Google Knows Everything–Including Your Dealership Location

Network gps navigation modern city future technology

One of the most popular SEO requests we see from dealerships across Canada is to take all of their pages and add groupings of text that list all of the cities, towns, or local areas that they “serve.” Sometimes it’s simply the local areas around them (especially for dealerships that are located in a “greater” area around a major city), and sometimes it stretches far beyond what is logical. I’ve seen dealerships ask to list cities that are hours from their physical location, or attempt to rank in search for an entire province that would take almost a full day to drive from end-to-end. For the love of winter tires, I’m telling you: stop the location stuffing madness. It isn’t helping you, I promise.

Why is this tactic a problem?

Continue reading “Google Knows Everything–Including Your Dealership Location”

Homepage Elements with the Highest Conversion Rates

Conversion Optimization: probably the most important topic imaginable for building car dealership websites, and a topic we’d like to shed some light on. Here’s what we at Strathcom discovered during our tests for conversion rates!Print

A Call to Action is Like Asking for the Sale

You train your Salespeople to close the deal, and the same kind of logic behind that also applies online. There’s no denying the insane importance of a Call to Action (CTA), and knowing just when and where to ask for the sale is just as important. In our tests, we excluded clicks from top-level menus. Here are the stats:

The Most Clicked-on Webpages

  • New/Used Inventory – people like to browse, so let’s suggest taking a test drive, for example
  • Specials – let’s load this page up with incentives; that’s the idea here anyways, right?
  • Service Appointment

Highest-Performing Design

Button-style CTAs outperformed “image + text” CTAs. Main CTA buttons account on average for almost half of the clicks on a webpage, making them by far the most important CTAs to include.

Best Placement

The higher above the fold, the higher the conversions.


A Convenient Quick-Search Bar

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Users want to find what they’re looking for right away and if they don’t, they’ll go somewhere else. The stats:


One of the top-performing homepage elements to encourage conversions – we found in our tests that quick-search bars average around 20% of all site clicks.


  • Placement on the homepage doesn’t matter, as it’s consistently used wherever we put it – it’s just a matter of making it accessible
  • When placed lower on a page, users will actively scroll down to use it

A Ton of Links

One paragraph on the homepage could contain links to just about every other section of the site, giving readers an easy way of searching for and finding what they need. Stats:

Most Clicked-on Links

  • Contact Info/Location/Directions/Hours – some users are customers already, and they just want to find out where and when they can drop by, so let’s be sure they can find out easily
  • Book Service Appointment
  • View New/Used Inventory

Highest-Performing Design

Links with button styles, but ONLY when used sparingly – let’s be smart about how we use buttons.

For our testing purposes, “conversions” was defined as clicks which took a user to an internal webpage. We tested using heat maps, click maps, and Google Analytics data, and our tests were done over multiple sites with differing designs.

Dynamic Remarketing 101

 Is it fair to expect to convert visitors on their first visit to a website? According to Hub Spot, approximately 96% of visitors that come to a website are not ready to buy….yet[i]. For the casual browser who is looking for more information, offering the visitor relevant information to keep them on your webpage for longer could mean the difference between a conversion and a bounce.

Today, this is how most people search for new vehicles.

That being said, we all know that a certain percentage of bounce  is inevitable for any website out there, particularly when we are dealing with an extremely competitive landscape such as automotive marketing.

Continue reading “Dynamic Remarketing 101”

Strathcom at Dreamforce 2015!

What do you get when you take 160,000 people and stuff them into San Francisco for a week? One of the largest software and technology conferences in the world: Dreamforce!Strathcom was proud to attend Dreamforce '15

Continue reading “Strathcom at Dreamforce 2015!”

Google my Business Cleans Up the Dealer Search Platform

If you’ve been following the buzz in search marketing these past few weeks, then you’ve likely heard the news about Google’s new suite of tools, Google my Business.

Because of its rather apt and obvious name, you can probably guess that this Google’s new system to help ordinary Joes everywhere (observe: the lower-case M) organize and run their online marketing, all in one place.

Well, you’re right!

After having to put up with managing multiple, competing profiles through recent years in Google Places, Google+, and Google+ Local, dealers can now organize everything they need in one spot. (One site, one login, one password—hmm, where have we heard that before?…)

Google my Business


Goodbye Google Places

Gone is Google Places, useful at one time, but now shed like training wheels for this maturing search engine.

In case you don’t remember, this was the little box in the top margins of your Google search results that listed your name, phone number, and a map to help find you, littered with a load of lettered red tabs that may or may not have had to do with your dealership.

Now that your memory has been refreshed, look forward to someday reading a BuzzFeed article about “21 Hilarious Internet Search Results Pages that’ll Totally Make You Nostalgic for 2010 (Number 17 is so true!!).”

Things look little rosier now. All your SEO juice will be, um, concentrated in a clean, straightforward, and user-friendly platform. Look forward to posting general information, photos, and even include a virtual tour of the inside of your dealership, as well as automatically tracking website insights with these tools, such as clicks and new followers.

The Google my Business user interface now combines these six search elements in one system:

  • My Business Home
  • Reviews
  • Business Insights
  • AdWords Express
  • Google+
  • YouTube

That’s right—all your AdWords data, analytics statistics, SEO-boosting social media, and dealer videos in one place.

Q: Why?

A: To get you higher visibility and “curb appeal” in Google searches, maps, and Google+. So make those dealership selfies extra chic!

Search results



Perhaps the most welcome change of the bunch: all of your online reviews collected and compiled in one spot. Save your marketing manager the time it takes to scan each and every entry from their bookmarked folder of online review sites, and have all of those linked reviews at your fingertips, instantly.

We all know that reviews are time sensitive; you want to know what people are saying about you, when they are saying it. Not two or three days later.

Locate, review, respond, neutralize.

Turn slighted customers into happy ones, and have your happy ones post reviews on the third-party sites that people are actually following in your area. Yep, Google my Business lets you discover this, too.



Mobile Access

The Android app has just been released, and its iOS counterpart is not far behind; screenshots of both apps look promising so far. This means that not only can you manage your search marketing campaign at the office, but on the go, wherever you have access to your cellphone or tablet. Just don’t be obvious about it in the bathroom.


Let Us Keep You Informed

You trust Strathcom Media to keep you up to date with the latest online automotive tech trends; trust us with Google my Business, too.

If you have any questions, or if you need to be advised on setting up you Google my Business profile, contact your Strathcom representative and prevail in local search, today!

Stay tuned for a post on How to use the new Google my Business.

Google Eliminating Duplicate Maps Business Listings

Google has started automatically upgrading Google Place listings from their old platform to the new Google Places dashboard.

Google Places

If Google detects that your business has a duplicate listing, they will send out this email asking for your help:

We’d like to inform you that Google Places no longer accommodates more than one authorized owner per business location. Your account contains one or more listings that have been identified as duplicated of other listings and as a result, some of the information you provide will not be shown to Google users anymore.

Google Places Duplicates Email

Many businesses now have accounts on Google Places, Google Plus, and Google Plus business listings. Google Places and Google Plus are now one. That means if you claimed your Places listing through your Plus Account in the past, you may have a duplicate listing in your Local dashboard.

Internal Duplicates

Normally your claimed listing will be labelled “Claimed,” and if you have a duplicate it will be unclaimed. If your duplicate doesn’t have any reviews or other important information that Google pulled through, then it’s safe to go ahead and delete it and keep your “Claimed” page. However, if your duplicate listing has all of your old reviews, you’ll need to call the Google Places Team support centre. 

External Duplicates

Unlike internal duplicates that appear on the dashboard, external duplicates appear on maps, places, and local business listings. To clean these up, edit the business listing by clicking on the About Us Tab and then Edit Business Information at the bottom of the “Contact Information” section.

Edit Google Plus Page Duplicates


Once you click “Edit Business Information,” you can check the option suggesting the Places page is a duplicate of another and leave comments to prove your assumption. It’s a good idea to leave a link to the other duplicate listing. The duplicate listing should then be fixed by Google.

Watch Google closely to ensure that your profiles get properly merged into one. For more information on the topic, you can check out an answer on Google’s forum from Google Employee Jade.



~ Samantha Goettel

It's Happened! Verify Your Google Plus Listing to Keep It in Canada

Two-and-a-half weeks ago I wrote a post on how Google Place Plus users would have to update their accounts or their listings would be deleted from Google and  I predicted that it could soon happen in Canada.

Google Places

 Well, today, it happened! I logged into Strathcom Media’s Google Plus listing and I received a message at the top of our plus page. It said ” To Keep your Google Page. please review and submit your information.”


It then took me to a page that said “To keep your listing live on Google, please review your information, make any necessary changes and click Submit at the bottom of the page.”

Verify Google Listing to Keep it Live

I updated our information, added a few pictures and then clicked “Save.” It took me only a few minutes.

Verify Place Listing

I skimmed our Gmail account and I didn’t see any emails with the warning. That means you will have to log in to your Google Plus account and update your listing to ensure you don’t lose it.

Google Places listings are incredibly important for local SEO. Google Places accounts blend with the authority of your website and often appear above website listings directly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in what’s called the Map Pack. One would not want to see their places listing disappear and potentially lose top spot rankings.

If you need help claiming your listing check out our post called  Google+ places for businesses – How to claim your dealership

Or if you have any more questions on updating your listing Contact Us today!

~ Samantha Goettel

Google Warns Local Businesses – Save Your Listing or Be Removed

Google has been sending out “Action Required” emails to a test audience in Australia this month. They are giving certain local business owners 3 weeks to update their Google Places listings or the listings will be removed from Google maps entirely. Google Places

Here is the message from Google:

We are making some changes to Google Places for Business and Google Maps so we can continue providing people with the best experience when they’re looking for local businesses. As part of this process, we’re asking business owners to review and confirm some of the information in their Google Places accounts so we can keep showing it to Google users. We know this will be a few extra steps for merchants, and we apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your time. We have sent business owners affected by these changes an email entitled “Action Required: You have 3 weeks to save your Google Places Listing”.

For those that have received this message, it’s very important that they log in to their Google Places account, update their business listing and ensure that all the information is correct.

What does this mean for us Canadians?

Grumpy Harper
Source: Huffington Post
Google could soon roll this out in Canada as they always test new initiatives in smaller markets (Canada included). If you continuously maintain your Google Places listing, then your local business’s Places listing won’t be in danger of deletion even if Google does roll out this change worldwide or in North America. How do you protect your local business listing? Be sure your listing is correct, has the proper categories pertaining to your business, has updated photos and consider including announcements through your Google Places account. It’s also important that you maintain your NAP (Name Address Phone Number) consistency. Be sure you refer to your business the same way everywhere on the internet. If you need help claiming and maintaining your Google Places listing you can check out our blog post on Google Plus and Places or Contact Us if you have any questions. ~ Samantha Goettel

Local Ranking Factors in 2013 for your Car Dealership

Local SEO: A specialized kind of online marketing that increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically-related searches. Example local SEO keyword phrase: “Toyota Edmonton.”

Today, SEO is no longer just about putting keywords into your website. A few years ago, no one was implementing SEO on their websites. It was easy to rank at the top of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS) just by doing a bit of keyword research, adding the keywords to your title tags, meta descriptions and website content and building some links.

Things have changed. Google updates their algorithm constantly so that black hat and spammy SEO tactics won’t get you to the coveted spots at the top of the SERPs.

Check out this video on how Google makes improvements to its search algorithm:

To give your website the best chance of ranking at the top of Google and other popular search engines in 2013, you must consider some important ranking factors:

On-Site Ranking Factors

Google Page Rank

Domain and page authority of a website

  • Domain Authority affected by how long the domain has been active on the internet and how much traffic it receives.
  • Individual Page Authority is how much traffic your individual landing pages receive.

Content on your website

  • Should be unique and informative (was keyword research performed to find what is unique and searched for?)
  • Should NOT be copied from other sources on the Internet
  • Should be updated regularly with information and tips (A blog can build authority here)
  • Should use relevant product or service keywords

Landing page meta titles and descriptions

  • Should mention city, province, products and services

Local phone number and address

  • Should appear in footer of the website. This assures Google that you are a real brick and mortar business.

Rich snippets

Rich snippets are a few lines of text you can mark up on your website that show up directly in the search engine result pages. They are designed to give users more information about what the page is about before they click on the link.

Some relevant rich snippets for car dealership websites can be: Auto dealer, Automotive repair, Local business and even vehicle reviews. Below is an example of a reviews rich snippet in action:

Rich Snippets

Website URLs

  • Using a product or service in your URL helps Google understand what the page is about, improving your ranking for that product or service. Example (for keyword “winter tires”): 

  • As does a geographic keyword or location in the URL:

Offsite Ranking Factors



Citations are listings of your business contact information online (even if there isn’t an accompanying link to your website) and always include your address, phone number and other information about your business.

You can add citations with your business information to a number of local and dealership directories. It’s important for Local SEO, as Google Maps often uses citation information to verify the correctness of its business listings.

Google looks at the quantity and authority of citations for your business when determining your website’s page rank.

NAP Consistency

The “NAP” in NAP Consistency stands for Name Address Phone Number. When your business is mentioned in citations, it is important that all of these elements are listed in a consistent manner.

For example, you don’t want to call your business “Joe’s Volkswagens” in one place, and  “Joe’s VWs” somewhere else. Refer to your business in one way and stick to it. If you refer to your business in different ways Google can see you as two separate businesses and this will split your authority in two.

You want your business name to maintain as much authority on the internet as possible. Also be sure to display the same address and phone number in all places, as not doing this can split your authority up as well. For example, if in one-business listing your address is listed as 11420 First Street, and another lists it as 11420 1st Street, then Google could potentially see this as two separate addresses.

Google robots are not humans; they can get confused if a business is referenced in different ways. It’s important to maintain your authority for one business and not spread authority across many different variations of your business name.


  • Google considers mentions of your business on blogs and articles online


  • Quality of  links pointing to your website from other websites
  • Authority of links pointing to your website from other websites
  • Quantity of links pointing to your website from other websites
  • Relevancy of links: is the link from a similar industry, or is it completely non-relevant?
  • Anchor text in links.

Presence on Google Maps, Apple Maps & others

  • Is the business listing owner-verified?
  • Updates, photos and completeness of map accounts
  • Click-through rate from map accounts to website

Social Ranking Factors

Social Media


  • The number of +1’s in Google SERPs from Google+ users
  • Velocity of +’s on company’s Google+ page

    • If a business gets all of their +1’s at once, Google may see this as suspicious

  • Authority of Social Media account user recommending your website or articles


  • Subscriptions to company YouTube profile

Social media links

  • Shares with a link to your website on public profiles of Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest
  • Click-through rate from Social media posts to your website

Google+ Place Review Ranking Factors

Google+ Reviews


  •  How many reviews your car dealership receives — good and bad


  • How often  reviews come in. Once again, if the reviews all come in at once Google and other review sites may flag them as suspicious


  • The overall rating score of your review — from 1 star to 5 stars

Product or service mentions

  • If a reviewer mentions a product in their review, you may start to rank for the mention. For example, if a number of reviews mention they bought a used Toyota at your Honda dealership, you may also start to rank for used Toyotas in smaller markets.

Location mentions in review

  • If a reviewer mentions that they drove from another geographic location to visit your dealership, you may start to rank for that geographic location. For example: “I drove all the way from Jasper to buy a new Honda at this Edson Honda dealership”


  • How authoritative the reviewer is

3rd party reviews

  • Yelp (Second-most important to Google+)
  • Citysearch
  • DealerRater
  • Etc.

As you can see, it’s not just about keywords on a website anymore! There are many more ranking factors to consider in conjunction with the above. If you have any questions about ranking factors give us a call at 1.877.707.7379 or email us at


~ Samantha Goettel

Google+ places for businesses – How to claim your dealership

Local Search is important for car dealerships in Canada because car dealers are local businesses – simple enough!

A huge part of Local SEO is to claim and manage your Google+ place business listing; it’s even more important than your Apple Maps listing. Google Places accounts blend with the authority of your website and often appear above website listings directly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

google maps car dealerships

car dealerships on Google maps


The first step to ranking in a blended (maps and website listing) result is to claim your account and populate it with your business information.  Simply follow my handy-dandy instructions below:

1. Sign in to your Google Account or create an account for free at

2. Go to, type in your dealership’s name and city and click “search.”

3. Next you will see a map of your location and region with your business listed on the left-hand side of the page.

4. Click on your business name and a location box will appear on the map.

Claiming Google Maps

5. Click on “more info” in your location box.

6. It will bring you to your Google business page. Next click on “Manage this page”Manage your place page

7. Click on “Edit my business information” and then click “continue.”Edit my places information

8. Next, add in your business information. The more the better! The more information you provide Google, the better that Google robots will understand your business and rank you appropriately.

9. Make sure you add as many Business Categories as you can:

  • Car dealership
  • Used car dealership
  • Auto body
  • Service repair
  • Etc.

populate Google places info

10.  Adding pictures will ensure that the right images show up in your Google Place listings. If you don’t upload any pictures, Google may choose a random image from your website. Some dealers have had issues with used cars of different brands showing up as their main image.
upload image to google places

image & map


11. You can also add YouTube videos directly to your account.upload youtube video to google places

12. In the Additional Details section, you may add your dealership’s brands: Buick, Chevrolet, Honda, etc.

additional details for Google Places

13. Once you have added all of your information, click Submit.


14. You will be taken to a screen where you can select how you would like to validate your listing.  Sometimes there are three options:

  • By postcard
  • By text message
  • Or by phone validation

In some cases there is only one option. The Phone option is usually the easiest. Once you have selected the option most convenient for you (or the only option available), a Google robot will send you a special code to validate your listing.

  • If you select the phone option, your phone will ring immediately. Be sure to tell your receptionist to record the code the Google robot recites.
  • If you select the text message option, you should receive a validation code on your cell phone.
  •  If you select the “postcard” option, you will receive a card in the mail in a couple weeks with the code. Make sure to tell whoever manages your dealership’s mail that this is NOT spam.

Google Place Postcard

15. Once you have received your Google Places code, validate your listing by entering your Google Places Pin and clicking “Go.”

Enter Google Place code

Congratulations! Your listing should now be validated. Don’t forget to manage the page on a regular basis, add posts, images, and campaign your clients for reviews. Reviews on your Google Place account is a strong ranking factor.

Managing your Google+ Place account on a regular basis can help you show up in a coveted spot in the SERPS.


~ Samantha Goettel

Is your car dealership visible on Apple Maps?

A large percentage of the population uses smart phones to search for local services and products. While the most-used maps application is Google Maps, if you ignore the following Apple statistics you could be missing out on a big piece of the APPLE maps PIE. There will be an estimated One BILLION Apple devices active in the year 2015. Over 35% of Apple users use the default map application called Apple Maps. That’s 35% of a billion! Even without doing the math, we all know that that’s a lot of users.

Car dealerships are local businesses, and this is why a dealership must focus on Local SEO. What is Local SEO?

A specialized kind of online marketing that increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically-related searches. –Wikipedia

There are many aspects to Local SEO, and many steps to Local SEO one must perform to be successful. One important step is optimizing, claiming, managing and having accounts on map services online like Google Places and Apple Maps.

These steps will ensure your car dealership shows up in Apple Maps:

  1. Have a business Yelp Account. Since Yelp and Apple Maps are so closely correlated, just having a Yelp Account usually guarantees you will show up in Apple Maps. If your business has been verified on Yelp, there’s a good chance that it will show up on the maps.
  2. Open the Apple Maps app on an apple device.
  3. Search for your business name

Make sure you search using the location. Apple Maps can get easily confused if the query isn’t precise. As we all know, Apple Maps isn’t quite up-to-snuff compared to Google Maps and the app suffers from quirky data consistency issues. It is recommended to do the following searches, just to make sure your dealership shows up for all of them:

  • dealership name + city
  • dealership name + city + province
  • dealership name + street address
  • dealership name + street address + city
  • dealership name + street address + city + province
  • dealership  phone number

If your dealership doesn’t show up:

It means that Apple Maps does not have your business in its database or it’s confusing you with another dealership with a similar name in a different location. 

Here are some ways you can try to correct the situation:

  1. Select the page fold in the bottom right.
  2. Select “Report a Problem”
  3. Select “Location is missing,” then “Next”
  4. Position the pin to the correct location, then select “Next”
  5. Enter your business details; don’t forget to enter your dealership name
  6. Make sure you select a category (Automotive, car dealership, etc)
  7. Select send
  8. Submit your dealerhips to Localeze
  9. Localeze is the core U.S. business listing data provider for Apple Maps. If you didn’t find your dealership in Apple Maps, you can check to see if your dealership is listed on If not, you can submit your information to Localeze for free. That said, the free submissions can take a while to make it into the database.
You don’ t want to be invisible on one of the most used Map applications in North America!


Seven Steps to Improve Your Local SEO

Any business that gets some or all of its customers or clients locally should be optimizing their website for local SEO. Whether you are a local restaurant, retail outlet, doctor, dentist or a car dealership, if you have a physical address in a city and expect people to go to your brick-and-mortar location, you should focus on local SEO. Here are my top 7 tips to help your website rank locally:

1. Ensure Your Website Content References Your Location.

Remember to reference your city in the content on your site alongside the names of your product or service. It seems simple, but this tactic is often overlooked. Remember to add the location within the headings on your site. For example, a good heading would be: “Honda vehicle collision repair in Edmonton, Alberta” while the content, could read: “We offer the finest auto collision repair with competitive pricing in Edmonton, Alberta. Get bumper dent repair & paintless scratch repair on the famous Whyte Ave in Edmonton.” When Google crawls your website it will note the product/service alongside the city name. Remember, you don’t want to overstuff your content with keywords or the location name!

2. Claim or Register Your Google Places Listing.

To check if a Google Places listing exists for your business, search for your business name in Google maps. If nothing shows up, you may need to create a Google Places for Business account If you already have an account, you will want to claim your listing by clicking on the big red button on the right hand side that says “Manage this page” (you must be signed into a Gmail address).
Remember, the more complete your account the better. Add products, brands you sell, photos, videos, services offered, hours of operation, industry information – everything you can. DO NOT cram extra keywords or location names in your business title as Google may delete your listing if you cheat with keywords. Once you are satisfied with its completeness you can submit your Places profile to Google. Google will then send you a postcard in the mail with a unique pin, which you then enter into your account to verify its information.

3. Add Your Address in The Footer of Your Site.

Having a business address that’s been verified with Google places and a phone number on your website increases your authority and tells Google that you’re a real business. Adding your local address in the footer which appears on each page is a good way to show Google where your business is located and verifies that you are a real business. It will also match up with your Google Places listing and often will show up as a blended search listing in the search engine result pages (SERPs) with your places listing. Don’t forget to include your postal code, as this often gets forgotten.

4. Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP) Consistency.

You want to maintain a consistent company name, address & phone number (NAP) across all directories, blogs, articles and sections of your website. For example, if your dealership name is “Joe’s Chevrolet car emporium” you don’t want to call it “Joe’s Chevy car emporium” on one page, or “Joe’s car emporium” on another – be consistent! Any variations can dilute your search results. The same thing goes for your address; commit to one way of displaying your mailing address and make sure it’s always the same. With your phone number, it’s best to display your local number instead of a 1-800 number. This shows Google that you are in fact a local business.

5. Reviews.

Reviews are similar to link building to your website. Genuine reviews show Google that real people are using your services or buying your product and taking the time to talk about it online. Encourage your customers to review your business on Google Places and other review sites such as Yelp and Hotfrog.

6. Update your Page Titles.

Page title, also called a “title tag,” isone of the most important factors in SEO. You want to ensure your title tags are unique on each page, and use highly searched long tail keyphrases combined with the location of your business. Remember, only 70 characters of your title tag are displayed in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS), so you have to be choosey with your words.

7. Add a Blog to Your Site.

A blog is a simple way to add fresh content to your site. Google loves fresh new content and a blog is a great way to achieve that. Use a blog to provide insight and information about your product or service. Blog about upcoming sales in your current city! Get started by checking out these cool topics for car dealer blogs & remember to reference your city name whenever you can.

I hope these 7 tips help you build better local SEO for your website.

Samantha Goettel