What are the SEO trends in 2020 for the automotive industry?

Digital marketing continues to be essential for auto dealerships in 2020.

One of the foundations for an effective online marketing campaign is search engine optimization. Search engine optimization strategies continue to evolve rapidly, so your car dealership needs to be aware of the latest SEO trends for 2020 to stay ahead of the competition. 

A Focus on Latent Semantic Indexing in 2020

For many years, SEO was focused heavily on the selection and proper incorporation of effective keywords. Going forward, there is a shift away from specific keywords and toward latent semantic indexing. Latent semantic indexing, or LSI, refers to the meaning of individual words that are connected together. Search engines are increasingly intelligent, and their algorithms are now designed to look for the meaning behind a search rather than to focus simply on a set of specific keywords. 

Data-Driven Attribution for 2020

Auto industry consumers rely on online research to identify the make and model that they want to buy, to compare standard and optional features and even to select a dealership to visit for a test drive. The typical user research process is lengthy and includes several prongs. Your dealership needs to be visible online across all stages of the user’s research process. While previous SEO data research and marketing was based on the last click that the user made until recently, data-driven attribution is now relevant. Dealerships must take into account user data and analytics across the spectrum of the user experience to elevate online marketing results. 

What are the SEO trends in 2020 for the automotive industry?

Localized Searches in the Automotive Industry l SEO

Online searches in Google that contain the phrase “near me” or a close variant have increased significantly in the last few years. This holds true in the auto industry specifically as local consumers want to narrow down their search so that the results are more relevant to them. However, many mobile users understand that their smartphone takes into account their geographic location when they conduct online searches, so they now do not always include this phrase for mobile searches. SEO trends also increasingly include variations like “open now near me” to refine results based on hours of operation. Google pulls this information off of a business’s Google My Business Listing, so the importance of updating information in this listing is elevated going forward. 

A Rise in Video Marketing

Many industries have heavily utilized videos in their digital marketing campaigns, and videos are increasingly used in the automotive industry now. Google analysis reveals that 75 percent of auto shoppers utilized YouTube videos as part of their research process. Video is generally an effective communication method that conveys facts, sentiment and branding with great impact. While TV ads were once common in the auto industry, online videos have a more direct reach to consumers who are actively looking for a new vehicle. 

Customer Scout stays ahead of the SEO trends, and we specifically focus our attention on our clients in the auto industry. If you are ready to see an improvement in focused traffic to your website in 2020, now is the time to connect with our team at Customer Scout.

Neural Matching fuels Google Bedlam Update

Neural Matching fuels Google Bedlam Update 

Google uses sophisticated algorithms to generate search engine results and to reduce the impact of artificially manipulating those rankings. It regularly refines its algorithms with thoughtful, advanced updates. In November 2019, Google made its most recent major algorithm update, which has been called the Bedlam update by many people. Specifically, the update incorporates neural matching into the existing Google algorithms. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your SEO campaign, you must understand what this update is and how it impacts you. 

Understanding Neural Matching


Neural matching sounds like a sophisticated concept, and its inner workings are complicated. However, at the base level, it simply means that Google is using artificial intelligence to match words with more complex concepts. Google actually started using neural matching in 2018 as a type of advanced synonym recognition system. Most recently, this has been incorporated in more detailed fashion for local searches. Google states that neural matching has now gained increased priority in search engine rankings in an effort to provide more relevant search results to users. 

One of the many advanced benefits that neural matching may have on local businesses is found in business names. For businesses with a name that is not keyword-friendly, neural matching now can identify synonyms or relevant search terms that can potentially boost the business’s website ranking organically. On the other hand, for businesses that have a keyword-friendly name, the specific words in the name may have less impact on search results than they once did. 

Exploring the Impact on Your Marketing Campaign


As is the case with many other Google algorithm updates, businesses and online marketers have been scrambling to understand the update and to make adjustments that work in their favor. This advanced algorithmic update has posed a significant challenge due to the fact that results have been seemingly random since the update rolled out. Adding to the complexity of the situation is the fact that Google is regularly releasing smaller updates as a means to further refine its processes and to improve the user experience. 

Because neural matching is directly based on artificial intelligence, one reason for seemingly random and sporadic results may be because the system is learning rapidly and making adjustments as it goes. This fluctuation is significant, and some sources have reported that it is up by as much as 24 percent over a 3-month period that ended in December 2019. 

Making Smart Adjustments to Your SEO Campaign


Car dealerships today are heavily reliant on online marketing campaigns that utilize effective search engine optimization strategies. With this in mind, your business may have already been impacted by the recent changes to Google algorithms. Looking forward, you need to know how to adjust your marketing efforts to minimize the negative effects that this change has had and to maximize the positive possibilities available. Given the incredible volatility in search engine results currently, the most thoughtful approach may be to continue to apply smart SEO strategies that have proven to be effective up to this point. Over the next few weeks or months, Google may continue to refine its neural matching efforts, and artificial intelligence may more effectively learn how to rank websites based on relevance to local users. 

Search engine optimization and online marketing have consistently been changing landscapes for dealerships and other local businesses. Efforts that were once effective many years ago may not result in penalization and a drop in rankings. This particular algorithmic update requires more detailed research, observation and analysis before it will be clear if and how online marketing campaigns need to be changed to maximize results. 

At Customer Scout, our SEO experts have been actively monitoring the impacts of the neural matching update. We have the expertise to identify changes that need to be made to our clients’ marketing campaign so that they achieve and maintain high rankings. With our specialization in car dealership SEO, we are the marketing team that you want working for you. To learn more about neural matching and to request a demo of our services, contact Customer Scout today.

How will Google BERT change automotive marketing

How will Google BERT change automotive search results

Google announced BERT—Bidirectional Encoder Representation from Transformers. BERT is a change to the manner in which Google processes user search queries, and in the following, Customer Scout will look at how this new approach affects car dealers and other local businesses.

What the Automotive industry needs to know about BERT?

Google BERT is an artificial intelligence that seeks to understand the relationships between the elements a search query comprises. In other words, Google aims to provide better results from search queries phrased in more natural language. Google deems it to be the biggest leap forward in the history of the search engine and estimates that will affect at least 10 percent of the queries it processes.

What Is Google’s Goal With BERT?

Conversational search queries have become more prevalent as more people use voice searches through various smart devices. A text search query might look something like “car dealers San Jose,” but the person speaking to his or her Google Home is more inclined to ask something like “which car dealers near me sell certified pre-owned vehicles.” But even natural language is sometimes broken in nature, which means that Google BERT must be able to make presumptions based on context. Concepts and context are integral to what BERT does, which is put less onus on the user to create a perfect query.

What Is the Impact for Auto dealerships?

At this point, it is not possible for Customer Scout or anyone else to say with any certainty what the impact will be on local business—or online businesses for that matter. BERT will certainly be in effect for searches that return local pack results, but it is at this point unclear if SEO strategy changes are needed.

How Will BERT Affect Local Auto Dealership Rankings?

This is perhaps the more interesting question. It will certainly affect tracked local rankings. But how so? One manner in which an immediate impact has been felt is ranking based on short-tail keywords. The effect on long-tail keywords has not been so immediate, but that likely reflects how professionals use SEO ranking tools. The affects on natural language will become more apparent over time.

Consider it this way. If you already have useful content that is rich with the appropriate keywords, that cream will already be rising to the top more often. But there will be long-term benefits to BERT as well, and the impressions, click-throughs and backlinks should not only increase but be more organic in nature as we move forward. This will certainly affect your complete search profile in a positive way and, in doing so, eventually improve your tracked local rankings as well.

Of course, there is the possibility that your competitors experience traffic that is more organic but you do not. In that case, it is possible that your rankings drop. The different should not be significant, but every bit is valuable, and thus, your focus turns to optimizing existing and future content to rank better.

Is It Possible to Optimize for BERT?

Optimize content specifically to score well with Google BERT and thus improve your tracked local rankings. The reason for this is that optimizing for tightly manicured search terms is simple but optimizing for natural questions is much more complex.  You can just do what has always been effective when it comes to search engine optimization: create compelling content. Contact Customer Scout to increase your SEO and digital marketing effort.