Google My BusinessLocal Search

Google Updates GMB Listings For Car Dealers… Again

By April 17, 2020 April 20th, 2020 4 Comments

Yesterday, Google rolled out a major update for Google My Business listings for car dealers. Nested department listings are now explicitly listed in the GMB panel:

Before I talk a bit more about this, let’s provide a little history to show why this update is important…

Back in March, Google released an update for Google My Business that was exclusive for car dealers – any dealership with multiple brands was now allowed to set up a GMB listing for each brand and set them up as department listings.

Google rolled out department listings for car dealers in January of 2018, allowing car dealers to have “nested” department GMB listings for parts and service, but for the main dealership entity, standard GMB rules have always applied. Without separate signage and a separate entrance, there could only be one GMB listing.

With the update in March, Google changed the rules and let dealers set up a separate listing for each brand they sell. For most dealers, this didn’t really matter. Dealership groups that sold multiple brands were already allowed to have separate listings since each brand operates out of a separate building and address.

This update was targeted for General Motors and FCA (Fiat Chrysler of America) dealers. GM dealers typically sell Chrysler, Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet (and sometimes Cadillac) out of a single building. FCA dealers are always Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and RAM – but again, all under a single rooftop.

Now, instead of a single listing for the entity of the location, dealers could add in a different listing for each brand, then nest them as department listings. So if a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealer had set up parts and service listings, they would have 3 listings: The main listing, then a nested department listing for parts and service:

  • Giff Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
    • Giff CDJR Service
    • Giff CDJR Parts

After the update, if they added listings for each brand, they would go from 3 listings to 7:

  • Giff Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
    • Giff Chrysler
    • Giff Dodge
    • Giff Jeep
    • Giff RAM
    • Giff CDJR Service
    • Giff CDJR Parts

When Google released the update, most automotive SEOs (including myself) advised against setting up the additional GMB listings – it simply didn’t make sense to add in more noise to the system.

But yesterday, this new update rolled out and now the departments are listed front-and-center on the Google My Business panel – exactly like they list departments for big box stores like Sam’s Club or Costco.

There was always a huge benefit for adding parts and service departments since the sales hours for a dealership are always different from service hours or parts hours. Once the department listings are created and properly nested, the primary listing shows a “see more hours” link, which then displays the various hours for each department. It’s a much better user experience.

However, it was highly unlikely that any of the department listings would show up in search unless extremely specific queries were entered. It made it difficult for direct customers to leave reviews in the relevant listings without direct links.

With the new update, the departments are listed right under the address for everyone to see on a desktop. On mobile, you have to click “more about the dealership” to see the department list.

It should be obvious to every dealership out there – separate parts and service listings are vital. And now, the recent update allowing for separate department listings for each brand makes much more sense. With the department sub-listings clearly displayed in the main GMB profile, it’s a much better user experience – and it’s a lot more useful for dealerships as well.

If you’re a car dealer, make sure you get your department listings set up immediately – whichever departments you’re eligible for. One last note – this still only applies to new car dealers – if you’re an independent (used car) dealer, you’re still only allowed a single listing for your location.

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  • Tomas says:

    Thanks for bringing us this update, Greg! I was just wondering, I’ve looked at my clients here in Canada (and other dealers) and haven’t seen the KP show the departments as pictured above on the parent profiles. Is this update just being rolled out in the US?

  • Nate Schoell says:

    Even though Google says that it allows 7 listings or more for a CDJR dealership, isn’t this still noise and clutter? It also dilutes the authority. I want all reviews on 1 sales listing. All service&parts on another listing. And all collision center reviews on a third if it applies. Diluting the authority and engagement across so many listings still seems like a bad move. Separate listing for Toyota and Ford, but not 4 for CDJR.

  • Greg Gifford says:

    Nate, it doesn’t dilute authority at all. And it’s not creating noise, now that the main listing is displaying the departments. Separating reviews between brands is a bit extreme, but there’s a LOT of value in separating sales and service reviews. It’s a better customer experience by far, and can ideally help you rank better for service when it’s separated. And for CDJR – you’re going to rank much better for “Jeep dealer” searches if you have a Jeep department…

  • Thank you for this article! This is really very informative for us. I agree with you totally. It gives some true and insightful information on best google updates gmb listings for car dealers again. Great blog to share!!

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