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Web Presence Management: 2017 Resolutions for Your Web Presence

Here’s my annual challenge to set New Year’s resolutions for your business and tackle some important issues related to your business’s overall web presence.

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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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Here’s my annual challenge to set New Year’s resolutions for your business. I’m challenging you to tackle some important issues related to your business’s overall web presence.

To recap: resolutions are promises you make to yourself in hopes of making a positive difference in your life and others’ lives. And, more often than not, these promises are broken before the second week of January! You won’t let that happen, though, because the long-term health, competitiveness and profitability of your business depend on you making some changes. But not just any changes, the right changes. So, let’s get started.

Recapping Past Challenges

As always, let’s look back at resolutions I’ve challenged you to make in the past. If you haven’t tackled these yet…what are you waiting for? Start here:

Freshen up. Do this at least annually. Good quality, frequently updated website content is a key factor in having your site rank well. Is the content keyword rich with the terms the public actually uses? Is the copyright current? Sites more than three to five years old should be redesigned/updated/replaced. Is your site mobile friendly? Google told us all that if you want to rank better, it’s essential that your site be mobile friendly. Try this test to determine if your site is mobile friendly: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.

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How is your site ranking? Do you check it regularly? Using the most common search terms the public uses, which are “auto body” and “body shop” plus “your town and state’s two-letter abbreviation,” is your site showing up on page one? If not, it’s time to consider hiring a true search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to work on your site. Your objective is page one, or your site may as well be invisible! For those of you in high population areas where it may be difficult to get to page one, you should think seriously about pay-per-click advertising. Remember, and this is important: no one can ethically promise you page one or position one. Be sure to contract with someone you can trust who will be honest with you.

Online reviews. Last year in this column, I rather prophetically urged you to actively seek getting reviews on Google and other sources. Since that time, it has become evident that the quantity and quality of Google reviews is now a significant contributor to ranking well. While Google hasn’t publicly stated this is the case, the conventional wisdom, through tons of study of the data available, is that businesses with higher average reviews, i.e. four to five stars, and more reviews will rank better than their competitors if all else is relatively equal on a website. My advice is to ask all your delighted customers to consider leaving reviews for you, especially on Google. This may be the single most important thing you can do to help your website rank better.

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Is your business NAP (name, address and phone number) accurate and consistent on directories? Visit https://www.yext.com/partner/optimaworldwide/diagnostic.html to see how directories see your business. Accurate directory listings help boost your overall potential of having your website rank and give you maximum visibility.

Are you using video yet? Video enhances your ranking potential and boosts social media engagement. Have you started using it yet?

New Resolutions for 2017

Post value-added content on your social media accounts. When reviewing many shops’ efforts with their Facebook, Twitter and Google accounts, we more often than not see advertising, marketing, “you have the right to choose where to have your vehicle repaired,” anti-aftermarket parts type posts. We understand where this comes from; you have your daily battles. But the public only cares when they have a vehicle to repair, and that’s only once every seven years or so. We primarily post value-added type things for our social media clients that position our clients as the authorities of all things automotive. This keeps their brand in front of their target audience and engages customers along the way until they need the shop again. Millennials find marketing and advertising to be suspect, too, so creating a relationship with them that enhances their lives should be your goal.

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Manage your reputation. You’ve worked hard to earn your good reputation, but it can be brought down with a single bad review. People are paying attention to reviews and making decisions about where to get their vehicles repaired based on them. You need to monitor reviews on multiple sites and respond to both the good ones and bad ones. Don’t argue with those who leave poor reviews; professionally and non-defensively address them and point to your years in business and strong CSI scores. Bury poor reviews with good ones. The public will respond favorably.

Make An Impact

If you take my challenges and apply them over the months to come, you’ll make a positive impact on your business’s online presence. Set goals with timelines and have someone hold you accountable. Assign staff to help and hire qualified experts to address search visibility and social media.

Best wishes to you, your families and employees during this holiday season. May 2017 be filled with happiness and prosperity.

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