Keyword Research: Where Do I Start?

Dave Estey in front of an image of a smartphone searching for "keyword research"
Posted on by Dave Estey
Categories: Keyword Research Tagged: , , , ,

Keywords. We all know we want to rank for them, but determining which ones matter most is a mix of art and elbow grease. Stick with me as we wade into the shallow end of the keyword research pool, and pretty soon, you’ll be ready to swim with the sharks.

Before discussing research tools and competitive landscapes, let’s start by looking at your business—after all, you know it best. Consider the areas where you’re meeting expectations. Now, consider the areas that could use a little help and the areas you think will be important in the future. A little introspection now can reap real rewards in time savings later and doesn’t require any fancy SEO tools.

Step One

So you’ve looked deep within (your business, that is), and you’ve come up with a list of areas you want to focus on in your research, right? For the sake of conversation, I’m going to propose a list to help illuminate some points further in the post.

Dave’s Top Business Priorities:

      • New truck sales
      • Used vehicle sales
      • Vehicle inventory growth (trade-ins and sales)
      • Service

This is pretty standard stuff, but having a list helps us stay organized, and with keyword research, good organization is the key to success. Extra points will be awarded if you’ve created a spreadsheet with a tab for each of your top priority areas.

Step Two

It’s time to get down to the real nitty-gritty. Now, brace yourselves because I’m going to suggest something I haven’t suggested in the past: use ChatGPT or a tool like it. No, we’re not using ChatGPT to do all our research, but we are going to use it to get going. Think wide net.

I’ll suggest a prompt to get you started, but I won’t get too specific since I’m writing this blog post for all dealerships, not just yours. In time, I’d expect you to be able to start and refine this process on your own.

Prompt 1 for ChatGPT:

“Please give me 20 conversion-oriented keywords related to ‘New Truck Sales’”

You’ll notice I’ve worded this fairly carefully. Start with “please” because it never hurts to be polite, and then request 20 keywords as a starting point. We refine the kind of keywords we’re looking for by specifying “conversion oriented” because we’re here to make sales.

ChatGPT will spit out a list of keywords you can copy and paste into the spreadsheet you created after I gently prompted you to do so a couple of paragraphs ago. (You did make one, right? Good.)

Here’s what I got for “New Truck Sales”:

      • Best new truck deals
      • Top new truck models
      • Affordable new trucks
      • Latest truck offers
      • Special truck promotions
      • New truck discounts
      • Customizable trucks for sale
      • Limited-time truck offers
      • High-performance new trucks
      • Exclusive truck financing
      • Reliable new trucks
      • Fuel-efficient truck options
      • Luxury new trucks for sale
      • Competitive truck prices
      • Powerful new trucks
      • Premium truck features
      • New truck warranties
      • Test drive new trucks
      • Tailored truck financing
      • Premium truck packages

Now, some of these I am going to disregard immediately: “Customizable trucks for sale,” “New truck warranties,” and “Premium truck packages” either aren’t what I consider a profit center or aren’t what I consider high conversion related terms—especially “Premium truck packages” which is plainly a research term. Remember, we’re staying focused on conversion right now!

Save your work and move on to the next priority area on your list. Wash, rinse, and repeat until you have a list of 20 keywords for each of your business priorities.

Step Three

Okay, so we’re two steps in, and so far, we’ve spent nothing but time. If you’re in the same location as your dealership (sorry, remote workers), then this next step is pretty easy for you.

Make a Google search for each one of the keywords and note what shows up in the top 10 spots on the search engine results page (SERP). Also, make a note of what shows up in the Google Map Pack and—brownie points again—maybe even what PPC ads come up.

What do you see? Are there a lot of your local competitors showing up, and you’re nowhere to be found? Are you in the top five listings in the organic results for a few items? It’s all data that can help you make actionable decisions, and assigning a priority level to those keywords based on what you’ve found can help you perform a little triage before digging into the real work of SEO.

Congratulations! You now have a basis for understanding your actual competitive landscape.

Onward and Upward!

So there you have it, a free way to begin your keyword research that will result in a healthy list of targets for you to focus on in your efforts. Oh yeah—and don’t forget to track your progress to make sure the work you’re doing is actually working! That’s a whole additional blog post, though.

In the meantime, get started on the steps I’ve laid out for you. And if you have questions (or if you’re looking at all of this thinking, “This is way too much work!”), then Wikimotive is here for you. Let us put our team of experts on the case, and we’ll start getting you the business you deserve! Get in touch today for a free demo.