Local SEO for Auto Repair Shops

/Local SEO for Auto Repair Shops
Local SEO for Auto Repair Shops 2017-11-12T10:14:29+00:00

Auto repair shops face numerous hurdles when trying to draw in new business. One of the biggest is the fact that when someone needs car repairs, she tends to simply run a Google search and then call the first few names on the list. To maximize your customer list, then, you need to find a way to the top of the rankings.

We will walk you through our proven 5-step process to move your auto repair shop to the head of the list. But first, let’s take a look at why local SEO is vital for all auto repair shops.

3 Reasons Auto Repair Shops Should Invest in Local SEO

The Yellow Pages Are Out, and Google Is In:

Not long ago, you could drum up business by placing an ad in the Yellow Pages and waiting for calls to come in. Today, 97% of people search online for local businesses, and Google is at the top of the heap.

Free Traffic:

Advertising is changing, but it remains a huge expense for most businesses. If you boost your Google rankings, you will have a steady stream of free traffic that you can convert to paying customers.

Swift Results:

On average, national and international companies wait 6 to 12 months to see much movement in their Google rankings. Auto repair shops have a major advantage, as your competition consists only of those auto repair shops near you, not those halfway around the world. And many of your competitors are not yet using local SEO. You could move to the first page of Google local results in just 30 days!

Step 1: Select Your Keywords

First, develop a list of keywords that reflect your services. For instance, you might try “oil change”, “brake repair”, and “auto body work”. When you have a fairly long list, set up a free Google AdWords account.

There is no need to build or fund an ad campaign. You simply need the AdWords account to access Google’s free Keyword Planner tool. This allows you to research your keywords to see how much traffic they draw, and suggests additional related keywords.

Now you are ready to narrow down your keyword list. All keywords fall into 1 of 2 basic categories:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords signal that the prospect is imminently ready to make a purchase. For example, someone searching for “auto body repair San Francisco” probably needs some body work done, and is looking for the right shop.

    Your primary focus should be on buying intent keywords, since they create the fastest conversions. They should figure prominently on your homepage, and your service pages should be created around them.

  • Research Intent: Research intent keywords signal that the prospect is “just looking.” He might need auto repair in the future, but is in the earliest stages of the sales funnel. For example, someone searching for “how to rebuild an engine” might own an older car and be looking ahead to what happens when the engine fails.

    Research intent keywords do not drive quick conversions, so they should be of lower priority in your local SEO campaign. Do not discount them altogether, though. They are highly useful for FAQs and blog posts, which introduce your shop to prospects who might hire you later.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

When you have settled on your final list of keywords, it is time to optimize for them in 2 places—your Google My Business page and your website. Here’s what to do:

Google My Business

Your Google My Business page is featured in the “Map” section of Google local business results. It functions as a sort of mini-website that provides a quick snapshot of your shop. It will increase your online presence, and can even give you a fast boost to your Google rankings, since it is much easier to rank highly on a Google My Business page than on a website.

Make sure your Google My Business is absolutely accurate and complete:

  • Verification: First, claim your page and submit to Google’s verification process. When you see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your shop name, this step is finished.
  • NAP: Your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) must be consistent on your Google My Business page and across all web citations. To be clear that yours is a local business, list a local phone number instead of an 800 number.
  • Categories: Your category listings must focus on services rather than results. For example, you might list Auto Repair Shop, Mechanic, and Auto Body Shop. Try to list 3 to 5 categories.
  • Description: The description is a 100 to 200-word overview of your shop, ending with a call to action. This format usually works well: {Name of Shop} offers professional {auto repair and auto body work, or similar} in {Your City}. {Provide some information about your expertise and/or why customers love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for a half-price oil change!
  • Hours: Make sure your hours of operation are up to date and are consistent across the internet. If you offer emergency after-hours repairs, include that information in a separate paragraph.
  • Images: Images boost customer engagement, so trying adding a few photos of your shop and your team at work. Make sure your images have a sharp focus, are sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. We also recommend replacing the generic Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Start with your homepage and service pages, also known as your “core” pages, and optimize them for your buying intent keywords. Later, you can tailor your “content” pages (blogs and FAQs) to your research intent keywords. Here are the most vital elements:

  • Homepage: The title tag is the most important part of your homepage. It serves a similar purpose to a chapter title in a book, and must be 50 to 65 characters long. Try this format: Auto Repair Shop in {Your City} | {Name of Your Shop}.

    Next is your meta description, which should describe your core services in just 100 to 150 characters. This format works well: {Name of Shop} offers quality {mechanic services and auto body repair, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for half off your first oil change!

    Your H1, or visible headline, needs to be both descriptive and concise. It should state your primary category in a format that resembles: {Auto Repair Shop} in {City, State}.

    The last element is your page copy. This should be a 500 to 1000-word overview that is strongly written and edited. Include background information on your shop, briefly touch on your core services, and end with a strong call to action.

  • Service Pages: Each of your primary services needs its own separate page, focused on a relevant keyword. Optimize each service page following the tips above.

Step 3: Gather Citations and Links

Now that your basic framework is in place, you are ready to develop citations and links. Both will improve your reach and boost your Google rankings.

  • Citations: A citation is an online directory listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number). You can find general national directories such as Facebook and yellowpages.com, general local directories such as your Chamber of Commerce website, and directories targeted to the auto repair industry.

    While many directories offer free citations, some accept only paid listings. Before you invest, use Google Analytics to determine whether that site is driving traffic and conversions.

  • Links: For the highest Google rankings, it is imperative that you have inbound links from top-quality, authoritative sites. Build online and in-person relationships with other companies that provide complementary services, such as auto detailers, and then ask to trade web links. To see where your competitors’ links are coming from, use a tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer.

Step 4: Garner Reviews

Online reviews play a twofold role: convincing prospects to try your shop, and assuring Google that you have a legitimate business. While all review sites can help, Google My Business reviews drive the fastest Google rankings boost. Send an email to your satisfied customers with a link to your Google My Business profile, and ask directly for a review. Soon you will have a steady stream of reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

The only way to know if your campaign is working, and which areas still need help, is to track your results. There is an enormous amount of available data, but it is important to focus on these 3 core metrics:

  • Rankings: Google customizes its search results based on the user’s previous browsing behavior. To know how a page actually ranks, you must use a tool. Ask your webmaster to install the free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), and check your results once or twice per month.

    If you move to a paid tracking tool, you can view more detailed results. We like the tool provided by RankRanger.com. This provides automatically updated information from all of your SEO campaigns, and tracks your Google My Business page as well as your webpages.

  • Traffic: Google Analytics is your best bet for tracking your traffic, or the number of website visitors you receive. You can see your traffic overall, learn which page draws the most traffic, and even find out what percentage of your traffic comes from Google search. Read your reports once per month, and keep an eye out for long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a specific action that you want your website visitors to take. For example, you might want your visitors to contact you for a half-price oil change. Google Analytics lets you track both web and telephone conversions, and determine which of your pages have the lowest and highest conversion rates.

Let’s Get Started!

By now it should be clear that a comprehensive local SEO strategy is crucial to driving more prospects to your auto repair shop. Make your way through the steps in order, and fully complete one before moving on to the next. Here’s a quick recap:

  1.    Keyword research
  2.    Keyword optimization
  3.    Citations and Links
  4.    Reviews
  5.    Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping auto repair shops attract more local customers through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

Click here to request a Free SEO Quote

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