3 Unexpected Ways to Increase Your Car Dealership Market Share

car dealership seo
Over the last several years we have noticed an increasing trend while doing Organic SEO for car dealerships. This trend is related to top keywords in the market area, like “CITY_NAME Honda”, becoming more tied to where a dealership’s local market share ranks.  In other words, the higher a dealer ranks for the main head term in their city, the more of the local marketshare they have.

Who cares right? Well, every new car dealership cares about where they rank in the local market. We not only see this happen with a certain brand, like Ford, but across the board with multiple brands. I’m going to share a few ways that we use this data to tweak our normal inbound and outbound strategies to help dealerships move the needle on these particular head terms.

On-Page Optimization is the Key… but where do you start?
Knowing what KW’s rank in your local market segment, ie – where your competitors rank, is paramount. We use a few tools to discover this information, but by far, the easiest is SEMRush.  Here is our process.

  1. Who are the competitors in the local area? Typing in the main keyword, “Honda Houston” in this case, into SEMRush will show you who ranks for this term.  These are going to be your starting point for doing competitor keyword research.
  2. Houston Honda Competitor Data

  3. What keywords do my competitors rank for? Take each competitor and research them in SEMRush.  What you want to know is for which keywords they are ranking.  Start putting a spreadsheet together with these keywords.
  4. Car dealership keyword research

  5. Once you have a nice long list of the top keywords that your competitors rank for, it would be a good idea to see where your website ranks for those keywords, again, SEMRush is a great place to track that data.
  6. Find the keywords that rank, match to Market Share data and make assumptions.

If you have access to a dealership’s Market Share data or Polk data, this is a great time to look at any correlations between the keyword data and the market share data.  Obviously, correlation is not causation, but you may find some interesting items by looking at the two data sets in this manner.

For instance, if the top competitor ranks in the fist position for the top keyword and the second ranks in the second position, and so on; it may be time to try to rank more highly yourself to see if moving the rank organically will move your market share.  We have seen this particular process work for many dealers over many brands.

In my next post, I am going to identify what we do when optimizing a page.  Below are my thoughts about next steps.

Optimize the Pages Like the Winning Competitors
What pages rank and why?  What other words should you use in your copy?

Re-Evaluate your Current Digital Marketing Strategy and Change It to fit the Competitor Model
Do you have videos that get uploaded? Are they being considered duplicate content? What about all the sold vehicle detail pages are they being 301’d after they leave the DMP?  Is there a strategy for creating great content and experience on your site that gets local and national PR attention?

Examples of Market Share Changes
In less than one year, one dealership saw an increase in rank for top head terms from page 7 to the first and second position for their primary terms based on volume.  Over the same time period, their market share increased from 8th to 2nd in their local city.  These are great results that where reproducible over multiple dealership brands and multiple areas.  Using a simple strategy based upon competitive intelligence, marketing agencies can move the needle for car dealers in a measurable effective way.

None of this is push button simple, but by digging in to the meat of this strategy, you can increase the market share of your dealership in less than one year, with big gains coming in after a year.

More next month.