Get comfortable, and make yourself a snack, friends…because this topic is a big one, in terms of both importance and scope. At this point, we’re going to assume you’ve already created or claimed all of your listings, verified them, and identified all of your departments. Today, we’re going to talk about your business information and – for our onscreen examples – we’re going to be looking at a dealership that has a bunch of departments in-place: sales, service, parts, collision & autobody, an in-house insurance agency, and even in-house car rental. That said, we’ll continue to obscure any personal information in the interest of data protection.
Now, with properly nested departments, each can have different phone numbers, hours of operation, URL destinations, photos, posts and offers but still be connected to the dealership itself. We’ll talk more about nesting in the future, but let’s start by looking at the primary sales listing and some of the important information that’s included to help optimize it for local search ranking.
Remember when we discussed the various buttons visible within your SERP dashboard a few weeks ago? Well, in this case we’re going to click the ‘Edit Profile’ button which pulls up the business information entered for that listing. This includes your name, your business categories, a description of your business…
So, let’s start with your name. Bottom-line: keep it simple. From there, we move onto Business Categories which consists of 2 levels: your primary category and additional categories, both of which help to define each listing in the eyes of Google.
In the case of a dealership with multiple nested listings, each of those listings should have a different primary category selected. In this case, we can see that the sales listing specifies the primary category as ‘Toyota Dealer’. That’s perfect. And when we do a quick audit of the other nested listings we see, “Auto Repair Shop” for the service department. We see “Auto Parts Store” for the parts department. We see “Auto Body Shop” for the Collision & Auto Body Repair Shop. “Car Rental Agency” and “Insurance Agency”. As you can see, there’s no overlap between those listings, which means this dealer is sending a very clear message to Google as to the unique specialty of each department listing – even though all of them are part of a larger business.
Moving on to the additional categories, you can choose up to 10 to best reflect the offerings of each listing. In the case of this dealership’s sales listing you see our recommendations which include “car dealer”, “truck dealer”, “used car dealer, “car manufacturer”, “used truck dealer”, “car leasing service”, “car accessories store”, “truck accessories store”, and “car finance and loan company”. All of these are reflective of the offerings of that particular dealership. Yours might differ, just choose the additional categories that best suit your listing, and do the same for any nested listings.
Now, we move on to Description which should be a short, honest representation of your business, highlighting your services, the geographic location that you serve, and anything that separates you from your competitors. You might have something similar on the ‘About’ page of your website, but it’s imperative that these two things are unique from one another so that Google doesn’t flag it as duplicate content. For this reason, the description for each one of your nested listings should also be different from one another.
Opening Date is fairly self-explanatory.
Under phone numbers, you can list up to 3 but the number used during the verification process will be listed as your primary phone number. Keep in mind that, if you make any significant changes to your phone numbers, you may have to go back through the verification process. Also, the phone numbers provided for each of the nested listings should be unique, as Google’s preference would be that they ring directly to the department specified.
Moving onto website, this is where you’d include the URL to a specific destination on your website. For your primary sales listing, you’d want it to direct visitors to your homepage. For your other nested listings, just include the URL to whichever page you want to drive that specific traffic to.
Under menu link, for your sales listing, you should include a search results page where visitors can find a list of vehicles.
That said, you might notice from these visuals that the URLs look a little different, and they don’t just end in dot.com as you might be used to. So, what is that additional string of characters. Well, that’s called a UTM and it’s simply a means of identifying and categorizing traffic within your analytics, so you know where traffic is coming from and you can better assess the performance of your marketing efforts.
You may notice that I skipped over a section called ‘Short Name’, this is simply an abbreviated version of your business name, 32 characters or less, that can be designed for ease of searching.
Under Location and areas, you have the means of confirming your physical address or changing it, noting the latter may require reverification of your GBP. The important thing here is to make sure that the pin is placed directly on top of your physical location, as presented in Google Maps; and it’s additionally important if you have a unique layout or parking situation at your dealership.
Next we have ‘Service Area’, which allows you to enter the surrounding communities your dealership aims to serve.
‘Business Hours’ is relatively self-explanatory, giving you the opportunity to set your standard open and close times for all 7 days of the week. You can also decide not to show your hours of operation at all, or list your business as closed (be it temporarily or permanently).
Below that we have ‘Special Hours’ which is where you communicate any changes based around holidays, closings, or any scheduling changes from your standard business hours. Regular viewers of Wikimotive’s content might recall seeing videos where we remind you of upcoming holidays, and walk you through the nuance of this process.
Google also gives you the option to ‘Add More Hours’ but, in our opinion, haven’t done a great job of configuring options that are relevant to dealerships. That said, if any are, feel free to set them accordingly.
From there we have the ‘Attributes’ section which includes a number of ways to further identify your dealership through ownership and amenities, communicate social awareness through environment and accessibility, or to provide basic info that may of further value to interested consumers re: offerings, payments, planning, recycling, service options. It all comes down to “who you want to market to” and helping Google to put you in front of them.
Ultimately, all of the sections we just covered can be configured at the discretion of your marketing team. Just remember that each of your nested department listings should be uniquely configured to mirror the objectives of that particular listing. Anything less, will lessen the efficacy of those listings.
As we wrap up this episode on Business Information, we’re going to go back to our SERP listing for a few more items.
As you can see in this example, most dealerships include a link to help customers book appointments. To manage this click ‘Bookings’ and you can adjust the URL that link will point to. You’ll also notice the option of adding a ‘Featured Book Button’ which enables booking directly through Google (as opposed to a website) but it hasn’t reached the point of widespread integration and requires the integration of 3rd party tools, so I’m going to skip it for now.
The inclusion of quality photos is an important step of optimizing any GBP listing and can be done through the Add Photos button. Of those, it’s important to include your dealership logo, as well as a wide-shot of your exterior, flagging them as your logo and cover photo respectively, as they’ll be displayed prominently.
Listen…I know I covered a lot. Management of your dealership’s GBP listings is time-consuming and heavily nuanced, and it’s a big part of the reason so many store listings out there aren’t properly optimized.
But now that you have a better understanding of how to configure the business information within your various listings, NEXT week we’ll move onto department nesting so that you know how to link those listings together.