6.7 Case Study: Yachting Partners International
Founded in 1972, Yachting Partners International (YPI) is one of the world’s premier yacht brokerage companies, offering services on everything from yacht chartering, acquisitions, and sales to construction and management from their head office in England.
The yacht business is extremely competitive, whether online or offline. The YPI Web site needed to stand out from the crowd and be recognized as the authority on yachting and charter holidays. To ensure that this was possible, the keyword strategy matched these objectives and gave YPI prominence on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The search engine optimization (SEO) strategy dictated a need for high-traffic terms rather than niche, long-tail phrases. This would ensure that YPI was above the fold for important searches. During the keyword research phase, primary keywords were allocated to the key themes up for optimization. Secondary and tertiary keywords represented the supporting terms and any relevant synonyms.
Before optimization, the YPI site didn’t have many of the required elements for a successful SEO campaign. The technical considerations, essential to a site’s success, work hand in hand with traditional, keyword, and theme-focused SEO efforts.
Figure 6.3 The Yachting Partners Web Site
Source: Used by permission from Yachting Partners International.
The technical considerations that first needed to be addressed included the following:
- Metadata. The creation of descriptive and unique meta descriptions that included keyword-dense copy helped reflect the content found on each page while also issuing a call to action for the user on the SERPs.
- Title tags. The title tags were optimized to contain keywords that were specific and unique to the optimized pages. Used as links on SERPs, the tags were now both keyword rich and enticing.
- Header tags. The hypertext markup language (HTML) header tags, with their new keywords, put emphasis on themes by using properly styled and valid HTML markup.
Figure 6.4 Search Results for YPI
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) validity. Ensuring valid markups enabled the site to be viewed across various Web browsers and operating systems, while also allowing search engine spiders to easily navigate and index the site and determine the relevance of the content.
- Canonicalization. This was implemented to ensure that if a user types in a URL, or clicks on a link directing to http://ypi.co.uk, they will be redirected to the correct URL (uniform resource locator), http://www.ypi.co.uk. This is important to avoid losing out on traffic and “link juice,” which is the page rank or link authority passed on by the search engines indexing a page.
- 404 error pages. A customized error page provided an enhanced usability perspective. This assisted users who came upon an error page as a result of clicking on a broken link or who had found the site through a page that was still indexed but no longer existent.
- Site map. Updated and optimized HTML and XML (extensible markup language) site maps were added to the YPI Web site for seamless navigation by humans or search engine robots.
- Link building, Web public relations, and pay per click. Web public relations (WebPR), link-building articles, and an additional PPC (pay-per-click) campaign helped focus the complete search engine marketing (SEM) package.
The results that occurred after these changes were implemented really speak for themselves. During the initial stages of the optimization, the Yachting Partners International Web site had only a handful of inbound links and indexed pages but currently has 1,350 pages indexed by Google; 7,830 indexed by MSN; and 1,688 by Yahoo! HTML and XML site maps have been implemented to assist with search engine indexing.
Visit the YPI Web site at http://www.ypi.co.uk.
Case Study Questions
- When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), why should technical considerations be addressed first?
- What is the importance of optimized header and title tags?
- How do site maps help increase the number of pages indexed by the search engines?