Everything Auto Dealers and Small Businesses Need to Know about Google Business Profile
You want your business to be visible and accessible for potential customers — whether you’re a small, mom-and-pop shop or a large automotive dealer with multiple brands and rooftops.
As a business owner or manager, engaging customers online and spreading the word about how great the business and its products are is a top priority. People need to know where your store is, how they can contact you, and what other customers have said in reviews.
In our experience, there’s one (free) tool that is often under-utilized for automotive dealers and other businesses: Google Business Profile.
What is Google Business Profile (GBP)?
Google Business Profile is your free online listing on Google, where you can show key information about your business — like store hours, directions, photos, services and customer reviews.
Google shows your GBP in the search results when it thinks a user might be searching for your business. It doesn’t cost you anything to show up — which means it’s a great opportunity to drive people to your website without spending more money.
Plus, your GBP profile will also show up on Google Maps — giving you more control over what people see when they’re looking to find your business.
What Can GBP Do for Your Business?
Keeping your listing up to date can do more than simply drive traffic to your website. Other benefits include:
- Increased credibility with prospective customers
- Improved rankings and visibility on search engines
- Enhanced customer engagement with more qualified audiences
While Google audiences and search engines comb through the thousands of search results, your GBP listing could be the key to grabbing their attention and converting them on your website.
Need a little more convincing? Studies have shown that:
- Customers are 2.7 times more likely to consider a business reputable if they find a complete Google Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.
- Customers are 70% more likely to visit and 50% more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with a complete business profile on Google.
First Thing: Claim Your GBP Listing
Before anything else, you’ll need to add or claim the GBP listing for your dealership. Follow these simple instructions from Google to set up or claim your listing. Then, you can manage your business information directly on Google Search.
If you have multiple locations for your business, you can have multiple profiles — although you will need to verify each one through Google’s verification process.
Next: Optimize Your GBP Listing
Once your listing is claimed, you’ll want to make sure all your business information is listed and optimize your listing description. Include relevant keywords and terms you want your listing to rank for. Explain what sets your business apart from the competition.
For business categories, choose the most appropriate category that accurately represents your business for the primary category. Then, take advantage of secondary categories by adding as many as apply to your business. This helps your business get discovered in more local searches.
Last but Not Least: Use Your GBP to Keep Customers Updated
Add Special Hours or Holidays
Not open for Memorial Day or Christmas? Have a special event coming up that means your dealership will be open longer hours? Make sure your hours listed on GBP reflect these changes.
Customers can easily be frustrated by businesses that say they’re open online (on their GBP listing) and then show up to find they’re closed for a special event. It’s easy to update them, and takes only a few minutes.
Respond to Reviews
In the era of one-to-one marketing, responding to reviews is a vital part of maintaining a healthy and active Google Business Profile — whether the review is good or bad. Thankfully, it’s easy to respond to reviews on Google.
- Go to the Reviews tab on the left side of your GBP dashboard.
- Select Reply and write your response.
Best practices suggest that you should always respond to a negative review. It’s up to you to decide whether you address the situation in that comment or suggest taking the conversation offline. The key is that you respond in a timely manner.
It’s also important to respond to the positive reviews!
Responding to good reviews is a great way to acknowledge happy customers and to say thank you to those who took the time to write about their experience.
At your dealership, maintaining a relationship with past customers is a simple way to build customer loyalty and spread the word about your business. And research shows that approximately 95% of consumers read reviews online, whether that’s through Google or from your website. Reviews matter!
Taking time to respond to reviews — good or bad — gives customers an impression of the business and the people that they could interact with during the shopping and purchasing process.
Add Your Inventory Feed
Have an inventory feed? You can’t sell services or products directly on GBP — it isn’t an ecommerce platform — but you can add your inventory feed into your listing. This gets more eyes on your products and shows what you have to offer customers.
Post Updates about Your Business
Starting a new Google Post is as easy as opening your GBP listing, selecting the ‘Posts’ tab, and writing your post! Some of the most popular things to post about for dealerships include:
- Events and announcements
- New offers and discounts
- Popular vehicle models in stock
Your options for what to post are endless. You can include different types of media in your post, too. Try adding photos or videos to capture your audience’s attention.
See Insights About Visitors
Want to know more about the people who are finding and interacting with your GBP? You can see insights and data easily in your profile, which you can use to help inform your marketing strategy.
- Search Queries: A list of keywords searchers are using to find your business online.
- Engagement: An analysis of which Business posts are getting the most activity from searchers.
- Audience: A breakdown of the age, gender, and location of searchers who discover your Google Business listing.
- Website Clicks: A report of the number of people who are clicking to visit your website from your Google Profile listing.
Check and Update Your GBP Regularly
Any business can benefit from maintaining and updating its Google Business Profile listing. And once you’ve set it up, it’s important to check it regularly — especially since customers and website visitors (along with Google) can suggest updates and changes to your profile.
It’s Time to Get to Business!
Remember, Google is always monitoring engagement between your dealership and searchers. Keeping your Google Business Profile listing active will increase your chances of ranking better both locally and organically — and who doesn’t want that?
Ready to give your dealership a Google-focused tune up? We’re familiar with all things automotive SEO, and we’d love to talk through your questions or help you optimize how you should up on Google.