While most car brands are household names, local car dealers might not be so quickly recognized by consumers. Often, consumers only come to learn more about the car dealers in their neighborhood when they’re thinking about leasing or purchasing a vehicle.
One of the most important steps you can take to make sure your dealership stands out during this important research phase is to get yourself onto local listings sites. If you’re new to the concept of local listings, let me tell you more about what they are and why they matter. If you’ve already established a presence on local listings sites, I’ve got some tips to help you get the most out of your listings.
What are Local Listings?
Local listings sites are online directories of businesses; you can search by neighborhood, town, or city, and scan through businesses that sell the goods or provide the services you’re looking for.
These sites host profiles for each business listed there. These include basic information like name, location, contact information, hours, website, and customer reviews.
Some local listings sites (like Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook) are appropriate for any business to use. Others are more niche and specific to either an industry or a geographical location. You’re probably very familiar with auto-specific listings and review sites.
Why Do They Matter?
Establishing a presence on local listings sites is a smart marketing tactic for a number of reasons. First, local listings provide one more place on the internet for you to get discovered.
Some consumers skip the Google search and go right to Yelp or their preferred local listings site when looking for nearby businesses. If all you have is a website, you’re missing the chance to catch these consumers’ eyes.
Local listings sites also incorporate reviews, which can have a huge bearing on a consumer’s decision to do business with you. This is particularly true for high-cost products that consumers typically consider for an extended period (like, say, a car!). The Spiegel Research Center found that for luxury items, strong reviews increased conversions by 380%, as compared to an increase of 190% on low-cost items.
Finally, local listings can provide you with an SEO boost. Google considers hundreds of factors when it comes to displaying sites in search results, divided into three major categories: Each factor is a measure of your business’s expertise, authority, or trust.
When your dealership has a presence across the web, not just on your website, it makes your site seem more trustworthy. The broader your online presence, the greater the sense of legitimacy for your business.
Where Do You Start?
It pays to begin with the major local listings sites. Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook are great starting points, as those are the sites consumers turn to most often.
Additionally, you should focus on industry-specific sites that have the greatest presence in your area. The top local listings sites for car dealers in the U.S. include Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, CarGurus, and Cars For Sale.
For those in even more specific niches (like classic cars, motorcycles, or motor homes), it’s smart to do more research about local listings sites that are focused on that narrower area of interest. Anything you can do to get your dealership in front of the best audience for your vehicles will pay dividends in the long run.
Once you’ve identified the local listings sites you’d like to target, begin by searching for your car dealership on those sites. It’s possible an unofficial page has already been created, which you can then claim as the business owner.
If a page already exists for your dealership, don’t start another one! Duplicate listings can harm your SEO standing and cause confusion for consumers.
If there is no page for your dealership yet, it’s usually a straightforward process to create one. The local listings site will take you through a form to fill out and then request documentation that proves you’re the business owner. Each site will provide a list of acceptable documents; they typically want you to provide proof of address with a utility bill, tax document, or other official paperwork.
Whether you’re creating a listing from scratch or claiming an existing one, it’s important you confirm that all information about your business is correct and perfectly consistent across all local listings sites.
For example, if your business is listed as Bob’s Car Dealership of Springfield on Yelp, but it’s listed as Bob’s Springfield Car Dealership on Google My Business, that discrepancy can cause problems for your SEO performance. All information – from hours to location to telephone number – must be exactly the same on every site.
What Else Do You Need to Consider?
While some local listings sites are free, others require you to pay to appear on the site. It’s a good idea to keep track of which is which, so you can budget accordingly and avoid any surprises once you’ve already put in the work to create your profile.
It’s also critical that you maintain a list of all of the local listings where you created a profile for your car dealership. Any time there is a change to your business, whether you move to a new address or tweak your business hours, you need to ensure the change is reflected across each local listings site.
This can be a time-consuming process, as each local listings site has its own set of requirements for updating business information. But it’s a necessary step, as inconsistencies harm your online reputation and risk irritating consumers, who take that wrong information as gospel.
Because there’s so much that goes into managing all of these local listings, I typically suggest that car dealers consider working with a team that’s experienced in local listings management. If you’re looking for a helping hand, check out our solutions.