local listings management

If you’re on a quest to improve your search engine placement and ranking, then you are aware of local directory listings and how they may affect your SEO.  There are many different providers of local listings and it can be cumbersome to manage.  

Years ago, updating your local listings was a technique to gain links.  Presently, it still helps with link building, but the primary value is improving your business’ local presence.  Optimizing your local listing is more than having a consistent name, address, and phone too.  It’s about total business consistency across all local listings directories.

This article aims to address how local listings management helps with your local search engine optimization strategy.  

Why Is Local SEO Important?

We can’t discuss local SEO without briefly explaining SEO. Search engine optimization is the science behind creating content and updating your website to be found when people use search engines.  Local SEO takes that same concept and applies it to being found within a local search. 

Local SEO is important because so many internet users perform local based searches multiple times per day.  If you’re selling new and used cars, and providing vehicle maintenance like oil changes, tire services, and brakes then local SEO is imperative for your online success. 

Featured Snippets, FAQ’s, and Answer Boxes 

Have you asked a specific question on Google and noticed they provided a direct answer within the search results?  Depending on the question, the answer could be in an answer box, or you could get a list of frequently asked questions that support your search query.  These types of featured snippets are pulled from your website, and your Google Business profile.  

Some businesses would gripe about being featured because it answers the question and the user wouldn’t actually click on the website.  However, if your business has a physical location that provides a specific service like brake repairs, equipment sales, or used car sales then this is a prime area to be in.  Why?  Because those searches usually have a direct action related to it.  The search query, “Nissan dealership near me” will likely lead to a directions request if performed on a mobile device. Someone searching “Toyota brake repair” on a computer is probably going to make an appointment. 

Effective management of your local listings can improve your chances of being in a featured snippet.  According to Entreprenuer.com, featured snippets will get you more website traffic.

Virtual Assistants and Voice Search

Another trend affecting local SEO is how users are actually searching.  Virtual assistants have caused an increase in voice searches and they are designed to query their respective platforms.  This means Google Home will search Google My Business when a local search is done.  Siri will search Google as well for certain queries, while also displaying Apple Maps for any directions requests.  Amazon’s Alexa will search Bing to answer queries.  If someone conducts a local search using any device, with any of those platforms, you want to make sure your company information is updated and consistent.  

Company Information and Updates

Name, address, and phone number, aka NAP,  are the top 3 bits of company information needed for local SEO.  An optimized business listing will provide NAP and other data like hours of operation, payment types accepted, available parking, services, products, and even the latest news and/or events.

Google Business and other local listings allow businesses to share posts.  These posts can be company news, coming events, blog posts, and even direct links to call or book now.  It’s important to include a consistent local listings posting plan as part of your local SEO strategy.

Check and Fix Your Local Listings Easily

Having updated and maintained business listings are a key component to local SEO. It is vitally important for lead generation if you are a car dealership, equipment sales company, or repair shop. Consider the statistics that Millenials spend over 17 hours shopping online before they even visit a dealership. Most vehicle owners will search for a location for vehicle maintenance too.  There are hundreds of local listings where the search could happen including Google, Bing, Apple, Yelp, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, and more.  

Do you know the status of your business listings?  Is your name, address, and phone number consistent in every directory?  We have a local listings management tool called FastListing. Simply input your NAP, along with your email address and we’ll send you a report with your business listings status. 

5 SEO Benefits of Offsite Local Listings

5 SEO Benefits of Offsite Local Listings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly all consumers turn to the internet to learn about a local business. With local SEO, companies can attract more eyeballs online and offline. But what is local SEO, exactly?

Local SEO is an element of search engine optimization that focuses on gaining more visibility among local search queries on Google and other search engines. If you’re part of a business with a physical location, you’ll want to have a solid local SEO strategy to complement your current search engine optimization plan.

When you focus on local listings for SEO, your business with a physical presence in the community can gain several benefits. Remember, local SEO is all about making sure people can find you online and offline!

Here, we’ll look at some of the top benefits of local listings for SEO. We hope this review will help jump-start your business’s local SEO strategy or take your current one to the next level!

1. Builds Visibility Online

Many online searchers and shoppers are actually looking for a local business to visit and purchase from offline. But they start their search online.

One advantage businesses with physical locations have over online-only companies is that they can easily rank in local search queries. And with the rise of “business, product or service near me” searches, local businesses can attract potential customers from their immediate community online with greater ease than ever.

Creating, maintaining and updating your local listings is a top way to capitalize on local search traffic. That’s because having informative and up-to-date local listings can help highlight your business in local searches as well as on services like Google Maps.

A Google Business Profile, also known as a Google My Business (GMB) listing, is Google’s online listings tool for local businesses. There are several reasons to optimize your GMB or Google Business Profile.

Updating your GMB helps provide valuable information about your business to prospective customers, including your store hours, location and news. But chief among the SEO benefits of updating offsite local listings is the boost in visibility your business can experience online.

2. Delivers More Targeted, Relevant Traffic

Building visibility online is great, but local businesses want to attract local consumers. By utilizing local SEO tactics, you can attract the right visitors to your website, leading them to call or visit your business’s physical location.

Tailoring your website’s content for a local audience helps establish authority, proximity and goodwill with consumers shopping within your community. So consider creating landing pages dedicated to specific cities or areas you serve.

And don’t forget to update your local listings like GMB to help attract local shoppers online.

3. Attracts Local Repeat Customers

Local SEO allows businesses to attract both residents and consumers visiting the area from far away. By maintaining a consistent and dedicated approach to local SEO — including regularly updating your local listings — you can potentially engage repeat customers.

Whether a previous customer seeks out your company for repeat business or simply searches online and finds your business a second time, building online visibility within the local community can lead to increased leads, sales and repeat visitors.

4. Reduces Advertising Costs

Pay-per-click or PPC ads can be costly, especially when you’re targeting the same local keywords as your competition. If you’re running paid ads online, trying to target local keywords, adopting a quality local SEO strategy may help save you money.

If you rank high in Google searches thanks to local SEO tactics, you’ll be saving money you otherwise would have had to spend on ads to boost your visibility online.

5. Helps Generate More Sales

We’ve covered several reasons to update local listings like your GMB and develop a local SEO strategy. Still, we can’t forget about a primary goal of any business: to generate more sales!

When you build visibility online, gain more relevant traffic, attract local repeat customers and reduce advertising costs through local or offsite SEO, you’ll be well on your way to boosting leads and sales.

For more SEO tips and tricks from the fusionZONE team, follow our blog or contact us.

Curious about your current local SEO presence? Use our directory scanning tool to identify any gaps in local listings!

We’d love to help your business develop a winning local SEO strategy that will see it increase visibility online and offline! So don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for more details on our digital marketing services.

is seo dead search box

by Brett Sutherlin

How to dominate the new Organic SEO

As Google continues to evolve, my question to you is simple: is SEO dead? Ads are pushing all listings down the page. Next, you have Google Maps that take up a large amount of real estate. In addition to maps, you now also have ads that also take up valuable real estate. See below for an example. Organic SEO has been pushed so far down the fold, is it worth spending money on? Where does Google Maps and Google My Business fit in your SEO strategy?

maps ad on google

Example of ads in Google Maps.

Let’s look at a simple search “Nissan Dealerships Near Me.” See screenshot below (I had to zoom out to even fit this image on one page). As you can see, Organic search has been pushed so far down the fold, it is almost irrelevant. SEO companies that sell their services can not even tell you when you will see results. The chances of a customer scrolling down below the map section is slim to none. In the automotive world, the days of paying Auto Trader or a third-party provider to outrank you organically are gone! This is GOOD NEWS! For contractors, paying Home Advisor is virtually the same thing. You are basically paying these companies to out rank you. But why? To me, this is incredibly unhealthy for your business. These third-party listing sites, unfortunately, became a necessary evil. In today’s digital landscape, please know you DO NOT need to advertise on third-party sites!

maps location in organic search

Google Maps is the new organic SEO.

Why Automotive Dealerships Need Google Maps Optimization

Back to the question, Is SEO Dead? Yes, SEO is dead- in the conventional form. When consumers conduct searches, you want your business to appear in Maps. Think of the last search you conducted on Google… it could be Pizza Near Me or Gas Stations Near me. You most likely relied on Google Maps to find what you were looking for. In maps, it is possible to show your business in map searches for up to 16 cities, within a reasonable radius from your business, in up to 10 categories. Google Maps is the NEW organic SEO. There has never been an easier way to move the needle with your business. When dialed in correctly, you will bring more customers to your business, more requests for directions and many more phone calls than you have ever received.

Regardless of the industry, customers search the same way now on Google. Their search patterns are easy to identify. You as a business owner need to adapt to this new strategy and you will see your business flourish!

8/10 people will be on their smartphone to pull up a search such as “Restaurants Near Me”. These potential customers will simply click CALL to make a reservation. In the automotive world, new car dealers sell tires, and they have great prices! One problem car dealers have is they never appear in tire searches. You should be front and center in the map section when a customer searches “New Tires Near Me.” This potential customer will be on their smartphone and will click to call and then will book their next appointment with you. An additional way these same potential customers will find you is to click “Directions”. Next thing you know you have a customer who was on Google arriving at your business. Search is ever evolving. If you do not conform to “The New SEO” you and your business will be left in the dust.

I would like to invite you to a free webinar where we discuss how to move the needle with Maps. I will be hosting this webinar on Friday, November 19th 9AM PST/ Noon EDT. This is not a sales presentation but a how-to-course to have your business front and center in the only search that matters.

Learning How To Dominate on Google My Business and Google Maps
Presented by Brett Sutherlin, Friday 11/19/2021 9 AM PST – 12 PM EDT
REGISTER

Smart business owners know how important search engine optimization (SEO) is for their websites. SEO, when done effectively, will help to increase a website’s visibility on the search engines.

This means that their website will show up in the top search results when someone searches for a keyword or phrase that applies to their business. Being in the top results can send thousands of targeted prospects to your website.

In fact, smart SEO can help your business in many ways!

Consider these benefits of SEO:

  1. You will see an increase in traffic. As your website becomes more optimized over time, it will start to rank higher in the search engines for various search terms. As this happens, you should see an increase in traffic, or prospects viewing your website. Ultimately, (as long as you gave a good website) this should increase your sales too.
  2. It will increase the credibility of your business. Your customers are conditioned to believe that the best businesses are those ranked at the top of the search engines, whether that is true or not.
    1. When you rank highly, your prospects perceive your business more favorably, which leads to an increase in sales, conversions, and brand recognition.
  3. SEO can lead to long-lasting results. Radio, print, and billboard ads produce short-term rewards. SEO, on the other hand, helps to deliver long-term rewards.
    • By investing in SEO, your online presence increases, resulting in a more profitable return on investment (ROI) without resorting to paid ads.
  4. You are in control of the cost. Whether you are building backlinks, creating a social media presence, or creating blog content, you will know how much it will cost beforehand. Once you know what each service will cost, you can determine which you believe would give you a better ROI.
  5. Your website will become more user-friendly. A good SEO expert will be able to look at your website and optimize it not only for the search engines but also for your users too.Improving your website’s user experience includes many aspects, including how quickly your website loads, how easy it is to navigate, and whether it is mobile-friendly.
    • By improving the user experience of your website, you will see an increase in conversions, plus you should see an overall ranking increase in the search engines, as this is one of the known ranking factors.
  6. SEO helps encourage users to visit a local business. It has been shown in numerous studies that having an online presence can also increase visits to your offline premises. If you have an import focused repair center, for example, a potential customer could check out your services or customer reviews before making an appointment.
  7. Your social media following will increase. As your search engine rankings increase, more visitors will arrive at your website. Even if they do not immediately buy from you, they may still end up checking out your social media platforms, follow them, and then become buyers later on.
    • These new followers can also share your marketing messages, leading to an increase in social traffic and sales.
  8. SEO helps put you ahead of your competitors. As you integrate SEO and various other online marketing techniques into your business, you will move ahead of those competitors who have not implemented these techniques.

SEO is incredibly important, and if you are not implementing it in your own online marketing activities, you are limiting your results, sales, and profits.

Look at what your competitors are doing and see what you can do to rise above them. It will be worth your time and effort.

 

Top 10 SEO Acronyms to Know

The search engine optimization industry is loaded with acronyms, so if you’re looking to get involved in this important aspect of digital marketing, you’ll want to learn them.

Due to the array of terms, tools, programs and ideas associated with search engine optimization, there are literally hundreds of shorthand names, though. We’ve compiled ten of the most important search engine optimization acronyms you’ll want to be familiar with as you start working to optimize your website for search.

SEO

Even if you’re brand-new to search engine optimization, you probably already know that its shorthand is SEO. As the name implies, search engine optimization or SEO is a discipline developed to help websites perform well with search engines.

Search engines like Google crawl websites to find the most relevant links and information to return when users enter search terms. By optimizing your website for the most relevant keywords and utilizing SEO best practices, visitors can find your website via searches.

Getting quality organic traffic to your website via search engines is a much more affordable marketing tactic than by running costly ads through pay-per-click or PPC advertising; that’s why SEO is so crucial for any website and business!

As we continue with our list of the top ten SEO acronyms you should know, some of you might notice that most of these terms are technically initialisms, not acronyms. However, in the interest of SEO (see what we did there?), we’re using the more common “acronyms” keyword for this blog post.

SERP

A search engine results page, or SERP, describes the page displayed once you perform a search on Google. Every digital marketer and business wants to show up on page 1 of the SERPs, and that’s what SEO is all about.

At the top of any SERP on Google, you’ll first see ads. Below that, you’ll see all the organic search results based on what keywords or terms a user entered.

CTA

A CTA is any Call to Action on a webpage. Typical CTAs include text or an image that encourages the visitor to take a certain action, such as clicking a button or link to visit another page, fill out a contact form or subscribe to a newsletter.

CRO

Conversion rate optimization is a similar idea to SEO, but it focuses squarely on improving conversions on a website. By making changes to your website, marketing strategies and ads through the process of CRO, you can increase the rate at which visitors turn into conversions.

What constitutes a conversion varies by business and website, but for some, it may be downloading a PDF, submitting a form or buying a product.

CTR

The click-through rate or CTR is the ratio of users who click on a certain link or ad relative to how many users viewed the initial page or were served the ad. If you create a new landing page, and a link to that page receives ten clicks out of 1,000 total views or impressions, then the CTR is 1%.

NAP

We hope you’re not getting tired of us as we roll through the top ten SEO terms you should know, because this next one is crucial for businesses and Local SEO! NAP stands for name, address, and phone number.

Google will pull your business’s NAP listings from across multiple online directories. If these sources have a wrong or outdated phone number or address, Google might have trouble providing search engine users with accurate details on how to contact or visit your business.

Having consistent NAP across the web is vital if you want prospective customers to find your business online and offline!

CMS

A Content Management System is an online platform that makes it easy for website administrators, bloggers, business staff and digital marketers to publish and modify webpages on a website.

WordPress is the most popular Content Management System, but any proper CMS helps people of varying web skill sets and experience maintain a website.

BR

Bounce rate is a digital marketing term used when analyzing website traffic. It’s the percentage of visitors that view just one page of your website before exiting.

When you’re optimizing your website for search engines, you want to provide relevant information for the search terms and keywords users might enter. In other words, if you are keyword-stuffing terms throughout your content that don’t relate to your website, business, products or services, then users might visit your site but bounce when they find that it is not relevant to their search.

ROI

Return on Investment isn’t a term exclusive to SEO: it’s a principle used throughout the business world and anywhere that profits are to be made. When it comes to digital marketing, ROI is the amount you make from any given marketing effort compared to what you spent to achieve that result.

Search engine optimization often has a high return on investment because many SEO efforts are completely free or highly affordable to implement. However, it can take time to realize a return on your investment through SEO, as results don’t happen overnight.

MUM

Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, is a new technology developed by Google utilizing AI (Artificial Intelligence) to improve search capabilities. It’s designed to tackle more complex questions and search queries. The hope is that MUM will help users find expert answers with far fewer searches.

That wraps up our list of the top ten SEO terms, initialisms and acronyms you ought to know. If you’re intrigued by the advanced search capabilities of Google’s new MUM technology, stay tuned for more details from the fusionZONE team!

In order to grow your business online, you may be wondering whether you should invest your time and money into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC).

Both have their positives and negatives, but is one better than the other?

Let’s look at both.

Is SEO Better?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process whereby you optimize a website to appear as high in the search engine results as possible.

A massive part of this process is figuring out what the search engines want and then optimizing your web pages accordingly.

Pros of SEO:

  1. Organic traffic has staying power. Once you’re able to get your website to rank highly in the search engines, chances are good that you’ll be able to generate consistent traffic.
  2. SEO is often a less expensive option than PPC. When you compare the two traffic sources, SEO comes out the winner of the two when looking at traffic generated, as long as you’re looking at the traffic that comes once you’ve attained high rankings in the search engines.

Negatives of SEO:

  1. SEO takes time. It can take many months for your hard work to show any rewards. If you don’t have the time to wait for your website and content to rank, then SEO may not be the best option for you.
  2. You need unique and quality content. When it comes to content, people want to read the best content available. This can be a lot of work and will require research and a creative mind. If you don’t have these skills yourself, then it will benefit you to hire an expert.

Is PPC Better?

PPC, or Pay-Per-Click Advertising, is a technique that allows you to advertise in search engines, bringing immediate, targeted traffic to your website.

Pros of PPC:

  1. Quick results. Unlike SEO, where you may have to wait months to see results, it is possible to start getting substantial traffic to your website within a few hours using an effective PPC campaign.
  2. You can accurately target different demographics. When you use PPC, you will be able to target different types of people. For example, if you want to target a woman in her 30s who lives in the UK and is interested in cooking, you can target her with your ads. SEO does not give you this option.
  3. You can experiment quickly and easily. With PPC, you can set up a campaign and run A/B tests so that you can monitor what works and what doesn’t very quickly. SEO is a slower process, so it will take time to come to any conclusion regarding the success of an SEO technique.

Negatives of PPC:

  1. It can be expensive. If you are in a competitive niche, PPC can be expensive and your return on investment (ROI) may be low while you are figuring out which ads work and which don’t.
  2. Ads can become less effective. Using the same ads with every campaign will result in them becoming stale and less effective. To combat this, mix up the copy and images and refresh the ads to keep them working long-term.

Which is Better for You?

When it comes to determining whether SEO or PPC is better for your business, the answer would be that it depends.

Both are legitimate sources of traffic.

If you want quicker results, then PPC will be the better option, because SEO will take time to work.

For those with a smaller budget, SEO will be the better option, as paid ads can be expensive, especially if you don’t have experience with them.

You may want to use both SEO and PPC in tandem. When using them together, you can seriously ramp up the amount of traffic that you can get to your website!

 

2021 Service Optimization GuideYour service department can be an incredible source of traffic for your website. For many marketing companies, their focus is new and used car sales. When you really think about it, it doesn’t make much sense. According to NADA, 49% of an auto dealer’s gross profit comes from service.

So why is this lucrative part of your business so often an afterthought?

To be honest, we have no idea, but we’re OK with having competitors sleep on it! Below is a graph from one of our clients who spent years building up their organic traffic for service. The results speak for themselves. The client is now receiving a 400% increase in organic traffic.

Google Analytics Traffic Increasing over a 3 year period

Traffic of a fusionZONE Client who focused on Service

We’re sure you’re ready to start taking your service center’s profit potential seriously and powering up your website content. So, where should you begin?

Laying The Groundwork

The first thing you need to do is create a catalog of what you have on your site today. Here are some items we recommend you start with. 

  • Spend at least an hour just clicking around your service pages and taking notes. This may seem like a long time, but you will quickly find it’s not enough time. When you’re checking around your site, put yourself in the mind of your customer. What is difficult to navigate? What pages are confusing?
  • Check your links. Fixing links that don’t work or point to unintended destinations is an easy win. Ask yourself, “If I clicked on this link, am I going to the most relevant page?” If the answer is no, change it up!
  • Schedule an appointment through your own Schedule Service page. The easiest way to see through your customer’s eyes is to try to book an appointment at your own business. If you’re frustrated or confused at any point, your customers are too. Remember, most people aren’t as familiar with their vehicle and the scheduling process as someone who works in this vertical. If it’s confusing to you, it’s exponentially so for someone less familiar.
  • Aesthetics matter. If your pages don’t look that nice, then it might be time for a refresher. Your pages should be clean, easy to navigate, and have a consistent color theme. If you have images that are way too big or awkward spacing between your paragraphs, then jot those down to fix later on.
  • Ensure that every page has a CTA. We’ll touch on this later, but almost every single one of your service pages should have a link to schedule service.
  • Try to find a few pages on your site as quickly as you can. This is an odd one, but it’s actually very useful. After you have a list of all your content, pick a page out at random and try to get to it as quickly as you can. If you find it confusing or difficult to reach, then you may want to rethink your site’s layout.

While you don’t need to change anything today, keeping detailed notes on issues you had with the site will come in handy as we expand our content!

So how do you create engaging content? The best way to do this is to write from an authoritative perspective.

You’re the expert; your job is to inform the customer. Your content should be aimed at a customer with squeaky brakes or a check engine light who doesn’t know how to fix it, whether it’s an emergency, or what they can do to prevent it. So here’s a handy checklist to run through your content to ensure that this tone is being met:

  1. Be informative, but not overly technical. Remember, you’re talking to non-mechanics!
  2. Explain why it’s so important to keep your car maintenance up to date. Don’t be too grim or scary, but warn your customers of what can happen if items like brakes are not checked often enough or how a car’s life can be extended with routine oil changes.
  3. Separate your content into digestible sections. This is most likely going to be the first time your customer will be reading this information, and they’ll most likely skim through it. By having nice big headers, it’ll be easy for them to find the information they’re looking for and retain it. Nobody wants to read giant walls of text without any formatting!
  4. Use images! Not only do they help break up your content, but a lot of people are visual learners. Images ensure your information is useful to everyone.

Now that we have our content pages all listed out and we know we want to write from an authoritative perspective, let’s review the more common service pages on your website and ways we can perfect them.

Service Department Main Page

The Service Department page is your catch-all hub for all things service-related. This will usually be your highest traffic and most important page, so take extra care to make sure it’s done right.

Think of your Service Department page as a “Why shop here” page. If a customer reads your information, they should be able to easily find out:

  1. The services you offer.
  2. When you’re open.
  3. How to schedule an appointment.
  4. WHY they should schedule with you.

We heavily emphasized the last point as it’s the one that is so often left out of a dealer’s content page. Do a quick Google search for car service in your area; your customer will probably have plenty of options. But why choose you? What makes you different or better?

The most important thing on this page is to have the bulk of these questions answered above the fold of your content page. The fold of a web page is anything that shows up when you first land on it. Anything you must scroll down to see is called below the fold.

As you can see in this example, you can tell a lot about this particular service department.

DCH Paramus Honda Service Department Page

DCH Paramus Honda’s Service Department Page

You can see:

  1. Where they’re located (Paramus, NJ).
  2. That they’re a Honda OEM service provider.
  3. Their hours of operation.
  4. Why they’re better than other service departments (in two different spots: an Amenities section and “Why Service at…” on the right side).
  5. And a list of CTAs that point you to various sections on the page.

Scrolling down the page, we see the section that allows the customer to schedule their service. Take note of some important parts to this section: it explains, in 3 easy steps, how this process works. 

Scheduling a Service Appointment at DCH Paramus Honda

Schedule service section on the Service Department page

This reduces customer confusion!

Don’t just drop a form on your page and hope your customers can figure it out: demonstrate how easy it is to complete, and you’ll see an uptick in service requests.

Don’t forget: customers love options to book their appointment. Include a phone number here for mobile that allows the customer to call your department directly. That way, if they have any difficulties or questions, they can easily connect with your team!

Other Sections to Include on Your Service Department Page

While the above the fold summary and your schedule service CTAs are the most important pieces to the puzzle, there are several other sections that you can (and should!) include on your page. These are:

  1. Links to your services offered.
  2. More information on why they should service at your location.
  3. A list of team members (with photos!).
  4. Any OEM-specific information.
  5. A link to your accessories page.

Your Service Department page should be by far the most extensive of your service section, so don’t fret if it feels like a lot! Having a big page shows your dedication to ensuring that the customer has a good experience.

Schedule Service Page

While your Service Department page is the foundation of your content, the Schedule Service page is where your efforts will be rewarded. It’s not enough to rank better or get more traffic; you have to actually get more business!

So how do we optimize this page?

Schedule Service Page for a Fixed Ops Dealership

An example schedule service page

A lot of service centers use a 3rd party plugin to schedule service appointments. These tools are popular as they allow repeat customers to log in and see their service history at your business. They’re usually simple to use, so customers like them.

Your other option is a simple web form. If properly optimized, they get the job done as well. Unlike 3rd party tools, you can actually control what appears on a web form.

Follow these steps to get more form fills out of your online service scheduler:

  1. Keep your form short and to the point.
  2. Add a dropdown menu for the type of service that your customer wants.
  3. Add a way for a customer to be able to call your team right from the page.

It’s really that simple.

The best thing you can do is to ensure every content page has a CTA that takes the customer to the Schedule Service page. A customer should be able to get to the Schedule Service page just by clicking on a button rather than digging through your menu.

As for content on this page, you don’t need a ton here. There will be so many links pointing toward the page that search engines like Google will know what to do with it without 1000 words of content. Often, you’ll see this page and your Service Department ranking well.

Don’t you wish they were all that simple?

Specific Services

Now comes to the meat and potatoes of your content: your services. These pages are supplementary to your main two pages (Service Department and Schedule Service) and describe in detail what services you provide.  We’ll cover the common services and how to create great content for them.

Keep one thing in mind: you’ll need a strategy to add your content in a clean, organized way. Adding a ton of links to your menu is no good: you’ll confuse both your customers AND Google. So how do you organize your content?

Solution: the hub page.

A hub page of automotive repair services, inlcuding car batteries, warning lights, and oil changes

An example of a Service Hub

 

A hub page is an overview page where the main content is linked to other pages. You can check out an example of a hub page here. The goal of a hub page is to take links that would otherwise be in your menu and add them within your content.

Hub pages are terrific for SEO. They’re pretty, organized, and give search engines an easy-to-understand format on how your content is structured.

You’ll most likely need your website provider to help with the basic formatting. But once it’s up and running, it’s simple to add pages and keep the content flowing.

Just as a rule of thumb, a blog is not a hub page. Blogs are for your weekly/monthly content, not pages that are the cornerstone of your business.

Now, let’s run through the most common pages that will be on your site!

Oil Changes

Oil changes are the bread and butter of most service operations. More likely than not, your customers will want to know the following information:

  1. How often should I get an oil change?
  2. What does an oil change prevent?
  3. What type of oil should my car be using?
  4. Does the type of car that I have change what I should be getting?
  5. How does the process work?

Here’s an example of a website with a great paragraph on this.

How often you get an oil change depends on the type of car you have, how new it is, etc. It is recommended that your vehicle gets an oil change about every 5,000 miles, depending on your vehicle's make and model and the severity of your driving conditions. There are some factors that affect how often you need an oil change. If any of the following are true for you, you should consider getting an oil change more often than every 5,000 miles. Heavy acceleration or high-speed driving you live in an extremely hot or cold environment, you often drive on dirt roads, your engine is old and burns oil, your vehicle carries heavy loads. Many people do not know exactly what is involved and the procedures that are completed when they take their vehicle in to get an oil change. Here are the basics of what you can expect during an oil change, so you know what is being put into your vehicle to help it run longer and more efficiently.

A great example of oil change content

In addition to the above, we recommend you touch on oil grades as well. If you’re in a traditionally warm region like the Southeast United States or one where the weather changes rapidly like the Northeast, pointing out that it affects what kind of oil you need or how often you need to change it is helpful.

Battery

Identifying and replacing faulty batteries or connections is a common ticket item for most service centers. There are several questions your customers may have about this service:

  1. How often should I change my battery?
  2. What’s a battery’s expected lifespan?
  3. Does weather affect my battery?
  4. When can I suspect a faulty battery?
  5. How do I do a better job at taking care of my vehicle’s battery?
Battery Life Expectancy Zones in the United States

An informational graph depicting battery life expectations zones

While you’ll certainly want to answer some of these questions after the inspection, it might be a good idea to address them beforehand. As mentioned above, use graphs like the one below to clarify and educate your site visitors.

Brakes

Brakes are an interesting content segment because there’s so many symptoms that could lead to a customer coming into your shop with an inquiry.

Some of the more common questions surround the topics of:

  1. Brake warning lights
  2. Brakes grabbing
  3. A hard or soft brake pedal
  4. Brakes pulling
  5. Brakes squealing
  6. Vibrating while breaking

Tire Pressure

For tire pressure, we find most users search for content when their tire pressure monitoring system (or TPMS) light turns on. Content for these pages is fairly straightforward; warn customers about the dangers of driving their vehicle with underinflated tires and how to fix it.

Commonly, a subject that may come up is the difference between Direct and Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. Dedicating a portion of your content to these topics is well worth your time as they receive a lot of search queries.

Alignment

Alignment is another standard of routine maintenance. Of course, most searches are focused on the question of when or how often, as in “when should I get my vehicle’s steering aligned?”

But there’s another side to alignment: the benefits of having a properly aligned vehicle. Mentioning items like better fuel mileage or a longer lifespan of your tires is often a strong incentive.

Obviously, there are several types of alignment that companies offer, such as front-end, thrust angle, and four-wheel alignment. Ensure that you cover all these topics thoroughly. It would be wise to mention the benefit of adjusting the toe (and using images to demonstrate, like below).

An alignment type chart, including negative camber, positive camber, toe in, toe out, negative caster, positive caster

Using images like this can help explain complicated topics

Routine Maintenance

If you have an itching for charts and checklists, a routine maintenance page is just what you’re looking for.

Many OEMs provide a full list of mileage-to-service checklists. Specific OEM maintenance is also around 3-4x higher search volume than generic routine maintenance. This makes a lot of sense as most customers want information pertaining to their exact make and model.

Ensure that this page includes all of your recommendations. It might be a lot of work, but it’s worth the effort.

The routine checkup page is also an excellent area to include a list of what your service center looks at during regular inspections. That list might look like this:

Tune-Up Checklist: Check, clean, or replace battery and battery cable,, Inspect or replace brake pads, Check or flush brake fluid, Check or flush transmission fluid, Check or flush power steering fluid, Check or flush engine coolant(Radiator), Inspect or replace spark plugs or spark plug wires, Inspect or replace air filter, Inspect or replace timing belt or timing chain, Inspect or replace all other belts, Check all lights, Check to see if rubber boots or covers are cracked and replace if necessary, Test electronics, i.e., Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Read fault codes from the engine's control units (computer diagnostic).

Check lists are great for making easily sharable lists

Warning Lights

The final section is a comprehensive list of warning lights and what they mean. Even though most of us have an owner’s manual stored in the glove box, we’ll quickly pull out our phones for a Google search when that scary red light comes on.

You can capture that search traffic by having a dedicated page that explains what these lights are, what you can do about them, and whether they require immediate attention.

Wrapping Up

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the bottom! We hope that you find this content guide helpful in your attempt to conquer your corner of the internet and dominate search results.

If you ever need help, please connect with us to discuss any specific problems or questions you may have for your site.

 

 

 

Coversion Rate Optimization

A 15-Minute Check Can Create More Opportunities and Sales!

Feeling like your web presence just isn’t clicking the way it used to? Not getting enough business? Worried about the competition?

Many of our customers come to us with the same questions. If you’re searching for answers, a fresh website is a great place to start.

Often, the solution is usually much simpler and is a better use of your time than a massive overhaul: your SRP and VDP probably just need to be revisited. With some minor changes, you could see a massive boost to your lead generation!

In this article, we’re going to share our secret sauce for generating high-quality leads. These are easy to do yourself without bringing in support teams.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a way of increasing the number of users who perform an intended action on a website, which can be buying a product, signing up for a service, or clicking ‘add to cart’.

Why Should You Care About CRO?

Because that’s how you sell more cars! Your operational management team’s goal is crafting your floor team into a conveyor belt that turns customers into sales. Why wouldn’t you want your website to operate on the same principle?

There is a ton that goes into a successful website and CRO is among the most important items. CRO is about the long game. You’ll find it well worth your effort.

How Do You Calculate Conversion Rates?

Conversion rate can be calculated by using this formula:

(leads generated ÷ website traffic) * 100 = Your conversion rate %!

So if your website gets an average of 200 leads and 5000 sessions (using Google Analytics as a tracker) per month, your conversion rate would be:

(200 ÷ 5000) * 100 = 4% Conversion Rate

 

What Counts as a Conversion?

This is the part that we believe some people overlook. In our humble opinion, you should only be reviewing anything that can be converted into a sale.

This means calls, website chats, and lead generation forms (inventory, finance, trade-ins, service requests, etc.) that lead to sales.

This does not mean form starts (but not finished!) or landing page views.

Landing page views and form engagement are incredibly important to building an audience profile, but they do not count as conversions.

How Do You Track Your Conversions?

There are several tools available to you that you can use to track your conversion, such as

  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Your website CMS

Ask your website provider how they track conversions and if you need assistance setting them up. They might already be tracking them as far as you know!

If you are using a 3rd-party provider for your financing applications, get in touch with your support representative and they will most likely know how to connect all of your conversion tracking tools to your analytics platform of choice.

What is a Good Conversion Rate?

Now that you understand what CRO is and how to track it, what do you do if you find out your results are poor? Do you need to change everything up or make minor adjustments?

The answer is the most important response in all of web design. Ready?

It depends.

That’s not very helpful, we know! Let’s dive in and get to a more actionable solution.

The commonly accepted average conversion rate for web leads in the automotive vertical is around 1.5%.

This number will fluctuate. Don’t panic if you’re at 1.51% and a new study comes out that says the floor is 1.75%.

Why? Ultimately, this number is useless for you. This may be surprising due to all the sales pitches from digital marketing companies. But it’s the truth.

The reason why it’s not very useful is because your conversion rate depends on several factors completely out of your control. These can be:

  • Location: Rural vs. Urban
  • Region of the Country: (the southeast of the U.S. is far more hospitable to a Get Best Price button than the northeast)
  • OEM: A Honda dealer will receive more leads than most Acura dealers. If you can afford an NSX, you probably aren’t likely to put in a lead online.

If you’re a Chevrolet dealer near Atlanta, GA, you would not be as shocked to learn that your website operates on a 10% conversion rate on web leads. If you said that you’re an Acura dealer in the northeast and you are pulling a 6%, we’d be more impressed.

Keep this in mind!

 

Your Website is Your Digital Showroom

Here are some tricks and strategies to help you improve your website conversions.

SRPs and VDPs: Keep It Simple!

First things first, a clean, simple website will usually outperform one that is a visual nightmare. If things start to look busy to you, the website owner, they are likely twice as confusing for a customer. Good UI/UX (user interface/user experience) is crucial!

In short: simplicity wins.

 

Call to Action

Automotive Dealer Inventory Calls to Actions

 

Your call-to-action (or CTA) should be readable and clickable on both mobile and desktop. These are the most important items on your site besides your inventory!

On your SRPs, keep your calls to action minimal. Remember, this is the first time a customer is viewing this inventory. Reduce your CTAs to the absolute minimum.

Customers can become paralyzed by choice and will ultimately decide to move on. If you keep your CTAs simple, it’s easier for a customer to focus on finding a vehicle with the right price and less on all myriad of options and considerations they could be making.

CTAs should also create a sense of urgency.  “Check Availability” is one of the least performing CTAs you could possibly use. Most customers know that if they see the vehicle on the site, you most likely have one in stock. And if you don’t, they definitely know you can get them one.

If you’re adding a third or more CTAs, ask yourself: “Is this absolutely necessary to have right here on this page?” If it’s not, dump it. Your customers will appreciate it.

Price is a larger determining factor for a customer’s inclination to submit a lead. “Get Our Best Price” is still one of the best lead-submission generating lines around.

If you have digital retailing tools, focus more on utility. “Get Financed” or “Start Checkout” do not really cut it in our experience. You’re more likely to pique someone’s interest with “Build Your Deal” (as they aren’t feeling the pressure to finish right here, right now).

Images

Another important piece is ensuring your vehicles have images of the vehicle. The vehicle could do well to swap out the stock photo for an actual image. Seeing the vehicle is one of the largest deciding factors to whether or not someone submits a lead!

Pricing

It may seem obvious, but you could have a website designed by Amazon themselves and if your truck is $3,000 more expensive on your site than a competitor’s down the road, customer are not likely to give you their information. They’re calling the other listing.

Make sure your pricing is competitive. We recommend tweaking the following:

  1. Showing discounts before or after the Best Price lead is submitted.
  2. Deciding whether to use Best Price at all.
  3. When compliant, using a red strikethrough to indicate a greater price beyond the Best Price.

If you change your pricing, be sure to change your CTA verbiage as well to match. You do not want to claim there is a better price beyond a CTA only to show nothing!

Forms

This one also seems relatively simple, but it’s missed all the time. Make your customers do the least amount of work possible. That means lowering how many forms you require them to submit or filling out the least amount of information on them. This applies to your service forms, credit applications, SRP/VDP Best price forms; all of them. If you don’t like filling them out yourself, your customers won’t like them either.

Requiring a name, address, phone number, and email address is often too much. If you’re struggling to generate incoming leads, only require name, address, and your preference between email or phone number. Another possibility is to let your customers choose which of the two they prefer. Requiring both can be overkill.

Think Outside the SRP

Reviews also play a huge part into a customer’s likelihood that they submit a lead.

There are two factors that goes into this: average rating and number of reviews. If you have a 5.0 rating on Google, that’s great! If there are only two reviews, that’s less great.

Think of everyone’s favorite ecommerce site: Amazon.

Amazon Shopping Review Features

 

Obviously, you shouldn’t copy everything from Amazon. We created a three-part feature on that mindset, after-all.  But there are some features that are worth mentioning.

Amazon lets you sort through their inventory from highest to lowest reviews.

Anecdotally, most people who use Amazon swear by shopping with this filter. It’s human nature to not to be first to take the plunge on a brand-new

Ask yourself: why would a customer take a chance on your dealership if you’re sporting a 3.0 average and only 20 reviews? Quality and quantity count.

Customer service very much translates into the digital world. Keep this in mind and get happy customers to leave you glowing reviews online.

Videos – More Important Than Ever

A massive change from 2020 to 2021 is the necessity to have video content on your website. Due to COVID-19, shoppers became accustomed to shopping online at a rate that has never been seen before.

No longer will your text descriptions and feature lists suffice!

Now, you’ll need to showcase your inventory with video walkarounds and feature overviews so that customers can have the showroom experience right from the comfort of their couch.

Our recommendations for improving your video walkarounds can be found in this article made by fusionZONE Automotive. The key points you should take from it are:

  1.  Schedule your videos in advance
  2. Take your time and be thorough / be detailed
  3. Have a way for your customers to follow-up for more information

Don’t feel pressured to make a video for every vehicle on your lot tomorrow. Do them in chunks, week by week, and make it a habit Before you know it, it’ll be a natural part of your process and you’ll reap the benefits of a higher time on site and more conversions!

Test, Test, and Test Some More

One of the best pieces of advices is to take it slow and change only a few small things at a time. A/B split-testing can help save you a lot of headaches in the future! Believe us, it’s the worst feeling changing a website’s layout only to find it performs worse than before and getting a third of the leads. For example, you could change one vehicle’s layout, then see if it’s working over the course of a month, then apply it to the rest.

We hope you find these tips and tricks useful! For more exclusive strategies on how to boost your online presence, subscribe to our newsletter! We’ll send the latest issues directly to you so you can stay ahead of the curve.

We all know the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s how we get Google to rank our websites and businesses at the top of the search results page. Now that you’ve done that, you’re hearing you need something called Local SEO, and you’re probably wondering, what is local SEO?

National SEO focuses on Google searches happening across the country, while local SEO focuses on a specific area.

Local SEO is essential to businesses that operate regionally, not nationally. A company like Amazon doesn’t need Local SEO because Amazon is everywhere. However, a local mom-and-pop bookstore or car dealership that serves their customers face-to-face needs local SEO. Any brick-and-mortar business that operates in a specific city will benefit from maximizing its local SEO efforts.

Which, of course, begs the question, how do you maximize your local SEO? Here are four quick tips on how you can optimize your local SEO.

Doing so will bring more traffic to your website and help you convert search traffic to sales.

     1. Create a Google My Business Account

A Google My Business (GMB) page is a great tool to boost your local SEO. When you create a GMB, you must complete all the fields on the form with accurate information. Answering every question is essential and will ensure that your customers can find you and prevent anyone from updating your page with inaccurate information.

Standard fields include business name, address, phone number, email address, and operating hours.

A GMB page will appear in Google search results and help bring awareness to your website. An added benefit is Google will automatically create a Google Maps location for your business, immediately boosting your local SEO efforts. If Google knows how to find you, it can help your customers find you, which is the name of the game.

You should also include pictures and videos of your business and upload new content weekly. By continually updating your GMB page and curating it, you will engage with your customers and make them feel like they already know their way around your store before they step through your doors.

     2. Request Reviews From Your Customers

Before Arrowhead and Sparkletts came along, humans drank from watering holes. But how do you know if the water’s safe to drink? You watch your friends drink first. If other people are drinking from the waterhole, you assume it’s safe.

The idea of social proof and peer affirmation is still in our DNA today. People buy from who they know and trust. Referrals are a great way to generate business, but if someone stumbles upon your website through a Google search, they’ll likely want to see what other people have to say about you. They’ll also want to know how you handle both positive and negative reviews.

By getting reviews from your shoppers, you begin to build a watering hole that’s familiar to locals. But it’s not enough to only request reviews. You also have to respond. At first, when you’re only receiving a few reviews, it’s important to respond to all of them. If you start to receive more than 25 reviews-per-day, you can be more selective.

By engaging with the people who leave reviews, you can help your search results because more people interact with your page. Your answers are also a strategic opportunity for you to include SEO keywords.

Reviews help your business stand out and make your GMB take up more real estate on the Google Search Results Page. A positive review can help you rank higher than almost any other SEO best practice.

     3. Optimize Your Website For Mobile Devices

More people search the internet on their phones than on their computers. If your page doesn’t load correctly and quickly on a mobile device, people won’t look at your page. They’ll hit the back button and go onto the next page. It’s as simple as that.

If you have an iPhone, Google your page. Does it load quickly? Is the formatting correct? Now borrow somebody’s Android and do the same thing. If your website isn’t loading for you, it’s not loading for your customers.

The first thing you need to do is compress all photos and videos on your website. Big file sizes slow down the loading speed of your website.

Optimizing your website for mobile use is critical to Local SEO because people will find your website when they’re out and about. People will be out shopping, realize they need the thing you sell, Google it, and your business will appear. Then they’ll click on it to call you or see if you have the item listed on your website. When your website loads quickly, people will find your business, walk through your doors, and you’ll get more in-store traffic.

     4. Incorporate Local Attractions

Think about popular searches in your area. Do any popular attractions or landmarks immediately come to mind? If so, incorporate them into your meta, URL slug lines, and content. If you own a restaurant in Anaheim, California, include references to “restaurant near Disneyland” or “happy hour near Disneyland.”

You have a local business, and you want Local SEO for it. Including local attractions will ingratiate you as a local.

By creating an accurate GMB, engaging with your customers online, optimizing your website, and incorporating local destinations, you’ll boost your Local SEO rankings and increase your sales.

Benefits of An Optimized Google My Business Profile

The first question you might be asking is, what is a Google business profile?

A Google My Business (GMB) profile is a one-stop-shop for a customer to learn all the necessary contact information for your business, such as the address, hours of operation, phone number, website, customer reviews, etc.

It is a great way to boost your business’s visibility and increase your SEO rankings at the same time. The point of SEO is to make your website appear at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), and a GMB helps to do just that.

The idea of GMB is for business owners to continually manage their online presence and update the information that we used to find in the phone book.

Since a GMB includes your location, or it should, creating a listing is a great way to get local exposure.

So, what should you include in your GMB? And once you have a GMB profile, how do you make the most out of it?

Two common questions. Let’s answer them.

     1. What Should You Include In Your Google My Business?

When you create a GMB, you’ll receive a form questionnaire from Google. It’s important to answer every question and provide accurate, detailed information. Standard information is your business address, hours of operation, business category, reviews, phone number/email address.

There are three reasons why it’s crucial to answer every question:

  1. You don’t want a customer searching for your phone number and being unable to find it.
  2. The general public can fill in any missing information to your listing, so you don’t want to risk inaccurate information.
  3. When you enter an address, a Google Maps location automatically generates for your business. And you want people to find you.

In your business description, you have 750 characters to add some strategic SEO keywords that tell someone a bit more about your business and what makes you unique.

     2. How do you make the most of your google business profile?

You’ve done it. You’ve created your profile. Now what? Here are three quick tips that will help you make the most of your GMB.

     1. Add Pictures and Video

People like to see content and get a sense of your business. With photos and video, you can showcase what makes your business stand out and give people a sense of what to expect when they visit you, so they feel like they’ve been there before.

By adding pictures and video, you create a sense of familiarity. Bonus tip: when you upload photos, be sure to label them appropriately and with SEO keywords. If you own “Bob’s Chevy Dealership in California,” instead of uploading “001.jpg,” label the photo “BobsChevyCAShowroom.”

     2. Engage with Your Customers Through Reviews

When someone takes the time to review your business, take a moment to respond. You can thank the person for leaving a review and visiting your business, but it’s important to acknowledge their review. Responding to a review will also give you a chance to include SEO keywords in your reply, but be sure to keep it sounding like a human wrote it.

If there’s a negative review, don’t let it go unchecked. See what the issue is, acknowledge it, and show other potential customers how you handle a complaint.

Reviews are a common way for customers to ask you questions. Maybe you’re opening a new store soon, and they want to know when it’ll be open. Perhaps a new model is coming out, and they want to see if you have it in stock. By answering questions, you bring in customers, boost your engagement, and improve your SEO ranking.

This brings us to our final step.

     3. Check it regularly

After you create your GMB page, you have to check it regularly.

How often do you come across another business’s GMB page and find the wrong information? Maybe you call the phone number or try the email address, and they don’t work?

Are the hours correct? The last thing you want is for an excited customer to arrive at your front door only to be greeted by a Closed Sign.

How many customers is that business losing because their contact information is wrong and they’ve failed to update their information? Don’t let that happen to you.

Don’t let your GMB Page sit idle. A GMB is a living document and not something you can set and forget. By posting weekly photos and responding to reviews and questions regularly, your business will grow a local customer base, and your SEO rankings will rise.