What is SEO and why is it important for Auto Repair Shop Marketing?
Posted by Johnny Keys on 1st May 2021
When it comes to auto repair shop marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) cannot be ignored.
SEO is the process that involves improving website traffic to a website or webpage from search engines. To put it simply, it is how you work on making sure your website is featured in the Google search results.
Even though it sounds simple, the process can be quite long which is why we want to explain the ins and outs of SEO and how it relates to auto repair shop marketing.
Keywords for my Auto Repair Shop
Search engines are looking to eventually evolve into platforms that can answer every question a user may have. They want to be a resource, thesaurus, dictionary in your pocket or PC. Though that was their plan all along, it wasn’t always this way.
When SEO originally started, search engines would use what users would search for (known as keywords) and give them search results that mentioned that keyword a decent amount of times. This naturally led to website owners creating articles with abnormal use of the key term in order to unnaturally get to the much-coveted first Google rankings thus securing traffic.
Every few years or so, Google would dish out algorithms or updates to their system that would penalize these cheaters. I say cheaters because at some point a website called ‘I’m a real doctor could outrank WebMD just because they use the keyword doctor many times. Not fair or helpful to Google’s users looking to gain information.
Today, keywords are important for your auto repair shop marketing because they allow you to hone in on what people are searching for. To come up with keywords, start with your services and your location. For example, if you’re in San Antonio, TX, you’d probably want to target ‘transmission repair San Antonio’.
How to Target Keywords and How long does it take?
By now you’ve probably realized that content is king and that keywords mean nothing if you don’t have an active blog for your repair shop.
Write articles that focus on your services, and try to be a resource for automotive repair. But how do you find these keywords?
Simple, there is a site called ahrefs which is basically a cheat code for google rankings. They offer a 7 day $7 trial which is all you need to gather keyword analysis and devise a content plan.
Once you sign up, all you have to do is type in a competitor’s website in ahrefs site explorer, see what keywords they’re ranking for and see what sites occupy the top 10 search results for that keyword.
When it comes to ranking for a specific keyword, ahrefs can somewhat tell you that as well. Ahrefs came up with a term called keyword difficulty (or KD). This tells you on a scale of 0-100 how hard it will be to rank for that particular keyword.
I haven’t done the exercise but I’m assuming ‘auto repair New York City is an extremely difficult keyword to rank for. Why? Well, it’s a major city and there are hundreds of repair shops. Many with websites and many paying for traffic.
If you go after these difficult keywords from the get-go, you will likely become demotivated or give up rather quickly. This is why we recommend simple keywords with KD of 20 or less and slowly build authority status with Google for those easy-to-rank keywords.
What Users Search for and the Intent Behind it
Webmasters or people in charge of websites used to write content for search engines. Meaning the way they worded their articles would be for search engines to rank them higher. Though this is always going to be important, it shouldn’t be your overall goal.
Remember, Google is trying to be a user’s one-stop shop for everything they want to know. So if you rank high yet people aren’t finding what they need, they will quickly leave (or bounce) from your site.
Google will help you rank if you follow its guidelines but it’s the users that will determine whether or not you’re an authority.
Search intent is knowing not just what users are searching for but why they’re searching for it. I’ll give you an example.
What is a Transmission
How to fix my transmission?
Transmission repair in San Antonio
All three of those search queries are about transmission but not all of them will result in a sale for you. Ranking for ‘what is a transmission’ can take years because you’ll be competing with huge resource centers such as Wikipedia, UTI, and other well-known automotive blogs.
When someone searches for how to fix my transmission it means they have a problem they want to possibly resolve themselves. Here a repair shop starts to evaluate whether or not they want to create step-by-step DIY guides to automotive repair.
If you’re in San Antonio it would be in your best interest to compete for this keyword. Create a landing page which is a page that has all of the information for that keyword. Written content, images, a video, and a clear call to action (a button that incites action from the user). This delivers the visitor all of the information they need to make an informed decision of whether or not they want to get a quote for your services.
Search Engine Optimization vs. Paid Traffic
Remember our ‘transmission repair San Antonio’ example? Well, we took the liberty of taking a screenshot of the search results to summarize another important topic, paid advertisement.
The way Google normally works is, a search term or query will dish out 4 ads, 10 organic results followed by 3-4 ads at the bottom.
The ads aren’t there organically which means someone has paid to make their way up to the top. But not to worry, according to Search Engine Journal, 25% of people click on the #1 organic search result. This means that though paid traffic can help you skip the line and get to #1, most users know this and prefer organic search results.
How Important is SEO for Auto Repair Shop Marketing?
It is extremely important, without SEO, it will be very difficult for new customers to find your website. It all depends on what your priorities are. If you’re happy with the flow of customers you get via referrals, radio ads, or any type of traditional marketing methods, stay as-is.
However, if you want to improve your online presence and have a website that supports your brand, SEO is indispensable. Everything is digital and everyone's on their phone. In a few years if you’re not online you don’t exist, so now is as good a time as any to build your auto repair shop website.