9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


[Study] Tires at the Top: 5 Best Service Keywords for Auto Dealers

What are the top service keywords for auto dealers? You want people who are looking for car repairs to find your shop using certain keywords. To get you started, we found the five most sought-after service-related terms in today's auto industry.

Use “tires” and “oil change” to rank highly in Google

When you think about scheduling an appointment to fix your vehicle (assuming you don't have a regular mechanic), what is the first word that pops into your head? Repair? Fix? Service? Maintenance? The answer may be completely different than your wife's – or your cousin, brother, etc.

These variables add unwanted guesswork to digital marketing. But you can eliminate the guesswork by using the Google Keywords Planner for Google Adwords (you can sign in and create a Google Adwords account using your Google account, if you don't already have Adwords). Depending on your dealership's CRM or marketing software, you might have a keyword tool of your own.


5 most highly searched terms

Think about the words your leads and/or customers use when they search for a place to maintain or service their vehicles. We pinpointed the five most highly searched service-related keywords in the U.S. Note that these keywords have slightly different meanings, and represent various aspects of car service. But if you want to find customers who are looking for some type of vehicle maintenance, these are the keywords that are most likely to be searched.

Also, remember to localize the terms so you can attract customers in your area (i.e: instead of simply “tires,” you would want to rank for “tires in Seattle). This is crucial. Localizing your keywords narrows your competition. Instead of pitting your dealership against others across the nation, you can compete locally for “tires in Seattle” (more about this below).



Tires was the clear winner, with 301,000 monthly searches. In other words, Google users type the word “tires” into their search engines more often than any other term related to car repair or service.

Your dealership sells tires, right? You will want to hit on this keyword. If a customer is looking for tires, he or she will probably find something else of value in your shop. And if you can draw a customer to your shop for tires, your odds of selling a vehicle to that person have just increased, perhaps drastically.

Oil Change

The second-highest overall service-related term and most highly searched term for physical maintenance is “oil change,” which has a monthly search volume of 110,000. “Oil change near me,” a related term, sees 49,500 per month. Use these words, because the high search volume means potential service customers are very likely to seek out “oil change.”

“Auto Repair” not “Car Repair”

Even the slightest difference in your customers' thinking can drastically affect your SEO success, as evidenced by our next example. The fourth highest search term related to service is “auto repair,” which sees 40,500 monthly searches. Meanwhile, the fifth most-searched term, “car repair” receives just 12,100. The term “auto service” sees 4,400 searches, while “car service” turns up 18,100 monthly searches. Be careful – this term is affiliated with terms such as “taxi service near me” and “what is uber” in our keyword tool. That means people associate “car service” with a paid driving service, such as a taxi.

How can you use the keyword info?

It is interesting to note that despite having a clear preference for “auto repair” over “car repair,” 450,000 people search “used cars” each month, while only 390 look for “used automobiles” and 1,900 seek “used autos.” “Auto service” is associated with car maintenance, but “car service” typically isn't. This information is intriguing, but how can it be used?

Use Google Keywords Planner to search for pertinent keywords. Enter keywords in the box labeled “search for new keyword and ad group ideas.” Be sure to target to the United States, then click “get ideas.” Notice our search for “tires” reveals the monthly search volume, then offers other keyword suggestions.


Now, we'll try the same search, narrowed down to a single city. Notice the drastic difference in average monthly searches. You will improve your odds and find local customers by optimizing for the more specific keyword phrase.


How to Choose your Words

High search volumes are good. High competition is bad. Notice the “competition” column above. Google calculates how many advertisers compete for each keyword. If the competition is “high,” you will have your work cut out for you. A word with lower searches and lower competition is easier to rank for than a more heavily searched term with higher competition. Ideally, try to find high search volume and “low” competition. Customize the search to your city and state to stake out your regional competition.

Getting started

Optimizing your service/repair keywords will draw in new customers while ensuring current customers search out and return to your store for repairs and service. Your starting point on this project will depend on what type of marketing software you use.

Find out if your software has a keyword searching tool. If it doesn't, cue up the Google Keywords Planner and begin searching for pertinent keywords. 9 Clouds can help walk you through your SEO learning adventure. Download our free e-book now to “Learn SEO from the Experts.”