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Maximizing Your Body Shop’s Local Online Visibility

As the end of another year approaches, millions of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions.

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Perhaps you’re one of them. Good for you, though studies show that less than 25% of people stick with their resolutions beyond 30 days (according to Forbes magazine). Even worse, less than 8% of New Year’s resolutions are actually kept.

Those are personal resolutions though. What about making resolutions that will also benefit your business?

My focus is on web presence management, so I’m going to suggest some things you should resolve to do that will improve your visibility online.

Repeat after me: I hereby resolve to maximize my local online visibility by addressing each of the items in the checklist below:

  • We have a website.
  • Is our website modern, less than three to five years old? If not, it’s time for an upgrade.
  • Have we been doing regular updating of our site to provide fresh, good-quality content to the site? Doing so enhances our ranking potential.
  • Is our website optimized for the top search terms people actually use to search for the services we provide? Those terms are our company name first, then “auto body,” “body shop,” “autobody” and “collision repair.” To test whether we’re ranking for these terms or not, we can do an “incognito” search so search engines aren’t influenced by our past browsing history. Click here to see how to do one of these searches on our chosen browser.
  • Are we using video on our website? Video enhances our ranking potential.
  • Is our website on a secure server? Does our website URL have an “https” at the beginning, or just http? The “s” indicates if our site is secure. If it isn’t, we need to get an SSL certificate because Google will punish our ranking potential otherwise.
  • If we have OEM certifications and recognitions, are we effectively promoting them on our website and in our social media accounts?
  • Are we managing our online reputation? Are we checking reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp and others? Are we thanking people who leave us reviews and responding to less-than-stellar reviews?
  • Are business directories accurately seeing our business NAP (name, address, phone)? Are the listings consistent across the board? Find out here.
  • Accurate directory listings help boost the overall potential of having our website rank, giving our business maximum visibility.
  • Are we maximizing our brand impressions on social media? Do we have a Facebook and Instagram account? Do we have a YouTube channel for our business?
  • On our social media accounts, are we just marketing and advertising all the time? Or are we posting things that add value to our relationship with our followers so that, when they need us someday or a friend or family member needs us, they’ll remember us?
  • Are we posting at least four times per week on Facebook and two times per week on Instagram?
  • Do we own all access to everything we do online? Do we own the rights to our domain name? Can we get into our web server if we need to? Do we own the copyright to the content and graphics on our website? Do we have full administrative rights to our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages?
  • Have we taken steps to protect ourselves from cyber criminals? Do we have robust firewalls that protect our in-house servers? Do we have good anti-malware systems in place? Have we trained our staff and provided them with our cyber security policies? Are we holding people accountable for following our policies?

Summary

If you address everything above and resolve to address where you fall short, you’ll maximum your opportunity to be found online. Have goals, set timelines and be accountable. Hire qualified experts to address weaknesses.

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I appreciate you reading and commenting on my monthly columns! I wish you, your families and employees a great holiday season, and happiness, health and prosperity throughout 2020.

BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, apprenticeships, marketing and web presence management with SkillsUSA, the I-CAR Education Foundation, Mentors at Work, VeriFacts Automotive and the NABC. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive.com), which provides website design, SEO services and social media management services.

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