Facebook Ads - Fusionzone automotiveOver the years, Google has firmly established itself as the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to search ads. After all, it is, without a doubt, the most used search engine. And, because of that, enjoys the monetary benefits from many ads. 

In the automotive industry, to gain valuable traffic from in-market consumers, dealers compete with manufacturers and third-party lead providers for key search terms. The manufacturers and third-party listing services have a much bigger search engine marketing budget than most dealers, so it can be difficult for dealers to compete. 

Ah, but what about Facebook?

For early adopters, Facebook was the buried treasure that others had yet to find. But has since grown enormously and businesses enjoy the targeted reach, branding opportunities and leads that a correctly configured Facebook ad campaign can bring. 

And now it could be getting even better. 

According to Search Engine Journal, Facebook has quietly begun testing search ads for its advertisers. What does that mean? Instead of being limited to distance, demographics, and interests, you will shortly be able to target Facebook users by their searches a la Google. 

While the data set that Facebook uses for targeting is massive, it can be hit or miss. However, similar to Google search keywords, a Facebook user searching “used cars Dallas, Texas,” or “used Chevrolets Dallas, Texas,” is likely to be much lower funnel, and much more relevant for you to target with ads. And quite possibly not even part of the targeting your dealership uses. Not every buyer is the same, and their interests vary. BUT that doesn’t mean qualified buyers don’t exist outside of your dealership’s usual targeting demographics. 

The benefit to you is that not many dealerships are yet using this feature. It could translate into an advantage over the competition. Also, you may be able to pick the low-hanging fruit, which falls outside the demographics you were previously targeting. There is nothing more powerful than targeting users by search intent. 

Unlike, Google, Facebook search results are primarily powered by the information on a dealership’s Facebook page. This information is NOT as complicated as most websites. Dealerships who properly optimize the information on their Facebook page; and who run targeted search ads on Facebook (when it is widely available); could easily enjoy a good return on investment

I’m not at all advocating that dealerships abandon Google AdWords. Instead, that dealerships utilize this new Facebook targeting method in conjunction with their existing Facebook and Google Ad campaigns. They may be able to quickly ramp up the results of search ad budgets.

 

One critical best practice that helps drive more traffic to your website is to continuously create new content. Google crawls websites to find relevant content to provide more accurate results to searchers. However, it is sometimes hard to come up with content ideas that will be of interest to your audience.

 

Pounding your head against a desk, trying to think of good content ideas simply makes it more frustrating. Ever heard of writer’s block? It’s the same thing. Even bestselling authors experience it.

 

But the best thing about providing new content on the dealership side is that there are so many possibilities. The trick is to ensure that it is content your consumers want to read or watch.

 

Sure, you can create all of the “Why is a radiator flush important?” or new model reviews and all sorts of other information. Don’t get me wrong, these topics are a great start. However, you want your website to stand out. The problem is that many of these topics are already employed by your competition. At least those dealers who are actually trying.

 

So, how do you know what type of content will set your dealership apart from your competition? Listen to your customers and prospects!

Your prospective and existing customers will give you a roadmap showing you all the relevant topics you should create content around. And the way to discover the information they want to know is to listen to the questions your customers most frequently ask.

Your customers are your most valuable source of content inspiration that you have. And in many cases, the questions you are receiving are also questions that other consumers are searching for.

 

An article in Search Engine Journal shared a couple of good ways to identify the best questions to ask.

  1. Call Tracking: Many dealerships employ a vendor for call tracking. These services also record conversations which management and employees can access and listen to. These recording can provide a wealth of content ideas. And they are easy to identify. You know, the ones where you roll your eyes and cry out, “Not this question again!” These are the EXACT topics which make the best content ideas!
  1. Your CRM: Your dealership likely gets a constant stream of questions from consumers that are in contact with you. Whether those communications are via website leads, chat conversations or some other source, they should all go into your CRM.

 

Take a look at your CRM conversations, and you should be able to find some handy repetitive questions.

  1. Your Employees: If you have a BDC, Internet Manager, or someone in your dealership responsible for handling customer communications, ask them for the top 5 questions they continuously have to answer. If they created a template because they are so tired of answering them, that’s an even better indicator that content on that topic is needed.

 

Providing fresh, new, relevant content consistently, helps you answer those questions consumers most want answered. It also helps you attract more eyeballs to your website through relevant search results. Your website becomes an information source to your existing customers. And, prospective customers are more likely to find you simply because you have answered the questions they want to be answered.

 

Also, that is what search engines will recognize. It is also why they will deliver your content to searchers first and how you will get more people on your website. This can only result in more sales and service revenue.

 

Stop banging your head against the wall in search of content ideas and start listening to the questions people ask. As a result, you should attract more customers, increase your organic search page rank, convert more site visitors into customers, and increase customer retention.

In a quick review of dealership’s websites, I find that many are almost entirely sales focused and tend to neglect the one department that brings the most significant percentage of profit… service. Go ahead. Take a look at a few dealership websites. Service tends to be the red-headed stepchild; often neglected and forgotten. Yet it accounts for 50% or more of a dealership’s revenue.

 

In fact, just 10%, or even less of most dealer websites are dedicated to service, according to an article in Automotive News. Sounds like a bit of an imbalance, doesn’t it?

 

One dealer decided to change that. Feldman Automotive Group increased service-related content on almost all of its websites and, since late 2018, has seen visitor traffic increase by 60%. Perhaps more importantly, customer pay revenue increased by 32% in the first 3 months of 2019!

 

Service-related content is frequently searched for by consumers, yet many dealerships neglect to provide any information at all about this section of their business. In many cases, service coupons and specials are either outdated or non-existent. Keep in mind that any consumers who look at your dealership’s website for service information – and then find none – will simply continue to search and, in many cases, will find that information provided by an independent repair facility such as Jiffy Lube. And they are aggressive, transparent, and current in their pricing and services – which consumers seem to like.

 

In this highly competitive market, it makes sense to produce more service-related content for your website. Be sure to keep your service coupons current, be transparent, and provide information and pricing for your most popular service packages and what they include. Consider having a service director shoot a quick video about why customers should service at your dealership – what the benefits are of getting their vehicle serviced at a franchise dealer versus an independent, for example.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a customer come in for routine maintenance and not just warranty service? If you fail to provide the reasons why a customer should choose you over an independent, the consumer may well choose price and convenience, even if your dealership is competitive.

 

Most dealerships share the reasons why a consumer should buy a car from them. That’s a no-brainer. But too few share why consumers should service their car there as well. In my opinion, the ultimate outcome of neglecting service content and information on your website is just one thing – lost revenue.

 

Hey, it has been proven to work. If Feldman can increase customer pay by 32%; surely it’s worth putting at least a little time and effort into creating that service content. Think about creating blogs (both written and video) with topics such as how to pair your iPhone to the in-vehicle entertainment system, as well as specific services you offer and why they are essential. It is also great to highlight your service personnel, their achievements and training, along with the same message of quality, customer service, professionalism, and convenience that you probably already market in your sales messages.

 

Now, while adding service content to your website is great, taking it one step further is even better. Personally, I recommend specialized service websites as they are a great way to bring more customers into your automotive service and maintenance facility. These sites should be optimized with unique content about all things vehicle maintenance, repair, and service. Let your potential and existing customers know that they can count on you to not only sell them a great vehicle but to keep it in excellent condition. If you drive traffic to your service website, it will also drive more traffic to your main website, meaning you’ll have more people viewing your inventory, so it’s a win-win!

If you up your digital footprint as far as vehicle service is concerned, you should see an increase in service revenue and customer pay ROs. These customers can quickly become loyal brand advocates who you can win over as lifetime customers and also capture future sales from referrals.

 

Make your service department easy to find by providing the type of content consumers are looking for. Become the resource they turn to for information and your efforts could soon result in precisely what your business wants… more profit and more customers.

 

Next Generation Tools Enable Dealers To Contact Customers In Under 6 Seconds, Converting Leads Into Sales
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calf., January 7, 2018 – fusionZONE Automotive, LLC, the automotive industry’s highest-performing dealer website solution, today announced the launch of two lead generation tools, FastRing and FastPrice. These tools enable dealers to instantly generate competitive pricing on a prospective customer’s screen and contact them in under 6 seconds, converting more leads into sales.

 

“Consumers spend more and more time shopping online for a vehicle and expect to get the information they want in real time,” said Brett Sutherlin, FusionZONE Founder. “The days of car dealers withholding prices from potential customers are in the past. When the consumer requests pricing online, they want that information FAST! Unfortunately, many potential customers will leave a dealership website because they had to wait too long, or never received the information at all and went elsewhere,” Sutherlin continued.

 

FastPrice gives customers a “no haggle” price in just two clicks. The customer chooses a vehicle, clicks the “get today’s best price button,” and fills out a simple contact form. Behind the scenes, FastPrice crunches the numbers according to the dealer’s pricing structure, displays the best price instantly on the screen, and sends the dealer the lead.

 

FastPrice can be customized and programmed to give additional options to the information the consumer requested. For example, many dealerships use FastPrice to display new car alternatives or even a Certified or Pre-Owned option in addition to the information and price requested.

 

Dealers using FastPrice see a lift in leads of 100 to 400 percent, which in turn results in more sales. Capital Toyota in Chattanooga, TN, went from averaging 60 leads per month to approximately 432 leads per month, and new and used vehicle sales soared from about 180 a month to over 250.

 

FastPrice and FastRing are highly effective stand-alone products but also work exceptionally well together to make a positive first impression, increase website conversion rates and stop shoppers in their tracks.

 

“We live in a world of fast; fast cars, fast food, faster checkout. Consumers don’t want to wait; they want everything now. In this new car buying era, internet shoppers are no different. You have to grab your customers before they leave your website or a third-party website that features your vehicles, and certainly before they get distracted by another crazy cat video,” said Sutherlin.

 

According to a recent MIT study, the average consumer leaves a website within 30-45 seconds after requesting more information. With FastPrice they get that information immediately. Then, with FastRing they can still be on the dealer’s website when the salesperson receives the lead and calls the customer — all within 6 seconds. FastRing instantly connects the dealership to the customer while they are still browsing the website, dramatically reducing the likelihood of them visiting a competitor site.

 

“With FastRing you are in contact with a lead before the customer has time to click away or even check their email. FastRing connects you with a lead instantly, faster than your competition could ever dream off. First impressions are ones that last and fast impressions are ones that sell,” Sutherlin added.

 

FastRing integrates with 3rd party applications creating instant connections from any lead source. It includes an extensive administration portal with 24/7 access to call data including call recordings and real-time statistics.

 

FastRing and FastPrice will are launching at the 2019 NADA show, January 25-27, 2019, at booth 7935W. For more information, view this video https://tinyurl.com/y7637fc9.

 

To schedule a booth visit, /or a demo, visit: https://www.fzautomotive.com/nada/

 

About fusionZONE Automotive, LLC

 

fusionZONE Automotive offers automotive dealers the nation’s fastest, most cutting-edge customized and responsive websites. With the sole objective of driving website conversions and leads, fusionZONE Automotive websites help dealers sell more cars.

 

fusionZONE also offers complete, progressive digital marketing solutions, streamlining the digital process for dealerships of all sizes.

 

fusionZONE Automotive websites are designed to not only garner as much traffic as possible for dealer clients, but also to actively convert that traffic into leads and sales.

 

fusionZONE is based in Pacific Palisades, CA Lakeland, FL and Seattle, WA.

 

Media Contact:

(424) 330-2356

marketing@fzautomotive.com


In this blog, I’d like to talk a little bit about American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and your websites, quickly covering some emerging issues and simple corrective actions you can take.
If you are an auto dealer in Florida or New York, your website is likely under scrutiny by lawyers representing potential customers. They review your site to see if it is accessible to potential customers with disabilities, as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act. In 2018, there were over 2,200 ADA compliance lawsuits filed – with almost 1,600 of them being in New York alone. The challenge of accessibility for dealers is made harder by a lack of agreement on the definition of “ADA Compliant” in the courts. Also, sites with large inventories and technical details, such as VIN numbers, are particularly difficult to make accessible.
As a dealer, what are you to do? The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed a set of standards – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – which are now on their second version. Dealer websites should meet at least WCAG 2.1 Level A accessibility guidelines at a minimum and should strive to meet Level AA guidelines where practical. These guidelines focus on four areas known as POUR:
 

  • Perceivable – the tags and directions on the site should be evident and give the user a sense for what the form, button or link does.
  • Operable – the site should be navigable with a keyboard or a mouse.
  • Understandable – any messages and directions should be written clearly.
  • Robust – the design should work with most browsers and assistive technologies.

The W3C has a quick review checklist for accessibility to assess your current website for accessibility against WCAG requirements. As a dealer, you should take a few minutes and check your sites, identify any obvious areas of weakness, and work with your website provider and digital marketing agency to bring the site in line with the WCAG 2.1 A Standards.
When fusionZONE builds a website, we start with an approach that is designed to meet WCAG 2.1 A Standards:
 

  • All images uploaded to an FZ dealer’s site can be configured with an ‘alt’ text by the user.
  • FZ’s new web platform removes the need to use PDFs, as the responsive web platform was designed and built using text-based formats and is compatible with leading assistive technologies.
  • FZ provides the tools necessary to ensure our dealer’s websites have every opportunity to remain compliant with this standard. However, please note that brand compliance standards impact the ability of the solution to always meet optimal standards right out of the box– think colors and red-green color blindness, for instance.
  • FZ gives users (dealers) the tools and options to choose colors, sizing and font settings and the ability to implement color schemes to align with the dealer’s brand, where possible. A dealer maintains ultimate control over its website visitors’ web experience, and as such, can sometimes override brand and compliance guidelines.
  • FZ website tools enable a dealer to frame-in a video on their website and to also include related videos on their Vehicle Details Page (VDP). In both cases, if the video includes an audio description (text captions, etc.), the video and supporting elements will render correctly on the dealer’s FZ website.
  • We offer Audioeye (www.audioeye.com) as an add-on which provides voice navigation and other accessibility options.

Will this prevent an enterprising lawyer from suing your dealership? No. Will using a fusionZONE website, focusing on accessibility in design and applying available accessibility tools reduce your exposure and risk? Yes.
 

Se Habla español?


Many dealerships reap the benefits of employing staff that speak fluent Spanish for the simple reason that an increasing number of Spanish speakers frequent today’s dealerships for both sales and service. Language barriers can be a problem when it comes to service recommendation upsells or relaying the value of a vehicle, its features and, ultimately, a deal the customer can understand.
If you cannot communicate fluently with a significant demographic portion of your market area, your dealership could be losing a considerable amount of money in revenue from service declines and lost sales.
It’s one thing to have a Spanish speaking employee who can converse with customers in a way they understand. But what about engaging them when they aren’t at the dealership? How do you do that? Via your website!
According to the 2016 Census, Hispanics comprised 17 percent of the population of the United States; that is around 55 million people. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2060, Hispanics will make up 28 percent of the population. As a result, there will soon be 119 million U.S. residents of Hispanic descent, some of whom will speak English as a second language and perhaps need assistance from a Spanish-speaking employee.
Today’s car buyers conduct a majority of their research online, and that is sure to increase. If Hispanic-speaking customers cannot understand the messages on your website, it’s the same as if they are standing in your showroom unable to comprehend your salesperson. However, in this case, you may never have the opportunity to correct that situation.
If you have a large Hispanic market and do not already have one, it is time to consider a website built from the ground up dedicated solely to the Spanish language.
There are plenty of website providers that offer Spanish language websites to their dealer clients. However, be careful who you chose, as many just rely on Google’s translation tool when the customer has their browser set to Spanish. If you’ve ever tried to translate anything with this tool, you will have probably found that it does the job to some degree, but it’s not perfect. Also, if you chose to use Google-translated websites, the content isn’t indexed, so you essentially gain no benefit.
There is a better way: a SECOND website built organically from the ground up in Spanish. You can then deliver your messages directly to your customers in their native language with proper syntax and grammar. These customers will better understand you and, as a bonus, feel that your dealership cares about them and their ethnicity, and can genuinely assist them for all their sales and service needs.
Aside from those benefits, which are huge and can earn more sales and service business, there are considerable SEO benefits as well. First, as a second site, Google will fully index it. Whereas it does not index a site that is simply translated by the Google translation tool. How big of a deal is this? I’ve seen instances where a dealer’s SPANISH website outranks their primary ENGLISH website in search results! As an additional bonus, Spanish language websites aren’t under the scrutiny and policies of the manufacturer when they are true secondary websites, so you do not have to worry about compliance issues with your OEM.
It’s well worth looking into. A secondary website dedicated to the Spanish language produces extra website traffic, more leads and, ultimately, more sales.


In this modern age of transparency, dealers can get somewhat confused on the subject of pricing. Should they provide upfront pricing on their website, or ask customers to engage with their site first before receiving the dealership’s best price?
 
The industry is pretty divided on this topic, with consultants, trainers and others on both sides of the fence. On one side are those who feel that providing the best price on the dealer’s website without asking the customer for any engagement (no call-to-action), will cause the consumer to appreciate the transparency and choose that dealer. On the other side are those who feel that providing pricing without first requiring some form of engagement can, in fact, hurt sales.
 
First Theory: Provide Price Upfront – Those who have this opinion believe that today’s consumers are accustomed to fast information access. Consumers want immediate gratification and results, the same as they get from Google searches or browsing most other retailer’s websites. They can then take that information and make buying decisions. Those dealers perceived as the most helpful and transparent will win the business – especially with a significant purchase such as a new vehicle.
 
Second Theory: Get the consumer to engage before you show price, such as with an automated pricing tool on the site. Those in the industry who subscribe to this opinion feel that if you provide pricing upfront, shoppers will merely use it to price shop other dealers until they find the lowest price. By giving pricing information up front, without some form of engagement first, the dealer risks consumers price shopping without having a chance to first consider that dealer’s unique selling propositions including customer experience, amenities and other benefits such as free loaner cars, car washes, etc. Getting a consumer to engage first, perhaps with a quick price tool on the site, can increase leads and provide more opportunity to sell the vehicle than full pricing transparency.
 
Depending on the dealership’s thought processes either could work. But, is there a “right” way that all dealers should follow to convert the most consumers and/or sell the most cars via their website?
 
What do you think is the best theory? Let me know with your comments below. I think this will prove to be a lively discussion!

 

Conference season is upon us. As dealers go from seminar to seminar, and presentation after presentation, it can cause mass confusion about what data really matters. As a dealer, you may well be asking yourself, “What data should I really be watching at my dealership?”
Well, let’s keep it simple! Over the years I have found it boils down to two key things. Here is what you should be investigating:
 

  1. Conversions: Many years ago Autotrader.com was the top lead provider for dealers. As the Autotrader platform became less effective, generating fewer form leads and phone calls, Autotrader told dealers that customers were no longer filling out forms on websites. Also, according to Autotrader, customers were no longer calling dealers. They were just shopping on Autotrader.com, then they would show up unannounced at the dealership. Once Autotrader’s comments took hold, other lead and website providers went down the same path, instead of learning about today’s customer’s and how they shop.  Basically, they took the path of least resistance.

So, is it true that customers no longer fill-out form submissions on automotive websites?  I would say nothing could be further from the truth. Based on the past five years of data I have from working with Toyota, I have seen the exact opposite. Conversions have increased! Customers will still submit forms, and they are still calling the dealership.  Conversions really do matter and below are a few keys to customer engagement:
 

  • Have the right calls to actions on your website and VDPs.

 

  • Use automation to reply to customer’s requests immediately. Customers want immediate gratification and dealerships who respond quickly will often win the business or, at the very least, have the edge over the competition.

 

  1. Analytics: Google Analytics is perhaps the most confusing tool in the industry. For years the “experts” spoke about Time On Site, Bounce Rate, Impressions and more. However, they failed to consider how mobile device usage was affecting the data.

Guess what? Mobile has changed the game 100% when dealing with Google Analytics. Many companies are still talking about and selling Bounce Rate, or how many pages a consumer visited on a dealer’s website. As mobile usage has made double-digit climbs year in and year out, this is no longer relevant data.
It is hard to believe that companies are still making dealers swallow this dated information, as we are approaching over five years of irrelevancy. Case in point:  When a customer visits a dealer’s website on a mobile device and hits the click-to-call button, Google will report this as a 100% Bounce Rate for that visit, as the customer was on and off the website in a matter of seconds. This is entirely wrong information! The customer converted to a lead in just a few seconds. However, Google does not report it accurately. Instead, they label this customer as one who bounced. Bounce Rate does not matter in today’s digital landscape.
The exact same principle applies to Time On Site data. In the above example, the customer was on the website for three seconds and actually converted into a lead.
Most dealers are still wasting time analyzing and looking for the longer visits, assuming a three second visit was nothing but a bounce. When you compare that to a customer who is on a website for six minutes without converting, I will take the mobile customer who converted in three seconds all day long!
This brings me to my final point. Dealers set up Google Analytics on their dealership’s website 5-10 years ago. It is not set up for today’s metrics. Dealers can log-in to Google Analytics and see Bounce Rate, Time On Site, Pages per Visit and more, but this is all outdated information that no longer matters.
In today’s society of mobile-first usage, it is vital to focus on the correct data. This includes metrics on how many VDPs were visited, how many times the click-to call-button was used, and how many times a customer scrolled through photos of an actual vehicle. These data points indicate a very interested customer and are much more relevant than the outdated metrics that dealers are still relying on to make decisions, and that vendors reference as proof of performance.
As we go into NADA and the full conference season, consider this information when deciding where to invest your time. Make it a priority to visit your current vendors and ask them to show you these particular data points. Having full knowledge of and using modern data metrics that make sense will give you a more accurate benchmark, and you can see whether your website is actually performing – or whether the data being fed to you is all hot air. Good luck!
 
 
 
 
 


Have you ever eagerly awaited the release of a great new movie? Anticipation mounts as release day approaches. Then you go and see it, only to leave disappointed. I’m sure I can name plenty of box office bombs which were initially hyped up and expected to be box office blockbusters. If you look at the factors involved in what makes a “bomb” versus a “blockbuster,” there tends to be one key thing that ruins the movie — the script.
The same principle applies to many of the new technology “shiny objects” presented to dealers for them to salivate over, especially website add-ons and widgets. They are sold with high expectations. Then, when installed, don’t perform as expected. Dealers end up disappointed and cancel the service.
The problem is, many of these “shiny objects,” while canceled, do not get removed and the script remains running in the background until infinity.
Every time you add a new widget to your website, your website vendor installs a script so that it functions properly. As you cancel services, those scripts tend to pile up. However, they still continue to communicate with the canceled vendor’s service, even though your dealership receives no benefit. In fact, quite the opposite. Those scripts left on your website threaten your Google rankings and SEO because one of the factors Google looks at when evaluating a website is site speed. The more scripts running in the background, the slower the site, meaning your dealership website is penalized by Google.
It can get pretty incredible. In fact, I recently came across a dealership that couldn’t understand why its site was running so slowly. It turned out that it had 71 old scripts still running despite having canceled the service! Those scripts were killing the website like a bunch of digital sharks attacking the dealership.
Is it the vendor’s fault? In some cases, perhaps. You can’t rely on vendors you have canceled to reach out to your website provider and uninstall the script. When it comes to your website, it pays to be vigilant.
If you cancel a service, reach out to your website provider to ensure it is uninstalled. Failing to do so can harm your website speed over time and lead to a detrimental analysis by Google in your search rankings. Also, think about all that data those scripts continue to transmit to the canceled vendors.
In the end, it is essential to safeguard your dealership from digital sharks and bad scripts. Otherwise, your website could go from a box-office blockbuster to a bomb. And that is an outcome no dealership wants!
 
 


These days, reviews are an incredibly important part of the purchase process for all retail businesses. In fact, according to a recent article, online reviews influence a whopping 93% of consumer purchasing decisions.
Car shoppers increasingly turn to reviews when deciding who they should buy a vehicle from, which is the 4th step in Google’s 5 step consumer car-buying process. At this point, the consumer is a pretty low-funnel, the only remaining step being “Am I getting a good deal?”
Car dealerships have long been trained by both vendors and manufacturers to pay attention to reviews; to respond to and interact with any consumers that leave reviews for their dealership.
Historically, one of the single most important areas on Google is a dealership’s Google My Business page. It is one of the first things to pop up when a consumer searches for a dealership. Too many bad reviews can mean the dealership loses sales without even getting to know about the prospective car shopper. That lead just goes to a competitive dealer whose online reviews makes it appear they will provide a better experience. That is why many dealerships are hyper-sensitive (and rightfully so) about maintaining a positive presence and actively solicit happy customers to leave reviews, especially if a bad review was posted and they need to balance it out.
As of now, a dealership’s Google My Business page typically includes a little information such as overall star-ratings from multiple review sites, along with a few reviews. However, a consumer has to click into the dealership’s Google My Business page to read more.
Well, things are changing – and fast! Google is about to supercharge reviews, making them more important than ever, by allowing consumers to leave comments and reviews RIGHT IN THE SEARCH RESULTS! And not only that, but searchers will be able to up and down vote comments a la Reddit. They can press the up arrow if they think the comment is helpful or insightful. While the down vote option can be used if it appears the poster has bad intentions or is disrespectful.
According to Search Engine Journal, Google is testing this feature right now. Imagine a consumer searching for a dealership name, or even a general search phrase such as “Honda dealership,” and right in the search results they see comments, up and down votes and reviews from other consumers.
Without going to a single review site, a consumer can view and like comments about a dealership, right in the search results. What if a consumer posts, “This dealership sucks!” and others like that comment enough that it is the FIRST thing that appears in search results? At this point, a searcher will probably never click on a dealership’s Google My Business page, and they probably won’t click on the LINK TO THE DEALERSHIP’S PAGE!
It’s even possible that a dealership with poor reviews could WANT their dealership’s listing to NOT show up high in organic searches. God forbid that a prospective car shopper sees other consumer’s negative comments about that dealership right in the search results, without having to visit any review site. Now the dealership has two choices. First, it can clean up its reputation and somehow get consumers to leave positive comments in the search results to counter-balance the negative one. Or, second, try to make their dealership as invisible as possible in search results — search engine optimization… but in reverse.
Stay tuned my friends, this is all very new, and reviews are going to get even more interesting. Decisions about how to handle those comments that will soon appear in your search results will need to be made. And you should have strategies in place to handle them.
Interesting times are ahead. In this highly-competitive industry it is best to be ready ahead of time, rather than play catch up when it may be too late.