SEO for Auto Repair Channel Factsheet: Budget, Branding & Benefits

We aim to separate SEO (for auto repair shops) from the hype, explain it's ideal role for auto shops, and how much of your budget it deserves..

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Conceptual Minds | June 23, 2023

SEO for Auto Repair Channel Factsheet: Budget, Branding & Benefits

There’s a severe lack of practical marketing advice for auto repair shops online.
 
Content produced by tech brands avoids information that undermines their elevator pitch, most marketing writers aren’t experts, and most blogs are written without original research. It’s overly-enthusiastic content that leaves readers with more questions.
 
That’s why we’ve decided to produce a series of posts aimed at demystifying the marketing channels repair shops depend on. In this article, we aim to separate SEO from marketing hype, explaining where it fits in with other channels, the most valuable circumstances, and how much of your budget it deserves.

SEO for Auto Repair Shops: Performance Overview

Credit: AutoNetTV
Google has become the go-to search engine for anyone looking for information, products, and services. Research reveals that 43% of consumers always search the web before visiting a brick-and-mortar business for the first time.
 
Google Ads and PPC are a far faster marketing channels, but there’s limited demand for paid search traffic. Only around 15% of searchers click a search ad or attempt another search. The rest, 85%, stick with organic results.
 
Top organically-ranked results on any page have a 27.6% click-through ratean unheard-of rate that’s 1000 times higher than the average banner ad.
 
But there’s a catch: speed
 
Organic SEO is glacially slow in its early stages, requiring nine months before efforts catch on (we’ll get deeper into this a little later).

Advantages: Auto Repair SEO

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SEO makes it easy to shape customer sentiment with ample opportunities for branding, promotions, helpful information, and anything else you can imagine. Depending on your location and keyword availability, top-ranked auto shops can generate many customers (only if you’re top-ranked, though).
 
SEO Grants Benefits for Branding and Word of Mouth Marketing
 
Many view SEO as a transactional channel, but it’s hugely underrated for its ability to shape consumer opinion. 
 
Treat your reputation as a valuable proof point. By integrating your reputation managment reviews across your online presence, you amplify the highest compliments you’ve received. 
 
The greater the rank, the greater the chance your target market hears your message. Whether through your web presence, social media, or social review sites, the goal is the same: cast a wide net and let your message resonate. 
 
Organic SEO Greatly Improves Trust
Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash
The auto repair industry has a bit of an image problem.
 
While much of the public trust their independent auto service provider, consumers are often skeptical of auto repair shops on a few fronts.
 
They’re skeptical of whether:
 
  • You can repair their car as well as their dealer did
  • They genuinely need any additional services you recommended
  • The repairs will actually resolve the underlying issue
 
Good SEO allows you to begin your customer relationships from a place of trust and authority. 
 
Searchers know that Google is looking for the most relevant and accurate results. Because they perform the search themselves instead of being served ads for it, making their discovery of your brand their choice; not only that, but the speed from need to discovery is instant. 
 
SEO for Auto Repair Brings Reliable Traffic in Steady Numbers
 
While search trends vary dramatically over time, SEO offers a far more consistent stream of customers, owing to Google’s enormous popularity. 
 
As such, SEO is less affected by sudden performance fluctuations. Of course, algorithmic updates may move the goalpost on you, but they’re typically in advance and rolled out gradually, making it easier to adapt and stay ahead.

 

Disadvantages: SEO Requires Substantial Resources, Ongoing Patience

Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash
SEO can be an enormous boon for auto repair shops, but its utility is more limited than it is in other industries (especiallythose offering products traditionally purchased online).
 
Why?
 
  1. Lack of online infrastructure: Repair shop purchases generally have to be done in person, making auto shop sites more of an informational or promotional tool rather than a direct sale channel
  2. Organic SEO is Slow: SEO is possibly the slowest marketing channel around. It can take between six months and two years of steady publishing to take hold.
  3. Ample opportunity elsewhereGiven print and direct mail’s excellent short-term customer-generating ability, most opportunities available to any given repair shop lie elsewhere.
  4. Reputation management & PPC serve as a short-term replacements. Actively promoting and managing your presence across reputation sites like Yelp and Google Reviews makes your discoverable to volumes of local searches. PPC, on the other hand, can begin delivering customers with minimal delay.

If Not Now, When Is the Time Right for Auto Repair SEO?

Photo by Ryan Hafey on Unsplash
Because of the above limitations, SEO’s use in the repair industry is also more limited. SEO requires a meaningful and ongoing investment in labor, and given SEO’s long runway, a considerable investment would be unwise. 
 
This is why we recommend shops invest no more than 5% of their marketing budget towards SEO—again, that’s after maximizing your investment in Google Ads (PPC), reputation marketing, and direct mail.

SEO for Auto Repair Shops: Unless You’re Ahead, Save it for Later

SEO is an exceptionally versatile and high-performing channel. We’ve found auto repair shops benefit from its word-of-mouth influence, its ability to create trust—in an industry that needs it—and its long-term value and steady source of opportunities.

Learn About Conceptual Minds

As veterans of the automotive industry, the Conceptual Minds team are experts at growing car counts through effective and personable marketing. If you are unsure of your current marketing strategy and would like some guidance, contact us today at 877.524.7696.

Need help implementing winning auto repair promotions?

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