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  • Automotive Content Marketing: How we brought additional income while diversifying risks

Automotive Content Marketing: How we brought additional income while diversifying risks

  • 23 min

The customer company is a large automotive aggregator: it helps users select cars, make their purchase and subsequent maintenance. At a certain point, the situation in the car market changed, difficulties affected the business of each participant in this area and it became impossible to build further work in any predictable way. Just despite this, the Car Spot quickly got its bearings and followed the path of placement — and the new appointment was accepted. A significant role was played by SEO: to implement the plan much faster than with the standard format of promotion through SEO.

  • Autospot.ru — car aggregator

    On the company’s website, users can choose and purchase a car, both new and used — in the catalog of 900 + authorized dealers and about 14,000 cars. There you can also choose maintenance from various dealers and service centers and make an appointment online.

  • The main task

    was to launch the new service in the minimum working format — that is, MVP. It was necessary to test it to see if this service could generate sufficient revenue. Upon completion of the work, we planned to carry out a number of improvements and restart. It was important to take into account the key user requests and business objectives of the company.

  • The result

    could be determined already during testing: if the company develops a new service as a separate area, it will become a source of traffic, and therefore recognition. What will ultimately bring the company profit. In addition, it is this product-based solution that will help our client’s business remain resilient even during a crisis.

Autospot project team:
Mikhail Prokofiev — product owner of the maintenance section;
Alexandra Muzlanova — product owner of new cars;
Anastasia Samarkina-Head of marketing at the company.

The DS Team project team:
Sofia Konovalova-SEO specialist;
Elizaveta Prokhorova-TeamLead of the project;
Lev Gaivoronsky — Head of SEO.

Getting started

Autospot planned to launch new products within the last three years, thereby increasing the company’s sphere of influence. However, the pandemic has made its own adjustments to these plans. In the face of falling demand for new cars, sales plummeted. Thus, the company lost profit in its most profitable direction, which means that the development of new products has become a necessity.

Initial goal: launch additional MVP services. Such a step was supposed to help minimize risks in relation to sales of new cars and become an additional vector to develop the business further. 

Autospot considered several directions — they were not directly related to the new car selection service. Here’s what this set of services looked like:

  • choosing a used car,
  • purchase via trade-in,
  • lending and leasing,
  • car maintenance.

We decided to test each of these services — it was important to understand what the return is and whether these products are promising enough to develop them further. The main emphasis was placed on services. Since the purchase of new cars was less and less interesting for users and was less and less accessible, no one canceled the maintenance of the existing fleet. Moreover, it is something that has come to the fore — 50 million cars throughout Russia will inevitably require repair.

That is why Autospot was one of the first companies to launch such a service. It was important to help car owners choose the most suitable maintenance option among the many service centers — and do it in just a couple of clicks. However, even at this stage, we realized that there would be some difficulties.

Not every car owner knows that IT is possible to carry out maintenance not only at their dealer

Before we started testing the initial version of the MAINTENANCE section, we interviewed users of the aggregator. The results were unexpected: for many, it was a discovery that maintenance can be carried out at different dealers, and while maintaining the warranty.

Not all car owners know that you can choose any service center for maintenance. For dealers, maintenance accounts for a significant portion of revenue. That is why it was in their best interest to convince customers that the car should only be serviced where it was purchased. Moreover, the choice of a service center in any case remains with the buyer — this is prescribed by law.

Alexandra Muzlanova

Linked a new service to search results

It was obvious that it was necessary to give users more detailed information about how to find a service point quickly and profitably — so the audience will understand how the Autospot service helps them in this.

Perhaps this was the key moment in the specifics of SEO promotion of the new section of the online aggregator. It was necessary to figure out how to combine informational and commercial user requests: examples-from «find the most profitable maintenance offer» to such questions as»is it possible to do SOMETHING not at the dealer at all?» The search results also offered quite diverse options: articles, reference books, maintenance points, price offers.

We set the maximum goal: to generate demand in such a way that the car owner has a clear understanding that third — party dealers can be both better and cheaper.

As a result, we decided to place useful articles directly on the pages. This way we will be able to combine mixed search results from commercial and informational pages

The first stage. We introduced users to a new product for the selection of maintenance services using the following details:

  • what is useful about this service and how to use it correctly,
  • why you can choose from a variety of dealers without being tied to a specific one,
  • how to choose the best car maintenance offer.

Process. We started placing large text materials on the pages of the site that actually offered this service.

Results of three months of work. We managed to collect the design and semantics. The developers spent a minimum of resources, but it turned out to create a simple section. It was clear to users and solved their problem-selecting and filtering car service stations for maintenance based on the specified parameters.

Merge a section with texts. Testing has already started at this stage. Useful materials were focused on static pages, while commercial offers were contained on dynamic ones.

Intermediate conclusion: this format was suitable for real users. However, search engines could not index content that is located on dynamic pages.

The next stage. We tested MVP and gained the trust of our users. Then we continued to develop a full-fledged solution for promotion and further work. This means that we needed to add new pages to the aggregator’s site, both commercial and informational. They should contain content that will interest both users and search engines. This is how SEO preparation for the full version of the section began.

How we worked: we conducted an analysis of competitors ‘ services, which helped us collect semantics, as well as prioritize them based on demand for creating a maintenance section

Works from the end of 2020

We started by collecting the semantic core — it was important to form the site structure and create new pages. Here’s what we did:

  • sparred semantics,
  • combined with a set of services,
  • created a list of pages to create,
  • we prepared a description of the structure — site pages for the new version of the section and their grouping,
  • we determined which sub-section each page should be located in.

At first, we expected that there would be enough planned maintenance. Topics were prioritized based on the frequency of user requests:

Фото The first semantic core of the section is THEN

In the future, we decided to add another subsection — «Other repairs». It included such user requests that were not directly related to repairs, and also did not fall into the category of vehicle maintenance. 

We divided the main core into two parts:

2 Фото Separate semantic cores for maintenance and «Other repairs».

The Autospot project team was responsible for collecting the first layouts of new site pages. DS Team, in turn, was busy preparing design recommendations. We also provided additional technical information. This made it possible to roll out a new section with a minimum number of errors — for example, to avoid incorrect links. Since the development time was limited, we decided that it was important to use almost no development and SEO-binding.

Works from February 2021

We have launched the first version of the maintenance section in Autospot. New pages were added that reflect user demand. Although not all the technical components were perfect, quite a few pages were dynamic.

Фото Design of the first version of the MAINTENANCE section

We conducted an initial audit, got the results, and then performed a second site audit. So we prepared for the next stage of the project

At the start, the section had very little traffic. During this time, SEO texts were prepared, including manual workpieces and templates, as well as meta tags.

Works from June 2021

By this point, the section had already existed for three months. The result of the work was the first position in the search results. Traffic growth was observed in all search engines. At the same time, traffic growth was twentyfold.

5

Specialists within the SEO team conducted periodic audits of the section. This was done using semi-automatic parsing. Adjustments were also made. Some of the templates had to be edited, new texts were required on some pages, and technical errors had to be removed in some places. It became obvious that the section has been gaining momentum and making a profit for several months.

Works from October 2021

At the next stage, we launched a re-audit. And for the entire site. This was a necessary measure because the new section that was launched remained for some time without active promotion. We began to notice that traffic is falling, and along with it, positions in the search results.

At that time, the priority was to correct all the errors that we found. After that, do some additional promotion of the section so that it works for the Autospot business goals. It was on this basis that his full-fledged work should have been based.

We rewrote the entire maintenance section and launched a new version of the product — it took three months. And in February 2022, the situation changed significantly.

Work from March 2022

The car market has come to a standstill. Then Autospot decided on a new course: it was necessary to use the resources of both teams and restart the maintenance section. At the same time, engage in its active promotion. The reason was simple: we tested several new products and it was the most successful ONE.

June 2022. Within three months, we used the forces of both project teams. The maintenance section was updated and started testing: we created a new design and structure, as well as updated the content.

Фото This is what the new version of the TO section looks like

The emphasis was placed on the comprehensive development of the maintenance department:

  • paid traffic,
  • SEO,
  • Zen,
  • Youtube
  • telegram,
  • CRM marketing.

As a rule, SEO takes a lot of time: if we start developing this project from scratch in this format, it will take a whole year. We met the deadline much earlier: the work was carried out since spring, in the summer we already opened the test version, added a new section, and got the result. The Autospot site had an excellent database: good optimization and high trust of search engines.

Elizaveta Prokhorova

We relied on metrics for further actions. The increase in traffic showed at what point it was already possible to abandon the old version. But while the new section was still in development, we continued to support the old one.

In fact, the work of both Autospot and DS Team went in two directions simultaneously — for each version of the section, you had to do the following:

  • correct errors,
  • prepare recommendations,
  • write new technical specifications,
  • develop a design,
  • launch a new version.

All this happened against the background of a gradual increase in traffic.

What results we got: traffic for the maintenance section increased by 30 times, and the visibility of the section increased by 20% — from zero

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This Is how Google’s search results for 2021-2022 look like:

8

This Is what the output positions for the TO cross-section look like for the same period:

9

This is the visibility in Google for priority brands in the maintenance section:

10

Project results

MVP is a potentially winning format. You can use it to quickly launch a product and test it, while keeping costs to a minimum.

SEO is suitable for flexible working conditions. Even unstable market situations allow you to embed competent SEO promotion in the context of changes. At the same time, it is important to entrust this to a contractor who knows how to properly organize work, understands how to prioritize tasks, navigate queries, and implement full-fledged SEO support for the business. This is what will become an indicator of quality for the client.

Changing priorities helps you redirect resources. Sometimes it is the need to quickly make changes that suggests the most promising direction in the market. If you invest in it in time, this strategy will be a winning one. This is what happened in our case: the new section has much better behavioral indicators than it did in the old version.

The launch of new products is not a cause for concern. To direct a certain resource to a new direction or product, it is important to analyze the market on an ongoing basis. The risk in such conditions will not only be justified, but will also give serious positive results. Even if the overall situation is far from balanced.

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