Supporting the launch of Sainsbury’s New Online Service

Helping Sainsbury's new online service get discovered in organic search.

Objective:

To support the launch of a new online service from Sainsbury’s, by ensuring that it was discoverable in Google Search and was ranking on the first page of results for a range of relevant keywords.

Website history:

Sainsbury’s new online service had a surprisingly under-optimised site when they contacted our team. They had been hit hard by the Panda update to Google’s search algorithm and had a poor backlink profile due to a risky backlink strategy by a previously consulted SEO agency.

The main issues holding the site back were:

  • Lack of unique product descriptions
  • Over optimised anchor text with ‘ebooks’
  • Low quality link building
  • Poor on-site keyword targeting

Strategy

The website had been hit by the Panda algorithm update, so we conducted our in-depth technical SEO audit to identify factors that could have contributed. The first thing we noticed were the duplicate product descriptions that had mistakenly been implemented on the site, which was the likely cause of the drop in traffic when the new algorithm had been released.

We also noticed that the content on the site did not appear to have been targeted towards any particular keywords or topic clusters.

Our internal in-house developers and content team worked together to solve these on-site issues and improve the content on the site.

We also ran a backlink audit, looking for opportunities and threats to the upcoming campaign.

Once we began to dig into our client’s backlink profile, we noticed many over-optimised anchor texts pointing back to the domain, each using the same keyword in the anchor text. This type of backlink profile was very much risking a manual penalty by Google which could see organic traffic to the site evaporate entirely.

Our outreach team worked to remove the over-optimised anchor texts and clean up Sainsbury’s backlink profile before any work was done to earn new backlinks.

Once the site’s backlink profile was stable, we launched the next phase of the campaign in which our content team researched and designed an interesting infographic about the industry Sainsbury’s was entering, and shared it with relevant publishers in niche.

The infographic achieved excellent results, with strong uptake leading to the acquisition of some very high-quality backlinks from leading publishers in the niche.

An infographic on the decline of the ebooks industry was designed and we contacted some of the most influential authority websites in this niche to include this asset within their blogs in exchange for links. The uptake was excellent and led to the acquisition of some very high quality backlinks from authoritative websites including:

http://www.bookbusinessmag.com/article/infographic-the-end-growth-ebook-market 
http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/charting-ebook-growth-slowdown/
http://ebookfriendly.com/ebook-markets-slowing-infographic/
http://www.teleread.com/infographic/infographic-from-sainsburys-on-slowing-ebook-growth/

Results

With the site’s fundamental technical issues fixed, toxic backlinks removed and new, healthy backlinks in place, the site was in a much improved position.

The site quickly began to improve in the rankings for the range of targeted key terms, with an improvement of 893 positions.

At the start of the campaign, Sainsbury’s new service was only ranking on the first page for 9 key terms, none of which had many significant search volumes.

By the end of the campaign, the site had reached the first page for 215 different relevant search terms, including many of the most competitive, high traffic terms in the niche.

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