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How 247 Blinds used SEO to put competitors in the shade

247 Blinds operates in a highly competitive space against better-known brands.

Journey Further won the ‘SEO‘ category at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021 with its work with 247 Blinds. Here, the team behind the winning entry share the inside story on this successful project…

The challenge

247 Blinds compete in a highly competitive space, going up against much bigger and well known brands such as Argos, Dunelm and Hillary’s. These competing sites have much larger and more authoritative link profiles – metrics that traditionally correlate with better organic visibility.

Objectives for this campaign couldn’t have been clearer, with 247 Blinds tasking Journey Further to achieve the following:

  • To increase market share by 2%
  • Increase sessions and revenue by 30%
  • Improve the link profile with high authority relevant coverage
  • Carry out a smooth migration to Magento 2

The strategy

It’s not enough to be popular, you also need to be relevant. The relevancy of the content that links back to your site is important, however measuring and analysing how a machine understands content and its context has historically been difficult.

Instead, the industry still relies on Domain Authority and link volumes – metrics that can easily be measured. Relevance is often the missing piece of the puzzle.

We have developed our own proprietary technology – Salient – that uses IBM Watson’s Natural Language Processing machine learning engine to analyse and understand content in a way similar to how search engines do. This allows us to analyse URLs in bulk – be it a link profile or site content – and gain insight into what topics and terms that content is relevant to – as well as other metrics such as sentiment.

We can then align this insight with keyword research and identify gaps in relevance. This insight then underpins our PR led link development activity – to improve the relevance of linking coverage.

The campaign

Our strategy focussed on aligning the relevancy of linking coverage to commercially valuable keywords. We created 226 pieces of linking coverage through a range of PR led activity with the primary aim of increasing the relevancy of link coverage to be better aligned with commercial search terms.

Although the link profile remains one of the smaller, and the domain one of the ‘least authoritative‘, the shift to improved and targeted relevance has driven substantial organic growth.

Our product led PR strategy ensured the coverage we generated was highly relevant – both the copy on the page and the publication itself. Fuelled by the NLU analysis, our proactive press office activity is tailored around key products. Each month we tie these into topical themes and trending topics in the media – from sleeping in a heatwave to an Easter themed brain teaser (on a blind, of course).

Our strong media relations within the home interiors and lifestyle press allow us to react quickly to ad hoc media requests, from sending products for home makeover shoots, to lifestyle imagery for a feature. Our campaign activity is always centred around products too, from motorised blinds helping to prevent break-ins to the key items that help to sell our homes.

The technical SEO team was given a deadline to migrate the 247 Blinds website from Magento 1 to 2 in Q4 of 2020. We worked closely with the client’s in-house dev team from the inception of the project ensuring SEO fundamentals were in place, carrying out; URL and content mapping, technical audits and creating CMS requirement documentation.

As a result, there were no decreases in visibility post migration and 247 Blinds now has a solid base for future growth with the Magento 2 platform.

The keyword ‘blinds’ attracts the lion share of search demand in the blind industry, so to meet our market share growth objective we needed to increase rankings for this specific term.

We knew we had a solid link strategy but on-page content, in particular homepage copy needed improvement and with limited space on the page we knew we needed to have an intelligent, data-led solution - to achieve this we made adaptations to Salient for on-page content use. When running the page through Salient we saw it was lacking against competitors and found multiple opportunities to make more prominent mention of target topics and also sub products, eg venetian, shutters and samples.

The results

Originally tasked with increasing market share by 2%, we saw it increase from 5.1% to 8.6% (2019 to 2020). We overachieved the original objective and delivered an increase in market share of 3.5%.

The activity also increased sessions by 63% as well as increasing revenue by 58% (Q4 year-on-year) – again smashing the original objective of 30%.

We also managed to get 247 Blinds featured multiple times in high tier national publications – The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Times, The Mirror, Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Express, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Country Living, Ideal Home etc – which links nicely back to the objective to improve the link profile with high authority relevant coverage. As you can see, all of the above titles are not only highly relevant but also have high authority.

In total we achieved 320 pieces of product focused coverage, 226 links with an average Domain Authority of 62.5.

All of the above contributed to the average rank position improving from 26th to 18th – up 30% (2019 to 2021). Plus, we also saw sessions increase across all high priority product areas eg Roller Blinds (70%+), Wooden Blinds (100%+) and Venetian Blinds (54%+), to name just a few.

Lastly, the migration over to the Magento 2 platform was a success and as a result, there were no decreases in visibility post migration and 247 Blinds now has a solid base for future growth with the Magento 2 platform.

“From the outset Journey Further identified we had weakness in the relevancy of the links pointing to our website contributing to disappointing SERP given the levels of SEO we had done previously. Immediately they set about changing this with a focused plan the whole team bought into. The results came quickly and have gained traction month on month with each beating the one before in terms of revenue and clicks. Great work!” - Glenn Parkin, e-ccommerce manager, 247 Blinds

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open and don’t forget to visit our new interactive calendar.

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