Does SEO for Car Dealers Still Work?

SEO is very important in many industries and yes, free organic traffic is valuable. But for used car dealerships… you might be surprised.

Many of our dealers reach out to support after being approached by SEO companies offering them the moon and the stars. Telling them their websites are not SEO optimized and throw in big words like geo-fencing and geo-targeting.

SEO is very important in many industries and yes, free organic traffic is valuable. But for used car dealerships… you might be surprised.

Below we’ll discuss how to position your dealership the right way, very easily – without the need of a “SEO Agency” that charges hundreds of dollars/month for something you can do once, yourself.

Consider this:

When car shoppers in your area look for a vehicle, are they searching for “used car dealerships” or “used cars for sale”, or maybe “used cars for sale under 10,000”

  • In each one of these searches there are MILLIONS of results. And if you’re not in the top 3-4 organic results, chances are you won’t benefit much from this.
  • Now to get into the top 3-4, you’re competing against companies like cars.com, cargurus.com, autotrader.com and many others. So ask yourself how likely it is that you’ll be able to outrank companies who have massive amounts of content and millions in marketing budgets.

If you look at the search results below, if you can’t position above Yelp or Autotrader.com, you may want to consider another strategy.

However, your site should still be optimized of course, you can do this on a page level by adding a good page description and meta tags – but don’t bank of SEO to bring in more leads.

Now, there is something you can definitely do though…

Google Ads:

The top section is for advertisers and for keywords such as “used cars for sale” can be VERY expensive, since you’d be competing against nationwide brands. There are some very creative campaigns that you can run very inexpensively such as “Vehicle Consignment Programs” that can bring in free inventory without capital investment. We have many dealers who are running these and dominating the niche for a fraction of what other marketing campaigns cost.

Google Local:

If you look at the middle sections with the 3 businesses, you have a much better change of positioning for this than for the local SEO. And this is more relevant for local searches and car shoppers.

This is the Google Business listing which is FREE and can be optimized. We’ll discuss this in another post in detail.

So if you have a conversation with an SEO Company promising the world and first page placement on Google and you’re considering having them manage your SEO, make sure to ask them how will you track the leads that come in from my SEO so you know how much this costs me on a lead-level.

At the end of the day, success in this industry is based on being able to acquire vehicles for less than MMR if possible and making sure you’re turning them in less than 45 days.

To do this, you need to know exactly what is working and what’s not. Both success and failure leave clues and you need to follow them. Having a car dealer software that does that for you is and absolute must.

If you don’t know how many leads came from autotrader vs craigslist and how much you spent on both last month, and if you’re not calculating how much marketing money is cost you to get a sale from these channels – how can you possibly know what’s working and what’s not.

These are key marketing metrics to know before even thinking about investing anything into other marketing channels.If your current dealership software is not offering this, let us show you how to kick it into gear.

Even wherever you’re advertising to right now, HOW you’re advertising could be the difference between winning vs. losing money. Here’s a good video that explains the “HOW” part of marketing your used car inventory to different vendors.

As you know, running an independent car dealership requires wearing many hats and the competition is tougher than ever. Automating the tasks you’re not an expert at is your first step in taking control of your dealership and stop feeling like it’s running you, instead of the other way around.

As always, happy selling.

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