Best Free Source Of Traffic To Your Website


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GMBMost business owners are aware that Google offers their business a free “yellow pages” listing, and some know that it is now called My Business. For auto dealers, the importance of an optimized My Business listing will become evident as you read this article but the concepts described here apply to all business owners.

Most every time a consumer conducts a search for an auto dealership, like Orange County Infiniti Dealers shown above, the My Business listings will show. Google associates certain keyword searches with businesses and if Google thinks a consumer is looking for an auto dealer, they will show local business listings.

Google’s logic applies to doctors, lawyers, restaurants, etc. who never understood why their “yellow pages” listing was displayed in a search result.

One of the reasons why auto dealers don’t fully appreciate the impact of the My Business listing is because the traffic it generates DOES NOT show in Google Analytics by default. Clicks on a dealership’s My Business listing are grouped in Organic Traffic – a classification that I think is incorrect. Dealers also don’t track the relationship of clicks on their My Business listing in relation to increases in Google review scores; they really should.

Inspecting The Traffic – Top Level

First, let’s make sure everyone knows how to inspect the traffic generated by their My Business listing.  Business owners need their login to their My Business listing to see the Insights report. An example is shown below:


For this dealer, their My Business listing appeared in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) 26,952 times in the past 30 days. There were 1,399 consumers who clicked on the dealership’s My Business listing that were taken to the dealer’s website. The report does not show the quality of traffic generated by those 1,399 clicks, but I will show you how to inspect the quality of My Business visitors.


Tracking Phone Calls

When you scroll down the Insights Report, Google estimates how many times a consumer called the dealership from those 26,952 impressions. How Google estimates the phone calls is not well documented, but here is how it is explained:

See the number of clicks on your business’s phone number from a local search result in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile, grouped by day of the week and time of day.

The phone number is only clickable from a mobile device, so the number of calls looks more like how many mobile calls were made from My Business. Is there a way to capture all the calls that the listing generated? Yes.

I would suggest that dealers using a local tracking phone number on their My Business listing to be exact. I also suggest that dealers trigger a dynamic phone number on their website so that calls made once a consumer visits the dealership’s website can be tracked.

The Google Analytics Blind Spot

As I mentioned earlier, Google My Business’ clicks are merged with organic traffic activity in Google Analytics. This makes it very difficult to track the quality of traffic generated by My Business. It also makes it difficult to graph “shopper” traffic versus Google reviews, as reviews increase so does the percentage of consumers who click on the My Business link.

To eliminate the blind spot dealers can update their My Business listing to use Google UTM tags for the website URL address. Here is an example for Infiniti of Mission Viejo:

The UTM tag defines the source as Google, the medium as a SERP, and the campaign as GoogleMyBusiness (no spaces). When you replace the “naked” URL with this tracking URL, then you can clearly see the traffic generated by My Business in Google Analytics. You can also trigger a dynamic phone number on the dealership’s website when the campaign tag “GoogleMyBusiness” is in the referral URL.

Here is an example of a dealer that implemented the UTM tags, and how a dealer can inspect the QUALITY of traffic generated by My Business. How many auto shopper clicks does My Business generate?


High Quality Shopper Traffic

When you tag your My Business URL, you can then separate out the traffic from organic and place it more appropriately into referral traffic. In the dealership example above, a ROI-BOT referral traffic widget makes it is clear that My Business generates HIGH QUALITY shopper traffic. I define a shopper as a visitor that searches vehicle inventory and/or views a Vehicle Detail Page (VDP).

In this dealer example, a high percentage of of clicks searched for a vehicle using an SERP (32.19%) and 61.41% looked at a Vehicle Detail Page (VDP). Where can you get 10,090 VDP Views for free?

The website pages viewed by My Business visitors shows that they are actively shopping for vehicles and they also stayed on the dealer’s website over 3 minutes.  This analysis shows why My Business is the best free source of high quality shopper traffic.

Action Plan For Google Reviews

If consumers who click on My Business listings are active “shoppers” and not just hitting the home page and leaving, shouldn’t dealers take this marketing opportunity more seriously? What do you think happens when a dealer increases their Google reviews? I have that answer: it increases clicks to the dealer’s website. Better reviews attracts more in-market, low funnel shoppers.

If dealers can increase low-funnel shopper traffic to their website for free, they should make a stronger effort in the dealership to increase their Google reviews. There are many proven strategies to identify and engage active Google users who are willing and able to post a review.

Optimize Your Listing

Invest the time to update and optimize your My Business listing so that you can track clicks, calls, and website activity. These insights will allow you to better isolate website traffic and create a stronger online marketing strategy.

If you are not aware of how to optimize your My Business listing, here are some tips:

  1. Make sure that you select 10 business categories for your dealership.
  2. Update the website URL with UTM tags, as shown in this article.
  3. Write a short, but compelling description of your dealership. Include a link to your website in the description.
  4. Add new photos every month –  include customers and reduce shots of your building.
  5. Add videos for the dealership that communicate your “why buy”, “why service”, etc. messages. NO TV commercials.
  6. Incorporate a verbal survey in sales and service to identify consumers who use Google to review local businesses.

If you need assistance with your online marketing strategy, you should read more about PCG Consulting On-Demand.

Feedback: If you enjoyed the tips in the article, please share it on your social channels. I would greatly appreciate your help in connecting these tips with more auto dealers.

Brian Pasch
Brian Pasch is an 20+ year veteran of the direct marketing industry. His career has spanned both management and technology roles. He is known for his expertise in consumer data warehousing models as well as digital marketing strategy. He is the author of four books on marketing and his latest book is entitled "Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing."


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