Practical SEM & SEO Strategies for Auto Dealerships

Auto sales has always been a competitive field. Chances are, your dealership has to vie for market share not just with one competitor, but with a plethora of them. Naturally, it’s in the best interest of your dealership to invest wisely in strategies that will bolster your visibility among local consumers, establish you as the dealer of choice, and ultimately give you an edge over your competition.

For dealers looking for a sound digital strategy, two disciplines that tend to get a lot of the attention are search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Generally speaking, the former is all about earning a high placement on relevant Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS), while the latter is about taking out paid ads on the SERPS and other important Google properties, such as Gmail or YouTube.

The reality for car dealers is that neither strategy, in and of itself, is sufficient for market dominance. On the contrary, automotive SEO and SEM go hand in hand, allowing you to more completely cover the entirety of the consumer search experience.

So while focusing on just automotive SEO or SEM individually is unlikely to get you the visibility you desire, combining them via practical, affordable strategies can place your dealership in an enviable online position.

So what types of car dealer SEO and automotive paid search strategies do we recommend?
Here’s the full breakdown.

Automotive SEO Strategies

LocalSEO: Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profiles (GBP) are an important (and free!) way to increase your local visibility, also known as local SEO. Note: If your dealership has multiple locations, you’ll want to have a unique Google Business Profile for each one.

As you build out your Google Business Profile, remember:

● Optimize it with your dealer data.
● Add lots of pictures.
● Add your inventory to GBP, or at least the most popular makes/models.
● Post regularly about upcoming announcements, dealership events, etc.
● Encourage positive reviews, and respond to positive and negative reviews alike.

Invest in an SEO-Friendly Website

Every dealership needs a website that looks modern and professional, and that delivers a positive user experience to buyers. More than that, it’s crucial to have a website that has SEO as part of its DNA. Some hallmarks of good technical SEO include:

● Page Taxonomy & URL Structure
● Responsive and mobile design
● Website Speed and Core Web Vitals
● Schema markups
● Intuitive UI and UX

Develop Unique Hyper-local Content

Another crucial part of car dealer SEO is providing your users with content that engages and educates; it’s through naturally drawing and engaging users that you also signal to the search algorithms your site’s usefulness and relevance, which can in turn produce better rankings.

When we talk about unique content development, what exactly do we mean? Consider:

● Writing unique, optimized content for each individual vehicle page. Remember to avoid any boilerplate or duplicate text, as Google frowns on any kind of repetition.
● Service pages that speak to your dealership’s standards of excellence, customer care, and technical acumen.
● A regularly updated blog, ideally with hyper-localized content (e.g., notes about community happenings or events) that can help you rank in local searches.

Be Attentive to Offsite SEO

Finally, try to be diligent in offsite SEO. A few examples:

● Seek citations: Get your dealer website in popular local directories. You can use tools like Moz Local or Yext to expedite entry, and to manage your citations more efficiently.
● Earn local links: Sponsor and contribute to community events to earn local links and media coverage.
● Get partner links: Ask your partners and vendors to link to you when possible.
● Submit guest posts: Contribute content to automotive blogs and publications, requesting a backlink via your byline.

Auto Dealer Search Marketing Strategies

Again, the important thing is to pair your car dealer SEO with auto dealer search marketing… Basically, a judicious approach to paid ads. Consider a few practical SEM strategies that really work for most dealers:

● Run branded ads: Bid on your own brand, along with misspelled versions of it. Most users these days use mobile and they can misspell your name. This also helps you stand out if your competitor is bidding on your brand.

● Run Vehicle Ads: Just like shopping searches, Google may feature Vehicle Ad feeds within search ads, so you need to make sure you invest in it. You can learn more about Vehicle Ads via Google Support.

● Run ads for your top makes and models: If you are a larger dealership, you may not be able to keep up with creating search ads for all of your inventory, so it is highly recommended that you simply select top makes and models and create ads for those.

A Bonus Tip

One more thing: Have nice marketing dashboards to see how all these campaigns are coming together, and to make adjustments as needed. You don’t want to run ads or invest in SEO without seeing how they convert into leads and business. A professional dashboard can make the difference between waste/failure and huge success.

Get Automotive SEO and SEM Tools from Get My Auto

Get My Auto provides tools for you to be successful in your auto dealership marketing. We also work with other marketing agencies and vendors that help our clients using our tools. Contact us to learn more about our various digital marketing offerings and programs.