Increase Calls and Traffic For Free Using Google Maps
Google Maps can be very frustrating for car dealers. This free advertising product gets even more frustrating in competitive markets, like Phoenix, Arizona.
If you search Google for “Arizona Honda Dealers” and click on the Maps tab, you get a list of dealers. If you own a Honda dealership in Arizona and you are not showing up in the first few listings, you can get frustrated.
How does Tempe Honda (B) get top organic billing of all authorized Honda dealers in Arizona? The answer may never be known, because Google keeps that information secretive. But there is a growing body of evidence that supports theories why some business listings are shown more often than others.
Many car dealers have asked how they can increase the display frequency of their Google Maps listing. Keep in mind that the “physical address” of your business is a dominant factor by which consumer search results are matched with your listings.
Ill-advised businesses have attempted to influence Google Maps listings by creating listings with fake addresses. Google is cracking down on this practice but not soon enough for Honda dealers in Arizona.
In the example below, you can see a false listing (Listing A) that created a listing called “Honda Dealers” with a bogus address as “Metro Area.” Google has not yet removed this listing which is pushing real Honda dealers off the top positions.
Google Maps scams are on the rise. Report to Google any false listings that do not represent a physical address. Also keep an eye out for duplicate listings that may be clerical errors or old listings from dealerships that have closed.
Establishing Your Map Credibility
From my testing with Google Maps, I have concluded that having a consistent name, address and phone numbers across all business directory websites can assist your Google Maps listing to be shown above those that have no external references. As a result, you should only use one tracking phone number for all public business directories, yellow pages, review websites, professional associations, and OEM registrations.
When a new Google Maps listing is created, Google most likely will confirm if the submitted “business name and address” can be found on other paid or free website directories. If the submitted address is not listed in trusted business directories, your maps listing may not be considered valid.
Automotive professionals should recognize that Google Maps is most likely one of car dealers’ top five sources for calls and direct traffic from sites that are free. With that in mind, it would be appropriate for a dealership to prioritize the synchronization and cleanup of all their public business listings.
To get started with creating external directory listings for your business, I have listed the most valuable sites for your consideration. Start with the first suggestion and work your way down the list:
Major Search Directories
Bing Local Listing Center
Popular Review Sites
Popular 3rd Party Directories
The investment in time to synchronize your business listings will be rewarded, so do not delay in prioritizing this task. If you know it will not get done by your staff, take action to hire a consultant or a service that will do this work for you.
There are many websites in which you can register your business name, address, phone number and domain name. If your primary contact information can be validated on dozens of authoritative websites, your Google Maps listing will have a higher likelihood of being presented more frequently.
Brian Pasch is the CEO and founder of PCG Digital Marketing which specializes in digital marketing strategies for car dealers. Brian is an active writer on the DrivingSales.com community and will be a speaker at the 2010 DrivingSales Executive Summit.