SEO for Auto Repair Shops: The Definite 12-Step Guide

by Outranking
Updated On: October 2, 2023
SEO for Auto Repair Shops: The Definite 12-Step Guide

A robust online presence has become a necessary part of succeeding in your business in today’s digital world. Auto repair shops are no different than other businesses — to become the best auto repair shop in town and improve your visibility, you need to implement some powerful SEO tactics and devise a fabulous SEO content strategy.

That’s why we gathered a list of some of the best SEO DIY tips that will boost your rankings for sure!

Why Is SEO Important for Auto Repair Shops?

The auto repair industry is very competitive, so it might not be easy to attract and retain customers. But with the evolution of digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) has emerged as a crucial strategy for improving online visibility and increasing organic traffic to your website. 

SEO involves optimizing your website and online content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) when relevant keywords are searched. Here are some reasons why SEO is essential for auto repair shops as it:

1. Improves Online Presence

2. Increases Organic Traffic

3. Enhances Customer Acquisition

4. Improves User Experience

How to Implement SEO for Automotive Repair Shop Websites

Step 1: Create A Compelling Website Architecture That Defines Your Core Service Areas

The first step to implementing better SEO for an auto repair shop is understanding your business’s core areas. By identifying the core offerings of your auto repair shop’s business, it becomes easier to conduct keyword research and develop a plan for the website’s architecture.

For this step, start by identifying your repair shop’s core service areas. These can include services like engine repair, brake repair, tire services, or oil changes. From there, you can create an extended list of sub-areas for each core service area. 

Here’s an example of a table that lists the core service areas and their extended list of sub-areas for an auto repair shop:

Core Service AreasExtended List of Sub-Areas
Engine Repair1. Engine diagnostics
2. Engine Rebuilding
3. Timing belt replacement
4. Head gasket repair
5. Engine tune-ups
Brake Repair1. Brake pad replacement
2. Brake rotor replacement
3. Brake line repair
4. Brake fluid flush
5. ABS system repair
Tire Services1. Tire rotation
2. Wheel alignment
3. Tire balancing
4. Tire repair
5. Tire replacement

Understanding these main service areas (and their sub-areas) will help you organize your auto repair shop’s website in a logical way. It’ll also help you in keyword research steps later on.

Infographic of an auto repair shop's website architecture.
Do you specialize in engines, brakes, or both?

Step 2: Perform Keyword Research

For this step, we first have three recommendations:

  1. Gather the list of keywords for each core area of your website
  2. Repeat the keyword research step for each core area
  3. Repeat the keyword research step for each sub-area in each core area

For the actual keyword research process, you can either use Semrush or Outranking. Here’s how. 

Method 1: Semrush

  1. Open the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool and research keywords related to the core areas of your business. For example, you can look for keywords like “engine repair”
Screenshot of Semrush's Keyword Magic Tool with keywords for Engine Repair.
Sift through the keywords!

2. Exclude irrelevant keywords, like “pdf”

Screenshot of the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool with the keyword "pdf" highlighted in a black box.
Unless you make Toyota screens able to download and display PDFs, you can remove this keyword!

3. Download the CSV file containing the keywords for each core area, and combine them into one file for easier management

4. Repeat this process for each sub-area of focus within each core area. For example, within the engine repair core area, you can research keywords related to “oil changes”, “timing belt replacement”, and “spark plug replacement”

Image of a table of keywords for three sub-areas: Engine repair, engine diagnostics, and engine rebuild.
You have keywords galore!

Method 2: Outranking

  1. Enter your defined core service area into Outranking’s available keyword generator
  2. Refine the list of keywords using Outranking’s streamlined cluster analysis
  3. Download the refined list of keywords for each core area and combine them into one file for easier management
  4. Repeat this process for each sub-group in each core area, such as “tire replacement” or “tire rotation” 

You can also collect and compile keywords using Google Keyword Planner. Once you’ve collected your keywords, you’ll get to the next step of keyword analysis. Here, you’ll refine your list so you only target the most useful ones for your auto repair shop.

Step 3: Cluster Keywords And Generate Content Topics

Keyword clustering can be a very beneficial strategy for your auto repair shop. It involves grouping similar keywords together, based on meaning or intent. Keyword clustering will help you identify the most valuable keywords for your auto shop, and create content that resonates with your audience.  

For example, let’s say you have a list of automotive workshop keywords, such as “oil change”, “brake repair”, “tire rotation”, “auto body repair”, and “engine tune-up”. By using a tool like Outranking’s clustering tool, you can upload this list and analyze it to identify clusters of related keywords, such as “vehicle maintenance”, “mechanical repairs”, and “engine performance”. This can help you better understand the needs and preferences of your target audience and tailor your content accordingly.

Screenshot of a table of keywords clustered into three groups.
Maintenance and maintaining are basically the same, so you can use those keywords together.

Once you’ve identified your keyword clusters, the next step is to pick a primary keyword for each group. This should be the most important and relevant keyword that best represents the intent of the group.

For example, if your cluster is “vehicle maintenance”, your primary keyword might be ”routine maintenance” or “preventative maintenance”. This will help you focus your content and SEO efforts on the most valuable and relevant keywords for your business. Using a tool like Outranking for keyword clustering can also be incredibly beneficial. 

Step 4: Create a Content Calendar

Once you have your lists of keywords and clusters, the next step is to prioritize the keywords based on their importance and relevance to the business.

Outranking can help with this process by providing a keyword strategy tool that allows you to input your list of keywords and groups. The tool then suggests a priority level for each keyword based on its potential impact on your business. 

The three priority levels are High, Medium, and Low, and each level is assigned specific keywords containing certain words or phrases. Here’s an example of how you should prioritize your keywords for your auto repair shop: 

Priority LevelKeywords ContainingWhy
HighThese keywords are crucial to your business and should be prioritized as high. They can define you as a thought leader and support important auto repair shops’ web pages for the flow of information.These keywords are crucial to your business and should be prioritized as high. They can define you as a thought leader and support important auto repair shop’s web pages for the flow of information.
MediumOil change, Tire rotation, Transmission repair, Car maintenanceThese keywords can place your business among many competitors and help attract potential customers searching for specific services. They should be prioritized as medium.
LowHow-to guides, Car care tips, DIY car repairWhile these keywords can define your shop as a thought leader and support important pages for the flow of information, they should be prioritized as low as they may not directly attract potential customers.

Step 5: Establish a Content Production Process

As an auto repair shop owner, implementing SEO on your website can be a daunting task. However, putting a process in place and creating detailed SOPs or content briefs is crucial for successfully executing your SEO strategy. 

Here are two expert tips to ensure you note down a thorough content creation and optimization process:

Screenshot of Outranking's SEO brief widget.
Keep yourself organized!

1. Create Solid Content Briefs

Before creating any content, you should know exactly what you want to achieve with it. An SEO content brief should include the target audience, the purpose of the content, the tone of voice, and the keywords to use. This will ensure your content is relevant, engaging, and optimized for search engines.

2. Set up a Workflow for the Tasks

A well-defined workflow ensures everyone involved in the content creation process knows what they need to do and when. This will help you stay organized and focused, ensuring that your strategy is executed successfully.

Using Outranking’s content planner can help you implement these tips and ensure the success of your plan. Outranking offers a customizable workflow status page that allows you to keep track of every document with a customized workflow

Screenshot of Outranking's Kanban board.
You should always know where your content is in the pipeline!

If you don’t have an in-house SEO team to help you with your SEO strategy, it may be beneficial to hire an expert agency. Alternatively, you can work with Outranking to make this plan come to fruition for your automotive workshop. This will allow you to focus on your expertise while leaving the SEO strategy to the experts.

Step 6: Create SEO-Optimized Content

Creating SEO-optimized content for each service page, webpage, and blog is crucial to ensure you’re spending money on things that will yield good results for your auto repair shop. By optimizing your content, you can improve your website’s search engine rankings, attract more organic traffic, and ultimately increase your revenue.

Screenshot of Outranking's on-page SEO optimizer.
It seems we’re doing okay here!

Outranking’s SEO content optimization and writing platform can help busy auto shop owners with limited time to write and optimize their pages to ensure the highest possible organic exposure. 

Outranking offers real-time SEO scoring and on-page SEO optimization, and it benchmarks your content against competing pages. It also gives you suggestions to optimize title tags, meta descriptions, outlines and headings, word count, common and unique terms, lists and tables, statistics, media, internal and external links, and featured snippets. Outranking makes it easy to create content that ranks each and every time.

Step 7: Optimize Internal Linking

Optimizing existing pages with better internal linking can significantly improve the overall traffic of your auto repair shop website. You can start by analyzing the pages with the top 4-14 positions on your website. These pages have some authority you can borrow and send to pages that need to rank better. 

For your auto repair shop, you should look to optimize pages that are ranking between 1 and 10. These are likely the pages that have the most potential to increase traffic. You don’t have to do this step on your own!

Outranking can connect to Google Search Console and identify the pages that have the most potential for optimization. It can also show internal linking opportunities by analyzing the positions of existing pages and providing suggestions for internal linking. This can help you improve your auto repair shop’s ranking, increase traffic, and ultimately generate more business.

Step 8: Acquire Backlinks and Local References

Acquiring local citations and backlinks is crucial for your auto repair shop website’s local SEO. Local citations are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number on other websites, while backlinks are referrals to your auto repair shop’s website. 

Screenshot of a Yelp profile for General Tech Automotive. The business' name and NAP information are highlighted in black boxes.
You can get listed on Yelp!

The algorithm favors citations, making them the fifth important ranking signal for local queries. This means having accurate and consistent citations across relevant and trusted websites can increase your chances of ranking higher in local search results.

You should also know that citations come in two types: structured and unstructured. Structured citations list the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of your business. You typically find them on web directories and social media profiles. Unstructured citations are contextual mentions of a business and can be found in blog posts, forum posts, or as a result of press mentions.

To build citations for local SEO, auto repair shops should follow these four steps:

  1. Get listed with the ‘big three’ data aggregators: Data aggregators solve the problem of having gaps in business data across thousands of directories. The ‘big three’ data aggregators are Data Axle, Localeze, and Acxiom.
  2. Submit to other core sites: Submitting to other core sites such as Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yelp can help increase your visibility in local search results.
  3. Submit to popular industry and local sites: Submitting to popular industry and local sites such as Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, and Chamber of Commerce can help increase your credibility and authority in your industry and the local community.
  4. Pursue unstructured citations: Pursuing unstructured citations through press mentions, guest blogging, email marketing and social media can help increase your online presence and brand awareness.

The table below lists some data aggregators and websites that auto repair shops should get citations from:

Data AggregatorWebsites to Get Citations From
Data AxleYellow Pages, SuperPages, CitySearch
LocalezeYelp, Yahoo Local, Bing Places for Business
AcxiomFoursquare, Angie’s List, Facebook, Instagram

Remember, quality trumps quantity when it comes to citations. It’s more important to have accurate and consistent citations from relevant and trusted sources than to have a large number of citations from irrelevant or low-quality sources.

Step 9: Optimize Page Speed and Website Experience

In 2023, optimizing page speed is key for your auto repair shop’s SEO success. Page speed directly impacts user experience and website traffic. A slow website can lead to high bounce rates and lower conversions, resulting in a negative impact on the business.

Your website design should be simple and clear so that the pages load quickly. Similarly, the format of paragraphs in content should be easy to read for a better website experience. 

To quickly optimize page speed and website experience for an auto repair shop website, use better and lighter themes such as the auto service theme available on CodeCanyon and NitroPack-like WordPress plugins. 

These plugins can help with image optimization, caching, and minifying CSS and JavaScript files. Optimizing your website for mobile phones is another SEO technique for better UX.

Step 10: Track Rankings Using Google Search Console

As an automotive workshop owner, you should absolutely connect to Google Search Console and track your website’s ranking data. By doing so, you can identify which pages need improvement and optimize your content strategy to attract more organic traffic, leading to increased business. You should also utilize Google Analytics to get valuable insights about your website and mobile app traffic.  

The table below should help you interpret the ranking data and take the appropriate action:

GoalRanking DataAction
Optimize internal linkingAuto repair shop’s web pages with keywords in the top 4-14 positionsImprove internal linking structure
Build topical authorityAuto repair shop’s web pages with no ranking keywords in the top 20 positions that don’t align with user’s search intentCreate fresh content
Improve underperforming pagesAuto repair shop’s web pages with no ranking keywords in the top 20 positions that don’t align with user’s search intentImprove or redirect pages

Step 11: Optimize Your Auto Repair Shop’s Local Google My Business Account

Google My Business is a service that allows auto repair shop owners to provide more information about their business when it appears in search results. 

It includes features such as business photos, videos, telephone numbers, business hours, delivery areas, links to reservation services, and snippets from Google Maps and Street View.

Here’s what you can do to optimize your auto repair shop’s Google My Business listing for local search:

  1. Claim and verify your Google My Business listings with accurate and up-to-date information, including business name, address, phone number, and website
  2. Select the most relevant category for your business, such as “Auto Repair Shop” or “Mechanic”
  3. Add high-quality photos of your shop, including the interior, exterior, cars you’re currently working on, and team members at work.
  4. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and respond to all reviews, both positive and negative
  5. Use keywords in your business description to accurately describe your services
  6. Regularly update your business hours, especially during holidays or special events
  7. Use Google Posts to share updates, promotions, and events with potential customers
Screenshot of three Google My Business listings for auto repair shops in Boston.
You can add your shop on Google My Business.

Step 12: Focus on the Ultimate Goal — Leads and Conversions

Most websites focus on organic traffic because it’s a cost-effective way to attract potential clients and build brand awareness. However, focusing solely on traffic without considering leads and conversions can be counterproductive. 

For instance, a short-tailed keyword like “car” may bring lots of organic traffic to your auto repair shop website. But these people aren’t likely to become your customers because they weren’t looking for any services you offer. 

On the other hand, a keyword like “transmission repair for Honda Civic” might not bring in as much traffic, but those who search for it are more likely to become customers because they actually need your services. 

It’s important to focus on leads and conversions because ultimately, the goal of a website is to generate revenue and grow the business. A traffic mindset can be distracting and lead to a lack of focus on the end goal.

How to Evaluate an Agency to Help with the SEO of Your Auto Repair Shop

Hiring an agency to help with your auto repair shop’s SEO initiatives is a great idea. Below we give you some pointers on how you can assess the agency before you hire it.

Expertise, Reviews, and Results

When looking for an agency to help with SEO for your auto repair shop’s website, it’s important to evaluate their expertise, reviews, and results. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Look for an agency with experience in the auto repair industry. An agency that has worked with other auto repair shops will have a better understanding of the competitive landscape and be able to develop a customized strategy for your business.
  2. Check their reviews and testimonials. Look for an SEO company with positive reviews and testimonials from other businesses in your industry. This will give you an idea of their track record and the results they have been able to achieve for their clients.
  3. Ask for case studies and results. A good agency will be able to provide you with case studies and results from previous clients. Look for an agency that has been able to improve its clients’ search engine rankings, increase website traffic, and ultimately drive more leads and sales.

SEO Services Offered

What services does the agency offer you? Just general SEO isn’t enough. You need to get more than that to succeed: 

  1. Proven Process and Customized Approach: Look for an agency that follows a proven process, but that also understands the importance of customization. This ensures that your SEO strategy is tailored to your business needs. 
  2. Creativity and Innovation: A good SEO agency should be creative and innovative in its approach to SEO. SEO is ever-changing, so the agency should be able to quickly adapt. Ask the agency about the creative strategies that have helped their clients stand out from the competition. 
  3. Real-World SEO Experience: Look for an agency with at least 5 to 10 years of real-world experience in an auto repair shop marketing and SEO. This means they’ll have a better understanding of the competitive landscape and can deliver superior SEO results. 

Contract Duration and Flexibility

To ensure your partnership with the agency is a success, you should be on the same page about the steps you’ll be taking together. Here are some considerations: 

  1. Look for agencies that offer flexible contract durations. Avoid long-term contracts that lock you in for years. Instead, opt for agencies that offer shorter-term contracts with the option to renew or cancel at any time. This will give you the flexibility to adjust your SEO strategy as needed based on your business needs.
  1. Inquire about their reporting and communication process. A good agency should provide regular reports on the progress of your SEO campaign and be available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Make sure they have a clear and transparent process for reporting and communication.

Need an SEO Strategist to Set up the Plan and Answer all the Pressing Questions for Your Auto Repair Shop?

Investing in SEO is a smart move to improve your auto repair shop’s bottom line. But it might be a difficult undertaking if you’re on your own. That’s why we recommend working with an SEO consultant. 

An SEO consultant can help you develop an SEO strategy tailored to your auto shop’s unique needs and goals. The consultant can help you with keyword research, content and structure optimization, and backlink building. 

Hiring an SEO consultant like Outranking can help you create an SEO plan even before you hire an agency to help you achieve the plan. This will save you much time and money, and help you ensure everything goes smoothly. 

Contact Outranking today to grow your business through SEO!