In the modern world of the car dealer, SEO is important to establishing strong sales channels locally and outside of state lines. But few are actually doing it.

In the following article, we’re going to talk about how you can set yourself apart through the art of SEO and leave your competition behind. Let’s begin!

How SEO Can Set Your Dealership Apart

Backing up for just a bit, let’s describe what SEO is for those of you who don’t know. It stands for “search engine optimization.”

Many people think they know how SEO works. But it’s a field of marketing technology that has changed drastically over the years.

In the early days of the Internet, it was about keyword stuffing. Gradually, Google’s artificial intelligence was able to learn from how searchers were using the data. The arrival of the BERT update meant content had to be more conversational and “for humans” than ever before.

As long as you commit to these changes as a car dealer, SEO can work to your advantage. It does so in the following ways.

It Expands Your Audience

Using SEO in the right way helps you to reach many more people than you would otherwise. Targeting the right keywords — and they don’t necessarily have to be the most popular — ensures people find you whenever they have a question or comment on which your page can enlighten them.

Capitalizes on Local Sales

In the same way that SEO allows you to reach out-of-state customers or even international in some cases, it is useful at increasing exposure locally.

Local SEO and other SEO-minded technological advancements we’ll get into in a bit are good ways to get ranked with an audience without having to endure a lot of heavy competition over keyword bids.

Solidifies Branding

Much of what makes SEO work is persistence and frequency. You have to be keeping your site’s content fresh and dynamic. That can be a lot of work, but you’re also killing two pints with one swig.

That constant exposure creates a high volume of impressions. And those impressions help to spread and solidify your brand with the people whose searches are most likely to discover it.

Other Dealerships Do Not Prioritize It

Seriously, many dealerships are still so ingrained in doing things the old way that they barely have a social media presence. And if they do have one, they’re paying an unmotivated college student less-than-minimum wage to manage everything.

You can do better. And in the next 10 SEO for car dealers best practices, we’ll show you exactly how. Let’s roll.

1. Choose Great Keywords

Keyword research tools are abundant, but they’re not all created equal. Don’t think simply entering one or two general keywords will get you the results you’re after.

The one- or two-word keywords are usually so general they’re useless, or they’re so common there’s going to be fierce competition for them. You need a different approach.

Fortunately, Google makes it easy to find what it calls long-tail keywords. Start by going to the home page and asking a simple question. This will bring up related questions of real things people are asking.

Compile a list of those that are most relevant to you. Then, get ready for the next step.

2. Invest in Content

Any successful auto dealer SEO plan will require some investment in content. While your experience likely is good enough for you to handle the content on your own, it’s unlikely you’ve got time for developing content while doing everything else at the dealership.

Do some independent research. See what companies and freelancers are charging for content. Or consider partnering with a digital marketing agency that handles content syndication.

3. Get Optimized

Another integral part of the dealer SEO strategy is to optimize every aspect of your page. Tag written content, images, and videos appropriately so engines will have an easy time finding them.

Think about investing in a plugin that tracks SEO. Last but not least, consider paying your content creator a little something extra to make sure each aspect of SEO is addressed on your page.

4. Monitor Your Results

Auto search engines — Google is among the best — will offer an extensive suite of analytical tools. Use these daily to ensure you know the amount of traffic, where it’s coming from, and when your busiest times of the day are.

5. Test Regularly

As you move toward auto sales on the search engines, you’ll want to invest in paid advertising. Test out different keyword combinations and message tones to see what gives you the most bang for your bucks. Always be working to beat your best ad or content piece.

6. Apply Yourself Offline

While local SEO and geotargeting are great for intercepting searches from willing buyers in your area, they don’t replace relationships. Join your Chamber of Commerce, shake hands, and talk about what you do with as many people as you can face-to-face.

7. Pay Attention to What Other Dealers Are Doing

This goes for your competition as well as successful dealers in other parts of the country. Find what’s working and what isn’t. Work to emulate the former and avoid the latter.

8. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Google isn’t your only option anymore. You’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat, and even LinkedIn to harness for SEO purposes. Promote all your content through those channels and make sure they’re redirecting to your website.

9. Experiment with Audio and Video Content

Written content is still popular. However, high Internet speeds have made consumption of audio and video content way more relevant. Make use of popular video services like YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook Live as much as you can.

Also, consider starting a podcast. Each episode could be as simple as you providing an in-depth answer to a common question your customers and tire-kickers ask.

10. Commit to Learning

Realize that SEO has changed immensely since its inception. And it’ll change a lot more in the next 10 years.

Don’t think you have it all figured out. Commit to becoming a lifelong learner of it, and you’ll never be left behind.

These Car Dealer SEO Principles Will Help You Excel

As a car dealer, SEO should no longer be at the bottom of your priorities list. It’s an essential tool for driving both online and offline sales. If you’re ready to put it to work for you, contact us today.