Keyword research is an integral part of every automotive SEO campaign.

The right keywords can make your campaign, while the wrong keywords can quickly break it.

But what is keyword research?

Why do you need to do keyword research?

 And how to you come up with and research keywords that will propel your automotive SEO campaign forward, instead of holding it back?

Here’s everything you need to know:

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of both developing a list of keywords that you want to use in your SEO strategy and researching those keywords specifically to make sure that they are actually going to work for your dealership.

Keep in mind that while the term that we use is “key-word,” a keyword can actually be a phrase and, most of the time, will be a phrase.

There are also long tail keywords that are going to automatically be more specific and much longer phrases than you would normally see.

For example, “Chevy dealership” would be a keyword, while “What is the best Chevy vehicle to buy?” would be an example of a long tail keyword.

Is keyword research important?

One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is to come up with the keywords they use in their SEO campaigns by just sitting down and writing down a few phrases that sound like they are relevant to your business.

This is one of the worst ways to come up with keywords—not because you might not hit on something that real, potential car buyers are likely to search, but because you then know nothing about those keywords and because you might end up using keywords that are not actually going to be valuable to you.

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They might not actually be what your potential customers are searching.

Keyword research solves this problem entirely.

Not only will you find a long list of keywords that you can use, you’ll also get the information you need to know about those keywords in order to understand whether or not they are going to be functional for your campaign.

How can I do my own keyword research?

If you do not have time to put into worrying about keyword research, your best of course of action is to farm the task out to someone who does have time to worry about it.

If you want to take on this task yourself, however, here’s how to do it properly:

  1. Think about your mission.

You likely have a very clear idea of why you built your website and what you want it to achieve.

For more dealerships, the point of a website is to bring more people to their showroom floor.

Whatever your mission is, write it down.

This will help to direct your keyword research.

  1. Make a list of keywords.

Here is where you can sit down and start coming up with your own list of keywords.

Now that you have your mission in mind, you should be able to create a list of keywords that has a little bit more direction.

What does that mean?

When choosing keywords, you should be looking for keywords that are going to bring searchers to you that have the intent of buying a car.

For example, you might optimize for a keyword like “Chevy maintenance shop.”

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This is a good keyword for a full-time, dedicated maintenance shop, but not for a dealership that is trying to tell cars, because the people searching that keyword are not directly interested in buying a car.

With the idea of getting people to your lot to buy cars, make your list of keywords.

  1. Use keyword research tools.

There are a huge variety of tools that you can use that will help you elongate your keyword list.

The first one you should use is Google itself.

While Google does have a keyword research tool for those using AdWords, you can also just type your seed keywords into Google’s search bar and look at the suggestions that pop up as you type.

Once you’ve typed in your keyword and looked at the suggestions, noting down any you might want to use, you will also want to actually finish the search and then scroll to the bottom of the first page of results. This is a good place to find semantic or related keywords.

  1. Evaluate your keywords.

Once you have a long list of keywords that you might want to use for your strategy, it is time to start researching those individual keywords.

It is important for you to understand the exact nature of those keywords, what the competition looks like, how easy they are going to be to implement, what kind of rank you are likely to get, etc.

All of this information will help you rule out keywords that are going to be difficult to optimize for or which will simply not help you get your rank where you want it to be.

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  1. Create your content.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list and selected only the very best keywords, it is time to create your content, using all of the information that you have researched during your keyword research process.

Keep in mind that keyword research can be a great place to find topics for webpages and blog posts that you might not have otherwise thought of.

You might even want to evaluate the usefulness of a keyword based on how easy it will be to create content that contains that keyword.