Make it Easier for Customers to Find You Online
Vice President, Digital & Product Marketing
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of making it easier for Google and other search engines to understand how relevant your business is to a user’s search terms. For example, if you are in the business of selling cars, you’d want to make sure when someone types in “buying a car” in your zip code that you appear in the search results. However, if your business is repairing cars, you should not appear in that search.
So how do search engines know what websites to list in the search results and which ones to leave out? And how can you make sure that you are listed when someone is searching for auto body repair in your area? By managing or optimizing, the content on your site, you can influence how your business ranks in online searches.
Seventy-five percent of internet users never scroll past the first page of search results. You have the power to increase where you appear in the search and where you appear is important to your business. Here are some key improvement areas to consider for your website:
Be Local – Individuals often prefer local businesses and this influences how they search for a repair facility. Many searches include “near me” or “open now”, so build content on your pages that reflect your up-to-date hours and location, communities or neighborhoods served. Adding your business to local directories is also a great way to improve where you rank when an individual searches with a city name or zip code.
Shop at Home – 2020 saw a rise in searches for shop at home or drop-off and pick-up services. Add content to your site if you support online repair estimating services or are willing to go to a customer’s home. COVID-19 has changed the way individuals desire to do business and this trend is expected to continue.
Ratings/Reviews/Reputation Management – A consumer survey conducted by CCC revealed 75.4% of consumers indicated they would check reviews online before going to a body shop, even if they received a referral.
Google gives prominence to reviews whether through their platform or third-party sites like Carwise®. Ensure you have a process in place to collect, post, and respond to reviews. The reviews also provide a steady stream of fresh and relevant content necessary to attract customers to your site.
Current Business Profile – For both Carwise and Google, ensure your profile pages are up-to-date and current. This includes updated email contacts, phone numbers, text-to-chat, photos, and hours. If you support at-home or remote services, add this information to your pages.
Video Marketing – Video continues to be a good way to present facts about your business, highlight your brand, and showcase testimonials. YouTube has 2 billion users, and 74% of adults in the US use the platform. Videos are a great alternative to TV advertising and video served on YouTube will integrate directly with Google searches and video-specific searches.
User Experience Matters – Characteristics about your site’s performance (page load speeds, page responsiveness, and visual stability) can impact how your site ranks with these search engines. In May 2020, Google increased the importance of these “Core Web Vitals”; to see how your site is performing, visit Google’s Core Web Vitals tools page.
Mobile – Mobile as a percentage of search continues to grow. Mobile holds a 62% share of searches for the automotive industry. The key here is making sure your website provider or hosting agency is creating your experience to work effectively and fast in all channels.
The primary goal of any search (SEO) strategy should be visibility. Make adjustments to get the search results for your business to rank higher, preferably in positions one through three. This is achievable since individuals now search terms like “body shops open on Saturday near me.” As a local body shop, you should have the digital presence to capitalize and convert those inquiries into quality repairs.