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From: Jared Hamilton
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Brian Pasch

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Leverage The Service Area Setting on Google Places

Did you know that by default, Google Places is setup to market your car dealership only within a 20 mile radius of your dealership?  Do you sell and deliver cars to consumers more than 20 miles away?  Well of course you do!  Do you want to increase your automotive advertising reach? Yes!

However, many of the Google Places listing that I check for car dealers are NOT setup properly for their business. This impacts the number of times a dealership's Business Listing will appear in search results. For some dealers in metro areas, their Google Places listing will show over 15,000 a month. With this in mind, anything that could increase the visibility of your local business listing should be embraced.

As I stated above, Google Places service area DEFAULTS to a 20 mile service radius around the business address. This is one of the most important setting on your Google Places listing because it sets the geographic positioning of the consumers you serve. Car dealers routinely deliver cars to customers that are outside of a 20 mile radius of their business. With this is mind, dealers should inspect your service area settings in Google.
 

Google Places Custom Service Areas Polygons


Dealers that have physical locations near bodies of water will find that a simple radius setting is not the most accurate map of their service area.

In the screen shot below, Harris Auto Group in Canada is located on Victoria Island. If they left their Google Maps service area radius set at 20 miles, which is the default, they would not cover Victoria which is a major market for the island.

Google Maps Service Area Settings

Fortunately, Google Places will allow you to enter in specific town names to create a polygon that covers the areas that the dealership serves. In the photo above, you can see that the shaded area was created by inputting the towns in the "List of Areas Served".
 

Don't Abuse The Service Area Settings


I encourage dealers not to abuse the Service Area setting and show unrealistic service coverage maps. I have a feeling that Google may penalize anything that would be contrived as scamming the system. I would say that a 50 mile radius for most dealers is reasonable. So take a minute and look into your Google Places service area setting and see if it has been set too conservatively.

Also, while you are looking at your Google Places listing, make sure that it has:

  • Five great photos of customers taking delivery of cars or your work in the community. Kill the building photos.
  • Five great videos. Three customer testimonial videos, one welcome video, and one service video.
  • Proper categories that describe your business. There is a category for every OEM brand
  • Make sure one category you select is "Used Car Dealer"


If you have any questions on Google Places, just type in your question below.  If you are going to NADA in February, make sure you stop into one of my workshops.  You can check my schedule on this link:  Brian Pasch NADA Workshops.

Jared Hamilton
Brian, do you have any updates or info on dealers finding success... or at least trying the "Tags" in facebook places? Interested to hear how that new feature is gaining traction.
Jenna Gustafson
Harris Auto Group is on Vancouver Island (not Victoria Island). Love seeing the local example :) -Jenna Internet Marketing Coordinator Speedway Motors

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