Automotive Digital Marketing

SEM / PPC / SEO tips from an Automotive Digital Agency

In this article, I’m going to give you our guide to how to improve your automotive digital marketing. Our agency has done automotive digital marketing for over 7 years, for nationally known companies like CarMax, YourMechanic, RepairPal, FIXD and Caliber.   We specialize in SEO/Content strategy and paid media, particularly SEM/PPC.  We have helped these companies grow their customer size, traffic, and revenue significantly over the years.

Just so that you understand we know what we’re doing before getting into advice, here’s some evidence of our work:

Top of Page Google Results:

Number 6 on Google Results:

This shows how we helped a car company add $120k in 1 month in paid search and increased their ROI by 2x.

Here’s another example where we helped a car company increase their revenue by $50k and their average order value by 8%

In this article, I’m going to give away our secrets for how to create more sales for you in automotive digital marketing strategies. If you’d like to discuss more details, get in touch at

Automotive Digital Marketing Strategies:

Automotive SEO

For SEO (search engine optimization – ie. The ability to come up in in the top ranks for Google searches), the core strategy is to have a large number of landing pages and a large number of backlinks (links from other sites).

Car Sales SEO

For a car dealer, this means having a navigation that has landing pages for every make, model and vehicle type, as well was pages for every individual car for sale. It’s also best practice to have a landing page for every city that you serve. Each car for sale landing page should have the key information highlighted at the top of the page (make, model, price, year, mileage) so it’s easy for Google to index. There should be clear link to the company’s phone number and address (with directions). More savvy dealers also include links to text yourself a particular listing, or text yourself the directions to the dealer.

Car Service SEO

For car service, we have found it’s effective to have pages for each service that link back to category pages for each car system. A service page should show the cost estimate for that service, common symptoms, and the urgency of the service (how quickly does it need to be fixed, how long can the car be driven if this service needs to be performed). It might also describe what the part is, and what the service / replacement process is. Pictures or diagrams are very helpful. We’ve found it’s also effective to build a master list of all makes, models and symptoms.

Local SEO for Car Sales & Service

Local SEO is the ability to rank your location high in Google Maps results

A solid listing will have many positive reviews, as well as great pictures of the facility, and individual product listings, as well as product categories.  A good Google maps listing will have a great deal of information about the facility as well.

At Zavient, we help our clients build and maintain these listings, get more positive reviews to get more phone calls, and respond to negative reviews. Here’s a pic of how we helped a car company generate hundreds of new calls a month from local search, after helping them to create Google Maps listings for each of their locations, and optimize the reviews and all of the information. You can see that the increase in calls was dramatic.


Car Sales

For car sales, the most effective strategy to grow revenue is to make sure that all of your cars have individual ads that are targeted by both make / model, and location. This can be done through the creation of a business feed that lists all of your cars, and is updated as soon as new cars get into stock.

Here’s an example of a great car ad. It is very specific. It tells you exactly the car that’s available for sale, and  has the price and other important details, like the fact that it’s automatic, and the color (desert mist metallic) and the body type (sedan).  It also includes the phone number, which makes it easy to act on with a mobile phone. It tells you where the car dealer is located (San Francisco). Finally, it gives you a good trust signal: this dealership has been in business since 1966.

Note also that the landing page goes exactly to the particular car mentioned in the ad:

Here’s an ad that’s not as good. Note the lack of specifics, and that it doesn’t respond to the user’s search.

You might ask that it would take a long time to build out custom ads for each car. It can be done that way, and we have, but these can be created and managed through software as well. These ads can also include all of the car details automatically, and be programmed to match the specific city the customer is searching from.


For service, there are several strategies to use:

Place – People will search for a place to get their car repaired, and type in “mechanic”, “ auto repair shop” etc. These searches convert well. The way to win in these searches is to customize them for the location, and the type of car. The landing page should also mention the location and car makes that you work on as well.

Symptom – Symptoms are anything that a customer might see, hear or feel about their car. For example, “brakes squeaking” or “shaking steering wheel”. A good response to these ads will mention the symptom, and explain that your repair shop has expertise in fixing it. Your landing page should also contain a mention the symptom to let the customer know they are in the right place. What we’ve found to be most effective is to have parametric landing pages that adjust based on the customer’s search.

Service – Finally, a customer might be looking for a particular service, like a battery replacement. In this case, they have likely already been to see a mechanic, and are looking for a price comparison quote. In this case, the best practice is to give a price range for the service, and trust signals, e.g. “we have done over 400 battery replacements” “in business since 1997” “thousands of customers in the metro area”.

Ad Example

This is an example of a great car service ad. It is targeted at both the location (Berkeley, CA) and the type of car (Mercedes). It includes two important trust signals: this dealer has ASE certified technicians, and is a Bosch service center. It also mentions they have 5 star reviews. Here it would be more helpful to list how many they have (e.g. over 100). The link extensions are also useful: It tells customers how to get directions, make an appointment, see specials, and see a list of their services.

This is just a brief overview of some of the different strategies for automotive digital marketing. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch with us.