Friday, June 2, 2023
The four tactics are:
Please read on for all of the important information behind these suggestions! Or, skip to the tactics you specifically would like to read more about.
The always excellent Local Search Ranking Factors Report was recently released for 2023. It has a massive amount of incredibly helpful information. I’ll be breaking down some of the key highlights for auto repair shops with tips on what you need to do with the information over the next bunch of blogs.
Today we will focus on Local Search, which includes the Local Pack and Maps. If you are not sure what the Local Pack is, please see our previous blog – What Is the Local Pack and Why Does It Matter for Auto Repair Shops?.
Today’s topic is the factors that saw a significant increase in importance since the last report. For context, there are 149 factors.
This is a brand new factor that hadn’t been included in previous reports and it had a huge debut at number 13. By getting a consistent flow of Google reviews, you are demonstrating that your shop is active and that people are utilizing your business and caring enough about it to post reviews. This is a much better signal to Google than having bursts of reviews where you get 10 reviews within a couple days, get zero reviews for 3 months and then get 10 more reviews in a few days.
Who is responsible?
This is all you and your team. If you don’t ask for reviews you won’t get them. You may have great tools to help you get reviews, but if you don’t use them properly or consistently, you won’t get any.
What to do
Consistently ask happy customers to leave Google reviews for your shop. Set a goal – maybe to ask five happy customers for a review every week. Reward your team members for asking for reviews.
This factor shot up 26 spots from #40 two years ago to #14 this year. That’s the second highest increase among all factors.
This has been critically important for organic search for many years and now the experts are seeing it have an impact on Local Search. The key reason for that is because if you want your Google Business Profile to show up in the Local Pack for service-specific searches (like brake repair, alignments, transmission) Google wants to see that you are specifically highlighting those services on your website.
Who is responsible?
You and your website provider. Here’s why. You’ve got to make a good decision to choose a website provider that has the ability to highlight all your services on individual web pages at a price that you can afford. If you are cutting the number of service pages to stay under a certain number of pages on your website to keep the cost manageable, that’s most likely going to hurt you. It’s up to your website provider to create a page on your website for each service you offer.
What to do
Make sure you have a separate web page for each service or service category that you provide.
This factor saw the biggest increase, jumping from #75 to #21 and should not be underestimated. Google wants to show the best and most relevant businesses in the Local Pack and map when somebody searches for local services. What is a great way for them to judge which local auto repair shop is the best and most relevant? They check to see how many links the shop’s website has going to it from other important local websites.
Who is responsible?
Your website provider or marketing firm may be able to help you a little, but this one will likely rest on your shoulders.
What to do
First, read this blog if you haven’t already – Local Links – What They Are and Why They Are So Important. Next, create your list of potential local links you could get and get to work asking for them. A critical point comes from the blog:
“You don’t need a hundred of these. If you can get a dozen, or a couple dozen, it can push you past your competitors.”
This is the debut of this factor. Your Google Business Profile has a link to a web page. It is most likely the home page of your website. You want to have as many reasonable, quality links to that page on the other pages of your website as you can get.
Where this really comes into play is for auto repair shops that have multiple locations. In those cases the link on your Google Business Profile for each of your locations should go to the specific location page on your website. It’s important that you have plenty of links to each of those location pages from other pages throughout your site.
Who is responsible?
Your website provider.
What to do
If your Google Business Profile is linked to your home page you likely have plenty of links throughout your website to that page, but it doesn’t hurt to confirm and add more if needed. If you have multiple locations you are going to want to consider how to includes links to those location pages throughout your website. A great way to do that is by utilizing your service pages. On each service page you should include a link to each of your locations that provides that service.
These are the four factors that SEO experts saw as having the most increased importance for Local Search. By acting on these now you can likely get an advantage on your competition. Don’t try to do them all at once. Create a plan with due dates and start making progress one step at a time.
We can help! If you’d like a marketing partner that can help you perform well in local search, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!
Thursday, April 27, 2023
As always, the speakers at ATI’s (Automotive Training Institute) 2023 SuperConference were outstanding. One of my favorite things about the event is the power-packed schedule with lots of learning opportunities from ATI coaches, ATI members and professional speakers. You don’t want to miss a single session because they all provide a great deal of value.
For this blog I’m going to highlight eight significant leadership lesson takeaways from the conference in no particular order because they are all too valuable to rank.
In today’s fast-paced world where everybody seems to be competing to show that they are busier than everybody else, it can be easy to forget how important relationships are. How much time do we spend scrolling on our phone when we could be taking the time to build a relationship with a customer, an employee or a family member?
It’s not the best businessperson, the smartest, the most skilled or the most creative that continually win, it’s the person who can build quality relationships.
This is a natural follow up to the first point. Trust is everything. Trust is built through relationships and doing what you say you are going to do. Every interaction you have with somebody is an opportunity to build trust or lose it. What can you do to make sure you are always building trust and being looked at as somebody who truly cares about your customers?
These two points from Walter Bond go hand in hand and say it all. Are you setting your goals high enough? Are you just aiming for average and achieving it? Are you prepared to set your next goal? Or are you just going to rest on achieving an average goal?
That is not to say you shouldn’t celebrate success, you absolutely should. But after celebrating you should start working toward the next goal.
Manley climbs cliffs for fun. He’s done amazing things in this pursuit. One of the key points he made is that you have to declare your current climb.
Like looking at a mountain with several potential paths to the top, considering all of the opportunities for your business, or just the things you have to deal with, can be daunting. But deciding which cliff you are going to climb or which problem you are going to focus on solving is key. After that you can start planning, stay focused and eliminate distractions.
You have to set priorities and then dedicate focused attention to them. I’ll have to take Manley’s word on the climbing part.
Are you encouraging and pushing your team to exceed what they think is possible? How many times have you heard the story of the sports team that nobody thought could be successful but because they started the season with a championship as their goal they were able to persevere and achieve it?
Helping team members reach their potential is a significant role that leaders play. People may not always achieve the big goals you set for them. However, if you expect them to perform poorly, they are almost always going to meet that expectation.
Ross had amazing stories of high performing players and teams throughout his two presentations. One of his key points in relation to teams was this one. And you see it time and time again in sports – it’s not the team with the best players that usually wins the championship it’s the team with the players that work the best together.
You can look at the most recent Super Bowl as evidence of this. Going into the game almost everybody would say that the Philadelphia Eagles had a more impressive roster of players than the Kansas City Chiefs. However, it was the Chiefs who prevailed and took home the trophy.
How do you apply this in your shop? Consider how you evaluate candidates for the jobs you have available. Do you only focus on skills? Or do you put more weight on things like attitude, motivation and fit with the rest of the team?
Leaders have to hold themselves to a higher standard. Every team member is watching every move you make. The words you say hold at least five times the weight of anybody else.
If you do something, everybody else is going to think it’s okay to do that. If you speak negatively to a customer then that becomes okay. If you say something rude to an employee then that becomes how people treat each other in the shop.
As hard as it may be, you have to show up as your best self every time you step into the shop. And you’ve got to step up and lead the way for your team.
This is a tough one for all of us. Like the strongest magnet, our comfort zone pulls us toward it. We seek comfort. We seek the familiar. It makes us feel good and it makes us feel safe.
As leaders we often have to play the role of pushing people outside their comfort zone for growth. But, how often do we push ourselves outside our own comfort zone?
What opportunities are you not pursuing for your business because they are outside your comfort zone? Are you limiting your growth potential? Are you missing the opportunity to make your business great because you hire the comfortable candidate instead of the best candidate?
Take the time to evaluate these types of questions so that you can commit to pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, and to do your part to achieve those high goals.
I can’t say enough about the value of attending ATI SuperConference. This was my second conference and the presentations and information were so valuable. I didn’t cover any of the great stuff that I heard in the presentations I sat in from ATI coaches or ATI members because I feel like that info should be considered a members-only benefit.
I encourage you to pick one or two of these leadership lessons and work toward applying them in your life.
Repair Shop Websites is delighted to be a Silver Partner of ATI.
Friday, March 24, 2023
One of the things we are always encouraging our customers to do is to get local links. What are local links and why are they so important? Let’s dive in so you can start boosting your website’s performance through local relationships.
The three core pieces of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are Architecture, Backlinks and Content. The acronym is easy to remember – ABC. Backlinks are links back to your website from other websites. Going forward for this blog I’m just going to refer to them as links.
The reason that links are so important is that Google uses them to assess the credibility of a website, as well as the focus of the website. The more inbound links your website gets from other websites that have proven to be credible, the more credible Google believes your website to be. Put another way, Google sees links as endorsements for your website.
The two most important types of links that you can get are quality industry links and local links. Industry links would include links to your website from:
Local links are probably even more important than industry links. That’s because local links prove your credibility in your area. If you are doing business in Raleigh, North Carolina you aren’t trying to get consumers in Nevada to find your website. You want consumers in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Knightdale and other neighboring cities to find you.
Here are great sources of local links:
If you partner with another business in town, you should each put a link on your website to the other business’s website. If you sponsor a youth sports team or dance team, ask them to put a link to your website on their website. Most community events automatically include a link to sponsors’ websites on their website.
If you are a member of a church and/or do charity work for a church, ask them to put a link on their website to your website. These types of links won’t help big national businesses. But for an auto repair shop they can be the key to your website being found when local people search for your services. And I’m sure I’ve left several good options for local links off the list – don’t let that limit you from asking.
Even if you are using a provider like Repair Shop Websites to manage and optimize your website, this is one of the action items that you should take to help ensure it searches well. You don’t need a hundred of these. If you can get a dozen, or a couple dozen, it can push you past your competitors.
If you want a website that rises to the top of the organic search results, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!
Friday, March 10, 2023
How many consumers read reviews?
Are reviews especially important for the auto repair industry?
What are consumers looking for when reading reviews?
Thankfully BrightLocal recently released their Local Consumer Review Survey 2023 to help us find the answers to these questions and more when it comes to reviews. This thorough, in-depth and well-constructed survey includes viewpoints from 1,117 United States consumers in January 2023.
In the survey, 98% of people said that they read online reviews for local businesses. This was the same number as last year. However, where they look for reviews has changed. A giant 87% said that they look to Google for reviews. That is a jump up from 81% in 2022. Yelp was noted by 48% and Facebook was mentioned by 46%. One clear message here – reviews are really important and the vast majority of consumers look to Google for reviews.
Now let’s take a look at some of the other really interesting findings from the survey.
“Automotive Services” tied with “Service businesses and tradespersons” and “Healthcare” at the top of the chart with 84% of survey respondents saying reviews were important or very important. The other two got a slight advantage in the tie breaker because they had a higher percentage that chose very important.
We’ve seen plenty of data about consumers saying reviews are important, but to see that 84% of these survey respondents specifically said automotive service reviews were important or very important takes it to a whole new level for auto repair shop owners. We’ve been beating the drum for reviews for many years now but if you had any piece of doubt on their importance to auto repair shops that stat should eliminate it.
Considering that many shops say that they get most of their business from word of mouth, they might be shocked to see that 46% of consumers said they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
To drive the point home further, 35% of consumers say they trust reviews as much as recommendations from social media personalities they follow. Comparing those two numbers tells you that consumers trust recommendations from social media personalities more than the recommendations they get from friends and family. Wow – what a world we live in.
We’ve seen this question asked in similar surveys and this is a good data point for determining what consumers specifically like to see in reviews. Breaking down the top four most important factors in order:
• 69% said the review describes a positive experience
• 58% said the review has a high star rating
• 54% said the business owner has responded to the review
• 46% said the review has been posted within the past month
The takeaways here for auto repair shops:
• Encourage your customers to describe their experience in their reviews
• Respond to reviews, both good and bad, professionally of course
• Ask for reviews frequently and consistently because nearly half of consumers want to see recent reviews
Yes – 88% of consumers said they would be likely to use a business that responds to all reviews. Interestingly, 60% said they would be likely to use a business that responds only to negative reviews versus 55% of people saying they would be likely to use a business that responds only to positive reviews. On the other side of it, 59% said they would not likely use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews.
Another key point here – consider your response to a negative review as your opportunity to win future customers. Potential customers are watching to see how you respond to that negative review and an unprofessional response can significantly hurt your business.
The three big ones here are YouTube, Local News and Instagram. It is important to note that Yelp and Facebook were included in the review platforms question so they would not be included here.
If you can do it, building a presence on YouTube and/or Instagram can be very beneficial for your business especially if your audience includes younger adults. And, getting featured on the local news doesn’t hurt either (especially if your audience is older)!
Reviews continue to be a critical part of an auto repair shop’s web presence. This survey further drives home the point that consumers absolutely do use reviews to help them make decisions on what auto repair shops to call. The best time to start asking for reviews was 10 years ago, but if you haven’t started, the second best time is today!
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!
A big thank you goes out to BrightLocal for conducting this survey and creating such great visuals for it. The charts above are attributed to them. If you’d like to see the whole survey, go to https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/.
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
If your auto repair shop is not on Instagram yet, now is the time. Instagram is making it easier for its users to find local businesses. In addition, a Google exec was recently quoted about how often young people use Instagram to find local businesses.
Last year Instagram updated their map functionality so that local businesses could be discovered. Before that only posts that were tagged with a nearby location could be found. Now, your official Instagram account can be found on the map. That is of course, if you have an Instagram account.
I know what you might be thinking – “I don’t need one more online account to have to manage!” Yes, you’ve got your Google Business Profile, Facebook, maybe Yelp and maybe others. But here’s one reason why Instagram is important – a Google executive last year said “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”
I realize that auto repair shops are not the same as restaurants. But if “young people” are using Instagram to find restaurants they’ll be using it to find auto repair shops soon enough if they aren’t already.
Also – if “young people” are using Instagram in this way, not-so-young people will probably be doing so soon. And, if this age group just starts getting used to searching for local businesses using Instagram they will likely continue to do so as they age.
You can find all sorts of statistics about who uses Instagram and how often, but I will rely on the Pew Research Center because I know they are as trustworthy as they come. Their most recent United States social media survey is a little dated being two years old (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/10/07/7-facts-about-americans-and-instagram/) but here’s some data from that survey:
• 40% of Americans say the use Instagram
• 71% of those ages 18-29 use Instagram
• 48% of those ages 30-49 use Instagram
• 47% of those with incomes of $75k+ use Instagram
• Of those who use Instagram, 59% use it at least once a day with 38% saying they use it several times a day
If your target audience is included in the user statistics above, the case for utilizing Instagram is even more clear. If you are in a college town then this is impacting you now. If you are in any other market where your customer base includes 18-29 year olds this is impacting you now.
If you are already using Instagram
Switch to a professional account if you haven’t already. Make sure to fully complete your profile.
If you do not have an Instagram account
You can go to this web page – https://business.instagram.com/getting-started – and create a business account. About halfway down the page you’ll see the text from the image above. Just to the right of that text is a walkthrough video that takes you through the steps. Complete your profile and post some of your best photos, if you have some to post.
The good news is that setting up an Instagram business account just takes a little bit of time and is free. Plus you’ll be giving yourself an opportunity to bring in more customers. You have nothing to lose.
If you really want to leverage Instagram to engage your potential customer base, you can start posting. But if you don’t, at least you’ve done the minimum to make sure you are findable for those who use Instagram to search for auto repair services in your area.
Would you like help building out your Instagram profile and engaging your audience on Instagram? We can help you with our Social + package. Give us a call today at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!