Understanding the Google Local Search Results Pages
For the past several years Google has been quietly changing the way it displays local search page results for Car Dealers.
These changes have had a dramatic effect on how potential customers engage with your dealership when searching on Google. Almost every dealer is unaware of these changes and are losing potential sales by not taking action.
Changes in consumer behavior and the massive growth of mobile searches have resulted in Google reformatting how potential buyers view page one of the search results.
When Google Local launched back in 2004 and was morphed into Google Maps, it was considered a place where local businesses could list their business name, address, and phone number. Over the past 15 years it has changed names several times, but today it is no longer considered just a business listing.
In fact, Google has purposely redesigned its search results pages to intercept traffic that normally would go to your website.
It’s true. Google has packed so much information and marketing tools inside your Google My Business portal and placed the Google 3-pack strategically on page one right below the pay per click ads to ensure users stay inside Google longer.
Think about it. Your GMB is now the first thing most shoppers will see before they ever reach your website.
Before Google redesigned their page one search results to make the local 3-pack more prominent, searchers would have to click to your website for hours, phone number, address etc…
Not only can searchers get your number, location, and hours, from your GMB, they can decide if they want to do business with you by reading the reviews.
In other words, Google has populated your GMB with so much information, there is very little reason to click to your website.
Unless you give them reasons…
Discover the powerful marketing tools and untapped lead funnels hidden inside your Google My Business profile.
The rest of this article carefully explains how in 2019 Google treats your Google My Business and Google Maps profile and also reveals some little known and untapped lead funnels your dealership has to generate more VDP views, more traffic to your Service & Parts departments, and more phone calls. If any of the 3 just named are important to you, read on!
First let’s take a look at how Google displays page one of most local search results on desktop and mobile devices.
3 Ways Google is uses your Google My Business Profile data:
- Search For Your Vehicle Brand – (honda dealers phoenix) triggers 3-pack
- Search for your dealership name – (Bozard Ford) triggers knowledge panel on right of page
- Search for nearby services – (Honda dealer near me) triggers Google Maps
As you continue reading i will explain each of the above 3 and why you should to pay attention to them.
Vehicle brand search: “ford dealers tampa” See image below:
Typical Google Search Results in 2019
A typical search for auto dealer related keywords will trigger a page similar to the image above. The first thing searchers will see is the Google Pay Per Click ads. This is how Google makes its money, so of course it will take the top position on the results page.
However, pay per click is not the main source of clicks from online searchers, leaving organic traffic as an extremely important lead source for your dealership.
The fact is, more people click on organic listings than pay per click ads. Some numbers say it is around 73% organic clicks versus 27% pay per click.
The next prominent position on page one is your Google My Business Profile
As mobile and desk top searchers scroll down past the paid search ads they will see the Google 3-Pack with a map above it. Google put it there, above the directory and website results for a reason. Google wants online searchers to be able to get important information by tapping into the information located in your dealership knowledge panel.
Your Google My Business listing is considered organic traffic by Google analytics and when set up and marketed properly should drive anywhere from 40-50% of your total organic traffic. If your analytics are set up properly you can see this for yourself. A properly optimized Google My Business listing increases phone calls and VDP views without the pay per click budget spend.
The last area Google displays on the search results is directory websites, dealer websites, and third party vendor websites.
Yes, these sites get clicks but not like the days before Google put that 3-pack where it is today. The fact is, although you still need a strong content marketing and SEO program, having a solid Google My Business marketing plan is now necessary if you are serious about driving more views to your new and used VDPs, increasing traffic to your service and parts departments, and generating more direct phone calls to your dealership.
In today’s crowded online ad space, your dealership relies heavily on the local community and you must focus on securing a page one 3-pack ranking in the Google local search results.
What is Your Dealership Google My Business Knowledge Panel?
For years Google has been collecting information about your dealership. This information comes from your website, directories, and above all, the information provided on your Google My Business Listing.
All of this information, if consistent and accurate, helps Google determine where you will rank and what information will appear in your knowledge panel. Your dealership knowledge panel appears on the right side of the search results page when someone does a search using your dealership name in the search query.
Do a search for your dealership name now and it should appear on the right. See sample below:
As you can see, your knowledge panel appears in a very prominent position on the side of the search results page. Google did this to encourage searchers to engage with this panel. The data and links need to be accurate, as it will grab a lot of eyeballs. Your knowledge panel is your GMB listing in a different format.
What is the Google Local 3-Pack?
As i explained earlier in this article the Google local 3-pack is a major traffic driver when you appear in the results. In most cases your rank here is the same in Google Maps searches also. The 3-pack is strategically placed in the search results, below the pay per click ads and when used properly, is a major traffic driver to your website. See image below:
What is Your Google Maps Listing?
This is the third and final part of the Google trifecta of local search results. The results are pulled from your Google My Business listing data, and many people will use the directions button to find your dealership location. However, many mobile searchers also use Google Maps as a search engine and will type in, or use voice commands to find results for broader search terms. See image below:
As you can see, the search was for “chevy dealers in jacksonville” not a specific dealer. A list appears on the left hand side and when you click on a specific dealer their red map marker gets larger and a knowledge panel appears on the left.
Are you starting to realize all the unused potential your Google Business Listing – Google Maps have?
We help you create powerful lead generating funnels by focusing on these important elements:
- Find and Fix all the current Google My Business – Google Maps profiles. Almost every dealer we analyze has at least one problem with their GMB. Things like unclaimed listings, duplicate listings, inaccurate data, like wrong hours or phone numbers to name a few. Almost every dealer is unaware of these major issues and we are experts in fixing these problems.
- Monitor and Maximize the Marketing Tools inside your GMB – Maps listings – Our strategy and techniques help you generate leads by increasing VDP views and Service department traffic. Unknown to most dealers, Google has provided some powerful lead generating marketing tools. One major addition that will boost VDP views was recently added in March 2019. No one is using this great addition because they do not pay attention to their GMB and Google Maps listings. We do all the work for you, allowing your dealership to focus on sales and service.
- Location Data Management AKA Citations: Google determines if you are a legitimate local business by the citations it finds on the Internet. A citation is simply a mention of your NAP. Nap stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. You see, if Google sees other websites and directories listing your NAP exactly the same throughout the Internet it raises their trust level that you are indeed who you say you are. This is why using multiple phone numbers and tracking numbers online may be hurting your ranking. Everything in your NAP must match all over the Internet or Google loses trust in you.
- Your Website must be optimized to work with your GMB: Several years ago Google merged your GMB and website information into one algorithm. We call it a blended algorithm. This means what Google sees on your website has a direct impact on how it affects your Google My Business and Google Maps rank especially in surrounding cities you want a presence in. We work with all the major OEM website designers and we can honestly say, they are clueless when it comes to optimizing your website for Google My Business and Google Maps listings.
- Reviews: Google displays customer reviews from on your Google My Business and Google Maps listings. This means thousands of potential customers are reading these reviews before deciding if they will choose your dealership. We find unclaimed dealer listings that appear in the search results with unanswered negative reviews all the time. Your reputation is too important to not have control over your GMBs and Maps listings.
Lets get down to business! 23 years of Local Search Marketing experience in the Auto Industry gives us a huge advantage!
Are you tired of excuses? Can your digital marketing agency help you? Probably not, because we are the ones they call to fix their clients GMB issues. Let’s face it, they may good at what they do, but when it comes to GMB Marketing they haven’t a clue!
Are you ready to increase your exposure on Google’s local search and Maps results and get a seat at the head of the Google My Business table and turn it into a lead generating funnel?
Unlike many of the gimmicks or ‘Johnny Come Lately’ sales systems you run into everyday, your Google My Business Listing and Google Maps are proven Google marketing tools and they are not going anywhere. This is a tested and proven marketing system where we show you the metrics straight from Google. We will show you the Metrics!