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Local search is vital for car dealers – experts in the industry have been preaching it for a while now, but thanks to the explosion of mobile devices and recent changes to Google, auto dealers are finally catching on. If you want to stay competitive, you’ve got to get your dealership’s Google Places page to rank high.
After Google’s update that blends Place-related results with standard organic results, Google Places has become a powerful tool for auto dealers to grab traffic. In many cases, smaller independent dealers are able to rank on page 1 of Google with a well-optimized Place page and compete against the larger franchise stores.
Amazingly enough, there are still a huge number of dealers who have not claimed their Google Places page. If you’re reading this post and your Place page isn’t “owner verified”, stop reading right now, head over to Google, and verify your listing!
If you’ve already verified your Place page, read on. David Mihm, a local search expert, recently conducted a survey of experts in the local search arena to find out what business owners should focus on to achieve higher rankings. Here’s the list of top 10 factors to focus on for Google Place page success: (listed in descending order of importance)
1) Physical Address in the city being searched - (data on your Place page)
Obviously, if your address is in the city, you’re more likely to rank for that city.
2) Manually Owner-verified Place page - (data on your Place page)
If you verify your page, Google knows that you’re a real business at a real address.
3) Proper category associations – (data on your Place page)
Don’t create categories that no one searches for – stick with “car dealer”, “car dealership”, “used car dealer”, and/or “new car dealer”
4) Volume of traditional structured citations - (data on your Place page)
Citations are listings for your dealership (name, phone number and address) on other websites, even if they’re not linked to you.
5) Crawlable address matching Place page address - (data on your website)
Make sure that the address on your website is text (not an image) and exactly matches your address listed on your Place page.
6) PageRank/Authority of website home page or highest ranked page - (data on your website)
Your PageRank is a numerical value of your “importance” on the Internet. The more optimized/relevant your site is (and the more inbound links you have), the higher your PageRank. Place pages for websites with higher PageRank will usually rank higher.
7) Quality of inbound links to website - (data off-site)
Google sees links as “votes” for your website. More links signify that your site is useful and relevant to people browsing the web.
8) Crawlable phone number matching Place page phone number - (data on your website)
Make sure that your phone number on your website is text (not an image) and exactly matches your phone number on your Place page.
9) Local area code on Place page - (data on your Place page)
Don’t use an 800 number on your Place page. A local area code helps to verify your location (make sure you’ve got your local number on your site as well).
10) City, State in Places landing page title - (data on your website)
Make sure that you have your city and state in the title tag of your home page.
11) Name Address Phone number (NAP) consistency is extremely important – Make sure that your information is identical everywhere you’re listed online: Dealership name, phone number, and address should match CHARACTER FOR CHARACTER.
12) You can upload up to 10 images of your dealership – take advantage of the opportunity to showcase your location and give people a reason to call you or click through to your website.
13) Reviews are critical for higher click-throughs – Put a link to your Google Places page on your website so it’s easy to send customers to your Place page to leave a review.
There’s no excuse not to follow these tips – you don’t have to be an SEO expert to apply all 10 of these factors to your Google Places page and your website. You’ll be surprised at how many dealers in your area haven’t even claimed their Place page… but even if there are other claimed pages, you’ll help yours stand out by following these tips. If you have any questions about local search optimization or automotive SEO in general, please call us at 888-311-7386 today and we’ll be glad to help you.