• Tom Dewhurst

Increase the quantity and quality of website traffic using SEO - with Barri Coen

Who are we talking to?

Barri is a results-orientated, strategic and hands-on marketer. Bringing more than 15 years of wide-ranging experience, devising and executing measurable marketing growth strategies and campaigns for a variety of e-commerce, marketplace and subscription companies.

He's been working with startups for the past 6 years, after spending his earlier career with larger corporates - and he gets particularly excited by helping businesses to scale across the full digital marketing mix.

Which growth channel are we talking about today?


Describe this channel to someone who’s never done it before?

Search Engine Optimisation aims to increase the quantity and quality of the traffic that your website receives from Organic search.

This means an initial process of identifying any technical issues that might be blocking the website’s ability to appear in search results and for the right keywords related to your business. 

Then it’s a case of identifying, tracking, implementing and then optimising the website content and off-page signals that Google looks for to work out how relevant your website is for any given search.

What frameworks have you used?

Not so much an established framework but we’ve developed processes that allow us to run in-depth audits using a range of SEO tools. This allows us to accurately identify and implement technical fixes and how to drive the search performance through content and off-page activity. 

Implementing SEO changes starts off as a tick-box exercise while making technical fixes but quickly reverts to the more creative art of generating SEO-specific but engaging content.

And when it comes to keywords and content, we structure it according to the user journey across the 3 key stages:

1. Research & Discovery

2. Evaluation & Comparison 

3. Activation 

Can you share any relevant case studies or projects?

We were brought in to manage the wider marketing function of - a car maintenance marketplace - and a priority issue for them at the time was an over-reliance on paid channels for driving growth. 

SEO hadn’t been prioritised up until that point but they had started to generate a large number of basic keyword-focused landing pages and had started to gain some organic traffic.  

After undertaking a thorough audit identifying a range of technical issues, a backlink analysis and identifying hundreds of keyword opportunities, we set to implementation using in-house teams and external content writers. 

Given the nature of Fixter’s business in the car care space, there was a wealth of potential topics linked to their offering, but also a huge amount of competition. We prioritised content that would address keywords with higher volume but lower levels of competition, and then moved on to more competitive terms.

In 4 months, Fixter’s Organic traffic grew by over 300% to make up 20% of their total visitors, offering huge scope for converting a range of potential customers at stages earlier in the purchase decision funnel than they would have otherwise.

What about any challenging projects?

This isn’t specific to a particular project but the most common SEO challenge, aside from technical fixes not being implemented quickly enough as to cause more blockages, is when a business’s offering just isn’t being searched for. 

The key here is to think creatively about the audience and their User Journey. What might they be searching for before knowing what they want or need? What might they be searching for before they even know they have a problem? 

And actually, less volume is sometimes a blessing because that usually means that, while volumes may be low, competition for those searches is also likely to be lower and the quality of the traffic you gain will be higher than more generic searches.

Top 3: mistakes to avoid?

  1. Not thinking about SEO early enough. It really is never too early to take SEO into account, which will save a lot of time and money later on.

  2. Not thinking about Mobile first. Google changed the game recently by prioritising mobile-friendly websites over web. Even if you think your audience won’t be browsing on mobile, you can’t treat it as an afterthought.

  3. Bad quality backlinks. Thankfully this isn’t such a common mistake in recent years, the knowledge is feeding through, but not all backlinks are equal. You can do more damage with a poor quality backlink (from a website that Google deems to have low authority) than you would stand to gain from a good quality one.

Top 3: businesses nailing this channel at the moment?

  1. Hubspot (B2B) - anything marketing/automation related, they’re all over it

  2. Festicket (B2C) - if you’re looking for music festival-related content, they’ll be there

  3. Rightmove (B2B / B2C) - an example of fantastic growth from the marketplace model

Top 3: key KPIs?

  1. Growth of Organic Traffic

  2. Conversions from Organic 

  3. Number of Keywords Ranking

The beauty of CAC is it nearly always decreases over time. More resource will be spent early on with less to show in the early days but with the benefit being amplified every month thereafter.

Top 3: tools for this channel?

  1. SEMRush - find out about your competitors' strategy and boost your SEO rankings

  2. Google Data Studio - this tools is powerful for data reporting and analysis

  3. Keyword Hero - Understand where your current site traffic is coming from

Top 3: tips and hacks for this channel?

Just one tip - if you can’t get near the first page of results, look at who is and identify how you can get onto their websites.

If that’s not an option, can you create a new website perhaps focusing on a different phase of the user journey or talking about a wider set of topics that has more chance to appear higher?

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