strategies. ”In God we trust. All others must bring data.” - by W. Edwards D.

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