It’s 2018 and you want to start focusing more on your website and the internet aspect of your car dealership. You know that your site needs to start showing higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs), but you have no idea how to go about starting.
Well, the answer is to start with keyword research for your car dealership. After all, you can’t get your pages to rank unless you know what keyword you would like to rank for.
At AutoRevo we understand the struggle and have come up with 5 easy steps to help any car dealer choose the best keywords for their dealership and get them ranking higher in no time.
Seed Keyword List
Great keywords don’t just materialize out of thin air (although that would be amazing!). Luckily, as car and truck dealers, the niche is pretty well defined and the basic keyword list is easy to come up with and can start with terms as simple as “used cars,” “used trucks,” or “used cars dallas.” These will also come in handy when trying to find the competitors for your business.
If your dealership handles a little more obscure or niche product like powersports or Japanese mini-trucks, you can find your basic seed keywords by just describing the vehicle in your own words or conducting a brainstorming session about how others might search for your vehicles and for which vehicles you tend to keep in stock.
Best of all, this step requires no tools beyond your own brain!
Generate More Keyword Ideas
Now that you have your basic keyword list, it’s time to sit down and come up with any keyword that someone might use to find your dealership, and your vehicles, online. This list should be very large and as all encompassing as you can make it.
Do you sell a lot of cars that are priced under $10,000 in the city of Modesto, California? Try “used cars for sale under $10000 in Modesto.” We’re just at the idea stage right now, so everything is fair game. The idea right now is to come up with as many as you can. By the way, it’s usually a good idea to go with “used” instead of “preowned” when describing your inventory. We have an amazing blog post that explains why.
Do you sell only preowned BMWs? Try “used BMWs.” There are almost endless possibilities at this stage.
Another way to populate your keyword list is to see which keywords you are already ranking for, is by using Google Search Console. You can pull up your “Search Analytics” report and see how you rank for keywords that people are currently using to find you and your vehicles. This will provide you with a wealth of potential keywords.
To round out your list, you may want to consult a keyword research tool. We use and recommend:
These tools should give you plenty of ideas to move on to the next step.
Check Keyword Search Volume
You have your giant list of keyword possibilities, so what next?
Now you want to check the estimated search volume of the keywords in your list. For this, you will more than likely need another tool. At AutoRevo, we recommend:
These are all paid tools, but some of them offer a free option to start with.
For the most part, these tools are all pretty straight forward. You enter the keyword that you want to check and it will come back with a number of metrics. For this step, we want to pay attention to the “Search Volume.” Put simply, this will show you the overall search demand of any given keyword or how many times someone has entered this keyword into Google.
Another tool that we like to use, in conjunction with the ones listed above, is Google Trends. This tool is very useful to see the overall trends of the keywords over time. Hopefully, these tools have helped you cull your giant list into something a little more manageable at this point.
Check Clicks and Click Through Rate
Now it’s time to take your ever dwindling list and check the clicks on each term. Having a fantastic search volume is only part of the battle and can be rendered useless if no one is actually clicking on the search results the term brings up.
The best tools that we’ve found for this job are Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and Moz’s Keyword Explorer. If a search term has a decent amount of clicks and click through rate, it’s a keeper, otherwise it’s relegated to the backup keyword list.
Now that you have winnowed your keyword list down to the ones that have the best traffic and clicks, it’s time to consider possibly the most important metric of all, Keyword Difficulty, which most tools abbreviate to KD. Keyword Difficulty is the popssible difficult that you will have getting that particular keyword to rank for your dealership. It runs on a scale from 0-100, with 0 being easiest to rank and 100 being next to impossible. If you find a keyword that is super competitive, it may not be worth the effort to try and rank that keyword. The flipside of that coin is, if the keyword is too easy, you may be able to rank for that keyword but the traffic it sends may not become customers, which makes it pointless.
On the other hand, pursuing a highly competetive keyword and managing to rank for it, could drive a ton of customers to your dealership and be totally worth the effort. The trick is to find the balanbce for your dealership.
Long Tail Keywords
I know I said there were only 5 steps, but here is one more, for free!
After you’ve created a mammoth seed list and cut it down to some great keywords that you are itching to rank for, it’s time to check out Long Tail Keywords. These are basically keywords that are longer search phrases that may not have the traffic or click rates of your other keywords, but could prove very lucrative nonetheless. For example, if you’re a Dallas dealership that specializes in used Jeeps under $20,000, you might want to try out the keyword phrase “used jeeps in Dallas under $20,000.” The search traffic is apt to be very, very low and the click through rate may not even register, but customers that search for that keyword phrase has a clear intent to buy and are actively looking. It may be well worth your time to pursue that keyword. And if it turns out to not work out, just scrap it and start over. Long tail keyword searches account for about 70% of all searches performed on the internet, they are definitely worth going after. Keep trying!
Keyword research should be ongoing. Your dealership is a living, breathing thing and it could change from time to time. You may get a great deal on a bunch of cargo vans and want to push them. Then start back at step 1 and start over. Check you Google Search Console periodically and see if you are ranking for any new keywords. If so, incorporate them into the mix. The possiblities, and the work, are endless!
We’ve found that this is an excellent way to find the best possible keywords for your dealership. If you follow these steps, you’re sure to come up with a great bunch of keywords. Now it’s time to start optimizing that site and creating pages with great keyword rich content to get your site at the top of those SERPs!
If we missed anything, or if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.