Inside The Best Match Search Algorithm |

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Rich Harig

Business Development

Inside The
Best Match ™
Search Algorithm

How to fully optimize your listings to connect your most relevant inventory with the right in-market shoppers.

You’ve chosen to partner with to reach an audience of local, in-market shoppers who are twice as likely to buy than shoppers from any other source. In order to maximize the opportunity to match your inventory with them, it’s important to understand how the Best Match™ algorithm works and which factors you can control to improve your overall search performance. is a two-sided marketplace — valuing both dealers and shoppers. Our search algorithm reflects this, ensuring shoppers see the most relevant results for their intent, and dealers receive highly qualified sales opportunities that are more likely to close, more efficiently. 

While there are over 300 unique variables that impact our algorithm, they fall under four main categories that are taken into account. Here’s what they mean for you:


Dealer Essentials

The more essential and accurate inventory and dealership information you provide, the easier it is to correctly match your listings with the right customers.


Listing Optimization

More in-depth details about your inventory help us match you to customers with specific needs. That also helps you differentiate yourself from other dealers in your market.


Consumer Behavior

Although driven by consumers, fuller inventory and dealership profiles (see factors 1 and 2) can drive more clicks and views, and subsequently improve your search ranking.


Market Factors

These factors provide the checks and balances that ensure the absolute best matches are taking place on the marketplace platform. This creates trust for the consumer that you are their ideal dealer, and for you that we’re making the best matches for your business.

Now, let’s dig deeper into each factor, so you can find new ways to maximize your presence on the marketplace, and improve your search ranking.

1 Dealer Essentials

This crucial information ensures you set up your marketplace listings for success:

Location: Shoppers are looking for convenience. So, generally, dealers closest to a shopper’s location appear in their searches first. Make sure the information you provide about your dealership and inventory is accurate, so you show up in searches in your local area.
Inventory Listing Quality: For Best Match™ ranking, each VIN in your inventory should have the following information at the very least:

Used car inventory:

  • At least twenty photos
  • Priced for your market
  • Mileage listed

New car inventory:

  • Multiple photos
  • Priced for your market
Ratings & Reviews: Review quality, quantity, and recency all factor into determining how well your inventory ranks. Demonstrate that the experience at your dealership will be a good one by continuing to build upon your stellar reputation. Positive dealer reviews are essential to building trust with potential buyers.

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2 Listing Optimization

To provide shoppers with the best possible marketplace experience, the algorithm also considers information that gives customers a more in-depth look into your inventory and dealership:

Price: There’s no question price matters to consumers, but overly cheap vehicles can be a red flag too. Instead of prioritizing lowest price vehicles, our search algorithm factors price compared to a shopper’s local market to help determine a listing’s ranking. Pricing a vehicle appropriately for your market ensures transparency and high shopper engagement.
Listings Recency: While in-market shoppers are always interested in what’s new, slower turn inventory often means the possibility of a great deal. To provide meaningful exposure to fresh vehicles and showcase the gems still available in their market, you can rest assured both new and old listings have the opportunity to show up on the top of customer searches.
Features: Shoppers use filters to find their perfect vehicle. Therefore, the algorithm takes key features, such as exterior/interior color, trim, drivetrain, and the latest tech into consideration. That means complete, and accurate, merchandising always benefits your inventory search ranking.


Complete Your Inventory Listings Automatically

3 Consumer Behavior shopper onsite interactions are key to helping determine demand in a given market. Therefore, the three most important consumer behavior factors the algorithm considers are:

Views And Searches: The number of times a listing matches shoppers’ searches, and the number of times a listing is viewed, as a representation of market demand for the listing.
Unique Clicks In Search Results: When a listing is shown in search results, it’s a good sign if a car shopper clicks on it.
Engagement On Vehicle Details Page: How often a shopper submits leads and interacts with the various components of a listing. All listings get a fair chance based on the shopper’s filters.

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4 Market Factors

Other key indicators include, but are not limited to, market level supply-demand ratio and seasonality.

Market: Supply and demand is calculated at various market levels (city, zip code, designated market area (DMA), national, etc.). Most of the activity, in terms of vehicle details page views and leads submission, happens for very granular searches (Make, Model, Trim, Zip Code, Color), and the algorithm performs relatively better for these detailed searches.

Vehicle Demand Market Report

Not sure what’s moving in your area? Access your personalized Vehicle Demand Market Report today in Dealer Dash!

Feedback System: The algorithm adjusts itself if the performance has deteriorated or if it hasn’t been able to provide exposure to all qualified inventory. The feedback system penalizes clickbait listings, keeps the core algorithm in check, and adds diversity to the final output.

Frequently Asked Questions

The vast majority of shoppers do not base their purchase decision on a single variable; there are a multitude of factors that make a particular vehicle relevant for a consumer, and our Best Match Search approach strives to meet that need. Similarly, for our dealer partners, we believe defaulting to a search experience that reinforces a race to the bottom on price, or only allows you to reach shoppers in your backyard, limits your ability to find the most relevant shopper matches on our platform. The Best Match search approach is the ideal solution for our two-sided marketplace and ensures we drive the most value to both our audience and dealer partners.

The rankings are very dynamic and can change based on location, time, user device, or a multitude of other factors. Combined with our ability to process near real-time inbound inventory feeds, the inventory selection on our marketplace is constantly changing, and so, by extension, our search rankings also change on a daily basis.

With the additional new information, our model gets a better sense of the listing and gives a new ranking. In general, this should improve the ranking of this listing gradually. However, please note that the ranking is also dependent on other dynamic factors like local inventory demand. Therefore, adding all information doesn’t guarantee significant improvement in the ranking at all times.

We consider both elements in terms of positioning for the Best Match search.

This could be due to a number of factors, but in most cases is a combination of that dealer both having larger portions of listings that match search parameters and following the best practices we’ve cited above.

What is not the case is that the dealer is paying for guaranteed page one placement – we do not pay-for-play when it comes to our organic search rankings. We also incorporate a dealer diversity variable into our search to ensure that consumers are exposed to a number of seller options in their designated search area. This factor does not overrule core relevancy search parameters (if only one dealer carries the make/model/trim/feature selection a consumer is searching for, they will be the only one that shows), but it is present in our algorithm.

  1. Start with a radius in the range of 30-75 miles dependent on your market layout; this will give you a more accurate read on your presence for the majority of shoppers in your area.
  2. Perform ‘make/model’ searches, not just ‘make’ searches. The most common searches on our marketplace are shoppers looking at one or multiple make/models within their consideration set. Doing a ‘make only’ search is most often just an exercise by dealers to look at competitors and not the most accurate reflection of how shoppers research.
  3. Leverage the merchandising reports above to diagnose particular vehicles that may be performing worse in search because they are missing key listing information related to price or feature set.
  4. Search results are updated daily and include personalized factors like discoverability. So, if you perform the same search over multiple days you should expect results to shift around.

The Best Match You Give, The Best Match You Get

Ultimately, your place in the search algorithm is affected by how much information you provide our marketplace shoppers. They’re looking for as much detailed and transparent content as they can find to trust you’re the dealer they want to buy from. 

Make sure your dealership’s profile page and inventory listings explain who you are as a local business, what you offer, and why customers should buy from you. That way you have the best chance of ranking in customer searches that are your Best Match™.

However, if you’ve followed all our best practices and believe your listings are showing up below other listings in error, we’re here to help you figure out why. Our support team will be happy to connect with you to provide more insight into your Best Match™ placement.

1 Dealer Inspire Roxanne™ Data Science, Q1 2021