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SEO for the Automotive Industry – A Best Practice Guide for 2024 

The automotive industry presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to SEO. Not only is the industry incredibly competitive, but many automotive businesses also need to consider best practice tactics within more specific areas of SEO such as local SEO, ecommerce SEO and more.

With many branches of the automotive industry also falling under the bracket of YMYL (web content that could impact ‘Your Money’ or ‘Your Life’), such as insurance firms and financial service providers, there are many considerations to be aware of.

So, how do you succeed? We’ll talk you through the key considerations when forming your automotive business’s strategy.

Do all Automotive Businesses Need SEO?

It depends – do you want to expand your reach online beyond your brand terms? Are your customers searching for solutions you provide via Google? Most of the time, the answer will be yes – meaning you probably need to incorporate automotive SEO into your strategy. Better visibility in the organic search results means more clicks, and ultimately more sales and conversions.

Whether you’re a car dealer, rental provider, retailer, insurance broker, manufacturer, or parts specialist, it’s likely you want to be found easily online.

It’s important to remember that SEO is not really a one and done exercise, even if you have had some SEO work implemented in the past, it doesn’t mean that it’s done and dusted.

Google releases algorithm updates all the time to ensure it’s delivering the best and most relevant results possible to the user, and so while you could be riding the high ranking wave for months for a hyper relevant keyword, a new online competitor or a Google Core update could drop your business off the first page entirely. This in turn can change sales or leads overnight – and so whether you invest internally or externally in SEO, it’s important to have someone’s eyes on it to take appropriate action.

illustration of a person standing outside a car

Best-Practice SEO Considerations for Automotive Companies

1. Tread carefully with your keyword strategy

Whilst automotive SEO certainly has its nuances and challenges, that’s not to say the SEO basics aren’t applicable here. An important foundation of your SEO strategy is its keyword strategy – and it must be curated carefully.

A great keyword strategy considers viability and competition levels, assignment and most importantly, intent.


As automotive is such a competitive industry, you want to make sure that the keywords you are targeting online are realistic enough for you to achieve. Many SEO tools like Ahrefs and Moz Pro can help you work out the competitiveness of a keyword, considering monthly search volumes and the authority of who is ranking on page one. However, simply checking the SERPs yourself is often enough to tell whether the competition is too high – so if in doubt, search your keyword!

Local keywords

If you’re a local business, you should consider keywords with your target location areas in the name ‘[car service] newark’, ‘[car service] surrey’. If you only service particular areas and have no intention of changing this, then there’s no point trying to rank for a term that isn’t localised, say ‘[car service]’.

However, depending on the keyword ranking tracking tool you use, you should consider having an additional property set up to track ranking positions within your target area (e.g not just the UK). Tools like Advanced Web Ranking can do this.

This means that you can track searches like ‘[car service] near me’ and see how well your site is ranking in your local area.

Keyword Intent

You may have got the relevancy and competition down when it comes to keyword research, but do you truly understand the intent behind the keywords you’re looking at?

Consider the following examples and what the best outcomes would be in the search results:

‘milltek sports cat fiesta st180’ – this person is looking for a specific product = e.g. a product page

‘performance car rental’ – this person is looking for a service = a service page

‘best tyres for bmw’ – this person is looking for information = an unbiased article

Now these may seem obvious, but the search results aren’t always what you’d expect, so we’d recommend searching the keyword and looking for yourself. Afterall – Google knows intent best.

2. Local business? Make sure Google and your customers know it

If you’re a local automotive business seeking nearby customers, are you sure Google knows it? If Google doesn’t recognise your locality, your customers aren’t going to find you easily either.

The key elements of good local SEO include:

  • Claimed, up-to-date Google Business profile with good ratings
  • Reputable local directory listings online
  • Address and contact details prominent on site
  • Local business schema implementation
  • Localised press


Google Business

Do you have a claimed Google Business listing? Yes? Great – have you made sure to have filled in as much up-to-date information as possible? Such as correct opening hours, a description, appointment booking links, images, contact details and pin location on maps? If you haven’t, this is a good place to start.

Once you have populated your Google Business profile well (and set an area served!) the next step is to review your reviews.

illustration of a hand browsing for direction on a map app

How many good reviews do you have? Are they recent? If you haven’t had any in a while, or perhaps they have been unmanaged until now, one significant enhancement you can do for your local SEO visibility is to encourage your customers to leave reviews on your profile.

Fortunately, Google make it incredibly easy for you to share a link with your customers to review your business, and it only takes a couple of seconds for them to fill in:

Local directory listings & local press

Don’t worry, we aren’t recommending any old-school SEO techniques here (directory listings can be a touchy subject in SEO).

The difference is – if you’re a genuine local business, it makes sense to ensure you have listings in your relevant and reputable local directories (e.g. as this will enhance your local SEO signals. If you’re submitting your website to any directory that has ‘seo’ or ‘rank’ in the name you’re wasting your time.

In addition to reputable, local directories, making the effort to share stories to local press and online publications will again reinforce your presence in the area

Onsite signals – local business schema & location information

In terms of localisation on your website, in addition to localised keyword targeting on core pages, make sure you have your address, local contact details in prominent places on your site, such as your footer and contact page. Also ensure you have Local Business schema implemented with accurate information – read more about schema markup.

3. E-E-A-T your heart out

For all businesses online, not just automotive, E-E-A-T is more important than ever. E-E-A-T stands for ‘Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness’, and is a concept that was born from Google’s published Search Rater Guidelines.

This is a document that Google’s search raters (people, not bots) use to measure the effectiveness of their algorithms. One part of this is requiring them to check the E-E-A-T of a site, and it considers:

  • What the website or content creators say about themselves
  • What others say about the website or content creators
  • What is visible on the page, including the Main Content and sections such as reviews and comments

All you really need to know is that Google is putting an increasing amount of emphasis on trusting the person behind content written online. So, considerations such as:

– Authorship and credentials – is the writer qualified to be writing this? Do they have a clear author bio? Have they had the first-hand experience required to be reviewing or leaving an opinion on something?

–  Testimonials, reviews, and case studies – as you can imagine, this is an integral part of building trust with your users. They want to know more about your business and how people have experienced it.

These guidelines are also where YMYL was first introduced – standing for ‘Your Money, Your Life’. This is defined for content that could ultimately impact someone’s money (content with any kind of financial context), or their life (e.g. health-related content). So, when writing about any of these topics, good E-E-A-T is more important than ever.

illustration of a car while being washed

4. Take your time to understand entity SEO

It’s not just keywords anymore, you need to be aware of entities, or ‘Things’. Entity SEO is a bit more difficult to grasp when reading about it for the first time, so we’ll try and break it down as simple as possible.

Entity = a thing. This could be a person, a business, an object, a country etc.

Google leverages Wikipedia as an entity catalogue among others to comprehend and recognise entities. Ultimately Google recognises entities in part to understand what a page is about.

Entity salience is the relevant metric here – we can look at what the most salient entities are on a page to understand what ‘things’ are most important/prominent in the content.

Sometimes this can be unexpected – after all, salience isn’t about the number of times a word is referenced on page, it can take into account where one singular entity is situated in a sentence for example.

Entity SEO can be most powerful when comparing entity salience with competitors covering the same topic. This helps you to identify what entities are repeatedly prominent in other’s content compared to yours. For instance, your automotive competitors have a salient entity of ‘business’, and you do not.

Now, unfortunately Google has recently pulled its salience measurement from its free Natural language AI tool demo, so at present, your best option is IBM’s Watson Natural Language Understanding API. Note – you will need a developer to help you get this into a useable tool.

5. Consider an integrated SEO & paid strategy

Combining SEO and PPC channels to form an integrated search strategy holds a number of benefits for automotive businesses, from greater efficiencies to better ROI.

Depending on where your business is in its online journey, PPC and SEO combined can benefit you in many ways. Where you have lesser visibility online from an organic standpoint, you can utilise PPC to support with traffic and leads whilst you are building up your SEO presence – after all, SEO isn’t an overnight job.

Or, perhaps you are well-established in the organic search results but want to ensure you maximise visibility and target keywords with paid advertising that wouldn’t be possible with organic. It can also protect your brand name from being leveraged by competitors for targeting (if you’re finding this is a common occurrence).

illustration of a magnet attracting comments, followers and likes.

6. Link magnet content creation

In order for Google to better trust and therefore rank your website higher in the search results, you need to create reason for reputable and relevant sites to link to your content. Though spammy link building tactics are a thing of the past (thank goodness), Google still values reputable endorsement through citations and links to your site.

In order to get relevant and reputable sites linking to your content, you need to produce something of worth – what would be shareable and/or useful for users? Whether it be your own data research, a heatmap you’ve created, a useful tool or infographic, make sure you’re considering content that attracts good links and sharing on your site. 

7. Keep control of technical SEO

How’s your website’s technical health looking? Technical SEO is a critical pillar of automotive SEO and is one that shouldn’t be overlooked. You should be frequently auditing your site to make sure your site is crawlable, indexable and has minimal to 0 errors present, such as 404s or timeouts. There are a number of tools available online that can highlight this, including ahrefs.

Though there are certainly smaller ‘housekeeping’ technical SEO tasks that have a lesser impact on your performance – such as ‘long meta-descriptions’, technical crawls can highlight any serious user experience or indexing issues.

If your automotive website is very large, for instance you own a parts ecommerce site, technical SEO should be a big part of your ongoing strategy to ensure performance isn’t impacted by new items being added, removed, broken images, links etc.

Google wants users to have a great experience on site, and if they’re met with broken links, slow loading pages and missing images, Google knows users won’t have this.

Looking for an automotive SEO partner?

MRS Digital is a UK award-winning automotive SEO agency with a history of proven results. We recently won the award for ‘Best Use of Search’ – Automotive: Large at the prestigious UK Search Awards 2023, so if you need a partner to take your SEO to the next level, we’re it.

Get in touch

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