As a repair shop looking for clients in your area, one of the most important tools available to you is your ability to use Local SEO. Google’s local map results are quickly becoming a more valuable to local businesses. If you are a local repair shop, showing up as a top result on Google could be the difference between new leads and never being found. Google’s algorithms use search history, past activity, and physical location to determine and customize results. Data shows that nearly 90 percent of clicks go toward businesses who have ranked in the top three local results. When more click-thru traffic is centered on your site, your ranking will become more prominent as Google will view you as a pillar of your industry.
There are a few fundamental reasons why local search engine optimization is so important for repair shops to be found on Google’s results page. But before we get into how to use local SEO to help your repair business, it’s best that you understand what local SEO means and why it’s so important.
Understanding Local SEO
One key aspect worth knowing that will set you apart from your competitors is that there are two types of SEO: traditional and local. Most repair shops don’t realize that the majority of their business comes from local SEO.
Traditional SEO is the process of optimizing elements on and off-site to inspire relevancy in search engines. This is done so a site will show up when a user searches for keywords or phrases related to what has been posted on said site. While this is still a useful method, it will not help your repair shop show up for local results. Anyone in your industry can write a blog about auto repair and it could potentially show up on Google’s results page. But what happens when someone within a certain mileage from your office searches for content and answers in their area? This is where Local SEO can really improve the visibility of your website.
Local SEO is similar to traditional SEO in that it, too, optimizes elements on- and off-site to increase relevancy in search engines. What makes Local SEO different (and more beneficial) is the ability for the optimized elements to show up when web searchers type in a specific keyword in a geographic location. Someone may search for a collision repair shop on their phone without specifying the city they live in and Google will show results for places near their location. If they search from home on their laptop, their results will be completely different. Instead of focusing solely on keywords, Google will use proximity to filter results.
How Mobile Devices are Shaping Local SEO
According to a recent report from Hitwise, over 60 percent of searches related to the automotive industry were initiated on mobile devices. More and more people are equipped with smartphones able to search the web in seconds. In 2018, it is now easier to use the phone in your hand to search Google for an answer compared to a laptop or desktop computer. What is so great about people using mobile phones to search the web, is that Google will provide the local results even if a city was not mentioned. The search engine knows users want to stay local without asking.
Knowing this, your repair shop can start optimizing and creating content to drive clicks and leads from organic search results. Of the 13 spaces available on the first page of Google’s results, 3 include the Map results. And unfortunately, no matter what, around 5 of those spaces also include paid advertisements for other sites. The more you optimize, the better chance you have at the remaining 8 spaces.
Google’s Local Search Results: How Your Repair Shop Can Rank Higher
Before you embark on your mission to become the best-ranked repair shop in your city, you should probably know it will take some effort. Actually, a lot of effort. Not the back-breaking kind, but you will need to be thorough. There is no magic spell you can follow to instantly get your repair shop to start outranking every other business like yours. If being able to consistently rank on Google’s results page was easy, all of your competitors would already be doing it.
There are several different methods that determine your local SEO results in Google, but today, we are going to focus on the most important. The 3 most important factors are on-site signals, off-site signals, and reviews and social signals. Let’s break down these down.
We’ve talked about it before on Stratosphere, but the foundation of your website should always be content. There is no amount of SEO in the world that could help you if you aren’t producing great content. And, when it comes to your content, always strive for quality over quantity. Yes, you want to blog consistently, but make sure what you write about is unique and useful. It’s easy to rewrite the same information as everyone else, but put your own spin on it; Make it relevant to the city you are in.
In addition to content, there are a few other variables that carry a little more weight when it comes to optimizing your on-site signals:
- Page URL – Being able to customize your URL to include your city and state information is a great way to optimize for SEO.
- H1 Headings – This heading is the title above any type of text content. While this headline should summarize what you are trying to convey on the page, keep it natural and conversational. You should also be including your city and state information in the headline as well.
- Image Alt Text– Google has not created a way to interpret what is in an image. A great way to get past this is to make sure every picture’s alt text includes the city and state information as well.
- Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) – The name, address, and phone number of your repair shop are vital to the success of your online identity. Not only should it be present throughout your website, but it should be consistent anywhere it is posted. This could be on Google My Business, on other websites, or on review sites.
Google has these electronic, automated “spiders” that crawl through the internet looking through your site and everyone else’s. They look for inbound links and backlinks that help make your site look more credible. But just like content, the focus should be more on the quality of the links instead of the quantity. Link building is one of the best ways you can help your site earn a top spot on Google’s results page. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local websites even if they are smaller. Local links to your site are especially helpful when Google is determining relevancy.
Many people shy away from link building because they don’t always know how to approach the subject. But there are many simple, less stressful options like:
- Hosting a local event for the community
- Sponsoring an event, local, charity, organization, or sports team
- Blog sharing
- Enter for local awards
- Share another website’s link
These are all really simple options that typically results in link building opportunities.
Reviews and Social Signals
The biggest thing to remember is that we live in a social world now. Internet users do most of their research before talking to a business. What does this mean for your repair shop? It means your customers are going to check yours AND your competitions reviews before making a decision to continue to your site or do business with you. Looking at reviews, it is important to not only thank those who give you positive feedback but respond to those with negative comments as well. Google knows that people online will trust others opinions on a product or service and will promote someone performing better. While your main course of action should always be to provide incredible service, there may come a time someone is unhappy. The best you can do is apologize, ask how you can resolve the issue, and move on. On the upside, it is totally acceptable to ask someone who has had a great experience to leave a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp. The more you connect with your customers, the better.
Are you having trouble optimizing your repair shop’s website for Local SEO? Well, great news! Stratosphere Studio wants to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions on how you could better market your company. We’re only one click away.
[button text=”Let’s Talk!” link=”/contact” color=”ff9933″ align=”center”][/button]