The history of search engine optimization (SEO) can be traced all of the way back to 1997. That makes SEO over 20 years old! For some automotive companies and car dealerships, this is just a new phase in a long and storied history of looking for the best marketing strategy to attract the largest number of potential customers. But for a new business in the automotive industry, tackling the digital marketing mountain that is SEO can seem like an overwhelming prospect. Your new business needs SEO to be competitive in the automotive aftermarket industry. Even beginners can follow these five steps and create their automotive SEO Strategy.
Step 1: Start By Knowing Where You Are At
If you have a dealership website, then you already have something to work with. The first step is to find out the status of your website in terms of SEO. While you could hire an SEO company to provide you with an analysis and full report, this route can be expensive. There are free online tools that can help you get started. I find the SEO Analyzer on Neil Patel’s website to be especially helpful and user friendly. There is a free and a paid version, but the free version is plenty useful for getting started.
The site audit will take a look at everything, including site speed, keyword usage, backlinks, and critical errors that can hinder your web page SEO. What’s nice about this analyzer is that it creates a step by step plan for fixing the errors and improving the weak points. This gives you a starting point for link building, keyword research,
Now that you know what your web pages do well and where you need improvement, you can create a content marketing action plan. Perhaps you focus on adding more content for page optimization that will bring in more organic traffic. Or you could take a second look at your pages to ensure each one targets the right keyword. Maybe you need to build more backlinks to your website. Then there are small details that often go missed, including meta descriptions, title tags, and page schema.
Step 2: Choose Some Keywords
Once you have a plan for your auto dealer website, the next step in building your automotive SEO strategy is to create a keyword plan. These are the words that people enter into search engines to find results. You want your website to rank well when people enter certain terms into the search bar. Think about your automotive business and what it does. Then think about the terms someone would enter when looking for a business like yours. This is step requires you to think like your target audience. For example, if you sell aftermarket LED headlights, you’ll want to target keywords that people use when looking for headlights. Here are some examples:
As you can see, there are short and long-tail keywords. This is important because it targets a broader range of search queries. In just this short list, you see a range of keywords that target people in every phase of the marketing funnel. There are basic terms, such as “LED headlights” for those people who are just getting started in the buying process. There are slightly more in depth terms, such as ” LED headlights vs HID” for those diving deeper into research. The next phase is the consumer ready to buy, so they are searching terms like, “LED headlights near me”. The final phase are the customers who have already bought the headlights. They are searching terms like, ” LED headlights flicker”.
If you have a business that provides local area services, then you’ll want to focus on local SEO. You could own an auto dealership, repair shop, or customization services. Focusing on automotive search engine optimization that highlights local search will tell the search engine algorithms that you business is in location specific. Add a listing for your business to “Google my business” to improve your search engine rankings (SERPs) when someone performs a Google search for the service that your auto business provides. For example, car buyers will look for a particular model of car. Because Google wants to give them what they want, nearby car dealers would show up in a local search.
This can seem overwhelming in the beginning, so don’t try to find too many keywords. Instead, look for low hanging fruit. These are keywords that have lower competition for organic search, making it easier for you to gain some tractions and start ranking well. When looking for these easier keywords, focus on the metrics behind each keyword. Look for a keyword that has relatively high traffic and cost per click rate. These mean that people are actively using the keyword when searching and that people are willing to pay for ads. It should also have a lower SEO difficulty. This means that not many people are competing for that search term. Make sure that you completely fill out your Google business profile. Don’t just add a phone number and call it a day. Create a high quality business listing by including as much information as possible about your business, what it has to offer, pricing, and how new customers can contact you.
Step 3: Create Content
Now that you have your keywords, it is time to start creating quality content. Commit to this step of the automotive digital marketing strategy by creating long form content that is value rich. None of your posts should be less than 500 words. It’s really better to aim for 1,000 or more words. Use headers, lists, bullet points, and other formatting tools to break up the content and make it easier to read or scan through.
Step 4: Promote and Direct
Once you have your content, it is time to start sharing and promoting it. Share your completed blog posts on social media, through email, or any other platform. Ask employees, friends, and family members to check out your posts and share them. This generates more traffic and exposure to your content efforts.
Don’t forget to include internal links in your content. This helps keep people on your website by directing them to your other product and landing pages. This internal linking structure also helps spread out your dealership SEO efforts throughout your website. If you have a blog post that takes off and generates a lot of backlinks, this SEO strength filters to the other pages on your website.
If you are willing to spend some money on your marketing campaign, then consider promoting your content with a PPC campaign. This is where you pay for Google ads. Not only does this raise awareness about your brand and business, but you can direct people to a particular landing page on your website and not just the homepage.
Step 5: Check Out Your Competitors
The final step of creating your automotive SEO strategy is to check out your competition. There are online tools that let you sneak a peek at what their websites are doing. This includes how many backlinks the website has, the keywords the website ranks for, and the posts on the blog. This helps you find out what your competitors are doing well and where they could improve. If you find a weak point in their strategy, you can focus your efforts on that opportunity. Another strategy is to identify what your competitor does well, and then do it better.
Create Your Automotive SEO Strategy
By following these fives steps you will be able to establish an automotive SEO strategy. Start small and stick to the basics. Focus on step one and figure out where your website stands. Then work your way through each page fixing issues and optimizing. Then focus on moving forward with steps two, three, and four. Once you have a handle on what you are doing, it is time to move on to step five and make your website competitive.