SEO for Car Dealers – What to Know & What to Expect

What is SEO for car dealers? How can it help you rank for the right keywords, grow your online traffic, and acquire more customers? We’re answering all of these questions and many more in today’s post, so keep on reading! 

We’re also including some information about the best WordPress themes for car dealerships (in terms of SEO) right at the end of the article, so make sure to check it out. 

What is car dealership SEO?

SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the many techniques that people now employ to improve their visibility online. If you’ve ever looked for any service, a plumber or any contractor, you’ve probably used Google before and searched for professionals in your area. 

Well, SEO can help you get clients using the right keywords and the right type of content, but there are many other methods involved in the process. Unlike PPC, the effects that SEO can offer you are timeless, so long as you utilize and apply the right techniques in the future. 

Implementing SEO on a website that has a lot of errors can take a lot of time and effort, and if you do not want to do all this by yourself, you’ll have to pay someone to tend to everything. 

You can get an SEO freelancer or company to solve any technical SEO problems you might have, change your site’s architecture, and explain to you what you have to ensure so that you avoid making any mistakes for as long as your website is up. 

While SEO does take some time to offer results and it can also be rather challenging to implement, it can provide you with amazing benefits, some of which we will discuss in the sections below. 

How to increase car dealership sales with SEO

Implementing the right SEO strategy can have tremendous benefits on how you rank for a variety of keywords and on the number of visitors you can acquire from the search engines every month. 

The more visitors you get, the higher the number of leads you can attract, meaning the more people will buy your cars. 

Moreover, car dealer SEO can also be used to increase your brand’s awareness. You might be the best in your area, but if absolutely no one knows you’re even in business, you aren’t going to be able to attract sales other than by using standard means of marketing. And as you probably know by now, almost nobody reads the newspaper these days. 

SEO can also provide you with a competitive edge, especially if your competitors don’t even have a website or haven’t used online marketing techniques before. 

Best SEO used for car dealer websites

On-page SEO


The first thing that you have to look at when managing your on-page SEO is your keywords. You first have to research the right ones and see what terms your competitors are ranking for.

Just adding keywords to your content without having a plan to stick to isn’t the right way of going about things. You should do extensive research on what people are looking for in your region or town using a tool such as SEMRush or Ahrefs for the purpose. 

The user intent matters a lot in this case, too. People don’t just search for ‘cars for sale’, they search for ‘cars for sale in Wisconsin’ or ‘used cars for sale in my area’. Try to be as specific as possible and only choose the car dealership keywords that can make a difference for you.

The location of the keywords matters, too. For example, you want your main keyword to be located in your URL (slug), in your page’s title (and meta title), in the meta description, but also in the first two paragraphs of your content and perhaps in one of your headings. 

We’ll talk about this more in a section below. Another aspect we have to note is that new keywords show up every month, so you need to have someone in-house or have your SEO consultant to look for relevant keywords on a regular basis. You can either add them to your older posts or create new content based on them. 

Site architecture

We have a detailed technical SEO guide on this site that can tell you what mistakes you should avoid, but when it comes to your website, everything has to be in as good health as possible.

Is your site optimized for mobile? If it’s not, you’re probably missing out on a lot of leads. Approximately half of all Internet users these days use their smartphones or tablets when performing searches online — not their laptops or desktop computers. 

From a technical standpoint, good SEO and SEM for car dealers needs to consider this detail. 

What is your website loading speed? If your site takes more than maybe 3 seconds to load, you’re going to lose customers as they’re going to go back to the search engine and click on a different result. 

Page titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, and headings

All of these have to be optimized for the search engines. You don’t have to use too many keywords in them – just one does the job effectively. But there needs to be at least one primary keyword present. 

Also, your meta titles and your meta descriptions can make a whole lot of difference when it comes to improving or hurting your click-through rate

Your URLs

As previously noted, the slugs of all of your posts and pages should contain your main keyword (where that’s feasible, of course, since your disclaimer or about-us page are an exception). 

In some cases, you have to go into WordPress and select the right settings so that you have complete control over your URLs. 

If you do not, the content management system is going to automatically create your URL for you. In some cases, this can mean that your URL is just going to look like this: /23456/ instead of /car-dealership-seattle/. 

Internal linking

Even before creating your website, you should think of a number of categories you want to have on your site, ones in which your posts will be displayed. These are called silos and it’s a good idea to have everything as organized as possible. 

For your specific situation, you can create categories that deal with brands, production years, or prices — this is just an example we came up with off the bat. 

For example, if you have a bunch of cars you want to showcase on your site and you want to create individual pages about each, you can name that category 2000-2010 cars or something similar. 

Once you create most of your categories, you can link from one article to another but always within them. 

Outbound are important, too, and you should aim at including one per every post you publish, but you should always recommend trustworthy resources such as other car dealers (perhaps in other areas or those that you are a franchise of), car manufacturers, or car makeover services. 

Off-page SEO

Local SEO for car dealers – Google My Business

Google My Business can make a significant difference when it comes to attracting more customers, whether to a car dealership or some other kind of business. 

In fact, we’d argue that it is perhaps the first strategy that you should apply (or that the SEO company you have picked needs to perform). 

Creating a Google My Business account is free, on top of everything, so it doesn’t take more than a bit of your time to put your listing together. 

Some of the most important information that needs to be showcased on your GMB profile is the following:

  • Your brand’s name
  • Your phone number
  • The hours you operate in
  • Your exact address (which in case you change your location, you have to update)
  • Your website

These elements are basic and they aren’t going to get you anywhere if you don’t also include several pictures of your dealership, for example. Perhaps a picture of other businesses around you might also work. 

You can also add photos of your car lot and some of the best models you have for sale right now, and videos of your team or of your dealership. If you have a special offer, you can even include a photo of that (of course, you’d have to remove it once the discount period ends). 

Building links

Link building is an essential part of any SEO strategy and whoever might tell you otherwise is simply in the wrong. Links are a ranking factor that Google or any other search engine, for that matter, uses.

Buying links is against the official policies of these engines, but an intelligent SEO will know how to circumvent the rules. 

You can also acquire links through traditional blogger outreach, for example, or by getting PR links. Avoid buying your links from completely irrelevant websites, no matter how tempting or cheap that might be. 

Self-created links are another thing you have to look into and they involve directories, forums, as well as blog comments. 

Negative SEO

If there’s a competitor out there wanting to get you, they’ll try their best to take down your site’s rankings by acquiring toxic links for you. This is not the first time people have done this. Negative SEO campaigns happen all the time. 

You or your SEO have to check on the links you get on a monthly basis just to make sure that there are no problems in this sense. Some examples of bad links that people can purchase for you are those from gambling or adult websites. 

Reviews and recommendations

Although it might seem like reviews aren’t necessarily related to SEO, they actually are. 

If someone’s bought a car from you and they’ve had a great experience doing so, perhaps because you’ve offered them a discount or helped them with papers or anything in this sense, just ask them to leave you a review on Yelp or any other online directory or a review of your Google My Business listing. 

What is the best car dealer theme for SEO?

Since most websites out there run on WordPress, we’re going to give you several examples of good themes that car dealership websites can use in order to avoid having issues with their search engine optimization. 


This premium theme comes with dozens, if not hundreds of unique templates. It will take time for you to decide on a specific one — there are that many! 

The best thing about divi is that you can customize absolutely everything you want from the colors to the fonts. You can also create contact forms with as little effort as possible and even display countdown timers in case you have offers you want to showcase on your site. 

Divi is definitely the first theme you should look at, in our opinion.


Although it might seem a little basic, Technico is an excellent theme for both dealerships and technicians. Moreover, it can be easily and conveniently customized, without you having to complete a course for the purpose. 

You can add your custom logo and there’s also a fullscreen image to which you can add a CTA button. 

Car Dealer

This theme is great for showcasing the models you have on sale right now. It lets you manage your inventory and create additional listings of the models you sell and it also displays prices (in several different currencies). 

If you’re geared toward showing people what you do and the cars you deal, this theme is definitely a sound choice. 


If you’re looking for a clean theme for car dealerships, Enterprise might just be the right one for you. 

It’s stylish and well-organized and we’d argue that it is among the best options or high-end car dealerships. It’s also optimized for speed and performances, and it lets you showcase plenty of photos and services. 

Advance Automobile

The only downside to using this theme is that it’s not premium, and all free themes have a risk of being hacked. However, if you can get your web designer to create something similar or tweak another theme so that it looks like this one, it would be great. 

The theme comes with a variety of perks from the standard navigation menu at the top to several call-to-action buttons and an image slider. Best of all, it’s very easy to customize right from your WordPress dashboard. 

Getting the right automotive SEO services

Picking the right automotive SEO companies or freelancers can be a task no one looks forward to. First of all, there are lots of companies that offer SEO for all kinds of businesses, not just car dealers. 

If you don’t have a huge budget — and we all know it comes down to the money — perhaps a company might not be the right choice for you. You can hire an SEO in-house, in which case you’d have someone to perform changes and improve your rankings on a regular basis.

There’s also the option of you collaborating with a freelancer. But we advise you to carefully look at their portfolio and do a bit of cross-checking, too, especially if you can find the businesses that the freelancer has worked for in the past. 

Ask your SEO what methods they are going to employ to improve your online visibility. You do not want to go against any search engine’s rules, but you should know as much as possible about the SEO techniques they’ll use. 

If none of them can be found in the checklist above, perhaps it’s time you worked with another SEO. 

As for the price of car dealer SEO, it can vary a lot depending on that person’s experience, the projects they’ve handled in the past, and even the number of tools they have access to. 

A consultant can charge you somewhere around $1,000 a month or $100 an hour but they wouldn’t be the one making all of the practical changes — you’d have to or someone from your team. 

Full service SEO companies charge at least $3,000 a month for managing your SEO in every way. 

Need help with your SEO or digital marketing efforts? We have lots of plans and courses available. Get in touch to find out how we can be of assistance!


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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 20 years.

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