Why Local SEO Matters
It’s that time of year again! No, not for the Roller Derby Championship, but for the FCA Digital Road Show–which has been hitting cities since the beginning of April for all of their Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram stores. The Strathcom team was fortunate enough to tag along on five stops this year, hitting Barrie and Markham in Ontario, and Edmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie in Alberta. The purpose of these stops are to get all of the FCA Digital Vendors in one room to help educate and bring new topics to light for FCA dealers. In other words, it’s a bit like vendor speed dating–we each get a table, and the dealers strap on their (metaphorical) quad skates to rotate through, every 20 minutes, and have a more personal, one-on-one conversation with each vendor.
The morning started off with quick keynotes from Stacey Hayes of FCA Digital, Hassan Heikh of Google Canada, and Brian Sencich of Facebook Canada. All three speakers presented some great insights into the car buying journey, and why mobile needs to be a priority. Here’s a quick recap of what they had to say:
- Pay attention to your leads and how you respond
- Out of all the mystery shops done, only 16% of leads went unanswered. But, and this is a big one, of the responses, only 16% truly answered the question asked.
- Canadian car buyers are going to fewer dealerships, and not reaching out ahead of time
- 2.9 dealerships are visited on average, and 54% of those visitors will not contact the dealership ahead of time. This means that in order to win the in-person visit, you must first win the online visit. *Shameless Self Promotion Alert!* Great content and online advertising from Strathcom is a headstart to winning that battle.
- Mobile has put people in control
- People thumb through 300 feet of content every day on their Facebook news feed, so you need to pull up your socks and get creative! What works you ask? Well, using multiple images, appealing to emotion, including a promotion, mentioning the price, and mentioning the timing are all strategies to ensure you catch the consumer’s attention!
With the FCA Digital program, Strathcom is a certified online advertising and SEO provider. Our topic of choice this year was to focus on local SEO and why it should matter for dealers. If you’re first thought on local SEO is that you’re already doing it, then I challenge you to think again. Our Lead Organic Strategist, Melina Beeston, and her team of SEO gurus spend a lot of their time looking at dealer websites, their online presence, what they are doing right and of course their opportunities for improvement. Although local SEO might seem like a no-brainer, the majority of dealers still aren’t doing the basics.
So what can you do to improve your local SEO throughout the rest of 2018? Here are the top things to keep in mind:
Ranking vs. Visibility
Local search happens when a particular location is factored into a specific search query. This can be done explicitly based on your query, like when you search “car dealership near me,” or implicitly when Google is able to detect your location. When we think of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page), we need to move away from thinking solely about ranking (we’ve all had dealers request to rank first for a specific term on Google, don’t deny it!) and start thinking more about visibility. With local searches, there are a number of SERP features to keep in mind when trying to improve your visibility, like:
- Knowledge Panel (make sure you have your Google My Business setup and up-to-date, to get the most out of this feature)
- Local Pack (only three pins get dropped on the map, and you want to be one of them)
- Organic Listings (this one should be obvious)
- Paid Ads (this one too)
- Answer Box (this one is a bit trickier and requires you to really develop content on your website to be able to answer the questions people are asking, but it’s worth it if you can get it!)
How Does Google Determine Local Rankings?
Google’s intent is always to provide the most relevant answer to the question that’s being asked–this is part of the reason why your site will be so thoroughly rewarded by appearing in the Answer Box. Google prioritizes those answers for local search based on three primary criteria: relevance, distance, and prominence. While all of these factors are important to Google, it’s imperative to note that nothing is absolute. Depending on the query made, Google may decide that another dealership further away is more likely to satisfy the searcher’s question, and will show their dealership over yours even though you are closer in proximity. Since we were bound for time with our 20 minute speed-dating rounds, we focused on one of the five major ranking factors: content relevance.
But what exactly does content relevance mean? Think of it this way: when Google looks at a Jiffy Lube it knows that the business is all about servicing vehicles, and providing services like oil changes. So when Google looks at your dealership’s website, what does it see? If I were to hazard a guess, you probably have ten inventory pages to every one page about anything else on your website. This classifies you as a car dealer. Even though you may offer oil changes and every other service that Jiffy Lube also offers, your content relevance is that you are a car dealer and you sell cars! This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just something to keep in mind as you plan out your organic strategy for the rest of 2018.
Curious as to what the other four major ranking factor are? Head here to download our PDF checklist for what you need to do! If you’re not sure where to start, or are worried about strapping on your skates and getting stuck going in circles, feel free to get in touch with the Strathcom team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll make sure to get you skating straight into the winner’s circle. Our team will develop a unique strategy that meets the needs of your dealership. And the best part? Your organic strategy efforts are eligible for FCA co-op, and we can focus on any business objective that you have. Partner with us and you’ll be able to coast to victory for the rest of 2018!