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Web Presence Management: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

An in-depth analysis of a collision repairer’s website revealed some positive points and some opportunities for improvement.

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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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We at Optima Automotive do hundreds of free Web presence analyses for collision repair shops each year. We’ve seen just about everything you can imagine on shop websites, but just when we say that, we see something completely different. We’ve seen poor designs, websites that are 15 years old, and social media accounts that are so “inside baseball” that no one other than a technician would ever care. We’ve seen positions on insurance relations, from blatantly anti-insurance to cautionary messaging about who the insurance company actually works for. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Enter…the good: Autotech Collision Service in Sewell, N.J., a shop that truly gets it.

After doing a series of workshops for American Honda, we were approached by Autotech, a Honda ProFirst-certified shop. They’re also certified or recognized by several other makes as well, including Ford, Nissan, VW, GM, Hyundai and FCA. They’re also I-CAR Gold Class and have ASE-certified technicians. It’s clear Autotech has made the investment of time and money into training and equipment to earn all of these credentials.

Autotech’s owner, Dean Massimini, asked for Optima Automotive’s opinion of his website. He wanted to rank better for the various OEM certifications/recognitions he has earned. This triggered an in-depth analysis of his website. Here’s what we shared with Massimini.

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Design

Autotech’s website design was custom-made. It was a designer taking what Massimini was passionate about and bringing it to life on his website. When we do these website reviews, we look for the following basics:

  • Is the address and phone number at the upper part of the screen, clearly visible above where you would have to scroll to find it? In this case, it was.

 

  • Does the website meet Google’s mobile-friendly standards? We ran a Google test that found that it was not mobile-friendly. The website was wider than what could be seen on a mobile device such as a smartphone. The text was too small to read, and the navigation buttons were too small to be able to easily click on them. You had to enlarge the screen to address these issues. Our recommendation was to build a mobile version of the site. This would help the site rank even better than it was and defend strong rankings. You can check yours too by visiting http://search.google.com/test/mobilefriendly.
  • Are the basic search engine optimization (SEO) 101’s present on the home page? The answer was “no.” The title tag at the top could have 46 more characters to spell out top keywords like “auto body,” “body shop” and the name of their town. The site had no header tags, which are the different section headings that also contain tags in the coding behind the scenes that telegraph to search engines who you are, what you do and where you do it. Autotech is still ranking well in spite of this, but adding these things will help them defend their strong positions.

  • Do the site’s keywords focus on the words the public uses to search for the services the shop provides, or focus on OEM recognitions? The answer was yes and no. The word cloud tool showed us that emphasis was on “auto body,” and some was on “body shop,” but more emphasis needed to be on their location. Plus, there was almost no emphasis on their OEM recognitions.
  • Is the site currently ranking well? The site was ranking on Page 1 on Google in their hometown and surrounding towns. Yahoo and Bing rankings weren’t quite as good, but still not bad in their hometown. But they weren’t ranking at all for OEM recognitions.

Our suggestion for Massimini was to do a round of SEO on the site to take care of the basic 101’s. We also suggested creating a mobile version of the site to meet Google’s mobile-friendly standards. With regard to OEM recognitions, we’ve added information about them to the home page and created unique stand-alone pages for each of them. The temptation might be to copy content from one page to another and just insert the manufacturer’s name on each page, but this would violate Google’s duplicate-content rules. Taking this approach should help them start ranking for their recognitions in the near future.

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We also had a focus group take a look at the website. They viewed every page and watched the YouTube videos that Massimini has created. Here are a few comments from the group:

  • “It makes me feel both confident and scared if I make the wrong choice going to a shop that might cut corners.”
  • “I feel armed with more tools to ensure my car doesn’t become a repair casualty.”
  • “The website brings home the concept of quality and what to demand from my insurance carrier.”

That’s good feedback and demonstrates the importance of video on a website. Massimini and Autotech certainly have the “good” down pat on their website, and taking the steps we have suggested will move them to “great”!

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