Marketing case study on how we increased page views by 60% in 6 months with minimal budget
One of the first online portals for travellers in Slovakia. The website has thousands of pages, photos and videos and a lot of discussion topics in the forum. After migration to Drupal 8, all content can be created directly by travellers.
The website was created as a volunteer project and has grown over the years. It was necessary to transfer the core of the website and its content to a new platform with a new design and more efficient functioning. Our job was to prepare an internal audit of the website that revealed which parts of the website needed immediate attention in order to increase the traffic of the web.
Given the very high seasonality of the project’s nature we objectively compare the results interannually.Interannual increase in traffic by 45%
Monthly increase in number of users by 14 530.
Improved website visibility, better positions in Google and improved efficiency of the website
After increasing the traffic of the website, it is at a stage, where the increased number of its visitors is not enough for selling ads yet, but its expenses are increasing.
The goal of the project was to increase organic traffic in order to improve the selling of advertising space.
Definition of possible solutions for improvement and fixing issues
Since the client’s budget was very limited, we had to get creative and find the most severe issues and focus on the promising opportunities to increase traffic. At the beginning, we had to make a simple audit of the website to find the most critical issues and identify possible improvements in order to increase traffic.
- Google Search Console showed several duplicate titles and meta descriptions
- We did a quick keyword research to understand how people are searching for the given topic. Keyword research revealed that the website is full of original and useful content, but the pages don’t reflect the search queries of users very well.
- The alt descriptions of images were missing or, in some cases, the entire image gallery of a article had the same alt descriptions. They weren’t describing the images properly, so Google decided to ignore them.
- Using various tools like Google Search Console, Drupal module 404 and more, we were able to find a lot of broken 404 pages. Most of them were caused by the change of website’s structure during our migration, but also by the older migration to Drupal 6.
- There was a bunch of duplicate content on the website generated by the system itself, some caused by the old and some by the new system.
Suggestions and implementation of changes – solutions
We tackled each technical and content issue step by step according to the nature of the problem.
- Duplicate titles and meta descriptions
- Caused by technical issues: For example, by creating a new article, the system created a gallery as well, which is a different type of content. This way we had 2 pages with the same title tag and meta description. We took advantage of Drupal’s meta-tag module and used its flexibility to created default meta tags for each content type based on our keyword research.
- Caused by users posting duplicate topics on the forum: For example, when a user wanted to travel to South America, he named the title of his post “South America”. We grouped together such posts and suggested to look for a technical solution for this issue in the future.
- In the content strategy we:
- suggested templates for each topic (e.g. city, country, trips), which make future technical changes and fixes easier.
- Created regular expressions for quick and easy reporting to find out whether Google is responding to our changes gradually integrated improvements for pages with the highest potential of growth. We have an internal method to identify such pages.
- Prevented the repetition of alt descriptions of images and improved them, so the describe the imagine while taking search queries into consideration.
- We fixed 404 errors by:
- using the Redirect module and its submodule 404.
- Some of the 404 errors were pages, which used php parameters of the former system. We resolved this by dynamic redirection in the Redirect module.
- More 404 pages sprung up despite our efforts to use former URL aliases during the migration. They were created by merging categories and other changes during our, but also the former migration. It was necessary to manually search for same and similar pages and redirect them to the most used URLs found in our site audit.
- The system generated duplicate content because:
- pagination requires individual approach. To be more specific, it’s crucial that meta tags like canonical, as well as rel="next" and rel="prev" links are correctly implemented in the template. Our suggestions were integrated by the programmers into the code.
- Drupal 8 forum containers don’t use URL aliases, which also caused the issue of the missing canonical tag. Due to the use of URL parameters for pagination of these pages in the former Drupal 6, we found a bunch of duplicate URLs, since these pages were not relevant in the new system. We found a way to give these pages a canonical tag, which solved our problem with the duplicate pages.
Websites like dobrodruh.sk always offer new possibilities for improvement, mainly from the technical point of view. While working on this project we found a lot room for improvement that could further increase the traffic of the website. However, the scale of our project was limited, mostly because of the volunteer nature of the project.
The results of our work
Since the travel segment is a seasonal one, we compared the results interannually. The graph below shows organic traffic. As the picture shows
- When we started working on the project, the interannual traffic was equal (there was just a 1.5 % interannual loss). at the end of our work (October), the interannual traffic was increased by more than 45%.
- Looking at the total traffic numbers dating to October 2018, we achieved an interannual increase of the website’s traffic by more than 14 530 users / month.