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Ranking Factors That Matter for Local Search

local search

This blogpost is inspired by a presentation that our very own Melina, Lead Organic Strategist, delivered at the 2018 Auto Remarketing Canada Conference in Toronto, and addresses why local search or SEO matters to your dealership.

What Is Local Search?

Local SEO, or local search, matters since you want people to come to your local business because they’ve been able to find you online. And they were able to find you because you were the most relevant search result in the area where they triggered the search.

This would be the result of a local search vs a regular search, which is where dealers need to focus their efforts. With local search, Google delivers search results based on where someone’s search is geographically initiated because it is driven to offer a tailored search experience.

As a trend, local search is not going away anytime soon since, as per Google, local search has seen a 150% increase over the past 2 years and will continue to increase. Another thing to consider these days is that it’s no longer just about ranking but visibility instead.

Where ranking doesn’t guarantee that a potential client will spend their dollars in your business or that they will click on your website, visibility is more likely to yield those results because people assume that when your dealership appears repeatedly in search results, that it must be the best recommendation.

This being said, how does Google determine local visibility? It does so by assessing 5 ranking factors: Content relevance, website structure, Google My Business, Citations and Links, and Reputation. We’ll address Citations & links in this post.

local search

Ranking Factor #4 – Citations and links

As the fourth ranking factor shared in Melina’s video presentation, citations include a combination of the dealership’s proper name, an approved Canada Post address, as well as a local phone number phone shared elsewhere online; it doesn’t necessarily need to include your website URL.

The great thing about citations is that if they are coming from a website that has greater authority than yours, their level of reputation rubs-off on you making it a win-win.

Links are anywhere that your website URL is shared online. The same authority principle would apply here.

At the end of the day, Google wants to make sure that you are who you say you are and that your business doesn’t have “multiple identities”; in other words, different websites. This entire process helps confirm your business identity, providing continuity when it comes to the information about your business stemming from your physical location, to your website, and finally on to the web.

As a side-note, Google frowns upon dealerships that have multiple domain names pointing to their primary website along with the use of call-track which is why those who implement those practices often see their citations negatively impacted.

So as a rule of thumb, choose a consistent name, local phone number, and a primary domain, so that all the information matches what’s in Google My Business (which was addressed in more detail as ranking factor #3 in the presentation).

Another concept worth keeping in mind, that allows Google to direct peoples’ search intent toward the best search result (and is facilitated by citations and links promoting your business), is the relevance of a business as it matches a specific search intent. By the way, did you know that Google holds reviews about your business in high regards?

What this means to you is that you must ask for reviews. Especially considering the fact that 28% of people surveyed after visiting a business say that they were never asked for feedback at said business. And that 68% of those asked will leave a review? Food for thought.

We hope that you’ve found this post helpful, and if there’s anything that one should take-away from this 4th ranking factor for local SEO, is that it’s about doing everything that’s possible to satisfy the searcher’s intent by giving them exactly what they’re looking for through – among other things – building citations and links. And don’t forget to ask for those reviews.

For the full video presentation and to learn about the other 5 ranking factors for local SEO which are content relevance, websites structures, Google My Business, and reputation, visit:

In the presentation, you’ll also hear answers from other dealers asking:

  • Should a dealership have multiple business listings?
  • What can affect your site speed and load up times?
  • Why your website should be secured?
  • Is it possible to hide anything that you don’t want Google to crawl?
  • What will cause Google to withhold search results for your business?
  • How to determine your website/domain authority?
  • What to do if you don’t have access to sites where you’re listed on for reviews and citations?

Click here to download the presentation, note sheets, and checklists to take back to your dealership:

Additional resource:

Citation Management, EAT (Authority), EAT (Trust), Link Building, Off-Page SEO Tactics

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