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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
Mo, that's a brilliant idea.
The point is to make it ridiculously easy for customers to leave a review, whether or not it's a positive or negative one. If a dealership encourages transparency and open communication between itself and its customers, it can more likely catch negative reviews before a dissatisfied customer takes the Internet, where it's then out of your control. So if they want to leave a positive review, direct them to where they can do that (your google+ page), and if they want to leave a negative review, head them off and try to reason with them, let them voice their concerns directly to you, before doing anything that can damage your online reputation.
I just remembered I wrote about this "online reputation management" issue back in April, here's the article, which includes the idea about incentivizing reviews (which may not be within the Google ToS):
Also, Google recently tightened up their filters on Google reviews. According to their best practices, they stated that the best way for customers to leave reviews is through their mobile smart phone. This probably means that the reviews left through someone's mobile device has the smallest chance of getting filtered.
And yes, providing incentives is against the rules.
And posting your review at a dealership's computer where the IP is always the same increases the chances of your review getting filtered but its' not a guarantee.
We also found that new accounts have a very high chance of getting filtered. So if I created an account right after I get service done at my favorite dealership, Brighton Chrysler, and I post a review, that review has a higher chance of getting filtered unless I keep using my Google account. Just something to keep in mind.
The best way to get positive reviews is just to remind the customer. Send a postcard home with them right after service. It could include a coupon so the customer doesn't just throw the postcard away. And in your followup customer satisfaction call, remind them again to leave a review. Follow up and have a process at the dealership.
New update from our SEO team: we are currently using a paid solution instead of the Google Local Search Toolkit, as that has become outdated. This solution helps us correct and claim external citations on behalf of our SEO clients.