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Taking your Google listing to the next level

My guess is by now you are familiar with what Google's local business directory is. You have already claimed your listing, checked your phone number, verified your address, and added a description of your dealership. Now when you search for your dealership it comes up and looks something like the listing below. The video link at the bottom will walk you through how to claim your listing.
Google Business directory

 

How important is Google local business?

What you may not realize is how often people see this and are getting to your site from your listing, or how many people call from your listing without ever going to your website. The numbers would surprise you; just to get an idea look at the keyword referrals from Google in your analytics tool. Do a Google search on the first few that are in the list. One of them will be your dealership name and if you are a franchise dealer one will be something like "make city" or "city make". When you run these searches notice which ones produce a listing map with your dealership information. After you have searched the first few go back to your analytics tool and add the number of hits together for the two or three keywords that produced the directory. Now take 80% of that number and that is probably pretty close to the number of people who found your site via Google local business directory. The example below is of real numbers from a website that we manage. Based on the calculation they received about 1859 visits from the local listing and about 2324 impressions.

Google business numbers spreadsheet

At this point I am making an educated guess on this percentage but I bet it is very close to this if not more. I will be placing a tracking link for our clients to monitor this and will do a follow up post when there is enough information. For all the dealerships out there that use Google Analytics to track your website I am including a tracking link so you can do this too. Please place this link in your listing and let us know what you come up with.

Now that you know that this is a major source of impressions and traffic to your site what does it mean?

Manage the Reviews
Google reviews image

First of all did you know that Google has a review section here? If you didn't, take a look at what kind of reviews you have, in most cases you will have some bad reviews. This isn’t because you do bad business; it’s because people are always willing to share bad experiences well before they share good ones. How do you offset these reviews? Like any review site you want to know as soon as the review has been posted so that you can resolve the client issue if possible (see video on Using Google Alerts). In a lot of cases you may not even have known they were dissatisfied. You can ask your clients to start filling out the reviews on Google business as a common practice. Don’t over do this, a good formula for this is to make sure you have between 5 and 10 positive reviews for every negative one.

Manage the phone #'s

I personally call the number on the directory when calling dealerships. Quite often the call goes directly to the parts or service department and the transfer gets botched. Of course I will call back or find another phone number, but your client just got a bad first impression. Test the number to make sure it is going to a person trained in handling phone calls. Use a local tracking # to help track how many people are calling from the listing. Measure, measure, measure… even though the information may not seem valuable at first you will find that you will need it down the road and if you haven’t started measuring now then you won’t have it.

Tracking Link

Here is the the link that you will want to use to track the number of visitors generated from the directory. This only works for Google Analytics and will create a campaign in your analytics account called "local". Just replace the "yourwebsiteaddress" portion with your url and put it in the url section in the set up as shown in the video.
http://www.yourwebsiteaddress.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=local

 

If you aren't familiar with how to manage your listing click on the link below and watch the video

Goolge local image
click here to view video on how to manage and edit your Google listing

 

Google Alerts to monitor web noise
click here to view the using Google Alerts to monitor web noise video

Don't let your listing get hijacked

You will also want to read this post to understand just how important it is to monitor your listing. There are businesses out there hijacking listings to their own sites.
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2008/09/18/google-maps-widespread-hijacking-of-business-listings-confirmed/

Mike Fitzpatrick
mike@dealertrend.com

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