In the continual quest to sharpen one’s SEO to a razor-like edge, there is perhaps no whetstone quite as important as keywords. After all, when someone opens up Google to make a search, they type in words. Obvious, I know, but sometimes it pays to step back and look at things in such a way as to take nothing for granted. The goal with keywords is to figure out which words someone searching for your dealership might use to find you.
With me? Excellent. Once you have those words in mind, your web designers—like the skilled professionals at DealerOn (hint, hint)—can plug those words in and make certain that when someone types in those words, phrases, sentences, or even haikus, it’s your page that’s sitting at the tippy-top of the results page.
The question remains: how do you pick the keywords? I’m going to walk you through a couple ways to zero in on the best ones for your dealership.
- Anatomy of a keyword
Despite the name, a keyword isn’t always, or even often, a single word. It’s a word or phrase that can be typed into a search engine with the goal of getting a website. They’re generally divided into three categories, known as “head,” “body,” and “long tail.”
A head term is a single-word that’s going to get an untold number of results. In our case, “Car.” It tends to lack context (more on that later). A body keyword is anywhere from two to five words that are more specific than head terms, but still generic enough that you’re getting a huge return. Long tail keywords are big phrases that get as detailed as possible. Something like “Honda dealership near me,” is an example of the shortest long tail keyword you can imagine.
Different businesses have different needs, but car dealerships are best served by their long tail keywords, which we’ll get into.
- What are you?
The first step when picking keywords is an honest self-assessment. Look into a metaphorical mirror and ask, “What am I?”
You’re a dealership. But what are you beyond that? What kind of dealership are you exactly? Cars are one place where brand loyalty remains ironclad. While a Pepsi-drinker might settle for Coke at a restaurant, it’s unlikely that a Subaru driver is just going to buy a Chevy on a whim.
It goes beyond a simple brand, too. Some savvier buyers have a specific experience in mind. Some like a one-price store, others like to haggle. Think about what separates your dealership from others out there. Then take those differences and hammer out some keyword phrases. And here’s a free bonus tip: type them out yourself. If it doesn’t feel natural to write the words, then give it another shot. Remember, you’re trying to replicate what a real person would enter into the Google search bar.
- Get the right kind of hits
While it’s tempting to go after the obvious words—remember, they’re called “head” keywords— they’re often not terribly helpful. For example, let’s say you want “cars” as a keyword on its own. On its face, it makes a certain amount of sense, as you are selling cars. The important thing is you’re never going to be the number one hit for “cars” by its lonesome. cars.com pretty much owns the top spot, and from there, it’s the big box pre-owned lots like Carvana and CarMax that get the traffic.
Besides, it’s not descriptive enough. If you tell Google “cars,” Google is left to make a ton of guesses. Are you looking to buy a car, or do you want to know when they were invented? So when you’re picking you keywords, you should be concentrating on the ones that identify motivated buyers within driving distance of your store. Look at phrases that start with “[make you sell] dealer near me,” or “affordable [model you sell] near [locations near you].” That’s the traffic you want.
- Autocomplete has some ideas
Search engines are already optimized to help out users, and have a habit of guessing to shave a few precious seconds off of any search. Why not make use of this? You’re operating a dealership, so take a few guesses about how a search for your store might start. “Cars” is a good guess, “car dealership near me,” is another. Then see what Google thinks the rest of the search phrase is. Everything you see is a potential source for keywords.
It works on more than standard search engines too. You can mine sites like YouTube in much the same way. And when you’re done, you can watch that one video where the owl swims like a duck.
- Check in on other dealerships
As a car dealership, you are in a unique place. Chances are, you’re the only local store of your specific make. While other businesses have to use their keywords to differentiate themselves from the hundreds of other, say fast-casual restaurants, pet stores, or nail salons you don’t have that. In fact, other dealerships in different cities can offer you ideas for your own keywords.
Look for a dealership that’s as close as possible to what you have. Several tools exist that allow you to look at their keywords. Alternately, you could just ask them. They might help you—you’re not a direct competitor, and a working relationship has the potential to help the both of you.
Source (other tools): https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/11/09/competitor-keywords
- Google wants to help
Google created a handy tool called Google Keyword Planner. Don’t get too excited—it’s not designed specifically for SEO, but rather to help out with Google Ad campaigns. Still, it can be quite useful when brainstorming possible keywords.
Source (GKP): https://backlinko.com/google-keyword-planner
- You’re never finished
Keyword research is less of a goal and more of a journey. What worked one day might not work the next. You might have missed something obvious. Not to worry: you can always add new keywords to your site, and if you’re one of the Elite tier customers at DealerOn, you can do that with a simple email.
While keyword research initially looks like a daunting endeavor, all it takes is a few steps before you have a solid base of terms that will bring your customers right to your door.