July 21, 2022

SEO Case Study: Going from 40k organic visitors to 220k in less than a year

Since our founding in 2013, DiscoverCars.com has grown exponentially. We were named the 64th fastest-growing company in Europe in 2020 by the Financial Times (and made the list again in 2021). We've also gone from being a company of five to one with over 140 employees.

So enough with the stats — how'd we do it? It was a combination of strategy and fortitude. First, we came up with a strategy, then we worked hard to implement it. While a lot of companies rely on more conservative ways of growing their SEO visibility, we've decided to take another strategy and combine well-known SEO methods with growth-marketing ones. Not every action has led to great results, but through trial and error, we've been able to build a solid foundation for our SEO growth. The process has worked so well that we've nearly quintupled our organic traffic visitors in less than a year! In August 2021, our monthly number of visitors was a bit higher than 45k, and now, in Aug 2022, it's above 240k!

The main key through all of our different areas of operation is to adapt and learn. If something doesn't work, we simply find another strategy that will. If we don't know how to do something, we simply take the time to learn.

SEO Case Study: Going from 40k organic visitors to 220k in less than a year

By Aleksandrs Buraks | Published July 11, 2022
Since our founding in 2013, DiscoverCars.com has grown exponentially. We were named the 64th fastest-growing company in Europe in 2020 by the Financial Times (and made the list again in 2021). We've also gone from being a company of five to one with over 140 employees.

So enough with the stats — how'd we do it? It was a combination of strategy and fortitude. First, we came up with a strategy, then we worked hard to implement it. While a lot of companies rely on more conservative ways of growing their SEO visibility, we've decided to take another strategy and combine well-known SEO methods with growth-marketing ones. Not every action has led to great results, but through trial and error, we've been able to build a solid foundation for our SEO growth. The process has worked so well that we've nearly quintupled our organic traffic visitors in less than a year! In August 2021, our monthly number of visitors was a bit higher than 45k, and now, in Aug 2022, it's above 240k!

The main key through all of our different areas of operation is to adapt and learn. If something doesn't work, we simply find another strategy that will. If we don't know how to do something, we simply take the time to learn.

Content

Content is king — and it was king of our Growth strategy. We've invested heavily over the past four years in creating content that is as useful as it could be for travelers.

We invest heavily in both content created by travelers and automated content with information about rental car prices, popular models, gas prices, and so forth.

Our content team is a group of seasoned travelers, which means they can create content that they know travelers need. Together, they write about locations worldwide and the great drives around them. This information is both on our landing pages and right here on this blog.

While many marketers focus strictly on search terms that might bring the best type of leads (e.g., those leaning more towards commercial intent), we decided to split our efforts by going with a broader range of search terms. This strategy paid off since our brand is quite new, and we've been able to kill two birds with one stone by growing our brand visibility.

Among the biggest wins was creating a set of in-depth how-to guides in different countries. For instance, this in-depth guide about traveling in Italy has already gained a solid presence in SERPs and has grown well month over month:
Our brand is fighting for SEO visibility with such well-known companies as Enterprise and Sixt, along with many other car rental businesses that have been present on the market for decades.

For instance, this is how the competitive landscape looks like for the search term "car rental Italy:"
Our content team includes some seasoned travelers, which means we can create content that addresses the most burning questions of tourists. By combining our forces with travel experts, we brainstormed the right content angles as well as the best structure that guarantees that each content piece will start with solid organic traffic. We used the same approach not only for our content pages but also for our landing pages to ensure that they have the most appealing call-to-actions.

Much of the content on our site has also been translated into 15 languages (so far). We constantly monitor and adjust the quality of these translations to provide the best experiences to customers whose native language isn't English. They can go through the entire car booking process in their language.

This helps us produce more content without exploding our budget since it's much cheaper to translate content than to create it from new. We were able to get more traffic by targeting search terms in other languages without a huge significant additional cost.

Of course, we also target our English content to keywords relevant to our industry. We use SEMRush for this as is popular in the industry.

Mentions

Another part of our growth has been executing our strategy to get mentioned in global media. We teamed up with a leading PR agency to produce content that we pitched to Forbes, The Sun, The NY Times, The Washington Post, and other media outlets.

One of our most popular pieces of content was a piece about drunk driving laws across the world, which got more than 35 mentions in the media. Our other content has been mentioned by many major media outlets. You can find more about this in our newsroom.

Partners

Another large part of our success stems from our ability to attract new partners. Our affiliates and other business partners have greatly contributed to our company's growth.

We've managed to partner with some of the best players in the travel industry. Together, we make it simple for travelers to find and book a rental car for their trip.

The first major company we partnered with was Air Century, an airline in the Caribbean. To do so, we had to improve not just our marketing pitch, but a lot of what we offered in our product. This was an important step forward to be ready to partner with other travel companies, such as Brussels Airport. W

We offer our partners multiple ways to integrate with us, though the most important of these is our white label product, which is what Brussels Airport uses. When customers go to book a car from their website, they are redirected to a co-branded version of ours. This has lead to great results when trying to attract new partners.

We strive to provide the best possible help to all of our partners. This includes working closely with them every step of the way. Because when they succeed, we succeed.

Team

The key to all of the above is our team. We've gone from having no growth team at all to having eight members and dedicated developers. Every one of them has made a huge contribution to our acceleration. We have separate sub-teams that deal with each of the above areas, all of which work together to achieve our overall goals.

Recruitment

We are lucky to be in a location with a great talent pool, so our primary recruitment channel was our local job listing service. In the days of remote work, many overlook the talent in their own backyard.

We also found that having a great employer profile helps with recruitment, even if only sourcing candidates locally. For that reason, we created our Glassdoor profile and encouraged employees to leave honest reviews.

As far as recruiting goes, it has been the easiest of our strategies to implement. All of our recruits have successfully completed their probationary period and are still part of the team.

The teams within the team

Our content team consists of dedicated travelers that create our content strategy and write the content itself. We also have a content manager that works with our team of translators.

Our affiliate team works hard to form close relationships with our affiliate partners, which drive bookings for us. And finally, our outreach specialists work to get us mentioned all across the world.

Our team is spurred to success by our leader with over a decade of experience in the field. He sets our goals and overall strategy along with supporting each and every team member in our quest to grow both our company and ourselves professionally.

Remote work

As with much of the rest of the world, we were forced to switch to remote working during the pandemic. This came with some growing pains, but we learned what worked and what didn't through experience and came to be just as productive as before.

We began our remote work with weekly team meetings that resembled standups. After some time, we found that since we have disparate teams that work toward the same goals with vastly different methods, these types of meetings weren't the most efficient for everyone.

We then moved to bi-weekly one-to-ones with monthly or quarterly team catch-up meetings. This provided a more productive experience, where everyone had enough time to discuss the issues that needed to be discussed without wasting the time of the rest of the team. And the catch-up meetings provide news and a team feeling as we are all working toward the same goal in the end.

Finally, though we were prepared for remote work teleconferencing-wise, we were not from a project tracking standpoint. We quickly moved to Asan to be able to follow each other's tasks and as a base for our bi-weekly meetings. This has been so successful that we still work this way.