Your car dealership or automotive repair shop probably has a Google listing already, but is that enough to get the business you want? In today’s competitive automotive industry, having a bare-bones internet presence doesn’t cut it. When people search for your type of business, you need to appear in the top results so potential customers can find you. But how can you make your business stand out among the competition?

Enter search engine optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a website or online listing by ensuring that it appears near the top of the search results. By better optimizing your content for search engines, you’ll increase the number of people who find you in online searches, resulting in more leads and sales.

Like any other business, your car dealership or automotive repair shop specifically needs automotive SEO. With this guide, you’ll uncover industry-specific SEO and content marketing tactics that will help your company rank higher on search engines.

What does SEO mean for car dealers and automotive repair shops?

As a business that people visit in person, your SEO strategy should focus primarily on your local area. Google Business Profile (GBP) is the leading business listing to focus on. One of the biggest mistakes companies make in their online marketing efforts is failing to correct their GBP listing information.

Did you know that anyone can “suggest an edit” to a business on Google? That means that if you don’t fill out your GBP listing, someone else might — and it could be your competitor. This is why “claiming” your business on GBP is vital. You may have already done that once, but what you might not know is that Google recently started allowing you to add more details. So be sure to fill out your company’s GBP listing completely.

automotive SEO
This GBP listing with an average rating of 4.5 stars is a great example of automotive SEO.

How SEO fits into an automotive shop marketing plan

Your competitors are also advertising online, so you’ll need to focus on SEO as part of your marketing efforts. Automotive SEO is basically a combination of general SEO, local SEO, and industry-specific marketing techniques. You probably already know a lot about your target customers such as what kind of cars they drive. For those individuals to find you online, you’ll need to combine that knowledge with proven SEO techniques.

How to implement SEO into an automotive website

Your website serves as an important home base where you’ll be funneling internet traffic. Make sure your business website is well-designed and easy to navigate, and don’t forget to use its built-in features to include:

  • Page headings
  • Meta descriptions
  • Alt tags

Each of those fields is an opportunity to include information that appeals to your target audience. Another effective SEO technique is to increase your site’s credibility through something called link building. Basically, link building means having other related websites link to your site. 

For example, an auto insurance agent in your area might be willing to include a link on their website to your car dealership or automotive repair shop. Including your URL in social media posts on various platforms is another great way to get exposure. 

One of the most critical components of a successfully optimized automotive website is the presence of keywords, so you’ll want to include them both in your meta information as well as in the wording of your web pages.

How to do keyword research to identify the best keywords

Keywords are search terms you type in when looking for something. They are often phrases consisting of two words or more. You’ll probably use a few relevant keywords by accident when describing your company’s location and services on your website and in your GBP listing. Still, to really break the internet, you’ll need to make a concerted effort to include exact phrases that people are searching for. This is called keyword research. Here’s how to get started:

  • Brainstorm — Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine which words they might type into a search engine when looking for the services your business provides. 
  • Use the Google auto-completion feature — Google keeps track of search queries and basically predicts your search’s next word based on what’s popular. Paying attention to what Google predicts will give you ideas for keywords.
  • Utilize a keyword tool — Using a website building software that includes a built-in keyword tool will ensure you don’t miss out on the top keywords in the automotive industry.

Whether you’re brainstorming for relevant phrases, using a keyword tool, or both, be sure to think outside the box. For example, the best car dealer SEO keywords aren’t only about cars. Since your business provides financing, you’ll also want to throw in some details about the purchasing process. Think about the questions a potential customer might be asking such as, “Do dealerships take personal checks?”

How content marketing can boost automotive SEO

Perhaps you’re already doing everything mentioned so far, but you still aren’t ranking in the top results. If that’s the case, having a static website isn’t enough. One way to give your automotive SEO a shot in the arm is by implementing a content marketing strategy

Content marketing is an approach to online advertising that provides free information with the goal of selling a product or service. For example, a helpful blog post on how to change your own oil could include local keywords and a “call to action” at the end, steering customers toward contacting your auto repair shop.

Pretty much any Google search will yield blog posts in the results which is another reason why having a blog on your website is becoming increasingly popular. Even if you don’t directly get business due to someone reading one of your articles, just having additional content linking back to your main page will help boost it in search results. Unless you’re the only game in town and already at the top of everyone’s search, you need a blog.

Every strategically placed keyword or carefully crafted blog post can bring you closer to a top position on Google. Internal linking between your blog posts is also beneficial, and it increases visitors’ likelihood of getting caught in your ever-expanding web of content. 

The goal is to build a large enough library of information so that people can’t help but find out about your business. Signing up for an easy-to-use website builder with blogging capabilities and a built-in keyword tool is probably the simplest solution for quickly cranking out blog posts.

Final thoughts:

Now that you understand the nuts and bolts of automotive SEO for car dealers and repair shops and how to achieve it, it’s time to take action. Remember: With a dealership or repair shop, your SEO tactics need to target people in your local area. Research keywords geared toward local searches and include plenty of valuable content on your website. Be sure to optimize your business listings and consider starting a blog.