Case Study: NST

Achieving industry dominance with an educational travel brand.

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NST are one of the UK’s leading educational travel companies. The company has provided bespoke trips for primary and secondary school groups since 1967. Our SEO consultant, Sam, was asked to push the website into a dominant SEO position with an aim of delivering consistent year on year growth in traffic and enquiries.

NST runs school trips to destinations all over the world for every subject imaginable. Each destination, each subject, and each possible combination of the two had its own page on the website – resulting in hundreds of highly similar pages. Whilst this offered a great range of choices for users, it also caused a number of structural, hierarchical and keyword targeting issues for the site’s SEO performance. We recommended and – with help from the NST development team – implemented a number of technical changes to ensure that each page on the site could not only be easily found, crawled and indexed by a search engine, but that it was part of a strong, simple structure with a clear hierarchy between different page types.

Furthermore, working with NST’s internal marketing team, we then began a process of improving the layout and content of each key page template. In particular, we focused on destination pages (for trips to a particular destination) and subject pages (for trips related to particular subjects). Our goal was to provide a teacher with all the information and resources they needed to make a decision on a school trip:

  • If they were ready to book then our page had a selection of relevant trips
  • If they were newly qualified then our page had a “first-timers” guide to running a school trip
  • If they wanted help with risk assessments then our page had a link to a free resource

And so on.

This approach made every NST landing page a one-stop shop for teachers, and it paid off. Bounce rates dropped significantly, meaning users were stopping to engage with the content more often. Rankings improved to a point where NST ranked either 1st or in the top 3 positions for every subject or destination-related keyword we were targeting. Organic traffic, and subsequently conversions, rose dramatically. By way of comparison, no competitor in the industry came close to matching NST’s level of search engine visibility.

A similar approach would work for any travel brand, school-related or not. The focus is simply on delivering an exceptional customer experience. In the past, travellers visited their local travel agent to get the information they needed before booking a trip. A user’s need for that information hasn’t changed, but how they get it has.

Results:

  • From 42 keywords in 1st position to 241 (+474%)
  • From 132 keywords in positions 1-3 to 296 (+124%)
  • A 32% year on year increase in organic traffic
  • A 30% year on year decrease in bounce rate
  • A 16.5% year on year increase in enquiry form submissions

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