SEO Tips to Help your Dealership Succeed in 2021 (Part One)

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Posted on by Jason Cook
Categories: Just The Tip, SEO

Twelve months ago, we were living in a very different world. And at that point, an evaluation of over 8,000 American car buyers revealed that the average car buyer:
– Spends up to six months researching vehicles before making a purchase.
– Performs 59% of that research online, with 46% of car buyers using multiple devices to do so
– Visits five or more dealerships within a 20-mile radius before deciding who to do business with. And on top of that…
– 60% of car buyers haven’t even settled on a specific vehicle by the time they arrive at the dealership.

Now, this alone did plenty to emphasize a dealership’s need for online marketing and an effective SEO strategy in 2020. And then, we all know what happened. Not only were homebound consumers relying upon online research more than ever but, combined with the fact that more than half of Gen-X and Millennial car buyers are transparent about their active dislike of dealerships, consumers were more open to “alternatives” than ever before.

Take Vroom for example, whose recent campaigns have used dark humor to poke fun at elements of car buying. From comparing the act of selling your car to being a contestant in a cheesy, no-win game show…

To depicting other online resources as an unsettling game of deceit, bait and switch…

The campaign spits in the face of those dealerships who have actively worked to create a customer-centric buying experience, and abolish outdated stereotypes. And Vroom’s most recent commercial played further on consumer sentiment – taking it to all new levels (and in some opinions “too far”) – by equating the traditional car buying experience with the physical torture of a captive hostage…

And feathers have been ruffled, with many influencers in the automotive marketing community using the depiction to emphasize the need for dealerships and marketing to work together to actively change that perspective. And we agree.

So, with that in mind, consider this episode of “Just the Tip” the beginning of a whole new dialog for 2021…beginning with the things your dealership needs to be focused on SEO-wise to make your site a more valuable resource in the eyes of Google and, in turn, car-buyers in your area.

1. Create Content with Intent in Mind
Google’s priority is to create the best possible experience for their users. They do so by interpreting the intent behind a user’s search query and delivering what they find to be the most applicable content, from the most reputable resources. Most searches fall under one of four categories: Informational, Navigational, Commercial and Transactional. In most cases, these are distinguishable from one another based on the language that’s used in the search query. Is the user looking for specific information, to find a specific website, to educate themselves on a product or service, or do they intend to make a purchase? When building content – be it landing pages, blog posts, videos – you need to configure it, and optimize it purposefully around the intent.

2. Optimize Your Title Tag and Meta Description
You only have one chance to make a first impression – and in search results you do so with your Title Tag and Meta Description. For a better chance of ranking higher, and capturing the attention of car buyers, you need to make sure that your content:
– Has a unique title that matches the intent and
–  incorporates the keyword that you’re trying to rank for, and…
– Favors brevity, keeping it under 60 characters max (so it appears on-screen, in its entirety)
Then, follow the same steps when creating your meta description, limiting those to 160 characters or less.

3. Optimize For Page Performance
This is a very broad topic, and one that involves image file types, compression, Alt Text, Loading Technique – all in the interest of improving page performance, and creating a more satisfying user experience. It’s a lot to take in, but User Experience (or UX) is counted among the most important facets of your dealership’s SEO strategy. So, if you’d like a better understanding here’s a solid Pro-Tip, check out Aaron’s awesome three part series covering:

Page Speed and Why It’s Crucial to Your Site

Tools to Assess Your Dealership’s Page Performance, and

Steps Your Can Take to Speed Up Your Dealership’s Website

But Wait…There’s More
That’s right, this is only Part One of this series, so be sure to tune in next week as we continue this list, covering what your dealership needs to do to maximize its success in 2021. As always, you can find all of our episodes complete with transcripts at And you can look forward to all-new, actionable tips for your dealership next Thursday, and every Thursday, at 8AM right here on “Just the Tip”.