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How Have the Changes to Google's Search Engine Results Page Affected Automotive Dealerships?

 

Insights for Automotive Dealerships: How do people search for a car dealership and what can dealerships do to reach them effectively?

 

Google search result automotive dealership

Heat map of results to the task "find Ford dealers in Toronto"

 

We conducted an eye-tracking study and asked participants: “Imagine you're thinking of buying a new car and want to find Ford dealers in Toronto. Use Google to find Ford dealers in Toronto.”

 

KEY FINDINGS AND TACTICS TO IMPROVE YOUR SEARCH STRATEGY

 

61 % of page clicks were to specific location pages on the manufacturer's website.

  • 10% of those were to the manufacturers's top sponsored ad (with 61% of participants looking at the ad)
  • 90% of those were to the manufacturer's top organic listing (with 65% of participants looking at the listing)

Google search results automotive dealership - top of the page

 

In our study, the manufacturer has both a sponsored ad and a top organic listing, dominating the top of the page.

Make sure your location is listed on store locator pages on the manufacturer's website.

 

LOCAL SEO

  • 17% of clicks were to local dealership websites, with 37% of participants looking at them.
  • 22% of clicks were to the right rail map, with 27% of participants looking at it. 

Google search results automotive dealerships - local listings     Google search results automotive dealerships - map

 

The highest potential for local dealership visibility is to be in the local listings, and the corresponding right rail map. In order to appear in the local listings and increase traffic to your site, you can:

 

  • Optimize your Google+ Local pages (one page per dealership location) with star ratings using schema mark-up to maximize the chances of appearing as high as possible in the local listings box, and have information about your business appear in the right knowledge panel.

Google search results automotive dealerships - knowledge panel

 

  • Positive reviews and ratings of specific dealerships, especially for a second hand vehicle purchase, will be critical. Get some reviews going!
  • Upload photos on Google+ Local, including images of vehicles, your dealership, your people, logos, and any accreditations you may have that can build trust with buyers. They will appear in the right knowledge panel on the SERP.
  • Ensure your business Name, Address and Phone Number on Google+ Local are consistent with what is listed on your website and any other web properties (e.g. directories).

 

A strong local SEO strategy will maximize the first page real estate taken up by your site:

  • Optimize your site to appear in the top organic listings by using keywords, plus regional modifiers in your content, and include a separate page for each of your locations.

 

What's new in local search in 2014? Find out here!