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Friday, April 22, 2022
Traditional search engine optimization (SEO) focused on website structure, links and content as the three most important factors for showing up higher in the rankings. At a time when people make quicker decisions than ever and it’s pretty easy to get a one or two page website set up, does content really still matter?
Yes, it matters. A lot. In this blog we’ll cover why it still matters, the elements of content that matter most and how you can leverage those parts to get your auto repair shop’s website to search well.
There are only a handful of people at Google that know exactly what goes into their algorithm to determine the organic search rankings of their search engine. However, there is an annual survey of SEO experts that gets us close. These are people who are doing this every single day for all types of businesses across the world and the survey focuses on what they see as the most important search ranking factors. Here are their top 20 factors from the survey that was released toward the end of 2021:
While this isn’t directly from Google, it’s a pretty darn good substitute based on the optimizing and monitoring that these folks are doing.
So, what does it tell us about content? Content elements make up three of the top five, and five of the top 13 factors highlighted:
Three big content takeaways for auto repair shops from this list:
Volume of Quality Content on Entire Website
This is listed as the second most important factor, so clearly it’s extremely important. You want to build out your website to include as much quality content as possible. Create service pages for each of the services that you offer. Get as specific as you can and include detail. Tell the story of your business. Share images and descriptions of the work you’ve done.
Often repair shop owners will say they don’t know what to include on their website, yet they have a vast knowledge of all of the work that happens in their shop. To get started think about all of the questions that people ask about the services you provide and start capturing the answers to those questions. Feel free to design your pages with questions and answers like a Q&A page.
Topical (Product/Service) Keyword Relevance Across Entire Website
This one starts to get more specific to the actual searches that are happening. How relevant is your website to the specific keyword the user searched for and other related keywords?
The hardest thing for most auto repair shop owners to consider here is that you have to think from the standpoint of the potential customer. What do they call the services that you provide? Or what would they search for?
The big ones are the basics like auto repair, car repair, car mechanic (as much as you may hate that term), oil change, etc. However, if you are specialized you’ll want to consider keywords related to your specialization. Once you have your keywords you want to make sure they are sprinkled throughout your website…BUT, you want to make sure you are not overusing them at the risk of a keyword stuffing penalty.
Geographic (City/Neighborhood) Keyword Relevance of Domain Content
This factor is very similar to the one above, just focused on location instead of services. Make sure the cities, towns and areas that you serve are included all over your website. Include them in your service pages, testimonials/reviews and about sections.
You should also include landmarks and other local information, if possible. Highlight the local organizations you support and/or are active in.
Similar to topical keywords, when doing this you want to make the inclusion natural – make sure it doesn’t look like you are keyword stuffing.
Website’s Degree of Focus on a Specific Niche
This should not be an issue for most auto repair shops. If you are building out quality content across your entire website it should all fall in the same category.
There are two instances where you may look at it differently:
Volume of Quality Content on Service Pages
This goes hand in hand with the first one. It also provides an important clarification opportunity – you should not just create service pages for the sake of having them. If you aren’t building them out with quality content then you are better to not have them at all. A page with 20 words on it will not achieve the desired purpose.
You want to highlight your expertise on the topic. If you are working on a page about brake repair, reference all of the parts of the brake system. What job does each part perform? How do they work together? What types of problems typically occur? What types of services do you offer?
To compete for the 93% of consumers who use the internet to find local businesses, your website has got to have purposeful, informative content. By following the advice above you can build out the content that’s going to help your website perform better in search.
We can help you by building a website that’s optimized to help you get found by consumers searching for your services in your area. If you’d like to learn more about our services, please call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!
Monday, March 28, 2022
If you need further proof that online reviews are important, especially on Google, here’s the latest from the fantastic Local Consumer Review Survey 2022 by brightlocal:
We recently conducted a survey of auto repair shops to see how often they are asking for reviews. Here’s what we found out.
Only 19% of shops are asking happy customers to provide reviews face to face right after the service. Nearly 5% are doing it about 50% of the time. More than 76% of shops are “Never” or “Not very often” asking for reviews. In short, the vast majority of shops are not asking happy customers for a review immediately after the service is performed.
The good news is that more shops are asking for reviews via phone, email or text after a happy customer has left the shop. More than 33% said they do it “Every time” or “Almost every time.” However, there is still a large number – 62% – who “Never” ask for reviews in this way.
So, here’s the first opportunity. If you are already asking for reviews – great job! You likely already have a nice advantage over your competitors. If you are not, now is the time to start. You can still put your shop in a good position to be chosen by consumers by starting to get a regular flow of reviews now.
The even bigger opportunity is tied to the third question we asked:
Not a single shop we asked this question to chose “Every time,” “Almost every time” or “50/50.” An astounding 97% of the shops said “Never.”
Why is this important? Because consumers like to see their situation represented in the reviews. If they are considering you for a brake job, they want to see evidence that other customers have used you for a brake job and have been happy with the service. They want to better understand what the experience will be like with your shop. In fact, in the brightlocal survey 75% of consumers said they would feel positively about using a business if “The written review describes a positive experience.”
Very few shops are asking for the specific thing that a majority of consumers say they want to see in reviews. You’ve got a huge opportunity here if you are willing to ask your customers to reference the specific service you provided to them and the experience they had. Here’s a good way to do that:
“We really appreciate you choosing [Shop Name]. Our online reviews help us to bring in new customers. If you feel like you received good service, it would mean the world to us if you would review our shop on Google. If you could, please include the service we provided to you and a few details about your experience as we know others find that information especially helpful.”
We encourage to use that as a starting point and personalize it for your shop. If you just take that additional 20 seconds to ask your happy customers for reviews in that way you could propel your shop to be the top choice of the 81% of consumers who are using Google to evaluate auto repair shops in your area.
Our Integrated Reviews platform helps our customers get more online reviews. To learn how we can help do that for your auto repair shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!
Friday, February 4, 2022
Google has recently adjusted their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in a couple of ways that are likely to significantly impact auto repair shops.
If you get any business from the web, this change has the potential to greatly decrease that business.
If you’d like to get more business from the web, this change opens up a greater opportunity to help you do so.
We’ll use a search we recently conducted for auto repair to demonstrate the changes.
First, the layout of the SERP on desktop now shows the Local Pack, the listing of 3-4 shops that Google has showcased in the results, to the left of the map.
Before this change took place around December 2021, the Local Pack was displayed below the map.
While this is the change that is most noticeable visually, it has much less of an impact on your shop’s opportunity to attract customers than the other change.
Second, and much more significantly, as you can see from the image below, Google has now defaulted the “Sort by” option for how shops get displayed in the Local Pack to “Best match” instead of “Distance.”
If you’ve heard or seen anything we’ve done over the last few years related to the Local Pack, you know we’ve emphasized that proximity to the searcher was the number one factor for what shops were included in the Local Pack. In almost all cases when you conducted a search like this one, the shops would be displayed in order by how close they were to the person conducting the search. In fact, the distance would be displayed, as you can see below in a screenshot taken from a search from a couple years ago:
In a system with distance to the searcher being such a significant factor, your ability to impact where you showed up in the Local Pack was very limited. As long as you picked the right category (“Auto Repair Shop” for most) and had included all of the main contact information for the shop, you were mostly good to go.
Now the game has changed. With “Best match” being the default it will likely be much more important that you complete all the fields available to you in your Google Business Profile. In addition, you’ll want to consider utilizing keywords. We’ve seen SERPs that include snippets from services, the description, posts and definitely from reviews.
To further drive home the point – Google has already given us a model for how they determine “Best match” – the organic search results for websites. They’ve been determining the best matches for searches there for many years. It’s highly likely that they will apply a similar approach to the Local Pack and that your Google Business Profile will require the same level of focus on search engine optimization (SEO) that your website requires to search well.
Here’s part two of the answer to why this is so important – there’s a lot of potential business at stake. The most recent study available showed that when consumers are searching for local services nearly 33% of all clicks go to the businesses included in the Local Pack. That’s a significant number of potential customers. With “Best match” being the default for the Local Pack results, this greatly opens up opportunities for auto repair shops who have put the time and effort into their Google Business Profile and into getting reviews from happy customers.
Complete your Google Business Profile. Make sure all the information is accurate. Look for fields you haven’t previously filled out and complete them. Make sure your website is linked. Update your photos and create a plan for updating photos consistently in the future.
Consider using posts and creating a plan for posting in the future. A nice thing about posting on your Google Business Profile is that it’s not like Facebook, you don’t have to post as often. Posting every 7-10 days is absolutely fine.
Ask for reviews. Do it consistently. And ask your happy customers to include the services you provided to them in the review. Those snippets are consistently used in the Local Pack listing and can help you win new customers.
If all this sounds like too much to manage, we can help. We can optimize your Google Business Profile and manage it going forward. If you’d like to hear more about what we can do for you, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!
Friday, January 14, 2022
We have heard auto repair shop owners tell us, “We don’t need a website, we are on Facebook.” If you have all the business you’ll ever need from current customers AND have gotten all of your customers to follow you on Facebook, then that statement might be true.
But for the vast majority of auto repair shops a Facebook profile will be a very poor substitute for a website. Here’s why:
In a 2020 survey from BrightLocal, 93% of consumers said they use the internet to find local businesses. The first place people go when they want to find local service businesses is Google … by a very large margin. A website is going to give you the best chance to be found on Google by those potential customers. That’s because they are used to typing the name of the service they want into the search bar and then looking at the organic search results for options they want to consider.
That’s not how Facebook works. Unless somebody searches for your auto repair shop by name, potential customers are not going to find you on Facebook. The only place you’ll be seen on Facebook is in the news feed of people who already follow you when you make posts. You are significantly limiting your audience by substituting a Facebook profile for a website.
And as you can see in the screen shot of the organic search results above, Facebook profiles very rarely show up in the organic results. In fact, in that search there was not a single Facebook profile that showed up in the first 10 search engine results pages.
Facebook’s algorithm determines what posts a user will see in their news feed. Facebook’s goal is to give the user more of what they want so that they will stay on Facebook as long as possible. People interact more with posts from friends and family so Facebook is more likely to show those posts than they are the posts that are coming from your business. Plus, they would rather make you pay for advertising to be seen in the news feed.
Regardless, you still want to be sure that you are posting consistently. Remember, your only chance to be seen is by posting frequently. Contrast that with a website, which you do want to keep updated but you certainly don’t have to remember to update every day or every other day.
Right or wrong, perception is reality. While consumers may be willing to buy a t-shirt directly from Instagram, they expect more from a business that they are trusting to maintain or repair their vehicle. Credibility is extremely important for auto repair shops. Your website can provide that credibility.
When consumers can’t find a website for a repair shop they are going to think twice about calling them. They’ll question the credibility or just assume the shop is closed. Then you’ve lost them before you even had a shot to win their business.
Whether you build and manage your own website, or you work with a service provider like us, you get to make the decisions on the images, content, design, etc. You have a very high level of control over the messages and pictures people see when they go to your website.
You have no such control on Facebook. Facebook is going to do what’s best for Facebook. Just like they control their users’ news feeds, they control what you are able to do with your profile. So, while you may like the “control” you feel you have over your Facebook profile today, that could change pretty quickly tomorrow.
Facebook is a good forum for engaging customers and building your brand but a Facebook profile does not provide the benefits a website does when it comes to attracting new customers and building credibility. If you’ve been relying on Facebook but are now ready to bolster your web presence to help you bring in new customers, call us today at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you.
Thursday, December 16, 2021
December is always a great time to evaluate how you are utilizing your marketing tools and make changes that will set you up for success in the new year.
If your 2021 has been like many auto repair shops, you haven’t had much of a chance to think about your website while you’ve been dealing with trying to fit customers into your busy schedule. Hopefully you can now come up for air, make up for lost time, and make those updates you may have overlooked over the course of the year.
Here are seven updates you should make to your website as soon as possible:
People love to see photos. If it’s been a while since you last posted photos to your website, you should go through any pictures you’ve taken to see what you have to add. You should especially consider photos of:
Lots of things have changed over the last two years. If you still have services listed on your website that you no longer provide you want to take those off as soon as you can. Few things are more frustrating to a potential customer than to narrow down the search for service to one shop only to find out they don’t really provide that service.
On the other hand, if there are any new services that you are offering or plan to offer in 2022, you want to add those to your website. Don’t miss a potential opportunity by not listing all the services you offer on your website.
Have you changed your procedures recently (or maybe not so recently) but forgotten to make sure that update is on your website? You may have tightened your procedures or loosened them. You may now be doing pick up and drop off for customers. You may have added wi-fi connectivity in your shop. Whatever changes you’ve made, make sure they are included on your website.
Have you recently joined a manufacturer’s or distributor’s program group? Include that logo on your website. Highlighting that branding can help you build credibility and attract new customers.
Get those specials or coupons up for the new year now so you can catch those people who have been putting off maintenance or repair until after January 1.
To this point this list has been made up of things that can influence potential customers to choose your shop. But if hiring is a bigger challenge for you right now than attracting new customers, then you want to be sure that your website is a tool that you are using to attract good candidates.
Make sure you are highlighting why your shop is a great place to work on your Careers page. Go beyond just listing open jobs and spell out the details. What is your work environment like? What programs do you have in place for training? What employee-friendly policies do you have? What perks do you offer?
This is definitely another place that you want to include photos. Include pictures of some of the fun things you’ve done as a team.
And importantly, highlight these things on your home page as well. Include one of those team photos as one of your hero images at the top of your home page with the text “Are you looking to join a great team?”.
Kickoff 2022 by making sure that your website is up to date and that you are leveraging it to bring in both good customers and good job candidates.
We can help you look great online and take care of any updates your website needs, making life much easier for you when it comes to marketing. If that sounds good to you, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!