August 29, 2022

Case Study: Affiliate marketing with car rental and Discover Cars

I would like to share my story of how I ended up working with affiliate marketing and why I chose to go with the car rental niche and, in particular.

Affiliate marketing and SEO have been my favorite combination for a long time, so in this article, I will cover exactly this and how you can do that as well.

How it started

It all started without a plan; I simply got a quite nice domain that already had some background in the car rental industry (which is not even necessary), so I thought I would build a site around car rental in Portugal niche without even thinking about how I am going to monetize it.

As usual, I filled the site with some content, and it started as a blog. Mostly I reviewed all locations in Portugal and just went with topics around the keywords that have more search volume and less competition.

What SEO strategy did I use?

After a while, I left the site to rest in peace until one day, it got my attention and keywords started to rank. This is where the game started.

I immediately jumped on that wave and started optimizing the site for real. The steps I will share basically work for any website, niche, or situation. So here is what I did in the first month:

  • Improved article quality, optimized for the main keywords, and matched the search intent by looking at competitors.
  • Changed the meta descriptions and titles to be up to date to increase the CTR
  • Added related images
  • Added a FAQ section
  • Fixed the internal structure by adding internal links
  • Updated the sitemap
  • Built 7 backlinks from guest posts.
After these simple fixes and edits, traffic started to grow, as well it was time for me to find a way to monetize it. That's when I decided to go with a car rental affiliate program.
To be honest, I didn't choose DiscoverCars at first, because I tried the first one that popped up during my research which was Rentalcars, it was fine at first, but I will tell you why I switched later.
The next month I kept updating the rest of the articles, tweaking the homepage, experimenting with meta titles, and building links. In the second month, I built 10 guest post backlinks and again received a massive jump in traffic afterward.
I was still using Rentalcars; however, I started noticing that even though my traffic and clicks started to increase, the commissions hardly improved. That's when I decided to try something new and came across Discover Cars Affiliate Program, which has a much better interface than, a great support team, and most importantly, pay rates for both car rental and coverage sales.

During the third month, I started migrating between the affiliate networks as well as continuing updating the website structure and graphics, along with deleting unnecessary posts and building more backlinks. The results after that?
I earned almost 1,400 Eur in commissions and increased the site's average position and organic clicks. This is when I understood that Discover Cars has the go-to affiliate program and went all in with it.

Even though the traffic settled down and stayed almost the same, I still managed to get almost 5,000 Eur in commissions just by switching affiliate networks. So there is no doubt that if you are still using any other network, you should try this one.
During the fifth and sixth months, I continued adding backlinks, tweaking pages, and adding new ones.

Who should use a car rental affiliate program?

  • If you are already a webmaster or a blogger, then you can probably already implement this affiliate strategy, especially if it's a travel blog, lifestyle blog, news site, or hotel reviews site.

  • If you own a travel company, travel agency or accommodation site, that's even better as all you have to do is to put some CTA's and that's it.

  • For those who want passive income without any hassle like me and my Auto-Jardim website built especially for this kind of monetization, it's a no-brainer

Questions I get asked a lot?

Is it necessary to be a digital marketing specialist to run a site affiliated with car rental or any other affiliate product or service?

Definitely not. You can create a blog on WordPress or any other free CMS and simply start writing about the things you like by inserting affiliate links where necessary.

Google is all about high-quality content now, so if you are going to write helpful content that people actually find useful, your site will get higher in the rankings without doing anything else, though you'll get a small boost with a few links which you can get by yourself by doing outreach or using any guest post backlinks provider.

Does it require a lot of time to get started?

If you are going to write articles, build backlinks and do website design by yourself, it will definitely require time at first; however, once you feel comfortable with the commissions you start receiving, you can use a part of it to outsource the work to other people.

What would be my tips to get started?

Do not overthink it — simply start a website and you'll improve it later once you start seeing results. There will always be an opportunity for improvement, so it's better to do it step by step than spend too much time before launching it.

Final words

A car rental affiliate program can actually replace your full-time income job or become a promising side hustle with little to no work required to maintain the site. I already have plans to go and try different traffic channels such as social media, email marketing, and paid ads to boost my site presence and authority all over the internet as well as to bring more leads and turn this side hustle into a real business. Good luck with your own projects!

Top Related Locations

Here are some other locations that perform well for our affilaites when they include them in their aritlces.

Aistis Strelciunas
SEO strategist, owner of
Aistis has over 10 years experience in SEO and affiliate marketing. He loves to try out new SEO tools and implement new strategies. His passion is traveling. Currently, he has visited 48 countries and still counting. You can find him on LinkedIn or Instagram.