For local businesses, getting a high rank on Google can be a daunting task. So much so, that many opt to pay for the number one spot. However, this is only a short-term solution. With good practice and ongoing education in SEO, local businesses can see fruitful returns from the search engine giant.

For car dealerships, search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential. These days, many people prefer to do their research before visiting dealership showrooms. This is so they can get a feel for the seller, its price ranges and available models. 

While buying a car is a big investment purchase, you cannot count on every customer to scroll through every search engine result to find your business. That’s why you need to invest in learning SEO techniques – so you can get on your customer’s radar and prove better than the rest.

SEO for Car Dealerships

What is SEO for Car Dealerships?

SEO for car dealers relates to boosting your visibility online. So that prospective customers can easily find you when searching for certain terms associated with your business. It is a strand of online marketing that is technical, but if you learn the basics, it can reap many benefits.

Car dealer SEO has to be centred on locality and unique selling points. By making these two aspects the focal point of your SEO efforts, you will entice greater traffic in your immediate catchment area.

To do this, you need to ensure that your site includes key pieces of information. With this in mind, here’s a few ways you can enhance your SEO.

side of blue mini in car dealership
Car dealerships, no matter where they’re based, need to embrace local SEO and reflect key USPs online. Image credit: Ildar Garifullin via Unsplash

Car Dealership SEO: Where Should I Start?

Believe it or not, just a few simple steps will help improve your car dealership’s SEO game. What’s important is starting in the right places, with the right tactics. According to Moz, where the real opportunity lies is in Google My Business and customer reviews. Collectively, these two make up 40% of local referral traffic.

Google My Business

Google My Business has boomed over recent years. That’s because it is essentially a shop window Google opened up for your business.

In more detail, Google My Business is a prime opportunity for a business to sell themselves and interact with customers in a convenient, condensed format. In SEO terms, it is a tool that allows you to provide searchers and algorithms with vital details about your business, including:

Contact Information

This includes your business name, physical address, phone number and email address. This is important because it helps to localise your business. You should also use this as a benchmark for information that should be included on all your online platforms, including your website and social media channels.

Categories

With Google My Business, you can select certain categories to describe what your dealership offers. So make sure you choose wisely and accurately, with the searcher in mind. These categories help steer Google to connect you with potential customers, but don’t go overboard with selecting too many. Your best option is to be specific and straight to the point, while covering what your dealership offers in a nutshell. Some categories you can choose from are:

  • Car dealer
  • Used car dealer
  • New car dealer
  • *Insert car brand name* dealer

Photos and Videos

Images are a great way to visually illustrate your business. Google itself recommends helpful photos, including:

  • Exterior photos
  • Your logo
  • New arrivals to your dealership

These are all important to boost recognition and the more frequently you update, the better. Google uses photo engagement to help rank businesses in local search. Meaning the more people are checking your images, the more value Google can see you providing.

It is key to note that you should always take high quality photos if you plan to showcase them online. If an image is blurry, this could impact your bounce rate and in turn, your SEO.

For videos, Google My Business recently enabled businesses to upload 30-second videos to their listing. 

Videos are a great way to show off unique aspects of your dealership. These can include a walk-through of your dealership interiors, or a ‘what’s new’ tour.  This way, you are encouraging people to find out more about your dealership.

Reviews

Your reviews are one of the first things people will see when they Google your dealership. This is because 95% of people aged 18-34 actively read reviews before buying from a business. 

Google wants to show only the best to its searchers. So ensure you ask your happy customers to leave reviews on your listing and that you respond promptly to these. Both quality and quantity of reviews come into play here, so you can push this message to your salespeople to mention, too.

Online Directories

Similar to Google My Business, you can use multiple online directories to boost your dealership’s rank and backlink profile. For SEO, backlinks are especially valuable because they represent a ‘vote of confidence’ from one site to another. This builds Google’s trust in your site, and offers an alternative way to be found online.

Look out for automotive directories that are specific to your niche. This means you are accurately targeting and connecting with those who are intentionally seeking car dealers. You can use paid-for and free online directories, including Yelp and Yell.

As previously mentioned, ensure you include all key info, such as your business name, address and phone number at minimum. Also make sure this information is consistent with your Google My Business listing. 

car dealership, row of cars outside in car park with sun shining in top right hand corner

Your Website

SEO should be at the core of your website. If it isn’t, then you will lose out to your competitors. While this may sound like a challenge – there’s plenty of easy ways you can tweak your SEO for the better.

Select Long-Tail Keywords

Choosing the right keywords has long been a key part of SEO practice. You want to pick keywords that have a high search volume, mid-to-low competition and are relevant to your business. The best way you can do this, is by putting yourself in the position of the searcher.

Long-tail keywords are slightly longer than your usual keyword combinations. However, they are more beneficial for car dealers. For example: if someone searches for a certain car model, you have a better chance of ranking highly for this rather than something generic like ‘Audi cars’.

Optimise Your Images

Images online are not just used to attract potential buyers, they are also used to dictate to Google that your image is informative and useful.

For example, if you have an image of a certain car, ensure you follow these steps to optimise it fully:

  • If you are posting an image of the interior of a certain car, name the picture something like: ‘picture-of-XXX-front-seat-interior.png’
  • For this, use the alt-text to describe the image to cater to those with visual impairments. This will also tell Google exactly what the image is. This could be formatted as: ‘Picture of XXX front seat interior for sale at XXX’
  • Include keywords in any image description, this could include the name, model and colour of the car.

Create Valuable Content

Your site’s SEO can be improved hugely by writing specialist content. This could be a blog section on your website, where you give a detailed answer to common questions customers ask. This is a great opportunity for you to showcase your expertise, and boost your rank with more content and keywords.

Your content should be well-optimised, this means:

  • Your blog should be 800 words or over
  • You have an elected keyword in the title, headings and body
  • Your content is written simply and concisely
  • You have images scattered throughout
  • You have internal links to other pages on your site

With highly-optimised content, you are providing your readers with helpful information that is enjoyable to read. This means, the longer people spend on your site, the more you are proving to Google that your site is valuable. In turn, this is highly beneficial for boosting SEO.

Good SEO for car dealerships can be achieved through many methods, including making use of a mixture of external and internal means. This involves setting up a strong Google My Business listing, investing time in online reviews and directories, and giving your own designated site a content refresh. 

Create Video Content for Your Car Dealership

It should come as no surprise that video content is a very useful tool when it comes to marketing and improving the SEO of your car dealership.

It allows potential buyers to learn about your products and services in a format which is known to hold user attention for a longer time.

According to WYZOwl, “94 per cent of marketers say using video has helped increase user understanding of a product or service”. In the end, buying a car is a big decision and potential buyers are more likely to buy a car when they know more about it.

When it comes to SEO specifically, video content for car dealerships allows your website to generate what’s known as “long clicks” which keep users on your website for longer periods of time. 

This is a good signal for search engines that tell them the user is having a positive experience on your site because they are staying longer and not bouncing off. Search engines need to consider this because they want to provide websites to their customers i.e. the searchers, that also provide positive user experiences.

Filming Guide for Car Dealerships 

If you’re interested in creating video content to improve the SEO for your car dealership, check out our handy car filming guide below from our sister site Amazing Cars and Drives.

Video Content Examples for Car Dealerships

Below are some examples of the types of video content a car dealership could create to help market their products but also improve their SEO. For more example you can visit the Amazing Cars and Drives YouTube Channel here.

Improving Site Architecture for Car Dealerships: Guiding Potential Buyers to the Right Destination

A well-structured website is like a well-designed showroom—it guides visitors seamlessly to the vehicles that match their needs and preferences. Here’s how to create a clear and intuitive site architecture for your car dealership:

1. Main Pages as Showroom Sections:

  • Homepage: The storefront, showcasing top-selling models, special offers, and compelling calls to action.
  • New Vehicles: Highlight brand-new inventory with detailed specs, photos, and videos.
  • Used Vehicles: Organize used cars by make, model, year, mileage, and price, making it easy for bargain hunters to find their perfect fit.
  • About Us: Build trust and credibility by sharing your dealership’s history, mission, team, and customer testimonials.
  • Financing: Provide transparent information about financing options, rates, and online pre-approval to streamline the process.
  • Service and Parts: Showcase your maintenance and repair services, genuine parts availability, and online scheduling options.
  • Contact Us: Offer clear contact information, directions, and a convenient contact form for inquiries.

2. Subdirectories as Detailed Aisles:

  • Create subpages beneath main pages to provide more in-depth information and organize inventory further:
    • Subdirectories for specific brands (e.g., “Honda,” “Toyota,” “Ford”)
    • Segments for vehicle types (e.g., “SUVs,” “Trucks,” “Sedans,” “Electric Vehicles”)
    • Categories for special offers or promotions (e.g., “Clearance,” “Military Discounts”)

3. Categories and Filters: Navigating the Lot Effortlessly:

  • Implement robust categorization and filtering systems to help customers refine their searches:
    • Filter by make, model, year, price range, mileage, color, features, fuel type, transmission, and more.
    • Provide intuitive search functionality and autocomplete suggestions for a smooth browsing experience.

4. Lead Generation Forms: Capturing Interest at Every Turn:

  • Strategically place lead generation forms on key pages:
    • Homepage for general inquiries and test drive requests.
    • Vehicle detail pages to capture interest in specific models.
    • Finance page for financing inquiries and credit pre-approval.
    • Trade-in page to initiate trade-in value estimates.
    • Service and parts page to schedule appointments or request quotes.
  • Keep forms concise, asking for essential information like name, email, phone number, and vehicle interest.

Enhancing On-Page SEO for Car Dealerships: Signaling Relevance to Search Engines and Shoppers

On-page SEO is like tuning up a vehicle for optimal performance. It involves optimizing individual pages to rank higher in search results and provide a better user experience. Here’s how to fine-tune your dealership’s website for on-page SEO success:

1. Keyword Placement: Strategically Positioning Your Message

  • Page Titles: Craft compelling titles that include both primary and secondary keywords related to the page’s content (e.g., “New 2024 Honda Accord Hybrid in Chicago | Best Fuel Efficiency”).
  • Headings (H1, H2, H3): Structure content with clear headings that incorporate relevant keywords, making it easier for users and search engines to scan and understand key points.
  • Meta Descriptions: Write engaging meta descriptions that summarize the page’s content and entice clicks, further incorporating keywords for visibility.
  • Image Alt Text: Describe images accurately using keywords in the alt text, making them accessible for visually impaired users and searchable by engines.
  • Body Content: Craft informative and engaging content that naturally incorporates relevant keywords, providing value to readers and signaling relevance to search algorithms.

2. Optimizing for Mobile Speed: Keeping Up with Fast-Paced Shoppers

  • Image Compression: Reduce image file sizes without sacrificing quality to ensure faster loading times on mobile devices.
  • Lazy Loading: Load images only when they’re visible in the viewport, improving initial page load speed.
  • Minify CSS and JavaScript: Reduce code size and improve rendering speed.
  • Leverage Caching: Store frequently accessed data in the user’s browser to reduce server requests and speed up subsequent visits.
  • Mobile-Responsive Design: Ensure website elements adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes for optimal viewing on all devices.

Additional Tips:

  • Internal Linking: Create a web of interconnected pages by linking to relevant internal content, enhancing user experience and distributing link equity throughout your site.
  • Fresh Content: Regularly publish new content, such as blog posts or videos, to keep your website updated and attract search engines and visitors.
  • Schema Markup: Implement structured data to provide more detailed information to search engines, potentially leading to rich snippets in search results.
  • URL Structure: Create clear and concise URLs that include relevant keywords, making them more user-friendly and easier for search engines to understand.

Backlinks are like votes of confidence in the online world. The more high-quality links pointing to your website, the more credible and relevant search engines deem your dealership. Here’s how to attract impactful backlinks and boost your SEO:

1. Targeted Outreach: Pitching Your Worth to Relevant Sites

  • Identify Relevant Targets: Research automotive blogs, review platforms, local news websites, and regional car enthusiast forums.
  • Craft Personalized Pitches: Don’t send generic emails! Highlight specific content on your website relevant to their audience and explain how linking to your inventory pages benefits them (e.g., providing readers with detailed vehicle information and local purchase options).
  • Offer Value Over Sales: Focus on providing valuable resources like guest blog posts, informative infographics, or exclusive vehicle reviews in exchange for backlinks.

2. Directory Listings: Claiming Your Automotive Footprint

  • Get Listed on Major Auto Sites: Register your dealership on prominent automotive directories like Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, and Cars.com to increase visibility and attract referral traffic.
  • Local SEO Powerhouse: Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing with accurate information, photos, and positive customer reviews. Explore other local directories relevant to your region and niche (e.g., city business listings, auto clubs).

3. Local Partnerships: Synergizing with Trusted Neighbors

  • Collaborate with Repair Shops and Garages: Partner with local repair shops and garages to offer exclusive deals on car maintenance or service packages to their customers in exchange for referral links or joint marketing initiatives.
  • Sponsor Local Events: Get involved in community events like car shows, charity drives, or sports tournaments to gain brand visibility and build relationships with potential customers, encouraging them to link to your website in event promotions or news coverage.

4. Quality over Quantity: Remember, it’s not just about the number of backlinks, but their quality and relevance. Focus on securing links from authoritative websites in your niche to ensure maximum SEO impact.

Additional Tips:

  • Monitor Your Backlink Profile: Utilize tools like Google Search Console or Ahrefs to track your backlinks, identifying and disavowing any potentially harmful links.
  • Social Media Promotion: Share your valuable content and linkable assets on social media platforms to increase its reach and attract potential backlinks.
  • Create Shareable Content: Design visually appealing infographics, informative blog posts, or engaging videos that people will want to share, naturally attracting backlinks.
  • Stay Updated with Industry Trends: Monitor the latest SEO guidelines and adapt your link-building strategies accordingly to remain competitive.

FAQ: Revving Up Your Dealership Blog for SEO Success

Q: What types of posts should I prioritize for my dealership blog?

A: Focus on content that informs and interests potential buyers, like model comparisons, maintenance tips, DIY guides, team profiles, local events, and dealership news.

Q: How often should I post new content?

A: Aim for consistency! Regular posting, even once or twice a week, keeps your audience engaged and signals freshness to search engines.

Q: How can I optimize my blog posts for SEO?

A: Research and incorporate relevant keywords, interlink with your website, use visuals, promote on social media, and include clear calls to action.

Q: Where can I find inspiration for blog post ideas?

A: Monitor popular automotive blogs, analyze competitor content, listen to customer inquiries, and stay informed about industry trends.

Q: How can I track the success of my dealership blog?

A: Utilize analytics tools like Google Analytics to monitor traffic sources, user engagement, and conversions originating from your blog.

Conclusion: Unleashing the Power of Content Marketing for Your Dealership

Building a successful dealership blog requires more than just words; it’s about strategically crafting content that resonates with your target audience, establishes your expertise, and drives website traffic that converts into valuable leads and sales. By implementing the tips and strategies outlined in this guide, you can transform your blog into a powerful SEO tool that fuels your online presence and propels your dealership towards a thriving future.

Remember, the road to online success is paved with consistent effort, data-driven adjustments, and a passion for delivering valuable content that engages and informs your audience. So, buckle up, unleash your creativity, and start writing your dealership’s online success story one captivating blog post at a time!

At ProfileTree, we are an SEO company who can help you make the most of these for your car dealership business. For more information, contact us today.

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