Doing well in local SEO is important if you want to reach customers when they are searching for your business online. Now that Google is offering more information in search engine results pages, potential customers don’t even need to click through to your website to get the information they need. They can learn everything (they think) they need to know about your dealership from Google Maps and Google My Business (GMB) listings.
If you want to show up first for local searchers, you need to make sure that your structured data and on-site SEO is aligned with search engines. In addition to optimizing for things like on-page content, links and keywords, there are other factors that heavily influence your rankings. To dominate local search rankings in 2019, make sure that you are optimizing for these critical signals.
Proximity & Location
It makes sense that proximity would be a big factor in local search results, right? The closer a searcher is to your business, the better your chance of ranking first for their query. That is, as long as your location data is up-to-date and correct. If it’s not, then not only could you not show up, but you will also lose trust with potential customers. According to a recent study by BrightLocal, 80% of consumers lost trust in local businesses if they saw incorrect or inconsistent information in online search results.
To ensure that you are giving Google all of the correct proximity signals, make sure that you have claimed your Google My Business (GMB) Listing — for every store location — and that the structured data and schema markups are all optimized correctly. Seriously, don’t just assume that your listings are all correct. BrightLocal reported that 71% of consumers had a negative experience with incorrect local business information online in the past 12 months. Just double check that everything in your listings is correct – always better to be safe than sorry.
While you can’t control searchers’ proximity to your dealership, you can do everything possible to make sure that you show up first, with the correct information, for every relevant local search query. To do this, you just need to make sure that your website citations are correct and aligned with search engines for proper indexing.
Mobile experience has been a major factor in rankings for a while now. However, last year Google took it to a whole new level by going mobile-first. What exactly does that mean? Well, without going into all of the techy jargon, it means that the mobile version of your website is primarily what Google is crawling, indexing and ranking. If your site is still not technically “mobile-friendly” then it’s not an issue for Google crawling or indexing it, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be penalized for mobile ranking factors.
To avoid being penalized for major mobile issues, check to make sure your website is fully responsive, and optimize your site speed. It’s also a good idea to click through your website on a mobile device and verify that everything is working properly, especially any lead forms or service scheduling tools.
Online reviews have become a big factor for local search rankings. Moz estimates that they now account for at least 10% of overall ranking factors. Just like on-site optimizations and citations, you have to keep generating positive reviews to improve local SEO; and it makes sense considering that they inform over 90% of purchase decisions. Of course, Google prioritizes GMB over other third party review sites so make sure that customers are leaving positive reviews there as often as possible. And as we all know, every review isn’t going to be five stars, it’s just the nature of this particular beast. Just make sure that your dealership is responding to any less than stellar reviews quickly and professionally so that other people can see that you take customer satisfaction seriously.
We also help our clients tag the best reviews so they are showcased in search results. According to Inc., 68% of people form an opinion after reading between one and six reviews, so make sure they immediately see the reviews and ratings that make your dealership stand out.
Obviously, there are a lot of different factors that influence SEO rankings. These are just three of the areas that carry a lot of weight for local search in 2019. We recommend checking with your marketing team and/or SEO vendor to make sure that they have all of this under control. To learn more best practices for Local SEO, check out our latest webinar training!
We have had a lot of success with our clients by enhancing existing SEO efforts with our search engine alignment technology to optimize location data, add review schema and enhance GMB listings. To learn more about our search engine alignment technology, visit PureCars SEAT!