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A Guide To Automotive Keyword Research For Your Dealership

Keyword research for your automotive dealership is vital in ensuring that your ad spend is utilized to its maximum potential. The good part about this is that it’s free and easy to do. Here’s how to get started.

Start With Seed Keywords:

Know what your dealership is about. Do you sell “new toyota” or “used hyundai” vehicles? Start by brainstorming what your dealership inventory specializes in. An example list might contain:

  • Used toyota
  • Camry under $15,000
  • Pre-owned toyota

Now, what’s the next step? Sometimes your brain needs a kickstart to generate new keywords. Get as many keywords down on paper before you start chopping down the useless ones. Luckily, there are many tools available to help jumpstart the brainstorming process.

Expand Your List is a great tool to help expand your seed keywords that you describe your brand. Let’s try entering “used toyota” in the search field:  

556 different search terms are available to help expand and optimize your keyword list. It’s worth spending some time picking out a wide variety of keywords that relate directly to your brand. You could expand your seed list from earlier to include longer terms like:

  • A used toyota coroll
  • Automatic used toyota
  • Best used toyota vehicle
  • Best used toyota cars to buy

The list has many possibilities. Pick at least 25 quality search terms to start with and let's keep moving.

See The Search Volume Of Your Keywords

Now that you’ve put together a giant list of keywords that relate to your dealership brand, it’s time to see which one’s are receiving the highest searches. Moz Keyword Explorer is one of the many great free tools to check this. Try searching, “a used toyota corolla” and click “see all suggestions” under the “Keyword Suggestions” section. You’ll see a list like this:  

Keep an eye on the “Monthly Volume” column. It’s worth noting which terms get low search volume vs high. For example, “used toyota corolla” gets 1.7k-2.9k monthly searches vs “used toyota corolla 2010” that gets 11-50 monthly searches. This is useful because a keyword that you may be planning on using might not even be searched frequently enough to be relevant, which will then waste your ad spend.

Let’s keep moving.

Notice when you first search a term in Moz these ratings pop up. It’s important to find a good balance in difficulty, organic click through, and priority. A keyword that has a high difficulty (50+) means that it will be hard to compete against as the competition is already strong for that specific term. Try to strike a good balance between search volume, CTR, and difficulty as you test out new keyworks.

Don’t Forget Long Tail Keywords

Have you ever pulled out Siri or Cortana and asked, “find the best fast food restaurant near me”? Long tail search terms like these are becoming more and more relevant in google’s algorithm and are worth not skipping over for your dealership advertising. Following the same steps above, test out long tail keywords using various keyword research tools and see which one’s get the best search volume. Example:

  • Find me used toyota corolla under $10,000
  • Where can I find the best used toyota corolla near me?
  • What’s the cheapest used toyota vehicle near me?

The search volume for these terms may be low HOWEVER customers searching for these terms above are very warm customers who are ready to buy. You want warm customers in your dealership so don’t discount adding long tail keywords to your ad lists.

To even further optimize long tail keywords, try including your city at the end. Terms like this are perfect for geo targeting customers who live close to your dealership:  

  • Find me used toyota corolla under $10,000 in Salt Lake City

Don’t Stop Optimizing

Keyword research is not a set-it-forget-it technique. You need to stay current with trends and competition. Consider re-optimizing your search terms on a quarterly basis (at minimum). Google Search Console can give you a good idea of what people are searching for when they discover your landing page and which keywords aren’t being searched. The results can be very revealing:

Be sure to take a look at the first page of keywords that popup. Some might be irrelevant to your brand while others are spot on. This opens opportunities to remove negative keywords from your advertising and also optimize keywords that work for your dealership brand.  

It’s also worth noting that Google Search can offer some very revealing analysis of keywords just by trying to search a terms. Let’s search “a used toyota” and let Google autocomplete the rest. Take a look:

Google will try to predict what you’re typing based off what users across the world are searching for. This gives you a good idea of the current “hot terms” that are being searched in relation to your own terms. Now, try completing your google search using “a used toyota corolla”. Scroll to the bottom of the page and take a look:

These are even more related terms you can keep tabs on in your keyword list as you continue to advertise.

Final Thoughts

There’s no model recipe for automotive dealership keyword research but these above tips will help you get started in the right direction. As a recap I want you to remember these four things:  

  • Focus on keywords that mention your city and geo target those customers that live near your dealership.
  • Expand your keyword list using the many tools mentioned above.
  • Don’t become complacent with your current terms.
  • Optimize your terms each quarter.

Good luck and get researching!

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