As a dealership owner, you want to ensure that your business is easily discoverable by potential customers searching for local dealerships on Google. Creating and maintaining a Google Business Profile (GBP) is one way to achieve this. However, just having a GBP is not enough to stand out from the competition, and you need to optimize your profile to attract more customers to your dealership.
Here are 12 steps to help you create a search-leading Google Business Profile for your car dealership:
1.Claim, Create, and Verify Your Google My Business Listing
The first step to creating a GBP is to claim, create, and verify your Google Business Profile listing, formerly known as Google My Business or GMB. Ensure that your business name matches the signage on your dealership.
You can use the call tracking number as the primary number and real, local numbers as secondary, tertiary, etc.
Optimize your business descriptions with relevant keywords, popular services, and product names, but avoid keyword stuffing in the description.
2.Keep Your Business Information Up-to-Date
Your proximity is the number one factor for local ranking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help Google along with identifying the key aspects of your business.
List all the categories that apply to your business. Review your information monthly to ensure accuracy, as some automated suggestions may not be necessary.
Select relevant attributes to your business, and add business hours/special business hours.
Pro Tip: Create Correlating Landing Pages on your Site to Bolster your GBP Categories
Take it one step further, create landing pages on your website that match each category listed on your Google Business Profile. This solidifies the relationship between the category on your dealership’s business listing and your website, boosting local SEO and expanding your reach for those services.
These landing pages can provide detailed information about each of the services or products associated with the categories listed on your Google Business Page.
For example, if you have “used car sales” as a category on your GBP, create a landing page dedicated to that “used cars sales” keyword, which helps potential customers find the information they are looking for and improve your site’s ranking on Google.
Update your Dealership’s Service Appointment Link
Additionally, you must keep your service appointment section updated. You can now edit this section directly in the Google Search Management view, making it easier to inform your customers about your service availability.
In addition, add service areas to let customers know the areas that you serve.
A good GBP (aka GMB) management tool can help ensure your dealership’s information stays accurate consistently. Even better is a dedicated team, like Dealer Authority, committed to optimizing your business listing to the fullest.
3.UTM your website link to track your traffic
When promoting your dealership, you should always use a UTM on your front-facing “social” posts on the Google Business Profile to track your efforts and differentiate them from organic clicks from your GBP.
To track organic traffic headed to your website from your dealership’s Google Business Profile, just tack on the following UTM code to the end of your web address:
In this example:
- “Google” is the source of your traffic
- “Organic” represents the medium
- “GBP” is the campaign that you are tracking
Together, you can easily identify the traffic that comes specifically from your GBP. In this example the campaign is tagged as GMB
You can also use a keyword to track posts about specific pushes other than inventory, such as in-store events, special offers, limited-time sales, and local partnerships.
Google Analytics URL Builder is a fantastic Chrome extension that helps add a UTM tag to your home page link.
Direct Backlinks to Your Website, Not Your GBP
Speaking of links… Let’s debunk an SEO strategy myth here.
When building backlinks to your dealership, it is recommended to direct them to your main website rather than your Google Business Profile (GBP). Although linking to your GBP may seem beneficial, it can dilute those backlinks’ SEO value.
Backlinks from reputable external sites signal to search engines that your content offers value to users. By linking to your website instead of your GBP, you can increase your site’s authority and improve its visibility in search results, which leads to heightened website traffic and greater potential for customer conversions.
Remember that your GBP summarizes your dealership and routes users to your website for more information.
Your marketing efforts, including backlink building, should aim to drive traffic to your website, where you showcase inventory details, contact information, special offers, and other content. Directing backlinks to your main website rather than your GBP can significantly strengthen your SEO and search ranking.
This strategy helps establish your website as the prime destination for prospective customers interested in your dealership.
4.Add Photos and Videos to Your Profile
Photos and videos are a great way to showcase your dealership. Include interior and exterior photos of the dealership, including the service bays, parts department, waiting areas, etc.
Make sure to use photos with a ratio of 4:3. This ratio is the best way to show the entire image; otherwise, it will cut off part of the image for the main page post. Do not use stock photos in your photos or post sections.
Optimizing the image file name and information for posts and photos will help with your SEO results.
Always upload the images used in your weekly posts to the photos section to keep both sections regularly updated – Google likes to see regular updates and rewards it with better search results.
5.Respond to Reviews
Respond quickly and professionally to win over potential customers and improve your online reputation. Incentivize your employees to garner more reviews, and always respond to ALL reviews.
Google values business profiles that demonstrate regular activity, so even if it’s a bad review, respond!
6.Use Google Posts to Promote Your Business
Posting once a week and doing one Q&A a month is recommended. Keep the text under 140 characters to ensure all text is visible. Use a variety of vehicle styles and colors for your posts and photos to make the page more attractive. No matter what anyone tells you, do not use hashtags on Google Posts.
Example Google Posts for Dealerships
- New/Pre-Owned Sales/Offers: If you have specific offers/incentives you’d like to highlight or just want to encourage people to check out your selection of vehicles, using an inventory photo or photo taken from the dealership is the best way to showcase your selection!
- Service Appointments/Coupons: Sometimes, customers forget about routine maintenance or that dealerships offer coupons and discounts on certain services! Creating a graphic highlighting these discounts or reminding them to make an appointment will catch their eye and lead to them looking at what your service team has to offer.
- Financing Offers/Applications: Some customers don’t know that you can apply for financing online or if you have a specific offer going on. Making a post with a graphic highlighting the offers and/or online access helps encourage people to go to your website!
- We Buy Cars: Whether they’re looking to sell a vehicle or trade in for something better, letting your customers know you’re interested in buying their current car, truck, or SUV is important! Using a bold headline on a photo from your dealership saying “We Want Your Vehicle”, “Cash For Cars”, etc. is a great way to catch their eye and get them onto your website.
- Local Sponsorships: Many dealerships sponsor or work with local businesses, events, and organizations in the community, and customer LOVE to see some #LocalLove! Photos with your staff at local businesses you support or at your dealership hosting an event show that you care about the community and helping others. This translates into your dealership being seen as looking out for their customers and helping others, not just looking for a profit.
7.Use Google Q&A to Answer Customer Questions
Google Q&A is an important feature that can help you provide excellent customer service. By answering customer questions directly from your GBP, you can quickly address any concerns or inquiries that they may have.
Additionally, upvoting a question three times will make it the first native FAQ on the listing, which can increase visibility and help potential customers find the information they need.
Here are 5 example Q&A’s to get you started:
1.¿Hablas español en (dealership name)?
Sí, hablamos español en (dealer name). Llámenos, envíenos un correo electrónico, o visite nuestro concesionario de (city, state), y nuestro representante hispanohablante estará encantado de ayudarlo.
2. How can I order parts from your dealership?
You can order (manufacturer name) parts from (dealer name) by either submitting an online parts order form, calling our parts department, or stopping by our (city, state), dealer location.
3. What’s the difference between a used and a certified pre-owned vehicle?
A used car typically comes as-is with no warranty. A certified pre-owned vehicle undergoes a full inspection to meet the certified criteria and is backed by a certified warranty by (manufacturer name). For more information, contact the team at (dealer name) in (city, state).
4. I don’t see the car I am looking for. Can I reserve a new one from you?
Yes! You can reserve a new (make or makes) car, truck, or SUV online, by phone, or in-person from (dealer name) in (city, state).
5. Do you only service (make or makes) models?
No, at (dealer name), our factory-trained technicians can service almost any make and model. They are certified by the manufacturer and continue their education to keep up on the latest technology to keep your car, truck, or SUV running safely on the roads around (city, state). Schedule your appointment today!
Pro Tip: Best practice is to post at least one Q&A a month to appease the Google gods, so don’t be shy! Build a list of FAQs for your dealership and set a monthly calendar event reminding you to post your Q&As.
8.Use Cars for Sale to Boost Your Reach
Inventory injection can significantly optimize your Google Business Profile as a car dealership, so how does it work?
The Cars for Sale inventory tool is a quick and easy way to boost your profile’s reach. This simple integration scrapes your website for your inventory and injects it into your dealership’s Google Business Profile. The feed automatically updates every 24 hours, so you don’t have to worry about manually swapping out your feed.
Not only does it showcase your current inventory to users searching for your dealership directly, but it also boosts your profile’s visibility for related keywords found within your inventory listings. How cool is that?!
Implementation requires technical expertise to connect your inventory management system. Services like Dealer Authority can assist in ensuring your inventory is accurately represented and regularly updated.
Overall, inventory injection lets you showcase your vehicle selection on your Google Business Profile. Easy access to your current inventory will increase engagement and qualified leads, making this feature integral to optimizing your dealership’s online presence.
9.Use Google Insights to Track Your Performance
Google Insights can provide valuable data on how customers interact with your GBP.
By analyzing this data, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your profile to attract more customers, which will help you stay ahead of the competition and improve your online presence.
The most critical data to measure your GBP performance are overall views (how customers see your listing) and total interactions (how they use your listing). Users are able to view your listing through traditional search inquiries and by searching in maps.
Once your profile is delivered in either view, customers can choose to interact with it via buttons located at the top of your profile. These buttons can produce one of three actions: website visits (direct link to site), phone calls (click to call), or direction requests (in Google Maps).
GBP Key Performance Metrics:
- Views – the number of times your GBP was delivered to customers
- Search Views
- Map Views
- Total Interactions – the number of button clicks within your GBP
- Website Visits
- Phone Calls
- Direction Requests
10.Use Google Reviews to Build Social Proof
Google Reviews are a powerful way to build social proof and attract new customers. While running contests or offering promotions to get reviews might be tempting, this practice is a huge no-no for Google and could lead to profiles being suspended.
Instead, encourage customers to leave reviews naturally. Reviewers who include keywords in their reviews help the GBP listing rank for those keywords. Here are some tips you can use to train your staff:
- Set up review links and QR codes around the dealership to make it easy for customers to leave reviews right from their phones. Have review cards at service counters, on sales managers’ desks, and anywhere customers interact with staff.
- Email customers after a sale or service appointment inviting them to leave a review. Time these emails strategically, like two weeks after a sale, when they’ve had time to enjoy their new vehicle.
- Train staff to politely ask happy customers in person if they would consider leaving an online review. Equip staff with tablets or review cards to capture reviews on the spot.
- Monitor review volume weekly and celebrate milestones and top reviewers. This keeps staff engaged in the process.
- Respond professionally to all Google reviews, positive and negative, showing customers you care and are listening.
- Run occasional review contests for customers who leave reviews, with small prizes like gift cards or merch. Just don’t require a review to enter, and be careful to follow of all Google’s rules regarding obtaining reviews.
11.Keep your Eyes Peeled for Imposters
Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty easy for outsiders to gain access to your Google Business Profile if you’re not diligent about it.
- Swiftly reject requests from imposters or anyone you don’t know
- Add trusted individuals to your GBP as managers
- Ignore these requests
- Give up ownership of your GBP, add managers instead
Heed this warning from Google:
“If you don’t respond, they’ll be able to verify their affiliation with the business. If they complete the verification process, your affiliation with the business will be unverified. If you want to retain control over this Business Profile, respond now.”
Here’s an actual request email from an imposter in California trying to gain ownership of a Virginia dealership’s Google Business Profile (with his personal information kindly redacted):
12.Hire a Professional
Creating an amazing Google Business Profile can be a time-consuming and challenging task. If you’re looking for a professional agency to help you optimize your Google Business Profile and take your dealership to the next level, look no further than Dealer Authority. Our team of experts has years of experience in digital marketing for auto dealerships, and we specialize in creating customized strategies that align with your business goals and objectives.
By working with Dealer Authority, you can save time and resources and focus on what you do best – running your dealership. Our team can help you optimize your Google Business Profile, create targeted ads, and track your performance to ensure you get the most out of your investment. We are committed to helping you attract more customers to your dealership, increase your revenue, and stay ahead of the competition.
Don’t Leave Money on the Table
Creating a fantastic Google Business Profile for your auto dealership requires time and effort. However, following these tips can optimize your profile and attract more customers to your dealership. Remember always to keep your profile up-to-date, respond to reviews, and use Google’s suite of tools to improve your online presence. If you need expert help, consider hiring a professional agency like Dealer Authority to assist you in creating a fantastic Google Business Profile.