Google is Now Offering Upgraded Google My Business Profiles: What It Means for Auto Dealers

Google is Now Offering Upgraded Google My Business Profiles: What It Means for Auto Dealers

For years, Google My Business profiles have been one of the most essential tools for online businesses to capture attention, help customers find them, and appear in relevant discovery tools like Search and Maps. They’ve been particularly important for auto dealerships and auto service/parts providers, whose businesses thrive on trust and reputation.

Now, Google has brought an exciting new premium option to Google My Business profiles— the chance to choose a subscription to an ‘upgraded’ Google My Business Profile featuring a Google Guaranteed Badge. But what exactly does that mean, and what are the details of this new opportunity?

Meet the Upgraded Google My Business Profiles

For a cost of just $50 a month ($600 a year), you can now instill even more trust in potential customers with a Google Guaranteed badge on your profile that might also show up in Local Pack listings. You’ll also be able to access premium listing features that give you increased control over the information you share with your audience and how it’s delivered.

These upgraded profiles will be subject to the standard eligibility rules for Google Guaranteed, such as licensing and background checks for the business. While this is clearly a move by Google designed to directly monetize Google My Business, they have pleased business owners and marketers by not trying to charge for features that previously already existed.

It’s expected that competition will be the primary driver of adoption for the Upgraded GMB profiles and the Google Guaranteed badges that come with them. After all, if your competitor dealership across the road has a badge on their profile, you’ll likely be tempted to pick one up yourself.

What This Means for Auto Dealers

The auto dealers that benefit the most from these upgraded business profiles will likely be the ones with department listings for service and parts. You can now add the best, most specific information for that department within the list, including the most relevant phone number to reach that department directly, more accurate operating hours, better and more department-centric photos, and optimized business categories for search.

Meanwhile, you can now direct users to the most relevant website location for making appointments, browsing specific products and services, and the general service menu. You can also place unique product and service offerings in relevant department listings within the Product tabs. This will let your customers discover special offers and available services available at your business more quickly than ever.

Nested department listings also help highlight each profit center in a unique, more relevant way for customers than was possible when you had just one high-level listing for the entire dealership.

What’s In a Badge?

Still, one of the features drawing the most attention is the Google Guaranteed badge. While on the surface it seems like nothing more than a flashy visual artifact, Google’s name does carry a great deal of trust and weight. Plus, the badge is visually eye-catching and gives the impression of a direct endorsement from Google itself.

Overall, these upgraded profiles and the perks that accompany them are likely to become increasingly popular as more and more dealerships adopt them— especially when similar paid profile upgrades on other listing sites, like Yelp, can run upwards of $1,000 a year or more. Google’s reasonable price point of $600 per year is well within the reach of most small to medium businesses to take advantage of increased visibility, clarity, and information available on their listing for customers to see.

Want to optimize your dealership’s Google My Business profile or create custom department listings that will capture interest and turn it into revenue for your business? Contact our experts at Green Line Digital to get started today.

5 Tips to Help Your Dealership Make the Most Out of July 4th

5 Tips to Help Your Dealership
Make the Most Out of July 4th

As a major shopping holiday like July 4th approaches, many car dealerships hope they can benefit from the surge in interest from shoppers. But just putting up some balloons and flags around your dealership won’t be enough to attract attention— you need to make sure that your online presence is primed and ready for the holiday, too.

Here are 5 easy tips to help your dealership make the most out of July 4th.

1. Update Your Google My Business Page

Google My Business has become one of the most trusted, widely used spots for customers to find your dealership (and compare it to your competitors in the area.) There’s never a better time to make sure your GMB page is fully updated with all of the correct information, including any current specials as well as contact information, address, and more.

GMB also hosts some of your most important customer reviews. If you have a terrible score, there’s not much you can do in the next few days to change that. But if you have majority positive responses with a few negative complaints, now is the time to make sure you’ve reached out to each of these reviewers and asked how you can help them or change their mind. Seeing this level of engagement on your GMB page goes a long way with many buyers.

2. Update Your Service Hours

Is your dealership operating under extended or shortened hours for the holiday and surrounding days? If so, make sure to keep your service hours updated across all of your channels— from Google to Yelp to your website, you want to make sure that people who want to visit your dealership can immediately find all the information they need to know exactly when to do it. Nothing is worse than losing a potential sale because a customer showed up, became frustrated that the dealership was closed, and then took their business elsewhere.

3. Refresh Specials Pages with Incentives & Visuals

Does your dealership have a specials page? It should absolutely be updated with the most current information, creative visuals and more to highlight your July 4th specials and other information potential car buyers will want to see. The more updated and professional your specials look, the better an impression you’ll leave on-site visitors— not to mention, the more memorable your promotions and deals will be on the minds of readers.

4. Create Organic Social Posts with Hours, Special Messaging, & Promos

Social media is now one of the most high-engagement spots for car dealerships and their leads to interact. Reach them directly where they spend most of their time on mobile, by highlighting your hours, holiday messaging, and any relevant promotions. Don’t forget that repetition is key— one post about your July 4th promos may not be enough to attract all the right attention. That said, be careful not to go too far in the other direction and over-promote. Try to balance promotional posts with relevant content your audiences will enjoy.

5. Ensure Ad Campaigns Are Properly Funded

July is one of the periods of highest search volume for car shoppers. You’re going to want to captures some of that interest with your ad campaigns. However, many dealerships have set daily ad budgets that automatically stop ads when that budget is reached. During periods of higher volume, like this coming July 4th weekend, that budget can be used up more quickly and leave you with no ad presence at a time when your ROI could be higher than ever. Make sure that your ad campaign budgets are properly updated to reflect your goals for this moment.

You don’t want your dealership to miss your chance to take advantage of holiday shopping interest! Take advantage of these tips and make sure you’re prepared to make the most out of this coming weekend.

How SEO for Automotive Websites is Unique

How SEO for Automotive Websites is Unique

SEO, or search engine optimization, is an absolutely essential tool for car dealerships and automotive companies in the internet age. But when it comes to the auto industry, you can’t always apply general SEO principles and hope they’ll get the job done.

You need an effective SEO strategy that’s customized to your industry, company, and audience. That’s why it’s essential to know how SEO for auto companies and car dealerships is different from general SEO practices.


What is SEO?

But first, what exactly do we mean when we talk about SEO? Search engine optimization is the art and science of giving your website and business a better chance of showing up in relevant search results from potential customers.

Basically, it’s how you make sure your ideal customers can find you online. You do this several ways—

  • Placing relevant keywords throughout your website, telling search engine algorithms that it’s relevant to your target audience. (For example, if your website features the phrase ‘car dealership in northern Virginia’ multiple times, your site is more likely to appear when people search for ‘car dealership in Virginia”
  • Ensuring that your website and business are properly listed and catalogued everywhere customers might find them, from search results to Google My Business listings and even review sites like Yelp.
  • Ensuring that your website provides visitors with real value, and the content/features they expect to find when they get there. Google penalizes websites that visitors quickly leave, suggesting they didn’t find what they were looking for there.

SEO Challenges for Automotive Websites

For car dealerships and automotive websites, there can be some unique challenges to confront with your SEO strategy. Here are some of the biggest areas of concern.

Multiple Locations

Many dealerships or companies have multiple locations across multiple cities, which can make localized SEO difficult. You need your search engine optimization net to include multiple markets, cities, and sometimes even states.

Multiple Business Types

Many car dealerships aren’t just one kind of business— they’re three. They sell new cars, buy and sell pre-owned vehicles, and also have an onsite body and repair shop. Targeting users who qualify for each of these three categories can be a challenge when it comes to your SEO strategy.

Intense Competition

You don’t need us to tell you just how intense competition can be between local car dealerships. If you’re trying to boost your SEO, you can bet that your competitor is right behind you, or already a step ahead.

The more competition there is for certain search terms,


Key Factors for Great Auto Dealer SEO

Here are some of the most important factors for successful and effective car dealership SEO.

Localized Success

When you try to optimize your site for specific keywords or key phrases, you’re competing with literally every other business or individual in the world using that phrase. If you’re trying to become the #1 search result when someone searches ‘car dealership,’ you’re facing an uphill struggle.

But if you’re a car dealership in Gary, Indiana, you don’t need to get visibility from customers in Miami, Florida. You don’t have to put yourself in competition with the entire industry when you only need to beat out the locals.

That means rather than going for broad, general keywords, you should go for localized ones. ‘Car dealerships in X City,’ for example. Or ‘Chevrolet dealers in X state.’

The more you narrow your audience, the less competition you’ll face—and the more likely that each lead who sees your website is likely to find what they’re looking for there.

The Power of the Long-Tail

Another way you can avoid heavy competition is by targeting more specific, niche keywords. Yes, while these will have less search volume, they’ll also have fewer competitors targeting them. These can include specific year/make/model combinations that you carry paired with common queries, such as “2020 Chevy Equinox towing capacity.”

Google My Business

Google’s business pages are one of the most trusted sources of discovery and reviews around. Think about how often you investigate a local business on it’s Google My Business page before shopping— you check its ratings, maybe read some reviews, etc.

Your business should be well-represented on this page— great reviews, professional images, a clear description, and essential info like your website, phone number, and business hours.

Image Optimization

Every year, the amount of people searching for ‘pictures of [car brand]’ goes up by nearly 40%. Did you know that you can apply SEO to your images? Every image on your website has what’s called metadata, which is text that’s not seen by users but which tells search engines what the image is about. Every image you upload should come with specific metadata that also features the location— for example, “picture of [CAR BRAND] interior for sale in [CITY].

Reviews

Reviews are absolutely essential for car dealerships, more than nearly any other business. If you don’t have many reviews, find a way to gather them. If you have negative reviews, reach out to the reviewers immediately and warmly. See what you can do to address their concerns and turn a negative review into a positive one.

Not only will lots of positive reviews and ratings help search engines rank you more highly, but it will also help your leads turn into site visitors more often.

Ready to optimize your dealership’s website to be found? Contact us today.

The Pros and Cons of Search Conquesting for Car Dealerships

The Pros and Cons of Search Conquesting for Car Dealerships

Marketing online is absolutely essential for car dealerships of all types, sizes, and locations. The majority of car buyers start their buying experience online, and you want yours to be the website they find when they begin that search.

So how do you ensure that your dealership or company shows up in the search results of customers who actually have value to your business? One of the ways is through search conquesting, a potentially powerful yet controversial strategy for search engine marketing.


What is Search Conquesting?

To understand what search conquesting is and how it works, you first have to understand how search engine marketing works in general. When you enter a search query into Google, a list of results appears based on that search. Often, the top few results are paid ads— companies have paid Google to appear in search results when users entered specific keywords or phrases. For car dealerships, this phrase might be ‘car dealerships near me’ or ‘Nissan dealerships in Denver.’

So, what is search conquesting? Instead of choosing a general keyword to target with your ad, search conquesting involves you targeting the name of one of your competitors.

For example, let’s say that your primary competitor is Dave’s Car Dealership across town. With search conquesting, you would create an ad for your business that would appear when people searched for your competitor’s name. A car buyer enters ‘Dave’s car dealership’ into their search engine, and your dealership appears as one of the paid results.

How Search Conquesting Works

Search conquesting is used as a targeted way to reach qualified leads before they can be landed by your competitors. Because competing dealerships are often very similar, you can generally bet that if someone is searching for your competitor, they would likely make a great customer for you.

Conquesting has other benefits as well, but it can also have some significant downsides if handled incorrectly.


Pros of Search Conquesting

Here are some of the reasons why many car dealerships and other companies use search conquesting as part of their search engine marketing plan.

Increase Your Brand Awareness

When executed effectively, conquesting can have the power to increase the visibility of your dealership— particularly when it comes to customers who haven’t made a decision about where to buy and might be ‘on the fence’ about their decisions.

Even if a user ultimately clicks off of your website, you’ve grown your remarketing list through website cookies and can target those customers for remarketing later.

Know Exactly What You Have to Beat

When you build your search engine advertisements around generalized keywords like ‘car dealership in [CITY], your message has to compete with all of the messages of all the other dealerships that will show up in search results for that query.

With search conquesting, there’s just one message you have to beat— whichever one your competitor displays when their name is put into a search engine. This can help narrow your focus and create a strong, bold, and specific message to make a stronger impression than your competitor’s message.

Less Keyword Competition

Let’s say you’re a car dealership in Illinois. You might want to target your ads to keywords like ‘car dealerships in Illinois.’ But that keyword will have a lot of competition from hundreds of dealers all over the state.

By targeting a specific, direct competitor with your keywords, you’re not only narrowing your audience to very qualified leads (most people search for a specific car dealership only when they’re serious about buying), but you’re also targeting the most valuable customers— those that you may be able to steal away from your competitor.


Cons of Search Conquesting

Search conquesting can be effective, but it does have its potential downsides— and they can be significant. Here are a few of the cons of search conquesting for car dealerships.

Potential Competitor Response

One challenge that you may come across when you start search conquesting is that your competitors will take notice. They may respond by creating an equal and opposite response. If they’re a larger dealership or company, they may have the resources to launch an even more aggressive and widespread conquesting campaign.

Meanwhile, if your competitor is already bidding on their own branded terms, you’ll almost always show up in a lower position in search rankings.

Can Be Costly

Google and other search engines rank the ‘quality’ of your search ad based on a range of factors. One of the biggest factors is how often the search term appears on your website. Obviously, your competitor’s brand name is unlikely to appear on your website much, if at all.

As a result, you’ll likely have to pay more for each ad or click through to your site. This is how Google manages pricing for search engine advertising— the ‘higher quality’ they determine your ad to be (meaning, the more likely it is to be what a user is looking for in their search), the less you have to pay for each ad.

In some cases, your ad spent might have been better placed in other locations, like Facebook or YouTube, resulting in less waste.

Difficulty Following Google Ad Policies

Remember— Google and other search engines have strict rules about the management of trademarks. If your competitor’s name is trademarked, you can’t even mention their name in your ad text or display URL. That means you can’t bid on a competitor’s name, then run an ad that says ‘Why our brand is better than ‘Brand X.’”

If you do, you could be penalized or even face legal action. Understanding the rules of search engine marketing is essential.

(There are some exceptions— for example, if you’re an authorized reseller, informational website centered around a brand, or an authorized advertiser).

For an audit on your dealership and how conquesting could work for you, contact us today.

Google vs. Facebook Advertising | What’s the Difference?

Google vs. Facebook Advertising
What’s the Difference?

For years, industry publications, bloggers, and the media have pitted Google and Facebook against each other in a narrative of epic struggle for dominance. As a result, many brands and first-time advertisers feel that the path to advertising and marketing success can only come if they choose the right one. This is especially true for car dealerships and the auto industry, where reaching online leads has become absolutely essential to survival and success.

But the truth is that Google and Facebook aren’t so much offering competing versions of the same thing as they are offering unique, complementary products. When used correctly, both Google and Facebook have something to offer your marketing and advertising strategy— and each one can feed the other with powerful effects.

With that in mind, we wanted to create this quick guide to understanding exactly how Google and Facebook advertising differ— and what it means for your dealership or family of dealerships.

In basic terms, Facebook is a discovery engine that helps you fill-up the top of your marketing funnel, increasing awareness for prospective customers. Meanwhile, Google is an intent-driven search engine built for capturing interest and directing it to your brand.

To put it even more simply, Google helps your business find potential customers. Facebook helps potential customers discover your business.

That said, the differences can seem a bit more subtle than that. That’s why we created this article to help you parse the strengths of each platform. Let’s start with Google.

Understanding Google Ads

One of the reasons comparing Google and Facebook as competitors in online advertising is a false narrative is that it’s really not a competition at all. While Facebook has an impressive 1.5 billion active users, Google receives 3.5 billion searches every day.

As a result, advertising on Google gives you access to the largest collection of potential customers of any source in the world.

The most basic form of Google Advertising is to create a text ad that appears in relevant search results. For example, you might design an ad that appears when users search “car dealerships in Salt Lake City.’ Then, based on your budget and whether Google algorithms think your ad is relevant, it will appear on those searches.

There are also other forms of Google ads, including banner ads on websites, video ads that appear before YouTube videos and other platforms, and more.

Here are some of the main advantages of Google advertising.

Massive Reach

As we mentioned above, if potential customers for your business are out there, you can find them on Google. Best of all, you can reach those customers at a time when they’re actively searching for what you have to offer. When the search query terms for your ad are selected carefully and strategically, your ad spend will only go towards reaching people who are already primed to become customers. That doesn’t guarantee they’ll click on your ad and reach your site, but it does mean that they’re the most likely people to do so.

Quality-Based Algorithms

In many instances, marketing and advertising are seen as a numbers game. Whoever has the most money gets to reach the biggest audience.

But when it comes to Google Ads, algorithms determine whether to show an ad not just based on budget, but on the quality and relevance of the ad. That means that Google is more likely to display an ad if they think it’s genuinely what a person is looking for. That helps level the playing field when it comes to dealerships with massive ad budgets— if your dealership is closer to what a search query is looking for, you’ll still land the impression.

Flexible Format

Normal, text-based search results aren’t the only format available to you on Google. Your ad can also show up in Google Maps results, reviews, Shopping page ads, and a whole lot more. By taking advantage of multiple formats, you can cast a wider net and increase your chances of reaching car buyers where they are.

Understanding Facebook Ads

Facebook ads reach users in a very different place than Google users. Facebook is a social network, which is why advertising on the platform is often known as ‘paid social’ or ‘social advertising.

This gives you and your dealership a unique opportunity for users to discover your dealership.

Unmatched Targeting Power

Facebook’s audience is truly huge— roughly ⅕ of everyone on earth regularly uses the platform— but you don’t need to reach 1.5 billion people. You need to reach the ones who are most likely to become your customers.

That’s what makes Facebook advertising truly special. When you create an ad, Facebook allows a stunning level of detail when it comes to determining who you would like to see your ad. For example, an advertiser might choose to target only females aged 25-45, who live in Dallas, are interested in pickup trucks, and ‘like’ Ford trucks.

Budget-Friendly Success

That level of granularity we mentioned above helps you avoid wasted ad spend and only reach those who are primed to become customers. You can set your max daily budget, and set your parameters to ensure that none of it is spent where it’s not needed. That helps make Facebook one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your audience effectively.

Google Advertising vs. Facebook Advertising: The Truth

In the end, the most successful dealerships when it comes to online advertising are those that leverage the power of both Google and Facebook. To do that effectively, you need to have the expertise to manage your budget effectively, target the right leads, and track the analytics of your campaign to update and improve it as needed.