We use Google every day. When we conduct research we use Google. We manage our Gmail accounts, and we socialize using Google+. We optimize our websites, so we are found on Google. We advertise on Google. We may even use the Google toolbar as a quick spellcheck tool. Google is how we find stuff.
We use Google to find local businesses. We find quick information about local businesses through their Google Places listings. Google Places tells us where a business is located, when they are open and how to find them. Google Places also provides us with reviews of the businesses we are interested in. Seventy three percent of all online activity on Google is related to local content according to Google. Will we find a Google listing for your dealership?
The first step toward being found on Google Places is claiming your listing. Google Places listings are free, so there isn’t a good reason for ignoring this powerful marketing tool. To claim your Google Places listing, all you have to do is:
- Create a Google account
- Submit your information
- Verify your listing by phone or postcard
While completing the information on your listing, Google thoughtfully provides you with a completeness gauge. For maximum SEO ranking benefits, don’t stop until you reach 100 percent. In addition to organic SEO benefits, you also provide customers with a more informative experience.
Make sure your local phone number is listed. One of the main reasons for viewing a Google Places page is to obtain a phone number. For maximum SEO results, add the phone number as text. Don’t rely on an image that can’t be crawled by search engine spiders.
Load photos and video. I mention this all the time when talking about Facebook success. Same is true with Google Places. We are a visual society. Images and video capture our attention. You can load up to 10 photos. Consider adding a few photos of new customers and their rides, or better yet, invite a few good customers to upload photos from their Google accounts to your page. The Google Places mobile app makes this super easy to do. Their photos are labeled “From a Google User” and can communicate the great relationship your dealership has with customers.
Google provides a Share an Update function allowing you to promote an event. When mentioning an upcoming event, include a link to your website event page to boost website traffic, provide event details, and boost SEO ranking.
Last, make the review section of your Google Places listing work for you. Have you just serviced a customer beyond their expectations? Ask them to add a review to your listing. This is something they can also easily do with the Google Places mobile app. Monitor the reviews your dealership receives. Post non-confrontational comments to negative reviews, and add comments to positive reviews to continue building the relationship.
In addition to your website and social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Google Places is one more powerful opportunity for your dealership to be found on Google. Seize that opportunity without delay. Claim your Google Places listing. For more information on Google local search view the recent Dominion Powersports webinar: "The New Path to Purchase: Search Engine Marketing and Your Online Reputation."
Dave Valentine is the National Sales Manager of PowerSports Network, a leading provider of web site solutions serving more than 2,500 dealers in North America. PSN is part of Dominion Enterprises, a leading marketing services company serving multiple industries including real estate, apartments, specialty vehicles, marine, automotive and travel.