Improve Your Auto Shop's Google Rankings With These 3 Easy Strategies
More and more auto shops are turning to the Internet to find new customers. Learn 3 easy strategies you can implement right now to boost your shop's rankings in Google.
Everyone knows that higher rankings on Google mean more customers! But as more and more auto shops turn to the Internet to find new customers, the competition on Google is becoming fiercer.
To rank higher on Google, auto shops need to perform what's called "SEO" (search engine optimization).
In a nutshell, SEO is the process of optimizing a website so that it will appear for certain searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
This usually involves structuring website content in a certain manner, in addition to a wide variety of technical, “behind the scene” optimizations.
Some Aspects Of SEO Can Be Done By You Or Your Webmaster
While SEO can be quite technical and complicated, there are several things you and your webmaster can do to give your auto shop's website a boost on Google.
We've created a list of 3 easy strategies you or your webmaster can implement that are proven to "move the needle" on your website's Google rankings.
Strategy 1 - Check For Broken Links
If there's one thing Google HATES it's broken links! But what are broken links?
A broken link is a link on your website that goes nowhere.
For example, say you have a page on your auto shop's website for AC repair. The URL is "your-auto-shop.com/ac-repair".
However, in your website's footer there is a link to "your-auto-shop.com/ac-service". If a user clicks on this link, they're going to see an error!
This creates a few problems:
It creates a bad user experience. The user is going to click that link expecting to see a page about AC repair - instead they see an error page. They might leave your site for a competitor's!
It doesn't look good. Having a broken link on your website is like having a typo on your business card - not very professional!
It hurts your rankings. Google will count the broken link against you. There's a lot of competition these days - remove any reason for Google to penalize you!
Fixing Broken Links
However, the fix for broken links is quite simple. You and / or your webmaster need to review your website and check for broken links. Come across one? Remove it or change the URL to the correct one.
The free version of the popular SEO software Screaming Frog can scan your website and identify any broken links.
Strategy 2 - Get Better Hosting
A ranking factor that Google is beginning to care more and more about is how fast your website loads. Why does this matter?
Google has always been concerned with user experience. They want to rank websites that will give their users the best results for what they're searching for.
If your website loads slowly and the user impatiently exits, this is a signal to Google that your website is providing a poor user experience and, over time, your rankings could begin to decline.
How Do I Know If My Website Loads Slowly?
Google has created a free tool called "Pagespeed Insights" that will grade your website's speed on a scale of 0-100, 100 being the fastest. You can enter your website here: https://pagespeed.web.dev
You'll want to aim for at least an average score (indicated by an orange rating). If your rating is red your site is definitely loading below average!
A typical Pagespeed results page.
Why Do Websites Load Slowly?
Websites can load slowly for a wide variety of reasons, some more technical than others. However, the biggest culprit is usually the quality of the web host you're using.
A huge mistake many auto shop owners make is going with the cheapest web hosting they can find. While this sounds like an easy way to save money, as the saying goes, "you get what you pay for."
Cheap web hosts will host your website on a server filled with hundreds, possibly thousands, of other websites. As a result, your website will not be given the computing resources needed to load quickly.
However, just like broken links, this is an easy fix - simply migrate your website to a better, faster web host. Many hosting companies will migrate your website for free!
What Hosting Should I Get?
As a general rule of thumb, don't get any hosting that is less than about $10 a month. Be sure to research the web host you're considering and check for reviews that mention speed, security, and customer service.
Some of the most popular web hosts are:
- A Small Orange
Other Reasons Why A Website May Load Slowly
Besides cheap hosting, there are several technical reasons that could explain why a website loads slowly.
Here are some of the most common:
If your website is built with a content management system (CMS), such as Wordpress or Joomla, make sure its software is up to date. Most CMS software will not update on its own unless configured to do so. This is a "set and forget" trap that could be costing you a faster website!
Content management systems, such as Wordpress, often use "plugins" to add functionality to your website. For example, you may have a plugin that adds a contact form, creates an image slider, or allows customers to schedule appointments.
Just like the CMS itself, these plugins can become out of date and potentially slow down your website. Make sure your plugins are up-to-date!
Wordpress has an "update" page that says if its software is out of date or if the theme is out of date.
This reason is a bit more technical than the others but can provide HUGE speed benefits if implemented.
What is caching? Caching involves storing your website's files in a way that allows them to be loaded more quickly.
If your website is built with Wordpress or another popular CMS, plenty of plugins exist to enable and configure caching.
However, unless you consider yourself tech savvy, we definitely recommend having your webmaster set this up and configure it for you.
Strategy 3 - Get Other Websites To Link To Yours
Links are the "currency" of the SEO world. While you can perform many optimizations to your website itself, links are the extra horsepower that can create dramatic improvements to your Google rankings.
One nice aspect about getting links to your website is that it doesn't require any technical knowledge. You don't need to learn how to change code or modify your website - simply reach out to other websites and ask for a link!
However, like anything with SEO, there are certain types of links you should try to get and links you should avoid. Some can be seen as "spam" by Google and even hurt your rankings!
Here are 3 types of links that are safe and proven to help you rankings:
Links from vendors
Is there a vendor you have a good relationship with? Ask them if they could add a link on their website to yours. Many vendors have a “companies we recommend” page - that could be a great place to add the link!
Links from referral partners
Do you know an auto shop that refers certain types of jobs to you? Consider asking them to add a link on their website. To sweeten the deal, offer to add a link on your website back to their website!
Links from local blogs and publications
Go to Google and search for "your city blogs". Depending on the size of your city or town, you will most likely find dozens of local blogs.
Many local blogs and publications like to do stories about local businesses - try reaching out to them via email and see if they'll do a story on your company. It's a win-win - they get content to publish and you get a link!
Even if you have to pay a small "publication fee", the value of the link to your Google rankings will most likely far outweigh the cost.
In addition, depending on the size of the blog, it could also be a great way to get publicity to your business.
Go Boost Your Rankings!
Improving your Google rankings may seem complicated, but there are several things a non-tech savvy person can do to help them.
Between fixing any broken links on your website, making sure your website loads as fast as possible, and getting links from vendors and blogs in your area, we've outlined 3 strategies you can implement today to start getting more website traffic from Google.
Keep in mind that it takes time for Google to pick up the work you're doing. It may take weeks or even months for your rankings to start to improve.
With that being said, it's best to start now! Six months are going to pass by whether you do the work to help your rankings or not - you might as well do them now so you can reap the benefits in the future!