Search Engine Visibility
What They Wanted
Carbis Bay Holidays came to us in 2017 looking for help with improving their visibility in the search engines.
Having previously used a wide range of digital and traditional marketing techniques, including Pay Per Click (PPC), Google Adwords, social media platforms and coverage in the national and local press, Carbis Bay Holidays realised they needed to adapt their strategies.
Having recently relaunched with a new website, Carbis Bay Holidays had found that their rankings in the search engines had dropped.
To recover from this hit to their rankings and subsequent loss of traffic, the client came to us with a list of target keywords which they wanted to rank in the top 5 positions for.
The travel and tourism sector is incredibly oversaturated and competition is fierce among those businesses operating in the industry, especially in a popular destination such as Cornwall.
Our work with Carbis Bay Holidays focused on five core areas which worked together to improve visibility in the search engines, build brand authority and generate more enquiries via the brand’s online presence. The five areas of interest for our work were; search intent, content, featured snippets, search performance and link building.
What We Did
Our work with Carbis Bay Holidays focused on five core areas which worked together to improve visibility in the search engines, build brand authority and generate more enquiries via the brand’s online presence.
We focused on five core areas:
The five strategic areas of our work were; search intent, content, featured snippets, search performance and link building.
At Hedgehog Digital we believe that understanding search intent is imperative for truly successful digital marketing.
Knowing the highest reward keywords to target is no longer enough, you need to go deeper and understand why users are searching for those keywords and what they’re hoping to get from the search results.
Therefore, when working on Carbis Bay Holidays’ search strategy, we put a spotlight on the search intent of their target audiences.
Google, the most popular search engine across the world, has been systematically updating its algorithm to better understand the intentions behind user searches and prioritising content which it determines best satisfies these intentions.
Once we gained a thorough understanding of the intentions behind the searches of Carbis Bay Holidays’ target audiences we were able to target content to the search terms that were relevant to their audience at various stages of the consumer journey.
This meant that we could speak to target customers at specific times in their customer journey, building brand awareness and authority and cementing Carbis Bay Holidays as the go-to source of information about holidaying in Cornwall; from research all the way through to booking.
We put content at the heart of our work with Carbis Bay Holidays. From optimising existing content to perform better in the search engines, to producing targeted, high-quality posts for the brand’s blog, our work on the client’s content always kept their goal of better visibility at the fore.
With the optimisation of existing content, we employed a strategy of audit, maintain, merge or purge.
This approach led us to look at the performance of all existing content on the site to see how it was holding up in the search engines and how audiences were engaging with it.
If a piece of content was performing well then we would maintain it, checking it was optimised for relevant keywords and search intents.
For content that wasn’t performing so well and wasn’t getting the level of views that we’d like, we took a ‘merge or purge’ approach. This involved either absorbing that piece of content into another, better performing, post which focussed on a similar topic. Or, purging that content and removing the post altogether.
When this approach was required, we deployed redirects so that anyone looking for the merged or purged post would be directed to the updated blog posts, maximising our retention of traffic from these posts.
For new content, we focussed on creating a solid foundation of essential information for anyone visiting Cornwall, which had the added bonus of appealing to people within Cornwall too.
Being Cornish residents ourselves, we are in the perfect position to create content which showed off the county at its best.
This content also worked to display a level of knowledge, authority and enthusiasm for the county’s attractions which would position Carbis Bay Holidays as a unique yet leading voice in the local tourism industry.
Our insight into the search intentions of Carbis Bay Holidays’ target audience helped to guide our content strategy. By understanding the motivations behind their search queries, we were able to identify the keywords with informational intents being used by potential Carbis Bay Holidays customers.
From that insight and our deep understanding of search intent, we were able to write posts that answered the questions potential customers were asking, to produce content which solved problems we knew their target audiences were facing.
This thorough understanding of the intentions behind searches and the application of that understanding is essential for creating a content marketing strategy that works to drive business and generate enquiries.
A featured snippet is an enlarged listing on the Google results page, usually at the top before the rest of the ‘regular listings’. They can show a variety of content including a snippet of a webpage’s content, business listings, a map of a relevant area or video content.
Websites selected for featured snippet positions are chosen for their ability to answer a user’s query in an accurate, informative and concise paragraph, list or table.
When they get chosen for a featured snippet position, websites get a more prominent position on the results page, attracting more eyes to their content. For Carbis Bay Holidays, a featured snippet position, ahead of their competition, could mean more enquiries and bookings from searchers looking for holidays in Cornwall.
Therefore, another important aspect of our work for Carbis Bay Holidays was to optimise their content to secure a featured snippet position. We developed a technique for optimising content which helped to secure featured snippet positions for a number of the client’s blog posts.
This work helped to increase Carbis Bay Holiday’s presence in the search engines and their overall website visibility, one of their core goals when the client initially came to us.
Search performance is the foundation of any SEO effort; getting digital content performing optimally so that the search engines will reward it with higher positions in the rankings.
For Carbis Bay Holidays, their initial request when they came to us was for better performance in the search engines. All the work we did from that point forward was working to improve the site’s search performance.
We ensured that the pages of the website were optimised and performing well for Google’s bots to crawl them and read the content contained within them.
Links from authoritative websites which point back at your own site, known as backlinks, act as virtual votes of confidence, telling Google that your content is so useful and relevant that it’s worth linking to.
For a business trying to increase it’s website’s visibility in the search engines, these backlinks are essential. Google uses the number of backlinks a site has as one of the determining factors when ranking a site’s positioning in the results page.
Therefore, to increase their visibility in the search engines and boost their authority in the eyes of Google, another focus within our work for Carbis Bay Holidays was to generate more backlinks for their site.
We set about researching which sites would offer high-value, relevant backlinks, that is, links from sites connected to Carbis Bay Holidays’ industry but not in competition with the brand. The ideal source of backlinks for Carbis Bay Holidays was the websites of highly regarded travel publications.
Link building requires a ‘linkable asset’, something that our target high authority websites will link back to. A linkable asset is usually a piece of content which is high quality and highly relevant to our target websites.
In the case of Carbis Bay Holidays, this came in the form of research comparing the costs of holidays in Cornwall to similar holidays in popular European destinations, presented in a post on the company’s blog.
Not only was this a piece of unique research, but it was also a great display of Carbis Bay Holidays’ authority and knowledge of the travel and tourism industry.
- Increased visibility in search engines
- Carbis Bay Holidays saw an incredible 95% increase in traffic coming to the site via organic search between 2018 and 2019.
- We managed to almost double the number of keywords that Carbis Bay Holidays ranked on the first page.
- Optimising Carbis Bay Holidays’ blog content led us to gain 19 featured snippets positions for the client.
- Doubled the entire number of keywords which Carbis Bay Holidays ranked for, in positions 1 to 10 and beyond.
- Bringing their total number of first page rankings from 213 to 415.