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Presentation on my personal experiences working on two large projects - BookAnAd, a small-ad booking service and Lawyerly, a legal services directory. In-depth analysis of the strategies and processes …

Presentation on my personal experiences working on two large projects - BookAnAd, a small-ad booking service and Lawyerly, a legal services directory. In-depth analysis of the strategies and processes involved in SEO and PPC to achieve brilliant results.

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  • 1. BOOK AN AD AND LAWYERLY Two Challenges Faced HeadOn
  • 2. OVERVIEW  Professional Experience  BookAnAd.com Background Remit Technical Considerations Application Results Lawyerly.co.uk Project Outline SEO on a Shoestring Making Content Work Harder PPC as SEO Optimising for the Funnel Wins and Losses
  • 3. PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Started freelancing in 2004 for print and web 2 years experience in-agency Extensive knowledge of technical aspects of SEO Passionate content marketer Natural leader, confident advocate
  • 4. BOOKANAD.COM BACKGROUND Owned by Trinity Mirror Group Designed as an easy, low-contact way for the public to book “small ads” (announcements, obituaries and classifieds) Service not performing to expectations Redesign undertaken by RippleEffect Brought in to advise on and execute on-site SEO strategy
  • 5. BOOKANAD.COM - REMIT Work within the confines of existing CMS to optimise content for search Advise on potential future problems Advise on UI/UX considerations for phase 2 of redesign Advise teams inside and outside the business on aspects of SEO they should keep in mind
  • 6. BOOKANAD.COM – TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS Custom CMS, meaning conventional wisdom doesn’t necessarily apply Direct editing of the code will often result in “breaking” the CMS’s logical flow Vast site with around 300 pages of content Nearly all of this content is duplicated to some extent or another Client very specific in requirements – each region, city and publication requires its own discrete page CMS not designed to work with semantic search or asynchronous loading
  • 7. BOOKANAD - APPLICATION Getting clever with infrastructure Kept search engine landing pages in root Moved publication-specific pages to their own directory Moved regions to their own directories, with cities/towns/villages etc sitting beneath them Canonicalization More information here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139394?hl=en Essentially tells the search engine “when crawling site, these pages contain content equivalent to the named page” Set the canonical page for each city/town as their overriding region
  • 8. BOOKANAD – APPLICATION (CONT.) Robots Robots.txt tells the search engines which pages to crawl With the proper rules written it’s possible to exclude individual pages, directories or entire sites Wrote a rule which excluded all publication pages SEO Impact! Allowed access to location pages – thanks to canonicalization, only the overarching region page is indexed This effectively shifted focus away from the “guts” of the site and onto high-quality, relevant landing pages
  • 9. BOOKANAD – APPLICATION (CONT.) Sundries Extensive content rewrite to shift away from “keyword stuffing” style of previous site to a more natural, user-friendly style Landing page optimisations for loading time and user pathing Widgetised certain elements to allow quick and easy content shifts Rolled out new structure and concepts to Head of Online Sales Channel and his team
  • 10. BOOKANAD - RESULTS Prior to relaunch, site was breaking £600k PA Post relaunch, site achieved over £1.5m in 6 months Conversions up from 7 day average of 40 to ca. 95 Results accurate as of November 2012
  • 11. LAWYERLY – PROJECT OUTLINE Work together with Design and Development heads to create an easy to use legal services directory Must provide a foolproof user experience Optimised for two funnels – B2B and B2C Manage and analyse PPC campaigns to support product Generate traffic through content and social channels
  • 12. LAWYERLY – SEO ON A SHOESTRING Proof positive that good SEO doesn’t need to cost the earth! That being said… No budget for tools No budget for content support No budget for PPC outside of £1000pcm for AdWords No budget for additional staff or freelancers  If SEO were a video game, this is playing on Hard Mode
  • 13. LAWYERLY – MAKING CONTENT WORK HARDER Press releases distributed to around 30 relevant publications and institutions in our niche Overall earned us around 100 backlinks post-syndication Highlights included Liverpool John Moores Business Dept, a 400 word piece in the Liverpool Daily Post, Legal & Litigation Futures Excellent example of “evergreen content” – these backlinks boost our SERP ranking overall long term, and the effects will be felt for as long as the link remains valid Email-based Content Marketing Plan Extensive content-style marketing plan implemented, giving away free advice and articles for those subscribed to our mailing list Strategy kept traffic at an acceptable base-level for several months while product was refined
  • 14. LAWYERLY – PPC AS SEO Offsite SEO is a long-term set of strategies designed for sustainability PPC offers the potential for quick short-term gains and theory testing Pushing for maximum value from our budget Optimised campaign for impressions over referrals Paid close attention to high traffic vs. low traffic time periods and adjusted bidding accordingly Playing the system Abusing the “scheduled ads” feature Abusing geolocation Getting results
  • 15. LAWYERLY – OPTIMISING FOR THE FUNNEL Touch the user at the first stage of enquiry Appear as high as possible within AdWords rankings for generic term “solicitor” Rationale – Low intent, less likely to convert, though still possibly of interest – Touch 1 Appear as high as possible within AdWords results for “solicitor+LOCATION” Rationale – User actively searching for a solicitor in their area. Higher intent. Logical flow from initial broad search – Touch 2 Deliver a content or broad region page for term “solicitor+LOCATION” in organic results Rationale – Now establishing ourselves as a player and relevant voice in the field – Touch 3 Deliver a city or town specific page within organic results for long-tail keyphrases – “SPECIALISATION+solicitor+LOCATION” Rationale – Highest intent. This user is actively searching for a lawyer. A conversion here is more valuable to us than one further up the funnel as this user is nearly guaranteed to use our service – Touch 4 Bonus Touch 5 – Social Media Company branded Facebook and Twitter accounts engaging in conversations with potential B2B and B2C clients
  • 16. LAWYERLY – WINS AND LOSSES Wins Built the site from zero to 1500 uniques per week at peak Gained deeper insight into and knowledge of B2C experience Forced me to think creatively about marketing problems instead of relying on budget Losses Wastage while optimising PPC strategy Having to choose a focus Another permanent staff member could have resulted in bigger gains – sometimes you have to spend money to make it Ultimately, our B2C strategy wasn’t backed by a solid B2B strategy/model meaning we had a well-trafficked but unprofitable site