Want in on a little common sense knowledge that actually isn't all that common in today's automotive industry? Simply having a Google My Business page is not enough to help your dealership dominate your local area.
This revelation might not line up with what you've heard from other voices in the automotive world, but the truth of the matter is that failing to have your My Business page fully optimized means missing out on an essential piece of your local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Going a step further, also failing to have a verified Google My Business page will cause your dealership to not show up on the local map pack or map listings. Given that Google utilizes this portion of their search framework to display your business when the searcher's location and intent match up with your target area, it doesn't take a seasoned webmaster to realize that this is a major problem that demands your attention.
Not interested in dealing with all of the headaches that come with coming up short on this front and falling behind the rest of your marketplace? Then join us as we get into the nitty-gritty of the importance of your Google My Business page, as well as how to properly optimize and refine this vital digital representation of your dealership.
How to Tell If Your Business Page Is Verified
To start this conversation off on the right track, let's talk about how to make sure that your dealership's business page is verified. To do this, pull up your Google My Business account and look for a checkmark inside of a shield that is located to the right of your business name. It should look something like this:
If you don't see this checkmark, then that means that you are dealing with a business page that's not verified. Additionally, If you find that your dealership has multiple business pages when confirming your verification, you'll definitely want to consolidate them into one singular listing.
Having More Than One Page Is Not Good
Speaking of multiple Google business pages, you'll want to consolidate or delete these duplicates as soon as possible if able. It might not seem all that likely that you currently have multiple pages, but we've come across plenty of dealerships with this very same issue due to employees, agencies, and even the manufacturer all creating these entries on the own and not understanding the importance of having only a single verified business page.
The big thing to keep in mind here is that Google will only display the business information from the verified page, and all other pages that offer up similar contact information to that same location will not be presented to searchers. In other words, if you have three Google business pages created for your Ford dealership, you will not take up all three spots in the local map pack; only one of those pages will be verified and displayed.
Link Your My Business Page to Your AdWords Account
If your dealership is running a paid search campaign on Google, it's beyond imperative that you have your verified My Business page linked to your AdWords account. Doing so allows you to use what is called the "location extension" within your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and display your business address in some of your ads.
This little tweak enhances the quality of your PPC ads and helps a potential customer find your location by displaying integrated maps, as well as the distance he or she is from your dealership.
Different Businesses at The Same Address
Making sure that the dealership's Google My Business page has the verified address and nothing else is also an important piece of the process. Unfortunately, We've seen some locations that have set up verified business pages for Hertz Rental Cars, the dealer parts store, the dealer body shop, the dealer diesel repair shop, etc., and the big problem with this approach is the main business (the actual car dealership) is not getting the credit for the location. Google most certainly won't verify another business at the same location since the linked mailing address and telephone number need to be different.
No P.O. Box, Drop Box, Virtual Office, or UPS Store Locations
Many years ago, you could verify a plethora of businesses by simply renting mailboxes from a UPS store. You could also rent virtual office space in different cities and verify those locations as your business. However, Google has since caught on to this tactic and done away with it in an effort to help clean up their results and truly give the searcher the most accurate information possible.
Optimizing Your Business Listing
Once you've honed your dealership down to a single verified Google My Business page, it's time to switch the conversation over to how to optimize this digital asset. Specifically, we suggest employing the following adjustments and revisions to get the most out of your dealership's business page:
- Basic Contact Information - Use the exact business name, web address, physical address, and phone number (NAP) that you have listed on your website. For the sake of consistency, this information should also match up to your business listings on sites like Facebook, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), etc.
- Use Your Newest Logo - branding most definitely goes a long way (and this logo has the potential of showing up in the knowledge panel on the right-hand side of Google's search result pages [SERPs] when someone searches for your business name), so make sure to use your latest logo when fleshing out your My Business profile.
- Cover Photo - The cover photo is the largest image on the screen and, when handled properly, can really make your page stand out. We like to showcase the dealership's building, especially if this property is expansive, so that the viewer can see just how large of a selection you have to offer up to potential customers. If the manufacturer created your page, chances are they have done little aside from putting up a stock photo or two of related vehicles.
- Photo Galleries - Create different galleries and upload plenty of pictures. Some worthwhile additions to this kind of showcase of your business include the inside of the dealership, candid and professional employee shots, snapshots of willing customers, various vehicles, etc.
- Business Category - This portion of the page is a major piece of the puzzle, yet countless dealerships often hinder the impact of the business category inclusion by trying to list everything they possibly can in this section. A good rule of thumb is to keep your main category focused on your manufacturer alignment (e.g. Ford dealership) and let the phrase "Car Dealer" slot into the second category position. Also, don't succumb to the temptation of listing all of your service, repair, parts, and other supporting departments; no matter how hard you try, Google will not list or rank you as a parts store.
- Good Business Description - Don't spam out your business description by trying to list 15 cities that are around your area. It might seem like a great idea on this surface, but this tactic won't help you rank in those areas - and can actually have a negative impact on your rankings in general. Also, it's never a good idea to just copy a paragraph of text straight from your website; there is no need to have duplicate content here. Yes, you can link out to certain pages of your website, but do not put a lot of links in a small description. Try to remember that a potential customer will be reading this content, so writing as if they were in the same room and having a conversation with you (otherwise known as crafting conversational content) can definitely go a long way toward optimizing this description and enhancing their experience.
- Google Virtual Tour - This is a great way to help showcase your dealership even more and take your virtual presence to the next level. A Google Trusted Photographer (GTP) will come to your location, take photos, and piece them together so that people can walk through your dealership online. Not only does this create a great experience for the customer, it also helps solidify your business location to Google.
- Reviews - Before your dealer gains access to the "review stars" that adorn other business information pages, you need to obtain at least five reviews from customers and other online users. Once you have the requisite five reviews for your business, the stars will start to show in both the knowledge graph in the SERPs and on Google Maps.
Obviously, running down the list is going to take a little time - and digital elbow grease - on your end of the equation. However, working your way through this process is essential if you plan on getting the most out of your dealership's Google My Business page and selling more cars to browsing potential customers.
Putting This Info to Good Use
So there you have it; from confirming your verification to tweaking all of the little details, it's safe to say that your dealership now has a deeper understanding of everything that goes into ensuring that your Google My Business page is ready and able to make the most of its interactions with potential customers. All that's left to do now is to sit down and get the ball rolling on this crucial piece of your dealership's digital presence.
As always, if you have any questions regarding your business page (or any other extension of your dealership into the digital world), don't hesitate to connect with the team of digital marketing experts here at Remora. Our years of experience navigating the ever-changing waters of the online world can help you get the most out of your Google My Business page - and every other facet of your dealership's Internet operations as well.