How This Car Rental Site Generates 97,000 Monthly Visitors

In this Growth Through Content case study, we look at Holiday Cars, a car rental website generating 97,000 monthly visitors.

In this post, you'll learn:

  • How to focus on the customer journey to generate traffic and rankings.
  • Why using discounts, codes and reviews is still a powerful way to grow backlinks.
  • And what I’d do to grow their traffic through the roof (it’s an angle they haven’t considered yet).

Let's dive in.


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What is Holiday Cars?

Holiday Cars is a large holiday car rental website that helps people to rent cars online and select insurance for the vehicle.

I don’t know too much about them and who founded them, but they are generating some great traffic.

According to Ahrefs, they rank for 116,000 keywords and generate 97,700 organic visitors a month.

This generates traffic worth $244,000 a month in equivalent PPC spend.

But how are they doing it?

How to Focus on the Customer Journey to Generate Traffic and Rankings

A nice little thought exercise I do sometimes is to write down the customer journey.

So, to play along, let’s say I’m heading to Malaga in Spain and thinking about hiring a car.

What’s my journey look like?

  • Research holidays.
  • Buy holiday/flights.
  • Research car rental.
  • Choose car rental.
  • Get a taxi to the airport.
  • Or drive to the airport.
  • Check-in for a flight.
  • Go shopping.
  • Go to the pub/bar in the airport.
  • Go to the gate.
  • Fly.
  • Arrive at Malaga.
  • Pick up a hire car.
  • Travel to the resort.
  • Enjoy holiday.

OK, so I appreciate that I have abbreviated that process.

But when you do that, you should be able to break the list up and find opportunities for marketing.

For example, many people might hire a car in resort, so brand marketing in the airport toilets, on the plane, in the bar, at the check-in desk (and other places) is an effective way to market with some targeting.

However, you’ll also start to see opportunities for SEO purposes.

(By the way, you can make numerous lists of many buying and travelling patterns).

For our purposes, two opportunities jump out.

Searches for car hire at airports and searches for car hire at resorts.

And that’s exactly how Holiday Cars have operated. They have over 13,000 pages on their site that target airports and resorts.

But what does each page look like?

Once you get past their booking form header and scroll down, you’ll see that they have created a small informational section on their site.

These pages are low in text and design, yet offer quite a bit of information. You can quickly find out what rental services there are at Athens airport and some basic travel information, such as the best time to visit Athens and the cheapest time.

But this is super vague content of which has no doubt been pulled together after a quick Google search and a read of a featured snippet.

And having had a quick look at the pages on the site, some have slightly more detailed content and others like this page, far less.

You can’t help but feel that this was scaled with a very cheap freelancer army. But while it might not be pretty, it’s clearly doing its job.

And if you plan on building something huge, that’s often the only way. To get it built and then improve.

Often, done is better than perfect.

But how are they building backlinks?

Why Using Discounts, Codes and Reviews is Still a Powerful Way to Grow Backlinks

If you’ve studied backlinks for long enough, you’ll know that not every site plays it the way Google wants.

I’ve seen affiliate backlinks work in loads of niches, along with codes and advertising.

It seems this site has dabbled as well.

They have, over the years, used these tactics to generate backlinks.

Take a look at this do follow advertising link from one site.

Of course, I’m not here to judge.

What works…works. And in many industries, this could be the way to go.

On this holiday hotel site, you’ll see that they have a link at the bottom which seems like an affiliate link.

And again, I’m not judging. I’ve seen this approach work in a lot of industries that are hard to generate links in.

The questions I always come to are these. 

Were those links needed? And could better links be obtained in other ways?

I’m not their SEO, so I don’t know the SEO history of the site, the cost of the links and indeed whether they tried other methods.

But if you think about it, links like these are quite logical. 

You have a local hotel, they will want to provide/offer information to guests and as such, a link on their homepage to a relevant car rental provider is no great concern of Google’s.

It’s relevant, in context and indeed it probably gets a decent number of natural clicks.

Whether they did it for links or to actually earn referrals, who knows, but this is clearly one of their tactics.

So how would I grow their traffic further?

Content That Helps Brand Loyalty

The above metrics are for a travel guide for Malaga.

You can see it has no backlinks and it's just a travel blog page that while not generating much traffic, is highly targeted.

But this simple travel blog has compouded it's traffic through content like the article above and now has over 41,600 visitors a month.

And this is where I’d start to look for quick wins.

Travel tips, guides, advice, hotels.

You name it, if I was a car rental company that focused on holiday car rentals, I’d take my corporate budget and take on the travel bloggers, sucking up any affiliate traffic they have.

Indeed, I might be tempted to buy a few travel blogger sites, just to add their content to the site.

You might be asking why.

Well, if you are targeting travel advice, you’ll find people that are going to travel and, indeed, offering them a discount on hiring cars is a great way to get them on your email list and be top of their mind for when they do travel.

And of course, you’ll generate instant conversions too.

But there are loads of other reasons this might work.

You could evolve this type of content into a YouTube series, which is easier than you think. There are loads of tourists at resorts right now with smartphones, many of whom would happily record high-quality videos and take photos for you in exchange for a small fee.

Indeed, I’d be hitting up the travel blogging community and you could have over 100 posts, with videos and images within a few days. 

Let’s say you pay them £100 per post, you’d have 100 posts for £10,000 within a week.

Of course, this is all speculation, but often if you want to scale aggressively, you have to take risks.

Final Thoughts

As we've seen. 

When it comes to generating traffic and links, quantity can work over quality.

The traffic ranking web pages might not look amazing, be packed with designer content and indeed have what many would traditonally call 'great links'.

But it works.

Personally I think there are better and cheaper ways to generate links, but each SEO has their own process.

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posted December 16, 2021

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