Like most things in the SEO and digital marketing world, the use of GMB (Google My Business) and how to leverage it is often a situational matter. All answers to client questions about the topic really should start with "it depends" - I'll show you what I mean:
Car Dealership GMB Usage
At face value, the most common approach to a car dealership's Google My Business profile is to simply have one.
When you get to dealers with a strong agency guiding them the right way, or those that are a little more progressive, they actually use their GMB.
Beyond that, some dealers are splitting out their GMB profiles into multiple accounts: one for sales (new), one for sales (used), one for service, one for parts, and one for the body shop. That's a lot of listings!
Even though that's a lot of work/listings, the concept of having multiple listings to dominate map/local pack is the most common advice I hear from other marketers in the automotive industry. Take for example, this episode of The Dealer Playbook with FlexDealer CEO, Michael Cirillo, and George Nenni: George is known for mastering Google My Business and has authored multiple books on the subject.
Google itself (themselves?!) has also advocated that dealerships can have multiple listings as of 2020.
Opinion: There's An Exception to the Rule
For me, it's about meeting dealers where they're at. Not every dealer has an in-house marketer managing their efforts. Some have an agency, but might not yet be spending on local SEO efforts such as Google My Business. They might just be learning about what GMB is, and have no idea how to make it sing!
Some dealers do well to maintain one Google My Business Profile for their full store. They don't push reviews to it, they don't post on it, and heck: their NAP (name address phone number) details might even be out of date. If you're going all in: do it right.
For these "smaller" dealerships that are new to the game, I think there's space for a tiered approach to get there. Especially if they're unwilling to commit the appropriate funds/time to having an agency or team member manage their GMB properly.
Dealers that fall into this lesser-responsive bucket could be doing themselves a disservice by taking on more than they can chew. They might end up with 4-5 listings that are unmaintained and not informative. Hint: Google likes it when you're informative and relevant.
The exception to the rule is the dealers that need to walk before they run, that would be better off (for now) with just one.
Sure, as an agency, it makes sense to want to push the biggest and the best solution, but there are external factors to consider.
What You Need to Think About With Managing Your GMB(s)
Beyond simply having one, every Google My Business profile needs to be managed and optimized, until the end of time. Or at least until GMB is no longer relevant. Knowing the below, you'll be better-able to determine the right approach for your business on GMB - based on where you're at in your GMB journey. Whether you have one, or five profiles, here are important ongoing considerations:
- Managing Reviews: it's easy to manage and reply to reviews for multiple profiles within one "manager" account. It's harder to get these reviews in the first place. Your dealership or departments must have a process in place to ask, and follow up with customers to secure these reviews. One bad review on your parts GMB is worse than one bad review because of parts in a pool of 20 for a whole dealership because GMB's ratings are a law of averages. Ensure there's a system in place to obtain high quality ratings for your profile(s).
- Tracking: you need to ensure that each of your profiles is being tracked correctly. This means the appropriate digital and phone tracking systems are set up with local numbers and the right website tech magic. We want to know who is hitting the site from which one, when, and why. Beyond that, your posts need to have UTM tags to help dial-in the campaign performance of posts and updates.
- Posts and Updates: you need them! Unlike Facebook posts, GMB posts sort of "time out" and get pushed where they're harder to find. Some post types expire completely. Any business needs to consistently be posting to Google My Business to show your relevant value. This applies for every single profile your business has.
- Clarity: business information needs to be correct. Each profile needs the appropriate website URL, social links, phone number, address, etc. You don't want your one (or five) listings to be confusing customers thinking there are multiple rooftops: even when they're all technically at the same location. Know what the appropriate GMB load to take on for your team is.
There are 101 other considerations that make up managing your GMB business. My goal here is to share with you some high-level maintenance tips that can help you and your marketing team decide how many GMB profiles are right for you, based on the resources you have in place to maintain your profiles. Aim for clarity and consistency and you can't go wrong!
Questions? Let's dig in.