Case Study: Bolstering rankings for Scottish and Southern Electricity Network

A screenshot of a cell phone generating results for Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN).

Dog was brought on to work on revamping and making Scottish and Southern Electricity Network's website more efficient and better ranked in search engines. The team had to think of long and short term solutions to ensure that overall customer satisfaction improved.

Background

Electricity distribution and transmission network, Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN), which carries electricity to over 3.7 million homes and businesses across the north of the Central Belt of Scotland and Central Southern England, conducted its annual customer satsifaction survey to find out what could be improved.

Upon finding that the ‘ease of find contact details online’ segment had room for improvement , SSEN approached Dog asking them to making it easy for customers to get in touch with them online.

During the process of examining the brief, Dog realised that the issue was down to a lack of visibility of the SSEN website within search engine results pages (SERPs). As a result, companies like SSE, were ranking above them for key search queries – including branded search terms. This led customers to either be sent down the completely wrong ‘conversion’ path or to them abandoning their search altogether – both having an equally negative effect on customer satisfaction scores as a whole.

Dog's marketing team worked on devising a strategy that would help to level out these scores, both in the short and the long term.

Strategy

This brief was approached with a combined PPC and SEO strategy. The idea behind this was that PPC would act as a ‘short-term fix’, filling any current gaps within the SERPs for important search queries that SSEN held little to no organic ranking for. Whilst PPC offered an immediate solution to the problem, without a long-term strategy in place, SSEN would always be reliant on the aid of PPC to deliver strong customer satisfaction results.

To tackle the long term, an SEO strategy was put in place to gradually grow SERP rankings for the same group of search queries being targeted by PPC - the end goal being that PPC would eventually be phased out as organic rankings increased.

The strategy focused on three key areas, based on business goals defined by the client:

  • Emergency Activity – targeting customers searching for assistance during a power cut and similar.
  • General Enquiries – targeting customers who are searching for more general advice with regards to their electricity network.
  • Brand Protection – targeting customers who are searching for the SSEN brand.

Geographical location targeting was used as best practice to target users who live within the area that SSEN service to eliminate any irrelevant traffic from the off-set.

Approach

Following discussions with the client, a phased approach was agreed upon, consisting of two separate three month periods. Phase 1 would act as a ‘learning period’, allowing us to develop key learnings which we could then take forward into phase 2.

Phase 1

The first phase saw us approach PPC management with an even distribution of focus on all three key areas (highlighted earlier). Alongside PPC activity, the majority of SEO actions were implemented in this initial phase, with Dog taking on more of a consultancy role within the process, giving SSEN the freedom to implement the strategy at a pace that suited them.

Phase 2

After reflecting upon key learnings from phase one, the client decided to reduce the level of focus attributed towards SEO activity and ‘emergency activity’ based PPC keywords. This decision was made after seeing vast improvements in these areas whilst it was clear that an increased level of focus was required in others. Improving general enquiry keyword performance soon became our sole focus for phase 2, whilst ensuring that we remained competent in other focus areas via both organic and paid search.

Results

Our internal KPIs showed success across the board for both PPC and SEO.

PPC:

As can be seen below, we managed to achieve a strong average click through rate throughout the campaign (Sep ’18 – Mar ’19) whilst maintaining an affordable average cost per click. Despite calls not being a measurement of success defined by the client, we are satisfied with the call rate achieved (the percentage of users who clicked on ad call extension, resulting in a call).

(Google Ads, 2019)

SEO:

Since the implementation of the SEO strategy provided by Dog in September 2018, both the volume of organic traffic and keyword rankings/positions have more than doubled (highlighted below), resulting in increased presence and visibility within the SERPs.

Organic Keyword Rankings (May ‘18 – April ’19)

Organic Traffic (May ‘18 – April ‘19)

(SEMRush, 2019)

Client Feedback:

“We identified an issue internally where our customers were struggling to find our contact details online. Comments from our customer satisfaction surveys told us that customers tried using search engines to find us, however, usually got to the wrong place or found no contact information at all. Dog Digital helped us to build a full SEO and PPC campaign, whilst providing us with best practice advice to improve our native search engine results. The campaign has demonstrated clear results for us over the last 6 months and resulted in a significant increase in our ease of contact segment of our satisfaction surveys.” - Troy Fisher, digital manager for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.

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