301 redirects & New backlinks strategy for an Accommodation booking web app

This is a Case Study of successful implementation of 301 redirects, better website's architecture as well as a new backlinks strategy, etc for AccommodationsDirect

A company bio

AccommodationsDirect, the client, is online accommodation booking service. It is South African start up that has been generating 30-50k visits monthly and has been active in Adwords.

Scope of work

SEO Organic traffic drop research, Ajax crawlability issues, 301 redirect implementation, Website architecture review, Website tech validity, Competitor research.

Traffic consolidation

The site's traffic emerged as a result of redirecting users from a half of a dozen sub-regional websites to specific categories on the new domain. Up to the date, a 301 redirect has not been implemented perfectly, so I was asked to ensure the granularity of redirect and overall new domain’s tech validity.

I have made suggestions on how to avoid a risk of penalties for linking patterns between related websites, advised on redirect implementation and also suggested the updates to the new domain’s website architecture.

Read more on my 301 redirect implementation experience in Making a proper 301 redirect: issues to remember article.

New backlinks strategy

With the site’s incoming links pattern dominated by related domains, I have to advise a site’s owner on how to diversify incoming links sources. I understand that in an online travel agency (OTA) business, it might be hard to get a link from a hotel’s site, especially when you compete with it for a ranking. So, I came up with a strategy rooted in the idea of fitting the needs of participants of the travel content consumption chain.

It particularly included visitor reviews, valuable gadgets, things to do & guides that were definitely worth a link or two. It also included fun content ideas to attract the attention of blogging hotels, established travel blogs, news sites, etc. As a part of the strategy research I also have done a competitor backlinks research and analysis.

Social Media Update

Social Media traffic and conversion has historically been very low. After spending some time exploring Conversion paths in Google Analytics I have come to the conclusion that with Social Networks the app would win a customer with an idea to travel somewhere, rather than a specific selling proposition, i.e. accommodation type. So, I came up with a suggestion to focus on stirring discussions on Facebook and engaging folks through different competitions.

As a result, the Facebook page has been increasingly busy in hosting different competitions (and even created a Competition tab on their profile). The Facebook fan base increased by 43% over 1 month only.

Adwords optimization

The client uses an Adwords search ads campaign targeted to three busiest destinations. I have analysed both Adwords and Google analytics data to identify keywords that perform the best. In my case those were keywords with both highest Goal Completion rate and lowest Bounce Rate. I implemented Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) bidding feature to maximise exposure for keywords that most likely lead to conversions.

I analysed the time graphs of site’s conversions and advised to enable the Ad Scheduling option to remove Ads showing between 0:00 – 7:00 where I have detected no historical conversion whatsoever. Also, I have set Time and Device Bid adjustment to increase Impressions to users with tablets and within the time frames when users historically would most likely convert.

I updated Ad copy where the bounce rate would stand in the way of conversions. In addition to that I set up Review extensions, which alone resulted in 20% CTR increase.

I also have used Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) with Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) on a portion of the site’s pages. DSAs would automatically generate ads based on website content. RLSA allowed me to show relevant ads on Google.com to users that had previously visited the site but did not convert.

As a result, website-wide conversion from Adwords rose 46% while spending decreased 9%. When the DSA and RLSA strategy was implemented, conversion rose 64% in the first two months while the cost per click was nearly 50% lower than that of the conventional keywords lists. Presently, I am expanding the DSA and RLSA on a larger portion of the website's pages.

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