How your repair shop's online presence can beat out the competition

Jan. 23, 2018
The SEO keyword universe is limitless, and while the large companies are restricted to using specific ones by rule, a small business can take advantage of it.

Regardless of the nature of your business, being seen on the Internet is a highly recommended way to getting more calls from paying customers. This includes customers who are not looking for you specifically, yet they need your services. People who would usually go to your competitors would now be calling your auto body repair shop instead!

With a strong online presence for your shop, once they search for auto body repair on the Internet, they will see your shop on the first page of the results, and that will undoubtedly lead to more calls for you. Very few people actually go to the second page, which is why it should be your priority to get your shop on the first page and keep it there

Internet exposure through an optimized website as well as a place on the grid of Google Maps will make your business become visible to hundreds of users, and you will get more calls from paying customers.

Online search marketing has significantly grown in the past several years as online search continues to develop from a novelty to a standard and regular feature in our everyday lives.

Use Your Small Business Advantages to Compete with the Big Players

  • Keyword Targeting

Big brands often choose not to target specific keywords or are unable to use them for several reasons. The SEO keyword universe is limitless, and while the large companies are restricted to using specific ones by rule, a small business can take advantage of it. For example, a large collision repair center brand would definitely target keywords like “auto body shop,”  As a small company can attract a more specific audience with long-tail keywords such as “auto body shop Las Vegas NV.” or “collision repair Las Vegas.”

Broad or "short tail" keywords are one or two words such as "collision repair" and refer to more commonly used shorter and generic terms people search for and target a broad audience. Long tail keywords are keyword phrases that are typically made up of three to five words such as "collision repair in Las Vegas NV" which are longer and target a more specific audience.  Long tail keywords aren't as popular, but are more targeted to specific searches and come with less competition; therefore are more affordable

  • Brand Authority & Specific Niches

A large, national collision repair center will focus on history and the quality of their services. Your local auto body repair shop can have a blog that focuses on “How to protect your car’s paint in the winter,” “Why it’s important to repair your cracked windshield,” “Where can I purchase auto body parts,” etc. Give your future customers valuable advice and not just sales tricks. Get those undecided people’s attention by teaching them what is suitable for them, and not just telling them how professional your technicians are.

  • Quality Content

Finally, all of the above should be integrated in your website content. While large companies need to be really organic in their contents, as they cannot possibly cover everything that they do in small articles, you can invest 10 times more effort in a single piece of content. Set keywords that are extremely important for your business and create that quality content, giving valuable information, options, and building the trust of its readers.

I will walk you step by step through a proven process to move your shop to the top of the list:

  1. Select Your Keywords

First, put together a list of keywords that reflect your services. You might try keywords such as “local auto body repair shop,” “collision repair center,” “auto body shop,” and “auto body paint.”

When you have a decent list, set up a free Google AdWords account. Small business owners can use the invaluable Google Keyword Tool to help them select the best keywords for their given industries. This allows you to type in your selected keywords to find out how much traffic they get. It also suggests related keywords that may not have occurred to you.

  1. Optimize Your Keywords

When your keyword list is finalized, it is time to optimize them on your Google My Business page and your website:

Google My Business

Your Google My Business page appears in the “Map” section of Google local listings. It boosts your online presence and gives prospective customers a short description of your services. It is much easier to increase your rankings faster with a Google My Business page than with a website.

Make sure that all of these components are complete and accurate:

  • Verification: You must first create or claim your business page and submit it for Google verification. Your verification is confirmed when you see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your business name.
  • NAP: Your business name, address and phone number must be accurate and  consistent in all listings. Let Google know that your business is a local one by including a local phone number instead of an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google My Business categories should focus on services. Along with “auto body repair shop,” list any additional services your company provides such as “deductible assistance,” and “semi trucks and oversized equipment.” Try to select three to five categories.
  • Description: This is a brief overview of your business that should end with a call to action.
  • Hours: Make sure that your business hours are correct and are consistent on all of your internet listings.
  • Images: Add photos of your shop, your staff, your team at work, etc. because this can dramatically increase customer engagement.

Website Optimization

Begin with your homepage and service pages because these pages are the most important. Optimize them for your buying intent keywords. Later, you can optimize your blog posts and other content pages for research intent keywords. Here is what to focus on:

  • Homepage: The title tag is the single most important element on your homepage. It should be between 50 and 65 characters long, and formatted similarly to: Auto Body Repair Shop in {Your City} | {Name of Your Company}.
  • The next element is the meta description, which lists your primary services and should end with a call to action. It must be between 100 and 150 characters in length: {Name of Company} offers affordable {auto body repair services} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for a free estimate!
  • Make sure the visible headline is concisely descriptive and contains your primary category. This format works well: {Auto Body Repair} in {City, State}.
  • The last major element is your page copy, a 500 to 1000-word descriptive section that provides some background information about your company. You should briefly describe your services, and end with a strong call to action. Make sure to use your primary keyword throughout the page in a natural way.
  • Service Pages: Create a separate page for each of your services. Optimize each service page in exactly the same way as the homepage, making sure to substitute the relevant keyword.

Although SEO fundamentals and tactics may change, the goal of the search engine has always been the same – providing searchers with the information they’re after in an easy and quick way.

About the Author

Roumen Todorov

Roumen Todorov is the Co-Founder and COO of 411 Locals, a Las Vegas-based internet advertising agency specializing in search engine optimization (SEO), web design and online marketing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses throughout the U.S.

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