VisitScotland face arduous competition in the search space. They compete with major booking aggregators, travel blogs and, in many cases, lifestyle websites offering inspirational content about the glorious places to visit and exceptional things to do in Scotland. This challenge presents a number of questions. Where are our content gaps? What are the opportunities? What type of strategy will allow us to generate long-form content that is informative, well crafted to rank, and has the potential to drive digital PR coverage? VisitScotland knew we could answer these with our data-led approach to strategic recommendations. Here’s how we executed the brief.
- Improve search visibility and rankings across the entire website.
- Identify content and digital PR opportunities.
- Craft a strategy that addresses these opportunities.
INTERROGATING DATA, IT’S WHAT WE DO
By conducting keyword research we gained an in-depth understanding of the user intent. VisitScotland were looking to identify opportunities. To do this, our Technical SEO team calculated the glass ceiling (maximum achievable rank) at keyword level. We used Search Console data to determine average Click Through Rate (CTR) for non-brand keywords and calculate current non-brand traffic based on rankings, search volumes and average CTR. We then combined this with analysis on historic traffic and visibility trends helping to show baseline non-brand traffic volumes for next year based on trends. This allowed us, not only to understand the potential, but also to craft a strategy that would ensure VisitScotland achieved optimal results.
Through our data analysis, we identified two distinct lists. 1. High priority landing pages that performed well but could be enhanced further. 2. Under performing pages that could be over hauled to transform their SEO value.
Before we re-launched any of these pages, we built our in-house developed Content Dashboard. The dashboard works by analysing the traffic to the existing page content and then measures the changes in performance of that content, over the whole customer journey. The model behind the dashboard has been created to analyse content performance at scale and allows us to identify probability of conversion if a user views a page – on this visit or in the future. Additionally it shows aggregated performance before and after content update. By monitoring our strategy this way, we ensured our optimisation continued to evolve, driven by evidence-based conversions.
CREATING HYPE THROUGH DIGI PR
We understood the Outlander Map had huge potential. Our team prepared a robust campaign that ensured an outstanding level of exposure. It included three thorough rounds of outreach, speaking to an array of partners from the hospitality industry to distilleries, tourist attractions and many more.
Guess work isn’t our thing. We like to know the best possible result for the client, then we can be clear on our KPIs. We calculated the keyword glass ceiling (optimal rank position), for 19,543 keywords. Keywords covered 116 topics, and spanned 7 markets.
What did that mean in terms of visits? We calculated that too. For VisitScotland, in this instance, there were 426,034 additional potential visits from organic search identified.
One year on and global organic traffic has grown 185% to 14 million visits. During the same time period, UK organic traffic had grown 214% to 9.1 million visits.
On top of that, global organic portal referrals grew 167%, with UK portal referrals growing 195%.
And it wasn’t just our technical SEO recommendations, data-led insights, content ideas and optimisation efforts that secured substantial results for VisitScotland. Our outreach campaigns secured over 230 high-quality links. The Outlander Map was one of the most successful outreach campaigns, with a 90% response rate from our outreach partners. How did we manage that? Our team spoke to over 300 authoritative sites through three rounds of detailed outreach.
Want to know more?
Lyle Hastie, Business Development – Search