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Case Study: ACME Whistle Netball Outreach Campaign

During my time with the SEO team at Attain Design, I worked on a range of different projects to improve clients SEO rankings through both on-page and off-page content. Personally, one of my favourite projects to work on was the ACME Whistles Netball outreach campaign. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the urgency of the work that needed to be done, such as pages going live, and then being able to see the results of my work within weeks. 

The Netball World Cup 2019 And Why We Chose It

Before I started work on any projects, I was taken through the long list of different clients, current projects, and the content calendars for upcoming project ideas. During this time, myself and others on the SEO team came to the decision that the upcoming Netball World Cup would be a key area to focus on for our client, ACME Whistles. 

The Netball World Cup 2019 was the 15th edition of the tournament that took place between the 12-21st of July 2019 in Liverpool. Famous umpire, Gary Burgess, was one of the seventeen umpires to take part in the competition, during which he would gain his 100th cap as a top level official – becoming the first umpire in the UK to achieve this. Burgess is very much connected to ACME due to his signature ACME finger whistle which he uses during Netball matches. 

Optimised Content And SERP Ranking

To start with, it was important to optimise content for the new Netball Whistles category page, which became a child of the parent Sports Whistles page. Once the content was approved by the client, this on-page content increased the SERP rank upon going live and getting indexed by Google. The website was pushed up from the middle of the 2nd SERP in Google to the first SERP, and has stayed on page one consistently since. With the exception of a few intermittent days, ACME Whistles has never ranked on the 1st SERP for this term persistently. It is crucial for the site to stay on the first SERP as this is where the majority of click-throughs happen. In the two weeks the content has been live it has received 201 pageviews, proving that the content staying on the first page of google has been beneficial to the client’s website.  

The Interview, The Blog, And The SEO Benefits To Come Out Of It 

An external PR agency conducted an interview with Gary Burgess and sent out a press release to create a buzz around Burgess and his famous, gold, ACME Whistle. For ACME to gain SEO benefits from the PR, it was important for there to be some on-page content which could be linked back to through backlinks from publishers. 

To do this, I created a blog post including more information on Gary Burgess and his career which, although created as a mechanism to capture link equity for SEO, has been successful in its own right. The blog post has received 112 visits in the two weeks it has been live and is ranking for netball umpire whistle – a term ACME Whistles had never ranked higher than position 150 for previously. It currently ranks at position 33, giving us a foundation for future SEO work which will be continued by the team. More importantly, the client was impressed with this content and went on to share it on social media. These social signals and the backlinks generated all give the page increased authority in Google, which can now be sculpted through to the commercially-focussed category page through technical work involving internal links.

Bloggers and Backlinks 

As an SEO agency, Attain Design were eager to promote the press release to a mass audience to generate backlinks to the client’s site. I used Google query parameters to find sites with target audiences who may be interested in the interview with Gary Burgess, from big sporting sites to smaller Netball based blogs. Once I selected bloggers who may be interested, I used specialist tools such as snov.io to get the contact details and reply.io to schedule/send the emails. The emails were drafted to appeal to the site they were being sent to, bigger sites received a smaller, easier to read email whilst the emails to smaller blogs included more detail. This was done to generate a larger response rate which would result in more backlinks. In addition to this, I included personalisation to the emails, using names/site names, to improve engagement and response.

Out of a list of 43 bloggers, I forged two extremely valuable relationships for the client. One response I successfully negotiated the press release going live on the major women’s sporting publication 4theloveofsport, which included backlinks to the ACME Whistles website. Whilst the other response resulted in a direct request from the International Netball Federation for a commercial partnership with ACME Whistles. Should this go through, ACME Whistles would be the whistle provider for all international Netball events and international Netball umpires. 

The campaign doesn’t end there… follow-up emails have been scheduled to go out to those who didn’t reply and the SEO team are continuing to build links to the category page to push it higher up page one.

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