Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, I’ve got some interesting info to share with you based on 58 SEO audits we recently conducted for the Toyota dealerships in northern California.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak at an exclusive event for all the Toyota dealerships in northern California, and as part of that engagement, we ran our Local SEO audit matrix on every dealership. We’ve been using this matrix for a few years now, and we’ve audited almost 1,000 dealerships.

We’ve seen some problems popping up recently, and a significant number of the dealerships we scored for this event had a few – or quite a few – of these issues, so I thought it would be helpful to share some of these common dealership website problems in this week’s episode.

Automatic popups are bad, y’all. Kill ‘em if you’ve got ‘em – espeically if they’re huge and cover everything on the page as soon as someone lands on your site.

Make sure you’re using correctly formatted UTM tracking on your GBP links. The medium should be set to “organic” with a lower-case O – Google Analytics is case-sensitive.

Your primary GBP for the dealership should only have sales-related categories. Service categories go on your service department GBP and parts categories go on the parts GBP.

Make sure you’re choosing appropriate categories too – I’m not sure why dealers started selecting “chauffeur service” – but don’t do it. “Vehicle manufacturer” and “appraiser” are no-gos too.

Don’t use the “offer” Google Post template – there’s a bug that’s been a problem for quite a while now that causes those posts to not show up, so it’s just wasted effort if you use them.

Pay attention to your Google Post thumbnails – they need to be compelling. If the auto-cropped image is bad or the visible text isn’t good, no one’s going to click on your Posts.

Don’t use hashtags in Google Posts. They’re not social media, they’re ads that appear on your GBP.
Make sure you’re answering all of the questions in the Q&A section of your GBP, and upvote your answers so that they’re displayed as the primary answers to the questions.

If you’re a Toyota dealer, DO NOT replace your inventory button with a link to SmartPath. Your SmartPath inventory appears on the SmartPath site, not yours. If you replace your inventory link with the SmartPath link, you won’t have any inventory indexed on your site.

Get rid of those massive submenus – especially if your submenu needs a separate scroll bar. Submenus should be just a few links – 8 to 10 at the most. You don’t need coupons displayed on submenus, and those super small car images actually make your submenu harder to use.

Check for duplicate content on your pages and blog posts. If you have the same generic content as everyone else in town, why would a customer decide to buy from you? Check out my recent video for an easy trick you can use to check your content yourself.

And finally, check your PPC setup, whether you’re doing it yourself or using a vendor partner. Make sure geographic targeting is set up correctly. You don’t want to waste money on clicks outside of your immediate area.

Whew – it’s a lot, right? We’re seeing these things happen more and more lately – I’m not sure why, but they’re all bad for your marketing and SEO efforts, and most of them are bad for the customer experience on your website as well.

That’s all the time we’ve got left for this week’s episode, so you know what that means.
Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome.
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.