Attracting car buyers

How Automotive SEO Helps Car Dealers

Written By AE Staff

Does your dealership need the power of automotive SEO?

With car dealerships seemingly on every corner, you’ve got to make sure you’re leaning into every competitive advantage. This includes making sure your car dealership's offerings are highly visible and being found by the right people in your communities. Attracting customers looking for the services car dealerships offer is a must, and smart, focused automotive SEO is a key component in making this happen.

Optimizing your digital dealership for online search engines with the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices is key to securing and retaining new customers through digital marketing. In this modern age where businesses and their consumers are “always online,” having “page one” visibility is vital to keeping your dealership top of mind for new and future customers alike. 

The principles of search engine optimization have many moving parts, and it takes more than just using the right keywords to get an influx of the right customers to your dealership’s website. Understanding how these moving parts work together is important to get the most out of your SEO strategies and tandem digital marketing efforts. 

Automotive SEO Can Elevate Your Dealership Visibility

Search engine optimization is now an absolute necessity when it comes to increasing your dealership’s digital presence as an accessible resource. Search engines, like Google, like clean, helpful content. The many moving parts mentioned before all work in tandem to optimize your digital marketing approach with SEO tactics.

Click one of the following links if you would like to go straight to a particular subject:  

Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What is Automotive SEO, and is it essential to your dealership? 

Automotive search engine optimization refers to the process that will help to improve your dealership websites and Google Business Profile ability to rank on popular search engines and search engine result pages (also known as SERPs).

With an excellent search engine optimization strategy, you can look forward to increased organic site traffic, higher online conversion rates, and improved sales, thanks to higher search engine rankings.

Automotive SEO offers immense benefits for your car business. Here are some points to consider:

  1. SEO service for your car dealership will give you a competitive edge, ranking your web pages above your local competitors and giving higher visibility to potential customers who are turning to search engines for their car sales and service needs.

  2. SEO for your car dealership will increase organic search traffic and bring more clicks to your dealership website, resulting in higher online traffic.

  3. SEO for car dealers will bring in more leads, targeted and qualified.

  4. It increases your brand awareness in the competitive digital landscape and boosts footfalls from curious car buyers.

  5. It’s the most cost-effective service you can provide for your dealership. All of your competitors in your primary market are following SEO strategies and applying SEO tactics. It’s a matter of IF they are doing these things correctly or not.

For you to enjoy the actual benefits of proper automotive SEO, better brand awareness, improved rankings and higher authority, more traffic, leads, and a competitive edge, you need an SEO service provider with comprehensive experience in the field.

Here are a few things to look for when considering a new automotive SEO provider:

  • Technical SEO (website architecture, site indexing, web crawling)
  • On-Page SEO (blog posts, any website copy)
  • Keyword Research and Content Optimization
  • Blogger Outreach & Link Building
  • Local SEO Tactics

Regardless of your reasons for implementing SEO, seeking out and finding a trusted provider can make all the difference in being seen by even more in-market shoppers for the services you provide, both in sales and fixed ops. In the age of Google, this could be one of the most important digital marketing strategies you employ.

ActivEngage FOMO Promo Ad

Google My Business

Having a verified and optimized Google My Business (GMB) and Google Business Profile listing can contribute dramatically to local SEO and will help to increase your website's ranking. It assists with the following: 

  • Effectively appear in Google Maps
  • Increasing your dealership's Google search engine rankings
  • Dealership photos become more visible to potential customers
  • Enables shoppers to read and leave online reviews about your dealership
  • Provides additional company insights with weekly Google posts from your business listings
  • Acts as an easy-to-use local landing page that helps you stand out to local in-market shoppers
  • It’s FREE!

Dealers that keep their GMB listing up-to-date with accurate company information, as part of their overall online marketing efforts, can expect to see, on average, a 29% increase in shopper engagement on your dealership’s website. These engagements include: 

  • Phone calls 
  • Website clicks 
  • Directions requests 

According to Brightlocal’s Google My Business insight study from 2019:

“The average business is found in 1,009 searches, with 85% of these coming from Discovery Searches. Moreover, 49% of businesses receive more than 1,000 Views on Search per month. Car dealerships receive the highest number of calls and website visits from GMB, while hotels have the highest views on Search and Maps. 5% of Google My Business listing views result in a website click, call, or direct request.”

(Source: Brightlocal)

To end this section, we will reiterate the importance of online reviews. Reputation management of your positive reviews (and negative reviews!) is an element of SEO not talked about enough. You can ask your customers for reviews, and ask them to mention your dealership. When you respond, you can also enrich the response with the same keywords you utilize in your on-page SEO. Google looks for this stuff and can help catapult positive reviews to the top for customers to see.

NAP or "Citations"

What does NAP mean?

NAP is a local online listing that includes the Name, Address, and Phone Number of a local business. NAP or “Citations” can appear on local business directories, websites, apps, and social platforms. Citations help shoppers discover local businesses during their detailed research and can impact local search rankings.

Why is this important for your dealership? There are hundreds of local citation listings that can be claimed and optimized to increase opportunities to be seen by thousands of shoppers in your primary market. This is a vital part of your automotive SEO strategy.

Examples of a Citation listing: 

  • Major Data Platforms: Google, Facebook, and Yelp
  • GEO/Industry Specific: Chamber of Commerce and the BBB
  • The Wider/Web: Hot Frog, Yellow Pages, Mapquest, City Data, and more!

Why do local citations matter? 

According to

“local citations either positively or negatively impact consumers and their decision to communicate with your dealership. Accurate citations help people discover your business, resulting in web, phone, and foot traffic, culminating in transactions. Inaccurate citations, however, can misdirect customers, leading to loss of reputation and revenue.”

Social Media Optimization Helps Search Engines, Too

The practice of social media optimization encourages dealerships to analyze, audit, and make adjustments to the organic content in their digital marketing strategy, resulting in a more substantial local presence.

So, why bother? Simply put, top-performing social media accounts don’t ignore the fine details of optimization. Social media optimization serves to help: 

  • Increase visibility and reach of your dealership’s content, resulting in higher engagement (leads, traffic, clicks)
  • Evaluate the overall ROI and outcomes of your social media marketing (sales and brand awareness)
  • Develop a process for creating content that is primed to perform well

These days, marketers are being held even more accountable when it comes to social media performance. Through cost-effective optimization and a hands-on approach, you will increase the chances of hitting your KPIs and make things easier by establishing a process for fine-tuning both your organic content and paid campaigns.

On-Site Webpage Optimization Appeases Search Engine Algorithms

Who is An Auto dealer's best salesperson? 

Arguably, it’s your website! 

It’s available to shoppers 24/7, 365 days a year. Regular maintenance and adding relevant website content are key to helping your dealership’s SEO tactics and staying relevant to ever-changing search engine algorithms. Auto dealers would be wise to stay on top of this.

On-site SEO is the practice of optimizing specific elements on a website (as opposed to links elsewhere on the Internet and other external signals collectively known as "off-site SEO") to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from search engines. On-site SEO refers to optimizing content and HTML to be clean and Google-friendly.

You'll also want to pay attention to your webpage meta descriptions, which you can enrich with a few keywords that will help Google's crawl bots deem your result relevant and further help you in search engine rankings. A good meta description can go a long way for your Google listing!

Beyond helping search engines interpret page content, proper on-site SEO also helps users quickly understand what a page is about and whether it addresses their search query. Good on-site SEO helps search engines understand what a shopper would see and what value the visitor would get. This allows them to serve up high-quality content about a particular search query, reliably.

To recap, the ultimate goal of on-site SEO should be to make it as easy as possible for search engines and their users to:

  • Understand what a webpage, and its content, are about.
  • Identify pages as relevant to specific search queries (i.e., a particular keyword or set of specific keywords, SEO keywords)
  • Allow the crawling bots to find pages worthy of a high ranking on a search engine results page (SERP)

All of these elements tie back to the same basic idea: creating an excellent user experience that customers can find in Google's search results. The more usable a webpage is (from both a technical and non-technical perspective), the better that page's optimization.

Google Ads Optimization

Like with all SEM/PPC campaign management, Google Ad Optimization ensures you're consciously targeting the right shopper at the right time with suitable vehicles and services provided by your dealership; new, used, automotive repair, body shop, and parts for sale, for example.

Not only does this increase your chances of making a sale to potential customers, but it also ensures that you're spending the least amount possible, all the while helping to strengthen your organic search engine results presence. It's all about appeasing search engine algorithms!

Google Ads Optimization can seem like a giant mountain to climb, even for the most experienced of marketers. However, if you start with essential Google Ads optimization hacks as a foundation, you can slowly but surely build results by streamlining your Google Ads marketing strategy. 

Consider the following:

  • Choice of Keywords
  • Quality Ad Copy
  • Target Audience
  • GEO-Targeting
  • User Intent
  • Responsive Ads
  • Remarketing/Retargeting

Is your Google Ads campaign effective and providing an above-average ROI? Measuring the Click-through rate (CTR) will determine the number of clicks your Google Ads have received compared to the number of impressions. A high CTR indicates that your Google Ad campaign is working well. Conversely, a lower CTR suggests that the ads may need to be optimized.

Also, remember these critical factors when optimizing your Google Ads:

  • Your AdWords CTR. 
  • Keyword selection. 
  • Ad copy. 
  • Audience selection. 
  • A good quality score of 7 or higher for the keywords tracking, including branded, low-intent, and high-intent. 

Doing this will protect your primary market. You should own the customers in your backyard!

Understanding how to strategically locate and identify more customers in your PMA can boost quality website traffic and lead count that you might not traditionally find outside your PMA.

If you’re looking for a more significant ROI in your Google Ad spend, and desire a higher level of reporting and back-end KPIs, having a strategic and well-planned blueprint can help optimize your Google Ad campaigns!

Supplement Your Automotive SEO with ActivEngage

As you can see, great SEO is a Swiss army knife for car dealerships to enhance their digital presence and accessibility to curious consumers near them. Whether it’s for sales or service (AKA fixed ops), optimized SEO strategies keep you at the top of the results page, and in the minds of possible future customers. 

When seeking an SEO company to help your business, make sure they touch on these important SEO factors so you know you are getting a strong ally ready to implement the best SEO practices.

ActivEngage also has a host of industry-leading products that boost visibility and add lots of value to your digital dealership, such as: 

  • Managed messaging powered by people, right on your Google Business Profile.
  • ActivTarget behavior-triggered, tailored offers for your dealership website. 
  • And so much more! 

Ready to put your dealership in the digital spotlight? Let’s talk about it!


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?