While most car brands are household names, local car dealers might not be so quickly recognized by customers. Often, people 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 (or gets found at all!) during this important research phase is to get your dealership listed on local listings sites.
Let’s chat about what local listings are, why they’re so important for your dealership, and how you can use these local citations to get in front of car shoppers in your area.
What are Local Listings for Car Dealers?
Local business listings are online directories for businesses. Think Yellow Pages but online and with a lot more information. Within local business listings, you can search by neighborhood, town, or city, and scan through businesses that sell the goods or provide the services you’re looking for.
Local business listings include a business’s or dealership’s name, address, phone number, link to the website, and information from the business or dealership. Many local business listings also house 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 Local Listings Matter for Car Dealer Marketing?
Establishing a presence on local listings sites is a smart automotive marketing tactic for a number of reasons, which we’ll cover here.
1. Local listings give your dealership another way to show up in search results.
Local citations provide one more way for your dealership to show up in search results. Many local business listings appear in search results when shoppers perform a local search, so if your dealership isn’t listed on these sites that show up, you could be missing out.
For example, when I search “dealerships near me Fort Lauderdale” on Google, the Google 3-Pack appears under paid search results. These Maps results are pulled from Google My Business.
2. Local listings expand your dealership’s web presence.
While most car buyers begin their research on Google, some searchers skip Google altogether and go right to Yelp or their preferred local listings site when looking for nearby dealerships. Or, they may begin their research on Google, find your dealership, and want to see what other customers are saying about you, so they go to find you on their favorite local listing. If you don’t have a presence on the top local listings sites, you could miss out on a whole group of car buyers.
3. Local listings house dealership reviews.
As we mentioned, many local listings sites also incorporate reviews, which can have a huge bearing on a consumer’s decision to purchase or lease a car from 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.
4. Local listings support your car dealer SEO.
Another reason local listings are important for car dealer marketing? They can boost your dealership’s SEO. Google considers hundreds of factors when it comes to displaying sites in search results, divided into three major categories: expertise, authority, and trust, abbreviated as E-A-T.
When your dealership has a presence across the web, not just on your website, it makes your site seem more trustworthy. Additionally, Google looks at how your dealership’s information is displayed across the web to determine the trustworthiness of the information they source about your business. The more places your essential business information, like your name, address, and phone number, are consistent, the more trust Google has that the information is accurate.
The broader your online presence, the greater the sense of legitimacy for your business.
5. Local listings help car buyers get to your dealership.
One of the main purposes of local listings is to provide information that allows a customer to contact your dealership — either by calling you, visiting your website, or getting directions to your location. Once a car buyer is at the stage where they’re ready to contact you or visit your dealership in person, you don’t want to disrupt that with incorrect or outdated information that takes them to your old location or rings to a dead number.
Getting Started with Local Listings: 5 Tips for Car Dealers
Now that you understand the importance of local listings for your car dealer marketing strategy, where to start?
Here are five local listings tips for car dealers.
1. Identify the right local listings for your dealership.
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. Google My Business, in particular, is an effective listing for car dealers because it enables your dealership to get found on Google Search and in Google Maps.
Related: Check out the top free local listings sites your dealership should be on here.
Additionally, you should focus on industry-specific sites that have the greatest presence in your area.
The top five local listings sites for car dealers in the U.S. include:
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.
2. Verify and manage your car dealership’s listings.
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.
To claim your dealership’s Google My Business page, you can search for your dealership on Google Maps and click the “Claim this business” button.
If a page already exists for your dealership, don’t start another one! Duplicate listings can harm your SEO standing and cause confusion for car shoppers.
If there’s 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 dealership’s SEO performance. All information – from hours to address to telephone number – must be exactly the same on every site.
3. Set a local listings budget for your car dealer marketing.
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.
4. Make a list of where your dealership is listed.
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.
If you’re not working with a marketing partner to help you manage listings, you can use a spreadsheet to keep track of all your dealership’s local citations.
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 customers who take that wrong information as gospel.
5. Optimize your dealership’s local listings.
Once you have your dealership’s top local listings created and updated, you can take it a step further and optimize those listings. This can include adding images or videos, updating your logo or cover photo, responding to customer reviews, or adding relevant specials or promotions. Your local business listings give you another resource to reel in car buyers when they’re researching dealerships, so use them to your advantage!
Want Some Help Getting Started with Car Dealer Business Listings?
Managing your dealership’s local listings is an important part of a strong car dealer marketing strategy, but it can be time-consuming. When you work with a marketing partner to manage your dealership’s local citations for you, you can feel confident that your information is accurate and updated in all the places it counts. Learn more here.