This week, we’re covering 2 topics: identification and creation.
Now, in this series, we’re basing everything on the specific standards set by Google for dealerships like yours. Why? By adhering to these standards, you’re ensuring that your online presence is compliant, so you won’t be penalized in Search. Makes sense, right?
So, according to those standards:
All car dealerships can have a profile for the dealership itself and more profiles for their departments, like sales, parts, or services.
New-car dealerships can also have a profile for each brand of new cars sold, and…
That used-car dealerships can’t, because the brands those dealerships offer will continually change.
This is what we’re referring to when we refer to “identification”. It’s the process of configuring each listing to be reflective of the dealership, its business model, and individual needs. So ask yourself, “How many different sets of information do I have, and how many do I need?”
If you’re a small, independent used-car dealer offering some level of service, one might argue that you need a sales listing and a service listing. However, if your sales and service departments are in the same physical location, are open for the same business hours, can be reached through the same phone#, and are represented on the same website, Google is likely to interpret multiple GBP listings as duplicate information and is unlikely to verify them.
But, what if you’re a mid-sized to large franchised dealer with a sales department, a service department, parts department, a body shop or collision center, an in-house insurance agency, an in-house car rental agency, and EV charging station, a separate division for commercial truck sales…even a carwash?
These are just some examples of unique departments that merit their own GBP listings. Remember, the goal is to be compliant with Google standards, while eliminating any redundancies.
Now, when it comes to differentiating between brands, there is some nuance. If your dealer group includes multiple buildings (with one dedicated to say Ford, one dedicated to GM, and one to CDJR for example) we would recommend setting up individual sales listings for each brand. We might even recommend making a group listing.
However, if that were to be done for a dealership where multiple brands are sold under one roof, you can see how multiple listings might be viewed by Google as duplicates. In this case, we would recommend focusing on departmental listings only, and not making them brand specific. Make sense?
Before we move on…one of the steps of identification that we recommend is to search your physical address on Google Maps. Zoom in to find out if there are any old listings that are pertinent to your dealership. If so, your goal as we move into creation will be to “claim & verify” that listing, as opposed to “creating” a new one.
When talking about creation, I should clarify that we could be talking about (i) creation of new listings to be nested within an existing dealership, or (ii) creation of listings for new dealerships. Either way, it begins with this screen and, in the interest of eliminating duplicate listings, this first step includes an automated check.
After entering the business name, you’re likely to see an option to “create a business with this name”. However, you may also see additional suggestions, if what you’ve entered is similar to an existing listing. Maybe the suggestions are related to your business, and maybe they’re not.
If the suggestion is related to your business, you’re going to want to click the suggestion to proceed with “claiming and verifying” that listing. If the suggestion is not related, go ahead and click the first option to “create a business with this name”.
For this example, let’s assume it’s the latter and we’re creating a listing for a new dealership. The next screen asks us to choose the business type, with the instruction to select all that apply. As a dealership, it’s likely that “local store”, and “service business” apply, so we’ll go ahead and check those two before hitting ‘Next’.
Here you’ll be asked to add your online store by entering the web address where customers can purchase products. So, let’s enter that website URL then click ‘Next’.
Next, we enter the business address for our physical location. Be as specific as you can, selecting options from the dropdown and adding an extra line if your address requires it. Click “Next”…
…and we find ourselves in another “check” stage to ensure that we’re not creating a duplicate listing. If you see a listing with your address, and you’re attempting to set up your primary sales listing, you’re going to want to select that listing. This just means that you missed something during the identification stage.
However, if you’re attempting to create a department listing to be nested within your existing primary sales listing, you’ll want to select “This doesn’t match”. So, for this example, let’s just do that and click “Next”.
Here, we’re confirming our physical location by making sure that our pin is in the correct location on Google Maps. Click on the pin to move it as needed, zooming in or out of the map to make things easier. Once it’s set, click “Next”.
Now, we’re being asked to add the phone number that customers should be using to get in touch with the dealership. Keep in mind that Google will be calling this number as part of their verification process, so you’ll need a number that rings to a human being. We’ll talk more about that next week.
From here you add your business hours by toggling on the days where you’re open for business then manually entering the times when you’ll open & close, on each of those days.
From there you’ll also be (i) asked whether or not you want to accept message via Google (ii) instructed to add a business description, (iii) add photos of your business, and (iv) asked if you want to start advertising with Google Ads. Once you’ve made your way through those tabs, Google will initiate the verification process, which we’ll discuss in depth next week.