SEO Case Study: Commtrex Exchange

Jul 16, 2020 | SEO

Commtrex approached ASTOUNDZ with their Exchange sub-domain that was not ranking well and generating any consistent amount of organic traffic. The Commtrex Exchange is a railroad industry marketplace website for Class 1 railroads in North America. From Railcar/road services to Railcar leasing & buying, the Exchange offers a one-stop-shop for the entire railroad industry. Having a strong organic channel for traffic is a key ingredient in building a marketplace website.

After understanding the situation, ASTOUNDZ found several key challenges for this SEO campaign. The first – a membership firewall preventing non-members from seeing the full website & content. Search engines typically don’t like hidden content, and how we worked to display key parts of the site to be indexed on search engines was instrumental in how well the site currently ranks. The second – a totally custom framework without a backend CMS framework for users like WordPress or Squarespace. Without the ability to install plug-and-play plugins like Yoast SEO for instant SEO setup, ASTOUNDZ had to work with the Commtrex developers in building out a more friendly site for search engine spiders to crawl.

Commtrex Scaled (1)


The objective for Commtrex was straightforward – grow and enhance their Exchange site’s visibility on search engines, primarily Google. While ranking on searches was a top priority, one of the main objectives for ranking their Exchange site was to capture as many authoritative features on search possible, namely Featured Snippets/Knowledge Panels. This was deliberately part of the SEO campaign due to the need for establishing authority and expertise in their industry. Without establishing high levels of authoritativeness and expertise, users would have no trust in giving their personal information and advertising on the Exchange platform.


The content strategy for this campaign focused on building authority on search engines, while also driving traffic. Through Top 10 Lists, ASTOUNDZ was able to provide useful content for users, which was perfectly designed to capture List Featured Snippets on search. Another key strategy of the campaign was how ASTOUNDZ worked with Commtrex in customizing the HTML framework of the site to be as search engine friendly as possible. Because the website is totally custom, a technical understanding of all the key HTML markup related to driving SEO results was needed. This included key lines of Meta, customizing the Robots.txt and Sitemap.xml files. This very technical strategy allowed search engine spiders to crawl enough content to satisfy aspects of Google’s algorithm while hiding enough content behind a firewall to drive incentive for signing up.


ASTOUNDZ worked to preserve branded terms, design, and key content pieces as much as possible while integrating strategically written copy that helps drive search engine rankings. Additionally, ASTOUNDZ worked with their team to create a new homepage design to show off their brand, while containing keyword rich SEO copy and a friendly user experience.


The end result of ASTOUNDZ’ SEO campaign for Commtrex Exchange was a huge success. Tasked with establishing authority and expertise on search engines and generating organic traffic, ASTOUNDZ successfully grew organic traffic by 776.18% (1,016 Organic Sessions in 2018/8,902 Organic Sessions in 2019) and captured 8 Featured Snippets + 3 Knowledge panels.

By leveraging Commtrex Exchange’s data and forming content types, like Top 10 Lists, ASTOUNDZ was able to present highly authoritative and unique content that no other competitors can match. As a result, impressions on search and traffic have grown every month during and after ASTOUNDZ’ SEO campaign.


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