It might sound sneaky, but looking at how your competitors and their dealership websites do their SEO can tell you a lot about not just automotive SEO, but how you should be structuring your strategy.

How can you know how you need to be approaching search engine optimization if you do not know what you are up against?

As in any war, you will be able to mount a much more successful strategy if you know what the other side is doing.

Here are ten things that you can learn from your competitors about automotive SEO:

1. What locations to target

Understanding exactly where you need to be targeting with your local SEO efforts can be difficult, especially if your dealerships serves a large metropolitan area that might have more than one neighborhood.

When trying to decide where exactly to target, it can be useful to look at your competitors and what areas they are targeting.

If your audiences intersect (if you are trying to sell cars to the same types of people), this information can be vital to getting a leg up.


2. What websites to approach about backlinks

For example, perhaps you discover that your competitor has a link on a local website that makes a list of trustworthy businesses they think their visitors should visit.

You might not have known about this website prior to digging into your competitor’s automotive SEO. This website is valuable—it has authority, it has traffic.

You could benefit from having your link there, too.

Now that you’ve found it, you can contact that website to ask if they would consider including your link, too.

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3. How to structure your social media strategy

Understanding how to create an effective social media strategy can be difficult, especially if you are brand new to social media.

There’s nothing wrong with stalking your competitors on social media and seeing what works for them, especially when it comes to posting their content and driving traffic back to their website from their account.

As long as you do not copy and paste their strategy, this is a great way to see what works for them and use it to improve your own social signals.


4. What is resonating with your audience

Again, this will only work if you are targeting the same audience, but if you are, reading their website and their blog can be a great way to understand what those people are responding to.

What do they write about on their blog that gets them attention (likes, comments, etc.)?

What about their website encourages visitors to come to their showroom?

It can feel impossible to know what is going to be effective, but you can learn from someone else’s mistakes and successes to make your website more successful.


5. How users navigate a site

Does user experience really play that big of a role in SEO?

It does.

If your website is not user friendly, users are just going to click away, rather than continue to be frustrated by your website.

You can learn what makes a website good (or bad) by looking at how effective your competitor’s website is in this regard.

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6. How big your website needs to be

Even in local automotive SEO, for dealerships, the size of your website does matter.

A larger website is usually better, as long as you actually need all of those pages and are not just adding pages to your website to inflate its size.

If your website is relatively much, much smaller than your competitor’s you are going to end up not being able to rank as well as they are going to be able to rank.

Look at their website to get a better idea of how large your website needs to be for effective SEO.


7. What keywords are working

You might be trying to rank for the exact same keywords as your competitors and not even know it.

You can enter a domain into a tool like SEMrush and learn where it fall is organic rankings for specific keywords.

This will give you a good idea of what keywords they are using and, more importantly, how you stack up if you are trying to use the same keywords.

You might decide to go for a different keyword or you might decide to expand your efforts on that keyword and beat them out.


8. Who your competitors are

Not really sure which other dealerships you are competing with?

A tool like the “Organic Competitors” tool on SEMrush is a good way to find out who you are actually up against.

Some dealerships might be so far behind you don’t even have to worry about them.


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9. How good your traffic actually is

You might be pleased with five hundred new visitors a month, but if your competitor is getting two thousand new visitors a month, you are actually falling behind and need to redouble your efforts.


10. What content is performing well

Trying to figure out what to write for your blog?

A good way to do this without actually having to scroll through all of their posts and analyze engagement is to use AHERFS Content Explorer tool to see what the top performing posts are.

What can you do with this information?

You can craft content that hits those same notes.

It will be more effective because you have researched what is working well for your audience and are actively creating SEO content that fits those needs.