Web University: Part 1 -

Web University: Part 1

Beginning with this issue, we will answer shop owners' questions about the most dynamic and increasingly important marketing channel, the Web. Whether it's Google search, social media or what to do with Google+, you'll find answers to the most challenging questions, in both a "Go Deep" and "Quick Bites" format. Questions submitted by shop owners will be answered by Uwe Kleinschmidt, CEO of AutoVitals, a leading supplier of web-based marketing and service advisor productivity tools.

Beginning with this issue, we will answer shop owners’ questions about the most dynamic and increasingly important marketing channel, the Web. Whether it’s Google search, social media or what to do with Google+, you’ll find answers to the most challenging questions, in both a “Go Deep” and “Quick Bites” format. Questions submitted by shop owners will be answered by Uwe Kleinschmidt, CEO of AutoVitals, a leading supplier of web-based marketing and service advisor productivity tools.

Q: How do small businesses get started up on Google+? It seems that there aren’t enough people on Google+ for companies to start gaining a substantial number of followers.
photo courtesy 1000 words / shutterstock.com.
A: Google has indeed quite a bit fewer active Google+ accounts than Facebook has active users, and that matters for social interaction with your prospective and existing customers.

But keep in mind that Google is the dominant search engine, which introduced Google+ as a social network and, more ­importantly, has been starting to use more and more social ­factors to determine the ranking when showing search results on www.Google.com and within Google+.

Below is a list of social attributes of your business presence on Google, which influences the ranking of your website and business listing on Google search:
1. Is the searching ­motorist logged onto their Google account or not? Let’s assume for the following list that the motorist is logged on.
2. How many other Google account holders connected to the motorist on Google+ have exchanged e-mails with him or her, and have 1+’d your website or another (competitor’s) website?
3. How many of the motorist’s friends are in the motorist’s Google+ circle(s)?
4. How many of the motorist’s friends are in your circles on Google+?

As you can see, just exchanging e-mails and 1+ on a website can have an impact. Thus, highly connected people searching on Google can see dramatic changes in the search results already. We have observed in our network of shops, that not only the order of search results can change but also more web pages of your website can be featured and ultimately dominate page #1.

So it’s highly recommended to get a Google+ presence and promote it to prospective and existing customers.

The following directions will help you (and your online marketing ­vendor) to be prepared for Google ­Social Search:
• Get ownership of your Google Places listing (also called Google+ Local).
• Create a Business Page on Google+ and verify your business on that page. This will link the Google Places listing to the business page so motorists searching for your business will see a lot more information about your business on Google Search.
• Put a 1+ button on your website in such an engaging way that as many people as possible click on it.
• Start blogging on your Google+ Business Page and invite your existing customers through your website and encourage them to add the business page to their circles.

Submit a question to Web University.

Q: Can you tell me the difference between Google Local and Google+?
A: Google Local or “Google Places,” as most refer to it, has been transformed to a Google+ Local presence. Although you still log on through your Places account to edit the business listing (name, phone number, etc.), the listing is shown ­exclusively on Google+.

Q: What exactly are Facebook apps? Are there any resources you recommend that could help us get started with those?
A: Facebook Apps are additional, customized pages on your Facebook business page. Visitors find them together with your map, your photos, etc. (See image above for an app where appointments can be made and existing customers can see their vehicles with personalized service recommendations.)

Q: Where do I get heat mapping?
A: Heat maps are a great way to ­assess the engagement effectiveness of your website by pointing out whether and where visitors clicked, just like the image below shows.

Depending on how deep the analysis should go, there are a variety of tools out there. Even Google offered its own in your Google analytics. Ask your web designers, or contact us at 866-949-2848.

Q: How far out does Google Maps typically show on a map? For example: someone with a Porsche needs repair close to where they are and look up Porsche repair in the search?
A: Let me rephrase the question: What distance from the location the motorist is searching at can one expect a shop listing to show up high on Google?

The ranking in this case depends on three ­main factors:
1. The distance of your business from the centroid (Google’s term for the assumed geographic center of the location); the closer the better.
2. How competitive is your location? That means how many local businesses are well optimized for search in your area. The higher the competition, the less likely your business shows up with increasing distance.
3. What service is the search for? “Porsche Repair” will definitely have a much higher chance to rank high for your business, even if you are 10 miles away from the centroid than “auto ­repair,” simply ­because of its much lower average search volume.

It’s best to run some tests for different locations around you or ask for a web analysis, which takes search ­traffic, the location of your existing ­customers and local commuting ­patterns into account.

Q: Since our account was updated, our location on the Google map is showing up on the wrong spot. What does it take to fix it? How long does it take?
A: There are two reasons why this can happen:
1. Your address is correct in your listing, but the pin is showing a different location. Log on to your Google Places listing and move the pin to the right location. The update can take from two hours to four weeks.
2. Your address is right when logging onto the Places account, but wrong when you check your Google+ local listing. You need to ask your online marketing vendor to find out what the reasons for this might be. Most likely, Google used references in other business directories (e.g., YP, Citysearch, etc.) when ­selecting the wrong address. You have to find that reference and ­correct it, as well as ­update your Google Places listing at the same time. The update can take from four weeks to three months, ­depending on what the wrong ­reference is.

Q: What happens if you get stuck with a wrong rating that negatively ­influences your ranking?
A: You can correct the situation only by:
1. Publishing a response to the ­review, which makes clear your ­business principles concerning ­customer service, and;
2. Have your satisfied customers leave reviews to create a balance of positive and negative reviews.
Please keep in mind that negative ­reviews per se are not bad, since they represent real-life situations. Responded to them in the right way can make your business look even more trusted.

Uwe Kleinschmidt is the CEO and founder of AutoVitals in Santa Barbara, CA. The company’s Web-based services focus on the independent automotive repair industry. AutoVitals’ products facilitate highly effective Concierge Auto Repair ­services, covering all aspects of the service advisor’s interaction with prospective and existing customers. Highly effective and optimized websites, workflow support in the shop, as well as customer retention and social media ­services are just a few ingredients. He can be reached by ­visiting blog.AutoVitals.com or calling 1-866-949-2848.

Submit a question to Web University.

You May Also Like

Developing Successful Marketing Campaigns

The story your community hears – and tells – about your shop starts with your customer service.

Marketing Guru Seth Godin states “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Storytelling is one of society’s oldest art forms, and is the method of sharing our experiences, culture and what we’ve learned sometimes firsthand and, in many cases, secondhand. Every tribe, community and clan has used storytelling to pass traditions and recommendations down to generations that follow. Storytelling allows us to step into another person’s shoes without having to experience something firsthand. 

PRI Takes Motorsports Advocacy On The Road

Third annual program includes advocacy efforts designed to build, promote, and protect the motorsports community.

Does Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) Impact Your Business?

Modern diesel exhaust systems are complex and they include multiple sub systems to keep exhaust clean.

9 Ways to Manage a Negative Review

The customer isn’t always right, but the customer is still the customer. What do you say when they’re wrong?

The SUV & CUV Tire Megatrend

Larger rim diameters and wider consumer expectations have combined to complicate tire selection.

Other Posts

Managing Your Shop’s Online Reputation

The difference between making a sale or losing out to the competition could depend on how you manage your online reputation.

The Power Of Consistent Marketing

Successful shops know that brand positioning is invaluable during this unique time.

The Power Of Marketing

High-performing shops ramped up their marketing efforts during the pandemic.

Overheard: Americans Miss Driving

Hankook Tire’s latest Gauge Index reveals U.S. drivers’ current attitudes toward driving.