In this week’s episode, I’m sharing my entire presentation from last week’s Digital Dealer conference in Las Vegas. Instead of doing the “normal” SEO presentation with lots of best practice tips, I share the results of a massive 2-year research project on dealership Google Business Profiles and Local SEO audits of almost 1,000 dealerships. If you know what actually works in the real world (and what doesn’t work), you can truly understand what matters with automotive SEO.

This transcript is auto-generated – please forgive any weird inaccuracies…

Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, I’m sharing my slides from Digital Dealer in Las Vegas. You don’t wanna miss this… I’m sharing mind-blowing new data from a massive two-year research project on dealership Google Business profiles.

I’ve been speaking at every Digital Dealer for over a decade. And this time, I took a different approach. Instead of standing on the stage and talking about best practices, I share the results of a huge two-year research project we’ve done on dealership Google Business Profiles. Instead of sharing best practices, I’m sharing real-world data on what’s working – and what’s not working – for dealerships. I had ninety minutes in Vegas, but I’m gonna go as fast as I can through it today to be respectful of your time. It’s likely to be just shy of an hour long, so kick back and get ready for some incredibly insightful info.

This is Advanced Level Tips to Make You an SEO Superhero. I’m the Chief Operating Officer at SearchLab, but you probably already know that because you’ve been watching these videos for a while now. But, hey, just in case it’s your first time ever seeing an episode, this is my series Local Search Tuesdays. You can see it every Tuesday on our blog at the link right there or on our socials.

And here’s a goofy picture of me speaking at a conference in Seattle a few years back. I’m lucky enough to get to speak at conferences all over the world. And that’s great, except sometimes you see some speakers that aren’t as engaging on stage. Typically, it’s gonna be somebody that’s more of a salesperson and they’re up there just trying to pitch their product. And even worse, a lot of the times, they don’t put much effort into the design of their slides. So, typically, it’s just a plain white background with no graphics, no images, no colors, and they pack every slide with bullet points in black Arial font. And that’s not very fun to watch.

And it’s been scientifically proven the bullet points kill kittens. So today, we’re gonna keep all the kittens safe and avoid the bullet points.

And you saw the superhero reference there at the beginning, I’m an absolute movie nut – I’ve got twenty three different movies tattooed on my body. Both arms and my right leg are completely sleeved up. So every time I do a presentation, I love to share my love of movies along with my love of digital marketing, so there’s always theme, and I include at least one movie for every year in the last fifty years. And today, we’re doing superhero movies. We’ve got a hundred and twenty nine references to superhero movies, including all of the MCU in timeline order. All you Marvel nerds are gonna love that one.

Now I know there is some obscure stuff, especially from the seventies and eighties that most of you won’t have seen. So there is attribution over to the right. Let’s get this going because we wanna get this done as quickly as possible to be respectful of your time.

Why the long face? Are you spending too much time looking up at the competition ranking higher in search results? You don’t have to have a huge brain to win in SEO, even though sometimes it seems like it’s a lot of magic and voodoo, it’s really not. I’ve got hot tips to share with you today so that you’ll be able to the competition and kick ass and search results.

Now I’ve been talking about Local SEO at Digital Dealer every year twice a year for over a decade. Google releases thousands of updates every year, but the basics have stayed the same. The stuff I’m gonna talk about today, I talked about more than ten years ago, But if I’ve been talking about it and sharing the secrets to success for over a decade, why is it that most dealers most automotive SEO vendors still really suck at SEO. It doesn’t make sense.

Plus, in today’s world, SEO isn’t just optimizing for Google. It’s optimizing for people because we know that people are gonna shop around. Nobody goes to Google and does a search and finds a dealership and buys from that first dealership, they’re gonna do research. So you need to be sure that you stand out and that you’re better than the competition from a user standpoint, not just from showing up number one or number two, because it doesn’t matter where you rank. People are gonna be doing research and seeing the competition anyway.

Most dealerships aren’t really set up to handle SEO in house. They typically try to pawn it off on an internet manager or some sales manager, and it really needs to be a full time role. And most of the automotive vendors don’t do it correctly because it’s just too much effort, and they wanna sell it for really cheap. And that means they can’t spend the time to do it correctly.

Another big problem is they all do cookie cutter SEO. It’s the same SEO, same strategy, same tactics for every dealer regardless of the dealer’s brand or where the dealer’s located, and that just doesn’t work in today’s world. You’ve gotta customize what you’re doing so that you show up for the customers that you need to show up for. And that means you need to be doing local SEO.

Most of the vendors out there are doing traditional SEO and local SEO is completely different. And we know that you need to be doing local SEO as a car dealer because all searches are automatically localized. In this search, I just searched Ford dealer.

And it shows me dealerships near my location. Even though I didn’t specify, I didn’t say city, I didn’t say near me or nearby. It just gave me four dealers near to my location. That shows that Google knows that that is a query with local intent whether you explicitly stated or not.
So you should be paying attention to an annual study called the local search ranking factor study where they basically take all of the experts in local SEO, the top minds, the people that are doing research and getting great results for their clients, Usually, it’s about forty people, and they send out a very extensive survey on positive factors, negative factors, foundational factors, because nobody really knows goes into the algorithm, but if you ask all of these experts, they’re gonna have a pretty good idea of what we’re because they’ve done the research and they’re doing this work for their clients.

And then you can aggregate all of these answers and get a really good handle on what moves the needle when it comes to Google’s local algorithm. So you get two pie charts. One that shows you the factors that influence your visibility in the map pack, or in Google Maps, And another that shows you the factors that influence your visibility below the map pack in the regular standard organic blue links, although they’re not regular. They’re localized still.

It’s really your bible. It’s your guide to which signals you need to pay attention to and optimize if you wanna show up better in local searches. And I like to boil things down to simple concepts. So it’s easier to remember Moving forward and easier to make your case to your boss if you need to shift your strategy.

And the most important thing that you can remember is that all Google is at the simplest level is a pattern detection program. So when you’re doing SEO, you’re giving your dealership a more attractive pattern.

Now I’ve been talking at digital dealer and automotive conferences for over a decade, but today I’m gonna share different information.
Instead of just talking about best practices and hoping that you trust that I know what I’m talking about, I’m going to share data from a big research project that we’ve recently completed. Because if you see real world information about what dealers are doing that’s working, And what dealers aren’t doing if they should be doing, this will help you get better.

At understanding SEO, and either doing it yourself or working with a vendor that’s truly gonna help your dealership. I’m also going to scatter in some tips. So it’s not just, hey, here’s data, but here’s some data, and here’s an explanation of what’s going on with this and why this works the way that it works. So we have just finished this massive two year long research project into Google business profiles, we pulled over two million data points on over eighty five hundred Google business profiles, across three different verticals. And these are the three verticals that we work with the most.

Card dealerships, personal injury attorneys, and cannabis dispensaries. So for the car dealers, we pulled two thousand seven hundred and thirty four Google business profiles by running these keywords four dealer, Chevy dealer, Toyota dealer, Jeep dealer, Kia dealer, and used car dealer in these fourteen cities, and then looking at all of the businesses that ranked in those search results. Now we did have a lot of service department and parts department business profiles that showed up. So once we removed those, because we only wanted to look at the primary listing for the dealership, we ended up with two thousand one hundred and twenty five dealerships.

Now I’m going to talk about two different things for the rest of the presentation. There are factors that influence ranking. So if you optimize these factors, you’ll show up more often and better. And there are also factors I’m gonna discuss which don’t affect your visibility, but they affect how well you’re going to convert when you do show up.

So ranking factors and conversion factors. Let’s start with the ranking factors.

I searched multiple categories related to the brand of the dealership. That should always be the primary category but you’d be shocked to see this. There were actually thirty two different primary categories selected.

And the second most common category we saw selected was car dealer, which is the most generic category that you could choose for your primary category. And the reason that it’s important not to choose something generic is that your primary category carries more weight in Google’s local algorithm. So you really wanna be strategic, and you should watch this video for my series. It talks about how sometimes it’s not exactly what you think it would be.

And There are ten category slots available, and there are more than ten categories in the system that apply to new car sales. So a dealership would be using all ten category slots, but almost twenty four percent of the dealerships, almost one out of four only had a single category selected and left the other nine empty. And only half of the dealerships had more than five. And only fifteen percent had all ten selected. You should always have at least nine, but realistically, you should have ten in your primary listing for the sales side of the business. Watch this video It actually walks you through all the categories you should have on your primary listing. And it also explains the categories you should use for your service profile and for your parts profile.

Because you should have separate Google business profiles set up, but only sixty one percent of the dealerships did that. Now this is a rule that Google specifically changed just for car dealers. Other businesses aren’t allowed to set up these separate department listings. But dealerships are. If Google’s going to change the rules for a particular business vertical, there’s a reason for that, and you should take advantage of the fact that Google is letting you do things that other businesses are not allowed to do. So make sure you set up your department listings.
The way that you should And that means you’re allowed to do a separate listing for service, a separate listing for parts, and a separate liz listing for your collision department. But you’re not allowed to set up a separate used car department or a separate finance department or even one for car buying. Now a lot of dealers try to do this. But it’s not allowed and you don’t wanna get suspended for doing something against the rules. As you set these departments up, make sure that the categories are unique for each department, if you start mixing categories and showing sales categories under service and service categories under sales, that causes confusion and you’re not gonna show up as well as you could.
And a couple of years ago, Google released released cars for sale. Now they’ve changed the name of it to vehicles for sale because it’s now been rolled out to RVs and Powersports, But it’s that live inventory list that shows in your Google business profile and almost twenty percent of dealers still don’t have that implemented, which is pretty shocking. Again, this is something specifically set up for car dealers.

Why would you not do this? Review are also a pretty big factor in the algorithm, and we saw an average review count per dealership of fifteen hundred reviews. Now I’m not telling you you need that many because Google’s algorithm actually doesn’t care how many reviews you have. All the algorithm cares about is that you have more reviews than the local competition. But you don’t wanna get too many more because if you really outpace the competition, Like you’ve got six thousand reviews and the next closest dealer in town has a thousand.

It looks fake. Human Nature causes people to think that you’re faking those reviews and you don’t wanna I do that.

And as far as the rating goes, we saw an average of only four point one, and I know a lot of dealers wanna have a perfect five point o, but A lot of research has been done that shows that the ideal range is actually four point four to four point seven. Because everybody knows no business is perfect. And there’s grumpy people that are gonna leave bad reviews. So don’t be too shocked if you’re not perfect, but don’t really have to strive for perfection.

You do wanna have a little bit better than a four point one, though. There are some dealers out there with some pretty bad reviews dragging this average down. And we saw an average acquisition pace of only about twenty three new reviews per month. It’s really important that you’re proactive with your reputation management process because it’s not really human nature to leave a review if you’re happy.

So you wanna make sure you’re asking every customer because the upset customers will obviously leave you a view, but the happy customers won’t, unless you ask. And you wanna make it easy. Don’t expect that people understand where to go to leave these reviews. So watch this video.
It walks you through a really solid proactive process. And now some new research. That’s really cool. When you go to your business profile or to anyone’s business profile, you see a default sort of the top ten reviews.

That Google chooses. And then you can go click a filter and say I wanna see the most recent reviews or the best reviews or the worst reviews. But before you sort them, You see that default sort of the top ten. If a customer review includes a photo, it stays in that default sort for a longer period of time.

And if the review includes more text, it stays in the default sort for a longer period of time. And reviews can get thumbs up. And if a review has two or more up votes or thumbs up, it stays in the default sort for longer. So we can combine all of these together for a really cool little trick that will help you very bad reviews.

So if you have a bad review that shows in that default sort, you can get it buried literally in less than a day. All you have to do is reach out to some customers that recently left five star reviews, ask them to add a little bit more context so that there’s more text in the review, more of a story, and then ask them to upload a photo along with that updated review. And then once they’ve done that, have a couple people at the dealership, go give a thumbs up to that new updated review, and it will jump right to the top of the list. You do that with three or four reviews, and you can bury that bad review so that’s no longer a bad first impression when people look at your dealership.

On the Google business profile. We can also look at some other factors like site speed. We’re looking at the the landing page here, which is almost always going to be the home page. Now, obviously, sometimes you may have a group site where the Google business profile would link to an individual dealership page within the group site.

But for all intents and purposes, we’re looking at the home page of all these dealership websites, and the average landing page load time is only four seconds. Now a lot of times, This load speed is something you don’t really have much influence over. It’s gonna be based on whichever website platform you’re on and whichever plugins you’re using from your third party vendors. Also, don’t believe the hype as long as your site loads in less than ten seconds, shaving off more time is not gonna have any effect on the SEO side of things.

It’s also important to have the correct auto dealer schema on the page that your Google business profile links to, which again, is almost always the homepage and only about half of the dealerships. Had that. And that’s a problem.

And then, obviously, I’m gonna talk in a minute about specific tips on optimizing individual pages but one of the things I’m gonna talk about is if you wanna show up for a keyword phrase, then you need a page of content about that keyword phrase. And you need to use that keyword phrase when you are optimizing those page elements.

But only fifteen percent of these home pages had the keyword phrase on the landing page. So literally, we’re searching for Ford dealer, and we don’t have Ford dealer anywhere on the homepage of a Ford dealer website. That’s pretty problematic.

And like I said, another really important concept to remember, if you wanna show up, As a search result, when somebody is typing a particular phrase into the search engines, then you need a page of content about that singular concept on your site. And it doesn’t have to be the best page on the internet. It just needs to be the best answer in the local area to the question. That that potential customer is asking. And if you’re writing the best answer, you’re probably gonna need to answer some of the subsequent questions that that potential customer would have once they got their initial answer.

And you need to be sure that your content makes it obvious to everyone why you’re so amazing and why people should buy from you and not from the competition. Because if you have the same generic BS content on your site, as all of the other dealerships in town, why would anyone care? Why would anyone come back and buy from you? So write this amazing content for people and then optimize it for the search engine. And like I said, just a minute ago, I’m gonna walk you through how to optimize a page on your website. So you can either do it yourself, or if you’ve got an in house team handling your SEO or a vendor handling your SEO, you can use this new knowledge to go check what’s going on on your site and see if they’re following best practice and optimizing your site the right way.

As I walk through these page elements, keep in mind every time I say keyword, it’s the same keyword. You shouldn’t switch the keyword between different elements on the same page. And also city. It’s one city, and it’s the same city throughout the page, mentioning multiple cities in a title tag. That’s not really gonna help you show up in multiple cities, so don’t do it.

So most importantly, the title tag is the absolute most weighted element on the page It’s what shows in the little tab above where you type in the URL. You shouldn’t ever put your dealership name first. You’re the only business named that, and you will always rank number one when someone searches for that phrase plus now in search results, Google shows the name of the business above the link and your little favicon So it shows the business logo. So you don’t even need it there for branding, but you definitely don’t want it at the beginning of the title tag. You need your most important keyword phrase in your city in that title tag.

You also need it in your h one heading. You should only have one h one heading on the page, but actually check and make sure that you do have one because several website providers in automotive don’t put h one headings on pages. And it’s the second most important element. It’s the big thick headline above the text area on your page.Unless you’re on an Ansira site where they do some really wonky stuff that’s a little bit shady where they put it in all caps and make it super small text and put it at the very bottom of the page. That’s actually really bad for your SEO. So you might wanna avoid Ansira sites because of that. But the h one heading should be a little bit more conversational, but include that same keyword and city phrase.

And then, obviously, it should be in the page content, but if you’ve written the best answer in the local area that answers subsequent questions, it’s all about your business and why you’re awesome. Probably not gonna have to optimize too much here.

You should also have the keyword phrase and the city in your URL. Always separate words in the URL by dashes, because that’s what Google sees as a space. Now I’m not telling you to go change URLs or pages that already exist. Once a page has been seen and indexed by Google changing the URL is not going to matter. And in fact, could cause you some problems, so don’t do that. But as new content is created, moving forward, You should always include those phrases in the URL.

You should also include those phrases in the alt text. Now years ago, Google couldn’t tell what was in an image, but Google can definitely tell now it’s got machine learning programs that can really accurately tell Google what’s in an image, but alt text is still part of the algorithm.
It’s a descriptive phrase in the image embed code. And a lot of people don’t do anything with it, so it’s a great way to get a little bit of an edge on the competition. Now I’m not talking about just putting the keyword in the city. Obviously, you need to describe the image as well, but include those keyword phrases and city phrases.

Also it’s an ADA compliance issue. If you have an embedded image on your site that doesn’t have alt text, you can actually get sued by a visually impaired person for not having an accessible website. So you wanna make sure you handle all of the alt text just to avoid lawsuits.
Which side note becomes a problem if you’re on a dealer dot com site because their sites literally don’t allow you to put all text on the embedded images. So you’re risking a big lawsuit there.

You also need your keyword and city phrase in the meta description, which is behind the scenes code. But also not included in the algorithm. It doesn’t influence how you rank, but it’s a conversion factor. Because the meta description is what populates those couple of gray sentences that show up underneath your blue link when you show us a search result in Google. So you need to approach it like you’re writing an ad and write something compelling and it’s important to have that keyword phrase and city in there because if someone uses that keyword phrase and city in their search query, they’ll be bolded in the meta description. And a lot of studies have shown that increases the click throughs to your site regardless of where you’re ranking on the page. We also looked at how many words were on the page.

Again, we’ve gotta write the best answer in the local area that answers all the subsequent it’s all about the business and all about why the dealership is awesome. You can’t do that in three or four hundred words. Now I’m not saying there’s a magic number But the average we saw was eight hundred and thirty two words. Now this is, again, GBP landing page, so almost always the homepage of a website.

Again, that’s not a magic word count number. You don’t need to try to target that, but it’s definitely hard to write the best answer in a few hundred words. So keep that in mind. And you’ve gotta have a blog and you should be posting regularly because there’s a huge difference between the kind of content that goes on the main section of your site.

The kind of content that goes on your blog, the main website content is the bottom of that buying funnel. It’s meant to show up and drive conversions. Blog content is more mid to upper funnel content. It’s more about information and discovery.

You shouldn’t expect to get leads from your blog post. Those are there for earlier in that buyer journey when people are just doing research and trying to figure out what they wanna buy and where they wanna buy from. So that’s why you need a blog. And in fact, you can use your blog even more efficiently if you periodically write informational posts about the local area.

That don’t have really anything to do with your dealership where you say something like, hey, our sales team loves to go out and grab burgers every Friday. These are the five best burger restaurants in Dallas.

These are posts that we kind of equate to billboards. You don’t put a billboard up because you expected everyone that sees the billboard is gonna call you. You put it up for brand awareness and brand building. That’s how these posts work as well. Because it gets eyeballs on your website before people are looking to buy what you’re selling. So it’s a really great strategy. If you’re not quite sure how to do that, though, I’ve got a really cool video here that walks you through ten different ideas and concepts that you can use as a springboard to write your own awesome local informational blog posts.

Inbound links are also important having other websites linked to your website is a really weighted element, and the average number of links for a dealership website was eighteen thousand seven hundred and fifty four. But that’s eighteen thousand seven hundred and fifty four links from an average of only two hundred and eight unique websites.

There is a lot of diminishing return in getting more than one link from the same website. So once you get a link from a website, It’s not as valuable getting more. So if you have a hundred links from only one site, that’s nowhere near as valuable as having twenty links from twenty different websites. So when you’re evaluating the inbound links or the back links, if you’re working with the vendor that uses that outdated term, pay attention to the number of unique websites, the number of unique linking domains that are sending links your way, not the total number of links. And because we’re talking about targeting the local algorithm, you really need to acquire local links, links from businesses and websites in the same local area Azure dealership.

And the good news is it’s really easy to get those links if you’re involved in the community. And guess what? Dealerships are very philanthropic and community focused So it’s pretty easy to get awesome links. But if you’re still not sure how to do this, I have a really awesome video.
Again, that walks you through a bunch of different concepts. And usually, when I talk about link building the presentation, I’d run you through these ideas, but trying to do different stuff and squeeze in more beneficial information today. So If you do need some ideas for tactics or building links, go watch this video. It will walk you through all of your options.

The important thing, like I said is the number of unique websites, not the total number of links, and I had to point this out because it was crazy. I don’t know what auto nations SEO team is doing, but they have a ridiculous gap in the number of links versus the number of unique websites. In fact, The gap was three point seven million. Because one of the sites had three million seven hundred and seventy six thousand two hundred and sixty individual links, but that was only from six hundred and thirty one sites. So their team or their vendor, if they’re using a vendor is saying, look at all these links. You’ve got all these links. This is amazing. But it’s not really that many links. It’s only six hundred and thirty one sites, which is kind of just passable, honestly.

So that’s it for the ranking factors. Let’s talk about conversion factors.

One of the things that I’ve talked about for years and other people like George Nae have talked about for years is adding UTM tracking to the link on your Google business profile that points to your website because attribution is broken in Google Analytics, and you wanna make sure that Those clicks are correctly attributed as organic.

Only about half of the dealerships are doing this, even though multiple people have been out there talking about this for years. If you don’t have UTM tracking or you don’t have it set up correctly, watch this video and go change that because you want the right data in Google Analytics so you can make better decisions. And don’t forget to include YouTube tracking on your appointments link or your products link if you have one or even in the links in your Google post because you need better data to make better decisions.

And there’s a questions and answers widget that’s been around for probably six or seven years at this point. And we saw an average of nine questions asked to each dealership.

In this study, this widget allows any person to you a question and any random person can answer that question for you, and that should terrify you. The big problem here is that potential customers or customers Think that it’s chat. They think there’s somebody on the other end waiting to answer their question, but it’s actually a community discussion widget.

But you have the ability to load your own questions, and a lot of dealerships don’t realize this. And for some reason, other vendors don’t do it, but you can set up what we call a pre site. FAQ page because no one is going to go to an FAQ page on your site, read through the fifty or sixty questions to see if maybe a similar question is there that maybe has an answer that helps them. People need instant answers.

So they will go click ask a question because they think it’s chat, and they think they can get this amazing answer. So if you preload your own questions and answer all your questions, there’s something really cool about the way that this q and a widget works. If someone is typing a question in and a similar question has been asked and answered in the past, Google will display an answer to the question as they’re typing it. So it’s actually faster than the experience would be if they were doing it with a chat widget.

You’ve gotta do this. It’s an amazing preside experience that really helps get you more conversions from potential customers.

And in that questions and answers section, you can upvote answers because you can have multiple answers to questions and whichever answer has the most up votes. Is the one that’s displayed as the primary answer, and only about twenty percent of the questions, only about one out of five had a primary answer from the actual business. And that’s a problem. It shows that most dealerships and most dealerships SEO vendors are not paying attention to the questions and answers section in the Google business profile section which has been there for six or seven years.
So how do you guys not know it’s there? Come on. Let’s get this going. Like I said, questions can you receive multi answer.

So the answer that has the most thumbs up is the one that’s displayed as the primary answer. Pay attention. Make sure your dealership answers are the ones that are upvoted.

And Google posts are awesome. They’re free ads that show in your profile. They’re really prominent on mobile as well. We saw an average of two and a half posts a month per dealership. I did a whiteboard Friday episode for Mz, which is a really big SEO tool set company, and they have a very famous series called Whiteboard Fridays. This episode that I did is all about how to be successful with Google posts. It’s densely packed with information. It’s about thirteen minutes long. Go watch this if you’re doing your own posts. It will help you create much better posts that will be much more effective for you.

The biggest problem, though, they’re free ads and most dealerships and most vendors don’t treat them like ads. They treat them like social media. And this is not social media or anything close to social media. It should always be treated with with the insight that you are providing something promotional, something compelling, to people that haven’t been to your website yet.

So don’t share customer delivery photos. And you shouldn’t even create a post that links to one particular vehicle because posts are going to show up for six months. You don’t wanna create a post that talks about one specific vehicle that’s probably gonna be sold next week. And you still have that out there for the world to see on your Google business profile.

The actual key to success isn’t what’s in the post though. It’s the thumbnail. Google will crop your image to a smaller version of the image and just show a few lines of text and not all of the text that you’ve entered. So if that post thumbnail isn’t compelling, nobody’s gonna click on it. The the problem is image cropping is really wonky. You can load the same image in multiple times, and it will crop slightly differently, or maybe you’re loading in an image that says truck month and has a really pretty picture of a truck on it and half the truck gets cropped or half of the text gets cropped out and you can’t read it.

It’s not gonna be compelling if it’s not an awesome image. So for better control over those thumbnail crops, I’ve created a Photoshop template that you can use. You can download it at the link right there. And it looks like this. Anything that shows in that white grid is considered safe and will show in the thumbnail and the rest of the image appears when they click and see the full post. So you can do some really cool stuff with a a call to action or a phone number down there in that bottom bit that says not visible in the thumbnail.

So that’s it for all of the research on the Google business profiles. We also have some other data that’s really compelling. It’s a scoring matrix that I created several years back for using a twenty group meetings to help those dealers have a better understanding of what’s going on with their you know, status of of SEO and optimization.

And we’ve also used it whenever we have a dealership that’s interested in working with us. Will do their score or if I’m at a conference and dealerships would like to see how they compare, we’ll score those as well. So I collected and analyzes all the scores that I’ve done since the beginning of twenty twenty two, and that was nine hundred and twenty dealerships. In this major is basically a a micro audit.

It’s a small audit that scores the four areas that influence organic visibility. And then those scores are all weighted to approximate the importance of each section to Google’s algorithm. So the first area that scored is the content on your site how it’s optimized. That’s got a maximum point value of forty four points.

Then we look at your inbound links with a maximum point value of ten points, then we look at your Google business profile with a maximum point value of thirty two points. And then we look at your reviews on Google and Yelp. And that’s got a maximum point value of fourteen points. So that all adds up to a maximum total point value of a hundred points.

Although that’s pretty much impossible to achieve. It’s important to point out that the matrix scores on tactics, not on strategy and People tend to use those terms interchangeably, but there’s a important difference. Strategy is where you’re going, which direction you’re headed, and tactics are which steps you take to get there.

The reason that we evaluate basic tactics is to make The matrix a more helpful analysis because typically I’m using this at twenty groups where I’m not there speaking to get leads and they’re speaking to help. And if it was too much on the strategy side, those dealers could take it back to their in house team or to their current SEO vendor and say, look how horribly I scored. And it’d be very easy to refute those scores and say, well, that’s SearchLab’s way of looking at things and they don’t know your store. They don’t know the competition.

They don’t know your local area. Our strategy is better. You can ignore what they have to say. But when it’s basic tactics, that anyone that knows SEO would agree, this is how things should be done, That really can’t be argued. And regardless of your strategy, if you don’t have basic tactics handled, It really doesn’t matter. The strategy is not gonna do anything if you don’t have the right tactics in place. So the average scores Pretty low for that nine hundred and twenty dealerships we saw an average score of only fourteen point nine.

The highest score we’ve ever seen was a Volkswagen dealer with a score of an eighty one point five nine.

The lowest score we’ve ever seen was a Toyota dealership that we recently scored that had a negative seventy one point five because there are some things in the matrix that will deduct points. If it’s a factor that is so incorrect, it’s either likely or definitely hurting your visibility in search engines. But the overall score, like I said, was fourteen point nine. If we go like high school math and do it as a percentage, that’s fourteen point nine percent of the possible score. So we’re definitely failing really badly.

If we look at the individual sections and look at the percentages, we get another compelling story The average score for on-site is only one point two out of a possible forty four points. That’s a two point seven percent score. The average score for links is one point three ten, that’s easy math, thirteen percent. The average score for Google business profiles was eight out of a thirty two.

That’s a twenty five percent score. Still not great, but better. And the average review score was four point four out of fourteen. That’s a thirty one percent score.

It’s better. But, really, most dealers don’t include reputation management as part of their SEO strategy. Even though they should, they don’t because they’re doing regular SEO, not local SEO.

So if we look at these percentages together, it really shows how people are missing the boat when it comes to basic SEO tactics. Review are at thirty one percent, GBP twenty five links at thirteen. But on-site, this is forty four out of the possible hundred points. Nearly half of the value of everything. Because if you don’t have the right content on your site, doesn’t matter what else you do. You’re not gonna show in search results. And that content has to be optimized the right way as well.

Gosh y’all. We’re looking at a two point seven percent score. It’s the one that’s, by far, the worst score, yet It’s by far the most important piece of the SEO puzzle. So if you’re watching this and you’d like to get your site scored, pull out your phone, point it at the screen, scan that QR code.

That QR code will pull up a form where you can send us your site’s information if you have multiple stores in your group and you’d like us to score all of the sites. There is a field that says, you know, additional URLs. Let us know what those are. You can send them all to us.
We will score those and let you know what your scores look like. So you can evaluate your current vendor or your current team, or you could just see how you stack up against everyone else. The more data we can get, the more insight I can provide next year when I come back and do this talk again.

So you need to customize your SEO strategy so that you can improve your patterns so you’ll show up more often in searches. But remember when you’re doing this, the SEO is a marathon. It’s not Sprint, you’ve got to give SEO time to work. The things that you with your in house team or your vendor that you’re working with are doing today are influencing your visibility and search results two to four months down the road.
So you should expect to start to see some traction at around six to eight months, and you start seeing the bigger results at twelve to fourteen months on average.

So I know that was a whole lot, and I went through it really quickly. Looks like I’m at about thirty four minutes of time here. This was a ninety minute presentation live. I went really quick and cut out some of the anecdotes, but hopefully, It wasn’t too painful sitting through that fire hose of information. And now when you’re thinking about your dealership’s visibility and searches, you won’t be down and depressed. Because you’ve got all of these hot tips for me, and no, that is not the same joke. This is Ghost Rider two. Thank you very much.

You’ll no longer be the underdog in search results and everyone at the dealership will be happy.

That was Advanced Level Tips to Make You an SEO Superhero. There’s my email address. If you ever have questions about SEO, please send them to me. I am happy to help any dealership out there. I have an open email policy. I will always answer even though it might be a little bit delayed if I’m traveling overseas. But let me know what your questions are, or if you’d like to get a copy of these slides, I’m happy to send you a copy of the slides, or If the QR code isn’t working for your phone or you’d just rather email me and ask me to score you, you can email me as well.

And if you like to get a copy of the slides, as a special bonus, as always, at the end, there is a list of all of the movies in order of release dates. Thanks so much for watching.

Hey, thanks for sticking around to check the whole thing out. That’s definitely 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 because you learned something awesome. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.