We helped a local cooking school improve their rankings in the local area, in anticipation of a return in demand following the global Covid-19 lockdown.
What did the client think?
“I hired Sam to help with my small business website SEO during the coronavirus lockdown. My hope was to get more visits to my website and conversions in the form of people booking into cooking classes once the lockdown rules relaxed. Sam’s work on my website has certainly helped my business recover following the lockdown and we’re seeing our business ranking higher for keyword searches on Google, resulting in actual bookings (and thus revenue).
I really appreciate the thorough monthly reports with graphs and explanations. I’m not the most tech-savvy person so I appreciate how the reports are easy to understand in layman’s terms.
I appreciate Sam’s expertise and all the support he’s given to helping my business grow, especially in such difficult times for the hospitality industry. Sam will get you the results you’re after and I would highly recommend his agency to others.”
I appreciate Sam’s expertise and all the support he’s given to helping my business grow, especially in such difficult times for the hospitality industry. Sam will get you the results you’re after and I would highly recommend his agency to others.
Savour is a cooking school based in Lyall Bay, Wellington. Led by professionally-trained head chef, Wendy Joyce, the school offers classes in a range of culinary skills and styles. The business began in November 2019 and they were looking forward to a successful 2020 – aiming to increase both class frequency and attendance rates.
Local businesses like Savour often rely on their local reputation and a list of loyal customers to keep going, but Wendy recognised an opportunity to gain more bookings by ranking at the top of Google for niche, localised search terms, such as Cooking Classes Wellington.
This would usually be a relatively simple campaign. However, as Covid-19 spread around the world in early 2020, matters became more complicated.
Public health comes before anything else, leading many businesses in New Zealand to temporarily close whilst the country remained in Level 3 and 4 of the government’s Covid-19 Alert System. Savour had to cancel many classes they had scheduled over this period.
Although not ideal, it did represent a chance for us to get to work on Savour’s SEO performance in a period where many businesses had pulled back on their marketing efforts.
We started a campaign in April 2020, with the aim of getting the site into a position to take advantage of the inevitable return in demand following lockdown.
Our initial analysis showed the site was in relatively good shape. There were no major technical SEO issues, content was generally written to a high-standard, and the site’s design offered a nice, simple experience for users.
Furthermore, the site was already ranking on the second page of Google’s results for many of the keywords we wanted to target.
It was clear this particular project wouldn’t require a heavy-hand, but rather a few light touches to optimise an already-solid base.
By mapping high-value keywords to the site’s pages, we could then optimise the on-page elements on each page to better target the phrases we were targeting. This included the title tags, the headers, the copy and the links across the site.
These relatively small changes helped send Google much stronger signals about Savour’s services, their expertise in cooking and teaching, and their location in the Wellington region.
This was supplemented with an off-site project. We created a Google My Business profile and added the company’s details to several high-quality, trustworthy, local business directories in New Zealand. Not only did this help Google to verify Savour’s location, but it increased their chances of appearing in the local “map pack” results in the future.
Results quickly improved. The site now ranks in the top 3 positions for vitally important keywords, like Cooking Classes Wellington, whereas before it lingered on the second page.
Whilst rankings improved quickly, we had to wait for traffic to follow. The number of people looking for cooking classes over lockdown was almost zero.
Fortunately, demand returned once lockdown lifted and Savour was in a position to take advantage. By the end of June 2020, organic traffic was up by 218% compared to before and during lockdown.
Furthermore, data from Google Search Console shows keywords like Cooking Classes Wellington are now a big driver of traffic due to their improved position – see the graph below.
This helped contribute to a large increase in conversions – across all channels, conversions were up 633% in the two months after lockdown.
Overall, the campaign has proved that SEO doesn’t always need to be a full-scale upheaval of a website. Sometimes a few small, careful changes can have the large effect you’re after.
By using the downtime presented by lockdown to work on their digital marketing efforts, Savour has emerged positively from the other side – establishing itself at the top of Google’s search results for a wide variety of search terms related to their classes. This leaves the business in a position to finally start realising its initial aims: more frequent, fuller classes.
The screenshot displays the performance of the site for the keyword Cooking Classes Wellington and close variants. The orange line shows an increase from a third page ranking position to firmly on the first page. In fact, most of these keywords now rank in the top 3 positions each day. The blue line shows the number of clicks these keywords are driving to the website. Clicks become more frequent in the latter weeks, showing how the site’s improved ranking position is taking advantage of the return in customer demand.
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