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Pro-Speak: Interview with Luke Fitzgerald

"Take the time and effort to create a compelling story - tell the tale of why a potential customer should visit your target destination."

 

Could you please share a little about yourself and your brand?

 

I am Luke Fitzgerald, Head of SEO at Wolfgang Digital.

 

Founded in 2007, Wolfgang Digital has grown from strength-to-strength as a powerhouse in global digital marketing excellence. Originally starting as an AdWords agency, we now create and manage award-winning PPC, SEO, Content, Social, Creative and Analytics campaigns for clients across five continents in pretty much every competitive sector imaginable.

 

We’ve claimed prestigious marketing awards including ‘Best Agency’, ‘Best Search’ and ‘Best Social’ at the Digital Marketing Awards. We’ve also been voted as one of the very best places to work for in Ireland.

 

Can you discuss a Holiday Campaign run by you/your company that yielded great results?

 

One of the more recent travel campaigns we’ve really enjoyed working on is for an Icelandic travel client specialising in bespoke (and pretty awesome!) Adventure Holidays in Iceland.

 

With Iceland’s tourism industry booming, the website was seeing slow, but steady, organic growth without having implemented any SEO strategy. They felt there was potential to steal a march on their competitors by investing in SEO.

 

Campaign KPIs:

  • Improve organic rankings
  • Increase organic traffic
  • Grow market share

 

Steps to Success:

  • Before commencing on-page and technical work, a prioritised keyword tracking campaign was established, with 3 main competitors set as a benchmark for organic visibility.
  • When optimising, particular focus was placed on keywords which were within ‘striking distance’ – close to Top 3 SERP positions, where ranking improvements would drive the most visibility.
  • We rewrote the site’s metadata to be more user-friendly and improve click-through and prioritised pages based on those which ranked well for priority keywords and worked our way down.
  • To get around this problem, we created new ‘Big Content’ Information Pages to answer long- tail queries and questions about Iceland’s major attractions. These pages act as a ‘ first touch point’ for users on their purchasing journey and enhance the site’s authority on Iceland in general.
  • In addition to helping the client site to rank for more long-tail keywords, the Information Pages also internally link to tour pages, funneling potential customers to ‘sell’ pages while also highlighting the linked to pages’ importance to search engines.

 

We noted that since the campaign began, YoY time spent on site increased to nearly 5 minutes (up 14.8%) as did the average number of pages per session; the power of compelling content should not be underestimated!

 

Success in Action:

For the 7 months of the campaign, the clients’ website saw its organic traffic up 21.38%, transactions up 33.23% and revenue up 49.66% YoY.

This amounts to an additional 33,355 organic sessions, 838 transactions (more than 100 a month) and US$639,829,08 in revenue over a 7-month period – averaging more than 100 extra sales and almost $100k in revenue per month during the campaign.

 

Contrastingly, the main competitor’s site we had been worrying about was down YoY for all of these organic KPIs during the same period. In monetary terms, this means the competitor’s site was down by over half a million Euro YoY in a 7-month period due to making 1,284 fewer sales than the in the previous year. In December, our client informed us that they had successfully purchased their main competitor’s website. They had effectively conceded defeat and sold out to our client!

 

The client has now secured a new global domain with the intention of rolling out a consolidated global internationalisation strategy on a singular .com domain with hreflang and country-specific subdirectories; a huge business decision taken on faith in a strong, well-prepared SEO agency being able to deliver on early proof of concept that SEO really can lead the way in terms of helping a website become a market leader!
Luke Fitzgerald Interview by Crackitt

 

Is there any specific holiday marketing campaign that left an imprint on your mind? Why do you think it did so?

 

I really like a campaign that Verve Search ran for Expedia Nordics a couple of years back, for which they received some award recognition, deservedly so.

 

They set about creating an interactive map of ‘how to say hello’ in pretty much every country on earth, with some interactive graphics, illustrations and infographics to support the campaign.

 

To the best of my knowledge, it helped boost the client’s organic visibility hugely and garnered a huge social media and backlink count; it just goes to show how sometimes the greatest ideas are the simplest!

 

Do you think videos work well as content for such campaigns? Could you share some more insight into the same?

 

Yes, videos are a huge asset and should be leveraged at all times, particularly when a topic so dependent on strong visuals such as travel at the core. We’ve seen pages that embed YouTube videos of the destination and/or travel activity perform up to 10 times better than pages that rely solely on text and imagery. Factor into the mix that you’re utilising a Google-owned platform in YouTube – itself the world’s second-largest search engine in its own right – and you’re on to a winner from an SEO perspective when embracing video.

 

Naturally, paid search and social also performs much better with promoted video content to help advertisers sell the dream of travel so it’s an absolute must-have for any successful digital strategy.

 

Can you give 3 hacks to entrepreneurs that they can self-implement to run a successful Holiday Marketing Campaign?

 

There are so many more than three things marketers should be doing to execute effective holiday campaigns but here are a couple, coming from my highly-biased organic mindset and experience.

 

1) Take the time and effort to create a compelling story – tell the tale of why a potential customer should visit your target destination? What’s in it for them? What can they not live without by not stopping by this destination? How will it enrich their outlook on life?

 

Once you’ve created that story, back it up with well-optimized text, encapsulating imagery, emotive video content and a great offer to help make their mind up!

 

2) Conduct an in-depth competitor analysis piece in order to ensure you have a full scope on the following items:

  • who your competitors are,
  • where they stand in the current competitive landscape and where you fall on that market matrix
  • what they’re currently doing well
  • what they’re not doing well (or at all) and once we have all this information…
  • devise a strategy on how we can start wiping the floor with them! :)

 

3) YouTube SEO – don’t neglect it, embrace it! There are lots of great tools out there such as the VidIQ Chrome Extension that every marketer should have in their arsenal to ensure they give their YouTube uploads the love and attention they deserve!

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