For better or worse, what Google does with its search algorithm affects auto dealerships; it doesn’t matter how much you spend on internet marketing, or if you spend anything at all, changes at Google have a major effect on our industry.
The latest change to come out of Google is no exception. They’re latest change is called Google Instant. Google Instant makes two significant changes to the way that Google presents its results to users. The first change you’ll notice when you use Google Instant is when you type in your search terms. Now instead of typing in the words you want to search and pressing enter, Google updates the search results as you type—This is the “instant” part of Google Instant.
The second change is to the way the results are presented. Now, in addition to organic and paid search results appearing when consumers search for auto dealership keywords, Google will also present third-party reviews right next to the organic search results. Consumers have been searching for dealership reviews at third-party websites before making a buying decision for some time now and successful dealerships know the importance of online reviews. This new change, however, makes having positive online reviews more important than ever. Consumers no longer even have to search for reviews; they will appear right on the top of their list of results when they search for a dealership to sell them a vehicle.
Like it or not, Google Instant is here to stay, so dealerships should take advantage of it. The first thing they should do is search for their dealership on Google and see the reviews that appear. Thanks to Google Instant, you won’t need to go searching around the internet for different review sites, they will be neatly organized for you to see right with the search results. This allows you to see trends in your reviews across multiple review sites. Does one site consistently give you a high ranking, while another is stubbornly low? Now you will be able to easily answer that question and others through a simple Google search.
The second thing that dealers should do to take advantage of online reviews is ask all of their satisfied customers to give them a positive online review at the third-party review site of their choice; it doesn’t matter which one, Google Instant includes almost all of them in the search results. You will be surprised how many people will be happy to give you a positive review if you just ask.
In addition to asking your satisfied customers for positive reviews, dealerships need to reach out to negative reviewers online and convert them to dealership advocates. The only review better than a positive one is a negative review that has been resolved by the dealership and turned into a positive one. This shows consumers that you care after the sale and won’t leave them hanging if they do have a problem.
Google Instant did not create online reviews or cause consumers to search for them before they buy a car, it only made them easier to find. The best thing dealers can do is treat their customers well, concentrate on good customer service, and ask their customers to tell their friends about the great experience they had at the dealership. That sounds like the same thing successful dealerships have been doing since Henry Ford started selling cars. I guess some things never change.
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