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Local SEO: What has changed for 2021?


Local SEO is a major component of driving traffic--and leads--to your site. And as marketing departments started slimming down their digital advertising budgets in March of 2020, this became more of a focus than ever. As there is no direct playbook on the exact elements that push your organic results up, a new study has come out that showcases the changes the experts have seen from 2018-2020--and what dealers should be focusing on to either optimize their presence, or evaluate the results of their SEO providers. 


Here are three high-value areas that you need to focus on--and a few that were once important, but can now be put on the back-burner.


What This is Based On


Darren Shaw (whitespark) and his team of experts analyze all of the important Local Search Ranking Factors every few years and share their findings with the rest of the world. It has come to be the Gold Standard for Local SEO, and a useful tool for any dealership looking to enhance their local organic presence. 


What to Focus On

While the elements of importance remain the same, their influence has changed over the past 4 studies, and it is clear that some components have gained momentum. Those are the ones you should focus on improving first to have the largest impact.


Google My Business

This should not come as a surprise to you. 2020 was the year of optimizing GMB, adding content to it, and truly taking advantage of all it has to offer. From 2015 to 2020, you can see the ever-growing impact that GMB has on your local SEO. It owns the giant’s share, and you need to not only make sure it is set up (with a mobile focus) but also that it is optimized for the best and easiest consumer experience. This 0 click functionality will either send your customer directly to a low funnel action (click to call, website, or directions) or can turn the customer away. 

  • Google your dealership on your cell phone. Your store should be the first thing that populates, and the GMB knowledge should take up all the real estate on mobile. If the listing does not show, you need to connect with your provider who manages your listing.
  • Make sure NAP (name, address, phone number)  information is correct. Many times there will be an outdated tracking phone number listed or an outdated address. With the one-click functionality, you don’t want the customer going to the wrong address or calling a defunct tracking number!
    • While you are at it, hop on over to AppleMaps as well and make sure all the information is correct there as well!
  • Add your specials, videos, products to GMB! Customers are accustomed to interacting with these knowledge panels, and the more information you have on it (with direct links back to your site), the more actions they will take!
  • There is an area where you can describe your dealer--do not rush through this! Optimize this section and add location based terms as well as models and information. All of this will help boost your relevancy with Google.
  • Review your images and flag any that are irrelevant to your dealership.
  • Separate your Service, Parts, and Sales GMB listings. You have the ability to do this, and not only will it help with relevancy, but it also offers more specific, actionable information to your customers based upon their query. 



This is a close sibling to GMB, but reviews are also of the utmost importance to your overall local SEO presence. When looking at the Local Pack, this is the second most important factor. Here are elements you need to address to ensure you are optimized in this area as well:

  • Overall Review Quantity. You need to continue to grow your reviews monthly. This is not always easy, as some dealerships don’t want to solicit reviews (which is a problem in and of itself.) Each month your review numbers should continue to increase on Google. 
  • Review Responses. Make sure you are responding to at least 60% of all positive and 100% of negative reviews. In doing this, you are not only showing the public you are engaged with your customers, but that you care about them. And if you are responding to the reviews on-site, make sure you do not take them personally. Once you do, it is on the internet for all to see.
  • When you respond, use keywords that relate to the review. Make sure it sounds natural, but this is a great way to enhance SEO as well


What Now?


These are just two focus areas that will help you boost your local SEO and bring more traffic to your site. If you want to read the study in its entirety, just follow this link.


And once you are optimized and getting so much organic traffic you cannot keep up with your leads, we can help! BCP is the most effective engagement platform around. If you are spending time and money bringing leads to your site, you want to make sure they convert!


Schedule a Meeting Now!

Let us show you how Better Car People can improve your leads and sales funnel.