How the UK’s leading tyre retailers are building backlinks

By Evolved • 7 April 2021 • minutes reading time

If you know your tyres, you’ll be familiar with brands like Kwik Fit, Halfords, Black Circles and Protyre. 

They’re huge players in a market estimated to be worth $267 billion by 2022, and when it comes to online visibility they pack some serious horsepower.

With that in mind, we decided to get under the bonnet of their backlink profiles and share the links, tactics and campaigns that really rev their engine, as well as one or two that stall and don’t quite reach the finish line.

You can’t get fitter than a Kwik Fit link builder

Kwik Fit are a household name with a large product range beyond tyres, as well as an enviable marketing budget.

When it comes to link acquisition, they’re in the fast lane, with 165,980 backlinks from more than 2900 referring domains and counting, including the BBC, Telegraph, Guardian, The Sun, BT and more.

If you’re a niche tyre business, there’s plenty to learn from how a big brand like Kwik Fit attracts and earns coverage.

Creative campaigns

Ambitious content marketing pieces have helped Kwik Fit land considerable tier 1 press coverage – something we know all about from creating and executing over 100 automotive campaigns.

Take their classic Queen Of Parts campaign as an example. 

Kwik Fit partnered with artist David Parfitt to create a portrait of Queen Elizabeth using spark plugs, petrol caps, hoses, gaskets, bumpers and headlights. The birthday portrait celebrated the Queen’s 90th year on the planet and was a nod to a little-known fact about Elizabeth: she served as a mechanic in the British Army.

The campaign itself earned Kwik Fit 21 links including the New York Times, Business Insider and The Poke, with a ton of unlinked brand mentions from the likes of the Express, Classic Motor, The Times, This Is Money and Reuters, as well as local and regional titles that covered the campaign when the portrait toured the UK.

Given the scale of the campaign and budget, the overall link numbers are actually a little low here, and the unconverted brand mentions feel like a missed opportunity for Kwik Fit to drive extra link equity to their domain.

Overall, though, we love the concept and from a brand awareness perspective, it’s super impressive.

So what resonated?

  • It was on-trend, tying in with a milestone birthday for the Queen
  • It was a creative twist on the Queen’s portraits
  • It demonstrated Kwik Fit’s expertise – their technicians built the sculpture
  • It’s incredibly memorable and they captured some great video to sit alongside the campaign
  • It’s also educational, sharing the story of the Queen’s time as a mechanic
  • It appealed largely to tier 1 press but also motoring/trade and regionals, widening their distribution list

As the Queen turns 95 later this month it’ll be interesting to see if Kwik Fit re-outreach the campaign. Revisiting legacy campaigns that have historically performed well is an underrated tactic and something we’d recommend your Digital PR team keep an eye on, particularly where datasets can be updated, or topics re-enter the public conversation.

Data-led campaigns, hubs and guides

Taking a more data-driven approach, Protyre released an interesting survey campaign in late 2020 around the dangers of driving on dangerous tyres.

The UK’s fastest-growing tyre retailer launched the campaign as part of this year’s nationwide Tyre Safety Month, encouraging Brits to not only check their seatbelts but also their tyres.

We loved the campaign’s overall message and it earned some really impressive coverage in motoring press including What Car, Tyre Trade News, Tyre Press, as well as the Express and regionals (Protyre segmented the data by region for those publications).

Unfortunately, from what we could see, none of these titles linked back to the Protyre site, which is a real missed opportunity, especially as Protyre have a great blog post on checking your tyres are still in good condition that they could’ve pointed users to via the campaign.

Keeping it simple, Halfords’ road trip songs campaign is a good example of using data already in the public domain, ensuring a quick turnaround and keeping campaign costs low.

Halfords analysed 300,000 songs from Spotify playlists that included terms like ‘car’, ‘driving’ and ‘road trip’, and pulled together the results to provide their customers with the ultimate road trip playlists.

The campaign landed links from 29 referring domains in total, largely from entertainment domains. It’s also beginning to rank for 371 organic keywords.

Overall, of the top 50 pages on with the most links, 43 were guides, articles and blogs.

Yeah, yeah, content is still king of the road.

Likewise, Black Circles’ Help Centre is a magnet for links, including The Sun, The Register, Money Saving Expert, RAC, Horse and Hound, amongst others.

The content can be a little thin at times and internal linking is scarce, but there’s so much to be said for creating a comprehensive content guide hub that users actually care about.

And we think there’s scope to repurpose more of this content for the press, taking these smaller, keyword-driven insights and pooling them into larger advice/tip pieces, or simply repurposing the content as expert insight in line with seasonal trends around tyres.

More on that at the next pit stop.

Expert commentary and reactive 

Securing tier 1 links can be tough but having spokespeople on hand to demonstrate your authority when stories are breaking certainly helps.

What surprised us was that very few of the tyre retailers we analysed leveraged reactive, expert commentary and newsjacking to its full potential.

Brands with strong online visibility such as ASDA Tyres, Black Circles, Tyres On The Drive and mytyres, didn’t appear to have a consistent reactive strategy in place. Kwik Fit, Halfords and Protyre performed slightly better in this area.

Reactive is a slightly misleading term as a lot of activity can actually be planned well in advance. Here are a few triggers you can prepare for and examples of how you could approach them:

  • Changes to COVID guidance – you could provide advice on long-distance travel as the UK exits restrictions, from getting your motor up-and-running to avoiding in-car distractions
  • Changes to automotive rules, tax and legislation – including what else motorists needs to know or consider, and how it could impact drivers in the future
  • Changes to weather and how that impacts your vehicle – including what tyres you should be using, assessing the condition of your tyres, and shedding light on any unknown rules motorists might not know about when driving in certain weather conditions – for example, snow
  • Breaking and current political stories – offer your reaction to current affairs like the ongoing impact of Brexit, changes to government support for the automotive sector, EV and diesel policies

Once you start developing a reactive calendar for your business you’ll convert more and become more adept at turning these opportunities into links.

Links to product pages 

Product PR can be a great tactic to generate revenue-driving links to your product pages. Halfords and Kwik Fit both do it particularly well, and regularly earn links in tier 1 press through product reviews, gift guides and round-ups.

As a rule, the more journalists know about your products, the more likely they’ll consider them for inclusion in product round-ups, gift guides, competitions and product reviews and any other relevant content they may be creating.

Active outreach is essential; unless you’re a household brand, journalists will rarely just find your product and link to it.

In our experience, products included in these round-ups tend to meet one of the following criteria: 

  1. They’re brand new to the market
  2. They’re incredibly unique or interesting – friends would talk about your product in the pub
  3. They’re on sale at a highly competitive or unrivalled rate

Lifestyle and product images in a high-resolution format are essential, as well as original and sale prices, as well as, of course, a link to where readers can buy your product.

So there you have it. There’s a lot of great work being done already in the Tyres sector, for sure, but plenty of opportunities to seize, too.

If you’re a tyre retailer looking to take your digital PR strategy to the next level, we hope this article helps you hit the road. And if you need a jumpstart, you know where to find us.

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