To truly understand how ELOTS approaches local SEO one must first understand what the Google Knowledge Graph is, how it influences SEO, and what Google has done to the search results pages.
What is the Google knowledge graph? How does it work? And how does ELOTS take advantage of it to increase your brand visibility and drive more organic traffic to your dealership?
Launched back in 2012 the Google Knowledge Graph is a massive database that understands facts and information about entities from materials across the web, as well as from open source and licensed databases.
This massive knowledge graph is populated with billions of facts on various people, places, and things. These facts cover everything from niche topics to public interest topics like medicine and science. Overall there are more than 5 billion entities and over 500 billion facts on the graph, and growing.
The Google Knowledge Graph is like a ‘Mind Map’. Not only does it understand what each entity is, it can track how different entities connect to each other via edges.
In the Knowledge Graph example above, entities are represented inside each circle and each arrow is known as an edge.
Google takes all these connected entities and presents them on search result pages in the form of Knowledge Panels, for example, your Google Business Profile (GBP) is a knowledge panel created from the data Google has stored in its massive knowledge graph.
How does the Google Knowledge Graph influence Local Organic Search Results?
Google sees itself as an answer machine! Google wants to be able to answer every question and offer the answers right on its results page! It has become so good at this that searchers often do not have to click on any links to find information, which means that direct clicks to your website due to branded search continue to decline.
How does this affect your dealership? Your Google Business Profile (GBP) is replacing your website in the search results as the go to source for information about your products and services.
This is why your website “click through rates” have been consistently declining over the past 5 years and are at an all time low 8.66% CTR.
Where does ELOTS aim its focus to drive more organic traffic to your dealership?
When you look at the search results page above you see that paid search has about 12-15% CTR with the bulk of free clicks centered around Google knowledge panels like GBPs.
Unfortunately for your advertising budget, for many years digital agencies have been preaching that in order to increase traffic from Google, you must invest more dollars to their paid search services.
Google has done an awesome job incentivizing digital agencies to push Pay Per Click because it pushes revenue to Google, which, by the way is still a free Search Engine.
Digital Agencies proudly display Google Partner badges on their websites, when in reality those badges correlate directly to dollars spent on PPC versus expertise.
The difference between a Premier Partner and a Platinum Partner is how much of your money they spend per month with Google paid search.
As long as Google Partner badges focus on revenue, you should never expect your digital agency to focus on strategies that drive more organic traffic to your dealership or website.
Google has taken that incentive away. It makes perfect sense. PPC is how Google pays its bills!
Unfortunately, most digital agencies are so focused on feeding you paid search strategies they are not paying any attention to what Google’s local algorithm needs to increase your organic search presence. You know, those Free Clicks on the Google search results pages.
Let’s take a peek at where Google traffic originates and where ELOTS places most of its focus.
As Google continues to push your website further down the result pages and focuses more on their own properties so must you adjust how you appear in the Google ecosystem and focus on how Google’s massive knowledge graph views your brand.
ELOTS brings together multiple different marketing technology solutions and Spoon Feeds the exact data Google needs to connect all the entities related to your brand in its knowledge graph.
While most local SEO services are still using website centric tactics, ELOTS uses the ever expanding Google Knowledge Graph to tie together websites, GBPs, Google Properties, and other related entities across the web with your brand.
Let’s face it. Google does not like your website. In fact, Google says your website is no longer worthy of a top rank in the search results.
In the eyes of Google, just because you say you do something on your website does not make its so. Google always wants to be right, so it must validate your website information before they give you any credibility.
That is why maintaining a high level of accuracy and consistency across the Google ecosystem reduces the risk of mistakes by Google when processing your data in its knowledge graph.
Remember, Google is all about connecting entities and finding relationships between them in its knowledge graph to provide the most accurate results.
How can you expect Google to trust your information if it finds different phone numbers, different hours, and who knows what else across the web contradicting your website data?
Conflicting information decreases Google’s trust in your location’s data, which doesn’t equate to your listings being considered the best result for a relevant search query.
As I stated earlier, Google wants to provide a more intelligent search engine which is why back in 2012 they converted their search engine over to a knowledge graph.
As the massive knowledge graph continuously collects data from the web and it tries to corroborate any data it finds about you and your brand. The data it finds and the entities it connects give the Google algorithm a better understanding of who you are, where you are, and what you do.
Where and when your brand appears in Google’s search results now depends on what data it finds, and how trustworthy Google finds this corroborated data.
How do we know this? Google search patents. Since 2012 when the first knowledge graph related patent appeared, and as mobile device usage exploded, Google has continuously updated its search patents telling us exactly what they are doing and at the same time, pushing your website further down in the search results.
Let’s take a simpler approach to what is going on with organic search so you better understand why ELOTS is so important to increasing your ability to generate organic traffic.
For many years SEO agencies thought in terms of keyword density. In the worst-case scenario that is the number of times a keyword appears in a web document. And that would help that document to surface for a search query that contained that keyword. Very simple for many years.
You heard terms like domain authority, backlinks, and keyword stuffing, all focused on your website and each web page. The result was, your website grabbed a top spot in the Google search results and drove free organic traffic to your dealership.
In the beginning, there was no pay per click and top ten results dominated the search results.
Fast forward to 2022 and the Semantic Web
The semantic web is a web of data. It focuses on data drawn from diverse sources. It looks at relationships and connections and uses an unending source of databases that are connected by these relationships to each other.
Now we have semantic search and semantic density. The same simplicity of the old approach still applies, but our work is infinitely more complex.
I am going to repeat… Google does not trust the information on your website.
The way we establish semantic density is by getting outside our own tiny website, which is controlled by us, which makes its trustworthiness questionable.
When Google sees congruency in the data on your website and your Google Knowledge Panels it helps increase your credibility.
The better Google understands these relationships, the more prominently your brand will appear in the search engine results.
Your Google Business Profile is a byproduct of this massive Google knowledge graph and is known as a knowledge panel. It is now the face of your business and your most valuable digital asset when people search on Google!
Unfortunately, almost every dealer we audit is handling their GBPs wrong or they are not maximizing its potential in the Google knowledge graph.
Here is the truth about your Google Business Profiles and why they are under performing!
First and foremost, your GBPs are NOT listings they are Knowledge Panels fed by the data inside the Google Knowledge Graph. Anyone that refers to them as business listings probably should not be in charge of managing or marketing them.
The truth is, most digital marketing agencies claim they are managing your GBPs when in fact they have unqualified people learning as they go on how they must be handled to maximize traffic from Google.
Who is in charge of Your Google Business Profiles?
Let’s be very clear about how Google organic traffic should be working for you.
First, once Google determines that based on all the data ELOTS has fed their knowledge graph about your brand, and you appear prominently in their search results, you must also have engagement points in your visible data that convert.
Google organic traffic is about driving engaged searchers to your dealership. Conversions cannot happen without engagement. Consumers cannot view your VDPs if you cannot drive them to your website.
ELOTS focuses on several extremely important engagement points that encourage searchers to engage with your dealership.
The areas we focus on are:
1. phone calls,
2. direction requests – walk ins
3. direct clicks to your website where a searcher can look at your VDPs, interact with your service department, or contact your parts department.
ELOTS is a total brand centric platform that feeds the Google ecosystem relevant data related to your sales and fixed operations. Google must fully understand who you are, what you do, and where you do business before it will give you the credibility you need to appear prominently in the organic search results.
The pandemic, supply chain issues, and of course questionable decisions by political leaders have put more pressure on auto dealers to audit their digital budgets and question the way things have always been when it comes to generating traffic from Google.
If your agency or consultants are still preaching Paid Search or outdated website centric SEO strategies it may be time to have someone take a peek under your digital hood and reassess how Google views your digital assets.
Anyone that tells you local SEO or organic traffic from Google is not a viable way to generate Google traffic and conversions is either lying to you, or does not understand the Google Knowledge Graph and how to drive traffic using Semantic search.