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How did we increase SEED’s website visits by 162% year on year?

In A Nutshell

Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development (SEED) contacted QueryClick because they wanted their site to perform better in search engines, particularly in relation to their development work overseas.

The campaign included onpage work such as a meta data refresh, implementing hreflang tags, blogger outreach, and traditional linkbuilding.

After six months, analytics data revealed a considerable rise in organic and overall traffic to the site, as well as an increase in rankings for numerous keyphrases that we had been targeting.

The Background

SEED initially approached QueryClick because they wanted to increase the site’s visibility for their overseas development work. They also wanted to perform better for a number of generic, long-tail keyphrases such as “geometry puzzles”.

Our Analysis

One of the client’s own concerns was the outdated and unoptimised state of the meta descriptions and title tags across PlanetSEED. Having made our own assessment of the site, we agreed to prioritise the updating of these.

Our review of PlanetSEED’s existing backlink profile let us conclude there was room for this to be diversified and strengthened with high authority domains. This led to the development of a linkbuilding strategy.

With so much valuable and share-worthy content on site, we felt there was also great potential for SEED to benefit from blogger outreach. This was identified as an opportunity to reach out to relevant new audiences, and strengthening existing relationships.

SEED regularly collaborate with schools worldwide, but there was no scheme in place to publicise these partnerships on affiliate school sites, to inter-link school websites and PlanetSEED. We set out to create a means of achieving this.

A technical issue we identified was the large amounts of duplicate content. Every international version of the site featured every page in each of the seven languages.

This meant there were up to 49 versions of each page being presented to Google, drastically increasing the amount of low value and duplicate URLs, and reducing overall trust in the site. We set out to reduce this to the correct one-page-per-language level, for a total of seven pages per subject instead of 49.

Our team consulted SEED on the EU Cookie Directive and its legal implications. While SEED thought it best to implement an explicit model of the cookie policy, whereby users have to give their express consent to allow their visit to a site to be tracked, we knew this would both result in a drop in traffic, and negatively influence our efforts since tracking data is vital to SEO campaigns.

To combat the issues rising from SEED’s cookie policy model, we suggested implementing an implicit cookie mode that assumes users are happy for cookies to be set unless they say otherwise.

The Process

One of the lengthiest tasks we carried out was updating the title tags and meta data across the PlanetSEED website. This involved determining a primary and secondary keyphrase for each and every page on site, as well as getting acquainted with the content so as to be able to summarise it, and produce clear and honest calls to action.

We asked our designer to create an affiliate badge for schools involved in SEED projects worldwide. These were sent out to affiliate schools for uploading to their websites. In terms of SEO value, this has the potential to broaden PlanetSEED’s backlink profile with high authority domains such as .edu. and .org.

The QueryClick and SEED teams performed blogger outreach. Our search analysts identified bloggers with authority and a strong reputation in the science and education communities, and audited their blogs for compliance with Webmaster Guidelines. These included teacher, classroom, and learning enthusiast blogs.

We also found contact details for SEED to be able to liaise with the bloggers on possible collaboration. Ideas have included requesting bloggers carry out and objectively review SEED’s science experiments.

Our search analysts submitted the site to business and industry-specific directories on a monthly basis, as well as produced informative articles on topics such as science experiments, classroom activities and family entertainment. Each article contained a backlink with keyphrase-rich anchor text. These were published on dedicated article submission sites in SEED’s industry vertical, from which bloggers and other interested parties are free to republish content.

To improve multinational performance, the QueryClick technical team liaised with SEED’s developers to implement the Google-based alternate language (rel=alternate hreflang) meta tags across the entire website.

This involved finding every duplicate language page - up to 49 pages per subject - and ensuring that they were correctly assigned to the right language using the aforementioned tags, redirected where necessary, and canonicalised (using further Google canonical tags to reduce duplication) as appropriate.

To further improve the site’s multinational performance, we liaised with a team of translators from an agency working with SEED, giving advice and support on conducting international keyword research, and how to write meta descriptions for all six targeted foreign languages.

In addition to this, we implemented a further 25 technical issues of lower importance than the major duplication issues. One of these issues involved dealing with the pagination issues on the blogs, polls and forums sections, essentially consolidating the value of the site even further.

Having taken our recommendations into account, SEED’s technical team applied changes to the cookie policy settings on site. It is now in implicit mode.

The Outcome

SEED traffic increase graph

In the sixth month of the campaign, QueryClick were proud to be able to report an 86% increase in organic traffic month-on-month. The year-on-year increase in traffic stood at an impressive 162%.

Correctly implementing the hreflang and canonical tags had a dramatic effect, improving aggregate non-paid search traffic levels 300% in some non-English languages.

We have seen a rise in rankings for longtail generic keyphrases as well as improved visibility for some of SEED’s merchandise.

In terms of link building, our affiliate badge scheme provided a way for affiliate schools to link to the PlanetSEED site. We were also happy to see that articles which we wrote and published online had been republished by third party sites, thus resulting in more backlinks.

PlanetSEED can now also be found through various industry-specific directories.

Since applying changes to the cookie policy on site, we were once again able to track the data needed for us to successfully deliver the campaign.

“We started working with QueryClick’s team six months ago and the traffic to our site has changed dramatically since then. QueryClick knew exactly the right improvements to take our website from the 14th page of Google to the top of page one for many of our core key phrases. Their team are easy to work with, responsive, and attentive to our needs. They did extensive research to understand our field (science education) and they did it quickly. Our website can now be found easily in seven different languages, which means we are bringing more science resources to more teachers and students around the world. And that’s what we strive to do.”

Love Zubiller, SEED Communications Manager

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