Google recently changed their policy for Automobile Dealerships.
This recent Tweet got lots of attention from our Local SEO community because it indicates that auto dealerships were allowed listings for each brand they sell.
As of today, the help center doc has been updated to include:
“New car dealerships are eligible for multiple listings. You can have one listing for your dealership and one listing for each brand you sell of new cars.”
I wanted to get clarification on what exactly this means so I spoke to Google about it and will highlight some specifics below.
Auto Dealers are allowed a listing for each brand they are authorized to sell for.
I’m going to use an example to help illustrate this. This dealer sells for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RAM. They would be allowed to have 4 listings for this – one per brand. It does not matter if they have separate entrances or staff. The main goal here is likely to have the brands have more control over their listings at a corporate level. If Chrysler wanted to keep track and organize the listings for all their dealers, they can do so. An example of one of these listings is here.
Auto dealers can also have another listing for the entire dealership.
Using the same example, these guys could also have a listing for just Desert 215 Superstore, if they wanted.
Car dealers can also have listings for their sales & parts departments.
These listings are allowed if they qualify under the rules for departments. To qualify, they would generally need a separate entrance, different categories, and sometimes different hours. So using this example, this dealer could have a listing for their parts department as they already have here. Sometimes Google automatically creates listings for parts & services departments and in my experience, GMB support will not remove these unless you can prove they don’t exist.
These rules do not apply to used car dealers.
These rules are for official dealers for the different car brands and these rules do not apply to used car dealers. Google also added a section yesterday in this help center article that specifically says:
“Used car dealerships are only eligible for one listing since car brands that are sold can change frequently”.
These rules do not apply to other industries.
These rules are specific to car dealers and cannot be broadly applied to other industries. For example, insurance brokers are not allowed to create listings for each brand they sell insurance for.
Why are auto dealers getting an exception?
In my experience, Google bases policies around what users search and what they’re looking for. Due to the massive number of branded searches in the automobile dealership space, I’m not surprised that this would be a good move for both the businesses and consumers searching on Google. As a part of my local SEO training, I track new categories that are added to Google My Business. In the last year, Google has added a significant amount of auto dealer categories including RAM dealer (just added in December 2019), Rolls Royce dealer, Ferrari dealer, and many others.
Greg Gifford, a known expert in the auto dealer SEO space, added some advice about these new guidelines. He states:
“For years, dealerships have had to fight with Google about GMB listings, and were limited by the “entrance/signage” rule. Although it’s cool for edge cases with weird brand combos, I’m not sure it makes sense for dealers to get separate listings for brands that are traditionally a single entity”.
If you have other questions about how Google My Business deals with listings for auto dealers, please leave them in the comments section.