Checklist: Is Your Service Department Optimized for Modern Search Methods?
If you’re not first in search, you’re nearly invisible. This is especially true when it comes to organic content like blogs, social media posts, and webpages not supported by your advertising spend but by an optimized and relevant strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and social content are important for every modern business, but for dealership service departments, creating and optimizing this soft content can greatly influence a customer looking to service their vehicle.
You can ensure your dealership service department shows up when customers start searching, but only if you can check off each optimized strategy below.
Google My Business: Maps, Reviews, and the Knowledge Panel
When you search for your dealership on Google:
- Does your service department show up as a separate business listing on Maps?
- Are the correct service phone number and address listed? What about the correct hours of operation?
- Have you consistently responded to reviews or questions left online?
- Do you display photos of your service department and links to your service webpage?
Why it matters:
Verifying your business to Google and consumers
The information entered into Google My Business pulls into the “Knowledge Panel” in search results, which also provides links to your website, directions, reviews, and more. Managing this listing regularly is important since it is prominently displayed in nearly every search for your dealership.
A few years ago, Google started automatically splitting dealership service departments into their own business “pin” on Google Maps. Unclaimed businesses may have incorrect information listed, which can hurt customers’ impression of your department.
If you aren’t sure if you’ve claimed the listing already, search for your dealership name in Google Maps and check for a separate business pin on your service drive. If it isn’t claimed, an option to claim the business will appear. If Google didn’t automatically separate your parts and service department in Maps, but you would like to manually, here’s how.
Setting the stage for your business relationship
The Knowledge Panel will also pull your aggregated star ratings from Google and other review platforms such as Facebook and Yelp, as well as popular posts and your responses. It also includes a Q&A section where customers can ask and answer questions about your business, such as services you provide, holiday operations, rules or restrictions at your dealership, and more so customers know what to expect from your business.
- Is there service-specific content on your blog, such as seasonal maintenance tips, explainer videos, and more?
- When you create content, do you write it with specific customer searches in mind?
- Is your content and schema.org data optimized to show up in featured snippets (this is information featured in a special panel which Google has marked as especially relevant to a search query)?
- Do you post your service promotions to your social media as part of larger campaigns?
- Is each social post hosted natively within each channel with links, language, and content catered to user intent and engagement?
Why it matters:
Establishing trust to support your customers’ needs
Content marketing is a strategy that focuses on informative and relevant content delivered through blogs, social media, and newsletters. This strategy builds trust between you and your customers since they can engage directly with you and can learn from your content.
This content is very important to your overall marketing strategy, especially when it comes to SEO. Google’s algorithms and bots constantly review websites for relevant, helpful content to learn which sites to show with each Google search.
When your social media is optimized for each channel, bots are more likely to find and display your accounts in response to searches. Optimizing your posts also benefits user experience (UX) within apps which improves engagement and conversions.
The most important item to mention on this checklist is keeping your customers in mind with every listing, post, and webpage. Consider what they may be searching for and the easiest way of giving them the information they need to make decisions.
Most vehicle owners will delay service at one point or another, so when they finally start looking, show up as a trusted and helpful guide.
And, if you want to better understand organic search and SEO, check out the Level Up! Guide to SEO.