News UK – Insider City Guides SEO Consultancy
Research, Strategy and Site Architecture for SEO Value
Becoming an Extension of the in-house team to drive insight and experience into the heart of a project.
The Times and The Sunday Times Insider City Guides is a commercially-led travel project from News UK, built on the authoritative travel editorial of The Times and The Sunday Times. It combines useful city guides with travel offers, complementing the media brands’ regular travel features and appealing to existing readers as well as new ones. With high-quality content and enviable domain authority, the site naturally has high search value. News UK contacted Melt early in the development process to help guide and implement a strategic shift from paid media investment to an organic-led approach.
Supporting the business case
We were asked to justify the concept and bring it to life, delving into projected search volumes, optimisation requirements and ideal site structure. We collaborated closely with the working group at News UK, attending internal project meetings throughout the conceptualisation, development and sign-off stages of the City Guides site. With strong experience of working in the travel space and of creating and delivering commercially-led organic strategies, we made a natural development partner.
Defining the site structure
We proposed a site structure that could quickly adopt content from The Times and The Sunday Times archive while leaving ample scope for future growth. Our solution laid a foundation for building topic authority right from launch, and applied a logical geographical structure that will maintain clear, intuitive user journeys as the site’s body of content increases.
The structure also lends itself to future adaptations of content and allows for clever content aggregation, allowing News UK to target a wider range of keyword opportunities. As a result, a site that launched with modest content was solid for SEO and engaging for users from the very start – and our groundwork means the site’s strengths will only be compounded as new content is added.
Hands-support within the News UK workflow
During the build of the site, we provided hands on support during build cycles to assess the site for SEO friendliness, making recommendations for any amends required before the site went live. This process also included on-page optimisation recommendations based on our initial keyword research.
Supporting engagement campaigns
We also created a series of engagement campaigns around existing Insider articles on destinations such as Paris, Barcelona and New York. The aim was to enhance SEO, and increase traffic and social shares. Following in-depth social analysis we established the most effective creative formats and delivered blogs, videos, quizzes and an interactive food map. We also enlisted key influencers Donal Skehan and JJ Goodman to maximise reach and engagement. Across three campaigns we delivered 3,350 social shares, 65,000+ YouTube views and 1,132 Facebook competition entries.
SEO success: exceeding expectations
Overall, the Insider City Guides website saw a steady increase in organic traffic over its first two months, owing to robustness of content and availability to different segments. It also outdid monthly best-case and worst-case scenario forecasting by an average of 20%, with monthly unique and total visitors tracking consistently above expectations.
To date, the rankings achieved show a marked improvement from the keyword positions before the campaign began, with all previous rankings on page four or lower in SERPs.