Whether you’re managing a car and truck dealership, a tire shop, or any other type of automotive business, search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial ingredient in every impactful marketing campaign.
In fact, digital marketing spending now outpaces conventional advertising in many industries, including automotive.
Since 2015, automotive marketing experts have significantly increased their SEO budgets, while spending on traditional channels like TV remains flat or has even decreased throughout the automotive vertical.
Many shoppers begin serious auto searches on websites like EveryCarListed.com or TrueCar, and spend about 14 hours researching dealerships, pricing, and reviews before ever contacting a business like yours.
What’s more, a full 53% of mobile and desktop users click on organic search results rather than paid ads.
All these stats make one fact extremely clear: SEO is a set of tactics you can’t afford not to master in 2022.
However, automotive SEO isn’t a “set it and forget it” solution.
Google changes its algorithm 500 to 600 times every year.
To stay on top of these changes – and at the top of Google’s search results – you’ve got to know what factors matter.
Ready to get started?
Let’s dive into the most powerful SEO techniques for car dealerships and other automotive businesses in 2022 – and explore how you can drive new potential customers straight to your website by making these practices part of your SEO strategy.
1. Develop Original Automotive SEO Content And Incorporate Rich Text Snippets
Although a website can be a powerful tool for reaching customers outside a dealership’s designated market area (DMA), It can be tricky to figure out exactly how much content to include on each page of your website.
You may have heard that Google prefers pages with 1,600 words or more – and while that’s certainly true for longer content like blog posts, most visitors aren’t going to read more than a few hundred words per page.
However, Google does prefer longer word counts for in-depth content like automotive blog posts.
While estimates differ, most experts put the ideal blog post length somewhere between 1,500 and 2,400 words.
As a general rule, marketers agree you’ll be safe sticking with a length of around 1,600 words per post, give or take a few hundred words.
Posts of this length typically outperform shorter posts as long as they’re original, unique, and relevant (more on this under Technique #2 below).
And strikingly, this result holds true across all business types, including car dealerships and other automotive companies, and across all geographical locations worldwide.
When posting blogs and setting up web pages, you’ll want to ensure your web developer or SEO expert adds rich snippets.
Rich snippets are bits of code that tell Google which text to display when it summarizes a page in search results.
In combination with schema markup (described under Technique #4 below), rich snippets will make sure your pages stand out from the crowd, with visually striking messages that drive customers to click.
2. Incorporate Video SEO Into Your Marketing Strategy
If you’re in the car business, you know that video SEO is essential to reaching potential customers.
After all, car dealerships are one of the most popular categories on YouTube.
And since YouTube is the second largest search engine, it’s important to make sure your videos are properly optimized to appear in search results.
Studies have shown that internet users are far more likely to watch a video than read a block of text. By optimizing your videos for search engines, you can dramatically increase your chances of being seen by potential customers.
Furthermore, videos are also more likely to be shared on social media, meaning that they have the potential to reach an even wider audience.
Luckily, you can follow a few simple tips to improve your car dealer video SEO.
- First, make sure your videos are keyword-rich. Use relevant keywords in your title and description to help your videos rank higher in search results.
- Second, keep your videos short and sweet. No one wants to watch a long, boring car commercial. Aim for two minutes or less.
3. Make Sure Your Entire Site Loads Beautifully On Mobile Devices
As of 2022, more than 57% of all online traffic (upward of 12 billion searches) comes from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
However, the average bounce rate is 51.6% for mobile users. This can happen when a page fails to load properly on their device – and most of those customers never come back for a second glance.
In other words, among the 18,000+ car dealerships and other automotive businesses in the US, those that fail to take mobile searches seriously are sacrificing more than half of their prospective customer base.
That’s a whole lot of profit margin to leave on the table.
The good news is that you can capture that market share for your own automotive business by deploying a gorgeous mobile version of your website.
A reasonably skilled web developer can ensure your site automatically detects mobile browsers, recognizes each user’s screen dimensions, and adapts every page to look tailor-made for that individual’s display.
As more mobile users spend time on your site, your search rank will soon rise.
4. Add Autodealer Schema And Claim Your Google Business Profile
Lately, you may have noticed big detailed info boxes about local businesses popping up at the top of your Google search results.
These business profiles automatically pull information from a company’s Google Business Profile and display color photos of the business, a map with directions, and details like open hours, contact info, and even popular times to visit.
You can set up your own big colorful box by claiming your free Google Business Profile (GBP) – which only takes a few minutes.
Next, ask your web developer or automotive SEO expert to add schema markup to the top-visited pages on your website.
Schema markup code tells Google how to organize and display information it finds on your site, such as images, street addresses, open hours, and rich text snippets (explained in Technique #1 above).
In particular, make sure you add AutoDealer schema, which Google will use in combination with your Google business profile, to create a display box that’ll capture attention at the top of prospective customers’ search results.
Once you have set up your Google Business Profile, remember to ask every delighted customer for a positive review.
Positive reviews will boost your local search ranking, contribute valuable social proof to your profile on search pages, and measurably increase your business’s likelihood of showing up in search results on Google Maps and other GPS apps.
5. Leverage Strategic Relationships For Link Building
The more third-party sites link to your pages, the more trustworthy and relevant your business looks to Google, particularly when those inbound links come from relevant keywords.
Inbound links, also known as “backlinks,” serve as the cornerstones of an effective link-building strategy, which can drive a flood of organic search traffic to your site if it’s done skillfully.
The principle is simple: Reach out to the owners of businesses and other organizations you work with, and ask them to link to specific pages on your site.
For example, if you want to drive traffic to a page titled “Miami Florida BMW Dealership,” you could ask a local auto parts distributor to add a link to your website and explain how they would benefit from doing so.
Obviously, link building can take some finessing.
Start by requesting inbound links from businesses and organizations in your local area whose opinions Google values extra highly when it comes to backlinks.
For example, consider asking for inbound links from local charities and sports teams you support, and from suppliers you work with.
In short, it doesn’t take much to update your automotive SEO strategy for 2022 – just some original content, video and mobile optimization, Google Business Profile management, AutoDealer schema, and link building.
Master these techniques, and capture the lion’s share of the automotive market in your local area.
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