5 Simple SEO Tips for Auto Repair Shops
Auto repair shops need a constant flow of customers to be successful. And strategic SEO can be a great way to increase traffic, phone calls, and customers. But with so much information out there, how do you know where to start?
At Today’s Local Media, we work with businesses nationwide of all types and sizes. But there are a few industries, like auto repair, where we have incredible experience and expertise – helping our automotive clients achieve some amazing results along the way.
We have also learned a thing or two about the types of automotive websites that Google loves to put at the top of search results. One thing is clear for any local shop, if the phone isn’t ringing daily with calls, the business isn’t growing.
Luckily, customers are looking on Google constantly for auto repair shops in their local area. In fact, some estimates say there are as many as 40,000 searches done on Google every second. That’s why you need a SEO strategy in place – to help those customers find you and to help you appear in their search results.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website to increase organic traffic from the search engine, back to your site. It involves making strategic changes to your content, photos, links, etc. so that search engines like Google, increase your rankings and display your site towards the top of the page of a Google search.
But it takes time and patience to rank on the first page of search engines. Because Google’s algorithm changes hundreds of times each year, it is highly likely that your SEO tactic that worked yesterday does not work today. But don’t let that discourage you. We have the top tips and tricks below to help you leverage your business and start raking in new customers from Google.
Why SEO Matters for your Business
When it’s time to get their vehicle tuned or repaired, people turn to Google to find an auto shop like yours to get the job done. They are looking for shops that are close by, ones that have great reviews and ones that have professional websites with everything they need to know to ensure they are choosing the right auto repair experts to care for their vehicle. If your website is not displaying in the top few results of a Google search, you are losing potential customers.
With thousands of people searching online for auto repair shops in your area, you need to be accessible to them. That means you must be easily found on the major search engines. When done correctly and methodically, SEO will help your business display at the top of those results.
Here are a few simple SEO tips to make that happen:
SEO Tip # 1: Be specific about the areas you serve
The most critical element to any local SEO plan is understanding what cities you do the most business in. When it comes to auto body and repair, users want something convenient and close. Start by doing a quick search for shops in your local city. Get an understanding of the area radius where Google is showing shops, and more importantly, whether or not you are located there.
One common mistake automotive companies make is reaching too broad in terms of the cities they target. Be specific. List cities and towns instead of counties and states. This will help Google find your page when it is looking for a website to display in someone’s local search results. The more specific you are, the higher you will rank. For example, if you are in Los Angeles, start by going after a few cities nearby vs. trying to tackle all of the cities in Los Angeles County.
It’s also important to narrow down the cities you serve because Google cares about your local ranking. When an individual searches for an auto shop nearby, the results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence, helping find the best match for their search. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and make sure your website is listed.
On top of creating a Google My Business page and ensuring your address, hours and phone number are accurate, you need to be specific on your website too. The different locations you serve should be clearly listed not only at the bottom of your page, but within your headlines, content, links and contact page.
SEO Tip # 2: Be transparent with customers
When you consider the impression most people have of car salespeople, it’s not always the best. They’re known to be sneaky and pushy. That’s why the automotive industry has struggled with reputation problems for years. That’s also why it’s all the more important to provide honest and accurate information on your website.
Be clear about the services you offer and how much they cost. And if you can, provide the step-by-step guide as to what customers can expect when they drop their car off. Do you provide extra services like car rentals? List that too! But most importantly, do not ever try a “bait and switch” tactic.
More than 80% of customers admit to reading reviews before making a decision. People looking for an auto shop are no different. They want to know what others are saying about you. Can you be trusted? Did you trick them into something they didn’t need? Did you handle their vehicle with care and precision? Was your team friendly? How are your prices? Since even a few negative reviews online will harm your local rankings, you want to make sure you are honest and transparent. Auto shops that have the most reviews tend to have higher traffic rates to their website and tend to have more customers and referrals. Individuals looking to get their vehicles fixed are more comfortable bringing their cars to a shop with more positive reviews than their competitors. The higher number of reviews you have, the more a customer will trust your team.
But don’t stop at just asking for reviews. Google loves when you ready and reply to your reviews too. Responding to reviews show that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your site. Keep it short and sweet and be sure to thank them. These can then be shown on your website and you can even point potential customers to your Google page to check out your other reviews too.
Some auto repair shops will even advertise specials on their website which is another great way to be transparent about some of your prices that are easy to quote.
SEO Tip # 3: Check your contact information
Like any other local business, an automotive shop needs to make sure their NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) info is accurate. Shops that have moved addresses tend to have lots of outdated contact information, making it confusing for both customers and search engines. Apart from updating your own website, make sure to update your Google page, Yelp, BBB and any other online directory that lists your shop. Once that is cleaned up, your website will see a boost in rankings, traffic, and most importantly leads.
SEO Tip # 4: Aim for picture perfect
Apart from listing your services on your website, take the opportunity to create unique content. As an auto repair shop, you have a big opportunity here. People love their vehicles. And they want to make sure they are leaving them in the best of hands. That’s why you should try to include some, if not all, of the following on your website:
- A logo to help customers recognize your brand
- Photos and videos of your shop, team and cars getting repaired
- A blog that shares insider tips and information about caring for your vehicle, common issues and “how to’s”
If you are adding unique content to your website, it not only keeps people on your pages, it also sends a signal to Google that your site is valuable – moving you up towards the top of the search page.
SEO Tip # 5: Build Local Links
Building local links should accomplish two things: Link back to your website and provide the opportunity to speak to your local audience and gain brand recognition.
The most important links you should start building begin with Google My Business, Bing Places, Facebook, and Yelp. You will need to make sure your business page has been created, verified and optimized for each platform. And like we said before, make sure all contact information matches as well.
For most customers, their car is one of their biggest investments outside of their home – meaning they want to have confidence in your business before they call to make an appointment. And with millions of people searching for auto shops nearby, it’s very important for you to be easily found on search engines like Google. If done properly and strategically, SEO will help your business display at the top of the page so people looking to get their vehicle tuned or repaired in your local area will see your brand first.
Proper SEO tactics are not an overnight strategy that will give you instant results. But if you follow and implement these five SEO tips, you will be well on your way to moving up the list! And if you get stuck or do not have time, don’t fret. We can help you grab those coveted first-page spots through a customized long-term SEO strategy. Contact us to help grow your business and make sure to check out these extra trips on the best practices for local SEO.