30 second summary:
- Matt Finch, Distinctly’s SEO manager, shares insights into how the team worked with event company Wildgoose to turn things around quickly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- When the lockdown began, Wildgoose’s sales and pipeline declined immediately, with April sales falling 62% year over year.
- Operating costs were reduced along with marketing and technology spend assessments, and Wildgoose had to reduce its workforce by over 50%.
- The company needed to act quickly after just launching a new website in view of a record 2020 year.
- What were the make-or-break moments and how did Wildgoose change the situation? Let’s find out, we hope you’re ready to take notes.
Matt Finch, SEO Manager at Distinctly, gives an insight into how the team worked with the event company Wildgoose to respond quickly to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Wildgoose was founded in 2003 and is a leading global provider of corporate events and team building. Numerous awards have been given for the thousands of experiences that it delivers every year around the world. When the lockdown began, Wildgoose’s sales and pipeline declined immediately, with April sales falling 62% year over year.
Operating costs were reduced along with marketing and technology spend assessments, and Wildgoose had to reduce its workforce by over 50%. The company needed to act quickly after just launching a new website in view of a record 2020 year.
It was quickly decided to convert Wildgoose’s offering into a range of remote team building activities to virtually connect people. That fulcrum would ultimately prove to be not only a safeguard for the company’s immediate future, but also a success, and was backed by a three-month SEO campaign by Distinctly.
Which priorities were addressed?
- Using SEO Experience to Predict Changing Search Terms After blocking on queries at the top of the conversion funnel – weekly analysis with special SEO tools to optimize optimization and improve the phrases for the most important conversion audiences.
- Focus on the link building activity to build authority and organic visibility of the brand new remote team building pages.
- Promote product awareness through an expert comment from Wildgoose founder Jonny Edser about the new products.
What has been achieved?
The move has resulted in a 56% increase in organic traffic and a 158% increase in revenue since the company’s bottom in April. In addition:
- 40 backlinks returned from relevant HR and business publications via a linkable asset press release.
- Features in Forbes, the Chartered Management Institute, and Thisismoney.co.uk.
- Wildgoose saw a huge surge in demand for its virtual events. In the three months since launch, recent web traffic numbers rose 54% year over year and website conversions rose 158% year over year.
- The same applies to total sales, with gross profit increasing by 180% from April to May and by 26% from May to June.
- The site is now ranked in the top 3 search results for key driving questions including “Virtual Team Building UK”, “Virtual Away Day”, “Virtual Treasure Hunts”, “Virtual Team Quiz”, “Remote Team Building Solutions”, ” Team Quiz For Work “and” Virtual Team Escape Room “.
- The virtual team building products received excellent reviews on TrustPilot and an average rating of 5 *. This is especially important when you are encouraging people to inquire about a new product.
How it was done: Rethinking Wildgoose’s business model
Within a few days after the main sales drivers finally disappeared, Wildgoose founder Jonny Edser and the team were working to secure the future of the company. The solution they developed meant that they could not only redesign their existing offering, but also take advantage of the sudden surge in demand for virtual communications during the lockdown.
Jonny Edser says:
“By working proactively to deliver a brand new portfolio of remote team building activities that can be used to motivate employees while they work from home, we can thrive in this new socially distant world. At the same time, we could help thousands of companies keep their teams engaged and connected during an uncertain and challenging time.
After Wildgoose had invested heavily in industry-leading technology over the years and established a new technology division in 2019, we found that Wildgoose had a real edge over competitors in the market who were all trying to upgrade their team building offerings to a little more technology . based.”
Using SEO to get off to a successful start
Prior to the coronavirus, Wildgoose was not ranked in search results for questions related to “remote”, “virtual” or “online”. With the change in business model, the visibility of search had to follow suit, so this had to change as soon as possible. Wildgoose’s new products were one of the first to hit the market, but they needed to be introduced to the right people.
Matt Finch, SEO Manager at Distinctly, says:
“The speed at which the market was developing made traditional SEO more difficult than usual. We have (and will) optimized the optimization of the most important Wildgoose pages a few times a week, as new data is always displayed in the search console. Digital PR promotion for the new Wildgoose products has been identified as the main target. “
Keyword and content optimization
People’s search habits have changed since the ban began, so traditional keyword research has had to change. Instead:
- Make it clear that you appreciate what people are looking for, and optimize top product pages for short-tail keywords and top-of-the-conversion funnel queries.
- Once these have started ranking, the Google Search Console can be used to see exactly which search terms have brought users to Wildgoose’s product pages.
- The pages could then be better optimized around these terms and become more targeted.
- This has been checked several times a week to reflect the exceptional circumstances (usually it’s once a month to once a quarter for sites in stable industries).
- This meant that new product and hub pages could have a high profile for people’s new searches. Instead of targeting “team building activities”, the site could now target and rank specific long-tail keywords such as “remote team building solutions”, “virtual team building for remote employees,” “virtual days off,” and more.
- Speed was of the essence in the ranking race because not many websites originally targeted these queries.
Digital PR and link building
Because of Wildgoose’s unusual experience redesigning its business offering, there was unique data and content that could be used in relevant publications promoting the new products. A survey of people’s experiences with remote work ensured coverage and backlinks in over 40 HR and business publications, so links and authorities could be integrated into the new product and category pages, increasing the chances of ranking.
An effective internal linking structure was also used, which means that existing high-performance pages transfer authority to the new pages in order to further improve them.
MD Jonny Edser was promoted to an expert in virtual team building, leading to roles at Forbes, the Chartered Management Institute and Thisismoney.co.uk. All of this together showed Google that Wildgoose was a leader in this area and therefore deserved to be ranked high for its new target keywords and queries.
Turn the fate of Wildgoose around
Wildgoose is now firmly focused on the future, with a new energy around product development and new game formats. The company is streamlining its sales and operational processes and scaling its business model based on updated forecasts for the coming months. In the coming months, expect more traditional team building activities to be done virtually.
Matt Finch is SEO Manager at Distinctly, an award-winning search engine marketing agency.