The Visual Revolution: Images Take Center Stage in Google Business Profiles and Google Maps
I have been a huge proponent of posting pictures to Google Business Profiles for many years and in today's digital landscape, images have become an integral part of communication and engagement. They capture attention, convey emotions, and tell stories in a way that words alone cannot. This is especially true in the realm of local search, where businesses are increasingly relying on images to attract customers and stand out from the competition.
Google Business Profiles (GBP) and Google Maps have long been recognized as powerful tools for local businesses to connect with potential customers. But in recent years, there has been a noticeable shift towards a more visual approach to local search. This is evident in the growing emphasis on images in both GBP and Google Maps, images I have shared to GBP and Maps have been viewed over 144 MILLION times!
Images: The Currency of Local Search
Humans are visual creatures and we like pictures, the most popular places that we spend our time are centered around pictures and videos for a reason! Images are also playing a pivotal role in local search, they provide a more immersive and engaging experience for users, allowing them to get a better sense of a business's atmosphere, products, and services before even stepping foot through the door.
Images can also help businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors. By showcasing their unique offerings and personality through high-quality images, businesses can make a lasting impression on potential customers.
Additionally, and very importantly, images can boost local search rankings. Google has stated that businesses with photos are more likely to receive requests for driving directions and clicks through to their websites than those that don't. This is because images make listings more visually appealing and informative, which makes them more likely to catch the eye of potential customers.
The Evidence is Clear: Images Matter
The importance of images in local search is not just theoretical; it is backed by data. Studies have shown that:
Google's Increasing Focus on Images
Google is well aware of the importance of images in local search, and the company is actively taking steps to promote their use. In recent years, Google has made several changes to GBP and Google Maps that highlight the role of images for example, they added a "Photos" tab to GBP listings, making it easier for users to find and view images of businesses. The company has also made it easier for businesses to upload and manage their images.
In addition, Google is using images more prominently in search results. For example, image thumbnails are displayed next to GBP listings in Google Search, and images are also being used to populate Google Maps' "Street View" feature. These changes reflect Google's recognition that images are an essential part of the local search experience. Businesses that fail to embrace this visual revolution are likely to fall behind their competitors.
How Businesses Can Leverage Images for Local Search Success
To fully harness the power of images in local search, businesses should follow these best practices:
Encourage your team to take creative shots of your business from different angles and perspectives. And don't forget to tap into the power of customer-generated content. Ask satisfied customers to share their experiences and positive interactions with your business through images on your Google Business Profile. Every image posted is an opportunity to amplify your brand's message and reach a wider audience.
So, go ahead, get out there and start snapping! The world of local search is your canvas, and images are your paintbrush. Embrace the visual revolution and watch your business flourish online. If you still arent sure of how to get the most with images on your GBP lets talk!
Google has announced a new annotation for Google Business Profiles that will allow consumers to easily find small businesses. The annotation, which simply says "Small Business," will appear in the profile of any business that meets Google's definition of a small business.
This is great news for small businesses, as it gives them a way to stand out from the competition and make it easier for potential customers to find them. It's also good news for consumers, who are increasingly looking to support small businesses.
Why is this important?Google stats show that 84% of people say supporting local and/or small businesses is important to them. However, small businesses often have a hard time competing with larger businesses when it comes to online visibility.
The new Google Business Profile annotation will help to level the playing field by making it easier for potential customers to find small businesses. It will also help to raise awareness of the importance of supporting small businesses.
How to add the "Small Business" annotation to your Google Business ProfileIf you're a small business owner, you can add the "Small Business" annotation to your Google Business Profile by following these steps:
Other ways to make your Google Business Profile stand outIn addition to adding the "Small Business" annotation, there are a number of other things you can do to make your Google Business Profile stand out:
Navigating Voice Search Optimization: Separating Fact from Fiction
In recent times, the buzz around voice search optimization has been impossible to ignore. Business owners are bombarded with calls from vendors claiming that their ventures are missing out on significant opportunities due to their absence in voice search results. The stakes are undeniably high – a 2022 report by DemandSage revealed that 56% of consumers used voice search to inquire about businesses or brands via smartphones. However, amidst the urgency, it's crucial to tread carefully and discern between genuine opportunities and false promises.
1) Transparency and Credibility:
Before committing to any vendor, scrutinize their track record. Remember, what works in one location might not be as effective in another, if a vendor is calling a business outside of their area they may not get accurate voice search results even when they use the business city in their request if the IP address isnt local to the actual business. Investigate client testimonials and case studies. Genuine, positive reviews from similar businesses can be a strong indicator of a vendor’s credibility.
2) Understanding of Algorithms:
Voice search algorithms are intricate and ever-changing. Be wary of vendors guaranteeing instant top rankings. Reputable professionals focus on ethical practices and are honest about the unpredictable nature of search engine algorithms.
3) White-Hat Techniques:
Ensure the vendor employs ethical SEO techniques. Unscrupulous methods may provide short-term gains but can lead to long-term penalties. Quality always triumphs over shortcuts in the world of online visibility.
4) Customized Strategies:
Each business is unique. A trustworthy vendor will tailor their strategies to your specific needs and target audience. Avoid one-size-fits-all solutions.
5) Measurable Results:
Look for vendors providing clear metrics. Regular reporting and transparent communication are vital for assessing the success of any optimization campaign.
6) Long-Term Approach:
Remember, SEO, including voice search optimization, is a marathon, not a sprint. Quick fixes are often unsustainable. Sustainable improvements require time, consistent effort, and a focus on quality content.
7) Stay Informed:
Educate yourself about voice search optimization basics. A fundamental understanding will empower you to evaluate vendor proposals effectively. Inspect what you expect!
8) Consider DIY Options:
Depending on your budget and resources, consider handling voice search optimization internally, especially for small businesses. There are abundant online resources and guides available to aid your understanding and implementation of basic SEO strategies.
In conclusion, while credible SEO agencies and consultants can indeed enhance your voice search presence, discernment is paramount. Ask questions, demand references, and make decisions aligned with your business’s unique needs and financial constraints. If you're uncertain or need guidance tailored to your business, don’t hesitate to reach out. I'm Mike theCarGuy and I would be happy to help you navigate the complex world of voice search and ensure your business thrives in the digital landscape, lets use our voices and talk!
This weeks podcast can be heard HERE
I just got back from a one day road trip to the Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas, Kathi and I have thoughts... ;)
Twitter, the platform we’ve loved for 14+ years, is officially dead. While both of us are still there, we are down to about 5% of the amount we used to be. Many sane users have been looking for a place to go. We’ve tried most of the new platforms and we think one has the best potential.
We also touch on AI prompts (ie: where the magic happens). This article is super helpful.
In our music segment:
Mike recommended this book: The Art of Darkness: The History of Goth
Kathi reflects on Club Lingerie, a small club on Sunset that was ground zero for a generation of music fans.
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Listen to this weeks podcast HERE
For some reason, Kathi and I have both been witnessing a lot of disturbing customer treatment lately. This week, we share a few stories and then discuss how that’s a losing proposition in today’s retail environment.
Then, we discuss why it’s important to have a written social media policy and some training to mitigate online crisis management.
And finally, Google Business Profiles are giving users another way to connect with their customers.
Midnight Special: Rick Derringer and Edgar Winter Group
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Got a question? Email either (or both) of us!
As an Account Manager for my first four years at DealerBuilt, I had the privilege of traveling to dealerships nationwide, sharing best practices, tips, and techniques aimed at enhancing dealer efficiency. However, quite often, before I could even finish my statement, I would be met with the immediate response: 'that won't work with our customers, in our region, at our dealership.' This prevalent attitude is a challenge I frequently encounter.
Sometimes, I found that by taking a step back and posing a few additional questions, it opened up a constructive dialogue. This dialogue allowed for a better understanding and occasionally even paved the way for a more receptive mindset toward the possibility of change, even if it's only on a small scale.
In my role as a Sales Engineer, I regularly conduct demonstrations of our system for dealerships. Frequently, I'm asked about the practices of the most successful dealerships across the nation and how they utilize our DMS. Unfortunately, I'm often met with the same antiquated mentality of 'that won't work here' as I begin to share insights. Internally, I'm screaming that customers share common attributes regardless of their location. The level of technological literacy among customers doesn't significantly differ across regions. Put simply, if a strategy works, it works!
But here’s the thing, customers ARE evolving. They possess higher expectations, are better informed, and are increasingly inclined to explore various options to secure the best possible deal/service. For dealerships to remain at the forefront of the industry, they must be open to embracing change.
This doesn't imply that every dealership should hastily adopt each new technology or methodology that emerges. Rather, it underscores the importance of embracing novel ideas and demonstrating a willingness to experiment. Failing to do so could result in being left behind in an ever-evolving market.
If a dealership aims to bolster efficiency across its departments, boost sales and service figures, stubbornly clinging to current methodologies/technologies without considering alternative approaches will not work. I firmly believe that every dealership holds untapped potential for enhancing efficiency and sales. However, this potential can only be realized through a willingness to embrace change.
So, for those dealers who are internally asserting 'that won't work here,' I wholeheartedly urge you to expand your perspective to accommodate innovative ideas. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the accomplishments that lie beyond your current practices and technologies. Greater possibilities could be just a step beyond your comfort zone.
As always I would love to have a conversation anytime with you about your dealership and how we can help you reach new levels of success! (909) 213-5475
Recently a LinkedIn post caught my attention, it was about one of the most common mistakes bosses make and that is ignoring the people who are doing the best work because “they don’t need me” or “I don’t want to micromanage.” I thought to myself we should also be careful not to forget those whom we believed in enough to promote them as well.
Many great employees have earned a promotion and then failed to live up to the same level of greatness and either left for another opportunity or stepped back down but never recover the fire they once had inside.
As a salesperson at a dealership early in my career, I was once denied a promotion to the Assistant Manager (Closer) position because my GSM feared losing his top performer. Frustrated and undervalued, I decided to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Little did I know that this journey would lead me to discover the importance of ongoing training for managers in our industry.
When the time came for me to give my notice, the GSM's reaction was nothing short of explosive. He went ballistic, telling me I would fail without his guidance and come crawling back. But little did he know that I had already found a mentor who believed in me. This mentor became my guiding light, providing the support and training I needed to thrive in my new role.
Through this experience, I discovered a fundamental truth: leadership may come naturally to some, but management is a skill that must be learned. As I transitioned into my new position, I quickly realized that being a manager meant more than just being a top performer. It required a whole new set of skills and perspectives. Thankfully, my mentor was there every step of the way, ensuring I understood the intricacies of my new role and had the support I needed to succeed.
As the automotive industry evolves, sales teams are no longer just order-takers. The focus has shifted to building strong teams and delivering exceptional customer experiences. But while we invest time and resources in training our salespeople, service writers, and parts counter staff, we often forget about the training needs of our managers. They are the ones responsible for leading our front-line teams to success, especially as the competition heats up.
Investing in focused training for managers reaps numerous benefits. It enhances their understanding of their role, equipping them with the skills needed to tackle challenges, foster teamwork, and inspire their team members. Effective training helps managers develop crucial communication and decision-making abilities, enabling them to navigate complex situations with confidence. Moreover, by prioritizing managerial training, we foster a culture of growth and development within our organizations, boosting employee morale and engagement.
Here are just a few tips for providing ongoing training for promoted employees:
The Privacy Sandbox: A New Era for Marketing with Chrome 115
In July 2023, Google is set to launch Chrome 115, a significant update that will introduce the long-awaited Privacy Sandbox. This update marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of online marketing, as Google takes strides to address privacy concerns by replacing traditional tracking cookies with a revolutionary technology called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). Originally announced in 2019, Google has now clarified that the implementation of FLoC will commence in January 2023, setting the stage for a transformative shift in how businesses engage with their target audience. In this article, we will explore the implications of these developments and discuss what the future holds for marketing in the era of the Privacy Sandbox.
Traditional tracking cookies have long been the backbone of online advertising, enabling businesses to gather user data and deliver targeted ads. However, concerns about privacy and data security have led to growing discontent among users, prompting regulatory bodies to enforce stricter measures for data protection. The limitations and vulnerabilities associated with tracking cookies have necessitated a new approach to user privacy.
1.2 Introducing the Privacy Sandbox:
To address these concerns, Google introduced the Privacy Sandbox initiative, a collaborative effort aimed at developing privacy-preserving technologies that balance the needs of advertisers and users. At the heart of this initiative lies FLoC, an innovative method that groups users into cohorts based on their browsing behavior, ensuring anonymity while still enabling personalized advertising.
FLoC utilizes machine learning algorithms to analyze users' browsing behavior locally on their devices, rather than relying on individual data collection. It then assigns each user to a specific cohort based on shared interests and preferences. These cohorts are designed to be privacy-preserving, ensuring that individual users' identities remain protected while still allowing advertisers to target relevant audience segments.
2.2 Benefits of FLoC:
With the adoption of the Privacy Sandbox, marketers will need to adapt their advertising strategies to the changing landscape. Instead of relying solely on individual user data, they will need to shift towards cohort-based targeting. This transition will require a more holistic understanding of audience segments and creative approaches to personalized messaging.
3.2 Collaboration and Compliance:
As the advertising ecosystem undergoes a fundamental shift, collaboration between marketers, advertisers, and technology platforms will be essential. Adapting to the new privacy standards will require compliance with regulations and the development of new tools and methodologies for effective targeting and measurement.
3.3 Embracing First-Party Data:
With the diminishing reliance on third-party cookies, businesses will need to focus on collecting and leveraging their own first-party data. Building direct relationships with customers, implementing consent management platforms, and offering value in exchange for data will become paramount.
The Privacy Sandbox presents an opportunity for marketers to explore new advertising models that prioritize user privacy while delivering effective results. Contextual advertising, collaborative targeting methods, and advanced technologies like machine learning will play pivotal roles in shaping the future of advertising in this privacy-centric era.
4.2 Measurement and Attribution Challenges:
As the traditional methods of tracking and measurement become obsolete, marketers will face new challenges in measuring the effectiveness of their campaigns and attributing conversions. The shift towards cohort-based targeting may require innovative approaches to tracking user engagement and understanding the impact of advertising efforts.
4.3 The Evolution of AdTech:
The implementation of the Privacy Sandbox will undoubtedly drive advancements in AdTech solutions. Advertisers and technology providers will need to develop new tools and platforms that align with the privacy-focused framework while still delivering actionable insights and optimization capabilities. This evolution in AdTech will pave the way for more sophisticated and privacy-conscious advertising practices.
In the era of the Privacy Sandbox, transparency and user education will be paramount. Marketers must prioritize clear and concise communication about data collection, consent, and the benefits of personalized advertising. Educating users about the value exchange between data sharing and relevant ad experiences will foster trust and enable more informed decisions.
5.2 Embracing Privacy-Centric Strategies:
To thrive in the new marketing landscape, businesses must embrace privacy-centric strategies. This involves adopting privacy-by-design principles, implementing strong data protection measures, and respecting user preferences. By prioritizing privacy, businesses can differentiate themselves and build stronger relationships with their target audience.
5.3 Diversification of Marketing Channels:
As the impact of the Privacy Sandbox unfolds, marketers should consider diversifying their advertising channels. While digital advertising remains essential, exploring alternative avenues such as influencer marketing, content marketing, and offline strategies can help mitigate the potential limitations and dependencies on cohort-based targeting.
With the impending launch of Chrome 115 and the introduction of the Privacy Sandbox, the marketing industry is entering a new era defined by privacy, consent, and cohort-based targeting. The transition from traditional tracking cookies to FLoC technology marks a significant shift in the way businesses engage with their audiences. As marketers navigate these changes, they must embrace transparency, adapt their advertising strategies, and invest in privacy-centric practices. By embracing the opportunities presented by the Privacy Sandbox and aligning with user expectations, businesses can continue to deliver personalized experiences while respecting privacy and building trust in the digital landscape.
#GooglePrivacySandbox #digitalamarketing #automotivemarketing
Written with assistance from #ChatGPT
Spring cleaning is a time to declutter your physical spaces and it can also be a time to declutter your dealership’s physical activities too! By taking the time to identify and eliminate inefficiencies, you can free up your team to focus on more important tasks, improve customer service, and boost your bottom line.
Here are a few tips for streamlining your store’s workflows:
Are you a Google Local Guide? If not, you might want to consider becoming one. Being a Local Guide has numerous benefits, not just for you, but also for the community around you. Recently, I received an email stating that I'm in the top 10% of contributors in the Riverside-San Bernardino area, and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's not just about the recognition though, being a Local Guide has been a fun and rewarding experience!
One of the best parts about being a Local Guide is knowing that my contributions are helping local businesses. Last year alone, my photos and reviews helped 278 locations, mostly small and local businesses. By posting pictures and writing reviews, I am helping these businesses gain more visibility and exposure on Google Maps, which can ultimately help them attract more customers. In fact, pictures that I have uploaded on Google Maps Reviews have been viewed over 100 million times, and I'm proud of that number.
But the benefits don't stop there. As a vendor in the automotive space, I have found that being a Local Guide has given me added value. By sharing pictures of car dealerships, for example, I have helped increase their visibility and reach on Google Maps. Some of the dealer pics I have shared have even reached 3 to 5 million views!
If you're a Google Local Guide, let's connect! It's always great to meet and network with other Local Guides. And if you're not yet a Local Guide, I highly recommend it. It's a fun and rewarding experience that can help you connect with your community and make a positive impact on local businesses.
Hey there, I'm Mike theCarGuy and here are some of my thoughts about cars, the car business and sales! Take a look around, maybe you will learn something or at the very least find your self smiling, and if you do... leave me a comment so I know I at least did something right! Thanks for stoppin by...
Need to reach me?
Call or Text: (909) 206-4377
22400 Barton Rd Suite 21-451
Grand Terrace, CA 92313
the Car Guys reads:
Bloomberg (yes, Bloomberg!)
Japanese Nostalgic Car
is friends with:
Used Car Ricky.com
Alley Cat SoCal (apparel and Design)