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Is your parts department one of the 3.5 billion online searches today?

Is your parts department one of the 3.5 billion online searches today?

More likely than not, I bet your dealership has a fully-functional website and can be searchable in any online search engine pretty easily. But what if someone is just looking for your parts department? It is still as easy?

Today, our technological world is vastly different than it was even ten years ago. “Mobile phones” began to transition to the first “smart phones,” and the very first Kindle came out. Now, these technologies have substantially evolved to the point that smart phones can nearly replace computers and help us learn, navigate, and socialize on a daily basis.

Online search engines are still #1 when looking for answers

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all of these changes, but one thing has not changed much in the past ten years – our beloved search engines. Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, or 3.5 billion per day for 3 million people. With these numbers, it’s a safe assumption that Google is a trusted resource for nearly anything. So have you checked to make sure you are part of those searches?

Perform a quick test. Go to Google, type in the name of your OEM, the word “parts,” and the city you’re located or the large city you’re near. See what comes up. Hopefully your dealership is there. Now, try a different search. Pick a specific part category, such as brakes, tires, etc., and type that into the search, as well as the city. What do you see now? If your dealership is doing a good job, you might see them on the first page of results. More likely, you now see all your aftermarket competition on the results page. It’s also probably more service-oriented, but you get the picture – your dealership can’t be found among the swarm of aftermarket sites. Your colleagues in the service department won’t be too happy about this, either!

The aftermarket has done a really good job of search engine optimization (or SEO as you may have heard it called), meaning that they have provided content around frequently searched keywords, such as brakes, tires, and other highly sought-after parts. Likely, they have engaged in some paid search – which means they have invested some money into Google Adwords or similar programs which bring their company to the top of the page.

Get yourself on the digital map

If you’re at a smaller dealership, or even a large one, you might be thinking, “there’s no way I can compete with the huge retailers or chains who have huge budgets for advertising!” That’s not true – you can just make a few simple changes to your dealership site, or spend a few ad dollars to get your dealership noticed.

If you want to make sure you’re visible online, then your dealership website needs to include content that is relevant to your department.

First, engage the person who is responsible for your website. Let them know you want to add some content for the parts page. Work with them to create a list of your most frequently-purchased parts, and any other information about your department that you think would be relevant. This person may also be able to help you with paid search. Chances are, your dealership is already spending money to promote new vehicle sales using paid search. Look into purchasing some Google Adwords around your most frequently purchased parts. The pay-per-click method can be very cost effective. If you need buy-in from your GM, remind them that Fixed Ops is the most profitable arm of most dealerships!

If you still need more help, Google has set up a process just for you called “Google My Business.” Body Shop Business has done a great job explaining how to get you going and to make sure you are found.

And remember: If customers can’t find you, they aren’t ordering from you!