Google My Business pages are a wonderful shopping tool. A quick glance at a GMB can save us from showing up to closed restaurants, visiting the gym at crowded peak hours, or hiring that creepy locksmith. We love GMB pages as shoppers, but it’s just as awesome as an auto marketing solution. Without further ado, here’s how to use GMB as an auto marketing solution.
Even if your dealership set up a GMB page long ago, if you haven’t done much to it since, this article will still be useful to you, so keep reading (or just skip to optimization).
GMB works in concert with your professional dealership website to give shoppers access to the information they need.
Google is all about customer experience. GMB pages are built with that in mind. These listings are meant to display all the information shoppers need to narrow down their search and decide whether a business can meet their needs. These pages appear in Google search, Google maps, and on Google+.
Car shopping involves research, and GMB pages are built to help shoppers conduct research. GMB pages strive to contain and display the information that a shopper might need to evaluate which business they want to visit. This means it is one of the best platforms for showcasing your dealership in various different ways. Maintaining an awesome GMB page has huge benefits for auto dealers.
1. Information Made Easy
A good GMB page makes it easy for customers to find the basic information that they need to make a visit. GMB pages list the address, phone numbers, website, and hours of operation for every business. A shopper doesn’t have to navigate to your own hours and directions page in order get the information they need to visit.
Having all your information in one place is also useful when the time comes to change that information. Google My Business can automatically update information across all linked websites as you change it. so if your dealership details change, you only need to update your GMB page.
3. Data and Insights
GMB also collects user search information and behavior, which is then made available to business owners. Insights from GMB can give you powerful data about how people find your business, which rival products are drawing their interest, and what trends you can take advantage of.
4. AdWords Connection
Your GMB page can be linked to your AdWords campaign. If you choose to sync your paid search ads with GMB, your ads will appear with a link to your physical location. Electing to connect your GMB and your ads opens up your ads to be displayed on Google Maps results as well.
5. Level Playing Field
Because Google wants to provide the user with the best, most relevant, most helpful results, they’ve leveled the playing field. Small, individual dealers can rank alongside massive dealer groups. Though the marketing and advertising budgets of local dealer groups can drown a smaller competitor, GMB results will always rank on what is the best for the shopper.
Google My Business pages aren’t just helpful for shoppers. Dealers will be happy to know that GMB works well as an auto marketing solution because GMB is the biggest driver of local SEO success.
Just as standard websites are ranked in the SRP, GMB pages also have ranking within search results and on Google Maps, driven by ranking factors specific to local search. The top ranking factors for GMB pages are relevance, distance, and prominence.
Relevance indicates how well your business fits the shopper’s search intent. That means a user searching for “new car dealership” should see your business in their local search results, but someone looking for a “gluten-free restaurant” should not. Relevance is an incredibly important factor for all search, and it’s no exception for local.
The next local ranking factor used by GMB is distance. Obviously, in local searches, distance is a major factor for most shoppers. Shoppers conduct local searches because they’re looking to do business within a certain distance. If your dealership isn’t within a reasonable distance of the shopper, it shouldn’t be expected to rank well (or at all).
The third GMB ranking factor to know is prominence. Prominence is a bit vaguer than distance and relevance, but it’s related to the activity around your business. Is your dealership a fixture of the community, with tons of reviews, sponsored events, local newspaper articles, etc? Chances are your prominence is already pretty high. If that doesn’t necessarily describe your dealership, there are several things you can to do help. Getting solid quality links (local business directories and publications are perfect) to your site is always one of the best tactics for improving SEO ranking. You can also make regular updates and optimization on your GMB to keep Google’s algorithms (and users) aware that your business is up and running.
So now that we’ve got all the basics of GMB covered, let’s dive into the ways that GMB can be an effective auto marketing solution.
One of the aspects of GMB that makes it an effective auto marketing solution is the ability to add multiple categories to one business. The best way to make sure that your dealership is pulling in the maximum traffic from your GMB pages is to make sure that you are ranking in searches for all the services you provide. If the only category your dealership is under is “Car Dealership,” your other services are missing out on potential business. Ideally, you should be selecting categories that fit every department of your dealership. This could include “Auto Repair Shop,” “Used Car Dealer,” “Ford Dealer,” “Tire Store,” “Oil Change,” and potentially much more.
GMB ‘attributes’ are another tool that dealerships can utilize to better represent their services to the public. Attributes allow dealerships to list all the languages spoken in their business, the payment options available, and even the types of products you offer. Similarly, to the categories, the efficacy of GMB as an auto marketing solution is partly based on the quantity and quality of information that you can provide. To that end, we recommend taking the time to go through and add all applicable attributes on your GMB page.
Apart from the standard categories and attributes, Google My Business is full of additional tools that make it an attractive auto marketing solution. The following are a few features dealership can consider adding to their GMB pages to drive even more traffic.
1. Appointment Booking
Recently expanded appointment booking options allow users to schedule an appointment (linked to their Google account) without having to visit the actual website or get on the phone. Dealerships looking to bring in more service customers might consider this as an auto marketing solution.
Dealers can integrate a chat feature directly with your GMB page. Shoppers can send you a message, question, or request while browsing, and the message will be delivered via your messaging system or Google Allo. Thankfully, the chat feature doesn’t need someone constantly monitoring it. During times that you are unavailable, you can opt to turn off the chat feature or set up auto-replies. When active, a small icon will appear beside your other contact information and let customers know you can be contacted immediately.
3. Google Question and Answers
Do you often get people asking the same questions? Q&A lets you answer your shopper’s most common questions. A Q&A section not only helps you understand common shopper frustrations and desires, it shows new customers and shoppers see your commitment to customer experience.
4. Google Posts
If you don’t have a blog, or you do, but hardly use it, Google Posts can help display the content you want on the same page as the rest of your GMB information. Google Posts can display images, copy, event names, and call-to-action buttons on posts about specials, promotions, sales events, and products. This feature helps make GMB pages particularly useful as an auto marketing solution.
Hungry for more traffic? We don’t blame you. GMB is a powerful auto marketing solution once you start putting in the time to make it work for you. So let’s keep going. If you’ve updated your categories (or you’ve just skipped here for some advice), here are some of the best ways to optimize your GMB page to maximize traffic and user experience.
Before You Start: Everything you put on your GMB must be accurate. Dishonest or otherwise false information will tank your reputation and possibly your ranking.
1. Claim Your Full Business Name
Short and simple or ridiculously long, dealerships should be posting their full business name on their GMB page. Not only does this help establish the legitimacy of your business, it helps users who aren’t familiar with your business and improves the efficacy of your GMB page. Imagine if you owned a dog kennel called Big Bob’s Dog Kennel. Your customers and community might refer to your business as “Big Bob’s,” but putting just “Big Bob’s” on your GMB page could turn away customers or lower your ranking.
2. Maximize Information
The more information you can give shoppers up front, the better. Remember GMB is about user experience, and using it as an auto marketing solution means following that lead. Don’t neglect to fill in any option for information. We said it before this section, but we’ll say it again: All the information you input must be correct.
3. Optimize Information
In addition to making sure that you’ve provided all the information you can, dealers should pay attention to the quality of that information. This covers everything from making sure that your hours reflect the actual operating times you keep to certifying that the phone number you make available is answered every time.
4. Look Good
One of the best aspects of using GMB as an auto marketing solution is being able to showcase your dealership in the photos associated with your GMB account. Upload high-quality photos of your dealership — including parts and service. Consider implementing even more effective visual content like the Virtual Tour — a 360 interactive image of the inside of a business.
5. Keyword Work
You can help boost your rankings by adding in important keywords or search phrases to your GBM page. While keywords additions to your GMB copy can help drive more traffic, overdoing it will result in annoyed users and poor ranking.
6. Manage Reputation
Reviews are an essential part of GMB as an auto marketing solution because they help increase your visibility in search results. Reviews are enormously important to shoppers when it comes to determining where to shop, and if yours aren’t curated, you are almost certainly losing out on traffic. Even something as simple as thanking positive reviewers and offering to help fix the concerns mentioned in negative reviews can make all the difference. If you can, try to implement a program to get happy shoppers to write GMB reviews.
7. Don’t Set and Forget
As with many auto marketing solutions, GMB pages shouldn’t be filled out and then forgotten. Google constantly makes changes and updates to GMB pages, and it’s important to stay up to date on these. Even if you don’t bother with much online reputation management in reviews, dealers should check up on their GMB page frequently, and perform updates immediately if any changes are made at the dealership.