Strathcom Media Blog

Digital Marketing for Dealerships

Google My Business (GMB) Guideline Updates: You’re Not a Business, Man

An image of an Indian office worker with a blue shirt behind his desk

 

“I’m not a businessman/I’m a business, maaaaaan.”

On Kanye West’s 2005 album Late Registration, Jay-Z rapped the line above, which would quickly become a part of the pop culture lexicon. Appearing as Gary Vee-style motivational quotes, in the Instagram bios of 14 year olds flipping sneakers, and, I’m sad to say, on my Grandmother’s Facebook wall after she sold a bunch of crocheted “Kitten Mittens” on Etsy, the line was co-opted by anyone who had made a dime outside of a paycheque. Honestly, when Jay-Z said it, it was clever. The rest of you aren’t businesses, and you certainly aren’t Jay-Z. 

old man in a suit gesturing

Google Knows You’re Not a Business

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: not only is Google constantly working to improve the user’s experience, but it’s also much smarter than we give it credit for. It knows what GMB (Google My Business) listings are businesses, and which are people. As a dealership lead generator (sounds better than car salesman, no?) you are an integral part of the business, but you are not the business. Ditto for subprime finance companies, that operate within a dealership. Google would consider that lead generation within the dealership, not the dealership itself. So please, don’t create your own personal GMB listing. Google knows that you work for a company, and are not (in most cases) the company itself. Also, I’m pretty sure if we asked, Google could confidently tell us that you are, in fact, not Jay-Z.

So Who Can Have Their Own GMB Listing?

The latest update to the GMB Guideline is clear—or about as clear as Google gets—on when a person can have their own GMB listing, and when they can’t. “Practitioners,” or public-facing professionals (e.g. doctors, lawyers, financial agents, essentially anyone with a couple of fancy extra letters attached to their name), can create their own listing in the event that they:

  1. operate in a public-facing role, or
  2. are available for direct contact at the listing’s verified location, during business hours.

Even then, a single practitioner shouldn’t have multiple listings for multiple specializations (so if you provide both oil changes and tire swaps, those should not have separate listings). But with the most recent update, Google has specified that “Sales associates or lead generation agents for corporations aren’t individual practitioners, and aren’t eligible for a listing.” Cut and dry. That means no individual salespeople or special sales teams within the dealership, no lead generators like subprime finance or leasing specialists, no service advisors, nada. Just the business, man. 

What’s the Harm?

The reality is, not only does having multiple listings mean a ton of upkeep, but it could have a negative impact on the business itself. Because one day Google is going to see listings for ‘Gary from Gary Moe Volkswagen,’ ‘Moe from Gary Moe Volkswagen,’ and ‘Gary Moe Volkswagen,’ and could delete or suspend two of the three accounts that it assumes are duplicates—at which point no amount of name brand recognition will save you. In fact, one of my colleagues just finished dealing with this for a client, and will have a case study on this at a later date. Jay-Z might’ve had a song called “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” but my guess is he’d be smarter than opening up multiple listings when Google told him not to.

Additionally, you are potentially losing out on great customer testimonials that should have gone to your primary dealership listing, but instead went to the individual salesperson’s listing. Sure, they were the primary person helping the customer, but we all know it takes a strong team to get the wheels over the curb, not just one person. And if that salesperson leaves your dealership, you best believe that they’re taking all of those customer testimonials to whatever dealership they land at next. All of your marketing dollars and effort that may have helped get the customer through your doors are now following Gary along to one of your competitors. You may have “99 Problems” at your dealership, but vehicles you’ve already sold shouldn’t be one of them.

Sometimes the simplest path is the best, and this is one of those instances. Save yourself the headache of having to verify or re-verify your account. Save yourself the trouble of constantly updating multiple listings. Save yourself the trouble of losing customers or customer reviews that you earned. Create one listing for your dealership, and you’ll reap the long-term benefits of playing by Google’s rules. Now get out on the floor, you’ve got leads to generate.

Clout is the New Click: Strategizing for Zero-Click SERPs

“Yes, we’ll let you crawl us, you just make sure to give us credit when we give you the data. […] We [SEOs] made Google just as much as they made us, and all they owe us is what they promised at the outset: traffic and credit.”

This is one of the most apt descriptions of the relationship between SEOs and Google, and was shared by Rand Fishkin in 2016, months after the introduction of the featured snippet earlier that year. When Rand made that statement, it was at a time where Google had all but plagiarized the bulk of the information shown in featured snippets and answer boxes, without attributing all information to the original content creators they scraped the data from. Since that time, they’ve done a better job of providing the appropriate clout from those answers to the websites who provided them, while still keeping the core answer in the search result. Today, Google continues to change the way that search results are displayed in an effort to provide answers, not websites. Great for the customer, but not so much for the business.  Continue reading “Clout is the New Click: Strategizing for Zero-Click SERPs”

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Sides of Boosted Posts

The top angle of a smartphone with the Facebook dashboard displayed on the screen

If you run a Facebook Business Page, you’ve probably felt tempted to click that “Boost Post” button right beside one of your posts at least once. Sometimes, you’re confident enough in your latest post that you’d want to expand your reach outside your current user base. What could this mean for your business? More users liking your posts, following your page, visits your website, product sales, new referrals, and so on.

Facebook sells it as a way to “reach thousands of people for only this minimal amount of dollars.” It makes Facebook posting look effortless, cheap, and cost-effective. I get why you’d use it and I don’t disagree—sometimes, a quality message just needs to reach more people. But if you’re paying for increased exposure, you would hope to have some control in choosing who to get in front of, right? I’m not here to say your content should go to waste or stay limited to a small organic audience; the question here is whether there are better moves than à la carte boosted posts.

Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Sides of Boosted Posts”

How Do I Choose The Best Domain Name?

Business people or office workers on the workplace back view,flat vector illustration.

Shakespeare’s Romeo once suggested, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.” Since we usually see multiple variations of a dealership’s name strewn across every branded opportunity, car dealerships (and my inner theatre nerd) tend to agree with him. But from an SEO standpoint, this can be confusing to your potential customers. This is why choosing both your dealership’s name and domain name are exceedingly important, especially if you want your website or other online citation listings delivered in one, unified brand name for search results.

Continue reading “How Do I Choose The Best Domain Name?”

Feeling ‘Worn’ Out By The Same Ad? Here’s How To Fight Against Redundant Remarketing

Young blonde woman wearing denim jacket over isolated background with hand on head for pain in head because stress. Suffering migraine. (Beautiful young blonde woman wearing denim jacket over isolated background with hand on head for pain in

If you ever saw an ad about a product or online shop you visited the previous day, you should raise your hand to yourself as you scroll through your phone reading this before going to bed (don’t let Alberta’s summer mosquito’s bite). Online Advertisers know this all too well, but for the uninitiated, this is what we call “remarketing”: a wonderful tool that let us show custom ads to users who’ve recently been to a website or viewed specific content. Remarketing reminds people by saying “Hey, that product you were looking for is still in stock—and look, there’s a sale for it now!” and it’s a practice that appeals to many of our clients (and rightfully so!).

Recent experiments here at Strathcom show this strategy works—and works well! Multiple Facebook accounts we operate with had great results when remarketing campaigns were layered into the mix of a holistic strategy, compared to solely targeting a broader audience with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Continue reading “Feeling ‘Worn’ Out By The Same Ad? Here’s How To Fight Against Redundant Remarketing”