I explain how I worked with our Content Team to make tweaks to Gatwick Parking’s site, which yielded significant uplift in organic traffic, visibility and revenue.
Thank you everyone. I start this company meeting, as ever, with a countdown conundrum. This month’s conundrum is: search app. And your clue this month: what a load of rubbish. What a load of rubbish. A nine-letter word, made out of the letters in search app. The clue: what a load of rubbish.
Think about that while I present to you a case study, quite simply called: boosting organic visibility and traffic for official Gatwick Parking. Now, we encountered an interesting situation here. Gatwick Parking had been investing in paid search management from RocketMill for just over a year, when they came to our organic search optimisation team with a new challenge.
You see, they had a website at gatwickparking.com, but they also had gatwickairport.com, the official airport website. Now, obviously, an airport is very, very newsworthy. It tracks natural mentions in newspapers and newspaper websites, and so it had built up a lot of domain authority, whereas Gatwick Parking was bubbling under, but nonetheless struggling to break through in the highly competitive airport parking landscape.
And, accordingly, their organic rankings, as you can see, this time last year, they were kind of low first page/high second page. And if you look at that top search, that’s a million searches a year going on. So, they’ve got to be getting something from position nine, but not an awful lot, and people are going to have to be really, really interested and really trying to price match to find them. They want to be much more visible. And when you also consider how those listings are dominated by maps and ads, again, they have been pushed even further below the fold.
So, they came to us with a brief, which I present to you in tweet form to keep it simple. “Increase organic rankings, traffic and revenue for gatwickparking.com by enhancing the website, without deviating from its core intent.” Now, what do I mean by that last bit?
Gatwick Parking previously worked with an agency who had tried to get in traffic by building out content around travel. But actually, although Gatwick Airport and travel, you can kind of see the link, when you’re searching around for travel – maybe doing some research ahead of choosing a holiday – it’s unlikely you want to get that advice from a site that is trying to sell you car parking. And it’s also unlikely that, even if you got great advice from that site, you’re going to remember them in a few months’ time, when you’ve done your purchase. And you’re thinking, you know, some of the lead times when people are actually buying car parking, there can be quite a delay between thinking about it and booking fights and actually booking car parking. It’s difficult to make any sort of brand retention from travel-type pages. We wanted to keep it really focused.
So, I’ll tell you what we didn’t do – which is unusual in a case study, I know. But we didn’t try and build links or landing pages. In fact, over the course of the time we have been working with them so far, in January, 2016 there were 38 pages; standalone landing pages on the gatwickparking.com domain. And this month there were 30. So, we’ve actually reduced the content on site by about a quarter. We made it more focused.
And what we did do was purely and simply to improve the site by optimising elements which we know has a strong impact on SEO. So, we started out with their title tags and their meta descriptions. We rewrote them all. These are usually used by search engines as the headline and the snippet that you see in results. The title tag, as well as being the headline, it’s also got a really strong semantic weighting. It’s probably the strongest on page factor in terms of organic rankings. Although meta descriptions don’t carry weight, what they do do, is they act like your ad copy. They’re your billboard. They are what are going to be encouraging people to click through. And so, to that end, we actually thought about this like ad copy.
We have been working with Gatwick on their paid campaigns, so I spoke to Steve Lambert, who was working on Gatwick at the time. There he is. He’s pinched my jumper today. And I spoke to Steve and I asked him for some data on the highest converting ad copy and ad extensions. And by using that, I was able to build out the meta descriptions so that they included terms which we knew had a high conversion. Moreover, I was able to write them in a way that I was able to include the highest converting factors before the break point for mobile meta descriptions. So, they were written, almost responsive.
And if you look, if you compare, obviously, I’ve given the game away slightly here, but position two for gatwickparking.com, we’re the only one there with site links. So, obviously, we’ve not only improved the appearance of the SERP, we’ve also built up authority and we’ve made Google believe there is some credence between official Gatwick Parking and the gatwickparking.com site.
An example of where this worked to extremes was actually not a transactional page. It’s an informational page around passenger collection. It originally had the title tag “passenger collection”. Literally, just those two words. And RocketMill came along and turned that into “passenger pick up and drop off official Gatwick Parking.” Notably with a trademark symbol in there because, again, using the ad word’s data, we knew that including a sense of officialdom by having a trademark symbol in there helped with CTR. And the impact? A 73% uplift in organic traffic to that page with a 234% impact in organic revenue.
Now, the interesting thing this is – I should just take the applause, really – the interesting thing is, this is not really a transactional page. It’s not designed with SEO in mind. So, to an extent, you might say, it’s fairly easy to turn the screws and to get a bit more revenue from that. But a landing page which absolutely was designed with SEO at its heart was the North Terminal page. There is a matching page, obviously, for the South Terminal of Gatwick Airport. And when we started out, this was a page which looked like this. It had some click throughs to go through to the different types of product and a very small amount of content about the actual terminal itself. Obviously, once you start to go beyond head terms like “Gatwick Parking”, maybe thinking: “Okay, I’m looking for parking. I know I’m flying from the North Terminal. I want Gatwick Parking North Terminal,” you want to be visible for that sort of term too. And that’s where this page needs to perform.
So, we did quite a gentle rewrite – I worked with Ro on this – and you can see the page has just got a bit longer, a bit more blurb about each type of product, and towards the bottom, we’ve got a couple of perfectly fair, clean, not stuffed in terms of keywords; a couple of clean bits of copy about North Terminal, about long stay parking, which is one of the main products which they wanted to target with this page.
What happened with North and South Terminal was an 85% increase in quality prose. And prose alone. No big design changes you saw there. There was a little box at the top which was to do with the terminal change. I’ve actually discounted that for the purposes of this measurement. This is purely just adding a bit of copy to the page and tweaking it so it had some semantic H2 tags, subheadings and so on. That resulted in a 291% increase in organic traffic to those two pages, which in turn yielded a 317% impact in organic revenue.
Moreover, we took landing pages and just made them feel a bit more like the Gatwick brand ought to feel. So, here’s a landing page for car park pricing. Again, a kind of long tail page. And to an extent, perhaps, more just part of the user journey than something where you would necessarily want to funnel a lot of traffic to as a landing page. But, nonetheless, it’s on the site and it’s relevant. And given one of our goals was to try and increase pre-booking of car parking, a page which has got information in tables about on-the-day prices, is kind of quite relevant.
So, what did we do? Well, with the help of Ian and Alex and Ro, we turned this into something really rather beautiful. The new car park pricing page is interactive. It’s got a bit of copy, but moreover, it’s got a little drop down date picker, where you can specify your date of entry and your date of exit, much as you do elsewhere on site. And when you do so, it will automatically use the data, which was already on the page, if you wanted to think about it and do the maths yourself in those data tables, to tell you the on-the-date prices.
And the next step here is to think about how we can use some of this information to increase conversion by considering, if you were to book on the day, it will cost this, so why don’t you pre-book? Some of those types of tactics can then be built into the rest of our work on the campaign. And the confidence which was gained in terms of the gentle optimisation to those non-transactional and transactional landing pages, and some of those inside pages, gave us the opportunity to do larger pieces of work on some of the more visible and some of the more critical pages on the Gatwick Parking domain.
So, just this last month we’ve launched a new homepage. And a week or so before that we launched a new car parks page – this is a guide to all of their car parks and car parking options. And you can see, they’re really clean, they’re modern, they work well on mobile. They’re really reflective of what a modern brand like Gatwick should be.
And so, you’ll want to know the overall results. Well, if you think back to the…Yeah!…You think back to the rankings you saw earlier. Boom fo schizzle! SEO can be a slow burn and if you look you can see that in the graph of rankings over time. But you can see how the actual number of keywords in the top 50 results went up by about two thirds and the number of keywords, for which they’re in positions one to three, quadrupled. And overall, what was the impact? A 10% lift in organic revenue. Now, obviously, we can’t share confidential client information but read between the lines – they’re a huge brand. That’s a significant impact. Thank you.
Adam had his hand up first.
Scrapheap Adam says. The answer: scrapheap. Well done to everyone who got it.