When people in your area Google auto detailing, or auto repair, etc. Do they see your shop on the front page? If not, you could be losing out on hundreds of dollars worth of business every week. Learn the tricks to making sure your shop shows up when people Google your services.
Back in 2014, Google introduced a new feature in their search results. When people searched for a phrase that matched services or products offered by businesses in their area, such as “Thai food’ or “auto repair” for example, Google started to present results with local businesses in what would be referred to as the “Local Pack.”
This box represents what Google thinks are the top businesses in the area that provide what you googled. For instance, Ritty’s office is located in Portland, OR and when I searched “auto repair” at work, the above box is what Google decided were the most relevant businesses for what I searched. But are they really there because they are the best auto shops in the area? Or is it because these particular auto repair shops have better Local SEO than their competition? The answer is far more likely to be the latter.
We are going to keep things simple here. All we need to focus on are three key things to optimize for local search and get your automotive business showing up in that Google Local Pack. It may not seem like much but even just having these basic local SEO principles in place will have you outpacing almost all of your local search competitors.
Far and away the most important thign when it comes to local SEO is NAP consistency. NAP in this context stands for Name, Address, Phone Number – what your business is called, where you are located, and how people can contact you. Seems pretty simple right? But you would be amazed at how inconsistent this information is online for most local businesses, yours included.
Local listing services such as yellowpages.com, FourSquare, and even sites like Yelp – see our beginners guide to Yelp HERE – are sites that list out business segmented by areas like city or state. These are the places where your NAP is listed most often. These sites are designed to help their users find places of interest or need in their area and Google uses these services to help determine what to show in their Local Pack.
Here’s where things can go awry. There can be a ton of inconsistencies and innacuracies regarding your NAP across these various listing services. This often stems from the fact that anyone can create a listing of your business on these sites. If you haven’t claimed your business on these listing services you are running a strong risk of having an incomplete, inconsistent, and/or inaccurate NAP information on your listings. This can send strong negative signals to Google and hurt your chances of ranking well and getting into that Local Pack.
So how do you make sure you are not sending bad vibes Google’s way and instead getting the right information out there about your business? By claiming your businesses on each of these listing sites and making sure your NAP is accurate on each. One of the best tools out there for doing that is MOZ Local. All you need to do is enter a little information about your business and it will guide you through the process of updating your business on all the major local listings. It may takes a little while, but it’s pretty easy and straightforward.
First off, yes it is possible to not have a website and still rank in the Google Local Pack. But this is not advised! A website is one of the strongest claims to legitimacy you can offer Google, it signifies you are real business and it’s a huge source of information that Google can use to learn about your business.
But it’s not enough to just have a site, it’s also very important to make sure your website is both current and active. And by this I mean your site needs these two key things:
Yes, your website is another place to make sure you have accurate location and contact information. Make sure every single one of your pages has you business’ NAP – preferably in the footer. If you worked with a company to build your website make sure to get in touch with them to make these changes as soon as possible.
Having active consumer facing social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, Quora, etc) is the final key to having a solid local SEO base for your business. This is a good resource for optimizing social media for local SEO, and here is a bit more advanced article on leveraging social media for local SEO.
However, if you do not feel completely up to the idea of maintaining multiple social media accounts, on top of everything else you do for your business, that is understandable. But at least find some time in your day to create a Google+ profile and a Google My Business Account. Google My Business is a sort of hybrid between Social Media and Local Listing Services due its ties to Google+. But it’s not much of a hassle to set up and the benefits of doing so far outweigh the time investment.
By following these three pillars of local automotive SEO, you’ll see your auto shop or business ranking highly in local search and in the Local Pack before you know it. You should be able to implement everything discussed here with no more than an hour or two of work for the first couple weeks and then even less after that.