Here are a few local marketing facts for you, courtesy of Google:
- Four of five consumers use search engines to find local businesses.
- 69 percent of searches involve a specific location.
- 78 percent of these searches eventually transition into an offline buying process.
With these stats in mind, be honest with yourself – are you covering all of your bases to help your dealership dominate the local market?
At the very least, you need to claim your business on search engines like Google. A Google My Business profile is an important part of your search engine optimization (SEO). The profile includes, at the most basic level, your dealership’s name, address and phone number.
The My Business profile allows your dealership to earn an organic ranking in search results, and it also allows future customers to easily find you, contact you, visit your website, leave a review and more. Your My Business profile is the strongest indicator to Google that your dealership has a physical location, and accurate information in your profile improves the chances that your dealership will be offered as a Google Maps search result to potential customers.
It isn’t enough to simply have a profile in order to outrank your competition. To do this, you should complete your business’ profile as completely as possible. It can include store hours, pricing information, ratings, reviews, images – provide as much as you can in order to best utilize this crucial platform. Other search engines as well as consumer services such as Yelp pick up the information you provide to Google about your business.
Speaking of Yelp, a website for consumers to review business services, it is very important to create business listings on such public reputation sites, which also include Facebook and FourSquare. These profiles will not only help to boost your ranking when consumers near your business perform searches, but also boost your website’s domain authority (one metric that search engines use to prioritize websites).
Remember to keep your business’ online information up-to-date in order to build trust with users. Your site will gain points from search engines, if you consistently provide updated information about your business.
Among the most crucial steps of your My Business profile is to claim your business’ location. When a consumer visits Google to search for businesses, the website typically knows where the user is located. If your dealership location is not accurately indexed, search engines won’t be able to match ideal customers with your business.
This is why it’s important to lock down the exact address of your dealership location, and keep that consistent on all of the platforms in which it appears – the difference between “Street” and “St.” can cost you potential customers. The more clearly the business’ location is identified across online profiles, the more traffic and visibility search engines can give you.
If your dealership has more than one location, it is best practice that each location has its own website with a unique URL and location-specific keywords on the site, such as the name of that city or community, specific events or product offerings that are exclusive to that dealership. This will increase your business’ search engine visibility and drive traffic that is accurately targeted to the right places.
One last point to consider is that positive customer reviews can do wonders, not only for the success of your business but also for your dealership’s search engine optimization.
It is in your best interest to encourage positive customer reviews, and one option is to try out a review request program at your dealership. The easier you make it for your customers, the more likely they will be to follow through. When customers use keywords that relate to your dealership, it increases your online visibility AND encourages new customers to buy from you.
The type of local advertising an online profile can provide is nothing to brush aside. Don’t give customers away to your local competitors – utilize all of the resources that you can to capture your audience.
Lauren McLean is the public relations manager for Dealer Spike, a company that provides innovative websites as well as a suite of powerful online advertising solutions that help RV dealers increase sales and service profitability. For questions or more information about the blog, visit DealerSpikeRV.com or call 800-288-5917.