Gatwick Parking came to us with a unique challenge: help the brand gain visibility and traffic from a key competitor – themselves. Due to the authority of the official airport site, Gatwick Parking was struggling to rank for crucial terms.
Our brief was to:
Crucially, we needed to do the above without creating content that deviated from the brand’s core intent; the focus had to be on parking, not holidays.
Gatwick Parking needed help improving organic performance. To do this, we needed to tackle a few challenges first.
One of the toughest challenges we had to face came from the excellent visibility of the Gatwick Airport website. It boasts impressive organic visibility, not necessarily due to advanced efforts on SEO, but because the domain has built up a high level of authority over time. This is thanks to the sheer volume of people visiting the site, as well as natural mentions across authoritative news sites. This meant Gatwick Parking was struggling to appear on relevant terms as it was competing with the official airport site.
In addition, the Gatwick Airport parking market is saturated with official and unofficial discount parking websites. Key competitors, like Holiday Extras, outranked the official Gatwick site because they offer a vaster range of products – including parking at most UK airports – enabling them to build bigger sites with wider keyword targeting.
Previous agencies had tried to generate traffic by creating travel based content. Although the brand has an, arguably tenuous, link to holidays, the parking site is not directly linked – the airport website is a lot more relevant for this type of content. These guides proved uncompetitive in organic search and the few users they did attract were poorly qualified for an end-of-funnel parking-based purchase.
Knowing that simple changes can have significant impact, our Technical SEO team began tackling the task by improving Gatwick Parking’s title tags and meta descriptions. Aside from being the headline, title tags have a strong semantic weighting and are among the most powerful on-page ranking factors. Meta descriptions – although not important for rankings – influence audience behaviour, encouraging potential purchasers to click through to the site. Essentially, the better the title, the higher the ranking; the better the description, the higher the traffic.
To ensure our optimisation performed to its potential, we took learnings from our best performing paid ads when completing the task. Techniques included adding the official brand name to all titles, along with the trademark symbol, to immediately highlight that this option comes from an official provider.
In the example of the Passenger Collection page, organic traffic lifted 43.5% when comparing July 2017 with July 2016, just from these simple changes.
By replicating this across the site, and coupling it with other basic on-page optimisation techniques – such as improvements to headings, copy and increasing internal links – we yielded great results for the brand site-wide.
“ Search engine marketing doesn't always have to mean launching new pages or running complex campaigns. Sometimes, making simple optimisations to your existing content can yield outstanding, sustainable results. ”
The next step was for the Technical SEO and Content Marketing teams to work together to improve the copy on the pages. On the North and South Terminal pages, we increased keyword-targeted copy by 85% and saw pages generate an impressive combined increase in traffic and revenue (see below). This was all from on-page and copy optimisations – little changes were made to the structure, design or functionality.
As we rolled this out, the keywords Gatwick Airport Parking ranked for increased considerably across the year. In June 2016, they were appearing in the top 50 for 1,336 terms – a year later, this shot up to 2,490.
Copy and source code tweaks could only get us so far, however, so the logical next step was to improve the overall look and feel of core pages. We began revamping existing pages to improve user experience and the overall design, before our CRO team tested the amends.
Our initial focus was on the homepage. When the brand noticed a dip in traffic we added more, targeted copy, and improved the page layout. Traffic soon lifted again.
We also improved pages previously untapped. The ‘Our Car Parks’ page was originally created to showcase the various parking options available. Copy on the page was minimal and the small amount that did exist had not been written to target any key queries or terms. We spotted an opportunity here and completely redesigned this page to target ‘compare Gatwick parking’ based queries, and immediately indicate to visitors – via an interactive map – how much closer the official options are against key competitors. This helped highlight the proximity benefits to booking official parking in a way copy alone would never have achieved.
Traditional approaches to increasing organic metrics might have included link-building and content creation, but we deemed it irrelevant here. We didn’t build campaigns around travel and holiday planning, with a vague connection to car parking – in fact, during our first year of SEO activity for Gatwick Parking, we reduced the amount of landing pages by 21%.
Instead, we made informed optimisations based on paid search data, untapped search queries and improvements to the way search engines, and users, access this information. This enabled us to improve the position of Gatwick Airport Parking’s organic results, and improve the overall appearance of the site too, benefitting users, and revenue.
Despite Gatwick’s head terms seeing over a million searches a year, when our campaign began in mid-2016, Gatwick Airport Parking were ranking towards the bottom of page one, or top of page two on Google. As our optimisation progressed, results were evident on specific landing pages, as well as across overall organic performance of the site.
In June 2016, Gatwick Airport Parking ranked in the top 50 positions for 1,336 keywords, and the top ten positions for 493 keywords. A year later, they were in the top 50 for 2,490 keywords, and the top ten for 1,107 keywords.
Since the video was filmed in February 2017, we have since reviewed the statistics and identified additional growth.
The following results are based on comparing data from July 2016 to July 2017: