How Many Google My Business Listings Can an Car Dealer Have? - Sterling Sky Inc

How Many Google My Business Listings Can an Car Dealer Have?

This tweet recently got a lot of attention from the Local SEO community because it implied that car dealerships were allowed listings for each brand.  

 

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.

 

Car 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 Ford, Lincoln, and Toyota.  They would be allowed to have 3 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 Ford 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.

 

Car dealers can also have another listing for the entire dealership.

Using the same example, these guys could also have a listing for just Western Slope Auto, 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 car 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 car dealer 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 large amount of car 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.

16 replies on "How Many Google My Business Listings Can an Car Dealer Have?"

  1. Wonder if this will be rolled out across all niches. I have seen plenty of companies in Ireland use locations in the titles. Example title “Company Name + Location” and not be removed. Do these fall under some sort of franchise rule? – Mark

  2. I do not like this update to the article at all. It implies that Google is giving permission to create a very chaotic consumer experience. I have been working with car dealerships and their GMB listings for a long time now, and I will not be recommending what Google allows. Your link is not working for Western Slope Auto, it goes to Western Slope Ford listing in maps. But this is good example of how I have been and plan to continue setting up dealership listings, without a “group listing” like Western Slope Auto. To me there is no reason to have a dealership listing compete with with individual brand listings. There is no real difference between “Western Slope Auto” and “Western Slope Ford”, but there is a difference between Western Slope Ford” and “Western Slope Toyota” so those should exist and get their reviews separately. If there was also a Western Slope Auto listing, then that would further split the reviews in a way that did not make sense. I will also continue keeping some brands together like Greg Gifford mentioned, since that is how they are branded to be, like CDJR. That should remain its own single listing since that traditionally a single entity with a common website for all those brands.

    1. Hey Nate,

      Thanks for pointing out that typo – I fixed it. It looks like this example doesn’t actually have one for just the dealer itself (without mentioning a specific brand). I completely agree that just because it’s permissible does not always mean it’s advisable. Thanks for sharing your experiences & advice.

    2. I agree 100% with Nate. I work with auto dealer GMBs on a daily basis and the only GMBs I recommend are department GMBs which allows the parts and service departments to market their unique data, products and services as well as increase their presence on Google search results for department specific searches. Having a separate dealership group GMB creates huge problems.

      It is interesting to note that Google has already created dozens of these unclaimed dealer group GMBs, some with hundreds of unanswered reviews. The dealers don’t even know they exist until I show them.

      In most cases the individual brands within the group are not at one address, and Google just created it at a random dealership address in their group. There is already so much misinformation and confusion in the Auto Dealer vertical that trying to implement the Dealer Group strategy will just amplify it.

  3. I agree with Nate and Jeff. I think it’s better to create each department listing and either one brand listing for dealerships with a single brand or each brand listing for dealerships with multiple brands. The reason being reviews, for example, will be a true reflection of that particular department. Each post will also be more targeted for that particular segment.

  4. Do we know yet whether this relates to RV / motorhome dealers who sell new models and are specific brand dealerships?

    1. Hey Dawn,

      I asked them and they said if the set up is the same as car dealers where they have specific agreements with certain brands, it should likely be allowed. I’d check with GMB support and give them a specific example before creating any though.

  5. After reading this, I want multiple GMB listings now — one for the Local SEO department, one for Organic SEO, one for Google Ads Campaign management, and one for the business as a whole …. (joking, but not entirely)

  6. One step forward and two steps back. GMB department pages are already ranking where they shouldn’t and causing all kinds of confusion with users. We have Dealers complaining about the giant volume of sales calls that come into their parts department numbers and people showing up at the wrong hours (because they have no idea they are looking at the wrong listing). Now imagine this problem 4X over with different brands and situations where negative reviews for an experience with one brand by mistake being left on a another brands GMB because the user didn’t notice or doesn’t care. We’ll be testing different approaches with these GMBs listings but currently I wouldn’t recommend this to any of our dealers. Great article!

  7. We have Beta tested using multiple listings for. While its get for SEO and getting found, the down side for us is our reputation management. We want to give customers an Amazon like experience and when you have thousands of positive reviews that get you found the case my not be the same with a New Google listing for your service department. In fact people recommending me complain about the confusion they have when actually writing a review about us because they get service, parts, and sales now.

    For a dealership with crappy reviews this might be a blessing, but for us it works against us at our BMW, MINI, and VW locations since we have such out standing reviews and active google my business listings.

    So dealers can grab more SEO local Realestate but there is a down side for those that worked hard to get sales and service guests to use the main google my business listing.

  8. Have been battling with this update on and off all month without much support from Google. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed changes but I did some shopping through other dealers and departments within Canada to check it’s not just a unique situation to our brand. We have two Ford dealerships in the city and every other day it seems our branded searches rotate to service or parts and then back to the main GMB. Definitely causing huge havoc on listings and weird considering we have 500+ reviews, post actively, add photos etc to our main listing but now it’s being filtered randomly. I suppose maybe this is there way of testing but certainly wreaking havoc.

    Noticed this on some other dealerships as well along with our competitors losing there main branded GMB and now seeing service, parts and used department listings showing up. Hopefully the dust settles soon!

    1. Hey Darren,

      We were able to fix this for one of our clients by removing the name of the dealer from the service department listings. For example, just list it as “Ford Service” instead of “ABC Ford Dealer Service”.

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