While you can use other traditional methods like TV channels to advertise your dealership, automotive SEO provides a more reliable and effective way to market your dealership.
However, with statistics showing that about 90 percent of searchers don’t go beyond the first page of Google search results, car marketers need to employ the best SEO practices to get the most out of their efforts.
Unfortunately, automotive SEO advice given out there is half-baked or outdated and doesn’t guarantee the top spot on Google or, worse yet, harm your auto dealership’s online performance.
We understand that SEO is not just an option in digital marketing but a necessity. Statistics show that about 53 percent of desktop and mobile users prefer organic search results over paid ads.
Automotive SEO involves numerous tactics marketers should learn to stay ahead of their competitors. It is even more challenging now that Google updates its algorithm every year, significantly impacting your SEO efforts.
To gain that top spot on Google, you must stay updated on these changes and apply them. But don’t worry. We’re here to help. Here we look into the best SEO practices for your car dealership.
Table of Contents
Understanding Automotive SEO – Why Does It Matter?
Automotive SEO involves optimizing a car dealership website for search engines to ensure it’s found for related queries.
It involves numerous onsite and offsite optimizations to improve your dealership rankings in Google and other search engines. The primary goal is to attract car buyers to your website so they can purchase their dream car from you or get any other car service.
Like other buyers, most car buyers start their vehicle buying process online—check this article from Google about a customer’s 900 digital interactions before making a purchase.
Without good automotive SEO, consumers are unlikely to find your dealership when they start their car searching process.
Best Practices for Automotive SEO
Here are the best car dealership SEO practices to ensure you don’t miss out on your next sale due to poor SEO.
Provide Relevant and Useful Automotive Content
Content marketing is a crucial part of your automotive SEO efforts. However, for your content to be impactful, it must be relevant and useful to the users.
Great automotive content goes beyond creating industry news and updating inventory—your content should resonate with real people and provide solutions to real issues.
When creating your content, you should have your dealership’s designated market area (DMA) in mind. People come to Google to find a solution to a problem they want to solve. This can include questions about vehicle specs, in-car technology, pricing, comparison, incentives, offers, local events, etc.
Before you create any automotive content, research what your audience or consumers want. This will guide you in creating a perfect content strategy and ensure that the content you publish on your car dealership website is relevant and useful.
And not just users, Google takes content RELEVANCE seriously and will prioritize relevant and useful content when providing search results to a search query. Google values user experience and will favor sites with good user experience when providing results to a search query.
But you shouldn’t only base your automotive content on audience research and Google—you should also conduct competitor content research.
Here are questions to ask yourself when conducting content competitor research for your automotive dealership:
- Who are your organic competitors?
- How is my competitor’s content doing?
- What type of content is performing best on my competitor’s site?
- What content on my site is performing better than my competitor’s?
- What can I do to increase my page’s ranking?
You should also create content regularly to increase your chances of outperforming competitors. Your content should be interesting and valuable to users.
And your content doesn’t have to be complicated; anything from car maintenance tips to current specials to new model launches to local vehicle events will do.
Automotive Keyword Research
Keywords research is a great SEO strategy when done right.
Automotive keywords are phrases that you want to optimize your car dealership for. These phrases represent your website, online shop, or service.
Users, too, use keywords when searching for something on search engines. That means keywords can be a great source of website traffic when used according to Google Webmaster guidelines.
Keywords research is a great way to understand what your customers are searching for and the type of content they want. Since the automotive industry is competitive, marketers should dig deeper to find the best keywords with low competition and high search volume.
The best approach is to focus on long-tail keywords. Ideally, these are phrases with three or more words that customers use when searching for something.
For instance, when searching for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler vehicle model, customers could use any of these terms:
- 2021 Jeep Wrangler cost
- 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
- 2021 Jeep Wrangler capacity
- 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4-door
Of course, you can also include short keywords but ensure they are competitive and focus on answering customers’ queries.
Here’s what perfect keywords research involves:
- Current keywords analysis: Analyze your website’s current keywords and list the best-performing ones. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help in this regard.
- Competitor keywords analysis: Check for the best performing keywords in your competitor’s site and what category of keywords they may be missing
- Check Google Suggestion: Typing a keyword or target phrase on Google and checking the “people also ask” section can be a great way to find automotive keywords
- Brainstorm: Talk to your team about the possible keywords to include in your automotive SEO strategy
Once you list the best automotive keywords, you can use them moderately in your content, URLs, meta descriptions, H1 and H2s, and image optimization.
However, when doing this, you should avoid these things:
- Keyword stuffing: Unnatural use of keywords in your content to fool search engines to rank your content higher (this no longer works).
- Cloaking: A black hat SEO technique where you show different versions of content to search engines and users
- Not researching your content: Your content should be based on data and research
When you follow the best keyword research practices and usage on your site, your content will be valuable, and search engines will rank it higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Almost all car dealers have claimed their Google My Business Profile. If you’re yet to do it, follow this link to claim it.
Google My Business provides a great way for auto dealers to manage their online presence with Google. However, claiming your Google My Business listing is not enough—you must keep up with all its features to get the most from it.
Here are the basics for optimizing your Google My Business Profile (GBP):
- Business information: Ensure that your contact details, including name, address, and phone number (NAP) format on your Google My Business page, match those on your website. As a rule of thumb, use the same NAP format on all sites mentioning your business.
- Categories: What products and services do your dealership offer? Depending on your dealership, you may want to include New Car Dealer (include the models), Used Car dealer, Truck Dealer, Repair and Service, etc., on your GBP dashboard.
- Reviews: Customer reviews provide a great way to interact with your customers about your car dealership. Encourage customer reviews and respond to positive and negative reviews to encourage engagement and show commitment.
- Questions & Answers: Q&A offers another platform to interact with customers in Google Business Profile. Respond to these questions promptly and provide excellent answers to ensure they get the information they want.
- Google Posts: This free tool in your Google My Business listing allows you to post about your new models, vehicle specials, and upcoming local vehicle events.
Optimizing your Google Business Profile with these basics will help boost your local results and give your dealership a wider reach.
Optimize for Local Search
In addition to Google My Business Profile above, car dealerships should make local SEO part of their automotive SEO.
Ideally, customers expect to see local businesses in their search results when they perform a local search. For instance, when a searcher goes into their browser and type “best Mercedes dealer in California,” they don’t expect to see businesses in Michigan, for example.
Search engines consider many things when providing results for a local query, including distance, proximity, relevance, and reviews.
One way you can dominate local searches is by providing locally focused content that signals Google that you’re an authority in the area.
As such, when looking for an automotive SEO agency to handle SEO for your dealership, ensure they provide a special segment for local SEO services.
Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
The latest statistics state that over 59.4 percent of all website traffic comes from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This presents a great ranking opportunity for your auto dealership if your website loads smoothly on mobile devices.
If you’re yet to take mobile-friendliness seriously, consider that about 53 percent of mobile users leave a site and never return if it doesn’t load beautifully on mobile devices.
Considering these statistics, you could lose more than 50 percent of automotive traffic if you’ve not optimized your site for mobile devices. This translates to many missed car-selling and service opportunities and income loss.
This shouldn’t be the case. Talk to your web developer to make changes to your site to ensure it loads smoothly on mobile devices to ensure searchers spend more time on your site. Ultimately, this will help boost your rankings and more traffic.
Optimize Your Automotive Dealership for Voice Search
Optimizing your automotive dealership for voice search makes a lot of sense today.
Google statistics show that about 27 percent of the global population use voice search on mobile devices (remember we stated in the above point that about 57 percent of mobile traffic is from mobile devices).
Other reports show that over 40 percent of the American population (about 135.6 million) use voice search features.
If you’re not yet convinced, how about the fact that voice searches on mobile devices are more likely to be local searches?
That means your potential car buyers might be searching for the best car dealership in your locality via voice search, meaning you should optimize for voice search to get your share of this traffic.
Here are steps to optimize your car dealership for voice search:
- Optimize your meta descriptions, title tags, and headings for voice search
- Create clear, easy-to-understand content
- Minimize load times, especially for mobile devices
- Create a frequently asked question (FAQ) page
- Include a call to action (CTA)
The best approach when optimizing your car dealership for voice search is to optimize for customer experience.
Automotive Marketing Videos
YouTube is the number two most popular search engine after Google. As such, videos are a great way to market your car dealership and boost your automotive.
With an average person spending more than 100 minutes daily on online videos, automotive video marketing provides a great way to introduce and market your dealership to a global audience.
In fact, customers are more likely to watch an automotive video than read a block of text on the same.
Have you searched for something on Google only to see a YouTube video among the top search engine results pages? We bet you have. This indicates that YouTube is a powerful SEO tool that car dealerships can use.
However, for your videos to appear in search results, you must ensure they are properly optimized. The best way to achieve this is to ensure that your videos are keyword-rich and make your video short, interesting, and valuable.
After creating your automotive videos and publishing them, promote them through social media and other online channels.
Here are some useful automotive video marketing ideas:
- Create how-to videos
- Customer testimonials
- Test drive videos
- Sales event video
- Offer tips and valuable vehicle information
- Video tours of your vehicles
As stated, people watch several videos a week, especially via mobile devices.
When you create properly optimized and valuable automotive videos that people like, they’ll watch them more and even share them with other people.
Google will notice this and will show them when people perform a related search on its search engine.
This will have a huge positive impact on your automotive SEO and create more lead-generation opportunities.
Get High-Quality Automotive Backlinks
Link-building is another great strategy to boost SEO for your automotive dealership.
Ideally, the more high-quality third-party websites point to your site, the more relevant and trustworthy your business is to Google and other search engines.
In other words, backlinks or inbound links are a vital part of an effective link-building strategy and are a great way to drive organic traffic to your automotive website.
To get quality backlinks, however, you should have unique and high-quality content on your site (link-worthy content).
One of the ways you can get high-quality local backlinks is by requesting inbound links from local businesses and organizations that Google regards as having high authority. For instance, you can consider reputable local auto parts distributors and local teams and charities you support.
Market Your Car Dealership with Perfect Automotive SEO
When done right, the above SEO strategies can help get your auto dealership the top spot on Google and other search engines. However, since SEO is a long-term game that requires special skills and experience, it’s best to work with a reputable SEO agency to get the desired results.
At AlchemyLeads, we have what it takes to handle your automotive SEO. We’re a full-house SEO company with a reputation for providing good SEO to companies in various industries, including automotive.
Ready to take your car dealership to the next level using SEO? Contact us now, as we’re always ready to help.