Selling cars is a competitive game.
But, gone are the days when a car dealer could set up shop, run a few ads, and wait for the buyers to show up with little foreknowledge or research done beforehand.
These days, buyers typically arrive informed and ready to buy. Recent data shows that nearly 90% of potential car buyers have done some sort of research online before ever setting foot on a dealer’s lot.
In today’s market, SEO is more important than ever for car dealerships. As potential buyers scour the web for cars that meet their needs and budgets, your dealership’s website needs to be there.
Keep reading for a closer look at seven SEO tips and tricks for car dealers.
1. Your Car Dealer Website Matters
If you haven’t figured it out already, your dealership’s website matters–a lot.
With buyers now taking their research online before visiting any sort of local business, you need to have a solid web presence. Trying to rely on a Facebook page or a website with your basic contact information that hasn’t seen an update in a decade is not going to cut it.
Your website must be accessible and professional for potential car buyers to find your car dealership.
Presenting shoppers with useful information about your dealership–like your location and contact information–is a good start. But you’ll also need a good design and site architecture, along with useful content that helps buyers find you in the search engines.
Thankfully there is a host of great, low-cost options out there for getting a website up and running or updating an old one.
Think of your website as a hub, around which all of your digital marketing efforts revolve.
2. Stay True to Your Customers — Local Buyers
As a car dealer, you know who your customers are. They don’t live two states away.
Car sales are predominately a local affair.
SEO is all about finding and addressing your ideal customers, and with car sales, those customers are going to be local.
Mastering local SEO isn’t easy. It takes constant, dedicated work. But if you want to reach more customers and sell more cars, you have to stay on top of it.
If you’re Car Corner in Edmonton, you’ve got to find a way to rise above the dozens of other competitors in your area.
Make sure your dealership’s contact information and the location is up to date with Google and that your content is addressing the needs of buyers in your area.
3. Aim to Educate, Not to Sell
While your end goal may be sales, treating your website like one giant sales page isn’t going to win you a lot of customers.
Since most car shoppers use the internet to learn more about potential vehicles, the goal of your website’s content should be to educate shoppers.
This is one area where blogging can be very powerful. An active blog with lots of useful information will help you connect with buyers and establish you as a local authority with search engines.
4. Focus on the Long Tail
Just a few short years ago websites focused on short, one-word keywords could scale the rankings.
But with updates to search engines and searchers using increasingly long keywords, it’s become more important for content to focus on longer keywords.
People search for phrases, not simple keywords. Keep that in mind as you create content for your website.
5. Links Still Matter
While keywords and many other aspects of SEO continue to change, one thing remains important: links. Links are a major ranking factor for Google and other search engines.
One way to start building links is through forging relationships with other local businesses.
Just don’t waste your time with sketchy, black hat link building techniques–they won’t get you far and may even end up hurting you in the long run.
6. Social Proof Matters
Another key factor for car dealer SEO is building credibility through social proof.
What exactly is social proof?
Social proof is simply some sort of evidence that you’ve helped and satisfied other customers in the past. Whether it’s a review, testimonial, or a video, social proof helps reassure potential buyers that you’ve helped people with similar needs before.
Think about the last time you shopped online. Did you read reviews of the products you were looking for?
Your customers need the same sort of reassurance.
While reviews and testimonials on your website are very beneficial, getting good reviews on sites like Yelp and Google can really help local searchers find you too.
7. Let Your Digital Marketing Make the Sales for You
As car shoppers take their search online, car dealers must shift their focus.
While at one time potential buyers arrived at dealers with little understanding of different car models or what might best fit their needs, buyers now arrive armed with knowledge.
The good news is, those that do come to your lot typically arrive ready to buy. They’ve done their research, they know which models they like and have a rough idea of the cost. All you need to do is put them in the right car.
With this shift in car buyer behavior, it’s more important than ever to hook buyers with your digital marketing efforts. If you can leverage the power of SEO to get your dealership in front of buyers, then use your website’s content to help lead them to a decision, you’ll bring more people to your lot and sell more cars.
Putting It All Together
Buyer behavior has shifted dramatically.
If you want to continue to make money, you must shift your marketing tactics. In today’s market, having a solid SEO and digital marketing strategy is vital to car dealer success.
Ready to give your dealership’s SEO a boost? Check out the blog for more tips and tactics.