Automotive SEO for car dealerships – Tips from the eCarsTrade SEO Team

Boost your car dealership’s online success with automotive SEO tactics. Discover how to increase sales, drive traffic, and outpace the competition. Learn more!

Automotive SEO is all about getting car dealerships to show up first when you search for cars online. It’s really important because it helps dealerships stand out in a crowded online space. 

By focusing on search engine optimization, car dealers can attract more people looking to buy cars, leading to more sales. 

This article will break down the basics of SEO for car dealerships and show how a few smart moves can make a big difference in how easily buyers can find them online.

Plus, we’ll cover some easy-to-follow strategies that can help any car dealer get ahead in the digital race.

Don’t underestimate the power of SEO

A few things to keep in mind and make realistic expectations

Getting positive SEO results requires patience as it’s a gradual process. 

Opting for fast, cheap fixes might lead to penalties from Google, commonly associated with Black Hat SEO practices. While you can certainly handle basic search engine optimizations and check them against organic data, advanced technical improvements should be left to an SEO consultant. 

However, once your dealership’s SEO practice establishes high search engine rankings and online visibility, you can simply sustain these results with an ongoing search engine optimization for car dealers. 

Throughout this article we’ll be sharing tips and thoughts directly from our SEO team.

eCarsTrade is here to let you in on all the best SEO tips and tricks!

“The time it takes to see satisfactory SEO results depends on your business type, competition, budget, and the history of your domain. Trying to rush SEO can lead to problems, wasted money, or even a Google penalty. This is really important for new businesses or those who plan on opening a dealership, but even old websites can be harmed by black-hat SEO practices. Thinking carefully can save you time and money, and help you get steady traffic and more brand recognition.”

Piotr Krasuski

Let’s start with On-page SEO for your dealership’s website

Site structure – Fundamental optimization for SEO and UX

By prioritizing site structure, you can create a strong foundation for your car dealership SEO efforts and increase your site’s visibility and authority in search engine results. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Better user experience (UX): A clear and logical site structure improves UX by making it easier for buyers to navigate your site, browse car listings, easily find the information they’re looking for, and ultimately buy the car from you.
  • Keyword optimization: A well-structured site allows you to organize your automotive content around specific topics. This makes it easier to target keywords relevant to car dealerships and optimize individual landing pages for search engines.
  • Internal linking: Internal links help buyers navigate your website easily. By strategically including relevant anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink), you guide buyers to related content and keep them engaged with your site.

Content – “thin” pages can set you back

Thin content pages (with minimal or low-quality content) provide no value to the buyer and can lead to high bounce rates. Examples of such pages on a car dealership website include pages with only a few sentences describing a vehicle, pages with duplicate content (same description for different car models), or pages with only basic specifications.

You want to keep the potential buyer interested and convince them to keep clicking through your car listings and buy the car. It’s essential to prioritize the creation of informative content for your target audience to demonstrate your expertise in the automotive industry.

“Always make content for users first, but also help Google understand your site better with unique, high-quality content. Give your customers information they are looking for and make it easier for search engines to understand your site. Remember, more content gives you more chances to link pages within your site, improving how people move around it and helping you target more specific searches.”

Meta tags – SEO basics you can’t forget about

Meta tags, including meta titles and meta descriptions, provide summaries of webpage content to search engines and are one of the first elements to convince organic users to click on your result. For a car dealership, well-written meta titles and descriptions can effectively communicate key information about specific cars, services, or dealership offerings.

By optimizing meta tags with relevant automotive SEO keywords and unique content, car dealerships can improve their online visibility, attract more buyers, and ultimately boost their sales. Keep it simple, but make sure you stand out!

Details matter – especially on product pages

By providing a user-friendly product page, car dealerships can showcase their inventory of vehicles, attract new and existing customers, and ultimately drive sales conversions. With attention to detail and a focus on providing valuable information to potential buyers, here are our 5 tips on creating a successful product page:

  1. Invest in high-quality visuals. Showcasing the car’s features and detailing its condition can help customers visualize themselves owning it.
  2. Provide detailed descriptions. Include make, model, year, mileage, engine type, transmission, and any notable features or upgrades. Highlight unique selling points!
  3. Include customer reviews and testimonials. Positive feedback boosts potential buyers’ confidence and reinforces your dealership’s credibility.

  4. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Scroll through your car listings on your phone. Would you buy a car? The page should load quickly, display properly, and provide a seamless user experience across all devices.
  5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Optimize the product page for relevant keywords related to the vehicle make, model, and features. 

Now it’s time for technical SEO 

Schema markup – communication is key, especially with Google bots

Schema is a structured data language used to help search engines understand the context and meaning of your content. 

It is a type of code that you can add to your website’s HTML to enhance the visibility and relevance of your content in search engine results pages (SERPs).

For a car dealership website, schema markup can be used to provide detailed information about individual cars, including make, model, year, mileage, and price. 

This structured data helps search engines display rich snippets in search results, which can improve click-through rates and provide buyers with useful information.
Structured data for web developers

Give your mobile users a great mobile experience

Make sure that your conversion pages and product pages are optimized for mobile devices, as many buyers browse car listings while on the go, looking for nearby locations, contact information, or inventory availability. 

Mobile-optimized websites provide better navigation, faster loading times, and improved readability, enhancing the overall buyer experience and increasing the likelihood of attracting local customers.

Google and other search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their search results.
How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly – Top 5 Steps

Websites that are not optimized for mobile devices risk having the website not accessible to an enormous amount of people who are accessing your site from their phones, which will result in reduced organic traffic. 

In a competitive market, having a mobile-friendly website can differentiate your dealership from competitors and attract more buyers.

Slow turnover of inventory? Check outdated pages

Outdated pages can negatively impact user experience, search engine rankings, and overall credibility, which might lead the potential buyers to your competitors. 

Also, search engines like Google prioritize fresh, relevant content in their search results. Outdated pages may be seen as less valuable, resulting in lower rankings and decreased visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Let’s see how best to avoid that.

How Google Search Works

To address outdated pages on your car dealership website, regularly review and update content to ensure accuracy and relevance. 

This may involve updating inventory listings, pricing information, service offerings, or promotional materials. 

By prioritizing the maintenance of your website’s content, you can strengthen your dealership’s online presence.

“Letting old or expired pages on your site, like old product pages or blog posts, stay visible to Google can clutter its index. While small and medium-sized sites might not worry about Google’s crawl limit, the real problem is that these outdated pages can compete with newer ones, reducing your site’s visibility and possibly making the user experience worse if someone lands on them. You have many tools to clean up your site, like using canonical tags, redirects, meta robots tags, or custom 404 pages. Once you learn how to use these, you can keep your site organized easily.”

Don’t be so slow – improve the speed of your website

Speed of the page is crucial, it has a direct effect on conversion rates and – for the bigger websites and e-commerce – dictates the crawling efficiency.

Slow page load times increase bounce rate

Long loading times tend to lower buyer readiness to further interact with your car listings. Here are some tips to help you boost your website speed:

  • Optimize your images: Compress and resize images to reduce file size without compromising quality. 
  • Reduce the number of elements on your website: Remove some of the scripts, stylesheets, or images.
  • Enable browser caching: Set expiration dates for static resources (CSS, JavaScript) to instruct browsers to cache these files locally. This reduces server load and speeds up page load times.
  • Utilize responsive design: Responsive design adjusts the layout and content based on the buyer’s device.
  • Monitor performance: Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to analyze your website’s performance and identify areas for improvement. 

Implementing these strategies can significantly improve the speed of your car dealership website, resulting in higher search engine rankings and, ultimately, increased customer satisfaction and conversions.
Complete Local SEO Guide to Improve Local Search

Stay ahead of your competitors with local SEO

Make yourself findable on local websites

To make your car dealership findable on local websites to get organic traffic, you can implement several strategies tailored to car dealer search engine marketing:

  • Optimize your website for local SEO and local keywords. Include location-specific information on your page, such as city names, landmarks, and proximity to major roads or highways. 
  • Get listed in local directories. Submit your dealership’s information to local directories (find a local version of “yellow pages”), review sites, and online business listings. Make sure your business information is consistent across all listings.
  • Engage with the local community. Participate in local events, sponsor community initiatives, or host dealership events. This can help increase brand awareness and visibility in the local area.

Share your automotive expertise

Google tends to “reward” pages where the author has actually experienced the topic they are writing about, so try to showcase your dealership’s expertise in the automotive industry by providing valuable content such as blog posts, articles, or videos that demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of car trends, safety features, or maintenance tips.

You can also publish comprehensive guides or case studies that provide insights and solutions to common problems or challenges faced by car buyers. 

And if you display customer testimonials and reviews prominently on your website and other online platforms, your overall SEO automotive strategy will come full circle.

“Remember, everyone has different things they consider when buying a car. Would you trust a real estate agent who can’t answer your questions, or a mechanic who seems unsure about fixing your car? Being seen as trustworthy and knowledgeable is very important, especially online. Beyond just getting your website to rank better in searches, use your website and how you share your content to show you’re an expert in your field. Trust and know-how are crucial, especially for customers who do a lot of research before they buy anything.”

Stand out with Google Business and reviews

Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile is essential for enhancing your dealership’s online presence, credibility, and visibility in local search results. 

It provides essential business information such as your address, phone number, website, business hours, and customer reviews, making it easier for buyers to trust and engage with your dealership. 

By optimizing your profile and actively managing customer reviews and engagement, you can attract more buyers, drive more traffic to your car listings, and ultimately increase sales and revenue.

Google Reviews

Reviews play a significant role in influencing purchase decisions. Many car buyers research dealerships online before making a purchase, and positive reviews can sway their decision in favor of your dealership. 

Reviews serve as a form of word-of-mouth marketing, as satisfied customers are likely to recommend your dealership to friends, family, and colleagues based on their positive experiences. 

Potential car buyers are more likely to trust the opinions and experiences of other customers when making purchasing decisions, which is why it’s important to showcase them on your website. 

People will spend time reading reviews and exploring your inventory, services, and other content, leading to higher website engagement metrics.

What else do you need to know about local car dealership SEO?

Organic KPIs and metrics – be intentional about marketing

By leveraging organic KPIs and metrics, car dealerships can evaluate the performance of their organic marketing efforts, identify areas for improvement, and optimize strategies to attract more qualified leads, increase online visibility, and drive sales conversions.
SEO KPIs to Measure: Which SEO KPIs to Track for Successful SEO Campaigns

Let’s take a look at how organic KPIs and metrics can be tailored specifically for your car dealership business:

  • Organic Traffic. Measure the total number of visitors to your dealership’s website from organic search results, focusing on keywords related to car models, brands, and automotive services.
  • Keyword Rankings. Track the rankings of your dealership’s pages for relevant automotive keywords, such as “best SUVs for families” or “car dealerships near me.” 
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR). Monitor the CTR of your dealership’s organic search listings in SERPs to assess the effectiveness of your meta titles and descriptions.
  • Organic Conversion Rate. Measure the percentage of website visitors who complete desired actions, such as scheduling test drives, requesting price quotes, or contacting your dealership.
  • Organic Return on Investment (ROI). Calculate the return on investment generated from organic marketing efforts, such as SEO and content marketing. 

Utilize PPC campaigns

Like with any business, the success of your car dealership depends on how well you promote it.

Pay-Per-Click campaigns are important for car dealerships because they provide immediate visibility, targeted advertising, cost-effective marketing, and measurable results.

By using PPC, you can attract more qualified leads, increase sales, and grow your business. You can immediately appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for targeted keywords.
The Best Pay-Per-Click Strategies For Small Businesses (PPC Ads)

This provides instant visibility to potential buyers who are actively searching for cars or related services. If you want to learn more, we prepared for you 5 ways to improve the digital outreach of your dealership.

“Pairing paid ads with SEO can be a smart way to get noticed in your local market. SEO is slow to show results, so paid ads can attract attention while you wait for SEO to kick in. Also, the information you get from your ads can give you extra details about what local keywords are popular, helping you fine-tune your website’s SEO.”

Amaze customers with your photos

One often overlooked aspect of selling used cars (that buyers care about deeply) is making sure your photos look professional and are informative enough to answer all the potential questions or concerns a buyer might have.

Buyers of used cars look for clear, high-quality images that offer multiple angles, including close-ups of key features both inside and outside the vehicle. You don’t need a lot of expensive gear to take some great photos of your cars. All you need is a solid camera (or a phone), a tripod, and our photography guide to taking amazing photos for your dealership.

Don’t believe the “too good and cheap to be true” offers – it can harm your domain

Using cheap offers for backlinks and optimization can harm your dealership’s SEO and reputation. 

These offers often result in low-quality backlinks from spammy websites, leading to penalties from search engines. 

While cheap options may seem cost-effective initially, they can waste resources and cause long-term harm. 

Prioritizing ethical SEO practices is crucial for sustainable growth and success, focusing on high-quality content and natural link-building strategies. Consider consulting a SEO specialist. 

You will save time, ensure long-term growth, and achieve measurable results, giving your dealership a competitive edge in the digital landscape, and ultimately – you will sell more cars.


In conclusion, being good at automotive SEO isn’t just a choice for car dealerships, it’s a must in today’s digital world. 

By using SEO on-page optimization tailored to the car industry, dealerships can get seen more online, attract more interested buyers, and sell more cars. 

From tweaking website content to showing up better in local searches and making sure the site works well on phones, there are lots of ways SEO can help dealerships grow. 

By keeping up with SEO tricks and changes in how search engines work, car dealerships can make sure they’re easy to find online, build trust with customers, and stay competitive in a fast-changing market.

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