Multi-Location Local SEO for the #1 Auto Dealer in the U.S.

“We’ve been partnered with Local SEO Guide for the better part of a decade, and truly seen significant impact to our search visibility with their assistance. LSG has enabled us to deploy content at scale across hundreds of websites, and pull-in meaningful local organic data to continue refining and growing.”
– Mark McMahon, SEO Manager, AutoNation

AutoNation Logo

Autonation has 270 wholly-owned dealerships across the United States, each with its own website. When it came time to drive new business at the local level, Autonation turned to Local SEO Guide to strategize and execute at scale.

The Challenge 

Autonation had a number of hurdles to overcome in its pursuit of visibility and engagement in key markets:

  • Optimizing for local search. When Google perceives a query as locally relevant, the searcher receives an entirely different set of results. How could Autonation tap into local search intent and features to outperform well-established listings websites and gain local market share?
  • Compliance. Autonation dealerships are contractually obligated to market only within their own designated region. These legally binding agreements with the automakers make laser-targeted promotions and communications in search a must.
  • Optimizing content at scale. Making metadata, copy, internal links and other on-page optimizations across 270 websites requires both focused strategy and the expertise to support execution. Without an in-house SEO team of its own, Autonation didn’t know where to start.

None of these are insurmountable, of course. But it was clear that Autonation needed a custom solution to take advantage of the many revenue-generating opportunities they were missing at the local level.

How We Helped

Autonation didn’t need another technical SEO audit to tell them which links to fix and what code to clean up. They needed the business intelligence to inform which areas of focus would prove most impactful in real terms: eyes on their search listings, traffic to their locations, and revenue in the increased dealership business.

Local SEO Guide provided data-backed strategy and the resources to implement across three key areas.

Market Research & SEO Strategy

Local SEO Guide operationalized machine learning with keywords grouped by category/buckets over large data sets, taking a series of queries from Google Search Console and using ML to tie them to a high-level category (e.g., cars).

This meant taking all of the URLs for all keywords in those categories and structuring them so that AutoNation could more clearly identify interrelated keywords. Additionally, it allowed AutoNation to track lead volume to page templates and discover what templates drive the most leads and for various keywords.

Local SEO Guide also provided expert SEO practitioners to serve as Autonation’s SEO arm, enabling the brand to scale without the investment required to develop an in-house SEO team.


Local SEO Guide built a single dashboard to aggregate data from 270 dealership websites, enabling the client to:

  • See performance reporting by brand.
  • Filter keyword clicks and impressions by query category including the level of intent, brand names, topical categories, vehicle type and model, etc., using machine learning.
  • See which keyword categories are driving quality leads thanks to lead category classification with Tealium integration.

Lighthouse reporting for 270 locations also gave the brand a comprehensive overview of local SEO performance.


Local SEO Guide built an auto-posting system to distribute optimized content across all of Autonation’s websites. This involved developing an internal feed to automatically populate Google Posts with offers such as new vehicles, oil change and tire specials, etc. Autonation had the option to segment between service and new vehicle offers.

Autonation also received editorial support and SEO content services, as Local SEO Guide’s team outlined and produced hundreds of pages with a team of experienced writers. LSG’s in-house editors ensured each page was tailored for the dealer’s location while keeping pertinent page information and keyword use consistent.

The Results

Local SEO Guide helps Autonation target high-conversion queries for pages including new models, financing, service, and more while accounting for seasonality and trends in their sales cycles. 

Even despite an unusual year plagues with pandemic-related lockdowns and supply shortages, Autonation experienced:

  • 119% increase in search impressions
  • 18.7% more clicks

Importantly, Local SEO Guide’s custom reporting enabled Autonation to see the results of its targeted SEO efforts in terms of impressions and clicks by vehicle model.

Ready to grow your revenue? Let’s talk about what LSG can do for you!