16 min read

SEO for car dealers

We live in a digital age. While some people may altogether avoid the internet, others realize just how useful it can be when it comes to marketing a business. You’ve likely heard a lot about SEO, but you may not know what that is or how to utilize it to help you. Here is everything you need to know about SEO for car dealers.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of utilizing a company’s digital presence to increase visibility and create more traffic to the website. This increased traffic is rightfully followed by increased sales, and who doesn’t want to make more money?

Importance/Benefits of SEO

There are those that don’t feel they are computer-literate. They may choose to focus on different methods of advertising, other than SEO, because they don’t realize exactly how important SEO can be (and is) for a company’s viability. The bottom line is that car dealer search engine marketing is extremely important when it comes to generating clientele and building a successful dealer business. Here are just some of the benefits of car dealer search engine marketing.

Increased User Experience

You want your customers to have the best experience possible. This type of experience doesn’t start when a customer walks into your dealership. It starts when they first search your business on the internet. You want them to be able to find you online quickly. Then, you want them to be able to navigate the website easier. When you focus on improving your website SEO, you will help enhance the user experience before they even meet a member of your sales team.

FACT: 95% of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information and 2x as many automotive consumers start their research online versus at a dealer. Today’s automotive consumers are informed and knowledgeable since they self-educate online before they ever make contact with a dealer. (source: Google)


You have a plethora of marketing options from billboards to television ads. You need to spend money on marketing, but you also want to invest it in the most advantageous ways possible. The most expensive marketing options aren’t necessarily the most effective. Focusing on SEO and your online presence is significantly less expensive, especially if you are able to manage a majority of it yourself or with someone already on the payroll.

SEO for car dealers

Brand Awareness

When focusing on SEO and expanding your digital presence, you make people more familiar and aware of your company. There are thousands of car dealerships on the internet, you need to make people remember your dealership, specifically. People may come into contact with the car brand in a number of different ways. With an effective SEO strategy and people recognize you, they will be more likely to remember you when they are in the market for a new car. For instance, check out how this local dealership utilizes its Facebook following to showcase their happy, satisfied customers. This, in turn, builds local brand awareness and trust.

Build Trust

Being at the top of the search results, with effective SEO, will help customers trust you and your business. They assume that you are at the top of search results because you’ve established yourself in this competitive industry. Being at the top gives you better visibility, making you stand out compared to the other dealerships in the area. It is especially important in car sales to establish this trust in order to increase car sales and community awareness.

Did you know?… According to Moz.com, the majority of respondents stay on the first page of a query. Additionally, a staggering 75% of respondents click on the first one or two results.

Increased Website Traffic/Sales

Ultimately, the main reason to focus on SEO is to increase sales at your dealership. Increased online visibility will make it more likely that people looking for a new car find you online. Half the battle is being seen by the customers looking for new cars and getting the customer into the dealership is one of the biggest tasks. Once your highly visible online presence gets them in the door, the salespeople can show off your amazing inventory. Website traffic is the first experience these customers will have with your dealership, make it a good one!

Ways to Improve SEO

Everyone has a specific standing in search results, which is quite likely at the forefront of your SEO strategy. When you aren’t as high in search results as you’d like, you need to take matters into your own hands. Here are some actionable ways you can improve your SEO.

Create a Custom Website

With almost everything on the internet these days, every car dealership needs a website to provide information people may need before they arrive at the dealership itself. However, having a beautiful website doesn’t matter at all if no one sees it.

You can design a free website through a number of different services, but those websites generally don’t give you a domain name, which contributes to your overall SEO. Using one of these build-your-own services means there will often be dozens of other websites out there with the same website template, which also reduces the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Instead, it is in your best interest to invest in a high-quality website, custom-designed by a professional web developer. Check out the best example we’ve ever seen about the benefits of hiring a professional to build your website. I think we can all agree, this doesn’t give anyone the trust or confidence they seek when buying a new car.

SEO for car dealers

Your custom website should portray the same tone you want to continue with your customers once they are physically in your dealership. You can do this with format and color. For example, a luxury dealership may use a minimalist, sleek design with a black, white, and grey color scheme. For example:

SEO for car dealers

It is also important to create a website with a responsive design. This essentially means that the site’s size will adjust to a number of different viewing formats. This makes your site available in various formats; whether your customers are using a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. Previously, there were two separate sites- one for regular desktops and another for smartphones and tablets. One of the biggest benefits of responsive websites is their ability to load more quickly. No one likes to wait for pages to load which often means they turn to your competitor, who may have a faster website speed.

You should also make your website easy to read, with colors and fonts that are clear and easily read. You should also make things easy to find, especially contact and location or map information. In contrast to the above example, this one is much more reader friendly.

SEO for car dealers

Use the Right SEO Keywords

Automotive SEO keywords are phrases that potential car buyers might type into a search engine when looking for a specific car or dealership. For example, a car buyer might search “certified pre-owned Toyota sedans in Schaumburg”. This will also give you other phrases or keywords that people are searching with the same/similar keywords. Using these keywords will also bring up your website ranking. For instance:

SEO for car dealers

In addition to the additional phrases and keywords people search (above), the overall goal is to anticipate what someone will search and incorporate it into your own content on your website and in your unique content. Here are some popular automotive SEO keywords:

  • auto
  • car
  • used cars near me
  • dealer near me
  • car sales

When using SEO keywords, you should also make a point to include the city or metropolitan area where you’re located. As you can see in the example above, this will give you a better shot at local SEO ranking for car dealerships and help you show up in the google maps local area. Google Maps is one of the easiest and most inexpensive forms of traffic you’ll find.

Create Unique Content

It’s important to ensure that your website remains active to keep SEO where you want it to be. Stagnant or inactive websites will quickly find their way at the bottom of a search result page with time. One great way to keep your website active is to write a unique and informative blog.

Your blog could cover current topics in your industry or highlight the newest car model available. Look for topics that aren’t already covered by your competitors online or are location specific to your dealership. It is also great to find a unique perspective to keep readers interested and coming back with each new blog post. While writing, use exciting language, headers, bullet lists, and other formatting tools to make your content easy to read.

A great blog will also establish you as a local expert in your area and make your dealership easily recognized by the community. Blogs also help to improve community trust and involvement. Read more about creating a well-thought out, professional company blog.

Utilize Social Media

Everyone is on social media days. It’s a great place for people to communicate to all of their friends and family in one place. However, it’s much more than a place for selfies and pictures of dinner. It is a great tool for generating business. It’s also inexpensive if you manage your social media yourself.

First, you need to create social media accounts. Facebook is the most popular social media platform, but you should create a social media account for Twitter and Instagram as well. If you make a lot of videos of your cars, you may also create a channel on YouTube. While it may seem like a lot to manage, you can find a tool to manage all social media accounts in one place. The Diib User Dashboard offers just this type of service. Check out their dashboard along with customized alerts specific to your social media presence.

SEO for car dealers

Actionable alerts help you to know how to adjust your social media posts to fit your  audience and their specific demographics, making them more visible and effective.

Next, you need to get people to “follow” you. One of the easiest ways to increase followers is to offer a discount for people who can prove they follow you on social media. You may even offer a giveaway that requires people to follow you on social media to sign up. This is just one of the many ways you can drive foot traffic through social media.

SEO for car dealers

Finally, you need to consistently post on social media. You want to post regularly but not so much that it can annoy followers and cause them to unfollow you. Post your unique content a couple of times a week, including pictures and videos. Also, not everything should be promotional. Post personal and funny content as well.

Link Building

Link building is the process of incorporating effective links into your blogs to improve your online presence. You want people to link to your site from their sites. You also want to include internal links into your content to other articles in your blog.

You will start by linking to your own website when applicable. You can also work with other people in your industry with a promise to link to each other’s websites. For example, you may want to work with a maintenance shop or an automotive parts store.

Another way to increase external links to your website and online presence is getting involved in your neighborhood. You should go to local charity events that will be covered in the media. Ideally, your picture or your company’s name will be included in the article. If not, you will still get the opportunity to network with people in the area.

Internal Link: Internal links are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. They are commonly used in main navigation.

External Link: is a hyperlink that directs the reader to a reputable page on a different website.

Study the Competition

You are not the only dealership in your area. You want to ensure that you are on the top in search results. In order to help choose the right things to do, you should look into the competition. Check out your competition to figure out who is on top and what they’re doing to be on top; keywords, community involvement, service department, social media presence ect. Copy effective methods and find ways to improve on their own methods. This should help you create a plan that targets exactly what’s working so you can push toward beating the local competition.

One of the key features in the Diib User Dashboard is the unique ability to track your competitor’s success and gain key insights into ways to improve your own website performance.


Adwords are ads that show up online. These ads are managed by Google. Your ad will pop up when someone searches something relevant. One of the best things about adwords is that you only pay when people click on your ad and get redirected to your website. You can ensure you stick to your budget by paying in advance.


When someone has a positive experience at your dealership, you need to encourage others to leave a review online. These online reviews can encourage people to trust you with their next car purchase. You can link to your reviews on your website and social media accounts, giving you the most bang for your buck. You may even decide to add a tab on your website specifically dedicated to reviews.

FACT: Research shows that 91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. (Source Inc.com)

Tips for SEO for Dealers

It’s not enough to write a couple of blogs with keywords for selling a car. You need to know how to make the most of your efforts. Here are some tips and tricks for managing car dealer seo.

Measure and Adjust SEO

Seo changes regularly. You need to maintain and adjust your methods to ensure that you stay on top. If you aren’t careful with a detailed plan, you could find yourself on the bottom again fairly quickly. Luckily, you can monitor your effort to see what works and what doesn’t work.

Keep clear records on all activity related to seo including; website traffic, social media posts, domain authority, sales, backlinks ec. Look for any possible correlations related to either an increase or decrease in website traffic and sales. Adjust accordingly. For the novice car dealer, it may be to your advantage to seek out software dedicated to keeping track of these vital metrics. This type of software can also give you straightforward steps to improve your website performance.

Be Consistent

You need to be consistent in your efforts when writing about your dealership and cars for seo. If you write a blog, put it out on the same day every week or every month. You also need to be consistent with your social media posts, however, overposting can have much the same result as infrequent posting. If you get busy and neglect your seo efforts for an extended period of time, it could lead to stagnation in your website performance and, ultimately, your return on investment.

You should also be consistent with updates. Keep people updated on any contact information or sale information right away in all places. If people see conflicting information, it can discourage them from visiting. One of the best ways to keep your information current and in front of the most people is to create an account with Google My Business. Signing up and verifying your business with Google My Business is easy with this step-by-step process.

SEO for car dealers


Utilize High-quality Pictures and Videos

The great thing about being an auto dealership is that your product is unique, popular and attractive. Take advantage of this by utilizing high quality pictures and videos of the popular, exciting cars you have on the lot. Don’t forget to include keywords for selling a car in the description and caption of the picture. A responsive website will be a critical component of your business; no one wants to sit around and wait for pictures to load.

FACT: Sites that load in five seconds (compared to those that load in 19) see 70% longer average sessions. (Source Unbounce.com)

Take these pictures and videos and put them on your website and social media pages. Photos are a great way to get people to share your posts and, and by default, your dealership. Don’t forget to put a watermark with the name of the dealership on the pictures. If you want people to be able to use the pictures, put the watermark in the corner to prevent it from hindering the picture. You should also promote the dealership in any videos by wearing your dealership’s merchandise and mention the dealership.

Hire a Professional

If you want to improve local seo for car dealerships but aren’t great with computers, go to an expert. There are local firms who can handle car dealer seo for you. It’s inexpensive and easy. All you need to do is emphasize the right seo keywords on the website and in your content, an seo expert can help you to identify your keywords and how to use them. You need to know how to optimize car dealership websites with a great design. When you’ve taken the steps we’ve given you, be patient; it may take weeks to see results. Monitor your results and take steps to modify accordingly. Before you know it, you should see a significant increase in website traffic and sales.

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Daniel Urmann

Author Bio:

Daniel Urmann is the co-founder of Diib.com. Over the past 17 years Daniel has helped thousands of business grow online through SEO, social media, and paid advertising. Today, Diib helps over 150,000 business globally grow online with their SaaS offerings. Daniel’s interest include SMB analytics, big data, predictive analytics, enterprise and SMB search engine optimization (SEO), CRO optimization, social media advertising, A/B testing, programatic and geo-targeting, PPC, and e-commerce. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and E-commerce from Cornell University – S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.

0 thoughts on “SEO for car dealers

  • I think in 2020 being hyper local is also important, we use pages for each of our makes combined with our local city. Example would be cardealer.com/denver/toyota/landcruiser – on these pages we put local information about why Toyota Landcruisers are a great SUV in Denver for the local market (long snowy winters, salty roads, mountain trips on weekends etc…) right now we just have a link to our inventory but we are working on getting a feed. These pages rank amazing for terms like “Toyota Landcruiser Denver”. Highly recommend and great article!

  • Our car dealership is in a pretty rural area of Kansas but most of our buyers come from a larger city about 20 minutes north. We never show up on map searches and it is really hard for us to get the SEO traffic we deserve. What would you recommend here?

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