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This collection of resources from 9 Clouds helps you build your business and community.


Use SEO to Show Up Where Customers Are Shopping

auto SEO

People are shopping for your cars on the toilet.

They’re considering finance options while they wait for their kids to get out of school. They’re reading through your blog posts during the previews at the movies. And you can bet a few are scrolling through your available inventory during their morning constitutional.

Don’t believe us?

Google research found that “95 percent of vehicle shoppers use digital channels to research.” And smartphones go pretty much everywhere with their owners these days.

So how can you go beyond the showroom and reach your customers where they’re actually shopping? SEO (search engine optimization).

Auto SEO: Why Does it Matter?

We’ve talked through this before, but it’s worth covering again. There are three types of media every auto dealership uses to attract visitors.

  1. Paid Media: This is what your traditional media budget goes toward — things like billboards, newspaper ads and sponsorships that create brand awareness. Dealerships are starting to move toward online ads, which we find to be the most useful form of paid media because you can actually track ROI.
  2. Owned Media: This is the content you control. Your social channels, your website, your blogs: these all fall under Owned Media. The improvements you make to your dealership’s Owned Media channels can determine your overall marketing success.
  3. Earned Media: Finally, this is the free attention you receive from other people. Traditionally, word-of-mouth recommendations fell under this category, but that’s grown along with the Internet. If people mention you on social media or leave an online review, you get Earned Media credit.

Small SEO improvements on Owned Media channels will help your dealership get those Earned Media recommendations. And those pieces all come together to get your auto dealership to show up right where your customers are looking.

Auto SEO: Where Do I Start?

Ultimately, SEO is about showing up in search engine results. Preferably right at the top.

Each search engine has its own algorithm that determines how your dealership will rank, and thousands of factors come into play. Many of those are out of your control altogether, but you can optimize some of them to improve your rank.

  1. VDP Keywords: If you only make one SEO improvement to your website, it should be on your VDPs. These make up the bulk of your pages, so you’ll get a lot of mileage out of the changes you make.
  2. Blog Content: We advocate all auto dealers start blogging for a lot of reasons, and SEO is near the top. Not only will a blog help you educate your customers, but it creates new pages with prime keywords for your business. More links mean more authority with those search engines, so posting regularly is a must.
  3. Inventory Videos: Video content should be easy for every dealership to create. You’ve got plenty of visuals sitting on your lot! Get mileage out of those cars, trucks and SUVs you’re selling by making corresponding videos and reaping the SEO benefits.
  4. Comparison Pages: A lot of traditional marketers get really uncomfortable with comparison pages because it requires discussing the competition, but this is a great way to conquest keywords and get fresh eyes on your site.
  5. Digital Ads: It’s one thing to show an ad on Google, it’s another thing to show the ad that people actually click. The ultimate test of your auto SEO optimization comes down to honing in on your AdWords keywords list so you can spend less to attract more customers.

Every improvement you make to your dealership’s SEO moves it higher up the search results, getting more eyes on your business — and ultimately, more customers in your showroom.

Auto SEO: What Happens Next?

Like any inbound campaign, automotive inbound marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. These SEO improvements are just the first step in an overall digital marketing plan for your dealership.

If you feel like you’ve mastered beginner’s SEO, you’re ready for our full eBook, the Guide to Automotive SEODownload it here and learn how to expand your dealership’s digital efforts.