November 24, 2023

Increase Your Leads with SEO for Car Dealerships

Buying a car is a huge deal, that's why the automotive industry has one of the most complex buyer's journeys. People watch test drives on YouTube, read car reviews, check out valuations on Kelly Blue Book, and browse user testimonials before purchasing a car.

The buying process is almost all digital now. Car dealers shouldn't expect in-person visits or phone inquiries just by running TV commercials or doing print ads. Those days are long gone.

What's more, it takes multiple touchpoints and could take weeks before car buyers decide. Your car dealership has to be visible to the buyer at the right moments in order to close the deal.

These facts make one thing extremely clear: your car dealership has to stand out online and be readily accessible to car buyers at crucial moments. You can do that with SEO for car dealerships. Following the strategies we're about to show you will push your business to the forefront of local dealerships.

Car dealer SEO strategies:

  1. Pick the right keywords
  2. Publish helpful content
  3. Showcase your credentials
  4. Make your website search-engine-friendly
  5. Optimize your website for smartphones
  6. Implement the Autodealer markup
  7. Get some backlinks to your website
  8. Claim and optimize your business listings
  9. Build and maintain your reputation

Pick the right keywords

For your car dealership to appear in organic search results, you must first know the search queries people use to find cars in Google. Tools like the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer will help you discover keywords, show the level of competition, and provide an estimated search volume (number of people who use a keyword per month).

The secret to picking the right relevant keywords is to select ones with low competition (preferably 20/100 or below) but also have a decent search volume.

For example, if your used car dealership is new or not well-established yet, it's not a good idea to select "used car dealers near me" as your main keyword. Sure, the search volume is high but so is the level of competition. Reserve these high-competition keywords when your website is established enough.

ahrefs keyword research tool

Examples of relevant keywords for car dealerships

Search volume and competition is not the only factor you should look at, you must also understand the intent behind the keywords. Some keywords infer that a person is looking for information while some infer that someone is ready to buy.

A person at the start of the buying process seeks information and will usually google keywords/phrases like "what's the most fuel-efficient used car". A person ready to buy will probably google "buy used toyota prius" or other similar keywords.

Understanding the intent will come in handy in the content creation process.

Publish helpful content

Publishing people-first content is arguably the most important SEO strategy not just for car dealerships, but for all businesses.

Google's automated ranking systems are designed to present helpful, reliable information that's primarily created to benefit people...

Some managers make the mistake of restricting their car dealership websites' content to posting only special promotions. That only serves people who are ready to buy but what about the people who are in the research phase? Your car dealership can serve these potential customers by regularly publishing content in a blog or guide section on your website.

So, what should be the focus of your articles on a car dealership blog? The results of your keyword research, of course. Earlier we discussed keywords and user intent, now you must match them with appropriate content.

Let's go back to the previous example and put this into practice. People searching for "most fuel-efficient used car" or "used car with best fuel efficiency" are still researching and not yet committed to making a purchase. Your car dealership website can help them by publishing an article with a list of the most fuel-efficient cars along with their prices. Then at the end of the article, you can subtly pitch your car inventory to the reader.

car dealer seo strategy- publish helpful content

Repeat the process and publish articles designed to help people in different parts of the car buyers' journey.

Don't forget to utilize keywords in the content, otherwise, your website will never appear in search engine results pages. Be careful not to overuse keywords though as you'd get in trouble. Think of keywords as spices, a pinch here and there would suffice.

Showcase your credentials

Google's search algorithm prioritizes trust and favors authoritative websites in its search rankings. It assesses not only the content itself but also the background sources, the author's credibility, and the reputation of the website hosting the content.

So your car dealer website published a blog about engine maintenance. Was it written by a mechanic or by one of your salespeople? Remember, content written by an expert has more bearing than one written by a novice.

So at the end of your content, feature an author bio to signal both readers and search engines that the content is crafted by a knowledgeable expert.

auto dealers seo strategy - credible author bio

Another effective way for your car dealership website to establish its credibility is by backing up your content with verifiable references. This can be achieved by citing sources or including links to the original information.

Furthermore, showcasing any industry affiliations or other forms of recognition can significantly strengthen the perceived credibility of your car dealer website.

Make your website search-engine-friendly

Broken pages, a flawed website layout, and various other problems can obstruct or even stop Googlebot from indexing your site. These issues negate the benefits of your outstanding content as neither people nor Google can access them.

Ensuring your website is in optimal condition is an important car dealer SEO strategy that's why your team should routinely carry out technical SEO audits and rectify any issues. Just like you want your car to be in good shape, you'd want to do the same for your website too.

Making your website search-engine-friendly can be particularly challenging because there's some coding involved. We advise working with your web developer and meticulously reviewing every page element as outlined in this SEO audit template. The accompanying guide also provides insights into various page-related issues you might come across.

Optimize your website for smartphones

According to a study, potential car buyers spend almost 15 hours researching before deciding what car to buy and from where. That, and the fact that over half the world's population uses mobile devices to browse the internet are reasons why auto dealers should optimize their websites for mobile devices.  Those that overlook mobile SEO are losing out on untold numbers of potential customers.

The encouraging part is that your car dealership has the opportunity to seize a huge chunk of the market by making your website mobile-responsive.

Work with your web developer again to configure your site to load instantly and automatically adjust depending on the user's screen size. This is a very complicated undertaking but the good news is we've written a separate guide to help you and your developer. Check out our How to optimize a landing page for SEO guide for more information.

Implement the Autodealer markup

The Schema or structured data markup makes it easier for search engines to understand and display the information on your website.

Don't worry, you don't have to be a web developer to create one. Use this Schema Markup Generator to create the Autodealer markup from scratch. All you have to do is input some details and the tool will generate the code for you. You can find the AutoDealer type by selecting Local Business and then AutomotiveBusiness.

schema markup for an automotive website

Get some backlinks to your website

Backlinks from authoritative websites are absolutely vital for climbing search engine rankings. We mentioned before that Google's algorithm is based on trust so think of each backlink as a vote of confidence. When your website garners a backlink, it's as if the linking site is endorsing yours.

Accumulate a substantial number of these endorsements, and you effectively communicate to Google that your site is a credible source of information. In short, earning Google's trust through backlinks will have a positive effect on your website's ranking.

But how do you actually earn a backlink from another website? For car dealerships, the path to acquiring these valuable local links often lies in the heart of community engagement and sponsorships.

If your dealership contributes to a local charity, politely ask that your generosity be recognized with a sponsor listing on the charity's website. You can do the same if you sponsor local events or sports teams.

You can also harness the power of media to secure backlinks. If there's something noteworthy occurring at your dealership, craft a compelling news piece and distribute it to local media outlets and relevant publications. These online publications will usually link to your car dealership website in return for the news coverage.

But whether it's about a charity event you've supported or a local initiative you've spearheaded, make sure it's a story that resonates with your audience.

Claim and optimize your business listings

You might have observed detailed information boxes about local businesses that popped up on your Google search results. These visually striking business profiles are not mere chance occurrences; the information came from a company's Google Business Profile (GBP).

google business profile, google maps

By claiming your free GBP, your car dealership can set up your own colorful and informative box. The process is straightforward and takes just a few minutes, but the impact on your business's online visibility can be substantial.

Don't just stop there, create your car dealer profile on Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Bing Places, Facebook, and other business listings. Make sure that the information you provide remains consistent and updated regularly across all platforms to avoid confusion. You don't want to send potential customers to the wrong address, would you?

Build and maintain your reputation

Online reviews influence 92% of consumers and 40% of those consumers form their opinions about a product or service after perusing merely 1 to 3 reviews. There's even a study from way back in 2015 stating that only a mere 13% of potential customers are likely to engage with a business that has an average review score of 1 or 2 stars.

This is quite concerning if you're a car dealer with a few reviews but here are some tips to build your reputation.

To enhance your rep, the first step is to actively pursue positive reviews. Start by reaching out to your existing customer base and invite them to share their feedback on your Google Business Profile/Google Maps listing. Their insights are not just valuable for accumulating reviews; they can also guide you in identifying areas for improvement or adjustment in your business.

Following each sale, make it a practice to send an email to your customer inquiring about their satisfaction with the service or purchase. Encourage them to leave a review on multiple platforms other than Google Maps. You can give incentives like discounts on preventive maintenance checkups in exchange for a favorable review.

You may also create a dedicated page on your website with clear instructions on how customers can review your business. This approach not only makes it easier for customers to leave reviews but also demonstrates your commitment to customer feedback and continuous improvement.

We're here to help

If you read it this far, thanks for reading our guide. We hope that the car dealer SEO strategies we've shared will enhance your online presence and boost your leads.

However, if you need SEO technical assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Serphead. Our team of seasoned SEO experts is prepared to tackle complicated challenges and tailor the perfect strategy for your needs.

We have the right professional for the job whether it's local SEO, content writing, technical SEO, building links, or any aspect of search engine optimization. Let's team up and make your car dealership's online presence felt!

Sergei Ivanov

Sergei Ivanov

Co-Founder and CEO of Serphead

Sergei has more than a decade of experience blending data-driven insights with SEO strategies to enhance online visibility and user engagement. He has been providing practical guidance for businesses and individuals navigating the digital landscape since 2012.