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Learn What SEO Pros Are Using to Boost Location-Based Search Ranking
With the recent Veniceupdate, Google has improved the way they detect and rank search results for location-related keywords. Whenever car shoppers search Google for a particular brand and city keyword such as “Toyota Los Angeles,” the SERPs display three types of results. The results that show at the very top are usually Google ads, followed by Google Places listings, and finally the organic listings of dealership websites. Aside from pay-per-click advertising, having an optimized Google Places listing and creating pages with location-based content are the two best ways to get your business more visibility on the first page of Google. As Google continues to deliver more focused search results that prioritize geographical area, it is now absolutely essential that your dealer website is optimized to target location-related keywords. Here are 5 SEO tools you can use to help your dealer website rank higher for location-based search queries:
1. KML Generator
A KML file lets Google know the exact address and latitude/longitude of your business. This information helps Google rank your company’s website when people search for keywords that include your services and a city name. Uploading a KML file to your website boosts its visibility, because Google can better recognize that your dealership serves an area relevant to users. To get the benefits of this local search optimization strategy, you will need to upload a KML file to your website. Here’s a free tool that helps you generate this file: KML Generator.
2. Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorershows you link metrics such as page authority, domain authority and the type of anchor texts used for inbound links. Building inbound links with keyword-targeted anchor text is a central part of SEO. To rank higher for search queries that include a city name, you will have to include location keywords in anchor text. If your car dealership currently works with an SEO provider, then you can use Open Site Explorer to see the kind of links they are building for your website. Google’s search also uses social data like user reviews, Google +1’s and social media sharing to determine search ranking. The premium features on Open Site Explorer will let you see more in-depth metrics on Facebook shares, tweets and Google +1.
3. Google Local Search Toolkit
Another helpful tool is the Google Local Search Toolkit. This program finds key information about the top Google Places listings for any keyword query you want to target. It helps you see how many external citations, reviews, and images are being used to optimize each listing. You can also get insight into the website title tags other local competitors are using, as well as their distance from different cities.
4. hCard Creator
The hCard is a type of microformat that provides Google with contact information for people, organizations and places. Adding hCard content to your dealer website gives Google further data it can use to determine how relevant your business is for any given city name. Use the free hCard creator to create this information for your website: hCard Creator.
5. Schema for Automotive Businesses
Google’s new enhanced search categorizes websites based on the kind of information they offer. A schema is a type of website markup language that tells Google, Bing and Yahoo about the category in which your website belongs. Auto dealers definitively benefit by having the “LocalBusiness” schema markup added to their website, because it helps search engines identify the address and business information for the site. You can use this free schema codegenerator for automotive businesses to create a schema code that includes your business name, address, and the phone number. This code will identify your website as a member of the "LocalBusiness > AutomotiveBusiness" category.
Effective SEO is mainly about communicating relevant information about your website to Google, Yahoo and Bing. Make it easy for the search engines to find and identify facts about your dealer website, and you will notice its gradual increase in organic rankings. To learn more about search engine optimization, feel free to get in touch with us.
Source: Written by Ben Bien
Kim, thank you for this post... It is probably just me, but these kinds of blogs with lists of tools and links to those tools are amongst my favorites. I always like checking out the various resources that people find useful enough to recommend.
These are my favorite as well Ralph. I invited Ben that wrote the article to the community. I am hoping he will join. He works with Autofusion.
Thanks for sharing...great information.
Thanks Kim, this is one of the best reports I've read to help anyone's local listings effort. I've got each one opened in a new window like a buffet feat ready to devour. LOL Looking forward to putting it all to work.
Hello! Hopefully everyone's making smooth transitions over to Google+ for business (link: http://www.google.com/+/business/). Let me know if you have any questions or want optimization tips.
Yes Ben. Please provide tips for optimizing on Google+.
Based on my analysis of Google's recent acquisitions (frommer's travel guide and zaggat), I believe Google is moving more towards a crowd-sourcing model for how it delivers search results and relevant content. What this means is that Google+ for Business is mainly geared towards sharing reviews. Filling out all of your business details and photos is easy, but you should also definitely get more positive reviews on your Google+ page. You can do this by providing small incentives to people after they have completed a purchase or service appointment at your dealership. Just ask them to review your business on Google+, and give them a free $10 gift card to some popular place, like Starbucks. They'll feel like they've already received something valuable from you, so they'll do their part when they get home to leave positive feedback. Or, you can set up a computer at your dealership with Google+ open, and they can review on the spot. The optimization tip here is to direct their attention to reviewing your dealership, and give them a small little bonus in exchange.
I read that providing incentives is against the rules? See this link. http://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=187622 I also have heard that they are starting to block reviews coming from the dealership's IP address.
I haven't heard that, but I'll look into it. It's probably against their terms if you provide incentives for positive reviews. As for the IP address, that's also possible, to prevent people at a business from writing reviews. The tools provided in this article are still relevant even though Google Local pages have changed to Google+ for Business. It's mainly a cosmetic upgrade on how the page looks.
Another tip is to treat your Google+ for business page like a normal webpage that you want Google to pick up on for relevant keywords, so it's good to write your business description so that you include nearby city names.
Thanks Ben. It states reviews. So I would think positive or negative it wouldn't matter.
hm, I see. well, to be on the safe side I suppose it's just best to mention to customers that they can leave positive feedback on your google+ page.
this is a good discussion though, and I invite others to share any ideas on this topic.
My initial thought on this is to develop an APP where your customer can go directly to to your review page. Put the APP on an incentive page on Facebook and make the APP mobile friendly. The incentive is not related to your request for a review but at the same time it's in front of the eyes of your customer/client/visitor.
I'll work on this and update you.