Do you ever search for a business online before you go there for the first time? Your customers do too. According to BrightLocal’s 2018 Local Citations Trust Report, 90% of survey respondents said they search for a business online before making their first visit.
A citation is the online mention of the N.A.P. (name, address, and phone number) for a business. Along with the N.A.P., a citation can include other information such as the hours of operation, reviews, directions, business descriptions, and more.
Structured citations are listed on business directories such as Yellow Pages or Yelp, while unstructured citations appear on other websites including blogs or newspapers. Online citations are good for businesses because they increase exposure. They also increase local SEO rankings on Google.
As a car dealer, citations are a crucial part of marketing your business. Online citations help attract more local customers, increase your local visibility, strengthen your SEO, and they are cost-effective. Many directories allow you to list your business for free or at minimal cost. You want your business to be in the top rankings when customers search for vehicles, services, or auto dealerships in their area to beat out the competitors. With proper citations, you can achieve that.
Although local citations are important and beneficial, they could also be hurting the reputation of your auto dealership if they aren’t done right. According to the BrightLocal report, incorrect contact details caused 80% of survey respondents to lose trust in that company. The last thing you want is for customers not to trust your company before they even visited it.
To ensure that you are getting the most out of your local citations, here are five important things to keep in mind:
1. List as many citations as you can.
The more citations you have, the better your website will rank on search engines like Google or Bing. This will benefit your company because more listings will increase your chances that your customers find your business when they are searching online for car dealerships in their area. Your business should be listed on multiple directories.
2. Check your citations, and make sure to update them regularly for accuracy.
Have you ever been frustrated after you searched for information online only to find that is incorrect? Your customers get frustrated too. According to the BrightLocal report, 68% of respondents would stop using a local business if they found the wrong information on a directory online. You could be losing potential customers if your information isn’t listed correctly.
3. Make sure your N.A.P. is consistent.
Search engines use the data you provide to help determine geographically targeted searches. Be sure that your business name, address, and phone numbers are the same on every listing. For example, if your address has the word “Boulevard” in it, be sure to only use “Boulevard” in your listings instead of “Blvd.”
4. Include as much information as possible.
Add your business hours, a description of your services, links to your social media pages, keywords, and any other information that you can provide. While different directories might limit how much information you can include, it is important to enter as much as it will allow you. More information will make your business more likely to appear in searches. It will also increase trust in your customers or potential customers. It is also important to add photos if possible, which will be talked about in the next point.
5. Use high-quality, current images of your business.
Old or poor-quality photos caused 50% of consumers to lose faith in that business, according to the BrightLocal report. Many studies have shown that people are more likely to remember something if there was a visual component to it, so it is helpful for your dealership to include images. Regularly updating your website with photos that are recent can also show customers and search engines that you’re an active business. Many online directories allow you to add your own photos, so take advantage of that feature.
Customers are more likely to blame businesses for incorrect information than the directories they are listed on. As a business, it is vital that you make sure your citations are all correct and consistent. Following these tips will help ensure that you are getting the most out of your local citations and for your dealership.