It’s been a hot topic of conversation in the automotive industry this week; will Google immerse itself in the world of automotive by displaying used car stock from dealers? We discuss more and look at the impact this could have here in the UK and when Google For Cars could make an appearance.
The rumour mill
So where did this all come from? Well rumours started to circulate late last week when President of an SEO company in America – Jim Kreinbrink of Hyper Dog Media (@denverseo) – noticed that Google had added two URLs to its robots.txt, which were Disallow: /local/cars/ and Disallow: /local/dealership.
Having seen comments about the discovery on Twitter, it wasn’t long before Barry Schwartz – Contributing Editor to the Search Engine Land website in the United States – published an article online entitled ‘Google local car dealership inventory search results’.
The article went on to discuss that Google seemed to be experimenting in the local car and auto dealership inventory space by testing a new search service. Barry goes on to share the news that by visiting google.com/local/cars, it displays a list of car dealerships in the area.
He also shares that the results are clearly a testing platform as many of the filters aren’t yet working correctly. Since the news broke, Twitter went into meltdown and the testing pages – which also included google.com/local/dealership – have since been removed.
So what does this mean?
Okay, so let’s be clear here. At present, Google has been testing this new service in America only, so there’s not yet any confirmation as to how or when something similar may be rolled out in the UK.
However, the potential that Google has to display stock from dealers across the UK, will of course put them in direct competition with current automotive marketplace giants, such as AutoTrader. In essence, Google will directly feed and display results for used cars in your area, rather than sending users to third party websites.
Is there an official statement from Google?
Google have refrained from making too much comment on the subject, but an official spokesperson has been quoted as saying:
“As part of our continued efforts to connect businesses with potential customers, we have begun working with a select group of car dealers and data providers in the U.S. to pilot new ways in which dealerships can showcase their cars for sale directly on their business profiles on our search platform.”
It is expected that Google will provide this service free of charge, should it continue to roll out this feature across America. There’s been no comment on whether we’ll see a similar initiative executed in the UK, so for now, we’ll wait with bated breath whilst we see how this plays out.
67 Degrees discusses…
As you can imagine, this news has got tongues wagging at 67 Degrees HQ. So what do we make of it all?
We sat down with our CEO, Laura Coleby, our Project Manager, Stuart Harvey, and Kate Berry, Head of PPC, Analytics and Insight here at 67 Degrees, to discuss more. Here’s what they each had to say on the subject:
Stu kicked things off by saying, “The impact of Google testing used car stock could be huge both for dealers and customers, but not necessarily in a negative sense. From what we know so far, it would place extra emphasis on the dealer themselves, ensuring that they have their stock well presented and fully optimised from a data point of view.
“Dealers will need to ensure that all stock is listed correctly to effectively capitalise on results. Website SEO will need to be on point as rankings will be affected and help determine how Google delivers data to the customer.”
Kate adds, “The potential of Vehicle Listings Ads will massively help with enquiries and sales. When Shopping Ads were first introduced, they transformed the conversion rates for e-commerce websites, so we fully anticipate this to have the same impact as it is essentially the same thing – shopping ads for vehicles.
“Of course it means that some dealers will really have to up their games in terms of visual offerings and the quality and accessibility of vehicle photos, as this will be what a user sees from their initial search results.”
Laura rounds things off and says, “Following on from Kate’s point, professionally executed listings will be key in order to entice users to click through to a dealers website. It will be yet another tool to help the consumer find what they want more easily and we’ll be really interested to see how good the roll out is if it is to have an impact here in the UK, and then how well received it is by our dealers.”
It’s certainly one of those ‘watch this space’ moments, so let’s wait and see what Google has in store for car dealers in the UK.
Without knowing when this may happen, feeding your stock through our Facebook Marketplace integration is the next best thing when it comes to making potential customers aware of your dealership and selling cars.
Want to know more? We’ve got you covered. Take a look at our Facebook Marketplace FAQ page to discover how it can benefit you and your dealership by clicking here.