For automotive internet marketing, it’s important to know these six consumer search patterns. These are basic ways consumers search for automotive aftermarket parts and accessories websites.
In this article we reveal search secrets we’ve perfected at Hedges & Company since 2004: how auto parts and accessories buyers search online.
These consumer search patterns are used every minute of every day on Google, Microsoft Bing and other search engines. Just to keep this article short, we’re excluding local search for brick and mortar stores and other less popular search types.
Below, we break down these search types by popularity and complexity. We’ll show you how consumers use them and how these search patterns should guide your automotive Internet marketing.
These six search patterns are valid for organic search (SEO) as well as managing paid search keywords (PPC). If you aren’t optimizing for these search categories, you’re losing valuable traffic that should be coming to your website.
Automotive Internet marketing starts with part type consumer search patterns
This is the most popular consumer search pattern. Part types include things like pistons, mufflers, fender flares, lift kits and so on.
It is also complex because shoppers usually modify part type search with vehicle fitment. This can be make/model/year, type of transmission, 2 wheel/4 wheel drive, engine cylinders or displacement, jargon terms (like “JK” for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler), bed length and so on.
Examples of these part type search terms are “w218 Sprint Booster,” “6 inch lift kit,” or “bedliner for 2020 Ford F-150.”
He’s an example of why this is one of the most complex types of search to optimize for. A retailer website with 50,000 SKUs can easily have hundreds of thousands–even millions–of variations in search terms with fitment information.
ACES fitment data is helpful when optimizing for part type search terms.
Optimizing for part type search is important for paid search campaigns as well as for search engine optimization (SEO).
Informational search queries: a broad category of automotive internet marketing
Informational search queries are done by a consumer looking for general technical information. Many times the consumer has a problem with their car and they’re searching for the solution.
Many of these searches are for “how,” “why” and “what.” Examples are “why does my muffler sound loud?” or “why is my oil pressure low at idle?”
These search queries are often modified by vehicle fitment, making them complex. Examples include, “how to install side steps on a Ram 1500” or “how do you replace a Honda key fob battery?”
If you’re optimizing a website for SEO, you need to do research on these search terms using Google Search Console or third party tools like Ahrefs. (Did you know you can use Google itself to get ideas?) Look for problems consumers are trying to solve, and also look at other questions that are asked. These searches are also great opportunities to use on-page schema and microdata.
Here’s something important to keep in mind. Many of these consumer search queries end up on YouTube (the world’s second largest search engine). These search queries also end up on other sites full of technical information, including automotive forums. That’s why it’s important to optimize your paid campaigns or your SEO to show up for these search queries.
It’s also important to optimize your YouTube channel (did you know YouTube can be optimized for SEO?). Otherwise you run the risk of not showing up at all for these informational search queries.
If these search queries end up on YouTube, make sure they end up on your YouTube channel.
Brand search consumer search patterns
For brand search queries, shoppers can search by the brand name of the retailer, or the brand manufacturer.
They can also search for the product line brand of a manufacturer. For a non-automotive example, consumers can search for “Nike running shoes” (the manufacturer) or “Air Max running shoes” (the Nike product line brand).
Brand search include searches for the phrase “reviews for [Brand].”
Comparison searches are also popular. These are similar to “[Brand A] vs. [Brand B].”
Brand search can be top- or mid-funnel searches. This equates to low or medium purchase intent. In the case of “reviews for…” these searches are usually bottom-funnel searches. This equates to high purchase intent. “Buy [brand name]” is also a high purchase intent brand search phrase.
Purchase intent is important. Bottom-of-funnel, high purchase intent search has high clickthrough rates (CTR) on organic listings and paid ads. Website visitors with high purchase intent have higher conversion rates on your website.
Brand paid search brings up an ongoing question. Should you use paid ads for brand search when you have good organic rankings for your brand? If you want more sales at a very, very low cost, the answer is yes. We explain why here and here.
Search queries for automotive part numbers
Part number search queries aren’t high volume search phrases. They’re important, however, because they have high purchase intent. These are bottom-funnel searches. High purchase intent makes these search queries important when doing SEO for a website, when optimizing Google Merchant Center feeds, or optimizing paid search campaigns.
Shoppers searching by part number are educated shoppers. They’ve done their research.
Part number searches can include the OEM replacement part number, the original OEM part number, a crossover part number or variations of the part number. Part numbers can be changed on various websites because leading zeroes, spaces, prefixes or hyphens can be removed. these can be complicated search types. For example, 7893233004319, BD0431, 4212212, 000 421 22 12 and 000-421-22-12 can represent the same part.
Your website’s schema needs to be optimized correctly to maximize your visibility for these search types. Schema also helps to maximize ROI for Google Shopping. To keep this article short, just give us a call if you want to know why schema is important for Google Shopping.
Search queries to diagnose symptoms and problems
Shoppers try to solve automotive problems with symptom search queries. These search queries are typically modified by vehicle fitment.
Examples are “squealing brakes on Chrysler 300,” “check engine light Ford Fusion,” or “oil pan leak jku” (JKU is a 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4-door).
These searches are more complex because they usually include a specific symptom and a specific make/model or make/model/year.
These searches are great opportunities for SEO. The topics are a good fit for your website’s blog. Shoppers will end up on YouTube or on automotive forums if other websites aren’t optimized for symptom search queries.
Automotive part function search queries
Automotive part function search queries are about what something does, such as the braking system, fuel injection, or drive train.
These search queries are less specific than the part type search queries described at the top of this article. These search queries usually get modified by vehicle fitment.
Examples of these part function search queries are “2015 Silverado oil specs” or “replace Toyota Camry exhaust system.”
Part function search queries are often top-of-funnel searches. They usually have low purchase intent. These search queries are performed by DIY consumers but they can be performed by consumers looking for service repair.
These search queries can get specific with vehicle fitment, but usually they’re not as specific.
Automotive internet marketing search conclusion
We hope you found this information interesting and helpful. If you did, rate this article, below. If you have questions on optimizing your website, YouTube channel, or paid search campaigns for these search queries give us a call!
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