Best PracticesDealership Marketing

Here’s How Your Dealer Can Use Google My Business to Drive More Website Traffic

If you haven’t fully optimized your dealer’s free Google My Business (GMB) listing, you’re missing out on VALUABLE Google searchers who could be visiting your website and even your dealer.

To help you out, I put together 10 optimization recommendations that EVERY dealer should use on their GMB listing going into 2020.

Here they are:

10. Pick relevant categories that match your dealership

Categories describe what your store is rather than what it does or sells. For dealers, I recommend making your Primary Category “[your brand] dealership”. For example, if you’re a Ford dealer, insert “Ford” for “your brand”. If you sell multiple brands, put your best selling brand in this spot.

Here are the categories we’ve chosen for our Dealer Teamwork GMB profile.

For your other categories, here are some examples you can use (only use ones that apply to your dealer):

  • Used car dealer
  • Car dealer
  • Truck dealer
  • Used truck dealer
  • Auto repair shop
  • Auto parts store
  • Auto body shop
  • Car detailing service
  • Rental cars
  • Chevrolet dealer (choose your brand)

9. Update holiday and department hours

When a shopper is ready to buy and visit a dealer, you want to be prepared to help them. Make sure you update your holiday and department hours on your GMB listing so customers know when to visit you.

8. Solicit and respond to ALL reviews

Reviews and customer testimonials are valuable. Solicit reviews whenever possible. Whether that’s an email after a purchase or a text message, find ways to ask customers to review your dealer on Google. Online reviews spread the word about your business digitally and can help new potential shoppers find you online.

Here’s a GIF showing some of Dealer Teamwork’s client reviews and our responses to them.

When you respond to your customer’s reviews, you can show existing and potential customers that you value their business. People whose reviews you respond to will even receive notifications that you replied. Encouraging and responding to Google reviews allows you to add a personal touch to your online marketing and communication efforts.

7. Include a cover photo and post relevant, high-quality photos

Another way you can optimize your GMB profile for website traffic is by adding a cover photo and other relevant high-quality photos under the different categories available.

You can benefit from posting photos on your dealer’s GMB profile because businesses that post photos on their listing receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location. Businesses with photos also receive 35% more clicks through to their websites than those without.

When you post photos to your listing, be sure to add interior and exterior photos of your dealership. Also include pictures of employees, fun dealership culture pictures and anything else you think might be interesting or helpful to potential shoppers or job applicants.

6. Regularly add posts

Posts give your customers more access to your dealer’s business information and updates, which allows them to make better decisions as they browse your profile.

The benefits of regularly posting on GMB include:

  • Being able to improve communications with local shoppers
  • Improving your customer’s experience with timely information
  • Promoting your sales, specials, offers, events and dealership news
  • Engaging with your customers through videos and photos

Get creative and experiment with different content to see what performs best.

5. Enter a brief description of your business

Write an authentic and detailed description that focuses on your dealer’s unique selling proposition. Don’t just put “family-owned” or “great experience,” etc. Include information that ACTUALLY sets you apart from competitors and that’s helpful for customers to know. You can view my company’s business description below for inspiration.

Keep in mind that Google advises against including details such as promotions, prices or sales information in your descriptions. Also, DON’T add URLs or HTML code.

4. Make sure all dealership locations are verified

It’s important to verify your dealership’s multiple locations (if applicable) to make sure your dealer is eligible to qualify for store visit conversions. Store visit conversions are HUGE for your dealer IF you have access to the metric. You can learn more about this important metric on my company’s blog here.

3. Set your location pin and enter your service areas by zip code

Take advantage of Google’s location pin to make sure that your customers know exactly where your dealership is located. The more accurate you make your pin placement, the more shoppers will be encouraged to visit your dealership because it’s easier to find.

2. Add the “Menu” link

The “menu” link is the second available CTA (the first being your website link) that lets you add a second URL. For dealers, Google automatically names this URL “Products & Services”. We recommend directing website traffic to your service specials or vehicle offers pages from this link.

Analyze the results in Google Analytics and change your links based on what works best for your dealer.

1. Add UTM tags to CTA Buttons

Always add UTM tags to the main website CTA button and menu link, which makes up the second CTA button. Doing so gives your dealer the ability to track GMB traffic back to your website in Google Analytics. This also makes it easier to track your branded clicks in your Google Analytics campaign reporting. With UTMs in place, you can manage your dealer’s paid spend better and save money.

To properly create UTM tags, use these examples:

Website CTA

Source = google

Medium = organic

Campaign = gmb

Here’s an example URL with the above UTM tag: (For the primary CTA button) https://www.yourdealerhere.com/?utm_campaign=gmb&utm_medium=organic&utm_source=google

Menu Link

Source = google

Medium = organic

Campaign = gmb_menu

Here’s an example URL with the above UTM tag: (For the Menu link)

https://www.yourdealerhere.com/new-honda-lease-offers-finance-incentives-seattle-wa/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb_menu

Easily create UTM tags using this campaign URL builder tool from Google. With this tool, all you have to do is:

1. Enter the correct tags from the UTM tag examples provided above.

2. Insert the link generated from the campaign URL builder tool into the appropriate spot on your GMB profile.

Enter the correct tags from the UTM tag examples provided above.

Copy the URL link and insert it into the appropriate spot on your GMB profile.

Hopefully, you find these 10 optimization recommendations helpful!

Your not-so-average Joe with an interest in everything automotive, digital marketing and social media.
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Eric Miltsch

Smile, it's good for you!
Apr 16, 2009
101
51
28
Rochester, NY
First Name
Eric
Great post, Joe!

I also like the new Products section that's showing up in more GMB profiles too.
  • Add categories (body styles, used cars, service, rentals, etc)
  • Add products & prices
  • Add images & descriptions too

2019-12-19_12-12-51.png

2019-12-19_11-34-40.png
 

Joe Friedrichsen

Getting Refreshed
Jun 19, 2019
30
25
18
Eden Prairie, MN
First Name
Joe
Excellent post Joe. Thanks for sharing all your tips. I try to keep our GMB page updated often. It makes a HUGE difference!
Thanks Jeff! Fully utilizing GMB can really make a difference for car dealerships. The more a dealer fills out their free GMB listing, the more visibility and opportunities a dealer will have to interact with an interested car shopper. GMB is such an underutilized resource.
 
Dec 19, 2018
13
15
3
First Name
Bill
Rather than creating a new thread I thought it best to try to jump in on this one for now.

Recently, our dealer group started a digital project group and decided to make it a permanent group who would help dealers with various avenues of the digital landscape.

One of the major points of focus right now is Google My Business. After reviewing ours, they recommended that I combine my GM and Toyota listings. Currently, I have three separate listings for GM sales, service, and parts and three for Toyota sales, service, and parts.

I made this change based on a recommendation by Pasch at a Toyota digital conference. I reached out to him via email to verify I was understanding his recommendation correctly. He was adamant that what I was doing was correct.

I am a fan of getting multiple perspectives before making decisions (especially when it's arguing with the parent group) and thought I would see what you guys thought.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • 1
Reactions: Jeff Kershner

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,630
1,230
113
Maryland
First Name
Jeff
Google themselves says it's okay to do this. They go as far as recommending it.

Please read these guidelines for more information:
https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177

Departments within other business, universities or institutions

Departments within businesses, universities, hospitals and government institutions may have their own pages on Google.
Here’s a specific help page Google has set up for car dealers:
https://support.google.com/business/answer/9074290

For each department in your business, the category must be different from the main business. So, if the main dealership has the category "Toyota Dealer," your service department should have the category of "Auto Repair Shop”, for example.

One other thing, you would want to name your "repair shop" differently than your main business name. For instance, "Bonelli Auto Sales" would be the dealership Google My Business name and "Bonelli Auto Sales Repair Shop" would be the repair service center Google My Business name
.


I remember doing this 13 years ago with Google Places, before it was a host of other different names including Google+ and now GMB. After some time when it was Google Places, they eventually cracked down and if you had multiple listings, it went against you. Of course back then they didn't have any published guidelines encouraging dealers/business to do this. Who's to say they decide reverse this decision in the future, resulting in a lot of wasted time. It wouldn't be the first time google changes their mind.

I personally am not going use my time building out separate departments, since we are an OEM dealership and 95% of what we service is our brand. Unless your dealership has a separate group of mechanics to service off make vehicles, then what's the point? The ONLY time a Benz/Honda/Toyota etc. mechanic wants to work on something other than their brand is when they don't have enough work to pay the bills. And even then they typically bitch about it the whole time.

Every consumer out there knows the local OEM dealer also services and sell parts for that particular brand. So why go through all the headache setting up and MANAGING additional listings vs setting up your main GMB listing properly, with the right keywords, service reviews and Q&A... Most dealers struggle with keeping up (fresh specials, postings and reviews) with just one GMB account.

If your dealership has a body shop, then of course this wouldn't apply. But many dealers have a stand alone building and address for their body shop already. If so, then it would make a lot of sense to have a separate BMG listing for it.

That's my opinion. I'm sure there are some SEO Whiz's that will disagree. And who knows, maybe after some time and proven data, I too will change my mind. But until then...
 
  • 1
Reactions: Brittany
Jan 31, 2020
6
6
1
First Name
Nate
I disagree with Pasch's recommendation on having multiple GMB listings and mostly agree with Jeff above. I dislike Google's dealership recommendation as well since it goes against their other GMB guidelines! They wouldn't be the Google we know and love if they didn't contradict themselves every so often...

Just having those department listings will do very little for you, and having 3-4 for a dealership is a bit to manage on your own. I am a strong believer that you do want 1 for your sales and 1 for a combined service and parts listing. Then a 3rd only if you have a body shop, which often times is a separate building so it is even more valuable to have separate GMB listing.

Having a combined service and parts listing is important for ranking, customer engagement, and better aligns with Google's own GMB guidelines.

1. It is better for ranking because repair shop is a very different business than sales. The customers are different. The keywords are different. The hours are different. The GMB should be different. Give your combined service and parts side of your business a fighting chance in local search results. You want to appear for "service near me" queries, not just the "'OEM brand' near me queries". To do this you need to have a separate GMB listing that is fully optimized with images and reviews. The reviews are very important. Keywords in reviews will make the difference so having separate GMB listings with separate reviews will help give Google and customers a better understanding of your business and departments. What you do on your website with service and parts can effect GMB performance and ranking as well.

2. Customer engagement is better because with an Auto Repair Shop listing that is marked "located in" your sales listing, you can get "Auto repair shop hours" listed on your sales listing right under the main hours in the SERPs card. This is HUGE. Sales and service have very different hours, so why wouldn't you want customers to see this information on the GMB listing? This is the type of information customer want to see and is why GMB search is becoming more important to customers than your website. They want a fast answer, and correct hours is one of them. The reviews are also incredibly valuable. Customers are increasingly looking to reviews for answers. Don't muddy the water by having only one GMB listing representing very different departments. As a customer, a 4.5 score of 100+ reviews mostly about customer's sales experience does little to influence my decision to bring my car into the service center for repairs. With a separate GMB listing with reviews specific for that department, you have a higher chance of showing up in search and drawing in customers who are more engaged and confident in your services.

3. My last quick point is that a combined listing for service and parts is more in line with Google's GMB guidelines and best practices. The guidelines are that you should not have a GMB listing for every product or service you provide, only for distinct separate departments when appropriate. Usually this means a separate entrance, separate section of the building, with separate employees. This describes service and parts. Usually the same people who are servicing your vehicle are going to help you find the parts you are looking for and ring you up at the counter. Service and parts just go together. Generally this is how customers view it as well. Parts are just part of the Auto Repair Shop department. They also have similar keywords associated with them. It is just strange to separate them at that point. You might as well have separate listings for "Car rental", "Tire center", "Oil change", and many more. Google results also show that to rank you want an optimized and engaging listing. Don't split your authority and reviews by splitting your efforts between service and parts. Treat them as the pair customers see them as and benefit from Google's algorithm and show up more in searches for a wider range of keyword searches for you location.
 

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,630
1,230
113
Maryland
First Name
Jeff
Pash posted this relevant article on LinkedIn. Great News: GMB Products Menu Out of Beta

 
  • 1
Reactions: Tony Howard
Aug 8, 2019
10
4
1
First Name
Tony
If you haven’t fully optimized your dealer’s free Google My Business (GMB) listing, you’re missing out on VALUABLE Google searchers who could be visiting your website and even your dealer.

To help you out, I put together 10 optimization recommendations that EVERY dealer should use on their GMB listing going into 2020.

Here they are:



10. Pick relevant categories that match your dealership

Categories describe what your store is rather than what it does or sells. For dealers, I recommend making your Primary Category “[your brand] dealership”. For example, if you’re a Ford dealer, insert “Ford” for “your brand”. If you sell multiple brands, put your best selling brand in this spot.




Here are the categories we've chosen for our Dealer Teamwork GMB profile.

For your other categories, here are some examples you can use (only use ones that apply to your dealer):
  • Used car dealer
  • Car dealer
  • Truck dealer
  • Used truck dealer
  • Auto repair shop
  • Auto parts store
  • Auto body shop
  • Car detailing service
  • Rental cars
  • Chevrolet dealer (choose your brand)


9. Update holiday and department hours

When a shopper is ready to buy and visit a dealer, you want to be prepared to help them. Make sure you update your holiday and department hours on your GMB listing so customers know when to visit you.








8. Solicit and respond to ALL reviews

Reviews and customer testimonials are valuable. Solicit reviews whenever possible. Whether that’s an email after a purchase or a text message, find ways to ask customers to review your dealer on Google. Online reviews spread the word about your business digitally and can help new potential shoppers find you online.



Here's a GIF showing some of Dealer Teamwork's client reviews and our responses to them.

When you respond to your customer's reviews, you can show existing and potential customers that you value their business. People whose reviews you respond to will even receive notifications that you replied. Encouraging and responding to Google reviews allows you to add a personal touch to your online marketing and communication efforts.




7. Include a cover photo and post relevant, high-quality photos

Another way you can optimize your GMB profile for website traffic is by adding a cover photo and other relevant high-quality photos under the different categories available.





You can benefit from posting photos on your dealer's GMB profile because businesses that post photos on their listing receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location. Businesses with photos also receive 35% more clicks through to their websites than those without.

When you post photos to your listing, be sure to add interior and exterior photos of your dealership. Also include pictures of employees, fun dealership culture pictures and anything else you think might be interesting or helpful to potential shoppers or job applicants.



6. Regularly add posts

Posts give your customers more access to your dealer’s business information and updates, which allows them to make better decisions as they browse your profile.




The benefits of regularly posting on GMB include:

  • Being able to improve communications with local shoppers
  • Improving your customer’s experience with timely information
  • Promoting your sales, specials, offers, events and dealership news
  • Engaging with your customers through videos and photos
Get creative and experiment with different content to see what performs best.



5. Enter a brief description of your business

Write an authentic and detailed description that focuses on your dealer’s unique selling proposition. Don't just put “family-owned” or “great experience,” etc. Include information that ACTUALLY sets you apart from competitors and that’s helpful for customers to know. You can view my company's business description below for inspiration.



Keep in mind that Google advises against including details such as promotions, prices or sales information in your descriptions. Also, DON'T add URLs or HTML code.


4. Make sure all dealership locations are verified

It’s important to verify your dealership’s multiple locations (if applicable) to make sure your dealer is eligible to qualify for store visit conversions. Store visit conversions are HUGE for your dealer IF you have access to the metric. You can learn more about this important metric on my company's blog here.





3. Set your location pin and enter your service areas by zip code

Take advantage of Google’s location pin to make sure that your customers know exactly where your dealership is located. The more accurate you make your pin placement, the more shoppers will be encouraged to visit your dealership because it's easier to find.






2. Add the “Menu” link

The “menu” link is the second available CTA (the first being your website link) that lets you add a second URL. For dealers, Google automatically names this URL “Products & Services”. We recommend directing website traffic to your service specials or vehicle offers pages from this link.

Analyze the results in Google Analytics and change your links based on what works best for your dealer.






1. Add UTM tags to CTA Buttons

Always add UTM tags to the main website CTA button and menu link, which makes up the second CTA button. Doing so gives your dealer the ability to track GMB traffic back to your website in Google Analytics. This also makes it easier to track your branded clicks in your Google Analytics campaign reporting. With UTMs in place, you can manage your dealer's paid spend better and save money.





To properly create UTM tags, use these examples:


Website CTA

Source = google

Medium = organic

Campaign = gmb


Here’s an example URL with the above UTM tag: (For the primary CTA button) https://www.yourdealerhere.com/?utm_campaign=gmb&utm_medium=organic&utm_source=google


Menu Link

Source = google

Medium = organic

Campaign = gmb_menu


Here’s an example URL with the above UTM tag: (For the Menu link)

https://www.yourdealerhere.com/new-honda-lease-offers-finance-incentives-seattle-wa/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb_menu


Easily create UTM tags using this campaign URL builder tool from Google. With this tool, all you have to do is:


1. Enter the correct tags from the UTM tag examples provided above.

2. Insert the link generated from the campaign URL builder tool into the appropriate spot on your GMB profile.





Enter the correct tags from the UTM tag examples provided above.





Copy the URL link and insert it into the appropriate spot on your GMB profile.



Hopefully, you find these 10 optimization recommendations helpful!
Great post! Thank you for sharing!
 
  • 1
Reactions: Joe Friedrichsen