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Autotrader on securing a prominent position in EV sales market

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By The Drum | Editorial

November 30, 2023 | 6 min read

Car sales icon Autotrader needed to increase its share of voice in the electric vehicle market and in partnership with Reddico sparked a win in the Digital Industries Awards Organic Search category. Read their award-winning case study below.

Example of the award-winning digital work

Auto Trader is the No.1 destination for used car buyers in the UK and has also made strides in the new car market, but found it was losing out on organic traffic in the fast-growing EV market. The business relies on driving a high volume of potential buyers to the platform, in order to attract paid listings, so maximising organic traffic is central to commercial success. The company’s environmental strategy also commits to investing in supporting consumers, retailers, and the industry at large, transition to a more sustainable way of living, and of course, EVs are a key part of this.

Auto Trader only held a small share of voice for the top 200 EV-related keywords, so turned to Reddico for help. Our objectives for the campaign were:

Grow share of voice for the top 200 EV keywords from 14th place to achieve a top 5 position.

Boost organic traffic to the electric cars subfolder by 5x.

STRATEGY

Auto Trader’s target audience for the campaign was consumers considering the purchase of an electric car. Many would be making their first EV purchase and needed information to give them the confidence to buy. Others, closer to the point of purchase, would want to check out specifications, compare models and search for the best deals.

Using a keyword target list provided by the client, we could see the top 50 competitors, by organic share of voice, and analyse the backlink profile for the competitors outranking us. The competitor sites were large, as is Auto Trader, so the focus was on the electric cars subfolder path and identifying gaps in their existing backlink profile.

The gaps identified were:

Links from trusted/high-authority domains (including .gov/.edu).

Links from eco-friendly/sustainability-focused sites.

Quantity of links into the electric cars subfolder path (~350 ref domains required).

A general lack of EV content pieces within Auto Trader’s electric cars subfolder.

Therefore the strategy was determined as follows:

Research a sample of the target domains we wanted placements from to see what content they linked to and shared across social platforms.

Use this insight, alongside our own experience and creativity to generate content assets we were confident would be well received by webmasters. These content assets would sit under the /cars/electric/ subfolder, helping to strengthen the parent and child pages through their position in the site structure and internal linking.

We would then identify and deliver PR outreach to suitable websites to secure valuable placements and backlinks helping to improve the authority of the subfolder as a whole.

Having established our strategy, we created six content pieces, our work included:

Ideation (with the outreach team, content team, and the client).

Research and content creation (~3,000-6,000 words).

Research and content creation (~3,000-6,000 words).

Bespoke design for each content asset, in line with brand guidelines.

Content assets built by our team with flat HTML and supporting JS/CSS files.

The assets we developed were (See the supporting image file):

A map of charging points across the UK and Ireland

The next decade of electric cars

Understanding the sustainability of electric cars

How far can you go on a single charge?

What drivers with disabilities need to know about electric cars

An educational guide on the cost of owning an EV

Designed to be as informative and engaging as possible, each piece was carefully researched and included important keywords and links to high-authority sites. For example, the EV charging points map asset not only includes an interactive map, powered by multiple APIs to give accurate information on the closest EV charging points and directions to get there but also charts the growth in charging points and the use of electric vehicles in the UK and also provides answers to frequently asked questions about charging points. Naturally, the creative was designed to embrace the Auto Trader brand identity and integrate well with their other site content.

We launched the content in four phases, with our outreach team sending pitches to target websites, based on relevance, reputation and site authority. This was done through our in-house tech KRANG which enables us to deliver well-targeted, fresh, personalized outreach at scale.

RESULTS

The campaign is an excellent example of how a solid campaign strategy based on keyword research and gap analysis, combined with creative content execution and targeted outreach can yield stellar results - moving Auto Trader from an also-ran in the market segment to a leader, surpassing manufacturers of EVs as well as established motoring publishers.

By February 2023 Auto Trader climbed 11 places to hold the 3rd highest share of voice.

Organic traffic to Auto Trader’s electric cars folder has grown by 12x massively exceeding the original objective.

The client was delighted with the results. Adam Whittles, Head of SEO at Auto Trader, said: “Working with Reddico on this campaign has been a delight and the results speak for themselves. It's rare that an agency manages to understand our business so quickly and Reddico did exactly that. Their creative ideas and execution have enabled us to outperform many of the established players in the EV space.”

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