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How to Make Search Engine Optimization Work For You

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This Auto Service Professional exclusive was provided by Dan MacDonald, founder of MacDonald Communications, which focuses on public relations and digital marketing.

It could be a restaurant, a florist or someone to paint my house. When I am looking to buy a new product or service, my first step is to Google it.  And I’m sure you do the same thing. 

Googling is fast, easy and puts a lot of local options right in front of you.

Google is, by far, the dominant search engine. In fact, Google has 92.18% of search engine market share and processes more than 3.5 billion internet searches per day. That’s an amazing 40,000 search queries per second!

It’s truly mind boggling how powerful Google is when it comes to internet search. And there is no doubt that the first thing a lot of people do when they’re looking for automotive service is to Google it. 

So, let me ask you a question. What happens when you Google “auto service or repair near me?"  Does your business pop up on the first page of that search? If it doesn’t, you are invisible to that potential customer. It’s that simple. 

Very few people scroll past the first page of the search. To have a fighting chance at winning over that potential new customer, you need to improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

This is a pretty sophisticated topic that we’ll spend more time on in a future column. But the bottom line is this: Google uses many data points about a user and the environment to figure out what they really want to know, and each “page one” result is customized to the user to match their browsing history and the query posed. 

What’s more, Google changes algorithms often, so it goes well beyond having certain keywords in your profile. You need to be proactively adding content to your business’ website, as well as the Google profile that describes what your shop is all about, what you specialize in and the things that you do better than anyone else.

But let’s first start with baby steps. Have you claimed your Google Business Profile? I suspect many of you have not. In April, I wrote an article about becoming the "it" dealer for ultra-high performance tries for the 2020 Performance Handbook.

To find great tire dealers to interview for the story, I Googled the term “UHP tire dealers” in different markets. For the most part, the big, national tire chains dominated those searches. A lot of the more specialized shops that really focus on the UHP tire niche just didn’t show up on the first page of my searches. 

One notable exception was Arandas Tire in Detroit, Mich., which popped up third in my search. They ended up being a focal point of the article. 

So, here’s the deal: if you haven’t done so already, please go and claim your My Google Business Profile page. All you need to do is go to Google and type “Google My Business.” A link will pop right up and you just start filling in information, including your business’ name, its hours of operation, its location and logo, and the description of your shop.

In this space, write with passion and purpose about your business and how you serve your customers. Make it stand out from the others. I just did this for my public relations business and the whole process took me less than 15 minutes. It was super-easy to do. And my Google Business Profile looked great. (I’m not a web designer.)

And guess what? It is completely free. That’s not a typo. Claiming your Google Business Profile page costs nothing.

I’m not saying this will revolutionize your business. But it will help put you in the game. And as you work on your profile, you will move higher into the searches of potential customers in your area who are looking for auto service. 

Smaller, independent shops don’t have the marketing and advertising resources as the big national chains. But Google can be an equalizer. 

If you create a solid profile and you actively add content, you will start showing up in more searches, connecting your business to more prospects and driving more new customers to your front door. They are out there, searching the web for you. Make sure you make it as easy as possible for them to find your business.

Dan MacDonald is a freelance writer and former public relations director for Bridgestone Americas Inc. Dan founded MacDonald Communications, which focuses on public relations and digital marketing. He can be reached at 615-681-5387 or dan@maccomm.net   website: www.maccomm.net

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