It’s time to break out of bad habits and change the way you think about SEO. People aren’t using Google the same way they used to, and Google is changing as well.
Far too many dealers and marketers equate adding lots of pages to a website to SEO. One of the most common questions dealers ask me is “how many pages do we get a month with your SEO service?” – and that’s the wrong thing to ask.
Google doesn’t care how many pages you add to your site… Google cares about the quality of the content on your site. I’d much rather add one really awesome, in-depth page to a dealer’s site this month than add 10 janky location landing pages. You’re not going to show up in a nearby city simply because you added a hastily-written low quality page to your site that’s optimized around that city.
Google’s updates make the algorithm smarter, but it’s not just about how search results are calculated. Google is displaying more information on search results pages than ever before. Google My Business added tons of new features and information to the GMB profile in the last year.
Business owners and marketers are complaining that Google is now trying to keep users on Google, instead of expecting them to click through to websites. We’re not here to debate that today – we’re simply looking at the obvious fact that as Google continues to show more information on search results pages, users have less reason to click through to your website.
When potential customers have moved far enough down the funnel to be at the point where they’re choosing which dealership they want to buy from, they’re not browsing multiple sites anymore. Most of the time, they’re comparing dealers based on the info served up in search results pages.
I’ve mentioned it in several Wednesday Workshop videos (like this one here), and I’m going to say it again now: Your Google My Business profile is your new home page.
If someone needs your phone number, or wants to know when you’re open, or wants to check out testimonials, or wants to check out what the dealership looks like, they no longer have to click through to your site. As more info is displayed by Google, user behavior changes.
In the past, you’d hear that your website was your new showroom, and that your home page was the first impression you’d make on a potential customer. Now, that first impression comes from your Google My Business profile.
In the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study, the recently released version of an annual study, there was a 32% increase in the importance of Google My Business signals. Nearly every Local SEO expert included in the study stated that they’d be investing significantly more time in Google My Business in 2019.
Change how you think about SEO and start paying more attention to your Google My Business profile. Don’t assume that potential customers will click through to your site – you have to put your best foot forward and wow people with your GMB profile.
Here’s a quick list of what you should be paying attention to:
- Make your dealership name is correct.
- Make sure your address is correct, and the map pin is placed in the right spot.
- Make sure you’ve got a local phone number listed (If you want to use a tracking number, list the tracking number in the primary slot and your local number in the second slot)
- Make sure your correct hours are listed.
- Make sure you choose the right categories. Don’t try to make other categories fit what you do, choose the fewest, most exact categories.
- Make sure you’ve got awesome photos and videos uploaded, and make sure you’re changing them out often.
- Make sure you’ve got an awesome review score – at least a 4.5
- Make sure you’ve got more reviews than your competitors have
- Make sure you’re responding to every review, both positive and negative
- Make sure you write an awesome business description
- Make sure you’re using Google Posts to share specials and promos (at least once a week)
- Make sure that you’re monitoring Questions and Answers. Answer new questions quickly, and make sure your answers are upvoted so they’re shown as the definitive answer to each question. Ask your own questions and answer them so that common questions are there for anyone to see.
Basically, you need to take your dealer hat off and look at your GMB profile like someone who knows nothing about your dealership. Are all your preliminary questions answered? Does the listing look attractive? Does it look like somewhere you’d want to buy from?
Adjust your SEO mindset for 2019 and concentrate on your Google My Business listing. You’ll show up better in local searches, and you’ll convert more potential customers. If you have any questions about SEO strategies or Google My Business, let me know – I’d be happy to help!